There are many joys to be found in life; the pleasure of eating your favorite food, the smell of fresh countryside air, the laughter of friends and the creation of a deadly disease designed to wipe out every person on the face of the planet. That’s where Plague Inc. The Board Games comes in, created by the very same people who developed the videogame. So, how well does the goal of killing every human translate to cardboard?
I’ve been sitting staring at this damn screen for what feels like an eternity, the ghastly flu I’m battling having basically stripped my mental reasoning down to that of a brick. A really stupid brick. I’m supposed to be writing an intro, but I can’t think of one, so instead I’ll say this: flibble. Hornswaggle. Butt. That is all.
Assault of the Giants is a game that places players in control of their own faction of giants within the Dungeons & Dragons universe, waging war across a board and claiming event cards all in the name of scoring Ordning points. Don’t worry, though, no knowledge of the Dungeons & Dragons universe is required to delve into this quite sizable box. You don’t even need to know about Owl-Bears. But now you want to know, don’t you?
As a grown man I have no problem admitting that Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one of my favorite TV shows ever, the marvelous imagination of geek icon Joss Whedon creating something that I have cherished. I grew up watching it, and throughout the years I’ve appreciated it more and more, from being a little lad with a crush on Willow and loving the fact that it was about a badass chick killing monsters to beginning to understand how the show subverted genre norms, or the clever dialogue or the constant subtle things that were left unsaid. Of course, by today’s standards it’s cheesy and goofy…but man, is it fun, and its themes remain relevant to this day.
At the start of the year I made a resolution to review some heavier, deeper boardgames during 2017. Having played through all four eras of The Colonists in a single sitting, though, I’m beginning to regret that decision. This is no small game; in comes in a sizable box that doesn’t have any form of insert, just a whole lot of cardboard tokens and a pile of plastic bags to store it all in. The whole thing weighs over 3KG, takes up most of an average kitchen table and playing through the entire game can take up to eight hours. And oh man does it make my head hurt.
There is a type beauty to be found in so many of the huge, sprawling boardgames on the market, a type of beauty that exists within the majesty of chaos. Right now I’m playing The Colonists, a massive game that can take anywhere up to eight hours to play through all of its four eras , weighs over 3KGs and has piles of resource tokens and tiles and wooden pieces. It’s dauntingly vast, a game that sucks up brainpower and spits it out like a particularly horrid brussel sprout. There’s beauty in its webs of rules, though, in the same way I find beauty in other huge games with complex rules and systems that take hours and hours to learn. I’m looking at you Arkham Horror and your myriad of fiddly mechanics.
One of the earliest board games I reviewed when I started getting into the hobby was Arkham Horror, a gigantic, fiddly game of Lovecraftian horror and table devouring. I loved it then, and while I’d probably pick it apart much more now due to having a bit more experience I love it regardless because of its absurdity. Still, it’s a difficult game to actually play because it takes up the whole damn table, takes a while to finish and the myriad of cards, tokens and other assorted nonsense tend to put a lot of people off. On the other end of the scale lies Elder Sign, another I love that takes the Arkham theme and pummels it into some dice and cards. Now Fantasy Flight Games have decided to compress all that Lovecraft horror into another small game, a card game. A living card game. Whatever the hell that means.