Thursday, 14 November 2013

Cubist Panting

In what's shaping up to be a bumper week of games Chris found himself Bristol-bound again, and we took the opportunity to break out Cube Quest.

After an initial salvo of plays that rivalled anything in terms of impact on GNN, Cube Quest has returned to the shelf. It was as if somebody turned the harsh fluorescent lights on during a Freemason's goat sacrifice and everybody suddenly got a bit embarrassed and shuffled off home.

But now it was back. The silliest game we know - and what's more, Chris had never played it before.

He was dazzling

And what's more what's more, we've been playing it wrong! I realised something was amiss when Joe sent me the link to the review on Shut Up and Sit Down. Initially I thought they'd missed a line in the rule book, but on reflection I wondered, who would be more likely to get the rules wrong? Two games journalists who make carefully conceived and edited games podcasts, or a terminably fatigued man with a history of rule-getting-wronging? 

So. We played it right last night - and the correct rule about release rolls is this: after flicking, if your piece lands in your opponents territory "right-side" up, there is no release roll. It just stays there. However if the piece lands "shadow-side" up, then it is removed from the play area and rolled. "Shadow-side" up, and it's out of the game. "Right-side" up, and it stays in play, but is returned to your castle.
It's better.  We both set up somewhat defensively and had issues getting our pieces to engage with battle. But after some serial suiciding, Chris took a pot shot with a plain old grunt and smacked me off the board.

We moved on to Castle Dice, which is something of an enigma. Last week Joe especially was unmoved by it, but Andrew and I have enjoyed a couple of two-player games, and my kids keep demanding to play it all the time. Often first thing in the morning. And on Sunday, my mum (playing with me and the boys) broke the habit of a lifetime when instead of disdaining any game that isn't Scrabble, she actually suggested I bring Castle Dice with me next time I come to visit. I'm still reeling from that.

Chris hadn't played this before either, but if you're not coming of the back of an intensive Railways workshop it moves along at a fair old lick. By the time round three came he was up to speed, and we took a break to go off and play football.

*intermission music*

Then we came back and Chris beat me 12-10. It would have been nice to get one more game in but by this time it was nearly eleven, and Chris had a long drive home. I'd be interested to hear Chris' take on a game that continues to divide more people than a cardboard Russell Brand. 
Until tonight then!


  1. As Louie Walsh would probably say "Oi Loiked it". Not too difficult for a newbie to pick up and determine a strategy. There's enough going on to be interesting and enough in the game to defend against the luck element (As is necessary in any dice game). I would pitch it as a light-medium game. As we discussed last night the mismatched artwork seems a little strange if not a shame. Maybe the card artist was too expensive for the counters...

    The one thing I would say for a new player is that there can be a lot bonus moves to remember and in what sequence they must be played. It's here that I must thank Sam for letting me redo a few forgotten bonuses and also for ignoring a move that was totally invalid! I most certainly wouldn't have won without his prompting!

  2. Well I think as the Explainer, I have to take at least some responsibility for your 'wrong' moves, Chris.

    I have a unique relationship with this game. It some ways it feels brilliant but in one or two it feels like a dud. I'm personally not sure that the animals really integrate with the dice and cards particularly well from mechanical point of view - thematically the animals roles are nonsensical - but maybe I'm still getting my head around it.

    I really do think that the game we had last week was ill-timed. However that's not to say the same four people would play it again and think it's great - as Joe said afterwards, he felt a bit like he was playing a children's game. I can understand that - and it's a lot to do with design I think.

    But it's also length. Played when you're familiar enough with it, the game is relatively short, and then - like Portobello Market or Poison - it feels like it's not quite a main course game, and not a filler either, occupying some less-attractive durational netherworld.

  3. Yes, its the animals that skew the theme a little, but then again it doesn't appear to set itself up as a serious game. However, as with all board games, you could strip the theme completely out and make it about building space stations with dice baring aliens instead of barbarians and star destroyer pilots instead of soldiers etc.

    Keep the chickens in though.

  4. That sounds like a great retheme.

  5. That photo has made me realise that Chris would make a good Doctor Who.

  6. Its not where I am but when I am.