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Review: Arkwright

Who wants to play a game about manufacturing forks!

Anybody? No? What if we were to tell you that Arkwright turns the manufacturing of bread, forks and lamps into a bruising war. What if we were to say that this game puts the very machinery of the industrial revolution in your hands, and allows you to grind your friends in its very cogs.

What if we were to tell you that this game is a cheaper, rock-solid competitor to fascinating games like Food Chain Magnate and Panamax.

Would you want to play then?

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

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Podcast #80: Until The Sheep Goes “Berp”

Oho, this episode of the award-winning Shut Up & Sit Down podcast has more scoops than sweet shop, and is just as sweet.

We found out that learning geography CAN be fun in the tense game of Destination X. We learned that Lowlands is the best Uwe Rosenberg game since A Feast for Odin, and it isn’t even designed by Uwe Rosenberg. We learned that the amazing-looking Starship Samurai is, perhaps, not as good as we were hoping. And we learned that Quantified – an upcoming game you’ve definitely never heard of – is a thought-provoking co-op game about surveillance and big data.

We also found out that the vikings that hang around outside the UK Games Expo are not to be trifled with, as Matt narrowly escapes being skewered by an actual spear. Finally, we implemented the OMEGA PROTOCOL: A quick-fire round of questions that were tweeted to us by the audience, right then and there. Huge thanks to everybody who came down and contributed to the veritable cyclone of questions that followed.

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

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Games News! 18/06/18

Paul: WELCOME to our sunny June Games News, live from a Brighton pub. Quinns and I are, in fact, writing this together in a secret alcove in a cider pub. Yes, that’s right, we have suddenly both become forty-five years old.

Quinns: Paul, it’s time for you to get a round in.

Paul: You don’t need to type that, I’m sat right next to you. Also it’s not even 1pm.

Quinns: Don’t give me that you NARC

Paul: Impossible to ignore this week is SEAL Team Flix, a Catacombs-a-like dexterity game of counter-terrorism and Tom Clancy-ish special ops. SEAL Team Flix has you and your friends chasing down terrorists, disarming bombs and rescuing hostages, all performed via fierce token-flicking. It has a branching campaign, all the guns you’d expect for an experience like this, cover that can be destroyed and a sort of sniping mini-game that uses a separate board.

It’s an impressive mix of a serious and detailed look at military operations and the inevitable comedy of slapstick stupidity when you accidentally throw a flashbang at your friend’s head. The thing is, comedy in games like this doesn’t dispel the tension that comes with having to make that vital shot, or from that moment where a single mistake or success can turn a game on its head. I can see how SEAL Team Flix could be both funny AND very exciting.

Quinns: And there’s no equivalent of a dungeon master facing you and your friends, either. You’re all buddies, fighting opponents governed by an AI system that the designers talk a little about in this diary!

Paul: In other Wizkids news we have Marvel Strike Teams on the horizon, a one versus many game of superhero combat where you can put yourself in the shoes (or cape, or spandex, if superheroes still wear that) of your favourite Marvel characters. One player takes on the role of the villainous villain, while everyone else teams up as characters like the Hulk, Captain America or Iron Person. Predictably, you have all sorts of individual superhero powers at your disposal, as well as the ability to improve yourself across a campaign, but what interests me most of all is all the replay value from randomly-generated scenarios.

Quinns: Gosh, it’s ugly. Even the tiniest Kickstarters these days work with talented artists and art designers to make their game look gorgeous. Wizkids is being made to look amateurish by the amateurs.

Paul: What about fantasy megafranchise Dungeons and/or Dragons? You’re excited by a bit of that, right? Gale Force Nine will be publishing Vault of Dragons at the end of the summer, giving players the chance to play rascally rakes trying to find a big pot of gold buried somewhere under the Forgotten Realm’s infamous city of Waterdeep. Now, I’ve never been hugely inspired by any of the D&D board games, but you’re cautiously optimistic about this one, right?

Quinns: Sure! Gale Force Nine have a habit of surprising us with really high-quality franchise games. Also, the tagline calls it a game of FIERCE CONFLICTS and HIDDEN TREASURES. That sounds like the marketing copy of a trashy 1980s board game, and I love it.

Paul: Our daily paper route takes us past Kickstarter Mansion and today that means the new game from Tueusday Knight Games (of Two Rooms and a Boom), That’s Not Lemonade.

Quinns: I’m liking the sound of this. It’s a tiny-box push your luck card game where players have to pull lemons out of a deck without drinking pee.

Paul: Is that… really what it’s about?

Quinns: Yep.

Paul: OK!

Quinns: Honestly, I think this sounds pretty swell. Matt and I had plenty of fun with Bye-Bye Black Sheep, which is a card game with even less decisions and more luck than this one. I bet this is a ton of fun. Perhaps it’ll even be 2018’s Love Letter. Alan I know you’re reading this, don’t you dare use that as a pull quote.

You know what’s hot? BOARD GAMES. You know who knows it? VIBEO GAMES.

This week Scythe came out on Steam as a standalone digital game, and that’s not all! Ticket to Ride was just announced for PS4, and Carcassonne will be releasing on the Nintendo Switch.

Slowly but surely, board games are seeping into the public subconscious. Soon, we will have respect. Soon, we will have control. By the year 2032, Shut Up & Sit Down will be the Prime Minister of the UK. It’ll be me, Matt and Paul all sat on one another’s laps, squeezed into a single chair.

Paul: When I worked in the video games industry when I were a young lad PS4 games were £5 and you could buy a Mars bar for 20p.

Quinns: That’s not true. You were NEVER a young lad.

Paul: In more serious news-

Quinns: This is absolutely not a serious news story.

Paul: Shut Up & Sit Down’s YouTube channel experienced a SUSTAINED ATTACK this weekend-

Quinns: No it didn’t-

Paul: -when literally DOZENS of Axis & Allies fans (see evidence.png) attempted to slip covert messages to us in our YouTube comments, subtly hinting that we should, perhaps, review Axis & Allies. Unfortunately for them, this scheme came undone when we noticed a pattern literally instantly.

Quinns: It was amazing. By the time the second comment came in, we already knew this was some kind of organised community effort. By the time the fourth stealthy suggestion came in, we were cracking up in the company Slack. By the time the twentieth person dropped a sly hint that we should review the seminal, aging, Avalon Hill wargame Axis & Allies, I’d fallen in love. It was like I was Cillian Murphy in Inception. This is… Quinception.

Paul, I don’t know where this idea came from, but I think we should review Axis & Allies.

(Axis & Allies community, if you’re reading this, we can only commend your incredible psychological warfare. For what it’s worth, we WERE planning to take a look at the upcoming Axis & Allies & Zombies, so you can look forward to some coverage of that in the future.)

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Paul: Over the weekend team SU&SD were also cracking up over The Dragon’s Tomb, a new YouTube channel dedicated to teaching you how to play board games THE RIGHT WAY.

Quinns: Speaking as a reviewer who’s gotten all sorts of rules wrong over the years, this will be an invaluable new resource. Do take a few minutes to check out TDT’s priceless work.

Paul: Also, we have an Instagram account now! Instagram is a trendy new social media phenomenon where you “share” some “pictures” of things that you like and we’ve decided to be “early adopters.” Unlike most Instagrammers, we won’t be sharing pictures of sausages or dogs or sausage dogs, but you will get to see even more of what we’re playing, what we’re doing and life “behind” the “scenes.” Which is mostly me being incompetent! I’ve spilled so much food on myself these last three days.

Quinns: Yes! Please do follow our Instagram. With your help, we think this social media platform could be the next big thing.

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

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Review: Santa Maria

Quinns: There’s quite a bit of buzz around Santa Maria. “Buzz!” spake this box as it arrived in my flat like a gentle but hefty bumblebee, excited to alight on my table.

Paul: OH GOD WHERE’S THE SPRAY QUICK OPEN A WINDO-

Quinns: It’s fiiiine Paul! This is something we can safely let into our homes to flit happily about, to land on our tables or to watch us from the shelves with its compound eyes. Santa Maria is quite harmless!

Paul: Harmless and… perhaps toothless?

Popping open the almost cartoonishly cute box, which appears to depict Santa Claus as armoured as he is jolly, we’ve got dice! We’ve got charming wooden tokens! We’ve got wonky jungle tiles! We’ve got… is this the terrifying face of an inflated baby, about to burst?!

Oh, don’t worry. That’s just the universal symbol for happiness! Happiness is the currency that can make you, dear player, the winner, if you can just amass enough of it inside your Happiness House.

Quinns: While we were playing I took a different tack, imagining that this was the house where I kept all of my creepy, spherical, pale babies.

ANYWAY, here’s how the game works.

Each player in Santa Maria is given their own little Spanish colony in South America, one of which you can see above. After a game lasting a snappy sixty minutes, the winner will be whoever managed to wring the most Orwellian Happiness Points out of this tricky 6×6 grid.

On your turn you MIGHT spend resources adding tiles that extend your colony, like so:

Or you might spend your turn dropping one of that round’s available dice into your colony, as if you were dropping awkward balls into a pinball table, which is how you get resources.

Let’s say you drop in a white 3, as seen below. This die enters via the “3” column, and will grant you the reward of every space it passes over – so you might get WOOD, then a GEM, then MONEY, then TWO ROTUND HAPPINESS BABY-POINTS – before that die finally comes to a stop in the last action space it used, blocking it for the rest of the round. If a particular row or column is good enough, you might even slide multiple dice over it- and you often can, since you can pay coins to increase or decrease the number of pips on your dice.

Players can also simply pave over a square with coins to get its reward, but these coins similarly block your machinery until the end of the round. Since Santa Maria ends after just 3 rounds, you want to be very canny about this. With a bit of caution and wit, you might acquire a fabulous new tile and get the reward for it once, twice, three times, FOUR TIMES. You’re a monster! Won’t somebody stop you?

Paul: Now, let me immediately tell you that watching your die carve its way through the jungle like a missionary with a machete is slicingly satisfying. You trigger all those resource bonuses as if you were running past a row of fireworks with a burning torch in your hand, your beaming face turned to the heavens, ready to be showered by an explosion of gems and money and lumber.

What’s even more satisfying is squeezing new tiles onto your player board, arranging your colony to create rows and columns that you know are going to burst like bountiful pimples as your die trundles over them. You made that combination yourself, you set up and then tripped each of them so expertly. You’re the master of your own destiny!

The pleasure comes from solving two puzzles of your own making. The first was how to align all those disparate colony pieces into rows that would most efficiently and most cannily bear fruit, the second was working out the best order to claim and use dice. Sometimes it’s best to first send a blue die trundling from left to right, claiming a whole row of resources and only blocking something at the end of your 6 column, other times you’ll want to send white dice trickling down columns to stop exactly where you know they’re not going to interrupt any future moves. And each turn, with new die rolls producing new possibilities, this second puzzle always reconfigures itself, even if you don’t add to your colony.

Quinns: BUT! Filling your warehouse to the eaves with sugar and jewels won’t actually win you the game. To get most of your Happiness Points you’ll need to take a stroll over to Santa Maria’s central board, which is like a point picnic, a happiness happy-hour, an Inflated Baby Buffet.

Why yes, I have been practicing my MS Paint skills. I’m flattered you noticed!

Over at (1) you can see the docks. By taking a dock action on your central board you can send your resources overseas, which gets you points, and depending on which dock you ship to you’ll then enjoy a free reward at the end of EVERY round, AND for every set of four ships you dispatch, you’re going to get even MORE points at the end of the game. Santa Maria is a VERY generous game, and inspires CAPITAL LETTERS in even the most JADED reviewer

Paul: Is (2) clapping? Do you go into the jungle and clap?

Quinns: NO. That’s the religion track. By taking a religion action you nudge your marker along this track, unlocking new workers but also unlocking monks that you can spend on immediate rewards, or special powers or point multipliers that are randomised before the game begins. Maybe you’ll get points for connecting roads to your capital city, or for placing tiles on your colony so they resemble a PERFECT, COMPLETED square. VARIETY, it’s the SPICE of LIFE

Paul: GOD, I love variety and also spice and… is that Santa Claus again?

Quinns: NO. (3) is the conquistador track.

Paul: But conquistadors are the OPPOSITE of Santa Claus.

Quinns: Yes! By taking a conquistador action you send soldiers out into the countryside to wrestle gold from the hands of the locals. Whoever’s furthest up the track will get a bushel of points each round, but the track also resets each round, so you only want to invest minimal effort into your soldiering. Tricky, tricky.

There are other ways to get points, but suffice to say Santa Maria is what the board game community calls a “Victory point salad”, a bunch of disconnected but crunchy ways to get points, until at the end of the game everyone regurgitates all of their swallowed and half-chewed plans in an confusing and often surprising final score. In a longer game this structure can be dissatisfying, but it’s quite at home in the game of Santa Maria. This is a breezy game that doesn’t want to trouble players with anything they MUST achieve.

There’s no secret behind Santa Maria’s success. To play Santa Maria – a nice idea with nice-enough art that placates players with a nice puzzle and nice rewards – is to have a lovely time.

Paul: I’d say it’s a little more than that. I’d say it’s a smart time. Every time I added more to my colony layout and found a new way to fire off my dice in an order that used some of the same spaces multiple times, that had the dice glide past one another without colliding like expert ice skaters, that had me trundle up the conquistador track AND the clapping track and ship just the right combination of resource to get myself another boatyboi, I felt good. Smart and good. And that feeling doesn’t fade each time. It’s the hit that keeps giving.

Quinns: Absolutely. This is a really good design. But – and I do this with the same dread that you might invoke Candyman – I think I need to echo the points that we made in our controversial Marco Polo review. Santa Maria is about as good as a board game can be without… filling me with any kind of… passion or desire? I’ve enjoyed all of the games of Santa Maria I’ve played, and I when I finish a game of it I often feel like I could play it again, right then and there! But whenever I pack it away I’m disinclined to take it off the shelf again.

Paul: Yep. Personally, I’d absolutely break out Santa Maria again, I think it presents some great mind-massaging challenges, I think it’s accessible without being easy and I think it’s a lot of fun.

Buuuuut I also think it fails to quite make the step up to greatness. It’s interesting and it’s satisfying, but it’s rarely exciting or exhilarating. It has so many neat little mechanics, but they don’t quite link together emphatically or really give you the sense that very much of what you’re doing affects other players.

AND everything about the art and design just makes me think of board games from… fifteen years ago. It looks a little too cute, a little too flat. Board games have come very far in their presentation over the last decade or so and everything about Santa Maria’s presentation feels like a peculiar prod from the past.

Quinns: Agreed. If you’re a fan of cute, flat puzzles with high rewards and low stakes, I’m sure you’d do alright buying Santa Maria and eagerly ogling the expansion that’s on the horizon. But there are so many similar games that I’d buy first- Azul, Isle of Skye, Castles of Burgundy, or the upcoming Lowlands (which we’ll be talking about on podcast #80).

And now we know how we feel about the game, let’s talk about the theme. Because holy crap this is a tonal mess.

So, at this year’s UK Games Expo you did an onstage interview with designer Martin Wallace (who, to be crystal clear, is NOT the designer of Santa Maria) and you two talked a bit about whitewashing, right? Do you fancy giving our audience a primer on what that is?

Paul: Sure! Martin closed the interview saying this was one of the things he found most objectionable in board games, and all media, and he was talking about the sidestepping of historical facts to paint a falsely innocent, far more placid picture of history.

This happens so often when we talk about colonialism and it’s exactly what’s happening with Santa Maria. We’ve got the cheery collection of natural resources and expansion of territory, without any acknowledgement of where those resources are coming from or who might live in that territory. Those bold and beardy conquistadors aren’t collecting gold by panning in a river, they’re literally beating it out of human beings to whom it has cultural and religious value.

Quinns: Yeah. I find absolutely bizarre how this game’s cover depicts brave-looking men and women blithely going about the business of construction. In reality, it’s unknown how many men, women and children the conquistadors massacred, but we do know of the inhumanity and rapacity they displayed, the wealth they amassed, even the torture methods they used on locals who refused to help them. To then have the currency in Santa Maria be “Happiness Points” with a picture of a smiling white person is just amazing.

We live in times when people all over the world are doing vitally important historical work unpicking the lies that have been taught to the descendants of colonisers. Speaking as an English person, it seems as though a new atrocity that we committed is being uncovered every week.

Nobody is saying that games can’t be about colonialism. But what Shut Up & Sit Down is saying, here and now, is that this kind of bumbling thoughtlessness is not good enough.

Santa Maria is not simply a game that’s disinterested in politics. Games like Santa Maria are intensely political, because, intentionally or not, they perpetuate a whitewashed view of the world. There’s a reason that Settlers of Catan is set on a fictional island, and it’s precisely to avoid having to do its due diligence. And that isn’t great, but it’s better than this.

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

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Quinns Talks to Schoolkids About Being a YouTuber!

Quinns: Paul and I are working on yet another B I G  V I D E O for this Friday, but today we’ve got a little video featuring some very little people.

Recently I was invited by SU&SD fan Annie Langley to give a presentation to her school kids aged 10-11 about being a YouTuber, since it’s the job that most kids dream about. With a lot of help from my wife (who I can’t thank enough for telling me to remove all the bar charts from my talk), I put together this 20 minute rundown of what my work is actually like.

I know that a lot of SU&SD fans are parents, so I thought I’d chuck the talk online in case it’s of interest. Honestly, I worry that very few YouTubers or Streamers talk about the technical or psychological stresses of this job, and I feel like the world would be a healthier place if there was a bit more of a conversation around it.

Timestamps…

00:00 – Intro about my job and board games

06:49 – Me talking about the mental health problems with producing content (without using those exact words)

12:46 – Me talking about the technical bit of the job: scripting, lighting, microphones and editing

18:21 – Me telling kids to go and make things, but do so safely. Also, a poorly-chosen Hunger Games analogy

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

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Games News! 11/06/18

Quinns: Have you heard the news? I’ve been playing sad fanfares on my cyber-bugle all weekend. On Friday Fantasy Flight announced that Wizards of the Coast has ended the licensing agreement for Netrunner, which means that Fantasy Flight’s phenomenal living card game Android: Netrunner will be coming to an abrupt end after the next big expansion, Reign and Reverie.

Paul: What?! But Fantasy Flight have only just released the revamped starter set!

Quinns: Yeah. As you’d imagine, the unexpected announcement has left the Netrunner community in a state of shock.

As you say, Fantasy Flight had only just rebooted the core set, but on top of that card rotation had only just begun (cycling older cards out of competitive play in a bit of tricky housecleaning), and new lead designer Michael Boggs had only just dragged the global metagame into a healthy place. This was a game that had lasted six years and was being shored up to last another six years.

Plus, from Wizards of the Coast’s perspective, this was a near-valueless intellectual property that Fantasy Flight were turning into one of the most respected, beloved and socially diverse card games in existence.

So why did this happen? We don’t know for sure, but there are a few conspiracy theories that sound plausible to me, and in honour of all things cyberpunk I’m going to don my tinfoil hat for a little bit. Please, indulge me.

One possibility is that this is a horrible casualty in a much larger war. Fantasy Flight is owned by Asmodee, and Wizards of the Coast is owned by Hasbro. With Asmodee undergoing incredible growth in recent years, it’s possible that Hasbro yanked the licensing deal away as a means of plucking a small jewel from their new competitor’s crown.

A more sensible reason might be that Wizards of the Coast think they can make more money producing Netrunner themselves. This taking back of the Netrunner license might mean that Netrunner will be rebooted again in a collectible card game format as a sister product to Magic: The Gathering. That would be a bittersweet turn of events. I have no doubt that Wizards of the Coast would do a fine job with the game, but making it an order of magnitude more expensive to collect and play would be a sad, sad thing.

Paul: There’s a lot to think about there and this is no small news story. But let’s switch to the personal angle: A lot of our fans have been asking how you feel about it. So, how do you feel about it?

Quinns: Hmmm. Conflicted? Obviously this is a tragedy for the community that I still, in some ways, consider myself a part of. Also, if Netrunner returns with a horrifically expensive business model involving card rarity then that’s going to be miserable. But then again, Fantasy Flight were never quite able to give Netrunner the support it deserved, namely the kind of marketing and R&D that we see Wizards pour into Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons. It’s not impossible that this could end up being a good thing for the game… ?

After all, if a game is really, really good it’ll always end up coming back from the dead in one form or another. And Netrunner is really, really, really good.

Paul: So what are Fantasy Flight turning to instead? It looks like Heroes of Terrinoth will be one of their next big releases. Traipsing over to our tabletops this autumn (or “fall”), Heroes of Terrinoth will be a reboot of FFG’s supposedly-excellent Warhammer Quest card game, giving you and your friends the chance to band together in a classic adventuring party, battering goblins about the head until gold coins pour out of their ears.

It’s all the most typical fantasy-by-the-numbers, set in FFG’s uber-generic Terrinoth, but their track record with card games is such that this is definitely one we’ll be watching from the bushes, ready to leap upon like a beastman ambush. We missed our chance to review this design the first time, but like a dwarven axe-baron, we never miss twice.(?)

Quinns: What’s a dwarven axe–

Paul: I don’t know

Quinns: Further news acting as balm to my sucking Netrunner-related wounds is that two Shut Up & Sit Down card game favourites are being reprinted.

Arboretum will be republished this year by Renegade and Z-Man has just announced a brand-new edition of Condottiere.

Paul: BUT HAVE THEY REALLY? Like the saucy armies of Condottiere themselves, could this just be one big bluff oh wait no it’s not no sorry it really is back.

Quinns: Yep. The new edition of Condottiere will come with a bigger box and board than the old edition, but will also be $10 more expensive than the old Silver Line edition that we reviewed approximately 9999 years ago.

(Z-Man games, if you’re listening, could you reprint Chinatown and Mundus Novus next? Thanks! Love u.)

Paul: Every day, before the sun is up, I board the Shut Up & Sit Down canoe and paddle out to Kickstarter Island, running my fingers over the branches of the low-lying bushes to see what fruit they offer. Today, that fruit includes GAMEBOOK – The Interactive Book of Board Games. Flip those firm pages to give yourself eight classic abstract games, from Pachisi to Nine Men’s Morris, a game about nine men who drive Morris Minor cars around a board until they die from dehydration. Probably? I don’t know. I’ve never played it, but this is a lovely way to present a collection of board games and so much classier than the tacky “10 Games in 1”-type board game collections I had to endure as a suffering British child.

Quinns: That’s such a cool idea. But for me, there’s only one book I’ll be Kickstarting this week:

The Board Game Book: 2019 is “a beautiful book exploring the year in tabletop gaming.” Not only does it have professional writers examining the year’s best releases, it has the nicest accompanying photography I’ve seen in a board game book.

Paul: This is so big and shiny! It’s really satisfying to see photography that shows off how cute, colourful and charismatic board games can be.

Quinns: SO satisfying. Turns out, from a certain light, this weird hobby of ours looks… professional and appealing? Who knew?!

But what I’m the most interested in are the interviews with literally dozens of board game designers. I’ll have to get this book just to have the behind-the-scenes gossip about all these awesome games.

Paul: You know what’s good? Art. Art is really popular these days. So too is design (design is anything that has lines). It was really interesting for me to read this account of the art and design process behind the High Society re-release, where Medusa Dollmaker talks through her inspirations and process.

I love seeing how people make things, from filmmakers to musicians to artists, and seeing these work-in-progress illustrations alongside a description of her method is really insightful. If you’re a board game designer, artist or illustrator out there, and if you have the time to spare to share some insights into how you worked and why you made the choices that you did, please do! It’s inspiring and interesting to see how something is created. Don’t believe it when people say they don’t want to know how the sausage is made. I WANT TO BE TAKEN RIGHT INSIDE OF THE SAUSAGE.

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

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Podcast #79: Law, Order and the Order of Logging

Excuse me, are you ready to report for jury duty?

In this episode of our award-winning podcast, Matt, Quinns and Paul discuss the hellish lumber management of Lignum, the lumbering hell-management of Huns, they have a troubling conversation about Holding on: The Troubled Life of Billy Kerr and have a good laugh about Band Manager: The Boardgame.

After that? This show throws open the doors of the SU&SD law courts.

Matt claims that Quinns threw away his copy of Pandemic Legacy Season 2, and is requesting that he pays £65 in damages. Quinns would prefer not to pay the fee and has invited a real-life lawyer, his friend Clark Burscough, onto the podcast. Will he be proven guilty, innocent, or somewhere in between?

This podcast is also available as a video.

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

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Games News! 04/06/18

Paul: Hunting for games news is a little like going on safari a hundred years ago. You spend days lost in the wilderness, stalking your prey silently through the underbrush, before finally bagging the prize you have worked so hard to claim. Then you transport it back overseas, have it stuffed by a professional and mount it where you can show it off to everyone.

This week, I’ve started by bagging a particularly curious catch. Let’s look at the enormous and extraordinary City of Chaos!

Originally released in 1996 (a time when the Spice Girls wanted to know what you really, really wanted and the N64 had kids twisting their fingers backwards to play James Bond), City of Chaos had a tiny print run of just a thousand copies. It was a huge and detailed mixture of fantasy roleplaying and complex procedural generation that could have you immersed in games that lasted all day. Looking at it now, it’s easy to see how it may, directly or indirectly, have hugely influenced such titans as Gloomhaven and Kingdom Death. Was it launched before it’s time? WELL NOW IT’S COMING BACK.

Publisher Ares Games have just announced a new edition, planned for 2019, where they’ll reprint rules that allow players to use their breath as a powerful weapon, the Tome of Chaos and its “hundreds of unique paragraphs and interactions,” plus all the many tiles that might make up the titular city of Byronitar, with all its unique and randomly-created locations and layouts. There’s no word yet of this being a Kickstarter, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they want to birth this beast by crowdfunding.

Over at BoardGameGeek, Eric Martin has been taking a look at the amazingly-titled Die Quacksalber von Quedlinburg, a game all about being a very, very bad alchemist. As we all know, bad alchemists mix potions by haphazardly throwing elements in at random, drawing them from an ever-growing bag of ingredients that they’re adding to each turn.

The challenge is both to collect the best ingredients you can, but also to not push your luck too much during this blind-draw brewing process, lest you draw the wrong combination for your concoction and cause the whole thing to overflow (which seems more of a setback than if you actually make something dangerous). Die Quacksalber von Quedlinburg is up for the Kennerspiel des Jahres and is designed by  Wolfgang Warsch, the same person who gave us The Mind, so I can’t help but be interested.

I’d once again like to give a respectful, appreciative nod toward BoardGameGeek’s latest Latin American games roundup. It includes the winner of Argentina’s King Alfonso Awards, Corona de Hierro, a game of political influence in medieval Italy, and  Dwar7s Fall, a Brazilian game of tile and worker placement that recently won the family category of that country’s Prêmio Ludopedia. Board gaming has really taken off in South America and with it has come that same ravenous appetite for political intrigue, economic management, fantasy battles and even calf-pumping cycling.

Over on Kickstarter, designer Patrick Leder is showing off Vast: The Mysterious Manor, his follow-up to the successful Crystal Caverns. Just like in that game, players take on roles that each have a unique objective, including an enchanter, a paladin, a team of skeletons, a spider and even the house itself, should they want to express themselves through a bit of window-rattling or floorboard-creaking.

The Mysterious Manor is compatible with Crystal Caverns, with scenarios that claim to let them click together as comfortably as collegiate crabs, meaning Leder might be assembling some sort of gigantic, board gaming beast should he have any further ambitions for the series.

Also getting a re-release soon is Fiasco, one of our favourite RPG experiences, with sneak previews peekable at Origins Game Fair next week. The game of clumsy heists and less-than-competent crime capers will be slightly altered, but a representative from publisher Bully Pulpit Games has said that they won’t be reinventing the wheel and instead only plan to add some “really good ideas for the game in a different format.”

RPG Review: Fiasco

RPG Review: Fiasco

Finally, we have a tiny bit of news of our own to announce. Shut Up & Sit Down’s YouTube channel passed 100,000 subscribers this weekend, while we were out having a great time at the UK Games Expo, and so we’d like to thank you all for the tremendous support you’ve shown us over the years. 100,000 is a number that’s difficult to properly parse, especially as our YouTube channel still feels very new. We were on Vimeo for years and then hosted on other people’s channels first.

I can’t imagine what 100,000 people look like, but after meeting so many SU&SD viewers this weekend, we got constant and wonderful reminders of what a friendly, kind and welcoming community you are. The numbers matter far less than the fact that you are all so terrific and contribute so much positivity to the hobby. Thank you for choosing to watch Quinns fall in a canal, Matt try Future Chess and me play guitar on a balcony. It makes all the difference to have such a great audience and to work with such great colleagues.

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

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Review: War of the Ring

If you were looking for one game to rule them all,War of the Ring might be it. This magical game has more than 200 plastic miniatures, 40 pages of rules and a depth that most board games could only dream of.

But what will Matt and Quinns make of it? For one thing, this wouldn’t be the first time that Lord of the Rings was accused of being too long.

Click play, and let their opinions seep into your very bones.

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

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Podcast #78: Paul’s Good Lamp Years

Rain falling on cracked windowpanes. Once-boisterous assembly rooms, now silent. Mr. Paul stalks the halls of his once-proud lamp factory, his mind a warren of regret. How did my business venture go so wrong?

Excitingly, this week on the Shut Up & Sit Down podcast Paul and Quinns discuss their experience of running 19th century factories in the ENORMOUS game of Arkwright.  Also, there’s chat about why Quinns didn’t get along with the beautiful new edition of card game High Society, the pair once again discuss the superb NMBR 9, and Quinns talks about being a brave weather fairy in the game of Broom Service.

Finally, the pair take their shoes off and paddle around the mailbag to answer not one, not two, but three little questions! Don’t come in, the water’s cold and full of jigsaw puzzles and binding agreements.

New podcast feeds (if you’re missing episodes 71 onwards, try these):

iTunes
Google Play
RSS for your favourite player

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