Tavener's Treasure Trove
Why review old games? Well, a lot of the gamers I know - myself included - are in the habit of visiting car boot sales and charity shops, looking for bargains… and it’s amazing just what can turn up. Also, if you have access to the internet, you’ll find a thriving international marketplace for out of print games, at prices ranging from cheap to extortionate. So… if you like the sound of some of these games, don’t despair - they will turn up sooner or later.
After some fairly intense games in the last Treasure Trove, I thought I’d look at some silly games this time around. Enjoy!
Thunder Road (by MB Games) is described on the packaging as "The ram and wreck survival game", and it lives up to its name. The board is made up of two sections of road; as soon as a car crosses the end of the front board, the rear section of the board is taken up, all cars on the rear section are removed from the game, and the rear section becomes the new front section. A player wins when only their cars remain on the board. In effect, this means that, you have to beat your opponents by a board-width to win. This is best achieved by destroying your opponents' cars; after all, it's much easier to outdistance a wreck than a moving vehicle! There are three ways of wreaking havoc on your opponents; you can ram an opponent by moving into the same space, shoot them from behind, or use your helicopter (only once per board section) to shoot them. A fun, destructive game of luck and a little skill for 2-4 players. (Though I have heard of twelve-player games at conventions using three sets side by side...)
Snit's Revenge (by Tom Wham)
This is one of my favourite board games. Tom Wham is well known for the humour of his designs, and Snit's Revenge (published by TSR) is no exception. This is a two-player, well, wargame I suppose. One player plays the part of the Bolotomus - a large creature. The other player takes the Snits - small worm-like creatures that are invading the Bolotomus. Each turn, first the Snits get to move around inside the Bolotomus trying to destroy its internal organs, then the Bolotomus gets to manufacture antibodies (called 'runnangitums') and/or replacement organs, and tries to wipe out the Snits before they hit too many vital organs. This is an amusing game with simple mechanics, and a playing time of around 15 minutes. I have yet to convince anyone that there's much strategy to the game, but it's fun, and has probably been played more times than any other game in my collection (except Roborally). Incidentally, I'm looking for the lead miniatures that go with this game. If anyone has some they are willing to part with, please get in touch.
Man-eater! (by the aptly names Footloose Productions) is a tongue in cheek game of sharks and swimmers; one player is the shark, and the other players control 4 swimmers between them. At the start of the game, the swimmers start in the sea at one end of the board, on their airbeds; at the other end of the board, there is a nice, safe beach; in the middle of the board, there is a shark (dah-dum, dah-dum, dum-dum, dum-dum…). The players are trying to get to the beach, the shark is trying to eat them.
Each game round, the shark secretly decides where (s)he intends to surface, then the players move their swimmers; a healthy swimmer moves two spaces, a swimmer missing a leg moves one space, and a swimmer missing both legs just bobs forwards. Once all swimmers have moved, the shark player reveals his/her location, and acts as follows: if the shark lands on a swimmer, the swimmer is eaten whole, if the shark lands next to a swimmer, the swimmer loses one leg. (The playing pieces have detachable legs, but we prefer to use jelly babies.) The game ends when all swimmers reach the safety of the beach, or are eaten. Usually, several games are played, so each player has a turn at being the shark.
Kersplatt! (by Ed Carter)
Kersplatt! is a very silly food fighting game. The scene: the players have been invited to a banquet in an old mansion, where they have totally failed to get along. As the last of the main course is cleared away, and the dessert course is laid out, someone grabs a dish from the table and throws the first piece of food…
Kersplatt! is a fast and simple card game; each player starts with five cards, of the following basic types: food cards, which have a splat factor (how much mess they make when they hit) and a dodge factor (how easy they are to dodge); dodge cards, which may allow you to dodge a piece of food; and special cards (for example, objects you can stand in front of, the trip card, the napkin, and the hostess; I’ll let you use your imagination as to what they do). The game lasts for about 15 minutes, with the food flying fast and furiously… and although the game isn’t in print, you might ask Kevin McGowan for his live action version!