Games News! 04/04/16
FIRST UP, board games once again crept into the peripheral vision of the public eye this month as Russia banned the Polish board game Queue for its depiction of the dismal experience of shopping in USSR-era Poland, with its lengthy queues, poor stock availability and rife black market trading.
The ban came about as some Russians, outraged at the negative depiction of Communist history, made complaints to Russian consumer protection agency Rospotrebnadzor who in turn demanded that Polish publisher TREFL change the game. TREFL refused, and Russia has since banned any of TREFL’s products from sale in Russia.
For anyone confused as to why Russians would take offense at this long after the fall of the Soviet Union, I can tell you that here in Britain there are an awful lot of people in this country with a soft spot for the British Empire. For more Russian patriotic weirdness, why not read a little about the “return” of the Cossacks or watch this excellent mini-documentary about the biker gangs fighting for Putin.
Speaking of biker gangs, Jon Gilmour (Dead of Winter, [email protected]) has announced a VERY good-lookin’ new game that’ll be arriving late this year. At least, good lookin’ according to the handful of teaser images released so far.
Wasteland Express Delivery Service is a game where players fight dangerous gangs to deliver food, water and guns between the various settlements of a VERY Fury Road-looking wasteland, which sounds great to me as SU&SD has hardly scratched the surface of the grand genre of “pick up and deliver” board games.
But the most shiny & chrome feature of this box is that it’ll be among the first post-Legacy games, absorbing the lessons of Risk Legacy and Pandemic Legacy without aping the entire format. W.E.D.S. will include an emergent narrative that’ll slowly unfold over the course of ten games, providing just a dash of those games’ variety and exposition.
We’ve no less than three Kickstarters for you this week. Three supplicants who we deemed most worthy. Get yourself some grapes, put your feet up and see if you approve.
First up is a STUNNING new edition of Santorini, a game about building a little town, moving around it and trying to get your builder up onto a third storey roof.
What you need to know: You can learn to play in 30 seconds, and yes, it has a 3D board on top of another 3D board! If you can’t breathe any more, don’t worry. As you die from asphyxiation you can do so knowing that yours was the only sensible response.
What you maybe didn’t need to know: Designer Gordon Hamilton is a mathematician who’s been workshopping this game for more than 30 years. Also, unlike the real town of Carcassonne, the real town of Santorini is even prettier than the game.
Our second Kickstarter is a new edition of Colosseum! This is a beloved 2007 Days of Wonder game where players develop competing venues and shows in ancient Rome, and it’s being brought back by Tasty Minstrel Games.
What you need to know: There’s a bit of a storm in a teacup surrounding the art of this new Kickstarter. When new publishers buy the rights to publish old games, the art design of the previous edition rarely comes with it. So the fact that the Days of Wonder edition was absolutely beautiful is making the Tasty Minstrel edition look a bit naff by comparison.
What you maybe didn’t need to know: “Colosseum” is not the name for a type of building, it’s the name of one specific amphitheatre in Rome. Though technically you’re not building amphitheatres either. The long stadia depicted in both editions of Colosseum are, in fact, hippodromes, which were long so they could put on horse shows.
The Colosseum was completely awesome, though. Ancient writers have told that part of it was flood-able so it could host simulated SEA BATTLES. On other days trees and bushes would be planted in the ground and animals would be gradually introduced, letting locals imagine natural scenes from countries far away.
Your third choice is deeply silly. Dice Hate Me Games is Kickstarting another run of punny games. Last year they brought us Deck Building: The Deck Building Game, a deck building game about building an actual deck. As in, building a deck for your house. With carpentry. DO YOU SEE.
What you need to know: I have no idea anymore
What you maybe didn’t need to know: help
This Board Game Geek News post brought a couple of things to my attention. First off, I didn’t know there was a German game show called Das Spiel beginnt where people compete at board games live. Very cool!
Second, the supersized game they’re playing up there sounds like a great family game. It’s called Zoowaboo and it has players first betting whether all the animals present will fit on a raft, and then when some of the table votes no and others vote yes, the “yes” team have to work as a team to try and fit the animals on the raft against a time limit. Lovely stuff!
Finally, here’s a couple of other links from around the world. UK games designer James Wallis recently gave a talk on sex in board games, from its history to where it’s been most successful. The talk was short, funny and very blue, but most relevantly it’s now available online.
Lastly, this feature on harrassment within the tabletop gaming scene has been doing the rounds this week. It’s a tough read and demands a trigger warning the size of a barn door, but remains a vitally important reminder on how the larger table gaming industry so often fails to be a safe space for the majority of people.
As the post says, “raising this issue at all often results in threats and more terrorism”, which is sickening. It’s also true. I’ve witnessed it myself at board game spaces that I’d have assumed were safe.
It’s true that things are finally starting to get better, purely because more people are realising how profoundly uncomfortable and even dangerous table gaming can be for women and minorities. But articles like these show that we’re only in first years of what’s sure to be a long, very tiring, and very shitty struggle. But it’s the right thing to do, and we promise that so long as SU&SD exists it’s going to continue to work towards being inclusive and welcoming for everybody.