Review: Crystal Clans

dandelion warriors, floodlights of dread, cooking the books at fraggle rock
Quinns: To look at the box of Crystal Clans, the new 2 player card game from publisher Plaid Hat, is to hear the soaring soundtrack of Saturday morning cartoons. The bracing breeze of GI Joe! The salty spray of the Thundercats-

Matt: Quinns this is a family show.

Quinns: It sure is, Matthew, and so is Crystal Clans! This box is a bat-signal that immediately summoned my childhood fascination with not just “fantasy” but the fantastical.

Contained within this game's deliciously diverse clans are knights that ride bees into battle, necromancers who pursue a romantic Dia de los Muertos aesthetic, time-travelling twins and one massive crocodile. This feels like a world for everybody, and the manual doubles-down on that by using the feminine “She” to refer to the player.

Everything in Crystal Clans has a touch of the revolutionary about it, and that extends to the actual game. This is like no other box we’ve ever reviewed.


Podcast #76: Long John’s Bad Mind

bunny's too tight to mention, who is the baddest god, paul's spooky dog
It's been a while since the last podcast, but we've not been idle! Like a board game version of Nintendo's Kirby, over the last month the team has been sucking in experiences and now we're going to expel them at you in a 90 minute special episode. Boomf!

In order of appearance, Matt, Quinns and Paul discuss The Mind, Cardline: Animals, Bye-Bye Black Sheep, Kemet: Set (which is so new it doesn't even have a Board Game Geek page!), Treasure Island, Fireball Island (which has just 8 days left on that Kickstarter) and Bunny Kingdom. That might be more games than we've ever had on a podcast before, and you know what else? They're ALL GOOD.

Finally, we soothe our aching jaws with a gentle chat about what makes kingmaking (one player causing another player to win) enjoyable in a game, and what makes it frustrating. Lovely stuff.

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GAMES NEWS! 23/04/18

Saturday Morning Cartoons, Paul's love of risotto, Sembali Grimtongue
Paul: Do you like games? And do you like news? If so, you’re in EXACTLY the right place. Even as I type these words, news about games is forming out of the very air itself. It speckles and shines like morning dew, so here we are collecting only the freshest of drops-

Quinns: paul there has been another SCANDAL

After acquiring the license for the Alien franchise, publisher Wonderdice announced the forthcoming USCSS Nostromo, a co-operative survival horror game about trying to escape from the film’s famous shiny space monster. So far, so promising. However, soon after the announcement, French designer François Bachelart stepped forward to say that the game was a copy of a design he’d already pitched to Wonderdice, four years back.


Review: Magic Maze & Maximum Security

A Kind of Magic, Under Pressure, Mum I'm in a cool pop band
Are you ready for what might well be the silliest and most manic game of the year? This week, Matt and Quinns try out the ridiculous Magic Maze and then immediately lose themselves in the expansion, Maximum Security, which has a worryingly serious name for something that looks so bright and barmy.

Can they survive the stress of the Magic Maze? Can they escape with their loot? Why are we asking so many questions today? Are you all right? Have you had a good week? Would you like a muffin?


GAMES NEWS! 16/04/18

cardboard crimes, curiosity compass, A lady in a dress that nobody else can see
Paul: Welcome, friends, welcome, to a Games News packed with surprise, sensationalism and scandal. It’s a cardboard cornucopia, with everything from Battle Royale to Battlestar Galactica. Are you ready? Let’s start with scandal. No kidding, this may well be board gaming's first big crime story and it involves some serious money.

SU&SD Play… The World Wide Wrestling RPG!

Car Boy, Batterinburg, Cotton-Eye Joe
Did you enjoy watching SU&SD play Dungeons & Dragons under superb GM Mark Hulmes? Well we're afraid that's irrelevant, because today we've got something completely different.

Anyone who's been following our RPG reviews will know that there's a lot more to these games than D&D, and today we're showing off an absolute belter: The World Wide Wrestling RPG. Contained in this one hour video is a one hour Wrestling TV special, and only one of our contestants can come out on top.

Are you cheering the loudest for Batterin' Berg, Warrbeast, The Bristol Mudler or Car Boy? Or will you just jeer and throw beer cans at ring? Let us know in the comments.


Review: Through the Desert

Thirsty Twerps, ludic inbreeding, batting the drink
Quinns: When I’m teaching games, I always start with a thematic sales pitch. “We’re terrifying wizards out to prove ourselves,” I might tease. “We’re nasty, competitive park planners.” “We’re Scottish lairds exploring our very own island!” It’s a fun way to get people excited and offer a handle on what’s about to happen.

With the recent remake of Reiner Knizia’s Through the Desert, that just had to stop. “We’re all making caravans of camels,” I’d haltingly explain, “But the caravans can’t cross, like how you can’t cross the streams in Ghostbusters. The camels come in five colours, and when we run out of a camel the game’s over. Also, we’re not actually going through the desert? We’re kind of going around it... Mostly we just want water? They probably should have called it Reiner Knizia’s Thirsty Twerps.”


Games News! 09/04/18

unexpected oranges, a bag of old receipts, the cia are going to kill praul
Paul: What is that distant honking I hear, that mournful note that sings its way through the evening fog? Why, it’s the horn on the Games News Barge! And who is sailing it into port? Why, it’s Quintin Smith!

Quinns: My hold is stacked full of the freshest Games News stories, my crew primed and ready to unload them. What’s first? Only Plaid Hat’s in-depth update of Starship Samurai. With an unusual anime aesthetic and design credentials from Isaac Vega (Dead of Winter, Ashes, City of Remnants), I’ve been awaiting some hot hot details on this game for a long time.


Review: Rising Sun

twenty times as heavy, a nasty little pulp song, a happy and hairy fellow
Matt: Rising Sun is a big-box Kickstarter darling filled with frankly massive plastic things, with a hefty retail price of £75 / $80. Set in a god-powered version of feudal Japan, players act as one of six different clans vying for control of those lovely islands. But the plus-size map and plastic armies are slightly misleading: Rising Sun is not what it appears to be.

If you’re expecting a traditional game of nudging toy soldiers around a map, Rising Sun might leave players bored, confused, or quietly in a huff. But if you can get your head around what it is, and teach your friends what it is (and isn't), Rising Sun can be really very good.


Oh baby: SHUX ’18 tickets are now on sale!

one of these pears is real, a fine jar of marmalade, buy us a hovercraft
Quinns: Oh my goodness, here we go! Tickets are now on sale for SHUX 2018, Shut Up & Sit Down's second annual convention in October this year.

Would you like to meet team SU&SD at a fabulous, warm, profoundly silly three day gaming party? Well, now you can! Last year tickets sold out in just over a week, so this year we're moving to a substantially bigger venue that can contain even more SU&SD fans. Still, we'd recommend you book early to avoid disappointment.

For an idea of what there is to do at SHUX, you can either watch the above video or click on that link. But most importantly, if you've never been to a board game convention before, that's perfect. SHUX will be designed with you foremost in mind.

As a glimpse of the madness of last year's SHUX, below we've uploaded this late-nite Q&A with myself, Paul, Matt and RPG reviewer Cynthia Hornbeck. I'm not sure I've laughed that hard since!