To help us out, we’d like to welcome back irregular SU&SD contributor Leigh Alexander. But who is she? Why is she here? And what is an indie RPG?]
Quinns: Who are you? Why are you here? And what is an indie RPG?
Leigh: Hi! I’m a gaming and culture writer who writes primarily about videogames, boardgames are finally getting under my skin thanks to SU&SD, and you KNOW what an indie RPG is, punk.
Quinns: It’s true. Indie RPGs take the format of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons and their ilk, with players sat around a table, rolling dice, pretending to be half-elves and what have you, but with a focus on story instead of simulation. Suddenly, these books offer low-maintenance games that you and your friends can finish in a single evening.
And oh my GOD! They’re all so fascinating!
Game Bugle bring us our first story, an official design diary of the gang-tastic City of Remnants, which we reviewed just last month. Some really neat stuff in there from new designer Isaac Vega, including the pearl of wisdom that the hardest part of any board game design is the very final round of playtesting, where the bones of many an unpublished game can be found.
That's not my favourite story this week, though. I just needed something pretty for the header image. Get ready for THIS:
“Getting worked up about mundane themes is a bit of a theme in itself in contemporary board gaming. Dyspeptic classic Thurn and Taxis is a good example: a game about running a 16th-century Bavarian postal service where failing to finish a route between Pilsen and Budweis brings on a feeling not unlike death. In the case of Tzolk’in, you could not be more emotionally invested in a corn cob
We're here now, and we're finally answering all the important questions. Is it as good as the TV series? Have any of us actually seen the TV series? And who is Spartacus?
What? She looks old?! Could you have some respect? Yes, she’s old. She was released in 1995, but she’s still for sale today because she’s a classic. She’s also one of my favourite games, and you’re going to listen as I tell you why. No, you can’t go to bed. Sit down. You might learn a thing or two. No you can’t have a glass of water. You screwed that up.
The thing is, we’re covering a lot of flashy games these days. Games of neon dice, plastic warriors, of mechanics so thick and layered as to resemble some glutinous design lasagne.
I like El Grande because it knows you don’t need any of that to be grand. It has almost royal quality you won’t find in any of this cardboard pomp.
The BIG news this week is that the 2013 nominees for the German Spiel des Jahres prize have been announced. This is hot business, as the winner will go on to sell some 300,000 to 500,000 copies. Absorb that figure. Now, here's another one- many of the board games we look at will never break five figures.
These nominees are... well, I mean, you've probably noticed they're sat at the top of the post. Spoiler!
So what will Quinns make of Star Wars: The Card Game? How will it compare to the new X-Wing Miniatures Game (our old review of which is here)? Who's this Dark Side Quinns? And hang on what HELL is going on with THAT ENDING
QUINNS. WE NEED TO HAVE WORDS.
Paul: Matt? Hi! No-one answered the door so I let myself in.
Matt: You tried to find your way through the house by yourself? God forbid if I’d forgotten to lock the basement.
Paul: What? Wait, what’s this room?
Matt: The library. Look here. These books have all tried to capture the experience of the front-line soldier. An extreme example of the human condition. Seeing one’s friends dismembered in the most appalling ways imaginable on a daily basis.
Matt: Fascinating, yes. But it turns out all that research and writing was something of a waste of time. All they had to do was play this game, here: Combat Commander. It's absolutely incredible, and more than a little blood-curdling.
But let's speak of something EXCITING! Eight-Minute Empire, pictured above, looks wicked. It's a racecar-fast area control game where players simply take turns to select a card, develop their control of a board, and expel a winner from their midst. It was Kickstarted earlier this year, and is currently sat in the middle of a tiny hype-tornado.
Now, check this out! The standalone sequel, Eight-Minute Empire: Legends, is on Kickstarter already! It's already broken its goal with the series' characteristic speed, so that's a very reasonable place for your money to go this week.
Ladies & Gentlemen is a team game about Victorian women shopping furiously for a glamorous ball, as well as the husbands they command like so many nervous ponies. How angry could you get about an imaginary dress? You're wrong. You're so wrong.
Matt also suggests you make scones, which are apparently the adorable training wheels of the baking world. We wouldn't know. Our oven's been broken since Paul baked Talisman that one time.