The Very Best Introductory Wargames!

The Very Best Introductory Wargames!

Paul: Hey Matt! Sorry to call unannounced. How are you? You’re looking well!

Thrower: What do you want?

Paul: Oh. I did kind of stop by to ask you a .. favour?

Thrower: I told you I could attach the beaks, I couldn’t take them off again.

Paul: NO! It’s that, well, you and I have been playing a lot of these wargames, and I …

Thrower: You’re enjoying them?

Paul: Is that it? Yes! I’m enjoying them. The strategy’s so absorbing, the theme so transporting. I was hoping you might be able to perhaps suggest a few I could try with people who aren’t … you?

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Life Hacks: A Netrunner Story

Life Hacks: A Netrunner Story

[Our own Leigh Alexander has been learning Netrunner, which we reviewed here. She found the experience pretty important, and we arrived at this. A long collaborative feature, with comments from Quinns and art from Jesse Turner. Enjoy, everybody.]

Leigh: “I can’t,” I say, and my voice sounds small and far away.

“Yes, you can,” says Quinns across the table. “Just think. You just have to stay calm.”

I have to stay calm, I think, but my body revolts. My guts secede, and warm fingers of shame crawl up my cheeks. Panic knocks gently but insistently at my breastbone. “I can’t,” I say, and it feels true. “I just can’t.”

“Look,” he says, gently. “You can get through this.”

“How,” I say, and there is a genuine tremor, an unhinged note I hear in my own voice and it makes me even angrier.

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Retrospective: Risk Legacy

Retrospective: Risk Legacy

[This is the story of Earth #00001941. It comes to us from American journalist and fan of SU&SD Jacob Tierney, and holds the honour of being the first retrospective to almost make Quinns cry.

The following is spoiler-free. Images courtesy of BoardGameGeek.]

“NOTE: What’s done can never be undone.”

The statement is emblazoned on the sticker that seals every copy of Risk Legacy, forcing you to acknowledge it before you even open the box. It’s a warning, but also a promise. This game will be something completely different.

It was the last week of 2011. My friends and I had chipped in for one of the most-discussed games of recent memory, and we planned to complete it before I returned to college for my final semester the following month.

Completion is a weird concept in board games, which are usually meant to be infinitely replayable. But then, Risk Legacy is all about weird concepts.

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RPG Review: Monsterhearts

RPG Review: Monsterhearts

Quinns: Welcome to the second of our indie RPG reviews! Last time we looked at Shooting the Moon, a lovely game of love. So what could be more suitable for our second game than Monsterhearts, the darkest game Shut Up & Sit Down has ever looked at.

Monsterhearts is a game of “the messy lives of teenage monsters,” where 2-4 players play a coterie of youthsome witches, vampires, fairies and so forth, who go to the same school. A final player’s job is simply to “make their lives interesting.” Which, as we found out, is the easiest job in gaming.

Leigh: Saying we “play as” monsters is only part of the story, isn’t it? The monster identity of each teenage character is as much allegorical as anything else. Or, rather, the particular traits, strengths, failings of these creatures as they’re prescribed by folklore have quite a lot in common with the stuff of growing-up drama. The Ghost who lurks at the edges, feeling invisible. The Werewolf afraid of the power in her dark side, the Vampire who can’t stop using others.

Quinns: Yes. It’s a metaphor! Except it’s… not?

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Review: El Grande

Review: El Grande

Quinns: Hey! You’re up late. Come here, I want to show you something. Isn’t she becautiful? She’s called… “El Grande.”

What? She looks old?! Could you have some respect? Yes, she’s old. She was released in 1995, but she’s still for sale today because she’s a classic. She’s also one of my favourite games, and you’re going to listen as I tell you why. No, you can’t go to bed. Sit down. You might learn a thing or two. No you can’t have a glass of water. You screwed that up.

The thing is, we’re covering a lot of flashy games these days. Games of neon dice, plastic warriors, of mechanics so thick and layered as to resemble some glutinous design lasagne.

I like El Grande because it knows you don’t need any of that to be grand. It has almost royal quality you won’t find in any of this cardboard pomp.

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Review: Libertalia

Review: Libertalia

Paul: Now Quinns, I know you’re still obsessed with Mage Wars-

Quinns: WIZARD! Oh my God did you read the part where your spells-

Paul: But if you don’t mind, I want to INTERJECT with an alternative game people could buy this week. Something sleeker and easier, that I think anyone can play, not just the people who wanted to be manticores when they grew up.

Quinns: I don’t understand. Are you still coming over tonight? I wove you a beard to wear out of my armp-

Paul: I’m SAYING I’m coming over, but I’m bringing Libertalia instead. I want to recommend this one to everyone. I think it’s really quite special.

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Review: Tease

Review: Tease

[Introducing friend of SU&SD and games journalist Leigh Alexander.]

Quinns: So here’s what happened.

Leigh: OK.

Quinns: A while back some SU&SD readers joked that we should review Tease: The Liberating Game for Couples and Groups. I got in touch with the PR

Leigh: Oh, I’ll bet you did.

Quinns: I GOT IN TOUCH WITH THE PR, who said she wasn’t sure they
should send a game to a site that would probably just make fun of it. Which was a fair cop. I just wanted to do a video where four men play Tease and are forced to give one another massages.

Except then they sent me the game anyway! And… it’s… pretty good!

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RPG Review: Fiasco

RPG Review: Fiasco

Quinns: Listen up, ladies. Fiasco: A Game of Powerful Ambition & Poor Impulse Control (which you can buy from that same link) is very much outside the realm of what we usually cover. It’s a two hour table game, but it has no cards, cardboard, winners or losers. It has almost no rules. But despite that, it’s perhaps the best game you’ve never even conceived of.

All you’re paying for here is a very thin, very affordable book. And with this book, you and some of your friends are going to roleplay your evening away. And you’ll laugh like garbage disposal units doing it.

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Review: Pictomania

Review: Pictomania

Paul: Draw Christmas, without drawing a Christmas tree. How would you do it? The clock is ticking. Tick tock, tick tock. Tick. Tock. Maybe you’d draw a Christmas dinner! Of course! Wait, no, what you’ve drawn looks like the Last Supper fix it QUICKLY NOW oh dear too late everyone’s finished and you didn’t even bother trying to guess what they were drawing-

Quinns: Don’t be difficult. You’re being difficult-

Paul: DRAW “DIFFICULT.”

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Robot Rock

Robot Rock

My mum’s attic is a narrow crawlspace some four feet high and seventy feet long. If you imagine poking around inside a building’s intestine, you’re most of the way there. I was up there the other month, scrambling around on my hands and knees and squinting through sweat and dust when I found exactly what I was looking for. A box containing my old copy of RoboRally. Hell yes!

Robo Rock Top

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