After a long hiatus, we return to the blog to scour the seven seas of the internet, in search of games, so you don’t have to. Check out these awesome looking Kickstarters.
Starting things off this time we have probably one of the most invasive yet hilarious games ever created. Iron & Ale is an adventure drinking game where players take on the role of dwarven lords and must perform extreme feats of strength, will and fortitude, all in the name of honor. I’ll say right off the bat though, we are not fans of violence here at We Die A Lot (despite what the name might suggest) but for this game, we condone all jackassery. Each player takes turns drawing cards from two decks, starting with the Mountain deck which tests your dwarven mining and battling abilities. Lets face it, dwarves are the undisputed kings of digging for shiny things, and if a goblin or giant happens to get in the way of their quest for gold, you know it’s going down hard with a crack in the skull from a weighty cudgel. Then comes the Meadhall deck. These are challenges that range from guessing another players dice roll to (“safely” – and you’ll know why I say that in a minute) skipping your next turn. However (here comes the unsafe bit), some of the more entertaining challenges actually get you to punch and slap your fellow dwarven lords. The penalty for failing either Mountain or Meadhall tasks is usually a few hefty swigs of ale. The prize however is being honoured as the mightiest dwarf this side of Mount Doom.
Now keep in mind this is a drinking game, and let’s be honest, if you were at a round table of mythical dwarfs, chalices filled with the finest mead, you would expect some drunken boisterousness. And that’s what makes this a great thematic game. You get to partake in those dumb-shit drunken shenanigans that everybody’s done after a few sips of dutch courage, only this time it’s totally justified. BECAUSE YOUR A DWARF! BWAHAHAHA!!!…Genius… Like I said, this is a great idea for thematic play. Hell! It’s practically the ideal introduction to role-playing for non-role players. The game doesn’t just happen on the table with a bunch of cards strewn before you. You actually become part of the game in a very tangible sense. And for once, the pledge level bonuses actually do aid your game in some ways. You get coasters, bottle openers and a pair of spiffy looking beer mugs if you want to fork out the extra dough. The point is you’ll have a laugh with this game and I can see it being a hit in college dorm rooms. What a perfect way to steal yourself for those pre/post exam anxiety jitters….but do play responsibly…it’s all fun and games until someone loses and eye….and then it’s just hilarious. BWAHAHAHA!!!!
I’ll try to avoid all puns about how this game is going to be a “blast” (walked into that one :/), but the boys and girls over at Shut Up & Sit Down have been making a song and dance about this game in recent weeks, and rightly so. It looks like an absolute riot! Two Rooms & a Boom combines elements of some of our favourite hidden role games like ‘The Resistance’ and ‘Werewolf’, with the frantic panic of Pass the Bomb. Players are divided into two “rooms”, and then given roles, either you’re in the red team or the blue team. The latter contains the “President” while the former has a “Bomber”, unbeknownst to the other players. Each party has a chosen leader for three timed rounds, who has to elect hostages that will be passed into the opposing room. However the bombers ultimate objective is to make his/her way into the same room as the president by the games end and then BOOM! If all goes well with the kickstarter then other roles will become available, ranging anywhere from clowns to drunks to robots. Now if your like us, that means you love hidden role games, which in turn means that you relish in the idea of lying to your friends face. Only now you get to deceive them AND blow them to smithereens. What joy! Most hidden role games of this nature rely on a players cunning to get them through the task at hand, which engineers this uneasy feeling of distrust at the table, whereas this game just goes for sheer outright blind hysteria to hide your motives and complete the task at hand. Few games I know can create an atmosphere of deception as thick an ‘Ed’s diner’ peanut butter double milk shake, but by Jove if there was ever one that did it so elegantly as well as viscerally, it has to be Two Rooms and a Boom….tick. toc. tick. toc. tick…..
Enough of all this vulgarity with bombs and drunken dwarves. Can we have some decorum please. This is another one that SU&SD have mentioned on a few occasions, and naturally we wanted to take a look at what all the commotion was about. Well, it turns out there was no bloody commotion after all. Instead we found a grand, ceremonially decorated hall filled to the rafters with histories most famous intellectuals. Needless to say, we took off our beer hats and respectfully sat down amongst these celebrated academics. Welcome to Dreaming Spires by Game Salute. The only game in history that allows you to build your own college in Oxford. The first thing that comes to me about his game is a sense of awe. In a world where zombies and Cthulu reign supreme, the fact that anyone can make a game about building their own university is testament to the creativity of the hobbies designers. And really that’s what I love the most about board games. Diversity. I often find myself looking at our vast collection and yearn to play something with a touch of class sometimes. Something a little more refined than rolling a twenty sided dice to slay an undead dragon mage, before sucking its soul through a straw like the last bit of Pepsi in an ice filled glass (also known as the most annoying sound ever). So for the fact that this game even exists, we whole heartedly salute all board game designers. Sometimes your ideas are a little kooky, but god dammit we respect your ability to create a game out of anything.
Ok, so it’s a unique idea, but what do you actually do in Dreaming Spires then? Players pit their strategic wits against each other in the quest for building the greatest school that ever came to be. You build your college from the ground up by laying down tiles that represent observatories, libraries, cloisters, quads and other posh sounding hang outs in order to attract the academic masters of Oxford’s vast repertoire of life changing thinkers. I always imagined Lewis Carroll and J.R.Tolkien would’ve been found sitting with their heads in the clouds amongst the college gardens, at least that’s how my brain interprets what the great minds of the past were always doing. Sitting under trees and thinking. Really though they went down the pub for a bit of a piss up (True story!…apparently). Anyway, I digress. This all happens over several eras, and as time goes by, old scholars graduate and new geniuses enrol, improving your colleges stature, depending on how well you utilised their abilities of course. Ultimately though it’s all about reputation. What will the annuls of history say of your hallowed halls? You best choose your faculty wisely is the answer. Also factor in shifting events and a euro scoring mechanism and what you have is a perfectly academic experience.
I used the word class early on to describe the air around Dreaming Spires, and that’s another thing that grabs me about this game. The theme, play style, mechanics and design has this classic board game shimmer about it. As you’re building your college and collecting various famous intellectuals, you’re also learning real stories from the rich history Oxford. That’s a really nice touch that a lot of modern board games lack these days. Sure you can have a session of Descent during the week for your RPG fix, or whip out the beer and chips for a bit of Elder Sign with your chums on a Friday night, but all the individual nuances of Dreaming Spires makes it more than just a unique idea. It’s one of those special kind of games. For me it’s like a Sunday game, and I mean that in a good way. It’s the kind of game that refreshes the week. After all the other games have had their say, this is the kind of thing that you would want to put on the table just because you want to play a game with your friends and family. Something that you can learn from as well as test yourself in. It’s the kind of game I would rely on at the end of the week to give a breath of fresh air into the weekly grind to make the whole cycle feel interesting again. And it’s about bloody time the world got a game like this. Something needs to replace Monopoly and Cluedo….so it might as well be a good one. Definitely looking forward to this.
- Forget Monopoly and Risk. Let’s play Dreaming Spires (oxfordmail.co.uk)
- Life In the City of Dreaming Spires – Oxford (themanwhocanbemoved.wordpress.com)