I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a game of lobotomy
Paul: It’s Games News time! Welcome, everybody, welcome. Please, come into my Games News hovel, the tiny hut in which I construct all of our Games News by hand, painstakingly assembling each tiny cog, ratchet and spring, bent over my work from dawn to dusk.
Today’s Games News is a special, post GenCon Games News, with no loud noises or big names. Instead, we’ve worked hard to bring you a few what you might call artisanal news pieces. Some are funny, some are very serious, but they are all the choicest pieces of news. Nobody brings you better Games News than Shut Up & Sit Down.
Quinns: So let’s start with some candles.
The Wheel of Flame candle set is not only a charming idea, being a trio of candles that will set the mood for your gaming sessions (or for anything else you feel like), it also has a wonderful Kickstarter video. In a world where too many Kickstarter pitches involve dour men monologuing right at the camera, these people have remembered that what they’re selling should look like it’s fun.
As these candles burn down, appropriately odourising your evening, they also release a special hidden treat. There are dice hidden inside each one!
I love candles. Some of you might have noticed a lot of candles in my videos recently. It’s because I found out Amazon sells bags of small Yankee Candle samples for super-cheap, you just don’t know what you’re going to get!
We’ve burned all the good ones now, and we’re down to Cinnamon and Toffee. Basically my flat now permanently smells like the inside of a toddler’s mouth.
Paul: Quinns! You’re being boring again!
Quinns: STOP SHOUTING IN THE ARTISANAL GAMES NEWS.
Paul: Did you know there is a Monopoly World Championship? I did not know that there is a Monopoly World Championship, but now I do know that there is a Monopoly World Championship, a championship at which people get together to buy state utilities, raid the Community Chest and Get Out of Jail Free. All of which sounds melodramatically hyper-capitalist, if you think about it.
How do you become the best Donald Trump? Champion Bjørn Halvard Knappskog has ten tips for you, including such gems as “Losing is not an option,” (“Your opponents will smell your fear”) along with “Say nothing during the game,” and “A few long stretches in jail won’t hurt.” All of this sounds like incredibly suspect business advice to me, and perhaps a little too real, but I guess it is all just a game, right? And still a rubbish one, too.
Quinns: I dunno man. I’m pretty sure you could rename this article “10 Essential Tips for Running A Business” and it would still work. It’s horrible.
It can be startling how much games can mirror the real world, even help us to understand it better. Over at Offworld, Shut Up & Sit Down friend Leigh Alexander has written about &maybetheywontkillyou, a “live game experience where a player takes the role of a poor black American attempting to go to his corner store and return safely home.” The challenges and dangers they face include searches and demands they justify their behaviour, but speaking up against the system can be fatal, while accepting these indignities has you shouldering ever-increasing amounts of Frustration.
Paul: It’s a sobering look at what it’s like to exist in a system that constantly suspects you rather than respects you and, unfortunately, is as relevant as ever today. It’s also an important reminder of how much participating in a designed experience, like that of a game, can help you to understand and, in at least some small way, relate to another person’s experience.
&maybetheywontkillyou isn’t publically available, but information about the RPG is available on the official site.
On a lighter note, if you’re like me and somehow completely incapable when it comes to picking up tokens or cards, your flailing fingers scraping at them like a cat pawing at a TV screen, one /r/boardgames poster has found the perfect solution for you: a tiny vacuum device with an assortment of nozzles. Now, you can effortlessly airlift all your game components out of play without splaying your digits everywhere, or doing that awful thing where you knock one board tile and everything else fractures along jagged fault lines.
Quinns: Paul that is a rubbish thing to put in Games News.
Look, can’t we do one board game? It’s only a small one...
Paul: No god you’re knocking EVERYTHING OVER
Quinns: STOP SHOUTING Hoax is an upcoming Fantasy Flight release, updating a game of hidden identities that first came out in 1981. It sounds really strong, and a lot like 2014 smash hit Coup.
Everybody plays someone with a secret connection to deceased billionaire Hector Vargas. On your turn you can claim to be one of the game’s seven roles to use their power, thereby amassing the money, prestige and evidence you need to investigate other players. The table can let you get away with this... or call “Hoax!” The table can then vote as to whether you’re lying. If you are, you can no longer pretend to be that character, and everybody gets closer to figuring out who you are. But if you weren’t lying, you instantly win the game.
Did everyone follow that? Basically it’s Coup meets Cluedo. The new edition looks lovely, too.
Paul: What’s that noise. Did you leave the door open?
Paul: Oh no, look at this mess! Lobotomy is one of those big, ugly miniatures game Kickstarters and it didn’t wipe its feet and it’s getting money everywhere. QUINNS.
Quinns: What the heck even is this. I’ve read the entire Kickstarter page and I’m no closer to understanding. Listen to this:
"Every time you pick up a spoon and think it is a butterfly knife or mistake a lemon jelly for morphine you get an item card. You will also get new skill cards as your mental diseases progress. With OCD you will pace rapidly and it might seem to you that you're waltzing among monsters. Late stages of schizophrenia will make you believe in exploding spider-bombs or owl-people coming to aid you. Anxiety Neurosis deck has all the defensive abilities and it works better the less you trust others and the government. Finally, agression has all the sweet kung-fu moves that you think you are performing while flailing (magikarping) in a straitjacket.”
Later on there’s a bit on the page that begins “This section is for our copywriter to show off.” They probably should have let him write the whole thing?
God, look at these miniatures. Miniskirts, bikinis and misconceptions about mental health. What is it, 1991?
Paul: Hurry up and eject him from the premises.
Quinns: I can’t! He’ll be here for another 21 days.