The other day while Bob and I were hanging out at the park, I tried a new game. There were a several <ahem> men of my generation playing it. They seemed to be enjoying themselves. I asked one to show me how to play.
What fools these mortals be.
I know what you’re thinking. I’m just a corporate shill for Mayfair Games. They’re the source of my paycheck. I spend all day being both informative and hilarious about Mayfair and its offerings. So of course I’m in the tank for them.
And all that would be utterly true! It is true, however, because Mayfair deserves it. Their games are so well made, so interesting, so fun to play that only I (and the inimitable Bob MacWordell) could explain to you how good they are. We deserve one another, you see.
So it is established fact that Mayfair is the King of All Games in much the same way Godzilla is King of all Monsters. But that doesn’t mean all other games have to suck! And yet suck this one did!
First of all, the art direction was extremely poor. The entire board only sported two colors: black and white. Welcome to Snorestown. Did the game designers think to snazz it up using the pieces? No, of course not. They two were only black and white. Now, look, sheep may have problems with all the color blindness, but even we could do better.
The rules were also confusing. Every piece moved in a different way with no rhyme or reason. Most the pieces couldn’t move until I spent several turns moving the lamest ones around. And the ones that could move, made no sense! What, is that Knight on a pogo stick? There were no dice, no cards, no chits, not even a score pad. Why, there weren’t even rules inside the box! I spent the game in mild befuddlement.
And to make my muddle worse, the game had no theme! I settled no islands, refurbished no cities, built no might towers, and canoed no streams. Nothing! The man who taught me this ridiculous game claimed we were generals fighting a war, but I didn’t see it. Who sends their King and Queen out to war? Let alone Bishops? Do those guys even know how to fight?
In short, the game looked ugly, played uglier, and didn’t make enough sense to poor water out of a boot with the instructions printed on the heel. It didn’t even print the instructions!
It reminded me of the time someone tried to teach me a game about bridge building. Except I couldn’t understand why Kings and Queens were building bridges out of little shovels, hearts, and other detritus. Really, friends, there just isn’t any substitute for a proper Mayfair game.