Andrew: June has been a slow month for the Baron. I’ve been on holiday, mercifully free from the Internet and from current UK politics, parboiling in the sort of heat that rarely visits the North-East of England. 35 degrees?? What’s wrong with you, France?? And with holidays out of the way, the rest of the month has been full of studying; assignment deadlines are, if not looming, then certainly lurking just beyond the horizon. As a result, the blog hasn’t been updated since last month’s update. We’ll try to keep reviews and features coming when we can, but at the moment we have other priorities that need our attention. Please bear with us.
With that out of the way, let’s take a look at some games we’ve been playing this month:
Munchkin Cthulu was a birthday present we bought for a friend 267 years ago, yet until this month we’d never played it: either our friend forgot to bring it to games night or it got overlooked even when it got to games night. But this month we played it. It’s good. It’s perfectly fine. It’s a back-stabby game of fighting monsters and levelling up and many many in-jokes which went over this reviewer’s head (the sum total of my Lovecraft experience is one short story). It’s unlikely to get a full review on the site, but it comes in a million different editions, so if you find a theme that fits your tastes, it’s a pretty decent way to spend a night. Put it this way, I wouldn’t have a problem if we played it again.
Love Letter was the first game we reviewed, so it might seem odd to mention it again. But let me point out that our recent holidays involved significant amounts of travel, and that all the boredom of travel was magically alleviated by a little red velvet bag that fits in your pocket. Trust me: if you’re facing a long trip, Love Letter is your best friend. Plus, we introduced it to a French friend. It’s so simple you can explain it to people who don’t even speak your language.
I’m going to have to buy him the French version now.
Oh my God.
Sushi Go! will get a full review at some point, but for now let me just say “Oh my God”. This is a game about going to a Japanese restaurant — one of those Japanese restaurants with the conveyor belts the food goes round on. If you’ve eaten in one of these restaurants, you’ll recognise Sushi Go! as the perfect imitation of the fear you get while you wait for a particular dish to come around and you start to irrationally worry that somebody at the next table will take it first. And, like Love Letter, Sushi Go! is portable. It comes in a tin about as big as your hand and you can pop in your bag and, I don’t know, maybe take it on the train with you.
Another game in a tiny box you can take on holiday with you? It’s almost like we planned this.
So Cockroach Poker has an element of Skull to it, but it gives you a little more to work with. It’s also pretty funny. There’s no winner, just one loser (everybody else shares a communal victory), and you lose if you collect four of the same type of bug. So basically you don’t want to collect anything. But that’s difficult, because each turn a player passes you a card (face down) and says “This is a rat.” And then you have to say if you think it’s true or your friend is lying. If you’re wrong you take the card and put it face up in front of you; if you get it right your friend takes it instead.
There are other things going on which round out the game beautifully: you can elect not to take the card but rather pass it to a different person, taking a peep and either confirming or denying if it really is what that first player said it was; and then this really confused third person has to decide if she thinks one or both or neither of you is telling the truth. Or, if she’s got any sense she’ll too elect not to make a guess, take a peep at the card and pass it onto an even more bewildered person until it can’t be passed on anymore and one very sweaty and nervous friend has to decode all the bluffs and lies from the truth and basically has a nervous breakdown.
Cockroach Poker is a ridiculously simple and funny game and we’ll probably have to review it at some point.
So that was the sum total of June. Jones and Chaussette have spent the last week pretending they didn’t miss us while we were gone, but then spent all of their time hanging around us. We suspect they’re making sure we don’t go anywhere again.
See you in July.