This weekend has been pretty hectic. For approximately 8-9 hours, across two days, we have fought through hordes of zombies, and some of us have barely survived. Basically, we spent the entire weekend playing Zombicide. Zombicide is a cooperative strategy game for 1-6 players, with successes determined by the luck of the dice roll.
Today we spent most of our time checking out Preston’s new board game cafe, Dice & Donuts. Partially funded through a kickstarter campaign, and opening its doors last November, Dice & Donuts seems to have got off to a great start.
Pandemic has always been one of my favourite board games, as it’s the perfect combination of cooperative game play and strategic thinking, so when I was given the opportunity to try out some of Pandemic’s spin off games, I was quite excited.
Pandemic Contagion, and Pandemic The Cure are both stand alone games born of the original Pandemic philosophy. One is very similar to the original, and one if very different.
Recently I have been given the opportunity to try out some of the spin off games from Pandemic, which is one of my favourite board games to play, and it reminded me of a mobile app I love called Plague.
Plague is a really great mobile game, and can be summed up as reverse Pandemic. Instead of working towards curing diseases and ultimately saving the planet, you instead develop your own disease with the intention of wiping the planet out.
The great thing about this game is it’s playability. Despite being quite short in itself, each game takes 5 – 10 minutes, it’s still something that you want to play again and again, and a big part of that is the different options the game has.
Last month I had the pleasure of reviewing Saboteur, the perfect way to introduce games of lies and deception to new players. After playing Saboteur, it swiftly ranked as one of the best deception games I have ever played. Except for Werewolf, which I think will always be top of my list, Saboteur for me jumped ahead of Resistance, Avalon, and other similar games, and here’s why;
- It’s different: Despite my love of Werewolf, I have found that other games such as Avalon and Resistance, all seem to stem from a very similar concept to Werewolf. For this reason, I like them, but for this same reason, I think that players can get bored. What Saboteur does is take the game play style of lies and deception, and applies to a different concept, which makes it so much more exciting to play.
- It’s simple: Players who have never played a game revolving around bluffing can find this style quite daunting, but Saboteur is so simple to set-up, easy to explain, and quick to play, you can bring new players up to speed within 5 – 10 minutes.
Because Saboteur was such a great game for us, we were excited to play Saboteur 2, and see how the game had been developed.
A few days ago we visited a new Escape Game company who have opened their doors in Bury. Trapped In currently have two games available to play, Air Traffic Control, and Time Machine. Games are available for up to six players, and the costs are pretty much the same as most other Manchester based companies.
We decided to start off with the easier of the two rooms, and work our way up, so we began with Air Traffic Control, rated three out of five stars in difficulty. Despite all six of us having played escape games before, we didn’t half muck this one up. We became fixated on one clue, convinced we were on the right track, when we were completely wrong, and wasted a lot of time. THEN we accidentally solved the final clue and escaped with 29 minutes to go. So, once we realised we had not actually solved the clues properly, we went back in, pretended that last bit never happened, and carried on……
Last night I made my third visit to Escape Rooms in Manchester, and fourth overall, if you count my visit to the Preston Site. Escape Rooms, especially the Manchester site, seems to be becoming one of my favourite Escape Game companies to visit. It’s getting to the point now where it’s not just about the awesome games they produce, but it’s the little extra things, like chatting with the staff, who are always excellent at this site.
Last weekend we travelled to UCLAN in Preston to play Watch the Skies, and full on interactive, role playing, pervasive game of strategy, politics and war. Think Risk, with aliens, acted out in real life. Sort of.
After over 6 hours of game play, we had an amazing time, we think we might have won, and we still have no idea how we did it!
First us up, we were playing as Saudi Arabia, so despite some resistance from unsure members of the team, we arrived, and promptly secured tea towels to our heads. We weren’t the only team to put the effort in, the French team could be spotted by their berets, and were often seen wandering around with baguettes, many military players could be spotted in various camo gear, and a variety of lab coats could be seen on the science officers as they attended their conferences.
As a lover of pervasive games, when I heard about Watch the Skies coming to Preston, I was quick to put together a team so we could see what it was all about. Interestingly, we put our team together first, and then decided to see exactly what we had got ourselves in for, and it’s actually quite hard to find information on these games!
First up, Watch the Skies is developed by Megagame Makers;
A Megagame is a multi-player game, in which, usually the participants are organised into teams, and those teams into an hierarchy of teams.
Our event is going to be run by Dice & Donuts, a new gaming cafe in Preston, so we’re happy that the event is organised by a bunch of gaming geeks, as this is always a good start….
Saboteur is a game that I know I’m going to like straight out of the box. Look at all my favourite games, Munchkin, Smallworld, and especially Werewolf, all games of lies and deception, and Saboteur is the latest game I’m adding to that list.
What’s nice about this game, is that although the premise is very similar to Werewolf, Avalon, One Night Revolution etc, it’s very obviously designed around a new concept, whereas the others can sometimes be a little too similar to appear as stand alone, unique games.