Review: String Railway

thiswardly, crap mountain, Hisashi Hayashi, Porky's Wine Bar
Introducing the rare SU&SD DOUBLE FEATURE! Commence rejoicing, and insert babies and hats into your triumphant tossing machines.

First up, we've got Quinns reviewing Japanese-designed String Railway. Oooh, it's an irritatingly clever one that we're big fans of. THEN you'll all be able to enjoy the inaugral Board Gaming with Brendan. Which is... it... it's something you can watch.

Enjoy, people!

Kotaku Article: The Magic Touch

napkin filth, deck filth, impossible trousers, mass graves
Kotaku Article: The Magic Touch
Quinns' latest Kotaku column is up! Our boy's talking about the joy of games-as-physical-objects, with nods to Netrunner, Tzolk'in, Memoir '44, String Railway and SO much more. Look at him go!

"Last weekend we played the epic WW2 swear-a-thon that is Memoir '44: Overlord, but my friend also brought two backpacks of his girlfriend's military equipment. We played wearing wobbly helmets and camo trousers of impossible size. Why? Because it was funny, mostly, but also because when you augment a game's components to such a ridiculous extent, you can't help but share something, and remember that game for the rest of your lives."

Has anyone else noticed that there's a power to this hobby? Quinns has, and he won't rest until he knows what he's talking about. Go read, people!

Review: Last King of Scotland

straight-up moulderin', crapshoot cannibalism, dice to the teeth, tundra life
Review: Last King of Scotland
(After the SU&SD primer on wargames earlier this month, Brendan's refusing to go back to Matt Thrower's house, which is strange. He seems very nice. This time we sent Paul to visit, for a closer look at an adorable little entry wargame.)

Thrower: Do come in. You may leave your shoes on if you wish. I lost a caltrop earlier.

Paul: Thank you so much for the dinner invite! It smells delicious.

Thrower: You’re welcome. Some of my oldest survival rations were beginning to moulder.

Paul: I... oh. What’s that box, there, buried under the camouflage netting? Wait, why is there camouflage netting in your kitchen?

Thrower: I’m glad you asked about the box. That’s my newest game, The Last King of Scotland. I was hoping we might play while dinner finished.

Games News! 22/04/13

goooood mooorning, mythic Australians, laser-belch, pulpy flowers
Games News! 22/04/13
Quinns: Goooood mooorning board gamers! How was your weekend? We did some filming, during which an exasperated Paul told his team-mate "It's only a game." It's ONLY A GAME! As if. What a scandal.

News, though! Up above you'll see Heroes of Normandie an absolutely gorgeous-looking tactics game that's got just 5 days left on the Kickstarter, with 270% of its desired funding. Want to drive a cardboard tank through a bush? This could be your boy. And there's more of a grounding that'll it'll be a good game than most Kickstartlets, since it's based on the company's 2007 release of Frontiers, which The Dice Tower called pretty fun.

But that's not the most exciting news this week. Oh, no. A new expansion for Battlestar Galactica's been announced, AND a new game in the world of The Resistance. Oh, baby!

Review: Archipelago

sea eels, beef island, the problem with beef island, have some more wine
Splash! Splutter. Cough. You've just washed up on the shores of the best game we've looked at in ages.

Friends, newcomers, children of all ages, please enjoy this review of the ethically dubious Archipelago. It's early days, this might end up being our game of 2013. Who knows? If Archipelago teaches us anything, it's to plan for the future. The future, and also for what you're going to do with all those sodding pineapples.

Enjoy, guys.

Some Actual Journalism: Licensed Games

Leaky gut syndrome, The Cramps, cruise ships, The Mediocre Dead
Some Actual Journalism: Licensed Games
[A feature we've always dreamed of providing is actual board game journalism. What might that look like?

Step forward Mark Wallace, board gamer, author and contributor to Wired and the New York Times. We let him off his news-leash to cover the economics of licensed board games. Are they good for the hobby, or crowding out our shelves?

These are his conclusions. If you like this sort of thing, please do drop a comment letting us know.]

Tabletop gaming may be touching new heights of innovation and engagement, but the industry is at pains to appeal to new customers. While bigger “independent” publishers like Fantasy Flight Games can make a strong showing of it, there are dozens more smaller publishers whose owner-managers must hold down day jobs while struggling to produce great games -- games that are often ignored by retail outlets. In many stores, it can almost seem that tabletop board games are solely represented by TV and movie spinoffs.

Even if they’re lucky enough to find a well-stocked local game store, the potential audience for boardgames is at pains to tell one startlingly expensive game from another. And having been weaned on Candyland, Sorry, and the Game of Life, they are startled again at the different kind of effort that’s required to learn and play -- much less enjoy -- many contemporary games.

Games News! 15/04/13

feta tyranny, Fig tyranny, breastplates, seance-punk, bad magnet
Games News! 15/04/13
Quinns: The other week I was in a board game shop, doing my thing, when the girl I was with asked where the games were that weren't oppressively nerdy.

Her and I aren't talking anymore, obviously, which is annoying because this week's news features NOTHING but games with approachable themes. Not so much as ONE grimy alien or breastplate in sight.

Impossible, you say? Hard to believe? See for yourself.

The iOS Roundup! 14/04/2013

murk, Michael Caine, basically vowels are bridges, Tom is a bad oracle
Stone Age
Quinns: Hi Tom! I understand you’ve had no electricity. That’s a fitting start for SU&SD’s iOS correspondent. Who's the man you turn to when the lights are out? It's TOM O'BEDLAM.

Tom: You’d think, but the batteries went out on my iPad five minutes into the powercut. Without electricity, the iPad is a very ugly mousepad.

Quinns: Awful. So, what have you been playing this week? Was it terrible? iOS ports of board games are terrible, right?

Tom: They’re not that terrible! Most are distinctly unterrible! Not all of them are Dominant Species! I’ve been playing the new iPad release of Stone Age, which has been ported by Campfire Creations. It’s gorgeous. One of the nicest looking ports I’ve seen so far.

The Fifth SU&SD Podcast, From SU&SD

last night, gunfight love, fundamentally fundamentalist, stop it relic, hot licks

In this VERY SERIOUS podcastery from renowned “Men of letters” Paul and Quinns, we answer the questions that some people, somewhere, might want answered. Are board games cool? When is it about American-style boardgames? We also wonder if there’s a The Matrix board game but there isn’t.

On the way we discuss all sorts of hot releases, including Relic, Talisman, Netrunner, Labyrinth, Last Night on Earth and even PERUDO! Because reasons.

Read the full article...

Review: Libertalia

toilet maps, saline short shorts, beggarpocalypse, return of the pear
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.