I have to say I’m quite pleased that I actually managed to get up the Mysteriumpost last month (even if I was cutting it a little fine in terms of date!). Summer is always a difficult time when one is busy playing in the sun and having holidays, so I feel like maybe I’m off to a good start.
Schwarzer Peter is the German version of Old Maid. As I was unable to find accurate dates for Schwarzer Peter, I have here included the details for Old Maid instead.
What’s In The Box:
One deck of cards!
Playing The Game:
Objective: To have the most pairs at the end of the game, and not be holding the black cat card.
To begin the game the deck is thoroughly shuffled and the entire deck is dealt out to the players. Players then find all pairs that they have in their hand and place them on the table like this:
Once every player has finished laying down their pairs they take it in turns to take one card at random from one other player. When playing with two this means you will always (unless you draw the Black Peter card) manage to make a pair.
Winning The Game!
Once all the pairs have been made the player left with the Black Peter card is the loser, and the player with the most pairs is the winner. In the event that the player with the most pairs is also holding the Black Peter card, the player with the next highest number of pairs is announced the winner.
There’s little to be said for strategy in this game. It’s generally chance as to whether or not you will be dealt the Black Peter at the beginning or will draw it from another player. When playing with two players you both know from the beginning which of you has the Black Peter, but this doesn’t actually make much difference, in that the second player can still accidentally draw it on their turn. You just have to hope to get lucky.
History and Interesting Things:
Although there are many different published decks of cards with nice illustrations on them for playing this game it can also easily be played with a regular deck of cards.
The name Schwarzer Peter is thought to be reminiscent of a comrade of Schinderhannes, the robber Johann Peter Petri, who was also known as Black Peter. It’s thought that the game originated in his prison years, from 1811 onward, however, the true origin is probably older.
Old Maidis a Victorian card game, for 2+ players, believed to have been derived from a drinking game, in which the loser buys the next round/pays for the drinks.
It is known by many different names; Schwarzer Peter in Germany, Svarte Petter in Sweden, Svarteper in Norway, Sorteper in Denmark, Fekete Péter in Hungary, Musta Pekka in Finland, Asino in Italy, Le Pouilleux in France and Babnuki in Japan.
There is an English variation of the game, known as Scabby Queen which is played with a standard 52-card deck in which the loser has an additional punishment, on top of losing the game. When played with a standard deck of cards the odd card is usually a queen and the punishment inflicted in this game is this:
When the loser (the player with the single remaining queen) is found, the deck of cards, including the remaining queen but not the jokers, is shuffled and the loser cuts the deck. The card on the bottom of the pile they picked up then decides their “punishment”. If a red card (heart or diamond) is chosen, then the player is rapped on the back of the hand with the deck. If a black card (spades or clubs) is chosen, then he has the entire deck scraped across his knuckles (known as snipes. A skilled player can draw blood with the opening ‘snipe’). The number of times this is performed is decided by the value of the card. Cards 2-10 carry face value, jacks and kings have a value of 10, aces are 11 and queens are 21. Be aware that this can rip the skin of your hands, and can be extremely painful, hence the name Scabby Queen. It is also better to use old or cheap cards, as the cards can also be damaged (cheap and older cards also tend to be softer and more bendable, so the “punishment” is less severe). However, today the game is often played without this punishment, especially where the pain inflicted is not considered appropriate by the players (such as when parents are playing with their children), though the game is still called scabby queen. As with all playground games, the rules are often lost in translation and regional variations are common (school-specific rule-sets are not unusual). Courtesy of Wikipedia.
Please note that this variation of the game is rarely played now.
It’s a good game for families, it teaches kids to identify matching pairs, as well as providing a learning opportunity if you’re using an animal deck. You can get the children to identify different types of animal in their masculine and feminine forms (if they have them) and also what the babies are called. On top of that the game is very straightforward, so it’s hard to get confused when playing it. I rated this 5 because there’s nothing I would change about it.
So since my last update post I’ve successfully posted…. 1 game.
This is a little underwhelming I know. But I have been formulating a plan in the time since then, and I promise it doesn’t involve every second post being an update! The first part of the plan involves my sister, Bex, blogging about books over at anarmchairbythesea, and Terry Pratchett, well-known author of the Discworld series of books, among other things.
The second part of the plan involves Christmas!
A little explanation is in order? Perhaps.
I don’t want to say too much in case of two things;
I fail epically at making any of this happen, OR,
I fail at making you (the reader) excited about it, and therefore unlikely to return to read the fruit of these plans.
A basic sum-up of the plan can, however, be given. The part involving Bex goes like this: she’s organizing and partially hosting a Discworld Readathon or ‘Discworldathon’ (as she’s taken to calling it) on her blog, starting in January and continuing for one full year with each month having a Discworld-novel theme.
Since Terry Pratchett also authorized the creation of several board games based on the books, which we have already reviewed on this blog (the reviews can be read here) we thought it could be a nice idea to tie in the Discworldathon with some kind of replay or re-enjoyment of the related games. As of now we’re not 100% sure what the best way to work this out is, but we’re theorizing and planning and scheming and such, and we’ll undoubtedly come up with something.
This is the part of the plan involving Christmas. As some avid and dedicated readers may remember we did a series of posts entitled “Twelve Games of Christmas” in 2013. These, based on the statistics of the site, were quite popular. So I intend to bring them back this year. I’m hoping to be organized enough to make this possible, and I’ve already compiled a list of potential games to use for this.
That about sums up everything that’s in the works at the moment, and my hope is that even if posting is sporadic there should be a decent amount of posts going up around Christmas and some definite ones happening in the New Year in connection to Bex’s Discworldathon.
That’s everything for now, and I sincerely hope that my next post is not an update!
That Time I almost Lost at Chess…To a GIRL!…Who’s Younger than Me!
Luckily for me she backed herself into a stalemate and my pride was slightly less destroyed than it could have been. Like our Cripple Mr. Onion post this post is a bit of a bonus this month. Being a game invented by Terry Pratchett(well, more an adaptation of a classic game) we decided it needed a mention.
Being Stealthy at Chess:
Stealth Chess is much like normal Chess in the sense that all the regular rules of Chess apply and all the normal pieces are present and used. The game is altered by the widening of the board by one row on each side; these rows are called Slurks, and the addition of two pieces to each side which are Assassins. The Assassins start in the Slurks next to the Rooks, and only the Assassins can move in the Slurks. Unfortunately we did not have a Stealth Chess board lying around so we had to make do with a normal Chess board and imagine the additional rows, additionally the pieces that look very different to the others are pieces we borrowed from a different set to act as the Assassins.
Like in normal Chess all normal rules apply with the addition of the rules concerning the Assassins and Slurks. Assassins move one space in any direction but can move two to capture. Only they can move in the Slurks, and now you get the complicated bit; the Assassin can move as many spaces out of the Slurks as he has in the Slurks. To clarify, if over the course of 6 moves the Assassin has moved six spaces in the Slurks (including just backwards and forwards) the Assassin may move up to six space out of the Slurks, when exiting it, in one move and then an additional space to capture. So:
This white Assassin has moved three spaces in the Slurks:
So on exiting the Slurks it can capture the Queen like so:
Now the only point of ambiguity we have in this is “can the Assassin move through other pieces in this way?” Our answer was yes as, if you read the rules as laid out on Wikipediahere or the Discworld Wikihere, it describes the Slurks as another board under the existing board. So rather than moving down the side of the board it represents a space under the board which the Assassins move through and pop up to capture things. Additionally to all of this Assassins cannot take each other, out of professional courtesy.
The End and Other Things:
Normally I destroy my sister at Chess and our game of Stealth Chess was going the same way until I made one massive error and then it nearly all ended in tears. Except after a long time she managed to fight me into this position:
Which of course is Stalemate. However I think by the fifty-move rule it may have already been stalemate but that’s neither here nor there.
Anyway that’s the last time I lose concentration.
So a few last comments about Stealth Chess:
It’s given me an awesome idea for a two tiered version of Chess… Literally building two Chess boards that sit over each other.
Also to build an actual Stealth Chess board with the Slurks and proper Assassin pieces.
A couple of interesting “facts” about the game are:
On the Discworld it’s thought to actually be the original version of the game – “this belief is corroborated by the in-world discovery, in a tomb in Muntab, of a preserved corpse with an 8×10 board embedded in its skull and a pawn hammered up each nostril”
All in all it’s an interesting adaptation of Chess and a bit difficult to get your head around if you’re so used to thinking about Chess in the standard way. It’s well worth a play, and you don’t even have to buy anything if you already have a Chess set and a bit of imagination!
We’re all aware that it’s Terry Pratchett month, and that the last official post for this month has now gone up – The Witches. So now we’ve played all four officially produced Discworld games we wanted to have a look at the slightly more unofficial games. The most well known of these is Cripple Mr Onion. This is a fictitious card game that Terry Pratchett invented that’s played all over the Disc. It features in Wyrd Sisters, Reaper Man, Witches Abroadand Lords and Ladies. A game called “Shibo Yancong-San” (Cripple Mr Onion in Chinese) also appears in Interesting Times.
The game is played with an 8-suited deck of cards, the Discworld has its own deck of cards, called the caroc deck. However, for the purposes of playing in our universe a deck with the following eight suits and suit-pairs is acceptable: Spades and Axes, Clubs and Tridents, Hearts and Roses and Diamonds and Doves.
With the intention of learning the game, I acquired one such deck from the Fat Pack Playing Card Company, which has made learning the game easier, as the other alternative is to shuffle two normal decks together, but this presents the problem of having then two of each suit, and could get very confusing.
The game is a little like Poker in two respects, the first of which is that you must make the highest scoring hand to win the round, and the second of which is that, if you don’t play it often, the rules are such that’s it’s easy to forget them and end up both confused and annoyed. There’s a dealer for each round, which changes at the end of every round. The game starts by each player being dealt five cards face down, which they are immediately allowed to look at and can then discard up to four of them, being given replacement cards by the dealer. Once everyone’s done this a further five cards are dealt face up onto the table in front of each player – except the dealer, who receives theirs face down.
The first player then begins by trying to assemble a high-scoring hand (I’ll list the different hand in point order in a minute), once they’ve done this, the player to their left must assemble a higher-scoring hand, or fold. If they succeed in creating a higher scoring hand the first player is then allowed to try to rearrange their cards to score even higher, or fold. Once on player has been forced to fold play continues to the left until one player remains. This player wins the hand and becomes the dealer for the next round.
Scoring – lowest to highest hands:
Bagel – two cards with values totalling 20.
Two-card Onion – two cards with values totalling 21.
Broken Flush – three or more cards totalling between 16 and 21 inclusive with all but onein the same suit-pair.
Three-card Onion – three cards with values totalling 21.
Flush – like a Broken Flush but with all cards in the same suit-pair.
Four-card Onion – see other Onions.
Broken Royal – combination of 678 of any suit.
Five-card Onion – same-same, see above.
Royal – combination of 777 of any suit.
Six-card Onion – you get the idea by now.
Wild Royal – combination of 888 in a hand when eights are wild. (Wild eights’ll be explained a bit further down)
Double Onion – two picture cards and two aces.
Triple Onion – three picture cards and three aces.
Lesser Onion – four picture cards and four aces.
Great Onion – five picture cards and five aces.
Thus ends how to make points in this game. But now you begin to wonder “Isn’t the game called Cripple Mr Onion? We’ve had a lot of onions so far, but no crippling…” and you’d be right to present this question. Crippling Mr Onion comes into play when we get to the modifiers for the game. This is the bit that confused me the most, simply because there’s a lot to remember. So what I’m going to do, for the purposes of keeping this post fairly short, is simply list all the possible modifiers that can be played, and link you to a proper explanation of them. Except Wild Eights, which I said I’d explain, Crippling Mr Onion, because it’s the whole point of this post and The Fool, because that one’s funny. So here we go:
These can be played through the game to increase the value of a hand and, with the exception of the crippling rule, are all optional extras to the game. I’ll list the ones I’m not explaining first, and finish with the most interesting ones.
The Sender of Eights
Now, on to the others! We’ll start by explaining how to Cripple Mr Onion:
In the event that a player displays a Great Onion as their hand for a round, another player may immediately display a nine-card running flush and thereby instantly win the hand. If a player’s displayed a Great or Lesser Onion another player may display a ten-card running flush to Cripple Mr Onion, they may also use this to steal a win from a player who’s just Crippled an Onion using only a nine-card running flush. This is the only non-optional modifier.
Once your onion’s been crippled, you may find it looks a little like this:
This modifier’s actually called Null Eights but it makes eights wild. So, in a normal hand, where eights are not wild, an eight may be played as if its value were zero or eight, to increase the size of a hand in order to score higher. Because of this you can include them in an Onion to improve its size. However, in the round following the one in which this took place, eights become wild for the duration of that round and this modifier cannot be used again until the following round.
This is the last thing I’m going to explain. If a player holds the Jack of Clubs, they may declare it before the first player’s played their first group of cards. If they do this, Onions and Bagels switch places in scoring so a Double Bagel or Triple Bagel etc, become the most valuable hands with the single exception that a Great Onion will still beat a Great Bagel. It also then becomes possible for another player to Cripple Mr Bagel.Which is the only reason I wanted to specifically explain this one. I just like the concept of crippling a bagel.
There you have an explanation of how to play Cripple Mr Onion, I promise it’s only complicated for the first few hands, after that it begins to get easier as you begin to be able to spot the most useful combinations of cards! It can be a really quick game too, so it’s good for if you’ve only got a few minutes (provided you don’t have to learn the rules first) and you can play with up to seven people, so play it with all you friends!
All the info I got for this post was got from here, plus there’s extra stuff to read there if you want it, and a full explanation of all the modifiers.
This is by far the game with the most individual pieces we’ve played so far.
Playing The Game:
Objective: To return five of the eight Great Spells marked on your Guild card to the Unseen University before anyone else.
Now, this game is very complicated and also not very all at the same time. It has a LOT of rules, and took us a good hour to read through them all, but once you get the hang of it it’s actually all quite simple and is effectively just a slightly complicated race. So because of the complexity of the rules I will only outline in rough what happens.
You set up the board like this:
Each player starts at their start marker in the relevant guild quadrant, the board is divided into for quadrants, Assassins, Thieves, Fools and Alchemists quadrants. You start the game by picking a guild, for which you get a guild card for which has stats on it for Charm, Magic and Guild. You can increase these stats throughout the game by various methods and you blocks go up as shown bellow.
Your stats are mostly increased by the recruitment of volunteers which is done by charming or bribing. To bribe a volunteer you simply pay the amount marked in the bribe section on the card, to charm it you must roll the dice and achieve a number higher than its charm value, for this you also add you charm value from your stats to that number.
These cards also determine the movement of the coolest function of the game…THE LUGGAGE! At the top of each card it says “Luggage Moves” and then a number or instruction. The player who drew the card then has to move the luggage around the set track marked on the board, at splits in the track they get to chose which way it goes. If it collides with a player, even if it’s the piece of the person moving it, the player is sent straight to the nearest hospital, as shown bellow:
All of this is with the aim of returning spells to the Unseen University; you do this by getting to a spell you require and starting a spell run. This is where the volunteers you have collected are needed; you send them with the spell back to the University where you have to complete different levels of the wizards challenge to get the spells back in. I won’t go into the full mechanics of this as that would make this post very long. But as you return more and more spells the wizards challenges get harder and harder and you add more gold cylinders to you section of the Unseen University to mark the spells you have returned:
These spell runs can be sabotaged and you can use your volunteers to fight with each other, there are also items and scrolls that can be very helpful but I won’t go into these as, again, we would be here forever.
The other cool thing is that dragons can be summoned onto the board if three members of the Brotherhood, when called, are in play:
When this happens a dragon is summoned like this:
The dragon mechanics are complicated and in many respects kind of irrelevant, as once the dragon is summon and the threat initially met it’s very easy to just ignore it and carry on with the game regardless. However, one fun aspect is that if all four dragons come into play the game ends and nobody wins, this is a bit of a reoccurring theme in Terry Pratchett’s game as there is a similar mechanic in the Ankh-Morpork (read our post on it here) game as well as The Witches. Although this can have the downside of being rather anti-climactic and making you feel like you just wasted a few hours.
The game is won by the first person to return all the spells:
There are plenty of other rules about playing the game and other things and if you want you can read the revised rules here. We were following the unrevised rules, having an original edition of the game, so there was some ambiguity at points as to whether you actually could sabotage like that, amongst other things, but we worked through it.
Having only played this game twice I have a limited idea of the best strategy. But one thing I did notice was that the person who collects as many volunteers as possible rather than going straight for the spells seems to have an advantage. Also NEVER forget about the scrolls and items as they can get you out of some tight binds, the first time we played I basically ignored them, to my own peril. Also PLACE SABOTEURS! It is the difference between winning and losing, if you can sabotage the other persons spell run you have the edge!
History and Interesting Facts:
Although the board game was published in 2011 it was originally conceived in 1991.
Leonard Boyd Originally conceived the idea and played it with friends until in 1995 he showed it to Terry Pratchett.
Terry Pratchett liked the game but said they needed the backing of a major games company to make it all happen.
In 1999 Colin Smythe(currently Terry Pratchett’s agent) suggest that the game never be published…I’m quite happy that he was wrong and they didn’t give up on it.
In 2006 Gary Wyatt (of the Green Games Company) advised that they tried again with the publication of it as the board games market had picked up significantly since 1995.
So in Junes 2008 it was taken to the Speil Toy fair in Essen, Germany where it was shown to many companies, a couple of companies requested copies for play testing.
In 2008 Wolfgang Ludtke of TM-Spiele/Kosmos Games in Germany asked about developing a game based on the books of Terry Pratchett so they go sent a prototype too.
All three companies that had play tested the game felt that it needed a redesign to be aimed more at the hobby market.
So after FIVE redesigns it was sent for testing by the same three companies, it was also test played by Terry Pratchett fans, it got the backing of Z-Man Games and a license from Terry Pratchett.
The game was finally published in September of 2011! Showing that the road to getting a board game published can be long and very hard but if you end up with a great game its worth it in the end. Also while Thud is the oldest of the Terry Pratchett board games by publication date this one is probably the oldest in concept.
To read the full history of the game go to the official website here.
Guards! Guards! is a good game however it has it’s flaws, for example it took us over an hour to read the rules…We’re patient but there’s a limit. Also for all its rules it manages still to be quite simple in the sense that it’s a race and the person with the best luck tends to win. However it is a fun way to spend a couple of hours with some friends and the artwork and layout of the game are well conceived. I would recommend it, especially if you are a fan of the Discworld universe as each volunteer card has a unique quote on it that is taken from one of the books and are mostly quite amusing, as well as passages in the rule book being quoted and funny. For another overview of the game watch this video review here:
We decided, in our infinite genius, to get all the game we have together for a photo…we under estimated a bit how many game we actually had. This is what happened after A LOT of arranging:
A Tad Excessive?
Don’t be ridiculous, of course it’s not. There’s no such thing as too many games! Now not all of them are ours. The ones on the left at the top are mine and the ones on the left at the bottom are my sister’s, but the rest are communal family games… Our love of games had to come from somewhere!
A Bit of a Thought:
So from this picture of the collection of our games we decided we were going to make a “Games We Have” page as well the the “Games We Want” page to keep a catalogue of all the games we have and to mark the ones we’ve played, the ones we’ve reviewed, and how we rate them. So up the top now you should see “Games We Have” and “Games We Want“. Check them out and feel free to recommend games by commenting on the “Games We Want” page and see what our favourite games are on the games we have page and how many of these 100+ games we still have to play!
This month is going to be themed Terry Pratchett month (or more like, board games inspired by works of Terry Pratchett) but that’s somewhat long winded! If anyone reading this is unaware of Terry Pratchett and his works, you must be educated now! Start by clicking THIS hyper link and picking a book, then buy it, then start reading. You could start at the beginning (a very good place to start) with The Colour of Magic. Then watch at least a couple of the films made from his books (I would suggest Hogfather followed byGoing Postal) then even perhaps find the stop motion version of Truckers (which you can watch on YouTube HERE) and watch that (its not half bad) and then watch the animated TV series of Wyrd Sisters and of Soul Music. And after all that perhaps even listen to the Steeleye Span album Wintersmith inspired by the book of the same name. Then after you’re familiar with all that come and finish reading this post and then play the board games!
We’ve reviewed the games in publication order going from oldest to youngest and the last one will be the newest game we have looked at so far, having only been published in 2013.
To my infinite disgust we now have a Twitter page. It took us a while, but we finally came to terms with the thought that it might be a good idea. Check it out HERE! Follow it etc.
The Twelve Games of Christmas – 2013 page is GONE! Having finally let go of the Christmas magic we took the stand alone page down. However the individual posts can still be found and brought together if you click on the category for them.
We have some very exciting ideas for future video blogs but are fundamentally stumped by our lack of a decent camera, but good ideas are in the works and will hopefully be a reality in a few months or less. SO, for now you’ll have to live with videos like the one we made of the game play of OSKA – which you can see HERE!
Along with Breach The Keep we have two other games in the works. One is a card game called Crush the Crown! Which we will be posting the rules for soon and hoping for (but not expecting) some feedback! There is another, far cooler, project in the works which will be posted about soon, so definitely look out for that.
This may be a premature announcement but we are having a website built to host internet versions of games we design starting with Breach The Keep. However, it’s in early stages, but is coming along nicely so expect it, but not for half a year or so.
While this months theme is “Old (usually) Wooden Games” OSKA doesn’t exactly fit that theme. It really all comes down to your idea of old, if you’re ten years old and 1995 seems like “FOREVER AGO” and “BEFORE I WAS EVEN BORN!” then OSKA is old, but if this is not the case then there’s every chance you remember 1995 and so it doesn’t seem that old. It does have an earlier history than its publication but that still only dates back to the 1950s, which some of you also may possibly be able to remember. See the history section for more information.
What’s in the Box:
In a normal OSKA box you find:
One wooden board
Eight pieces. Four red and four blue.
And it should have an instruction booklet to remove any ambiguity about the brief instructions on the back of the box, (see section “Playing the Game) but there isn’t one.
However our copy came from a charity shop (one of the best places to buy games if you were unaware of this). So in the box there was just the board with no pieces! So we borrowed four white and four brown pieces from a game of Draughts!
Playing the Game:
Normally here I would give a brief outline of the rules but as the rules to OSKA are already brief I have copied exactly what it says on the back of the box:
“OSKA is a speedy game for 2 players which is deceptively simple, using the Draughts (checkers) principle of diagonal movement and capture. BUT – keep well in mind the quirk that gives OSKA its bite. The winner is the player whose remaining pieces first reach the far side – the less pieces you have left, the easier this will be. The skill lies in when, or if, to capture, and when to force your opponent to capture you.”
The big problem with this set of rules is that there are more than one set of rules to Draughts. For example in English Draughts you can only take diagonally forwards (unless you are using a king) but inInternational Draughts it allows you to take diagonally backward. I have assumed that it meant the English Draughts; firstly because it initially refers to it as Draughts rather than Checkers and secondly, because OSKA was invented in England.
So let’s just clarify the rules:
You set up your four pieces on the back row like this:
We played white moves first but you could play either way, and if you’re playing with red and blue pieces you could play whoever is set up on the white section moves first.
You move one pieces diagonally, the the other player does the same.
You take a piece by jumping it, so this can only be done forwards and so long as the space the other side of it is empty. You do not HAVE to take as the rules state “when, or if, to capture”.
The winner is the first one to have ALL of their REMAINING pieces to the other side, so if all of their pieces are taken except one and they get that one to the other side before the other player gets all four of their pieces across, they win.
Rules We Assumed:
We rationally assumed that in the scenario that all your pieces are taken you’ve lost.
We also assumed that if you both ended up with the same number of pieces in the end zone at the same time it was a draw. This CAN occur if one player while moving its last (or only piece) into the end zone takes the other players only piece that’s not in the end zone. However this is unlikely to occur, as in that scenario you can choose to move into the end zone without taking.
We also assumed that if a similar scenario occurred and one person had more pieces than the other in the end zone they won.
A Little Help:
Just to help we filmed a video of the game play of OSKA to help clarify. Here it is! Our very first video blog… Sort of. Our real video blogs will happen when we get a much better camera but it’s a start!
Now while the game is simple (once you’ve clarified the rules) and fast, there’s a lot that could be said about the strategy. For starters you cannot afford to make mistakes, I know this can be said for almost all games but one mistake in OSKA and the other person most often enters a state where they can’t be beaten because all series of moves that follow result in their victory!
The key to the game, I believe, lies in forcing the other person to take you. You can create a series of plays where they have no option but to take you because they have no other available moves. And once you start to lose pieces you have an easier job than they do as you have less pieces to get across the board.
I could go on about strategy and start drawing diagrams and things of this nature (as that how “into” this game I have got, a game that less than a month ago I was unaware existed). But I will spare you all, however, in the future I may write a specific post on the dynamics and maths of the game, which everyone can feel free not to read.
History and Interesting Facts:
Unfortunately due to the obscurity of this game the history and fasts that are about to follow are mostly off the back of the box as there’s not much more information on the game out there. Which is a shame as it’s a good game.
The game was originally devised by Bryn Jones in the 1950s.
Bryn Jones was a miner so the game was originally played scratched into the dust on the floor of a mine at Lancashire Coalfields to pass time at breaks.
Woodward Creations annotated the rules and refined it into the more presentable format you find it in now.
It can now be found as part of The Inventors Collection which is a gathering of games and puzzles from the worlds top game inventors.
The game is made of eco-friendly wood.
It can be considered as part of the Draughts family of games.
Not really a surprise if you’ve read the post above, but the rules are ambiguous which unfortunately takes away from a very good and very fast game.
This may come as little surprise to you (if you have read the above), I like this game! I’m a huge fan of Chess (as most sane people are) and similarly simplistic but complex at the same time strategy games make me happy. However as far as I’m aware there is no game as perfect as Chess and probably never will be. But OSKA falls into the category of games that are in the right ball park when it comes to your basic strategy game. I would even proclaim that it has a one up on Draughts as I maintain Draughts is too large and long a game to have such simplicity, in short it can become boring, which is why to every 100 Chess matches I have played I’ve probably only played half a Draughts game. This is where OSKA hits the nail on the head, its taken the same idea as Draughts and made it small, fast and above all FUN!
The biggest flaw I find with this game is the ambiguity of the rules and their phrasing. I am slightly ashamed to admit that we played the game wrong in two different ways before finally re-re-re-reading the paragraph on the back of the box and breaking it down to create clarity. First time round we missed the word “remainder” so we where playing first one to get one piece across…This version of the game is ridiculously flawed because the person who moves first (providing they’re not an idiot) will ALWAYS win! We also played that you HAVE to capture if you can capture and even after we started paying attention to the “remaining pieces” section of the rules we still failed to notice the “when, or if, to capture” phrase that implies you do not HAVE to capture. Anyway once we had figured it all out this game is a 4 out of 5 however the amount of time we wasted playing it wrong reduces it to a 3 out 5 (hence the top scoring). It could be argued that us playing it wrong is our own fault but I maintain the rules are needlessly ambiguous and if you don’t know what Draughts is they’re impossible to follow!
Additionally if anyone would like to buy the game check out HERE! – keep in mind this link is to an eBay sale so it won’t always be valid but it’s valid at the time of publication and will hopefully either be updated or removed when it stops being valid.
Traditionally our Christmas’ are rather game orientated, along with a classic Christmas film in the evening and usually the Dr Who Christmas episode! Unsurprisingly our parents are no strangers to the odd board game and before we even started actively collecting board games it was safe to say we had somewhere between 30 – 40 games in our house, just because that’s the way life was. Now with our active collection and recent explosion of board games we probably have somewhere close to 100 games in the house… Which is awesome (obviously). Christmas leant a hand in that; between the two of us we got 12 games (not all exactly board games) to add to the collection here’s a picture:
So these are all the games we received for Christmas! They made us SUPER happy! Obviously not all of them will feature on the blog, we’re hardly going to blog about table football, for example, but it did make the picture look cool! This is the list of what we got (from left to right):
So we thought we’d share a touch of our Gaming Christmas Day with you through some pictures as a final farewell to our favourite holiday of the year!
Note that Aunt Jean does not feature in any of these pictures… She believes cameras are the work of the devil! They steal your soul she says! If this is true Kim Kardashian is truly Soulless!
Babies Can Play Too:
OH MY GOD JUST GET ON WITH IT:
…It Was Much More Like This:
52 Card Pick Up:
Last, and Apparently Worst, Game of The Day:
To End At The End Would Seem To Be The Right Place To End:
That brings me to the end of our Christmas day and the end of this post. Other games were played and much fun was had, and I hope your Christmas was just as good. This post was obviously meant to go up earlier but I kept forgetting about it!
As a belated Christmas present… Or a really, really early one you should like us on facebook HERE!