Monday, February 16, 2009

Board Gamey Goodness

Once a game geek, always a game geek, I guess...

...but I was never quite that immersed. Well, there was this one time in college we were doing a live roleplaying game and I decided to dress the part; but it felt really stupid so I changed into my normal clothes after the first few hours.

I was browsing the comic store at the local mall a couple of days ago, waiting for my kids' haircuts to be done, not really into the comics this time. I either wasn't in to looking for the sequels to the ones I bought last time or, in the case of the Cthulhu-based ones, they were so awful that I didn't want to find the next issue. Comics never really caught on with me - I tried to love them, I really did, but the whole Marvel Universe thing never caught on. Judge Dredd comics were pretty cool...

and I dumped some serious cash into them in college.

But gaming was a different story - whether it was role playing, sci-fi or fantasy board games, or a good ol' wargame by Avalon Hill, it was a huge part of my life in college and as a young adult. I still have several hundred dollars' worth of them in totes in my basement and garage. In college we'd have at least one gaming weekend a semester, and at one point it almost became a certainty that my friend B.O.B. and I would set up a big-ass game of Squad Leader and duke it out. The battles were epic and the victories were truly Pyrrhic. I'm sure if you could zoom down and watch the last few cardboard tiles in action at the end of the last turn, you'd have seen one German and one Russian, out of ammo and beating each other with their canteens and pointed sticks.

As with most other fun things, as you get older you get less time for them. We still get together once or twice a year for games, booze and food. In fact, we need to do it again soon.

Okay back to the store. I was pleasantly surprised when I walked down the game much so I bought a couple of games. Actually, game expansion packs:

Zombie Fluxx just looked plain fun. I've never played Fluxx before, though I think it's popped up at a recent game day or two. It plays stand-alone or as an expansion, and it's ages 8+, so I can play with my son. So it'll be getting some exercise this week.

The Arkham Horror expansion looks awesome as well. I used to own the original (1987) version. This to me is a great "bridge" between the role playing and board game world. It's cooperative (you and your fellow players vs. the mythos), you get a choice of many characters (though you don't get to build a personality) and the hundreds of events and objects ensure nearly endless variety. And it's difficult. In short, you and your fellows must prevent Arkham from being invaded by the Great Old Ones and their minions. Throughout the game gates to other dimensions open up, monsters come out, crazier and crazier shit starts to happen, and if the players can't close enough gates and effectively counter the monsters, a Great Old One shows up. Like Nyarlathotep (in which case you're fucked) or Azathoth (in which case you're fucked) or Cthulhu (in which case you're fucked) or Shub Niggurath (in which case you're fucked) or ... you get the idea! Lots of fun. Played it with my son once or twice, and since he's a couple of years on the young side I end up working most of the game mechanics for him and he gets to roll the dice and kill things, which he likes. Or get killed or go insane, which he also thinks is pretty cool.

There were plenty of other awesome games there. Many from the Catan series, and several of the Axis and Allies sub-games. I almost picked up the Guadalcanal game - one of the most gut-wrenching and pivotal campaigns of the Pacific War - but I've already got enough games without anyone to play them with. So what, I'll probably buy it next time.

Once a geek...


Anonymous said...

Excellent choices. I used to play Fluxx and Arkham Horror all the time.

MRMacrum said...

Missed the role playing game thing. Missed the computer game thing. Geez, seems I missed a lot. But I did play games with my ole man. Chess, Pinochle, Bac Gammon, Poker, Scrabble. I never once beat him playing Chess, but I often kicked his butt in Pinochle.

And all in all, that is what was important I guess. That time with the ole man. Cherish your time with your kid.

B.O.B.(bob) said...

Ah, my poor sad Squad Leader and expansions are sitting all lonely and dusty in the basement. Even when getting together for gaming it's just too much to commit to considering it's usually a 4-5 hour game. That and I'd have to reread the tome that is the rulebook.

Remember the epic Supremacy battle that lasted all night until we finally let the nukes start flying around 5 the next morning!

We definitely plan on a game day soon. Thinking of pi day. Details will follow soon.

And yes I'm still a sucker for a new cool looking game. I have a bunch I've never played.

briwei said...

B.O.B. - I totally remember the Supremacy game. Ken Hinckley and the Ching Wo Zipperheads. We did some dumbass sh*t in college. :)

Fluxx is excellent light fodder and something the kids can probably handle. I'm slowly working on my kids. The 11 year old is likely ready for some more interesting gaming, but her 8 year old brother, not so much. Perhaps something cooperative. Or better yet, Talisman and it's 57 expansions!!!

I also still have Starfleet Battles in the vain hope that I'll once again get to roll on the internal systems damage charts...

Bull said...

replicant - Playing Arkham Horror regularly is something I could really get into.

Crum - I completely agree. I played a lot of the same with my dad. I did manage to beat him once at chess, but it was Thanksgiving or Christmas and he was in the post-dinner food coma / alcohol buzz.

B.O.B. - Every time I go to my basement or garage I get sad seeing the games. But I do have Nukewar located. Maybe I'll pull it out next time. Pi day might be tough - I believe the Suffolk County St Patrick's Day Parade (aka - The South Boston Death March) is that day as well. We'll see.

briwei - Wow, SFB! I think that is one game I actually do NOT have anymore...(snif)...the Romulan Plasma and Kzinti Drones were a bitch.

Randal Graves said...

Oh man, I haven't played Arkham Horror in what seems like forever.

I do recall many, many sessions of Axis and Allies and Shogun (is this one still around?) growing up.

Bonus points for the old school Anthrax.

Dr. Momentum said...

My kids love Fluxx; it's great for people who like to make and break rules. It's the rules of the game that are constantly... in flux.

I'd love to know how Zombie Fluxx works out. I'd love to spice up our Fluxx.

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