Wednesday, March 31, 2010

2.11: A convoluted and over the top opening

"Lucio, you suck.  Your update is late again, I can't believe I'm paying for this."  Yeah, yeah.  To make up for last week's missed post, I'll be doing two posts this week--since this was originally intended to be a two-part post, it should work out quite well. 

I'll set the stage.  While preparing a 47 course meal heavy in caviar and saffron, some Komodo Dragon grease spills over my saute pan and onto the stove, erupting into a six-foot gout of flame.  The Picasso above the stove catches and explodes, cubist shards of flaming death hurtling across the kitchen and dining room.  I roll with the explosion, and as I rise, patting out small flames on my clothing, I hear our car pull up; I had sent my family away so I could scour the house spotless and cook my wife this fantastic dinner.

Rushing out the door I wave them away, quickly informing my wife of what had just happened, and dashing back in to get our family keepsakes:  Photos (both physical and digital), a carving of a boot done my my grandfather, two pocket watches, my wife's bouquet, and my daughter's umbilical cord (just kidding, that's gross).  Dumping these outside, I turn back to the house; flames curl upward from the doorway and I can see by the pulsating yellow glow from the upstairs windows that the fire has spread upstairs.  The second floor windows explode outward, glass shattering around me--the fire has apparently reached our second Picasso (why these were done with explosive paint is beyond me).  My family and I are safe, but one last thing pulls me inside--in my mind I hear the whimpering of my boardgames.  I'll have one chance, just enough time to grab a few games, so what do I take?

My brother-in-law Danny asked me this question recently; it got the brain-gravy going, so this and next week's posts are going to cover his question.  To simulate my house going up in flames, I'm going to limit myself to one minute of thought for each game, then I'll see if I'd change anything afterward.

The first game I'd grab off my shelf is my favorite game, and one of my first boardgame purchases:  Roborally.  I believe I purchased this in 1995, and though I don't get it to the table nearly enough, I have several fond memories of this game.  While this wouldn't be terribly difficult to replace, sentimentality would have me grabbing for it first.

The second game would be something I'd have difficulty replacing but something I'm fond of--this leaves me with a toss-up of Star Wars:  Epic Duels or Mutant Chronicles:  Siege of the Citadel.  Apparently I also feel the need to save a colon.  Both of these games are out of print; while Mutant Chronicles would be more difficult to replace and (if I'm remembering correctly) would cost over $120, I find Epic Duels a really enjoyable game with a clever mechanic.  Though it would be significantly easier to replace and would only cost in the $50-80 range, I'd probably grab Epic Duels.

Third, and this is the one where you all go "Awwwww!"  Infinitely unreplaceable, not because it's only available outside the US, out of print, a limited release.  My third choice, Ceasar and Cleopatra.  My wife gave me three gifts on my wedding day--a new pocket watch, a cape to wear to the wedding ceremony (no kidding), and this game; I already mentioned saving the pocket watch, I'm assuming I would have already been wearing the cape (yes kidding).  I'm certain this isn't the first game she bought me, but it meant a lot that she thought enough to include my hobby in her gifts.  As a side note, we were supposed to play this game while we were away on our honeymoon, which didn't happen--not what you think, we both ended up getting sick, we played it almost a full year later by lantern, when we lost power at our house.

Alrighty, I'm going upstairs to look at my shelves.  I'll be back in a few minutes.

Okay, sorry to keep you waiting.  Here's what I came up with--I don't think I would replace either my first or third choice, but Epic Duels could potentially be overlooked by Ticket to Ride:  Nordic Countries.  Nordic Countries was a limited release, and I actually acquired our copy for my wife by trading boardgames with a guy in Finland--because the game was originally published and distributed in, you guessed it, the Nordic countries.  Conveniently, as soon as I had received it my copy, Days of Wonder announced it would do a second limited run in English for the US; it has not been reprinted since.

Well, I'm in a burning house with a small armful of games.  Guess you'll have to tune in next time to hear how I get out.

Images borrowed from


  1. It's true about the Picasso paintings. Collecting them is highly dangerous and not recommended for amateurs or the easily flammable.

    I don't think I've got any board games that I'd risk life and limb to rescue from the flames except for maybe Betrayal at House on the Hill. That one's got sentimental value (some crazy guy I met at a con bought it for us Oheans) plus I still haven't played it! I intend to rectify this situation since the girls I work with are in to board games, there just hasn't been enough time at the office lately.

  2. Hrmmm... fire games... Fireball Island!

    Also, Kingmaker, both for its lack of replaceability and its special place in my early gaming days.

    And my wife's copy of Pente. The first game I played with her (and played a LOT).

    Incidentally, it's much safer to collect Monets. He worked exclusively in flash paper.

  3. Definitely Supremacy...and all the expansions. :)

  4. CC, hope you enjoyed this post, thanks for your comments. I actually own Supremacy (no expansions), but haven't had the chance to play.

    Brian, excellent choices. Except for Kingmaker. We'll get to that one in the next post. :)

    Erin, I heard that guy was totally awesome. And yes, you should play Betrayal. Now. Stop whatever you're doing and play.