Roll, Move, Choke, & Drag

Roll, Move, Choke, & Drag

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Writer_smallerSneak Attack!

While Aileen madly scrambles to wrap up her dissertation, there hasn’t been much time for table top in our house. To pass the time, I’ve been playing Dishonored, one of those games you play on a ‘console’ as opposed to a table.

Dishonored is essentially an alt-history Metal Gear Solid set in a dystopian clockwork-punk London. Anyone familiar with the mechanics of such games will notice the influence in today’s comic, in which the unconscious form of an enemy is dragged out of sight. If you are not familiar with this type of game, well, basically you drag the unconscious body of your enemies out of sight, so the other enemies don’t notice their prone form. This allows you to sneak up on said enemies, and after a brief, but hopefully silent struggle, add their sleeping form to the growing tangle of bodies hidden just around the corner, probably behind a stack of crates. Rinse and repeat.

Lots of fun. 10/10 would sneak again.

I’d like to note here that I think Aileen totally nailed the ‘friend of your dad’ look implied in the script, for the would-be Monopoly-mentioner.

It can be tough to describe the hobby to someone whose experience of it begins and ends with mass-market efforts like Monopoly, Risk, and Cluedo. It’s like trying to explain modern television to someone who has only ever seen Neighbours and Home and Away. There is just so much more out there now, where do you even begin? If in that situation, I will generally try to find a topic or genre that the person is interested in, and by trying to find a game that meshes well with that. With the sheer wealth of board games that now exist, there is something out there for every taste, if you can just find it.

On a final note, I’d like to emphasise that the comic isn’t ‘aimed’ at Monopoly, any game like it, or indeed, anyone who enjoys those games. If that’s your bag, more power to you. I honestly still enjoy vanilla Risk, and although I haven’t played it in years, I don’t think I would turn down a game of Monopoly, but that’s probably more curiosity than anything else. The comic is intended to evoke that frustration we have all felt when coming across an uneducated view of the hobby. That huge gap between the perception of what board games are, and what they have evolved into these past twenty years.

32 Comments on Roll, Move, Choke, & Drag
  • Harxy

    It’s odd because it’s one of those cliches that is entirely true… it really is the first question every single person outside the hobby asks.

    What’s interesting is that the say it with such incredulity that it’s like deep down they *know* they can’t be right. “Sooo…. like Monopoly?!” They are just asking to be corrected.

    Ah, the human experience.

    • You’re right about that incredulity, actually. Even from an outsiders perspective, the hobby *can’t* be just Monopoly, even if they have no idea what it actually is.

  • Dexter Ó Thuithear

    I think everyone who enjoys table top games has met that guy. The hobby is so expansive, it can be terribly hard to explain without either sounding lofty, or completely losing the person. Funnily, I’ve actually used that TV analogy in the past with someone. I basically said if you consider Monopoly and Scrabble to be

    • Space Chess is oddly perfect, actually.
      Games like Catan have helped, even more recently, games like CAH and Exploding Kittens, too. They might be looked down upon by more ‘hardcore’ gamers, but the reality is, they have helped to massively raise the profile of board games and card games.

      • Dexter Ó Thuithear

        Agreed. CAH is kind of the perfect party board game, and it often gets the reaction of “so these are the kind of games you meant? Are there more like it?”. They’re a great gateway. I have a small list of games I always bring out for people who haven’t looked beyond the cack on the Smyths Toys shelves. Tsuro and Zombie Dice are always great because they’re short, simple, but compelling. Star Fluxx has been a regular hit among friends who like sci-fi themes, and has led to great stories. Superfight is one that I’ve had a lot of friends really enjoy in place of CAH, especially after a few drinks…
        I’d love to see some of the more popular non-standard games make the crossing to mainstream. Catan has started to go that way, but it doesn’t actually catch a lot of people’s imagination. Something like King of Tokyo or Ticket to Ride; accessible to all, and encourages repeat play.

        • I’ve played Superfight a couple of times, I liked it a lot. Really lends itself to storytelling, and can really get a group laughing.

  • Emily

    Amusingly our gaming club has had a bunch of first years join who love monopoly. They play it at most of our gaming nights. The rest of the guys kind of looked on in horror the first time, but they’re used to it now. We try and entice them into other games too.
    Never thought I’d see the day Monopoly was played at our club. XD

    • That sounds really hilarious! I think it would be worth going to an established board game night with Monopoly just to see the look on people’s faces.
      Have any of that crowd been ‘converted’ to more modern board games?

      • Emily

        Most have been lured into playing other games like Catan and 7 Wonders. But Monopoly remains their true love <3
        I'm pretty sure I've seen them playing a game which was Monopoly-like but not Monopoly. But I can't remember the name of game, it could've been Tropical Tycoon?

    • Peter Schott

      Do you have any of the better Monopoly variants to try? I know Tom Vasel swears by Tropical Tycoon as a decent Monopoly version. Still Monopoly at its core, but with some differences along the way that made it more bearable. Kind of like the versions of Clue that eliminate/reduce the Roll n Move bits to concentrate more on the deduction aspect.

  • Peter Schott

    Well, the “like Monopoly?” question really does open up the opportunity for a broader discussion. To briefly mention that there’s a whole world of board/card games out there that have moved beyond a simple roll, move, do what the space/card says concept. However, there are enough similarities in many cases that give some ideas of why board games might be fun for everyone and not just for families/children. Admittedly, most won’t really care, but it can at least give an opportunity to explain about some great gateway games that could give them a different experience. I still wouldn’t recommend most people pick up a gateway game without a desire to make an effort (or at least watch a “how to play” video) – the rules are still more complex, even if not a whole bunch.

    On a related note, I actually had someone call me the other day to ask a Monopoly question. They’d been toying with the “money for free parking” rule. I explained that that’s not actually in the original rules as it prolongs the game. The caller was disappointed because she was about to rake in a bunch of extra cash and instead I think they just called the game. 🙂 Strangely, this sounds a lot like my childhood experiences – roll, move, give up after a couple trips round the board w/ all properties bought. I never really remember a “winner” of those games.

    • Actually, all the ‘how-to’, rules and review videos available online now are surely making a difference, and making the hobby seem more accessible, which is fantastic

    • Sven_the_Berzerker

      The only way to win is not to play. Wait, wrong game … But still true.

  • Dan Roth

    Dang. Don’t mess with Aileen.

    • True dat.

    • wr00t

      Yeah, some really good take down skills. She could be a protagonist for Dishonored 3 ;D

  • Peter Fleming

    When people say, “Like Monopoly”, I reply with yes, except in our games you can go clockwise or counter clockwise, and instead of rolling dice, you can choose to move a specified number of spaces (let’s say 7), or instead of moving, you can choose to conduct business like buy property, or build a house, etc. So every turn you feel like you’re doing something instead of, “I roll two dice, and then something random happens to me.

    • I doubt I would be able to explain all of that before Aileen got to them. She’s surprisingly quick, as well as stealthy 🙂
      Also, that’s a fairly good way of putting it. The idea of having more control over your actions in a game.

    • This is actually a really intelligent and friendly way to react to the Monopoly-question. I tip my hat to you, sir.

  • Sven_the_Berzerker

    Another analogy that came to mind is somebody who somehow hasn’t been out to eat in forty years (through contrived reasons that would be right at home in a great tabletop game — and I can think of at least a dozen scenarios right now, but that would be another story…). Imagine this. (my apologies in advance for the US-centric references)

    Colin: Wow, Bob, it’s so good to see you. I can’t believe it’s been 40 years! So, where should we go to dinner?
    Bob: How about McDonald’s or Burger King? (Monopoly or Risk) We used to like going there.
    Colin: Uh…so you’re in the mood for a burger? Five Guys and Fatburger (Catan and Carcassonne) are both really good.
    Bob: I’ve never heard of them.
    Colin: Okay, how about In N Out? (For Sale)
    Bob: That hippie California burger place? No thanks. Maybe I don’t really want a burger.
    Colin: Okay. There are some great local Chinese or Japanese restaurants (Tsuro, Hanabi) nearby.
    Bob: No, I don’t go for that weird foreign food. How about Kentucky Fried Chicken (Yahtzee) instead?
    Colin: You know, Chick Fil A (King of Tokyo) has really good chicken.
    Bob: They cut their potatoes like waffles. What weirdos. Ooh, what about Church’s Chicken (Cootie)
    Colin: They haven’t been in business here in twenty years. You know what? I think we can still make it for brunch.
    Bob: How about Denny’s? (Sorry)
    Colin: The Ale House (Pandemic) downtown does great brunch.
    Bob: I can’t go to a place called Ale House. Somebody might think I’m a drunkard.
    Colin: Hey, how about that great French restaurant? (Ticket To Ride: Europe)
    Bob: Are you sure you don’t want McDonald’s?
    Colin: … Well, gotta go. Let’s do this again in 40 years.

    (This story is based, with only slight exaggeration, on my dad, who glued his tastebuds to the sidewalk in the 70s or 80s and hasn’t budged since. He also won’t play any games other than Mexican Train dominoes and Five Crowns. No, dad, I don’t want to eat at Denny’s, Village Inn, or IHOP.)

    Like some of my “40 year” scenarios, there are some valid reasons why people might want to play Monotony … er, Monopoly … or eat at McD’s such as that’s all they know, childhood nostalgia, it’s cheap and readily available, or they’ve been a POW for 40 years and just want something familiar. But like my dad, wanting to eat at McD’s in Paris, they’re missing out on a world of much better options…and if you can finally convince them after 5 days to try something else, they’ll likely wonder why they didn’t let you talk them into it sooner. (Like my great uncle, who refused for years to try pizza, because it was weird foreign food. Once he finally tried it out of late-night travel desperation, he loved it.)

    • That’s a really solid analogy, actually. Works in a lot of different ways, too. Well thought out!
      It has also made me Really, Really, Really hungry. I’m actually salivating. We only just got a Five Guys over here in Ireland, and I haven’t got to try it yet. Fatburger and In ‘n Out we can only but dream of…

      • Sven_the_Berzerker

        Five Guys has, by far, the best fries of any chain, though I’m curious to hear what people in Ireland think about them. I also think their burgers are a bit better than Fatburger, and far better than In N Out (whose fries are atrocious). You’re not missing anything with In N Out, which is hideously overrated. I’ll take it over McDs, but that’s pretty faint praise.

        • Five Guys has been getting high praise here so far, but as it’s in Dublin and we’re in Cork, we won’t get to try it straight away. We don’t have any good burger chain restaurants down here, but luckily we do have some local independent places that do really great burgers -and fries, too. Actually very lucky here in Cork when it comes to food. Some great pizza, Asian, chipper & burger places. Even some decent barbecue now, which is only a very recent trend in Ireland. A few years ago there was no such thing as real BBQ restaurants over here.

          • Sven_the_Berzerker

            Now you’re making ME hungry 😉

    • Sven_the_Berzerker

      I haven’t played Monopoly in over 20 years, and I’ve only had McDs twice in the last 12 years or so, both times due to a lack of other options.

      I can imagine trying Monopoly again sometime, playing by the proper rules (auctioning, no money on Free Parking), and I can imagine trying McDs sometime to try some of their supposedly better upscale menu items (I don’t think I’ve ever actually had a Big Mac). But in both cases, I can think of dozens (or hundreds) of alternatives I’d prefer instead…

  • Sven_the_Berzerker

    On a completely different subject, my game group at work just got some funding to buy some games. We typically have 3-8 players, and play for under an hour. I personally own a pretty good collection, so I’m looking for some ideas that are newer games, or less well-known (but readily available in the US). Any suggestions, anybody?

    • Two games that spring to mind first are Camel Up and Citadels -two very different games obviously, but they both cover that entire range of player count and come in under an hour.

      • Sven_the_Berzerker

        Ooh, excellent suggestion on Camel Up — I’ve been wanting to play it, but had somehow forgotten about it when coming up with my list. Thank you!

        Citadels is also a great game — at least one person in our gaming group already owns it, though we haven’t played it in a while. I remember thinking that it was a lot like a longer version of Coup — I really enjoy it, and I am absolutely horrible at it 😉

  • wr00t

    I really liked the Dishonored. But it is very tough to be completely stealth in it.
    I don’t usually get the “So, you play Monopoly?” question very often, as most people i interact about games with usually already have heard about other games being out there. But i tend to surprise them, when they ask “so is there any other interesting games” after we finish our play session. And i answer that there are thousands of other board/card games out there 🙂 They are used to that there are only a few grand staples of gaming (Monopoly, Clue, etc.) and it’s hard for them to grasp that there is a huge industry for tabletop games nowadays.

    • Trying to complete Dishonored with as few kills as possible. Managing a low kill count, but still get seen a whole bunch of times. Haven’t managed any level being completely stealthy yet…

  • Rose the Hedgehog

    Jenn just pointed out that another good analogy would be to video games. I think that most people out there understand that video games are not just Pong, PacMan, or Space Invaders anymore.

    On the other hand, I think that there’s a lot of people out there who would feel that even modern video games aren’t for adults either.

    • Both points are true, yeah. Video games are as good as board games for variety and depth, but there is still a lingering perception of what they are, and who they are for. Big problem for comics as well. Both myself and Aileen are really into comics as well (obviously) and still come up against the whole ‘but aren’t comics just for kids’ line all the time.