For as long as SU&SD has been around, we've been fans of Space Alert. Even today, it might well be the most ridiculous, challenging and inventive co-operative game ever... erm, invented.
For anyone who missed it, you'll find our review of Space Alert all the way back in this SU&SD episode from 2011, where we also reviewed Twilight Imperium and Race for the Galaxy. Classics, every one.
Contained in today's payload are impressions of the party game Stay Cool (02:45), the excellent Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid (09:01), the frighteningly intense Letter Jam (21:42), the adorable Welcome to Dino World (29:22), the heavy roll'n'write Rome and Roll (38:19) and the world's first "boxed megagame", Vampire: The Masquerade – Blood Feud (43:28).
Finally, following on from team SU&SD having recently discovered the joy of using pencils to write on paper, we've just now learned about BOOKS! Specifically, the book Top 10 Games You Can Play In Your Head, By Yourself (49:35).
This month saw the release of the book collecting the first five issues of DIE, a fabulous new comic about a group of people who become trapped in their fantasy roleplaying campaign.
Written by Kieron Gillen, creator of THE WICKED + THE DIVINE, and breathtakingly illustrated by artist Stephanie Hans, DIE quickly became a series where I'd devour each new issue on the day of release. In two words, Kieron describes it as "Goth Jumanji". In three words, I'd add that it's "Very, very good".
What makes this even more exciting is that Kieron Gillen is a personal friend of mine, and agreed to an interview about not just about the series, but the accompanying DIE RPG, and Kieron's thoughts on roleplaying games in general. This is SU&SD, after all.
Before we get started, the three preview pages below give a summary of what DIE's about. Click to see them at full-size!
Quinns: Boy? I’m 33 years old.
Ava: Tell me boy, is it still Chronicles Month?
Quinns: Oh, absolutely it is.
Ava: Wonderful! Then there’s still time. Head over to Shut Up & Sit Down and fetch me the plumpest, ripest news in the window.
Welcome to Museum, a game of archaeology (stealing), curation (re-arranging), and prestige (letter-writing).
Quinns: With over 300 gorgeous illustrations by Vincent Dutrait, Museum is the definition of a labour of love. In fact, Ava and I approached it like a real museum, taking a leisurely tour of its exhibits across two days.
Finally, we’re ready to write our review. Ava, do you want to explain the game?
Ava: Let me be your guide through the byzantine corridors...of board game.
For those unaware, Monikers is the slick, boxed implementation of the folk party game more commonly known as fishbowl, celebrity, or the hat game. We reviewed it back in 2015, and eagle-brained readers will recall that in 2017 we created a small-box expansion titled "The Nonsense Box" (and since then, we've been careful not to mention Monikers in our editorial without caveating our involvement with the designers).
Back then, we had a lot of fun being deeply silly with our first foray into party game design, but this time we’ve really stepped up our game: taking onboard critical feedback, thinking carefully about the flow of the game, and squeezing in a higher density of solid jokes without getting in the way of what makes Monikers great.
If you’ll allow us a moment of heart on sleeve-ism, we honestly didn’t anticipate that so many people would have such a good time with the original Nonsense Box. Feedback we’ve had over the past two years both humbled us, and stuck a rocket to our bottom when designing the new box - it felt vital to us to reflect that love back, and ensure that this triple-sized Kickstarter sequel was the absolute *best* that it could possibly be. We love it, and we hope you do too.
You have to hide me in the games news!
Ava: Never fear, noble Quintin. Follow me, and come below the “Read More” button.
Quinns: They’ll never find me!
Ava: Quick, hide under these hats.
With a price point of $130, Batman: Gotham City Chronicles is the second most expensive game we've ever reviewed. If there's a bat-thing you love, you're bound to find it sequestered in one (one!) of this game's many, many boxes.
But could some boxes of fictitious bats ever be worth that much money? Click play, let us tell you what we think.
Quinns: In hindsight, I really don’t know why chose that as our promise.
Ava: It’s only natural to want to leave a mark.
Ava: This week we’re taking a deeper dive than usual into the opinions section, as well as some of those grubby adverts in the back.
Which is to say, today’s news is mostly think-pieces and kickstarters, and we think that’s okay.
Each player is given a personal city map which you'll fill with a scattering of white and red biodomes, which will connect to a flourishing network of factories and laboratories. Ideally, this network will score you points, as well as act as an engine that'll occasionally spew out resources such as credits, biomatter, and kelp. Lots of kelp.
Apparently when we colonise the seas, the only thing available to eat will be kelp. I’ve never tried kelp. Have you tried kelp? They tell me it's the kale of the sea, but I'm pretty sure that's a lie.