You know what’s surprisingly difficult? Thinking up headlines that are both informative and punny. What isn’t difficult is justifying a trip to the Boardgames.co.za stand to check out what they’re bringing to rAge. As promised in a previous article, hit the jump to find out what to play.
The usual suspects
Whenever someone mentions “board games expo”, a clutch of titles immediately spring to mind. These are the mainstays, and even if you’re not too clued up on the tabletop industry you’ll recognise these names. Settlers of Catan, for example. Now in its 19th year, this German game has been a mega-hit and it just keeps on getting more popular. Catan has a bunch of awards, a huge following, and enough expansion packs to satisfy any market. If Catan strikes your fancy, you might have the makings of a long-running board games night right here. When I asked the masterminds at Boardgames.co.za which games they recommend, Catan was their first choice.
Another popular game is Ticket to Ride, the game that brings out the railroad industrialist in all of us. The game and its numerous expansions see players competing to connect cities by railroad, and different expansions are set in either America or Europe.
The next is proof that while you can’t map a sense of humour, you can turn it into a board game.
Discworld: Ankh-Morpork is set in Terry Pratchett’s famous and satirical fantasy world. Players all randomly select personalities from Pratchett’s books, all of which come with their own victory conditions and instructions. The cool thing is that the personalities and goals are kept secret from other players, which may lead to political shenanigans and skulduggery on the same scale as Game of Thrones.
Besides those, I for one will be checking out Dominion and Small World. Both see players racing to capture territory in fantasy worlds, but Dominion is card-based whereas Small World features a humorous random-race generator (leading to races like “Flying Elves” and whatnot). King of Tokyo looks fun too, and sees Kaiju-like monsters battling it out in Tokyo (duh).
The new challengers
Boardgames.co.za isn’t just bringing the tried and tested to rAge, they’re also launching a lot of new games. Most of these will only be for sale come the holiday season, but you can bet your neckbeard they’ll be playable at rAge.
The one I’m most excited about is iKNOW. Yes, I know it sounds like an iOS app, but it actually combines two of my favorite things: trivia games and casual gambling. See, you can bet on who you think will get the right answer, and you can mess up your answer deliberately if it’ll dick over one of your opponents. So TL;DR, it sounds like a mix of Trivial Pursuit, Balderdash and gambling.
Another thing I love is Scrabble. Not for the stimulating gameplay, but more for showing how wordy I am compared to my peons friends. In similar vein is the a-peel-ing Bananagrams. Everything needed to play is bundled in a cute little bag, and the game plays like a sped-up Scrabble without the point-taking. The game has been in the country before, but only recently has Boardgames.co.za acquired sole distribution rights.
And lastly in the cool-looking newcomers is Ultimate Werewolf. Go on, say it. SAY IT. Saying the name has proven to double the iron content in your blood, because it’s METAL. Saying the name has proven that you will become utterly irresistible to women / men / both. Saying the name has proven to repel elephant attacks. I know this because I say it every morning, and so far so good.
That aside, Ultimate Werewolf is playable by up to 68 (!) players and sees them trying to lynch the werewolves that lurk in their midst. Players all get a card with a character, be they werewolf, hunters, bartenders, etc. Gameplay involves players closing their eyes, then the werewolf players open theirs and secretly play their moves, followed by the other characters doing their things. In short, you’ll only know who’s playing as the same character as you, and everyone else is a suspect. There is also a newer addition called One NightUltimate Werewolf, and like the name suggests it takes place over one night (turn) and is much faster paced. And if all this sounds complex, there will be a downloadable DM Companion App (I came up with that name) that will walk you through everything using a smartphone.
We don’t often delve into the murky depths of children’s games, but there will be a host of board games for the younger audience. Let’s face it, gamers who have been gaming for a while most likely are old enough to have families and kids. And you don’t want those little tykes getting square-eyes in front of video games, that’s what you are meant to do.
There are some really neat offerings for the younglings here. Like an adaptation of The Three Little Pigs, which sees players racing to build houses while also using their Big Bad Wolf powers to destroy other houses. It has this innovative spinning wheel that players blow on to determine the effect of the demolitions. Or if you want something more complex for the kids, check out Catan Junior. It’s like the regular game, only balanced for younger players and it features pirates. I really want to play a pirate board game now.
Fresh hype! Get yeh’ hype here!
To wrap things up, there are a few more announcements to make. Obviously, all or most of the above games will be playable at stands 34 and 34a at rAge, and a team of experienced and knowledgeable “game guides” will be there to teach them to visitors. In a neat touch, Boardgames.co.za is offering a discount for some of their games. Basically, you learn it and then you can pay less for it. To give you a sense of the scale of the stand, 100 square-metres are dedicated to demos.
Also don’t forget that the stand will be shared with Blowfish Entertainment and Skycastle Games, representing the three main aspects of tabletop gaming. There’s still a big announcement from the three of them coming soon too.
So when you’re at the expo, check out the board games. The medium has evolved since the days of Monopoly and Battleship, and you’re bound to find me there embarrassing somebody at iKNOW.