(Some very light spoilers.)
© 2010 Warner Bros.
It’s bloody obvious ain’t it? Inception is just perfect as a role-playing game.
Wandering around dreamscapes trying to rob the target of an idea or trying to put an idea in him is great quest material. And it becomes a great group-effort if you try to ‘go deeper’. The film’s premise alone is a good match for a pen and paper role-playing game with dice.
My local board game supplier had something nice to show me a few weeks ago: a treasure hunting game that looked suspiciously like Catan from afar. It turned out to be something else; Tobago is a game in which you use deductive reasoning to find treasures and split them amongst those who helped find them.
Over the years I’ve grown fond of boardgames that give the player control over his or her actions in some way. Games like the Game of the Goose and the Game of Life turned into extended dice-rolls with a lot of fluff for me. Games like Magic: The Gathering and Catan took over quite quickly as a result.
Still, there’s something to be said for pure chance-based games. There’s always that idea that you can somehow influence luck. Keltis: Der Weg der Steine (a smaller portable variant of the similar named board game) works like this. Keltis is inherently a chance based game and deviously fast to play, yet it feels as if you are in control. Pick a stone from a closed pile and decide whether or not to use it to produce columns of numbers counting down or up. If you don’t use it, it’s discarded into a commonly accessible pile.
In Soviet Russia, Red November plays you!
After sampling Pandemic, there remained a nagging question: are there any other cooperative board games and do they have the same quality? One of the titles that got mentioned was Red November, a board game in which the players are gnomes that need to survive for 60 minutes on an experimental submarine where everything goes awry. The theme sounded perfect, the coop element was there, what could possibly go wrong?
(photo by cosmonautirussi)
If you’ve ever played Chu-Chu Rocket! then you might have a very slight advantage into getting to grips with Finstere Flüre (or Fearsome Floorsin English). In this board game you try to get your group of characters to escape a dungeon, but there’s a monster on the loose who will home in on the nearest hapless escapee for dinner. And it’s this aspect that allows you to somewhat influence where the monster will strike next.
What you really need to know: Pandemic is one of the most fun board games I’ve played in quite some time. With that out of the way, let me explain.
Finally, a fun way to experience disease!
Players are part of team of experts frantically trying to stop four viruses from causing a devastating pandemic (how topical). Reading between the lines, that means that Pandemic is a co-operative game. There’s no competition between you and your fellows, just a nagging feeling that even when you put your heads together, things can still go horribly wrong.
That’s mainly because your opposition is automated. Each player’s turn will conclude with drawing cards to indicate which locations in the world will become infected with one of the viruses. If a virus manages to infect a location more than three times, an outbreak will occur and the virus will spread to neighbouring locations (possibly triggering more outbreaks). Meanwhile, the players are trying to research cures for each of the four diseases. Obtain all four cures and the players win. Trigger eight outbreaks or let the viruses spread too far and everybody loses.