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Review: Too Many Bones

If you’re in the mood for some Fantasy adventure, Too Many Bones is big, beautiful and… waterproof?

But don’t let a little plastic scare you away! Not since Matt’s Gloomhaven review have we been so enamoured of a co-op game of monster-thwomping. This game is brave, bizarre, and absolutely worth your attention.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

The original article can be found on the fantastic Shut Up & Sit Down

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Podcast #98: Seize My Silky Rails

Having just arrived back from Belgium’s fantastic Zomerspel tabletop convention, Matt and Quinns were inspired by Belgian chips to create this episode of our award-winning podcast. It’s long, crunchy, filling and if you eat nothing except this podcast then you will probably die?

Games discussed in this episode include the fascinating Taverns of Tiefan Thal (01:51), the taut little Feld game Carpe Diem (13:48), the simple-yet-delightful Luxor (26:47), the gross-yet-charming Silk (33:13) and the simply superb Rail Pass (49:37). Matt and Quinns also discuss some of the video reviews they’ve been working on, including Pipeline (1:00:58) and Too Many Bones (1:06:54).

Enjoy, everybody!

The original article can be found on the fantastic Shut Up & Sit Down

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GAMES NEWS! 15/07/19

Ava: It was a busy weekend for ‘sports’ or as I like to call them ‘meat-games’, but that doesn’t mean the news wheel has stopped turning. Games gonna game and news is gonna news.

Quinns: Oh, you watched the Cricket World Cup final?

Ava: And something called ‘wombledown’ happened? I was drowning in crickets yesterday and it was a treat for rules-lawyers and fans of obscure tiebreakers everywhere.

Quinns: Ever on-brand, I was too busy playing board games this weekend to watch “sports”! I got to introduce four entire people to El Grande. I understand that the winner of Wimbledon was Woody Harrelson?

Ava: Sounds believable to me. Having had to research ‘Woody Harrelson’s face’ for the Monikers box, I doubt I’ll ever be able to escape his sturdy, well-cleft visage. Truly his countenance is a caballero hidden in the castillo of our hearts.

Welcome, everybody, to the excessively digressive games news.

Ava: Ooo- ooh. Fashion

Are you ready to porter? Because Pret a Porter is ready to porter. Ignacy Trzewiczek’s early design has had a reprint of this fashion house management game burning a hole in its pocket for a while and has finally hit kickstarter for an upcycle.

There’s not too many games about fashion design out there, and we always like a bit of variety, so I’m somewhat excited, despite having not played the thing, or entirely understanding how it works. I’ve never even seen the Robert Altman film. Is this an unlikely film tie in? No, but if someone makes a M*A*S*H game I’m here for it.

Tangents aside, I’ve never really clicked with anything Ignacy has made. Designs like Imperial Settlers and Robinson Crusoe are widely praised, but I found them both too dry and too tidy. Part of my brain is begging me to assume that Pret a Porter is an exception to this, but I have a feeling his games just aren’t my style.

Quinns: It’s not one I’ll be backing, either. If I’m going to play a game about making an expensive dress, I’ll probably wait for a reprint of the much-lauded Rococo.

Ava: Also starting to Kick in the last week is Three Years of War. I’m irritated to find out is a game about the 30 years war, and not a three years war. If you do fancy a bleak simulation of one tenth of that war, then maybe this skull-covered box is for you. It’s earned comparisons to The Grizzled (which I love) and is by the designer of Blood Bowl: Team Manager (which I love), and it has a kickstarter pledge level called ‘the defenestration of Prague’ (which I love).

Who can’t get on board with a bit of defenestration? Presumably whoever is being thrown out of the window at the time. The game sounds like it aims to be miserable for everyone, and that can be quite fun? I’m not entirely convinced by the ad copy, but I am entirely curious.

Ava: The twin superfads of roll and writes and polyominoes unite again in the kickstarter for Copenhagen: Roll and Write. Copenhagen was a bigger box about making colourful buildings with neatly lined up windows, and this offers the same idea in a more scribbly format.

Quinns: Hey!

Ava: Yes?

Quinns: Hey.

Ava: What is it

Quinns: The original Copenhagen is really good! It’s not something we ended up reviewing because it’s been a hot summer of even hotter releases, but people shouldn’t equate our silence with ambivalence. As simple games go, it’s ace. I might even say it’s the best game about putting windows on a Danish house ever made. If designers Granerud and Pedersen can offer a similar experience in a teeny box, sign me up!

Ava: The bigger box is also available as part of this campaign, and I’m more tempted by it. I’m drawn in by the lovely aesthetic, based on the scenic Nyhavn neighbourhood home you’ll be building. But I can’t think of a worse way to ruin something so pretty than having me scribble blocks, noughts and crosses all over it. That doesn’t mean the roll & write won’t be a cosy little delight.

Quinns: Ava

Ava: What is it now?

Quinns: Italics.

Quinns: Boardgamegeek’s W. Erik Martin has been rounding up previews ahead of GenCon, and has uncovered some details on Pappy Winchester, a game of plots of land, auctions and – unexpectedly – duels! The theming is lovely, with players taking the role of the family members of the deceased, titular “Pappy”, who has left very specific instructions on how his legacy is to be handled.

Ava: This means I can get into character as a disgruntled executrix whilst teaching the game and that is more than enough for me.

Quinns: I’m quite excited by this one, too! The money that you’re bidding with is actually victory points, which I always enjoy because it opens players up to making HUGE mistakes, and I’m head over heels in love with the rule of players being able to duel one another, once per game, to instantly resolve a bidding war with violence.

Ava: It’s definitely a new way to end an auction. I expect to spend the entire game goading other people into dueling each other.

Quinns: No, no! Don’t you see? You wouldn’t want to do that, because the ideal circumstance if two other players are bidding is for them to get higher and higher, each of them willing the other to spend their duel token.

Urgh. If I’m getting excited about strategy before a game’s even out, you know what that means- I’ll be bringing the SU&SD readers the earliest possible impressions.

Quinns: Next up, we’ve got a public service announcement. Remember my review of El Dorado (plus the Heroes and Hexes expansion) where I told you to buy El Dorado (and maybe the Heroes and Hexes expansion)?

Well, now I’m telling you to STOP. All of those dozens of copies of El Dorado in your shopping basket? Dump them on the floor, then run! Run like the wind!

Designer Reiner Knizia has announced a new “international edition” of El Dorado with prettier components, full-size cards and “many expansions waiting”. That’s great news for those of you who haven’t yet bought it, and horrid news for those of us who have. Especially for those of us with long, stick insect-like hands who struggle to hold tiny cards.

Ava: Having developed some kind of Stockholm syndrome passion for the original artwork, which gives the impression of something I would have grabbed out of a car-boot sale when I was six years old, I’m a bit confused.

Quinns: That reminds me! We still haven’t seen inside the new, upcoming edition of The Castles of Burgundy. In our original review I described the look of Castles of Burgundy as “The lovechild of a maths textbook and hotel room art.” But now I literally can’t imagine it looking any different.

Ava: There was an update a while back that showed us the revamped Las Vegas as part of this same republishing initiative, and it did look pretty fancy, so it’s possible the nouveau Castles of Burgundy will not look like someone’s thrown up a half-digested model village.

Quinns: It just seems like Germany only makes games look modern under duress.

Ava: Pushing the boundaries of what qualifies as news, I was delighted by Avery Alder’s thread on narrative economies in Sentinels of the Multiverse. Avery knows her way around a smart rpg system or two, with Dream Askew currently up for some awards, and Monsterhearts a long-time favourite. Her discussion of the interlocking systems has really got me wanting to dive into a game that I disregarded the first time around. Maybe it’s worth another look? At the very least it made me take another look at our ancient review. Look how small and blurry everyone was!

The original article can be found on the fantastic Shut Up & Sit Down

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Review: Pipeline

Today we’re very proud to present our review of Capstone Games’ Pipeline. A game of pipes, lines, and… erm… the stuff that goes inside of pipes?

You mustn’t let Pipeline’s lack of theme bother you. Where we’re going we don’t need theme. Playing Pipeline, you’re going to feel the rush of seed money, the thrill of turning a profit, the rollercoaster of handling each new round at greater and greater speeds. In fact, this could be the year’s single best economic board game.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

The original article can be found on the fantastic Shut Up & Sit Down

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It’s the Final 24 Hours on our second Monikers Kickstarter!

Quinns: If you own the party game Monikers, then this is an emergency! There are just 24 hours left to back our Serious Nonsense Box on Kickstarter. Packing a whopping 330 new cards, all of them hewn from tiny fragments of our funny bones, it’s a massive expansion and we’re tremendously proud of it.

But guess what? If you don’t own Monikers, the good news is that the Serious Nonsense Box is a completely standalone game. The bad news is, that makes this an emergency for you as well.

There’s no time to waste! Well, actually, there are about 22 hours to waste. But absolutely no more than that.

Thanks so much, everybody.

The original article can be found on the fantastic Shut Up & Sit Down

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Review: Fuji

Kylie: Wolfgang Warsch’ gorgeous new game, Fuji, pits players as mismatched adventurers who find themselves on top of Japan’s most famous volcano. But it was poor planning on the part of the travel agent, because right as you reach the top, Mount Fuji begins to erupt. You and your companions will have to race against the flow of lava, back to the safety of the village.

Did I mention that this is a co-operative game? Together, players will either scramble to safety, or burn to a crisp.

Each turn, everybody rolls their dice and compares the results to decide on the best route back to safety. Cards laid out at the start of the game map out the landscape of the volcano, but each of these cards examines your dice differently (the total of your red die faces, for example, or the total of your even numbers). To move to each space, you have to have a higher total of that than either of your neighbours.

Here’s where it starts to get a little tricky. Players roll their dice behind screens and can’t communicate exactly what they have. In a similar style to popular card game Hanabi, players have communication limitations. You can’t talk about specifics or averages in any way. In the picture above, for example, you couldn’t say “I have two fives”. You could, however, say “I have a lot of high numbers”.

This elevates Fuji from being a luck-based, dice chucking extravaganza, to a game of thoughtful gambles based on imperfect information. Because when those dice are revealed, if you can’t move to the space you chose? You don’t move at all, as the lava oozes ever closer.

What routinely happens in the game is you roll your dice and think “Aha, I’ve got some good pink and yellow dice here. Everybody, I’ll try and move to this tile!”

*moaning from across the table*

“What’s wrong?”

“That’s literally the only place I can go.”

**curses**

What follows is a bout of intense discussion as players try to solve the puzzle on the table, half of which is elegantly laid out in front of you, half of which is hidden. And you see, your rolls in Fuji aren’t all about you. They’re about everyone. Sometimes you have to forget about moving forward, instead nudging and re-rolling your perfect dice just to give your teammate a better chance of dashing forward. Because if any of you die? You all lose.

Fuji is a raw, redolent experience which traps players in a series of tiny dilemmas from start to finish. On the one hand you’re trying to roll the best dice possible to ensure that you can slip down the side of the volcano, perhaps snatching a handy item card on the way. On the other hand, high dice rolls may freeze a teammate in place, and suddenly lava is licking at their heels. You’re constantly weighing up difficult decisions, and having to make brave leaps of faith.

Players do get a slight reprieve with equipment cards, which often allow you to strategise out of a particularly dicey situation. In addition, individual character skills add an element of hope to a game full of suspense, agony and despair.

However, don’t rejoice too much, because throughout the course of the game players will also collect injuries which will prevent you from using your ability, equipment cards, and – in the case of a leg injury – which permanently removes one of your dice. This can be exactly as debilitating as it sounds, and you’ll end up leaning on your teammates more heavily.

Scalewise, Fuji is primarily geared towards 3-4 players. At 2, the game uses a couple of dummy variants. Whilst I’m often hesitant about these, this one was actually very enjoyable, and has you supporting a next-to-useless 3rd character down the mountain. It reminded me of Everest disaster stories, where you hear of wealthy but unskilled individuals caught on the mountain during a disaster, and being guided down by heroic Sherpas.

There’s a fair bit to explore in this small-ish box. The game comes with several layouts for the volcano tiles and a few different character skills and equipment cards which adds a small degree of contrast to each play. There are also multiple difficulty levels which will ensure any group is kept on their toes, as well as numerous variants that tweak the balance of the game, whilst also providing committed groups with a plethora of increasing challenges.

So at first glance, Fuji is a work of art, both literally and figuratively. The illustrations provided by Weberson Santiago are breathtaking. Weberson provides a refreshing style in a world that relies heavily on basic primary colours. The game itself is innovative, fresh, and an example of cooperation in its purest form. It’s a game where self-sacrifice is absolutely necessary in order to ensure team survival. It has a high level of engagement and interaction as every player is involved in every decision. You can’t coast your way to victory here by relying on more experienced players. Your dice rolls will affect both of the players next to you, so you have to learn how best to communicate with one another, and do so quickly. The volcano rapidly turns to a hellscape of molten magma as the picturesque scenery cards are flipped to their fiery counterparts, evoking a real sense of danger, urgency, and precariousness, wherever you happen to be.

Here’s where the ‘but’ comes in. Communication is hard. It’s hard to explain to people, hard for some people to wrap their heads around and even when you understand the rules, it can be hard to get right. You can’t talk about numbers or averages in any way, remember, and you also can’t say exactly what coloured dice you have. Instead, you have to opt for vague sentences such as “I rolled poorly” or “I could be a threat for you”. It can all get a bit fiddly, and for such a big part of the game this can sometimes leave the experience falling a bit flat.

And for such a clever game, there’s also a lot of dice rolling. By its very nature this is heavily based in the realms of Lady Luck, and a couple of rounds of poor results can leave players feeling frustrated and downtrodden by the whole affair. As this is a cooperative game you can quickly end up feeling like a burden to the other players, too, as you take on more injuries whilst remaining rooted in the same spot.

The challenge is also pretty static. The overarching storyline is the same in each game that you play; you’re escaping an erupting volcano. There are no surprises thrown at you or cards that make one play stand out from the next one. In Pandemic, for example, the order of the infection and city cards can lead to some epic moments that stay with you for a long time. In Fuji, every round and every game is about the dice that have been rolled, which some may find tedious after multiple plays.

However, the sense of amelioration and betterment as your group of amateur adventurers become bolder and greater is addictive. The new challenges means there’s always a bigger and better Fuji to tackle. And a slightly rudimentary, yet fun scoring system at the end of the game gives a finality to your story, from surviving the volcano but spending months in hospital,to capturing the eye of Hollywood directors who want to make a movie about your heroic endeavours.

Whilst there’s no denying there’s a very obvious learning curve to the communication methods, once you’ve jumped over the hurdle there’s a real elegance to the experience. It’s frustrating, primitive and agonising, but it’s all wrapped up in a rewarding, unique and edifying puzzle, that offers an abundance of satisfaction when you finally crack the code.

It won’t set the table alight for everyone, but if cooperative games are your jam, this one is worth powering through for.

The original article can be found on the fantastic Shut Up & Sit Down

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GAMES NEWS! 08/07/19

Ava: Happy news-time, my greedy fact-fiends. Quinns is busy with the business of podcasting, so only has time for a deep dive into a single plunge pool of news. That means you’ve got me taking you on a tour of Germany, a mission to Mars, a ride on a golem, to an archaeological dig, a meeting with some Prussian generals, for a poke under the games-bonnet and into the dark heart of Mordor.

Just your average Monday, really.

Let’s get a wriggle on, we’ve so much to see.

Quinns: Yes! I’m coming for a quick splash into Ava’s news to talk about the new announcement from Days of Wonder, Deep Blue, because I’ve actually played a prototype of the darn thing.

Coming from Danish design duo Asger Granerud and Daniel Pedersen (who previously worked together on the excellent Copenhagen), Deep Blue is a game where players race ships around the board, jostling for position at treasure-stuffed diving sites. While there, a player can choose to initiate a dive for everybody present, and then the real fun begins.

The player who initiated the dive plays a push-your-luck game, except they’re pushing the luck of everybody on the dive, and players have to use cards in their hand to dodge sharks or scoop up extra treasure. What’s even more exciting than trying to grab jewels while avoiding the bends? Managing to give your friends the bends, while you stick around for an extra few minutes.

I had what I would describe as “medium fun” while playing Deep Blue. That said, “medium fun” with Days of Wonders’ stellar production values make for quite an appealing package.

…Then again, Days of Wonder seem to be continuing the habit of putting game logos on card backs, which is the worst sin available to humankind. Eurgh! How could they?! It’s like putting a bumper sticker on an Aston Martin.

Ava: This one is a little niche for the news, but is so far up my street it’s already put the kettle on and there’s nothing I can do to stop them crafting me a little wooden teapot.

Spielworxx, currently running a successful Kickstarter for German political simulator Die Macher, is also more quietly running a low print-run pre-order for Auf Der Walz. This game will see you taking the role of very literal journeymen, wandering the german countryside, barred from visiting home, with only your crafting abilities to make your way in the world. This is a very real tradition in German craft guilds, where people had to go auf der walz (it’s german for ‘on the waltz’) for three years and a day. The game looks a little like the lovely-walk simulator of Tokaido, with some chewier resource management and route planning wrapped around it. It could be really interesting! I hope it sees a larger (and cheaper) release.

Ava: One of the things that flags a game up to us is when it jumps to the top of the boardgamegeek hotness out of nowhere. It’s often a self-perpetuating mystery or a marketing optimisation scam, but it can highlight obscure little projects that make me glad this hobby is so weird and particular.

Enter Tinyforming Mars, an adorable two player print-and-play take on some of the core ideas of Terraforming Mars, the widely lauded but locally criticised learny-spacey engine builder. A much smaller deck of cards, a tiny map of Mars and a bundle of tokens robbed from other games turns into a taut battle to be the best corporation on the red planet. People seem to like it, although most of the aforementioned hot hotness heat stems from people accusing it of ripping off the larger game. I’m just glad to be reminded of the huge swathe of freely shared print and play games hidden under the bedrock of hype mountain.

Ava: Spice Road was the first of Emerson Matsuichi’s interlocking Century trilogy, a series of shorter games that could be combined, Voltron-style, into slightly fiddlier games. Spice Road was also available in a less compatible Golem edition, for those who hated spices but loved golems.

That was supposed to be a one off, but somebody obviously smelled some money, as the second Century game, Eastern Wonders, is being published as Century: Golem Edition: Eastern Mountains. That’s a lot of colons for a pile of rocks. We reviewed the two spicier versions already, and are waiting on the third part of the trilogy to see if it turns them into some joyful behemoth. I’m not sure a different coat of paint is going to make much difference to most, but I suspect there are some golem fans out there who are glad they aren’t being left behind.

Ava: Over in the prehistoric forests of kickstarter, we have some gorgeous speculative paleontology in the form of Pangea. The art really makes this game stand out, showing a host of ancient beasts in glorious detail as they roam across the titular mega-continent.

That said, everything is drenched in text and complication and it looks to me like it could be an unwieldy beast-wrangler to wrangle. I’d probably follow the company recommended policy of waiting until we’ve seen more reviews in the wild.

That said, the invertebrate team have a nautilus mascot that makes me pretty eager to wrap my tentacles across a planet spanning continent. It may be worth a dig into the rulebook and videos to see if it makes your tendrils quiver.

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Ava: Simulationist wargames are effectively the basis of modern role-playing, and have had a huge impact on board game design. This means it’s a bit lovely to have a really solid video history of the Kriegspiel and the origin of wargaming. Built in Prussia for very rich people, different iterations of Kriegspiel had scaled terrain, modular boards, custom dice and a DM-like umpire with ultimate power over how the game played. Honestly, I’m surprised it’s not coming to kickstarter soon.

Ava: Meanwhile, Geoff Englestein got in touch to tell us about his latest book, written with Isaac Shalev. Building Blocks of Tabletop Game Design (Amazon UK link here) is an encyclopedia of game mechanisms, allowing design students to dive into the nuts and bolts of ludic tickery.

With illustrations that pay homage to lovely Korean gameshow The Genius, as well as descriptions and examples for each bite-size building block, it looks like a lovely piece of work. It could be the definitive way to end tedious arguments about specific terminology. It could also be the beginning of the same arguments, depending on your perspective and/or friends.

Ava: Finally, this week’s further reading is a challenging piece of thought-craft. James Mendez Hodes has wrapped up a two part exploration of the racist origins of Tolkien’s orcs, and how those dubious inflections have reached out across a century of media. In particular, the second part focuses on Dungeons and Dragons, its fixed concepts of races, and the biases masked by fantasy trappings. This may be an uncomfortable read for people (like me) used to turning certain creatures into monsters for the sake of a game night, but provides really positive ways to undermine and criticise these tropes. It’s a smart, enlightening read.

I particularly like the part noting that Games Workshop accidentally avoided a lot of these problems (arguably replacing them with traditional British class prejudice) when it cut their Space Orks from the same cloth as eighties football hooligans. This might just be because I was an ork player as a kid, and have always been fascinated by the weird specificity of that particular iteration of the much maligned greenfolk. They just seemed so joyful, which felt like a respite from the rest of Warhammer 40,000’s ultra-bleak setting. Significantly more nuanced takes can be found in Mendez Hodes’ thorough and personal think-piece.

The original article can be found on the fantastic Shut Up & Sit Down

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SU&SD Play… 878 Vikings!

Last summer, Quinns put out an excitable review of 878 Vikings, the latest instalment in a series he calls “The mac & cheese of wargaming.”

This summer, we’ve uploaded a clash of the (online) titans! Matt and Quinns taking on the streaming team of Creative Assembly, makers of the Total War videogames. And frankly, in the face of total war, we think our team did quite well.

Have a lovely weekend, everybody.

The original article can be found on the fantastic Shut Up & Sit Down

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Card Games That Don’t Suck: Briscola Chiamata

Our series on the best games that you can play with a 52 card deck continues!

Briscola Chiamata is bound to be a real highlight of this series. An incredibly simple trick-taking with hidden roles, this 5 player game sees a team of 4 players facing off against a 5th player… but someone in their ranks is working for the other side.

Huge thanks for supporting this series, everybody! We’re having a blast with it.

The original article can be found on the fantastic Shut Up & Sit Down

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GAMES NEWS! 01/07/19

Ava: Quinns, Quinns? I’ve been wondering…

Quinns: Oh no.

Ava: No it’s fine. I’m just wondering, where does news come from?

Quinns: Well, Ava, when two people love news very much, they get together and…

Ava: I’ve heard enough. Let’s make like Cole Porter and do it. Let’s fall in news.

Quinns: Here we go.

Ava: Cities: Skylines – The Board Game finally has a bit more detail attached to it, with some exciting concrete morsels to chew on. Kosmos games is working with Paradox entertainment and Rustan Håkansson to bring your table a take on the computerised infrastructure fiddler of the same name. The idea of trying to take that depth of simulated transport modelling and recreating it in cardboard is ridiculous, so I’m pretty glad Rustan has gone down an even more curious route.

Combining weirdly shaped tiles onto modular boards with a prebuilt road layout while looking after the needs of your citizens is an intriguing prospect. Doing it co-operatively with a few of your terrible friends making horrendous mistakes on your behalf sounds like a recipe for grumpy delight.

Quinns: The fact that this is a co-operative game has made me instantaneously excited. Just imagining someone laying a tile in an awkward way that prevents any other buildings going in that block was enough to make me put my face in my hands.

Ava: Doing things wrong is a team sport, and the best city-builders let you build accidental hellscapes. This has all the planning documents necessary to be a beautiful disaster.

Quinns: That’s especially true because players will share a single bank balance, and lose the game if they go bankrupt. Is this approaching the category of games that are “Too Real”?

Ava: As long as nobody actually has to live in Pearhampton-under-Lime, it’s just real enough.

Quinns: Here’s a saddening little newslet (newsling?).

The box and board for the new edition of classic co-operative puzzle Ghost Stories have been revealed. The relaunch will be titled Last Bastion, and instead of you playing as monks fending off colourful ghosts in rural China, you’re now generic Fantasy archetypes defending a fantasy castle from fantasy monsters.

I never claimed to be a reasonable man, but Ava, I loathe this. Rather than doing a sensitivity pass on the old edition’s depiction of China, they’ve dropped the old theme like a hot stone.

Ava: To be fair to Last Bastion, the bright colours look really inviting, and I am definitely less worried about appropriation in this version. But I’m not surprised people aren’t pleased. I’ve just never played the game so I’m not hugely attached.

Quinns: It was one of the few games in my collection before we began Shut Up & Sit Down!

Look, here’s our old review! Oh, leave me to my grief…

Ava: Following on from last week’s news of Jaws, we’ve got another monster from your childhood, resurrected and shoved onto the shelves at Target.

Kenny G – Keeping it Saxy comes from the same school of thought as the Bob Ross: Art of Chill board game. That school being “Slapping a meme-friendly celebrity on the cover and building a game around the collective sense of irony and the nostalgia high”. You’ll be keeping Kenny in the smooth jazz groove by playing sound cards in this co-operative game that makes me wish I didn’t have ears. It’s recommended you put some Kenny on in the background, and do vocal scat as you play the cards.

Maybe that’ll be fun. Maybe I’d rather be eaten by the shark. There’s only one way to tell.

(Wake me up when someone’s made a Kamasi Washington game.)

Ava: Do you know what I like more than I like smooth jazz saxophone? Tubes. That’s why I’m intrigued by Ludicreations reprint of On the Underground, on kickstarter now. On the Underground lets you build your own subsurface rail network in both London AND Berlin. Those are two very tubey cities.

Quinns: The game seems fairly straightforward. In the tradition of route-building games like Ticket to Ride and Through the Desert, players take turns to extend their lines in order to claim certain objectives, or they can spend precious “Branching Tokens” to birth a new head for one of their tubes, like a cylindrical hydra.

Ava: I’m kind of worried that I’ll feel awful rebuilding the London Underground wrong.

Quinns: I’m just cracking up at the single beleaguered wooden passenger on the board that you all want to shunt around for additional victory points. There’s something very sad about that.

Ava: I’m pretty sure we’ve all had a day on the underground that felt like that, to be fair.

Ava: There’s a dinosaur.
And it’s really small.
In a min-i-a-tures board game.

Quinns: ….

Ava: This would make more sense if you could hear me singing. It’s beautiful Quinns.

Quinns: That’s as maybe, but have you looked at this kickstarter? I can’t see anything there to excite me, and it’s about dinosaurs, the most exciting creatures that ever lived.

Ava: What about the giant sloth? I reckon that’s more exciting than a dinosaur.

Quinns: You’re a fan of megafauna too?! We should talk after the news.

This Kickstarter is proper bobbins though. We should have stopped after On The Underground.

Ava: Since I started writing news, I’ve wondered: what would it take for me to actually link to an announcement of a new version of Monopoly? It turns out that the answer is ‘remove the one thing I like about Monopoly’, the tactility. The new Monopoly: Voice Banking game is a straightforward take on the game, but replaces your cheaty sibling as the banker with…a giant top hat that sits in the middle of your game and talks to you.

I’m all about touching experiences, and my fondest, fondlingest memory of Monopoly is the time I attempted to break the system by hoarding all the one pound notes. The idea of taking out the wodges of cash and replacing it with a cut price robo-pennybags is utterly deflating.

Though actually, it’s potentially a really useful accessibility tool, so I shouldn’t be such a snob. I just wish it could be customised for other games. Meeple Like Us did a great breakdown of accessibility in this game that concluded that it’s mainstream status had helped the designers polish up every aspect of the game until pretty much anyone could play. There’s definitely something to learn there.

Quinns: I like Monopoly: Cheater’s Edition, where you can handcuff your children to the board.

Ava: Are you still walking around with a monopoly board hanging off your wrist, Quinns?

Quinns: I will neither confirm nor deny that!

…Though it has been a real pain keeping my left hand off-camera in videos.

Ava: In possibly the most unusual piece of games writing I’ve ever read. Ars Technica have the story of three researchers, Alex Churchill, Stella Biderman, Austin Herrick, who have established that it’s possible to build a computer out of Magic: The Gathering. In attempting to assess if the game is ‘Turing complete’ and therefore ‘unsolvable’ the mathsy wizards have turned the collectible card game into a Turing machine, theoretically capable of conducting any computation.

I have even less idea what’s going on that in a regular game of Magic, but I’ve got to say, I love it when people bewilder so very specifically. It’s a lovely read.

The original article can be found on the fantastic Shut Up & Sit Down