Games News! Pingo Pingo Edition

sneaky subs, tired hawaiians, how to shoot friends and influence people

Welcome to the official start of SU&SD’s year! We’ve been up to all kinds of unofficial business while you’ve been away, of course. Yesterday I had some friends over to try the print’n’play version of Spyfall, and the week before Matt experienced Fluxx for the first time. He didn’t have to tell us. When we saw him he had tears streaking his face, and kept asking “Why?” over and over, looking for meaning in his shattered life. It was Pirate Fluxx, too. Do leave him some kind words in the comments.

But you’re not here for news about us, are you? About us and our lives and the inescapable entropy afflicting our corporeal forms? You’re here for the hottest scoops in board gaming news and I, for one, wouldn’t dare to waste your time.

Squad seven

Look at that. What a picture to start the year with, eh?

That’s Squad Seven, a long-out of print 2002 game featuring both CD and Dart Gun. Here’s BoardGameGeek’s description:

Each player takes a squad of seven people into the jungle to recover Inca treasure. Players take it in turn to reveal cards, which may show treasure or various dangers of the jungle including dinosaurs, mummies and collapsing rope bridges. The soundtrack indicates whether it is day or night – certain cards may only be taken at certain times – and many cards require the player to shoot a target or run round the table before a scream is heard on the soundtrack. If they fail, they lose a member of their squad.

What a delightfully innocent time 2002 was, eh? Here’s your soundtrack, plastic tat and vague rules, now go and have some fun with your family.

But guess what! In 2015 Iello will re-implement this game with CANNIBAL PENGUINS. Say hello to Pingo Pingo.


Look at the upper right of the box! It’ll still have a CD and it’ll have an even better pistol.

Last year’s big, silly, physical game was the disappointing Jungle Speed Safari. That sets the bar fairly low for Pingo Pingo. Just so long as we still get to watch each other run around the table, I’m sure it’ll be great. Tables were meant to be run around! It’s why so many of them are square. It’s better for comedy running. That’s a fact,

Here’s another surprise we’ve got coming this year. Above is a YouTube video of six people playing a prototype of Polaris, a real-time game of two submarine crews, each made up of a Captain, Sonar Operator and Munitions Person, locked in stealth warfare with one another. In other words designers Roberto Fraga and Yohan Lemonnier have taken the marvelous farce that is Space Cadets: Dice Duel and made it… well, less of a farce.

We’ve got almost no details as to how it’ll work just yet, though this chart looks terrifying and the way sonar will work sounds delightfully simple. While plotting their submarine’s course, each u-boat’s captain must announce certain details aloud. If you’re the sonar operator you simply listen to these, compare them with your map and try to piece together where the enemy sub might be.

Ack, it’s such a cool concept. I’m excited. Are you excited? Let’s get excited.

Good Cop Bad Cop

Who wants another exciting 2015 release? Technically Good Cop Bad Cop came out in 2014, but only via a Kickstarter, and after that it was sold direct from the publisher to U.S. addresses only. Which is very rude, as Europe invented bad cops. An actual true fact is that in the earliest London police constables were issued rattles to raise an alarm, though this was changed to a whistle after a number of constables were taken to hospital after being “beaten with rattle”.

Good Cop Bad Cop is a game of hidden roles along the lines of The Resistance or Werewolf, although according to The Dice Tower’s glowing review it’s a game where players who don’t want to lie don’t have to. Players equip themselves with gear, try and figure out who’s on their team, and ultimately squabble over the two to three guns in the middle of the table. You win if you shoot the enemy team’s leader, you see, leading to a lot of “SHOOT HIM, PAUL, SHOOT HIM,” and the target in question laughing and saying “Shoot me! You’ll lose!”

Good Cop Bad Cop

Another interesting mechanic is one Good Cop shares with Fantasy Flight’s Blood Bound. Each player gets not one, but three role cards, with their true role being represented by some combination of the three. So a player might get to take a look at one of your cards, see a Bad Cop card, and still have to decide if you’re lying when you say you’re a Good Guy, Honest, You Have To Trust Me Or We Lose.

Ooh. It might just be a good year.


2011 strategy game Hawaii will be getting a reprint in just a few months. I’m trying to get my head around it but the official publisher description is a bit disorienting:

Don’t expect to lie around the sun, lazily sipping cocktails and passively watching hula dancers, because the tactical game Hawaii is not a paradise for idlers, but rather for bold, active strategists. Restlessly, they’ll move their pieces on the game board, facing constant challenges in terms of making their beautiful villages on this beautiful island as profitable as possible.

Which makes me feel a bit like I should look down my nose at beauty and local dance. “Oh well, I guess if I have to be in this Hawaiian shithole I might as well do some bold and active strategy!”

The game itself sees players moving their “Chieftans” around the central board and surrounding islands, claiming tiles that you then socket into your village, delicately managing the “three resources” you’ll use to buy things. Which, judging by that po-faced description, will be Scorn, Greed and Surfboards You’ve Broken Over Your Knee.


Solium Infernum

PC game design genius Vic Davis has announced that he’s leaving digital games for table games.

This is fantastic news. That unquestionably hideous screenshot up there is from stunning play-by-email PC game Solium Infernum, which is sees players controlling the Lords of Hell who duke it out for dominance after Satan goes missing. Don’t have friends to play it with? No worries. Davis’ post-apocalyptic single player game Armageddon Empires is almost as good.

There’s a couple of ways I have for you to get excited about Vic moving to table games. The first would be to read Gameboys From Hell, an absurdly dramatic report of a multi-month game of Solium Infernum written by Kieron Gillen and me, author of The Wicked + The Divine. It starts slow, but takes off in turns 11-20.

The other way is for me to tell you about Solium Infernum’s most absurd and innovative feature. Before the game starts, when you’re creating your Demon leader, one of the most costly bonuses you can take is “Power Behind the Throne”. What this does is that if your empire is so pathetic that you can be absorbed into another player’s empire as a measly vassal state, and they accept your slavery, and then they win the game, you win instead. The whole game is full of this kind of guile and venom, and is about the most tense strategy game I’ve ever play. The game also makes you sort players in order of who you’re most afraid of, and players at the bottom of your secret list have an easier time attacking you. Bonkers

As you’d imagine, we’ll be bringing you guys word of what Vic’s working on just as soon as he announces it.

Did you guys play anything surprising over Christmas, then? I surprised myself by solving my first ever Sherlock Holmes case! Yes. And it only took me six months.