Friday, November 21st, 2008 | Author:

After the horror of boardgame night 1, we were, as you can imagine, somewhat cagey about another session. But setting our fears aside like true soldiers, we reconvened for another night of dice rolling, shouting, unhealthy food and worse chat. This time it was YAJ’s game that was brought to the table, the intriguingly titled ‘War on terror’. Here’s the official blurb…

War on Terror – Everyone starts with the best intentions. Then things start to get cramped. Then you notice your neighbour has more oil than you. Before long, war is waged, nukes are dropped, revolutions are fought and terrorists are doing your dirty work, before turning on you…

This is the War on Terror, the boardgame: A quality boardgame for 2 – 6 players, lovingly illustrated and politically correct (in a very literal sense). Playing it will bring out the nastiest, greediest, darkest, most paranoid aspects of your character.

The verdict
This game was night and day compared to last session’s offering (no offence Paul, we still love you). War on terror was a tremendous game, so much so that we played it twice in one session. Jason has even gone and bought himself a copy, and I’m sorely tempted to do the same. So why is it so great? Basically it’s extremely funny, easy to pick up, involving (everyone can act no matter who’s turn it is) and has great props. Spinning the Axis of Evil wheel was tremendous and meant that random empires were suddenly declared ‘rogue states’ – a bit like being excommunicated, but more fun. As a rogue state it’s easier for you to sponsor terrorism against other empires. Such an ingenious idea. But of course sponsoring terrorism (like in real life) is a bit of a double-edged sword. Terrorists are great while they’re ‘your’ terrorists, but terrorists are a fickle bunch, prone to disobeying orders, holding you to ransom, and generally misbehaving. Another great feature allows a state that’s obviously being muscled out of the game to declare itself a terrorist state and go full on for terror. You can of course win as a terrorist, but it’s pretty difficult. The game just as has so many possibilities, with endless intrigues and plots and shaky alliances. Loved it to bits.

Our second game was great fun. I started losing very quickly and decided to turn terrorist, even though Duncan was already wearing the Balaclava of evil (yes, there’s a balaclava). Jason soon found himself going the same way and joined my ‘coalition of the dumb.’ We were the crappest terrorists you’ve ever seen. We’d hijacked planes and demand ransoms from countries that were skint. Then let off dirty bombs in Alsaksa. We were complete berks, but couldn’t stop laughing.  We got well and truly humped too, but had sowed mayhem and mischief with verve and aplomb.

Top game – if you know anyone that has it, get it played. If you don’t, go out and buy it.

Stefan Pearson

Category: life
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Friday, November 07th, 2008 | Author:

My pals and I are geeks. There, I said it. We’re bona fide nerds. We love games. And not just computer games – that’s the acceptable face of gaming after all. We’re in a different class altogether. We are of the Avalon Hill book shelf games generation. We own dice with more (and less) sides than 6. We love rules books. The thicker and tinier the point size the better.  We regularly read websites like the indispensable We like fanzines and still moan about how shit White Dwarf went after Games Workshop abandoned real games to concentrate on selling miniatures to wains.

So in the spirit of being shuffling weirdos, we decided it would be a fab idea to have a regular Sunday afternoon/evening boardgame night (in the absence of anyone actually getting their arses in gear and setting up a roleplaying game. I get nagged to do this constantly – and guys, if any of you are reading this, I promise I’m getting round to it). So our first gaming night took place on the 5th of October. Named and shamed were Stef, Duncan, Shadey Paul, Jason, Gav and YAJ (bet they’d have rather have been named on the BNP members list than they would here, but tough titties). For some reason (mainly sadism we suspect) Paul decided we were going to play a game called Kingmaker. We had no choice in this, even though I brought round a huge pile of games we could have played instead. You can read more about this classic, torturous game here, but here’s a summary:

Kingmaker – 1974 Avalon Hill, 2 – 7 players, playing time 240 (aye, and the rest!) minutes, ages 12 (ages 50 more like) and up.

What the game’s about – based on the War of the Roses in English history, a time of civil war when two royal houses competed for the rightful throne. Players control factions using their military and political power to control and influence the royal heirs, supporting the heir in their control as king while trying to take down all of the other heirs.

The verdict
Sounds all well and good, but fuck me it was awful (if funny). We’re no dafties, but the rules for this game were obtuse, hard to read, baffling, and downright awkward. The use of bizarre ratios for combat on a table that made Lothian buses timetable look like the warnings on a fag packet was particularly disconcerting. What the fuck’s wrong with dice?  Paul seemed to take great delight in our discomfort though, which was funny in itself. We tried our damndest and all joined in gamely trying to interpret the rules, shouting at each other, scratching our heads, and generally losing the will to live. Paul tried to convince us that this was a great game and he played it ‘all the time’ as a kid. I suspect he was fibbing – cos he’d well and truly forgot the rules in the intervening years.

So we played as long as we could stand it. I think we got to turn two. We couldn’t figure out if you were entitled to votes from Newcastle the place, or Newcastle the noble. Or both! Then we tried a vote. ‘How many votes do you have in the commons?’ Paul asked. ‘And the Lords?’ We ummed, we ahed. We wept. We began to play with wee figures from games that frankly looked a lot more fun. Even YAJ’s endless supply of sweets and cakes couldn’t keep us focussed. In the end we caved and Gav produced a game with wee aeroplanes where we could dogfight across the table (Wings of War – great game). That was more like it! Hardly any rules, great wee biplanes, shooting stuff! Ratt-a-tat-tat! Loved it, even though mine was the first plane to bite the dust.

That said, we still had a magic night and the camaraderie was impressive in the face of such adversity. Here’s a selection of choice images and videos from the night, so that, should you know any of us sad bastards, you can torment us with them for years to come.

boredom-kicks-in > watch the moive

its-shit-anyway > watch the movie

no-fun > watch the movie

paul-is-enjoying-this-too-much > watch the movie

If you don’t have a Flash movie player, you can download a free one here.

Bring on games night 2!

Stefan Pearson

Category: life
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Monday, November 03rd, 2008 | Author:

So the Halloween show went down really well. We had a lot of strong material and it was good to see solid representation from our loyal friends and fans, as well as new faces too. We were worried we wouldn’t be able to carry off the B movie trailers idea, but everyone pulled things out of the bag and we had some real crackers in the end.

The new venue worked out well too. It was a shame that some folk couldn’t see properly so we’ll have to see what we can do about that for the next show. The general consensus was that the Beehive worked well though.

I’ve put some of the trailers I wrote up in the showcase section. Feel free to submit some of your own. In fact, give me a really tempting title and I’ll write it up for you.

Category: writing
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