October 12, 2011

Book and Board Game Match-up: Discworld and Discworld

Yes, I feel like I'm cheating this week, pairing up the board game Discworld: Ankh-Morpork and Terry Pratchett's Discworld books, but here it is.  The Discworld series is some thirty-nine books long, so I chose one of my favorite to spotlight below, The Wee Free Men.

The Game (from Mayfair):  Welcome to Ankh-Morpork – the oldest, greatest, and most odorous city on Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, a place where trouble is always in the cards. Be one of seven personalities vying for ultimate control of this proud and pestilent city, using your cunning and guile to complete your secret agenda. Along the way you’ll encounter wizards, assassins, watchmen and thieves, all of whom will affect your fortunes and continually change the fate of this mercantile metropolis.--From the Manufacturer

The Book (by Terry Pratchett):A nightmarish danger threatens from the other side of reality . . .

Armed with only a frying pan and her common sense, young witch-to-be Tiffany Aching must defend her home against the monsters of Fairyland. Luckily she has some very unusual help: the local Nac Mac Feegle—aka the Wee Free Men—a clan of fierce, sheep-stealing, sword-wielding, six-inch-high blue men.
Together they must face headless horsemen, ferocious grimhounds, terrifying dreams come true, and ultimately the sinister Queen of the Elves herself. --Amazon Product Description

The Wee Free Men is the first Pratchett book I read.  Someone told me about the swords that glowed blue in the presence of lawyers; I laughed hard enough to crack a rib and then picked the book up.  Pratchett's a master at telling funny stories that stick with you.  I feel almost silly describing his books, because most book-inclined people I know started reading the Discworld books long before I did.

The boardgame, however, is brand new. I've played a number of other games by this game designer, Martin Wallace, all of them intricate and exciting.  This game keeps the "exciting" part but pares "intricate" down to accessibly easy to learn.  A turn consists of playing a cards from your hand, but this allows for plenty of strategy on the board.  Each player has their own secret winning condition as well.  Trying to guess (and prevent!) those conditions is part of the fun.  It'd be an easy learn for those who don't frequently play board games.

There's also a delightful abundance of Discworld in here.  At one point while playing, I gasped.  Everyone else assumed I'd seen a devastating move to make -- but no, I'd just drawn The Luggage (shouldn't that constitute an automatic win?).  The rules and cards refer to the number between seven and nine, which is marked as 7a on the board.  Those who'd read the books laughed; those who hadn't looked at us a little odd.  The art is enjoyable too.  So, yes, I feel like I cheated this week, but the game does an excellent job of capturing the light, fun feel of Discworld, while at the same time encouraging plenty of thought -- just like the books.

1 comment:

  1. You really pique my interest with these posts. I wish you lived closer so that we could play some fun games.