Let’s review how well I’m doing with my New Years Blogolutions:
To try and post as regularly as I can, even if it means sitting in Starbucks for five hours writing posts.
Well, I haven’t been to Starbucks, I will admit, but that’s only because there isn’t one near where I live now, and it’s very cold outside. But! I have achieved regular posting even if I haven’t achieved the desired every Sunday for Catan posts and Wednesdays for other stuff.
2. To follow throughonall my plans for the year at least long enough to see if they’re worth making a permanent feature.
I’ve done okay at this one. I’ve achieved two posts for the Games You Can Make At Home series, and one Catan post, so that’s one new thing and the theme both present there! However…. I haven’t managed to research any games. Things have been busy round here and my internet access is rubbish at the moment. But I’m getting proper Wifi on the 6th, so I should be able to pick things up then!
Other update news…. The next game in line with #Discworldathon is Guards! Guards! which will (fingers crossed) be going up in the middle of the month. The re-readathon for that is being hosted by A Novel Haul here on WordPress and also Twitter with the handle @anovelhaul. So feel free to follow up on what she’s up to with the re-readathon.
That’s everything for now, if we’re lucky I’ll get a post up on Sunday, we’ll have to see.
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:
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.