Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Beetle, the classic build-a-beetle game...

I hate to admit I own this game, but really it belongs to the kids, so I will hopefully be judged less harshly in the end-times due to the crime. Published by Hasbro, during that dark period it was manufacturing torture devices for the Spanish-Inquisition, Beetle is also known by a range of other names, which I refuse to look up.

Is this the worst game ever you ask? Yes. Yes it is.

This is objectively the worst game in the history of games. Spin the spinner and whoever manages to get all the beetle parts (body first ) before someone at the table pretends to get a water and poisons themselves, sets the building on fire or dies of malnutrition is declared the winner.

478,942 Spins later and I still don't have a Beetle body.

It is an exercise in patience, as players outwardly participate in the endless game play while secretly plotting to hide or destroy the game so it may never hit the table again. It is mathematically possible to play this game until the heat-death of the universe, with no-one managing to score a victory. I like to pretend there's an apocalyptic meteor strike part way into this game, flip the table and kick pieces under the fridge until the kids agree we can't continue.

Victory in my group is managing to pull a bait-and-switch on any child suggesting we should play this game, if this isn't successful, we all lose.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Tempus Fugit

Sitting here staring at the blank screen, thinking about all the blog posts I had planned to write by now I realise it's been more than a month since I last posted something, a month and a half in fact.

I had certainly intended to write more, reviews of games I had played, games I was looking at, the book I am reading. I had the topics for half a dozen posts, but life got busy, as life does, and time flies.

In the last month and a half things have certainly been busy, professionally and personally. My mother passed away, and while I won't write about it now, if I ever do, I should add that she was a singular woman who instilled in me a passion for reading, for games, for information, for curiosity and creativity, the last two perhaps the most important. It is in the arrogance of young adulthood that you convince yourself you are a self-made person, and for me at least, it was the loss of my mother that reminded me how truly formative our parents are.

The Castle has also been wracked by plague, with child and adult alike hacking at their lungs with unabating coughs and fevers running rampant.

Work has kept my hands from idleness, as a teacher and as a writer. For the latter I have had chapters for the Infinity Role Playing Game's Core Rule Book (by Modiphius) to write and review (so far I've worked on the Concillium, O-12 and PanOceania chapters), characters and adversaries to stat out and describe, short biographies to create and more. I have also been proofing the upcoming Achtung! Cthulhu Skirmish Game (also by Modiphius and based on the Legions game from Spartan), and have been working with Spartan Games on upcoming things. All of this has been immense fun, but left me short on time for blogging, painting, playing and reading.

Writing of reading, I am, at the moment, working my way slowly through Ancillary Justice, by Ann Lecke. A Hugo and Nebula Award winning book, I am only a little way through. I have to be honest and say that it has only partially grabbed me, though unfolding events are drawing me closer. Part of a trilogy of books, I am looking forward to seeing how the story unfolds.

Gaming wise, I have played a few games here and there, some of which I'll cover below. The most enjoyable of the games I have played in the last couple of months are:

Playing the first mission in HeroQuest with my son, who had a blast. A simple but highly enjoyable dungeon romp that goes to show nostalgia isn't always the reason games of yesteryear seem so good.

Playing through a thoroughly disastrous campaign of Dux Britanniarum, in which my Saxon Lord has done little but prove his ineptitude and the poor judgement of his men in selecting him as leader. This game is absolutely brilliant, as much for what happens outside the game table as for what happens on it.

I've also been thoroughly enjoying Infinity the miniatures game, by Corvus Belli (upon which the RPG is based). This game is a lot of fun, and full of little storied moments.

The best new game I've played has been Morels, a funny little set-collection game about gathering fungi. An odd theme, but a rather enjoyable two-player game that moves quicker than you think it might.

The best of my older games that has hit the table, and one I haven't played in some time, was Shadows Over Camelot. Shadows is a co-operative game where the players, as knights of the Round Table must attempt to win various quests to both stave off disaster and gain enough 'white swords' to claim victory against the forces of evil. There may also be a traitor, of course, and in this game there was, and he won with a brutal twist just as things seemed like they may turn for the better at the end.

What's upcoming?

Well, I am planning on getting a group together, in some form or another, to play some Fate. I've never played this RPG before, but I like the look of it a lot and it should be good fun.

I also have some 15mm Chariots I have put together for a game called Fastvs Fvrivs, by Ganesha Games, and I'm very much looking forward to getting them on the table!

Well, that's enough, probably far too much. I am hoping to come back to some of these games and things and write about them in a touch more detail, but for now this will suffice.