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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One Response

  1. 1

    You loved it really. It just needs time to “bed in.”

    And yes White Dwarf went from your nerdy friend to drug pusher.

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