Saturday, December 02, 2006

What the Sam Scratch is goin' on here?!? #18

Famous Funnies #182
Famous Funnies #182, September 1949

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Incredible Hulk's Wish List

What do you get for the man who has everything? Why, that's no problem at all. The big question is, what do you get for the man who's mean, green, and on the scene? He can't depend on Santa: not only does he move around too much for St. Nick to deliver, Santa can't even keep track of him on his naughty and nice list because he keeps changing his name: is it Bruce? Or Bob? Or David? Who knows? But you can help make it a Green Christmas by buying something for the Incredible Hulk off of his Wish List?:

Very High Energy Cosmic Gamma Radiation (book)

Our Inner World of Rage: Understanding and Transforming the Power of Anger (book)

Purple Stretch Pants (clothing)

Demolition: The Art of Demolishing, Dismantling, Imploding, Toppling and Razing (book)

Go Away, Big Green Monster! (book)

The Lonely Man (book)

Legends of the American Desert: Sojourns in the Greater Southwest (book)

Nuclear Transmutation: The Reality of Cold Fusion (book)

Smash Mouth (CD)

Green Rage: Radical Environmentalism and the Unmaking of Civilization (book)

Look Back in Anger (DVD)

The Green Man (book)

Demolition Man (DVD)

The Comics Journal Library: Jack Kirby (book)

Pretty Pretty Princess Dress-Up Board Game

Also available for your holiday shopping convenience:

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Board Game Bull #1: The London Game

Samuel Johnson once said: "When a little stuffed bull is bored of board games, he is bored of life." Oh, wait a minute, maybe that was Samuel Jackson. No, he said "Get these motherloving snakes off my motherloving plane." Okay then, Samuel L. Johnson.

All comics and no other fun stuff makes a young bull a dull bull, so let's kick off a new occasional feature here at the increasingly-inaccurately named "Comics Oughta Be Fun" by taking a look at my big-ass collection of board games! I love board games and have several dozen. Yes, of course I have many versions of Monopoly, Clue, and Trivial Pursuit, but I'm guessing some of my readers may not be aware of some of my more unique games. So, as we move into this toy-ful season, what better way to celebrate a bit of fun by pulling them off the shelf, one at a time? John insists I am only allowed one out at a time, because otherwise I will accidentally mix the pieces, and where does that lead you? With a Miss Scarlett spelling out a triple-word score at Park Place, that's where! Moral of the story: one game at a time.

The London Game
I keep my games neatly stacked on shelves, and b'lieve me, this is only some of them—I have about five other shelves packed with games of all sorts and sizes. One of these days I hope to move into a big city house so I can have a walk in closet stuffed absolutely chock-full with board games, just like the Tenenbaums!!

The Royal Tenenbaums

I will also keep my javalina head in there:

The Royal Tenenbaums

But until then, shelves will do just fine.

Today I'm going to play and tell you all about one of my favorites. Or maybe I should say favourites, because like many of my most-loved board games, it's British. You know what a little stuffed Anglophile bull I am, so you can guess how much I enjoy The London Game:

The London Game

I have a theory about board games (aside from the obvious one that they are fun!): that there's a finite variety of types of board games, and a lot of the most popular fall into categories that are similar to very popular and classic board games. You've got your Monopoly-style games that have a specific pathway to follow and are based on building up a certain increasing monetary or point goal, your Risk-style games that involve strategy and pitting opponent against each other through a combination luck of the dice and skill in movement, your Sorry-style games rooted in the origins of Parcheesi and Chinese Checkers that involve moving your pieces from one point to another while inconveniencing your opponent, your Clue-style games that allow free-roaming play to be the first to reach a specific goal or conclusion, to name a few. The London Game has certain elements of the Clue and Sorry genres, but takes as its premise one of my very favorite things to do in the world: visit London and ride the London Underground.

The board is laid out in a very accurate representation of Harry Beck's very famous and much-copied London Underground map:

The London Game

I have an older version of the game. How can you tell? It does not include the Jubilee Line that connects Baker Street to Victoria Station. Today's version of the game does include the Jubilee Line, but I rather like playing it without: it adds an element of challenge and makes it more tricky to get from northwest to southeast London by eliminating the modern direct route:

The London Game

The rules are fairly simple and you might even say it's one of those games that takes a minute to learn and a lifetime to master:

The London Game

To be honest, it's not that complicated, and there's a booklet that explains the rules more fully. Each player chooses a colored token and is then dealt six London location cards:

The London Game

Don't let your opponent see your cards, though! These are the secret locations you must visit on the map—visit all six and return to your home station and you win the game!

Each Location Card features a small description of the tourist attraction you'll find at that location, so it's an excellent game to play if you're about to visit London for the first (or tenth) time:

The London Game

Again, mine's an older version, and I'm betting newer editions of the London Game might include some more recent British capital tourist attractions.

Choose a BritRail mainline station to start your "guy" off, and roll the die to move around the board. You have to stop and lose a turn when you want to change Tube lines, so just like they tell you in the real Underground, plan your journey carefully!:

The London Game

At certain points in the game you draw hazard cards which might help you, hinder your opponent, or send you off to far-flung reaches of the board, into outskirts of London you don't need to be. Argh! It's just like riding the Northern never know where you'll really end up!:

The London Game

But when you finally reach the destinations on one of your cards, flip it over and read that card aloud to the other players. That way everyone learns about the popular attractions and history of London Town. I'm more of a Chelsea supporter myself (Go Blue!) but here I am at Arsenal FC. One card down, five to go!:
The London Game

I am playing this game against my kid sister Marshall. (I highly recommend playing most board games with someone else. Solo board games are often tricky and boring. Even though I have developed extensive rules for solitaire Monopoly, nothing beats the feeling of giggling uproariously when you trick your little sister into a corner!

The London Game

At certain points in the game you can use special tokens to "close" stations so you can not pass through them, to block or box your opponent in and keep them from moving to their goal, or maybe at all! Hmmm, pretty sneaky, sis!:

The London Game

The first person to turn over all six of their Location Cards and then race back to their original position wins the game! But feel free to invent personal versions and variations on the game. Here I am playing the popular "Mornington Crescent" variation in which the first player to reach Mornington Crescent wins! The rules are very complicated though, even though Mister Brooke-Taylor tried to explain them to me once:

The London Game

So, to sum up: The London Game: it's a cracking good time! Why, I love this game so much I even bought the travel version:

The London Game

It's just my size!

The London Game

If you live in the US, you may find it difficult to purchase The London Game, but specialty board game stores may stock it or be able to order it for you. If you're still having trouble, you can always order it from Or, you could send me over to London and I'll pick you up a copy! Promise.

Special bonus outtake photo that displays the difficulties of playing board games on the floor in my apartment: Gus the Cat always wants to walk on the board!

The London Game