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I’ll just dive right in and try to make this brief. For the past couple of months I’ve been quietly, privately beavering away on the Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace board game. I abandoned it once or twice because of work and because I thought I had a great idea for a card game (I didn’t), but I kept returning to Darkplace.

Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, the board game is a co-operative adventure for (so far only) two players set in the fictional TV hospital, Darkplace. The goal is to close the monster spewing portal of Hell in the cafeteria by travelling from the roof, across a modular board which represents the hospital, to the cafeteria where a rite must be read. Playing as Dag, Sanchez or Madeleine Wool YOU will have no idea what room you will enter next (locations are drawn from a deck of tiles) or what horrors (or treasures) it contains.

Working together and communicating through walkie talkies the two players must search each room for RITES. Pages of a book that, once complete can be delivered to the cafeteria and read aloud to close the portal.

Here’s a snapshot of the Darkplace board game, a few moves in.

Player 1 is Dr Rick Dagless. It’s the start of his turn.He has three actions available to him from a selection (actions may be performed in any order): Move, Investigate, Action/discard a card, Communicate With Partner, Exchange Items.

1. Move - Player can travel through one door, either returning to an explored room or discovering a new room. A new room cannot be passed through until it has been investigated at least once. There is a limit of five investigations per room until that room is declared exhausted.

2. Investigate - Spend an investigation token to search the room for items of use, weapons, bonuses or precious RITES (new rooms must be searched once, up to a limit of five times). One token spent = one card drawn from the top of the Search deck. Searching rooms is essential as weapons/ammunition are scarce and certain items are necessary to progression. Warning: you may not be alone in the rooms of Darkplace. Excessive searching could disturb a monster. Each time a room is investigated, it is marked with a token.

3. Action/discard a card - Did your searching uncover anything of use? Combine your handgun card with the ammunition card to free up a valuable space in your hand (hand size undetermined). Combine your crowbar card with your Locked Cupboard card for the ability to perform another search. Keys open doors. Batteries power gadgets. Be aware that what you discard or use without thought could be of interest to your partner….

4. Communicate with partner - Each player’s hand of cards is private and should not be shown to another player unless one player chooses to spend an action point to communicate via walkie talkie to his partner. Walkie talkies are constant possessions for each player. The only upkeep they need is battery replenishment. Batteries are found during room investigations. Provided players are in range of each other (range to be determined) and they both have batteries, they may discuss their possessions (hands) and arrange to meet in a specified place if an item exchange is required.

5. Exchange Items - If two players find themselves occupying the same room either by accident or design, they may communicate freely without using walkie talkie batteries and exchange as many cards as they like. Only exchanges must be made, card for card. No gifting of cards.

So that’s what Dag CAN do. On Friday I’ll tell you what he DOES do. There will be combat and more friendly encounters. Player two will also take their turn.

I’ve gone round in circles over various design projects but this one is *playable now* so it’s already leaps ahead of anything else I’ve done.

I want input and comments. I *am* having trouble with a few things and feedback, even at this early stage, is invaluable.

The biggest issue right now is that it doesn’t HAVE to be a Darkplace game. Other than the title and the characters it could be a… Silent Hill game! It needs themic devices. Need to have a think about that.

Tweet me to chat about it @SonAndGames

And I’ll have pictures on Friday.

KJ.

Coming in Part 2: ‘execution’, combat, and player two’s turn.

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Why is a man like a panda? Because they both eat, shoots and-no, wait. I told it wrong. Why are men like pandas? Because they eat shoots-what? Look, I was very young when I heard this joke and I didn’t get it then. It’s not even funny. Forget it.

Who likes games about crop irrigation in feudal Japan? Alright. Who likes hungry pandas pissing off frantic gardeners? Yeeaah TAKENOKO!

Let’s all silently rifle through the box.

(Reviews of all my unboxings can be found on OTHER PEOPLE’S WEBSITES - actually I will get round to reviewing each game. It’s my new years resolution. But, for now, just shush and look at the pictures.)

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Unboxing Porn VIDEO!

A thorough and unedited unboxing of Steve Jackson’s Zombie Dice.

ENJOY!

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Typing quickly because I want to get to an unboxing. Excuse errors

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Take on the role of a manager willing to do anything to launch his rock band to stardom. Recruit musicians, find gigs, cut records. Keeping a tight grip of the budget is key to success in Rockband Manager as overspending early in the game on top flight musicians will hamper your ability to secure high profile venues or even advertise the band effectively. Sound familiar?

*coughrockstaratemyhamstercough*

Designer, Antoine Bauza gives a fleeting acknowledgement to the classic 8bit Codemasters game, Rock Star Ate My Hamster in the back of the rule book, stating that Rockband Manager “would not have been possible without” it. Neither the developer or the programmer are name checked, merely a link to the ‘…Hamster’ Wikipedia page.

I think I would have preferred to see a ‘…Hamster’ card game, but that’s just nostalgia talking.

I’ve just remembered that the name of the game Rock Star Ate My Hamster was a parody of famous 1980s newspaper headline Freddie Starr Ate My Hamster and in light of recent events (Starr probably being a nonce) it’s for the best thatOH I’M RAMBLING LET’S LOOK IN THE BOX!!

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A modest load, I’ll admit, but I’ve been looking at ‘brag pics’ lately of board game collections ranging from a comfortably full shelf of generously rotated classics to a  spare-room-filling board game K2 - a mountain of unplayed, wasteful cardboard and plastic. A peak of shame. I want my collection to be smallish and contain games that I will play. Often. And I have games in my collection that I’ve played enough to know that I won’t return to them or have never touched because I bought them on a foolish whim.

I want these games out of my house, to be replaced with ones I either definitely will play, or want to try. I want to trade with YOU.

 

So, there they are. (Plus Lord of the Rings LCG not pictured) What I would like is for an, ideally UK based, someone to see something they like and offer me something they don’t. Or something they did but don’t play anymore. I’m extremely flexible with regards to relative values. For example, Dungeons & Dragons will cost substantially more to post than, say, Gloom (from my ‘want in trade’ BGG list here), but to get D&D out of my way and something smaller that might get played in it’s place seems fair to me.

Why aren’t I using the BGG Trade Manager? I tried that, but my non-existent trade experience put off the few (so, so few) non-US based users who actually still used BGG to trade games. More often than not I got a message back saying, “Sorry I haven’t updated this for ages. I actually got Game X a few months ago.”

Ebay? Ebay comes next. I’ll get these listed in a week or so, if I still have them. Really, I wanted to open the floor and give first refusal to the friends I’ve made on Twitter and Instagram.

So. The games on my small trade pile are:

  • Lord of The Rings The Card Game - Fantasy Flight’s lavish LCG from 2011. Many times in the past four weeks I have lifted this box off the shelf, set it up, played one or two turns, and all the while my eyes keep darting towards the LotR game I would RATHER be playing, Riener Knizia’s abstract game. So I pack it up and play my preferred choice. Not that this Fantasy Flight game is bad, far from it. But it has only had solo play on my table and I think I have got as much out of it as I can. I’ll always rather be playing Knizia’s. Complete and in perfect condition inside. The box has a small tear on the lid edge.
  • The Isle of Doctor Necreaux - (2009) Solo/cooperative card game that that I only played solo. Recieved above average reviews but wasn’t my cup of Java. It is, of course, complete and in perfect, as new condition.
  • Black Cannon - From Parker, 1986. Great condition, see link. Dice included aren’t original.
  • Level 7 [Escape] - No unboxing link for this as I haven’t got round to it yet. It’s brand new. Was released last month. Betrayal at the House on the Hill with an Area 51 makeover. I didn’t rate it. It has an audience but that audience isn’t me. It’s punched, played once, the box has a scuff on one edge, otherwise perfecto.
  • New and Easy to Master Dungeons & Dragons - From 1991. You could fill a crater with what I don’t know about DnD. I toyed with the idea of playing but as a whole it just doesn’t suit my needs. I’m not an incredibly social gamer. It’s all in what I would consider Very Good condition inside the box. Dungeon map, and documentation appear to have had very little use, if any. The only character pieces that have been punched are the ones that feature in the first tutorial so it hasn’t been used beyond that, i don’t think. It’s complete with all the tutorial cards, rule books, Dungeon map, poster, check the link for contents and condition. The box has a fair bit of shelf wear with some foxing on the corners and a couple of creases.
  • Bionicle: Quest for Makuta - Never played. Complete and in perfect condition. Erm… this is the one I’m getting stuck with, isn’t it.

So, that’s it, I think. Have a look at my BGG wish list or if there is something not on that list that you think I might like (some of you are familiar with my tastes and my limited board game experience) then try your hand. Chance your arm. Break a leg.

Tweet me @SonAndGames

Email me kelseyisace(at)gmail(dot)com

and we’ll talk :)

KJ.

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"No matter how paranoid you are, you’re not paranoid enough." - Suzanne Modeski

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Something about Bionicle never really sat right with me…

Oop. No. Bad way to start. First things first: New to the Table is on Facebook now. So blow the dust off it, apologise to Twitter, and ‘Like’ my page please. Then come back.

Back?

Good. Now nip off to UKGMN to see what the best British board game bloggers are talking about today. Then come back.

Done?

Thanks. Something about Bionicle never really sat right with me. It always seemed to occupy an uncomfortable void between regular Legos and Technic Lego. At first I was enthused about creating super-articulated, super-poseable robots, but the spindly, skeletal finished product seemed quite flimsy and unthreatening. Add to that their incompatibility with with either Lego or Technic Lego (it would have been great to add armour somehow) and the whole Bionicle brand seems very un-Lego and at odds with their core values: "no modern warfare or violence"

At first blush, 2001’s Bionicle - Quest for Makuta by RoseArt does little to change my mind about Lego’s anorexic androids. In fact, it manages to lower my opinion. 

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