2017-03-25 15.43.18

The Dangers of Gateway Games

It starts off innocently enough; a mild interest, or reminiscing. Maybe you visit your parents and come home with an armful of ‘soft games’: Connect 4, Kerplunk and Cluedo. They sit, neatly tessellating on the shelf till one rainy day you get them out. You play ‘Connect 4’ five or six times until you feel it’s too easy. You need something harder.
As you chat, you remember you once owned Downfall. And it was good. Then to e-bay and oooh – they don’t just have Downfall but also Deflection. You haven’t heard of it but it says MB so it must be good. I mean, that’s the dealer you got Connect 4 from and while you couldn’t identify him in a line up, he was reliable and he’s only asking for a bit more money for Deflection.
Deflection arrives with Downfall. They are beautiful. Exactly what you needed, much harder. Before you slide the tray or turn the wheel you are thinking carefully, planning your moves. No more glibly dropping counters for you. You have progressed.
You need to speak to someone, so you ring your sister. She reminds you of Bank Holiday weekends playing Monopoly and you crave that time again. You read online that Monopoly is no longer cool. The new board gamers you associate with in board game dens under railway arches (draughts!) laugh when you mention it. They assume you are being ironic and you are too scared to admit the truth. Secretly, you order it on e-bay. It’s just the travel version. All your games still fit on one shelf. You’ve got this. You’re in control.
You spend your days scouring the charity shops. You buy Game of Life, Go for Broke. You lie to your new friends. Which turns out to be easy because not only do you want all the retro games but you need the latest, strongest new games too. You love playing Codenames, and Ultimate Werewolf. You were delighted when the Exploding Kittens Expansion Pack arrived.
Once you went cold turkey and spent a week not going on Kickstarter. They sent someone round to check you were still alive; that your groaning shelves hadn’t collapsed, trapping you under the plethora of games you now own, leaving you surrounded by loved ones who miss you but know it’s the way you’d have wanted to go.
You need these new friends in your life, they understand that you lie to your family about the cost of games. You’re currently working with one of them to formulate a justification for buying Pandemic before payday. He recently spent his wedding fund on some netrunner cards (his fiance was complicit). If anyone can bail you out, he can.
Before you know it, your games don’t tessellate, your daily e.mails from kickstarter are out of control and you can no longer afford the extension you so desperately need to store all your board games in because you spent all your money on board games.
Need help? Is your habit out of control?
Get in touch. We can’t help you, you’re beyond that but we can empathise, and we can recommend some games that will take the edge off…
Come along to a Cards or Die event and play some games!

Jolly and Instructive Games

I love vintage games: the look of them; the language on the box and in the instruction booklet; the fact many others have already loved them. Occasionally you get a glimpse of a certain era not only the game but its accoutrements.
As you unpack them for the first time you might remember the scarcity of board games 30, 40 or more years ago. The game you are holding was carefully chosen to join precious other games on a shelf. You can feel that magic, a link to the memories that someone else has cherished.
Trek is a jolly game of mountaineering. Be the first to reach the summit to win. Trek is a delicate balance of resource management and luck. Run out of either supplies or luck and you’re scuppered. You buy resources and as supplies dwindle the price increases. You can gain money as you advance up the mountain but in order to do so you need the correct cards and equipment. This will test your decision making capabilities as well as your luck. Restrictions on the hand limit mean you need to discard cards in order to try to get the one you need but which to discard? There’s the rub! While you are mobilised you are penalised by paying money into the bank thus remaining still for too long diminishes your chances of ever reaching the summit. It’s a clever game: fun and frustrating in equal measure.
I imagine this is a lot like actual mountaineering. I wouldn’t know for sure as there are no mountains in Leeds and I’ve never understood the attraction of risking life and limb to achieve anything. So for me the risk of splashing out on a jeep rather than playing it safe with a donkey is quite sufficient excitement for me.
I discovered it in a charity shop. It was an absolute gem of a find with all the pieces carefully stored and perfectly intact. It had clearly been enjoyed many times and then packed away for a later time that never came.
Jolly: rejoice as your opponent watches the card that stands between advance and certain doom cast onto the discard pile.
Instructive: experience the thrills and spills of mountaineering without chewing your own arm off. Or, indeed, having to stand up.
Touring England
Like a much simpler version of Ticket to Ride, in Touring England you plan your circular route around England taking in as many cities named on your route as possible. In common with many roll and move games popular in this era, there is not a great deal of strategy involved here. But it is an entirely pleasant game and surprisingly engaging. The version I have is a loyal reprint of the original, complete with a 1930 map of Britain. The art work and cars are charming and evocative of the period, although the original came with tin cars which would be even better. The game is perfect for playing with younger members of the family.
Jolly: What could be more jolly than putting the top down on your Roadster, packing a picnic and having a leisurely Sunday drive around England.
Instructive: It’s better than that – it’s educative. Oh, yes – it says so on the box. Perfect for little ones to learn a little English Geography and some bizarre new vocabulary.
Tell Me
The first time I saw Tell Me in a charity shop, I dismissed it. It was plastic and came in a garish 1980s box. It is such a simple premise for a game that having already been put off by the packaging, the modern description didn’t sell it to me at all. Spin the wheel to get a letter, answer a question and the answer must begin with that letter.
I should know by now that the box isn’t everything. Don’t Panic is one of my most popular games and the box is awful. But I’m glad I did pass over the plastic monstrosity because the next time I saw it, it was the 1960s version. The box boasts that it is ‘The Grand Quiz Game’. The spinner is tin and the cards, inexplicably, in both French and English.
I bought it mainly for the tin spinner and how retro it looked. I wasn’t sure that it was a game that would get any love at all or whether it really was too simple. How wrong I was.
Tell Me is a great party game that any number can play, in teams or individually and as long as you know your letters, you are the right age for it. It requires fast thinking – if you’ve enjoyed Anomia, Don’t Panic or Dobble then you’ll know what utter rubbish one* comes out with when under pressure.
*By one, I mean you but I’m being polite. I’ll even make you feel better by telling you about my recent dim wittery:
I spin the spinner, it lands on Y, I turn over card ‘Musical Instrument’ …”Yazoo” I shout gleefully and take the card.
There is a pause… silence…
Everyone else stares with “What are you on about?” eyes…
My partner, sympathetically removing the card from my hand: “She means Kazoo”
But the next time we got Y, guess what the category was? Drinks! So, the moral of the story is, I’m a winner.
Jolly: Mock your friends as they struggle to remember what letter words begin with.
Instructive: Honestly, you’re not going to learn anything new here, but it will make your brain work which is pretty much the same thing. Right?
Hearts is a game that is almost as pointless as Shut the Box or Yahtzee. And yet, you will pass many hours repeatedly trying to get the right combination of dice – in this case to spell out the word hearts. All of these games are strangely addictive to many relatively sane people.
The main charm of hearts lies in its age. This is my oldest game – made in 1914 during World War 1 it speaks to us of a different time. A simpler one in many ways but one fraught with loss. A game of love in a time of national mourning. I always wonder who owned it, perhaps children or a young couple. The dice are faded and worn but still usable. Unless it is a specifically requested game at events it stays at home in it’s own special place on top of the shelves where it won’t get battered or knocked. Over the last 100 years it has been loved. Generations have rolled and re-rolled those dice, determined for them to fall in that winning word.
Jolly: It is jolly if you are a lover of the Shut the Box or Yahtzee mechanic: the pretence of strategy as you select which dice will be re-rolled to spell out Hearts.
Instructive: What can we learn here beyond how to spell Hearts? Something about our own addictive nature? Or something less tangible perhaps – a glimpse into a parlour so very long ago where small hands reverently removed the lid and the dice – bright gold letters on a blood red background spilled onto green baize again and again.
This is a childhood favourite. It was one of the few games we owned and one of even fewer games that my Mum would agree to play. Like Scrabble but with cards, you play your cards onto a shared grid making 4 or 5 letter words. There is a solo variant (an essential part of any childhood – I’m making a massive assumption here that even children with siblings close to them in age sometimes just craved solitude). Despite its compact box, to play Kan-U-Go requires a large space so it doesn’t always come out at events. It’s a perfect game to pack for the holidays though.
I was surprised when I realised it dates back to 1943. I’m a child of the 70s and had always just assumed it was from that era as it was a popular choice even then.
Jolly: this is a very serious word game requiring verbal dexterity and an impressive vocabulary. Until someone plays “knob”.
Instructive: it’s definitely educational. I’ve always been good at spelling and I attribute it to the amount of word games I played as a child. Take it from me, employers don’t want someone who spells knob without its silent k.
Kan-U-Go lived in the cupboard under the stairs with a spring trap game that you removed pieces from without disturbing the other pieces; a copy of Mastermind, Picture Lotto, Perfection, Monopoly and years later a much loved copy of Escape From Atlantis (still one of my prize possessions). Mouse Trap was soon consigned to the attic on the grounds that it took ages and infuriated all of us (more than Monopoly – but that’s another story…)
So, if you imagine the shelves of your past, the cupboard under the stairs or the space on top of your childhood wardrobe and the sparse selection of games there – what do you remember? More importantly what did you keep? Or what do you regret losing?
Join us for games at a Cards or Die event soon!

The fine art of Board Games

On the 7th and 8th July it is The Horsforth Walk of Art. It will be the first year that Cards or Die have taken part and I couldn’t be more excited. Art is a passion of mine; I don’t visit a city without taking in the art gallery. Some of my favourite places are The Yorkshire Sculpture Park (especially the Deer Shelter), the pre-raphaelites section of Birmingham city art gallery and when I lived in York I used to spend a disproportionate amount of time sitting in front of Sea by David Nash. This passion is evident in my board games collection too – I like the confusing beauty of Dixit; the pleasantly tactile Ticket to Ride and the dark comic book brilliance of Gloom. So we’ll be putting up the gazebos and you’ll have full access to the complete Cards or Die collection! In advance of that, I thought I’d preview some of our more overt art games that you can try at any of our events.
Masterpiece – The Classic Art Auction game
1970 Parker Brothers
At the end of the game the winner is the player who has amassed the largest fortune in paintings and cash.
This was one of my sister’s favourite games and it turns out there was a copy in the attic of my parents’ house. At an event last year someone requested it and so, as I do, I kept an eye out for it. I finally found a copy in a charity shop in Derby. Last week, I found a copy in the attic. ‘Oh, didn’t you know that was there?’ said my siblings… Proof that siblings can be annoying even when you’re 43. Anyway, I now have two gorgeous copies of this retro classic. And one of them was free. Perfect.
Each player has a value chart and starts with the princely sum of $15million.
You each draw a painting which you display face up in front of you and a value card which you slip under the painting so that no-one can see it.
As you move around the board you complete various actions as you try to add to your starting fortune:
1. Bank Auction – players may bid for the painting displayed on the easel. The highest bidder takes the painting and the top value card. Again, placing the value card under the painting out of sight.
Let’s just pause for a moment to enjoy that… ‘the painting displayed on the easel’. It comes with an easel!! Just me that’s excited..? Ohkay… we’ll move on
2. Private Auction – other players may bid on one of your paintings. Again, the highest bidder wins the painting and the value you had already attached to it. You may also buy from players for a fixed amount.
3. Collect money from the bank or a value card. If you choose a value card you may attach it to the painting of your choice.
4. Buy or sell paintings to the bank.
5. Inherit paintings from the bank vaults.
When the last painting is drawn and the last action completed the game ends and you count up your assets!
Like many retro games the premise is simple but it’s an incredibly enjoyable game. The pleasure of conning friends out of imaginary money for the sake of art is almost like a modern work of art in itself. I imagine Damien Hirst could conjure up some sort of installation depicting this very circumstance.
Face to Face
2009 Alex Beard – Untamed Games
A cubist strategy game, Face to Face requires you to play a tile from your rack that fits the existing pattern and colour. Game pieces match when they are Eye to Nose, or Nose to Mouth, and of the correct colour. You score at the end of each round and the game ends when a player reaches 100 points. Points are scored based on which pieces your opponent has failed to play.
Corners have been cut in the design and printing of the game. The components are not well finished and the design as a strategic game is flawed.
There are some design flaws such as the cutting of the tiles which has left some pieces with extra edges of the wrong colour that you just have to ignore.
The tile racks are flimsy and don’t stay upright. They aren’t big enough or strong enough to hold the 11 starting pieces you need. This means that you can’t keep your hand concealed from your opponent. A definite issue if the game is strategic.
As new pieces are drawn from a face down pile and the pieces vary in size and shape, you are able to select pieces which are more likely to fit in the available shapes and spaces on the board. This diminishes the strategic element of the game.
The restrictions on piece placement mean that the game is reliant on you drawing enough nose pieces and it ends up feeling protracted and imbalanced.
On the plus side…
It is an unusual set of game pieces and I mean that in a positive way. The cubist art on them is quirky and effective. The fact that they are varied shapes and sizes is perfect for creating ‘unique cubist compositions’ as it boasts on the box. It seems such a shame to just bin this game off when we could be enjoying the theme of it. You can persevere with the original rules making adjustments to scoring, for example playing to 50 instead of 100. But we decided we would take house rules to another level:
1. Deal out 12 pieces per person face down.
2. Simultaneously all players reveal their pieces.
3. Start building cubist faces. Each face must have: a nose, a mouth and 2 eyes.
Pieces that touch another piece must be matched by colour.
4. When you have used all the pieces that you can, draw 3 more.
5. When the last piece is drawn the winner is the person with the most complete faces.
However you choose to play it’s fun to make cubist faces!
Picture This
1993 Spears Games
A potentially hilarious mixture of Pictionary and Charades. I say hilarious… equally you could discover that you have the miming skills of Picasso and the drawing abilities of Lionel Blair. Anything could happen! ‘Picture This’ requires you to roll 2 dice. One die dictates whether you mime, draw or choose between them, while the second die determines the category. Categories such as wind instruments, poets and childhood ailments test your skills and your wits!
You create your works of art or your small scale theatrical performances in the allotted time and your team gains points by correctly identifying the category.
An MB classic from 2000.
The family game of quick-draw!
Sketch the words that appear on the cards for your teammates to identify. In the time honoured tradition of hilarious games which are improved only by playing them in the pub, you are against the sand timer. So whether you are sketching contact lenses, a relay race or big cheese – you must render your masterpiece quickly and expertly if you are to triumph.
So, whether you want to create your own masterpiece or try your luck at the auction house, come and visit us on the walk of art – or anytime and have a go!
Come along to a Cards or Die event.
2017-10-06 21.41.50 (1)_edited

Don your Deerstalker! A guide to detective games.

Whether you prefer to drink real ale, drive classic cars and shout at Junior Detectives, wear a deerstalker and have sharp cheekbones, or exercise your little grey cells (and if you didn’t read that in a Belgian accent you’ve let yourself down) – you will certainly enjoy these detective games. In our house we love a bit of intense sleuthing and here are some of our choices…
Classics are classics for a reason and Cluedo is no exception. It is yet another Waddingtons Leeds success story. But, unlike Monopoly and despite the macabre theme, it doesn’t inspire actual murder. Internationally successful to this day, the game is widely known as Clue abraod. A reissue of the game in 2008 saw it attempt to align itself with modern culture – you can find out more in Richard Alleyne’s article here. I don’t want to get involved with first names and modern weaponry though, Cluedo for me is about embracing the theme, having a warm milky drink before bed while I peruse and ponder the clues. I still love our vintage version best.
There are three female characters to choose from which is a boon. Although since my daughter adopted this as one of her favourites, I never get to be Miss Scarlet anymore. I am often relegated to the buxom and comforting steadiness of Mrs White and spend the game internally creating a salacious back story – she wasn’t always this matronly you know!
At the time when Cluedo first appeared in the mid-forties it was an important alternative to the roll and move games which were so prevalent. Even as a child in the late 70s / early 80s I was not so spoilt for choice as we are now. Cluedo offered a relief from the day long unpleasantness of Monopoly or the inordinately (and unjustifiably) long games of Frustration and Ludo. I enjoyed it then and now because it uses your brain. Being able to accurately deduce who commited the murder, where and with what implement is still very satisfying. Even when you don’t win, you are invested in the outcome – often the reveal is followed by a comparing of notes and discussion of how close or far off other players were. It is that which gives Cluedo continuing appeal.
Cluedo Card Game
Cluedo but portable? Yes please. The game works well as a card game and sticks reasonably closely to the original. In this version you must use your deduction skills to ascertain the Suspect, the Destination and the Vehicle they are making their getaway in. Action cards determine what players may do on their turns. The addition of destination markers which are all visible help to maintain the mechanic of moving to a room to make your accusation.
There is also a ‘one against all’ variation. One player assumes the role of the fugitive and must form an escape plan while the detectives must thwart the villains plans before they can make good their escape and time runs out.
I love the artwork on the cards, especially the old fashioned modes of escape like the seaplane! All of the cards – photographs and illustrations – have been given a sepia, aged tone. This makes some of the seemingly random destinations all the more enjoyable – Miss Scarlet might have hopped on her hot air balloon bound for Loch Ness, Alton Towers or perhaps even Blackpool Tower! It is a fun variant of Cluedo and easy to take to the pub, so everyone’s a winner!
221B Baker Street
221B Baker Street has 75 different cases to solve (if you buy the most recent version). Cases vary in complexity as well as making different demands of the detectives; for some crimes you need to uncover the motive, killer and weapon while others ask for cause of death, how the victim died or other more obscure details of the case. You start off at Baker Street and then make your way round the board to different locations, collecting and solving clues as you go. You can only read the clue once and there is a time limit of 30 seconds and may not refer back to it – so the notes you take are vital!
When you believe you have solved the mystery you return to 221B Baker street and announce your theory. If you are correct you are victorious and the game ends. Fail and you are suspended from duty – effective immediately – you do not even get to share your notes with fellow officers.
You are able to seal off locations to hide valuable clues or mislead other players. These are fairly easy to unlock and although you are only allowed one key and one Scotland Yard card to seal and unlock locations, they are easy to replace. It is not a feature that we often use when we play, because of the “actual murder” thing (see above!).
While it can seem slow to start, the game soon picks up pace. I enjoy the problem solving and deduction as well as the opportunity to take opium and play the violin erratically.
We enjoy it despite the fact the children find some of the clues too obscure. We usually start out individually and end up in some sort of co-operative game where we work together to solve the crime, or we visit different locations and swap clues. I’m basically quite conflict averse, so we don’t enforce the 30 second rule, or use a much longer time. Not only would it make the game more difficult, but I can’t imagine a scenario in which one of my children would not attempt to kill the other with the clue book rolled up around a lead pipe, in the dining room, when their 30 seconds was up and they ‘HAVEN’T EVEN READ IT ONCE’. I’m a strong believer in house rules and am not a stickler for the printed ones. Games are about having fun and as long as all rules are pre-agreed by the group so that everyone can access and enjoy the game that’s what matters most.
Mr Jack
Mr Jack is a great little 2 player asymmetric detective game. The Inspector employs Holmes, Watson and Toby the dog to track down Jack the Ripper. It is short on diversity of characters but it has many plus points. We took it on holiday with us and played it a lot.
Inspector Morse
Unlike 221B there are only 9 variations to play here (3 cases with 3 question cards each). So it has a clearly limited life on your shelves. Lucky for you I bought it so you don’t have to!
You begin by reading the case book but make careful notes as anytime you want to look at it again it will cost you 10 points (each player starts with 500 promotion points). The object of the game is to move around the board solving clues so that you are able to correctly answer the six questions from the question card. Locations contain clue cards which once read are replaced at the bottom of the pile and if you are unlucky enough to draw the same clue twice that’s just tough – you don’t get to swap it for another!
As you move around the board you also encounter difficulties and positive adding a (possibly unnecessary) element of luck to the game. The square may cause you to lose or gain promotion points at random; move to certain locations or squares or move other players. You can move around the board in a variety of ways though.
There are two endings to choose from which as a group you can decide on at the beginning. You may either return to Morse’s office with your theory, at which point all players hand in their notes sheets which are scored (plus points for correct deductions, minus points for incorrect or missing answers) or, return to Morse’s office and see if you are correct. If you have solved the case then the game ends but if you have not then the remaining detectives slog on while you wait in the pub with an increasingly warm real ale for them.
Despite the luck element this is an enjoyable game, especially if you enjoyed the TV series. Relish the opportunity to say ‘Lewis’ in a suitably angry or disparaging tone every time someone else lands on a bad square! Best played in the pub with a real ale – it’s where you do your best thinking after all.
Get Adler
Get Adler is a brilliant, fun game. In the first half the agents are searching for Adler and in the second half Adler tries to escape while the agents try to catch him. Particularly good for larger groups as it plays up to 9 people. Mechanics wise it combines guess who with fast paced strategy!
I have reviewed Get Adler previously – you can read more here.
And I couldn’t write a blog on sleuthing without featuring a Sherlock gif, could I?
Join us for games for a Cards or Die event.
2016-11-11 18.02.56

How I win at Charity Shopping.

I have always enjoyed an amble round the charity shops and since starting Cards or Die, I can amble with renewed purpose. Or ‘pop in – just for a minute’ as I refer to it when trailing a reluctant trio of kids. But in fact, I am not merely aimlessly ambling. It may surprise you to learn that there is a charity shopping strategy. And, no one expects the charity shopping strategy.
(Dramatic entrance, swirling red cloak) The key element in successful charity shopping is luck. Luck is the main element; luck and a fanatical devotion to bargains. OK… the two key elements are luck, a fanatical devotion to bargains and the willingness to take a risk….
(Goes out, bursts in again) The many faceted elements of successful charity shopping are luck, a fanatical devotion to bargains and the willingness to take a risk. So, ok it’s three. But, many faceted elements sounds much more serious. And bargains are a serious business.
It may seem obvious but luck is a two way street. I’ve had some amazing luck at charity shops: ‘Hey! That’s my Fish!’ for 49p; 221B Baker Street – still shrink wrapped £2.99, brand new Bucket of Doom 99p!
I’ve had some bad luck too – for instance Connect 4 (the co-operative version) and Buffy the Board Game – it turns out this was not the Buffy I was looking for.
The thing to take on board though… (I’ll give you a moment to groan if you wish…) The thing to take on board is the number of near misses I’ve had too. I nearly bought Lost the Board Game. It was in a tin for goodness sake. But, I kept my packaging excitement in check and read some reviews on board game geek and averted disaster. I’m aware that the Connect 4 debacle could have been avoided by asking them to snip the tape* so I could look inside.
(*I’ll come back to this)
Despite using the words ‘disaster’ and ‘debacle’, (prone to drama? Moi?) buying these games would leave me just under a fiver out of pocket. It’s easy to change my language and view this as a charitable donation rather than a waste. Plus the Connect 4 will be useful as spares providing people only ever lose yellow counters…
*Taping up board games. Please don’t. I have invested in massive sturdy rubber bands and at Airecon, in possibly the geekiest conversation I had that weekend, I discovered rubber X bands which are super sturdy for your games.
If you want to look inside a box that is taped up – just ask. They will snip it open with scissors and reseal it. That way no-one has to end up with a ripped or damaged box.
Fanatical devotion to bargains
Raised Catholic, fanatical devotion comes easily to me! The more regularly and frequently you can visit charity shops the better. I can efficiently get round all the charity shops here in Horsforth because I know exactly where the board games are in each one. I can go straight to that shelf and check if there are any new additions. It really can be a quick task. Of course often there may be distractions that result in a new outfit which is a bonus!
I usually have a list in mind of which games I’m looking out for. On that list there are specific games and then sections like games from before 1960, for instance. If you are after a particular game or particular style or make of game you can request shops to ring you if that specific thing comes in. Some will be happy to do this for you. On the plus side you don’t have to trawl round as much, on the other hand you may miss a find that isn’t on your hit list. Part of the excitement of charity shop shopping is that you never know what you might discover so it’s important not to be too focussed.
Going in the car to charity shops in odd, tucked away or far flung places can lead to some bargains too. I’ve had some fab bargains from a charity shop on a housing estate in Ellesmere Port whilst visiting my folks. It isn’t really near much else – a newsagents and a chippy and I’ve had some good vintage finds there. Not to mention a dress that was in the sale for 75p!
Anytime we go somewhere new I always want to have a ‘quick look’ in the charity shops. You just never know what you might find. For some reason in different areas you seem to get different types of unwanted games so it’s worth looking in different places if you can. In Wilmslow I got some fabulous condition retro games in a couple of shops.
The saying ‘One person’s junk is another’s treasure’ springs to mind and I am constantly on the lookout for treasure.
Willingness to take a risk.
Throw caution to the wind and splash out on a game you’ve never heard of! The great thing about this is if it’s a dud you can use it as spares or just redonate it, safe in the knowledge that you have made a donation to a worthwhile cause. But if it’s not a dud…
I’ve bought games that are not listed on board game geek and that I’ve never heard of. Or I simply haven’t checked if they are listed – I like the look of them and at these prices it’s a safe risk to take.
I took a risk with this because when I bought it, I didn’t know what it was. I loved the carved wooden box and how tactile it was. I took it up to the counter and said ‘Is this a game?’ ‘Yes’ they said. And I bought it. Then spent a lot of time saying ‘what’s this?’ and brandishing it at people. Eventually somebody said Mancala and all I needed to do then was learn how to play it.
Mancala is an ancient game and so there are many variations. I did some research and fixed on a set of rules that worked. As with all games as long as everyone is in agreement and understands how to win before you start, it should be fine!
This has been such a popular game at all my events. Quick to learn, strategic and mathmatical: it is the kind of game you want to play over and over. It is possible to get modern versions of it and it comes as part of many of the wooden games compendiums. I highly recommend it.
Space Lines
I had never heard of it and it was clearly a 3d version of Connect 4 which could be a but naff. But, interestingly it plays up to 3 and the picture on the box! Well, that’s what sold it to me. The 3D game of the future, a brave new world where people would shoot coloured lasers out of their fingers. This was the kind of world I wanted a piece of. Once I had got over the disappointment of the lack of finger lasers, I realised that this is actually a really neat game.
Played two player, it is harder than you think to pursue your own series of 4 pegs whilst blocking your opponent. But when three play it becomes very interesting. There is potential for pairing up against one opponent or seeming to and then switching loyalties.Martin at The Abbey has introduced a no talking rule for the three player game which is an excellent idea as it intensifies the dynamics of the game.
Again this is a game with a very simple premise: make a row of four pegs in any direction. Each time you get caught out, you’ll want to play again. The 3D, 3 player element means there are multiple strategies to try out.
A two player strategy game. This time it wasn’t the box itself that encouraged me to buy it, but its award winning status and the tactile nature of the pieces. One player is red, the other black; using your tiles you must make your way across the board from one side to another whilst blocking your opponent’s bid to do the same. This is a gem of a strategy game and I can see why it won the Toy of The Year Award 1974.
In this instance the box itself nearly stopped me buying this one. It was on a shelf with napkin rings (also in boxes) and display plates. So, when I picked up the box I wasn’t sure what to expect. Whoever thought ‘Burgundy and gold, that says fun’? Carefully prising it open I found the instructions which explained that it was a game where you match the colours and try to make a long chain of the same colour, scoring for each square in the chain. To be honest, it sounded a bit dull but it was under a pound and I thought someone might like it. I was both wrong and right! It isn’t at all dull and lots of people like it! In fact it has been re-issued in a nicer box and is well worth trying out. If you like Tantrix (another charity bargain) you’ll like this. It’s pleasing to the eye and mildly strategic. There’s something very satisfying about totting up your ever increasing score as you create longer and longer colour chains.
If, like me you are addicted to charity shops and the board game bargains to be sought out, you may also enjoy Board Game Trading and Chat UK. As I was typing this blog, someone had shared a post – they bought Ticket to Ride for £3.50 and Disc World for £4.25. 154 people reacted to this post so it definitely isn’t just me that enjoys a bargain – vicarious or otherwise!
What are your greatest charity shop finds? Or your most entertaining duds?

Come and check out some of my bargainous finds at a Cards or Die event.

Once upon a time in the West it wasn’t all Doom and Gloom: the beauty of Storytelling Games.

Storytelling is an ageless activity bred of an instinctive human desire to connect with others. Back when we lived in caves and all you needed to do to impress someone was light a fire, we would sit round that fire and tell stories: stories of the mythic beasts we had slain; cautionary stories of the dangers our youngsters should avoid; stories of comical mishaps and misunderstandings. Playing games is an ancient pastime, and it’s no coincidence that games is another great way to connect with other humans. So, what could be better at connecting us than games that tell stories?
Here are some of our favourite story telling style games:
Players use the letters that are revealed to create sentences. Each sentence must use all of the letters in order reading left to right or right to left. You place 7 letter cards and a category card face up to create the board. The category card awards different points depending on the subject of the sentence. Turn over the 3 minute timer and off you go! You need to make sure that the sentence is grammatically accurate and you can use names but not just to use up letters – they need to be an integral part of the sentence. Write as many sentences in the time to maximise your score. The rules claim that the game is outlandish and creative, and the results certainly lend credence to this claim!
A variation allows you to place 10 letters and choose a sequence of those to make your sentence. In this version you score according to the length of your sentence.
The game is played over 5 rounds, so you’ve got time to warm up!
This is a quick, fun party game. It is challenging but it’s the kind of game that once you warm your brain up, you can create all sorts of bizarre and entertaining stories! Have a go at the boards in the pictures to get you started!
Bucket Of Doom
Another classic party game. I was wary of this one at first as it says it’s suitable for ages 17+… some people had seen it in my collection and said the thought it would be like Cards Against Humanity – this didn’t help! 9as you may know, I am not a fan of Cards Against Humanity at all. I’ve played it and I felt that some of the topics were so tasteless that I could not find any humour in them). But, I found a copy of this in a charity shop and it is by Big Potato Games (Creators of Obama Llama which is well loved here at Cards or Die headquarters) so, the conditions were perfect for me to throw caution to the wind and suspend my reservations. And, I’m glad I did.
You have 8 objects and an improbable yet perilous scenario. The scenarios are mainly ridiculous, some are rude and many are nightmarish but they are not offensive. You must use one of your 8 objects to escape the scenario you find yourself in. The group choose the most convincing and entertaining explanation and we have a winner/ survivor. Above all else this game is ridiculous. It demands that you engage your imagination and reach into its farthest recesses to generate plausible absurdity.
So, how will your Bachelor’s in drama get you out of this suicidal whale?
Serving suggestion: definitely the sort of game which is best served with fizzy wine or fine ales.
In Dixit the player who decides on the phrase, word or saying that encapsulates their card is referred to as the storyteller. Each image tells its own story. I have already written a detailed review of Dixit -you can read more here.
I love Gloom; both the game and the Eeyore-like state of being. We have the Cthulhu version. Despite the tuck box (we won’t talk about that it upsets me), this is a brilliant game. The aim of the game is to make your family as miserable as possible before killing them all!
The cards are see-through so that you can stack them up, obscuring or replacing some or all of the existing scores and categories. Event cards intensify the gloom of your family and outline a mishap or terrible event: ‘disappeared in the night’ or ‘was part of a feast’ for example. As these stack up you tell the horrifying story of that character. Storytelling is outlined in the rules as ‘half the fun’: you are encouraged to flesh out (if you will) how these chilling events came to pass. It’s definitely more entertaining if you engage your storytelling brain as well as your maths/ strategic one. This goes some way to settling the ‘Is Maths better than English?’ debate. Or perhaps they work in beautiful harmony? Nonsense, English makes everything better. (This is the answer, no need to comment below).
Whilst trying to make your family as miserable as possible you can cheer up your opponent’s with bargainous books or secured tenures. When you have enough negative points you can cause the untimely death of your family member or as a philanthropic gesture you can limit the unhappiness of an opponent’s family member by putting them out of their misery – literally.
When your entire family have gone to a better place (which given the circumstances wouldn’t take much) then the game ends and you total up the points to see who has spread the most gloom. Fabulously gruesome!
Colt Express
In Colt Express you are all ruthless bandits in the Wild West trying to grab the most loot and prove yourself as the fastest gunslinger. The marshall guards the prize on the train – a briefcase full of money. But watch out, get shot by the said marshall and that really messes up your plans.
One of the immediately impressive and striking things about Colt Express is that it uses a cardboard train rather than a board. It truly is a thing of beauty. You make your way along the train either clinging to the roof or risking life and limb as you swing from carriage to carriage.
Disappointingly the number of female characters is limited to the usual two and one of them is predictably busty. As with so many games I overlook that. If I only bought games which fairly represent the diversity of society my shelves would be significantly emptier.
Colt Express uses a programming mechanic. A round comprises 4 to 6 actions per player and this is detailed on the round outline card. Some of the outline cards dictate that certain cards are placed secretly and some end with an action like the train screeching to a halt – when the outlaws who have chosen to risk the high winds and jolting tracks by creeping along the roof are jettisoned dangerously closer to the marshall.
Each player chooses the action they plan to execute and places their card in the pile. When this is completed, one player then tells the story of the round. This mechanic makes the game quite tricky; to play effectively you need to not only keep track (no pun intended!) of what you’re planning but of what everyone else is doing and where they are, adjusting your plans accordingly.
The storytelling element and the cardboard train are my favourite bits of this game. (It even comes with cardboard cacti!) For me the game is perfect when people enter into the storytelling element of it with enthusiasm. A list of actions becomes a scene from a Wild West train robbery with a cast of rival guns prepared to fight to the death.
Each player has a special ability which lends some more depth to the game and there are two expansion packs available which I’m keen to try out.
Everybody needs good neighbours and you can join forces with yours in The Neighbours board game to create the best plotline ever. I have thoroughly enjoyed playing this game and it’s had good reviews from events too. Now – whenever I read the word “hilarious” in a review part of my soul dies, but honestly Neighbours is hilarious to play (admittedly we consumed wine while we played – a theme is emerging), but it is a fun game – and the plot lines you create have to be grammatically accurate, which pleases me more than I can tell you. Pretend it’s the 80s, pretend it’s sunny, and dive right in!
So what is the story we should take away from this post? Well, once upon a time there was a little girl who eschewed the rules of grammar. She thought that what really mattered was the story, not the way it was written. She was wrong. She lost. Grammar matters kids.
As a poster in my classroom stated:
“Let’s eat Grandma! or, Let’s eat, Grandma!”
It takes a lot more than lighting a fire in a cave to impress people these days… get this wrong and you could have been having quite a chewy dinner…
Join us for board games at a Cards or Die event.

Games for Weddings

5 reasons why if you treat yourself to one extra ‘thing’ at your wedding, it’s got to be board games.
1. Memories are made of this.
What do you want people to remember from your wedding? You want them to remember what a fun day it was, the people they met and spent time with, how special that shared time with you and your family was. Games are fun; games bring people together: that’s the whole point. For many families Christmas is the only time they get the board games out. Why? Because we associate board games with fun, with family, with quality time and memories. I’m not suggesting that I bring Risk or Escape From Colditz and we all settle down for a six hour intensive, strategic battle (well, not this time!). I’m promising to bring the sort of games that you remember from your childhood, fun games that you will want to share. The sort of games that make you name 7 things beginning with ‘F’ before the timer runs out, without offending Grandma or teaching the children any new words.
2. Kids have to sit still to play games and they will.
At various points you will want the children to sit still for a while, to have some calm time. Playing a game with children is a great way to grab a bit of family time; it can be a long tiring day for the little ones. Just as with the books, our favourite games are those that both adults and children can enjoy. The best bit is – once you’ve played them through a few times – they’ll play happily on their own and you can move on to a more complex game or simply go back to your wine! Poo, Dobble, Exploding Kittens and Don’t Panic are quick to learn and fun to play.
3. 4 Hours in and you’ve run out of things to say to Great Uncle Jeff.
Never fear, once you’ve got him engrossed in Mancala you’ll be discussing tactics and strategy. Or, we can crack out Downfall or Guess Who and he’ll soon be regaling you and anyone in earshot with comical (and probably embarrassing) memories from your childhood. This is a great way of sparking conversation or providing a focus, and equally true of tables where everyone knows each other or where strangers are sitting together. Get people playing and they aren’t strangers for long.

4. The Twilight Zone

Apart from the temporary distraction of the photographs, the time between the wedding and the evening reception can feel a little flat. Providing a carefully chosen selection of games gives guests something fun to occupy their time. Games like Anomia, 5 Second Rule or Jenga are all good group games that people can dip in and out of when it’s their photo call. The fact that people can swap in and out of the games also encourages people to mix and get together.

5. Games that are funny are HILARIOUS when you’ve had a glass (or two) of fizz.

Any game that requires dexterity or quick fire answers is entertaining as it is but, add a couple of glasses of fizz and the level of challenge intensifies; you find yourself crying with laughter as the first celebrity that your friend names is Michael Fish! You struggle to regain your composure as the timer ticks down and you wrack your brains for a type of insect. An insect. Any insect. Come on, you know that a hamster is not an insect and yet your brain only has this to offer! Or, you can try to steady your hand as you perch a chair on top of another precarious chair. (Frowning and holding your breath helps with this!). People laughing at your “concentration” face does not help. Then as the chairs come crashing down, the people on the next table see you all laughing and shout over ‘Can we have that next?’ Suddenly there you are with people mixing and having fun. Just what you said you wanted at the start.

Click on the image.

Cards or Die is all about board gaming fun and creating great memories. Get in touch to chat to us about which games would suit your wedding.
You can always pop along to a Cards or Die event and see what it’s all about.
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Push Your Luck Games – warning: mild peril.

Push your luck games are the marmite of tabletop. Often involving little or no strategy, instead they rely on risk calculation and a large helping of luck. You can calculate that the odds of being shot in the head are low and then… boom… no head! I know. I’ve been there. Frequently. I guess that’s the other marmite element; I lose my head and then just have another game. It is high speed risk taking with the consequences removed. In these games I assume an air of confident optimism (sadly lacking from other areas of my life) usually resulting in my sudden demise and perhaps reinforcing the theory that in real life everything that can go wrong, will go wrong.
‘Big Risks for High Rollers’. Yes! This encapsulates me: a high roller from the 70s.
I picked up Waddingtons’ Stun from the UK Expo bring and buy sale. It plays up to 6 which is always a bonus at events where often people like to play in larger groups.
You have to collect 5 chips to win. And there’s the rub. I’m already hooked because I believe I can win and easily too.
I’m realising now that this explains why I spend a proportion of every decent UK beach holiday with my nose pressed against a 2p machine that’s “just about to drop. I’ll stay here. Change this £1 for 2ps. GO!”
You turn over cards, stopping only when your nerve fails. Turn up a stun card and your turn “ENDS IMMEDIATELY” as it says in the rules. Verbatim. Shouty capitals and all.
There are also Stun Plus and Stun Minus cards with which to scupper your opposition, always an enjoyable aspect in a game.
Stop turning up cards in time, save them and trade them for a chip: slow and steady wins the race. But, where’s the fun in that? One more… go on… I dare you!
by Ludi Creations. Plays 2 – 5. Age 6.
The most striking thing about this game is its beauty. When I saw Daniel Solis’ name on the box I was not surprised at all (Kodama and Koi Pond are also beautiful games). So beautiful was it that it took me a while to realise that it is at its root a push your luck game.
First, let’s take a moment to enjoy the board. I challenge you to open it without going ‘Ahhhhhhh’ in what you believe to be an angelic voice! It’s a pop up book of a board and it’s mini.
Then, we learn that our heroic mice must defeat the red dragon and recover the Sacred Golden Cheese. I was already completely sold on it by this point.
The clever bit in Mythe is that, rather than drawing up from a central pile, you draw cards from other players’ hands (one by one) stopping before you hit an obstacle card. When you finish your turn by advancing on your cheese quest or by fatally overestimating your mousely strength, you give cards away to other players.
So, you just give away all the good cards and then draw them back up next go? Right?
No. Because to defeat that pesky dragon before your cheese becomes fondue you need to hold a legacy item. Obviously. How else would a mouse defeat a dragon? Also, by the time your turn comes round the other player may have a very different hand.
Clever, eh? There’s more randomness than 52 card pick up, there’s second guessing what other people are up to and there’s peril little mouse, so much peril.
You will want to play this many, many times.
Zombie Dice
by Steve Jackson
Another game that accommodates many players, Zombie Dice is a quick fun game that is always a hit at events. You are a zombie, you must roll the dice to find out if you eat braaaaaiiiiins, get shot in the head or if your victim escapes.
Re-roll escaping victims or just keep rolling until you fear for your head. Three shots to the head and your head fully explodes.
But never fear, it will regrow in time for your next turn. It is a low scoring game and grasping that is the route to success.
The best part of this is that the dice are weighted to allow you to calculate your risk. Red dice mean you are more likely to be shot, green you are more likely to feast on brains and yellow could go either way.
Yahtzee boasts that it is a game of skill, not reliant on luck. MB clearly understood that luck sells less than skill but if we’re honest surely being lucky is the only way to win this!
Classic Yahtzee and Yahtzee Word are the sort of games that sound like nothing when you describe them, but are super addictive to play. Roll the dice and collect points for words or sets of dice. Every round you must record a score – you can choose to record a zero for a category and try instead to get an ‘easier’ category. For instance, you may decide there’s no way you will roll 5 of a kind or get a 7 letter word but you may get a 3 letter word or 3 of a kind. So, you put a 0 next to 5 of a kind and go instead for 3 of a kind. It’s hard to capture the addictive nature of them – I think it’s the fact you are pushing your luck – deciding that rather than putting a zero for a low scoring category you will risk it and go for the big scores, which makes it so compelling. You have just as much chance of winning as your opponent. They can not outwit you or just be cleverer or better than you. But maybe these are just the words of someone who lost too many games as a child and is now being destroyed on a regular basis by a smart, ruthless 12 year old.
There are bonus points to be achieved if you score certain amounts or fill certain boxes which lend more importance to the decision making process. Yahtzee word does feel more reliant on skill than Classic Yahtzee as creating words under pressure is a challenging task, and the addition of the timer makes it more pressurised which is always more fun!
I love pushing my luck in these games. Weighing up your options and calculating your chances carefully is the way to boss all of these games. But, to get the most enjoyment out of them…. slowly, carefully, reveal the card or roll the dice, then shout at the cards and dice, shout at people who are winning or losing, and take big risks – after all you won’t really lose your head.
What’s your favourite type of game? Strategy? Luck? Something else?
Come along and play these at a Cards or Die event.
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Gifts for two game lovers. (And two lovers of games).

A wise old bear once said that it was much friendlier with two. As it is in Winnie the Pooh, so too it is in boardgames. I often come across games which are better with more players and it can be hard to think of games for couples: so here are some suggestions for pairs of game lovers.
Always the first game out at every event. Some people use this as a warm up game, and others play it happily all night until someone tips the table over… As with all the best games there is a simple premise and truckloads of strategy. Push your partners marbles off the board before they push yours off. You may move up to three of your own marbles together in order to push your opponents off the board – but you must always move more of your own than you push of theirs. So, for example, move 3 black, push 2 white, or move 2 white, push 1 black. That’s it. It sounds simple but quickly gets fiendishly difficult. A quick strategic game that you will want to play again and again.
Mancala is an ancient game: hundreds and hundreds of years old. As with many great oral traditions, rules have been passed down, adapted and assimilated into gospel truths. The rules I teach – and consequently the rules we play by in the pub – are as follows: empty any pod and redistribute the olives in a clockwise direction dropping one in each subsequent pod. If the last olive you drop lands in a cup, you get an extra turn. The person with the most olives in their cup wins.
One of the things that I really love about this game is how tactile it is; as soon as it comes out people are interested and want to play. And, just like with Abalone, you play one round and you’re hooked. I end every round convinced I’ve worked out a winning strategy. And sometimes… I have!
There are some beautiful hand crafted versions available on Etsy.
Mr Jack
I found Mr Jack (pocket version) tucked away in the treasure trove that is ‘Just Games’ in Whitby. As big fans of all things Sherlock in our house (my partner enjoys Elementary, my daughter enjoys 221B and I enjoy Benedick Cumberbatch) it seemed an obvious choice. As a bonus it comes in a small box but is set out like a board game, a perfect alternative to card games while you’re on holiday.
While it is easy to learn the basics and easily accessible, you can also play with a lot of strategy. We started off playing in a very straightforward way and soon realised that you can play at a much deeper, strategic level. Much of this lies in the cleverness of the asymmetry: Mr Jack must avoid detection while The Inspector must discover Mr Jack’s identity before time runs out. The Inspector moves the character tokens around the edge of the board, looking down the alleys for Mr Jack. Meanwhile, Mr Jack must try to disrupt their view to stop the Inspector deducing Mr Jack’s identity. The game is well balanced; neither character has any advantage over the other. We have played this a lot.
One of the challenges of promoting Board Gaming Events is finding pictures of people smiling whilst concentrating. Here’s Mark having fun playing Mr Jack:
Terrible Monster
This is a perfect two player game. Your objective is to deal enough damage to kill your opponent. Each player only has 4 life tokens, and the life tokens are actual hearts (for fans of romantic realism)
There are three monsters in the pack and spell cards which have various effects. All of the cards state clearly what you must do when you play the card and many work together, so consider your choices carefully. For instance, Terrible Monster deals 4 damage and so when played can end the game… but you need to be able to summon it, and both the Leech and Deduction cards allow your opponent to take Terrible Monster from your grasp!
This is another of our favourites – you can check it out on Sweet Lemon’s website
Love Letter
What review of games for couples would be complete without Love Letter?
Love letter plays up to four people but is just as good with two. The way it is presented makes it a lovely present; the cards come in a velvet pouch and I pimped mine up by replacing the standard red scoring cubes with love hearts.
Your aim is to get your love letter to the Princess or failing that to the person closest to her. You play with a hand of one, picking up a card and playing one each turn. But – discard the Princess card and you lose immediately! It can be a brutal game but then courting princesses is fraught with danger.
And if you want something completely different, there’s always Naked Guess Who. And yes that’s a real thing. And don’t blame me if you click on the link.
Come along and play at a Cards or Die event.

Monopoly: why do we hate it so much?

Sunday in our house: all three children have independently settled down to a board game. All of my Enid Blyton fantasies are coming true. But before I can don my frilly apron and serve up lashings of ginger beer, I hear snatches of angry conversation:
‘No. We NEVER play that rule’
‘Well, it is the rule’
Then, an adult voice. My partner shouting above the melee of three indignant children:
‘I don’t even know why you’ve chosen this game!’
And then I know. I realise what has happened. Blyton has been ousted by Orwell, or worse still Darwin, as I realise my delightful offspring have embarked on a game of Monopoly: where only the richest, the most ruthless survive in a kind of dystopian hell.
Monopoly causes all the strops. It’s true – search Monopoly gifs and there’s Daniel Craig having a strop.
The Auction Rule
We always argue about whether we play this particular rule, and how. It allows you to land on a property you don’t want and sell it to your sister at a hugely inflated price. Because despite the fact you landed on it last turn too and could have just bought it, you waited and bid for it in an auction against two younger siblings before tactically dropping out of the bidding, inflating the price, leaving one younger sister with hardly any money. This is as true in our house now as it was for me about 35 years ago.
Losing Money
This is where my 10 year old struggles. When others run out of money, she offers to lend them some (interest free of course). When she runs out of money, she is gleefully declared bankrupt by the others. The combination of glee and defeat generally culminate in the sort of eruption Mount Vesuvius would be proud of.
The Free Parking Issue
Yet another rule row before we even start. Aunty Marie does pool the taxes, fines, etc and if you are lucky enough to land on free parking then you win the money. Again, it is the eldest who protests most loudly that it ‘isn’t even a proper rule’ and furthermore he objects because landing on free parking and scooping the loot is just down to luck. He, like many other gamers objects to games that rely on luck. He doesn’t need luck; he has a ruthless devotion to the rules and a fanatical loyalty to Capitalist principles which is frankly terrifying.
There’s the rub. A lot of people object to games which rely heavily or solely on luck. There seems to be some shame attached to enjoying something ‘light’. I understand to an extent. Just look at Shut The Box… where’s the joy in repeatedly rolling dice on the off-chance that you roll the right combination, several times, that shuts the box? But… succeed in shutting the box and the joy! The sheer sense of accomplishment! I defy you to stop playing this game when you have just lost by being one single, solitary, soul crushing roll away from shutting the box!
Luck based games can be just as fun and compelling as strategy games and I have no time to feel ashamed of enjoying something.
Besides, is Monopoly all luck? Not really. You can be as lucky as you like but play against my son and he will ruin you. He’s12.
So if it’s not luck, why do we hate it?
Profit at the cost of others?
This definitely causes the bitterest arguments. Yet, in other games it is accepted. I can deduce and then block or steal your route in Ticket to Ride, and deliberately so. In Coup we gleefully all claim to be the Duke as we save up to assassinate each other. It’s bloody annoying. But no-one cries, storms off and declares they are ‘NEVER playing that again’.
In all games, other than cooperative ones, a basic principle is I win therefore you lose. Strategy is twofold: how do I maximise my advantage and how can I do most damage to my opponents?
Lack of Rule Clarity?
There are plenty of games where there is fluidity with the rules. Before we start we often establish house rules – perhaps adapted for who is playing or how long we have to play. Sometimes my partner and eldest son will read the rule book anyway but then bow to my superior wisdom* and embrace the house rules.
Boggle, for instance, is a game I have for a long time adapted. It is only recently that I have introduced the rule that you cross out and don’t score any word that someone else also has. I have avoided that rule because, as a child, playing against adults and losing is one thing – but scoring zero and having all of your answers invalidated is demoralising in the extreme.
For every other game rule adaptation is fine. Yet, in Monopoly, even before we start we are combative.
So what is it then? What is our beef with Monopoly?
I don’t know for sure but every time it comes out, I hang up my apron, pack away the vintage tea service and don my body armour. Where does Monopoly live in your house- pride of place on the games shelf or shoved in a cupboard hidden under a deluge of ‘useful’ things you bought from the middle aisle in Lidl?
Comtemdrs Rdy?
Sorry, let me remove the mouthguard…
Contenders Ready? Let’s play….
Monopoly Facts
  • Originally named The Landlord’s Game, it was invented by Elizabeth J Magie in 1904 to illustrate the dangers of capitalism and promote socialism – there were two versions, one collaborative, and one competitive.
  • Charles Darrow copied and patented it in 1935
  • Parker Bros. rejected it as it was too complicated
  • In 1936 Waddingtons, Leeds produced Monopoly
  • During the second world war special editions containing silk maps and currency were produced by Waddingtons, Leeds and sent to PoWs.
You can come along to a Cards or Die event and play it or you can play one of my other more popular/ less fighty games.