Tom: Come one, come all! Hear two-and-a-half bundles of electrified meat ramble about board games, for exactly 1,736 words! I’ve had one coffee and now the world feels like it is made of bees and thinking.
Ava: Business as usual, then?
Tom: Bees knees as usual? Do bees have knees? How many? Ava this is too much for a Monday.
Ava: Let’s just shout lots.
Ava: New from Lookout Games, is Glasgow, a twenty minute two player roundabout of resource gathering and buildings building. Like Tokaido and Patchwork, being behind means it’s your turn, so you’ve got to weigh up jumping ahead for the best bits against giving your opponent everything you turned your nose up at. The buildings you choose to build will form a shared grid that dictates how you’ll score. It looks simple, variable and not very much like Glasgow.
Ava: I’ve visited Glasgow a lot, and the line from the description ‘travel the city (in an abstract manner)’ is fundamentally accurate. I have only ever travelled Glasgow in an abstract manner. The city centre is incomprehensible to the point of breaking the rules of geometry. ‘It’s kind of a Z shape’ says my exploratory partner, and I can only respond with ‘how is that possible, and how are we on this road again’. Lovely town. Would get lost in again.
Tom: I like the ominous threat of ‘Who has contributed more to the current state of Glasgow?’
Ava: That’s a question best left to the philosophers, the poets, the shipwrights and the people who put that traffic cone on the Duke of Wellington’s head every night.
Ava: ROLL FORTY DICE TO BEGIN! I’m kind of already sold on the basis of that, Capio is a dice grabber where an enormous platter of dice are yours for the taking. Players are racing to complete their own task cards before their players, all grabbing from one enormous puddle of dice. Nice!
Tom: This is one of those games that will surely fit in the ‘prone to accidents category’. A real-time game which involves throwing forty dice across the table and racing to pick them up? What could go wrong? With an advertised age range of 8-99 years, it’ll surely begin with a pensioner crawling around under the table looking for a yellow four.
Ava: It’s certainly a game that could be made more exciting by not playing with a table, and just asking people to rush around a dice filled mansion.
Tom: Throw them into a swimming pool for extra ridiculous points.
Matt: How many times to I have to assure you that we do not have the budget for a dice filled mansion. Why can’t you trust me on this, the most basic of my many financial facts.
Tom: Continuing in the long line of Azul-adjacent products, we have a small, sweet card game picking up the ‘Zul mantle. This particular piece of portuguese porcelain is a reskin of 2017’s 5 Colours – and in 2019 is called 5211, for simplicity’s sake.
Here, players will take cards from their hands and play them simultaneously over a number of rounds, hoping that the cards in front of them are the most common around the table – but not too common. If there’s too much of one colour, the second most common will score instead. Unless that colour is too common, in which case the third most common will score. And so on.
This looks like a nice little game, even if it is a perhaps too abstract to explain properly – but I don’t have much to say about it. I mainly wanted to include it in the news because the first picture on BGG shows W Eric Martin setting up the game between a knife and fork, with wine glass ready and waiting to one side – confirming my long-held belief that Azul is considered a classic because everyone ‘in the know’ secretly buys it with the sole purpose of eating it. I knew those pieces were meant to be swallowed as soon as I put them in my mouth.
Tom: That’s all for Azul news this week, but stay tuned for when we’ll inevitably report on an Azul 1 remake that, akin to hollywood naming conventions, will be titled ‘Azul’. Or maybe ‘The Azul’. It’s for simplicity’s sake.
Ava: VILLAGO! Osprey games have been doing great work lately, and I really enjoy following Peer Sylvester on the old twitters, so I’m obviously going to mention their latest collaboration, especially as it gives me a chance to sing some Kinks.
Matt: God bless royal ducks, orange queens and sobriety!
Ava: Village Green promises a parochial pastoral theme, pitting players as potting-shed potterers. You’ll be building statues, flowers, ponds and putting them all in for county council competitions. Will your village be the greenest green? I don’t know, but I know there’s nobody more passive aggressive than a small town conservationist, and I feel there’s ample room for rural beef here
Tom: My village green is going to have a wrestling ring and a vape shop.
Ava: Have you drawn those onto the board with sharpie?
Tom: It’s actually crayon, but thank you – I’ve been thorough.
Ava: Does anyone know how to tell if a game has too much game? Perseverance (pictured at the top of this post as today’s lead image) promises story-driven dice-drafting worker placement, with area majority city-building.
Tom: Sounds perfectly reasonable to me.
Ava: And survival.
Tom: Wait what.
Ava: AND DINOSAURS.
There’s a lot going on there, and there’s a lot of designers in the credits: Richard Amann, Thomas Vande Ginste, Anthony Howgego, Viktor Peter, Wolf Plancke, and Dávid Turczi. That said, Perseverance: Castaway Chronicles is actually a series of potentially interlinkable standalone games. You’ll be building a world and going on dangerous journeys with a variety of different narrative episodes of dice fiddling and resource gathering. Four games will take you on the full journey, with each one affecting the next if you choose to string them together. Apparently you’ll be going from island castaways to builders of civilisation, all under the watchful gaze of some hungry dinosaurs. It sounds weird!
Tom: Maybe towards the end of the game you’ll integrate the dinosaurs fully into your society, finally working in peace. GASP What if you could have a DINOSAUR MAYOR? My mind is running wild with the possibilities. The colour palette of this one was not what I was expecting – think Cerebria but with grey dinosaurs rather than grey emotions. I know which I’d rather have follow me around 🙁
Ava: You’d rather be chased through life by a pack of velociraptors than mild anxiety? That seems rash.
Tom: The dinosaurs are metaphorical!
Ava: In that case, I’m not entirely sure I could tell the difference.
Tom: That one doesn’t really work.
Ava: We’re drawing the line at ‘WARO’ when ‘VILLAGO’ was totally okay?
Tom: ‘VILLAGO’ was charmingly bad, whereas ‘WARO’ just reminds me of my least favourite Mario relative.
Ava: Never mind this poorly conceived goof. I’ve come over all mimsy. Wonderlands War is on kickstarter right now, and it’s another colourful take on Reverend Dodgson’s (aka Lewis Carrol’s) gloriously out of copyright (and so somewhat overdone) surrealism. You get to be a jabberwocky! Somewhere between a wargame and a dinner party, the game sees players vying to bring whimsy back to Wonderland whilst also fighting each other for some reason?
Tom: It’s your bog-standard asymmetric bag-building area-control affair, this one. Players are visiting the various factions seated around ‘The Tea Party’, adding the corresponding poker chips to their bag of supporters, which they’ll then presumably hurl at each other in a fight to the death over various wonderland locations. I know this description is vague but I’m doing the best I can from the six gifs on the Kickstarter. The board looks like a wonderful component-salad, with miniatures and cardboard and tokens, oh my!
Ava: I’m partly just bringing this up because I want an excuse to tell everyone to read Alice in Sunderland, Bryan Talbot’s ludicrously inventive mash up of biopic, local history, North West England rivalry and literary criticism. Find out more about Alice, Lewis, Sunderland and Bryan.
Ava: COOKO! This week’s very niche kickstarter is an imaginary cookbook!
Dragon Stew is a supplement for Dungeons and Dragons that’s all about more culinary adventures. If you want to add flavour to your campaign or spice to your backstory, or just run a dungeon crawling version of Ready, Steady, Cook, this could be the book for you.
On diving into the details, it turns out they’ve used all the same cookery puns as me, and I’m pretty bitter about it. On the other hand, they’ve added a stretch goal of a ‘War Cook’, a sub-class for the fighters.
Tom: This is fantastic. Imagine running an entire cookery campaign – it would end up looking alot like Battle Chef Brigade in tabletop form, which I am ferociously down for. This also has some adorable art for some adorable familiars like the ‘Mochat’ and a ‘Craboissant’ – creatures made of pastry that you can cook up rather than summon or tame. You can cook your own familiars!
Tom: Wait, no, not like that!
Ava: HISTORIO! I really enjoyed scouring the pictures from W Eric Martin’s recent tour of the Deutsches Spielarchiv, in Nürnberg. Got to love a german board game museum, and all the weird delights and oddities held within. I hope I can make a visit.
Tom: I especially enjoyed reading about the prototype of Ketchup, which eventually became the industry classic and household name Jagd Der Vampire in 1991. If you haven’t basked in the glow of this absolute essential, you play as a vampire who has given up blood for ketchup, and throughout the game you’re trying to traverse the board on a search for the great tomato. Board game historians like myself note that this was the first game to feature a hidden onion mechanic, with four of the cheeky chaps hiding in the game’s plastic towers. Of course, the hidden onion mechanic has been re-implemented by many games since…
Ava: Such as?
Ava: Hold on, you’re not a board game historian at all! You’re just two dice inside a trenchcoat!
Tom: THAT’S HOW I ROLL!
Ava: That’s so bad I’m going to do a little cry.
Tom: Aha! The hidden onion mechanic!