Feature: A Day in the Life of Paul’s Game Collection!

Paul's Cool Zone, Nautical nudges, entombed with Carcassonne
Paul: Welcome! Welcome to a very particular corner of my home. While apartment life in Vancouver doesn’t afford me the sort of cavernous attic that we peeped into when Quinns talked about his game collection, I do have a very particular place where I keep mine, all safe and warm and pristine...

Podcast #48: Complaining in the Crystal Maze

lost helmets, paul has sex with a beast, quinns is the worst tv contestant
Like a domestic Sisyphus, Paul and Quinns continue on their quest to play all of the things! Quick, listen to this podcast before their boulder of relevancy rolls back down the side of Mount Internet.

This month games discussed include Pax Pamir! Conan! Game of Thrones: Hand of the King! A Touch of Evil! And litttle Schotten Totten! Of course we've got our usual special features in the form of listener mail and the Folk Game of the Month, but there's even more besides. Always keen to go the extra mile for the podcast, Quinns visited a real-life Crystal Maze and Paul had sex with a beast.

What new game have you been enjoying recently? It doesn't have to be a new release, just new to you. Let us know!

GAMES NEWS! 17/10/16

a lotus burglary, polish cuisine, secret creatures, vertical foxes
Quinns: Could our top story be anything other than the first details emerging of Pandemic Legacy: Season 2, the sequel to one of the greatest board games ever made?

Paul: No. I mean, I put it right at the top of the docu-

Quinns: Prior to this week all we knew was that “Season 2” would be a new standalone game that would once again turn the excellent co-operative puzzle Pandemic into a surprising campaign. Now we know... that it’s going to be a little more ambitious.

Review: Istanbul

a tempting offer, a robust coffee, a sad letter, a baki, vaping
Who cares if the pound has reached a 168 year low? Why, BOARD GAMES will let us travel the world from the comfort of our own homes!

For example, Istanbul lets us explore the smoky souks of the Ottoman empire, and lots of fun they are too. But are they as fun as the noble Concordia? And what about Caverna, or Terra Mystica? Hmm. There's nothing for it but to play all of them again.

Have a fantastic weekend, everybody!

Review: Mechs vs. Minions

a robotic chocolate box, omnistomping, fueltanking, headbutting
Disclaimer: Quinns, of this site, was a paid consultant on this game. Originally we weren't planning to cover it, but ultimately decided to send it to Pip for an impartial review.

Pip: Summary for the super spoiler-conscious: League of Legends – a videogame with a frankly enormous player base – has made a first foray into board gaming with Mechs vs Minions.

Mechs vs Minions is REALLY good! The developers bill it as Robo Rally meets Descent to give you an idea of how it plays. I've been playing through the campaign with Chris Thursten. We're having a blast and I'll get into the more detailed explanations in a moment BUT!

I wanted to say how much we're enjoying it up here because the game is an episodic campaign with each mission coming in its own envelope so as to deliver a few surprises as you play. With that in mind I figured it would be best to say "It's so good!" up front in case you wanted to go in with as close to zero knowledge of the contents of the game.

Everybody else? Come stomping this way.

GAMES NEWS! 10/10/16

a sweet glass of fosters, a warm spill of entrails, a garden full of hedgehogs
Quinns: It’s the week of Spiel, Germany’s largest board game convention! Break out the bratwurst.

Paul: Keep calm and curryworst... on?

Quinns: I wonder which games will have stollen our hearts by the end.

Paul: Let’s talk card games and kartoffelpuffer. Print runs and fischbrötchen!

Quinns: Are you just looking at the Wikipedia page on German food?

Paul: Yes.

Quinns: Well, nevermind that. I want to tell the people about my most-anticipated Spiel releases!

Pip’s Personal History of Cards

psychic teens, cheating spiders, a jack sandwich, a cruel spurt
Pip: My grandfather was the first person to teach me cards. My memory of exactly how I came to understand the possibilities of suits and tricks, the dual nature of aces and the hierarchy of the royal court (even though the knave would remain for many years as this weird professional tart thief who was inexplicably allowed to keep hanging out with the monarchy – perhaps by dint of being popular because of the tarts?) has faded over time. It's in the same bracket as learning to read or write. I don't remember a time when the shapes didn't make sense. But I do know that it was my grandfather's doing.

He was fond of cards in that way that doesn't seem to be common now. My mother tells me that he had a bridge group. My grandmother would also attend, but more for my grandfather than her own amusement. Cards were also a source of entertainment and distraction during his time in Egypt in the second world war and a valuable pastime while he was a prisoner during that war.

None of this ever came into what he was sharing with me – I learned all of that far later during a phone call with my mother as I wondered whether it had just been a way of keeping me occupied during long visits. It was a relief to realise he'd enjoyed it as neither of my parents can stand card games. That's part of why it was my grandfather who taught me; we didn't even have a deck of cards at my parents' house unless one sneaked past the front door as part of a Christmas cracker.

Almost a Review: Lancaster

sordid scrambles, fattening up your squares, just what is an alhambra?
Quinns: One leathery fruit borne from the article on my board game collection was a lot of people telling me to finally play Lancaster. “It’s a classic,” they said. “I’d never turn down a game of Lancaster,” they said.

We’ll get to what I thought of it, but first I owe this game an apology. I realise now that I’d mentally compartmentalised Lancaster in the same place as Alhambra- a weird box that was continually being printed by Queen Games long before Shut Up & Sit Down began, that would be printed long after we’re gone.

I remember finding a copy of Alhambra Big Box in my friendly local game store in 2013. “What is that game?” I asked a staff member, and we both gawped at it as if it were the monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

How to Play El Grande!

sad men, phallic kings, mysteries of spain, gross cubes
Today Quinns and Matt have joined forces to teach El Grande, one of the grand old girls of board gaming. This box is every bit as charming and dangerous as she was back in 1995, and with stock availability of the new "Big Box" still excellent, she remains a very smart purchase.

Any requests for what game we should teach next? Please first check that someone else hasn't requested the same game as you, in which case you should just upvote their comment!

Review: Ticket to Ride AND Rails & Sails

Choo Choo Baby, Thomas the Tank Engine and the Cauldron of Souls, flubbin clags
What happens when immovable critics meet unstoppable sales figures? Find out in our long-awaited review of Ticket to Ride, followed by our review of new, giant box Ticket to Ride: Rails and Sails! Which is basically Ticket to Ride².

Do you have a favourite Ticket to Ride memory? A favourite board? A favourite train? Let us know in the comments! If there's any justice in the world, these comments will be a veritable hotbed of Train Chat before the day is through.