When it’s time to move on from those old titles you love…
Over the years I’ve amassed quite a number of board games that I’ve loved and played to death and that have then gone cupboard- or attic-wards and disappeared into obscurity collecting dust and forgotten memories like weird cardboard time capsules.
A few years ago I had to have a bit of a clean out to make room for our rapidly incoming child and that little purge saw a stack of the old 80s/90s Games Workshop titles hit eBay. Goodbyes were said to a few notables:
Dark Future – a game I’d bought purely off the back of the Fighting Fantasy game book Freeway Fighter. I loved the idea of breaking out some old matchbox cars and modding them to make ever more cars to race and blow up. It was sort of a weird skirmish/race game that like most of those old GW games was massively over-complicated for what it actually delivered. I also seem to remember that motorbikes were pretty shit because if you were in a car you could just ram them off the road. Although we might have been playing that one wrong to be fair. Still, those desert road pieces were pretty cool, as were the little machine gun turrets on the Interceptors.
Blood Bowl + Dungeon Bowl – we played the heck out of this. I had tons of extra rules and players hacked from the pages of White Dwarf magazines, a hardback manual of Star Players, dungeon tiles with spiked balls and treasure chests and an ongoing league wherein we tried to continually murder each others’ players. I think it might have ended up being too comical or light for me and my mates at the time though. We ended up preferring to run around dungeons killing things and nicking their loot rather than tossing a ball at them.
Mighty Empires – I genuinely loved this one actually. The ‘sweeping conflict’ it promised was all there, we even tried the Warhammer Fantasy Battle version and broke out into armies to resolve skirmishes. That didn’t last long though – far too much hassle. So we ended up playing it for what it was, and it was still great fun. Again, I had a ton of extra bits and pieces for it, necromancer’s towers, sea tiles with pirates and such. The game always seemed to resolve itself during the winter for us. As our armies camped down and prepared for the coming weather and hardship we’d all plough our resources into saboteurs and assassins and agents. I think assassins could literally kill 100s of points’ worth of troops if I recall correctly, so you’d send in a few ninjas and utterly decimate your opponent’s forces. Come springtime they’d have virtually nothing left to fight back with and you’d win. If it even lasted that long. Too fiddly and bitty in the long run – and the pieces didn’t age well, especially compared to the sort of conquering games you can get these days. FFG’s Runewars or WOTC’s Conquest of Nerath come to mind, though I’ve never played either title I’d like to try them some day.
And now I find myself in a similar position of having to find room once again, especially because of all the gaming acquisitions I’ve made in the meantime. So this year/week/day it’s goodbye to the following:
Talisman 3rd edition – The game is great and all but I have second edition with all the expansions (except Dragon – redonculously over-priced on eBay to the point where I wouldn’t even consider tracking it down) so 3rd edition, despite the cool board and all the skulls, skulls, SKULLS is just so much wasted cardboard for me. If I ever consider sticking 2nd edition on eBay someone here come and slap me upside the head. Yes, it’s random as all hell, but it’s still my first true love (in a board gaming way). Well, Talisman and HeroQuest…
DungeonQuest 2nd edition with Heroes expansion – I suppose FFG has redundantified this old beast now with their fancified new edition with all its lovely new artwork. Either way I still love the simple “flip a tile - you’re dead” gameplay. Sadly this has been superseded by the enormously superior D&D Adventure System games, whose cooperative nature and overall production values just outshine DungeonQuest in every way. As my son grows up and if he chooses to ever play games with me, I’d always choose to play a cooperative dungeoncrawl game instead of this hackfest. Great memories, particularly of the ninja in the Heroes expansion who I always played and hoped would be good, but who proved to be as useless as every other bugger when it came down to it. Ninja your way out of a Revolving Door that hits the dungeon wall why don’t you?!
The Sorcerer’s Cave – Thought I’d share the love with this one – I picked it up on eBay originally and played it quite a few times. It’s great fun, but I redesigned it with updated components so now it’s time for this version to move on and find another home. I genuinely hope someone gets a kick out of it like I did. It wouldn’t last a second in today’s competitive market with its simplistic design but you can see how it helped father the genre, and its ultimate goal of providing a cool RPG style story is extremely admirable. Exactly the same goal in fact that I’ve aspired to attain with Fantasy Quest. To that end I owe a ton to games like this and Talisman that inspired me through the years.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Game
US edition – Picked this up from the in a desperate bid to get my Buffy-fan wife into board games – it didn’t work. So now this HeroQuest style Buffy themed curio finds its way onto eBay where hopefully someone will learn to love its unique and unusual mechanics. This was a very ballsy genre game to make from a really successful TV show and let’s face it, it pees all over the UK Buffy game we got lumped with over here in the US ! Its theme alone though will ensure it never sees play with my actual mates so off it goes. UK
Star Wars: Star Warriors – This is one of those great old board games from the 1980s - when they used to make really cool games! I’m loathe to see it go as I spent a lot of time with this one as a kid. I even redesigned the rules entirely removing everything Star Wars from the theme and turned it into a sort of intergalactic empire building game. You had a huge mothership (whichever ship token suited you), which you used to travel through space and conquer planets (asteroids) and fortress installations (gun batteries) whilst trading and meeting with and destroying other players and NPC forces that were also travelling around the board. You could choose from a bunch of different racial types that gave you various different benefits or meant you traded for different types of supply (the evil races looked for slaves and conquering, the goodies looked to make trade routes and kill the baddies) and the one with the most VPs won. I still have the rules for all this nonsense somewhere, maybe one day I’ll look at re-implementing it entirely if there’s anything worth salvaging in there. We ended up playing that version a lot more because you seemed to have a much grander experience in a few hours than merely jinking and rolling your X Wing about until you could zap your mate’s TIE fighter after a few hours! Still this was a fun game, just never seemed as, I dunno, epic (?) as we’d hoped for compared to how complicated it actually was.
So here's my seller's page in case any of these stories brings a tear to your eye or a tingle in your wallet, you've got a week to cash in - oh, and they're all up for 99p each!:
Everything must go!!
Sometimes, it's just time to move on, and you've got to make those really hard decisions. Tune in next week after I bid on my own items to stop them going and then suffer horrific buyer's remorse...