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Interview: Volko Ruhnke's Modern Wargames

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By Matt Thrower on July 7, 2015

Thrower: Do you find numbers scary? Do you dread the pointy 1, the razor-sharp 7, the misery of an unsolved sum? If you do, you've probably realised that most board games are just fearsome equations wearing friendly grins.

Designers, however, understand this, and more. They welcome it, glory in it, roll in it like pigs in mathematical mud. Because it's what they use to build the foundations of something fun, yet something real.

Take Volko Ruhnke, designer of contemporary wargames Labyrinth and the Counter-Insurgency(or COIN) series. "Most board games and video games that are about something are models," he told me. "Trading games, railroad building games, shooting games, strategic war games. They all communicate the game designers’ model of certain aspects of human affairs."

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Games News! 06/07/15

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By SU&SD on July 6, 2015

Paul: This is a disaster. How much food do we have left? How many days can we go? Will we even get rescued out here?

Quinns: I’m sure it’ll be fine, just keep sending up the flares and don’t put any limbs in the water. Look, I managed to salvage a few of the more intact parts of Matt, which we can probably cook, and then there’s the…

Paul: What?

Quinns: The Games News. I’m really sorry, Paul. We’re going to have to eat the Games News.

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Review: Spyfall

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By SU&SD on July 4, 2015

The English language version of Spyfall is finally available! ...And stock has immediately drained out shops the world over like a vodka martini through a sieve.

Don't worry, friends! Operating in a dangerous web of international intrigue, and with a little help from Starlit Citadel, Team SU&SD has secured a review copy. At last, we're here to tell you if this party game live up to the hype.

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Review: Cockroach Poker Royal

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By Quintin Smith on July 1, 2015

Quinns: Catch Team SU&SD at our most tired and soul-blasted, when we’re done walking the halls of a giant convention, and there’s a single game we'll always still be able to play. It’s Skull.

It's the arsenic-laced wafer thin mint of board gaming, and there’s always room for its lies and laughter. The one thing more impressive than Asmodee daring to call Skull "the very quintessence of bluffing” is that actually, I don’t think they’re wrong.

Two months ago I was in a pub with a friend who I trust completely. “If you like Skull,” he said, “Then write this down. ‘Cockroach Poker’. Best £10 you’ll ever spend.”

Today I’m the proud owner of one “Cockroach Poker Royal”, the en-complicated 2012 sequel to 2004’s Cockroach Poker. And I’ll tell you what! It’s not just a great game of lying to your friends. It’s a great game of lying with your friends.

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Games News! 29/06/15

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By Quintin Smith on June 29, 2015

Quinns: This weekend was a Party Weekend for the Quinns household. The good news is that we got to try out both Cockroach Poker AND Spyfall, and you can expect some very funny, positive reviews of those later this week. The bad news is that I'm so hungover that I'm having trouble focusing my eyes. I offer my sincerest apologies for what might be a distinct lack of humour, accuracy, bravery, words, truth or news in this week's news.

Don't worry! It's all good news, at least. We never played Gale Force Nine's Firefly board game (that'd be the team behind the innovative but wanting Spurticus tie-in game), because we heard Firefly was still wanting but a little less innovative.

That hasn't stopped the game gathering quite the following, though, with GFN this week announcing three expansions! Firefly: The Game – Kalidasa is a big box offering a new sector of space and a wad of new cards, and the two miniature expansions will add new Fireflies (Fireflii?).

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Review: Specter Ops

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By Paul Dean on June 26, 2015

What's this, sneaking into Friday's schedule? Why, it's a review of Plaid Hat's hotly anticipated Specter Ops, a hidden movement game from one of the industry's most renowned publishers.

Paul takes a long, hard look at the game and... well, has anyone taken a long hard look for Paul recently? Actually, it's probably best not to. He appears to have both gone missing and gone a little... mournfully malfunctional. This is the first time that's happened since last time. Do let us know if you spot him, or even any part of him. Probably don't approach him, mind.

Best not dwell on that. Have a lovely weekend!

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Miniatures Game Review: Infinity

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By SU&SD on June 25, 2015

[Introducing another new series of articles! Eric Tonjes is professional Nebraskan and miniatures gamer who's agreed to review some of 2015's most popular miniatures games. You guys were so sweet to Hilary yesterday, so please give Eric the same welcome!]

Eric: So you've played a lot of games. You've gone from the simple family stuff to the weightiest Euro, and it still isn't satisfying. You're looking for something more. Lately, maybe you've been eyeing those hunched figures in the back of the game shop, pushing around their armies of painted men and orcs and arguing about byzantine rules. You're looking, and you're wondering... Has it perhaps come to this? Dare I become a *gulp* miniatures gamer?

Or maybe you've just noticed those boxes with gloriously painted figurines on the covers and wondered what they're all about.

In the coming months I'll be serving as your guide to the dark world of tabletop miniatures gaming. More than that, I'll be trying to tell you what makes the very best ones sing – what about each one makes them unique, and why people spend huge amounts of money and even larger amounts of time assembling and painting little soldiers.

Up first, let's take a gander at Infinity, the phenomenal flagship game of Corvus Belli.

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RPG Review: Kaleidoscope

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By Hilary McNaughton on June 24, 2015

[SU&SD's coverage of the growing, amazing story games scene has ranged from sporadic to non-existent. Introducing Hilary McNaughton, a writer and gamer from the land of "Canada" who'll be helping us out with regular reviews! Please give her a warm welcome.]

Hilary: I don't watch a ton of movies, so I generally assume if I've seen something, everybody's seen it. But it turns out I've watched a higher-than-average number of weird foreign films. I've even seen a couple I just did not get. At all.

Maybe you know the kind? Things start out sort of intelligible, then dissolve into weird symbolism and visual effects about halfway through. Or there's no plot, at least that you can find. Or everything seems normal, except for some reason the director shot the whole thing from a bird's eye view and you never see anyone’s face.

Sometimes the very best thing about a film like that is picking through it afterwards with your friends. What was with the giant hand in the background of that scene at the park? Why didn't anyone in the movie comment on the fact the sets were obviously all made of cardboard? Did everyone hate the long shot inside the revolving door, or just me?

Kaleidoscope is a game that brings you all the joy and frustration of discussing an opaque foreign art film, without actually having to sit through one. You and your friends invent the details of a fictitious movie in the same time or less than it would have taken to watch.

But how? you ask. I'll tell you how!

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