Wednesday, August 31, 2016

A Month of... Board Games! Day 31: Play visually or die!

Back around Day 18 of this feature, oh, seventy-eight months ago, Smurfswacker of the great (and sadly late) comics blog Words and Pictures pointed out, and quite correctly, I must say:
I get the strangest impression that all these games are basically the same game: advance, lose turn, return to start, go back spaces, etc. I guess no one figured it was worth the effort to create an original, more complex game.
Ain't that the truth, and thanks for smurfing it out, Smurfswacker. I've mentioned several times that there's basically two templates for these simplified games: Candyland or Parcheesi/Sorry — you try to move your token(s) safely either back to your beginning or to a designated end. A few of them have had some slightly more complicated rules, but they're fundamentally a pasttime that's going to occupy you for maybe an hour or so, and not become a craze of a lifetime, like my crippling addiction to Hands Down.

To be fair, I've posted most of the games for their artwork or design sense (and some to pure poke a li'l fun at 'em), but once in a while a truly innovative board game gets printed in the pages of a comic or annual or...or even Foom, the fan magazine for Marvel Maniacs during the funky seventies. And who better to provide us with a game that goes above and beyond than the writer and artist who took comics above and beyond during the '70s, the one, the only Jim Steranko! It's an all-out battle between the nogoodniks of HYDRA and the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.*, and it's gonna be exciting even than your average episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.**! Then again, so would a colonsocopy.

"Moving Target" in FOOM #1 (February 1973); by Jim Steranko
(Click picture to STERANKO!-size)

This is no ordinary start-and-the-beginning and move-your-token-to-the-end: there is literal backstabbing involved in this game! (Note: not literally.) Check out not only the most involving rules to a comic book game ever, but the best-written:

And in conclusion to the rules and to this series that took me a lot longer to research and write than I had expected, here's a final word from Steranko:

See? Jim's got the idea. Mix and match the rules for maximum enjoyment! If you're bored with a board game, mix a little unpredictability into by tossing out the rules — say, a version of Monopoly where one player builds hotels and the other is Godzilla, knockin' 'em down! Or combine two or more board games for maximum Amalgam Universe action: "It was Colonel Mustard with the Mousetrap in Kamchatka!"

To paraphrase the Great Mister S., and perhaps sum up my entire exploration of these comic book games, I'll just leave you with this thought:

Board Games Oughta Be Fun!

* Spy Hijinks Involving Electric Laser Destruction
** Someone High-up In Entertainment Loves Daisy


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