King Rat of the Undercouch is, I would like to presume, a fictional character. But as I am never ever going to lift up the couch to check, it will remain a presumption. It’s for the best that way. If dice rolled under the couch disappear forever, and if we need to continue leaving out food tributes every full moon so he doesn’t annex any more territory in our home, then that’s just what we will do. Best not to think of the alternatives. Best never to even imagine the crude throne of dice he is constructing. I mean, he’s fictional, and that’s what we will continue to say quietly to ourselves every night so we can sleep soundly.
I want to thank everyone who responded to our call last week for suggestions for ‘essential’ board games for a board game cafe. We were looking to help our friends at Tabletop Cork, and they are super-grateful to everyone who pitched in. Their pop-up board game cafe starts in just a couple of weeks, and I probably don’t need to tell anyone here how excited we are to have a board game cafe in Cork. This is a big deal for us, and we really want it to succeed, so I will be mentioning it again here a whole bunch. We have no financial investment or interest, and there is no sponsorship involved, it’s just that the idea of the pop-up leading to a full-time board game cafe on our doorstep is far too exciting an opportunity for us to not talk about all the time.
I finally picked up a copy of Games Workshop’s Blood Bowl during the week. This is super-exciting for me, as it’s a game I have been looking forward to for literally more than a year. Not even spending a week’s worth of evenings carefully scraping mould lines off plastic miniatures before assembly has dampened my enthusiasm.
Once this preparatory work is done, I am looking forward to finding out how well the game has aged. My understanding is that the new edition only makes minor changes to the rules, so I will essentially be playing the same game I used to enjoy more than 10 years ago now. For those unfamiliar, Blood Bowl is essentially a joke on the term ‘fantasy football’ in that it’s American football played with elves, dwarves, orcs, etc. And it’s just as gratuitously, gloriously over the top and violent as that would suggest. If you play as orcs, literally pounding the other team into the ground is your best path to victory, but of course, elves and rat-men prefer to run (or indeed, scurry) across the pitch scoring touchdowns to win in a more traditional manner.
And then there’s dwarves. Lacking the agility of other races, and the brute force of orcs, dwarves tend towards outlandish technology and weaponry in order to cheat their way to the end zone. This includes the infamous ‘death-roller’, which is basically a one-man spikey steamroller. It’s guaranteed to get the player sent off the pitch, but not before he manages to score, and maybe level the playing field a little as well. I remember it as a quick-paced game that was always a lot of fun – I hope to report back in a week or two as to whether or not it remains the game I remember.
In the meantime, we are fast approaching that jolly, red, bearded time of the year again, so what’s the number one game on everyone’s list this Christmas?