Saturday, 10 November 2012

The GF On: Yesterday, I backed my first Kickstarter

Kickstarter -

It was through the board-gaming hobby that I stumbled across this sleek website. I had not been aware of 'crowd funding' on the internet before, which is admittedly surprising as the concept has been around since the early 2000s.  Kickstarter itself was launced on April 28, 2009 and has since then purportedly funded more than 30,000 projects.

Losing my Kickstarter virginity... 

Anyway, yesterday I backed my first Kickstarter. Actually, I backed my first two. (Though Lesbigamer doesn't know about the second one yet....shhhhh......) I thought I might reflect on the process and thinking behind each backing.

Eight-Minute Empire

I first heard of this game on BGG, I believe it was on the 'Hotness' menu. What got me interested in the game was the short length ... supposedly, a mere eight minutes. Short games are hard to come by in our collection, as most of our games are 90-120 mins in length. I think this reflects our gaming habits of playing a game before or after dinner, where we typically want a decent-length, engaging game and where we only really get to play one game. 

However, recently, we have been really busy with our university exams. Hours and hours of work and study. But we can't be studying all the time, so we take breaks together. 2 hours of study = 30 mins of break time. Hmmm, I suddenly have a better appreciation of short games...

The other advantage of a short game is that we could finally have some 'filller' or 'warm-up' games. I think the diversity of games in a single session would be really nice.

On the strength of the short play-time I was sold. Pledged $20.

Boss Monster: the Dungeon-Building Card Game

Me: "Oh my gawd, there's a game here called Boss Monster."
Lesbigamer: "I know what you're thinking..."
Me: *GRIN*
Lesbigamer: "Don't buy a game called Boss Monster."

I stumbled across this game as I was backing Eight-Minute Empire. The theme immediately caught my eye, story-wise it was Dungeon Lords i.e. I could play as a cackling evil boss trapping hapless heroes in my dreadful dungeon of despair. But on top of that, it was a throwback into the hey-day of 8-bit gaming. Yummy.

I read the rules, watched the gameplay video supplied on the Kickstarter page. And hey, you know what, I was actually not blown away by it. It seemed simple, and the strategies were not infinitely deep. I thought, MAN this game would be fun to play once and then I'd be done with it.

And then I thought, HEY this fills exactly the same niche that Eight-Minute Empire would fill. I love the theme, I love the evil cackling, and I think it would be a quick play for us.

On the strength of the theme, the card-driven gameplay and the short, happy-fun-times play time I grabbed my second Kickstarter backing. Pledged $30 - the POWER-UP PACK.

Exclusive cards? I've never paid for those before. I'd be interested to see whether I thought they were 'worth it'. Time will tell.   

The 'did I waste my money' moment

After these purchases, Lesbigamer and I briefly talked about whether it was worth the moolahs. From where she was coming from, she straight out pointed out that for that money, she would much rather buy other games. Ora Et Labora, Stone Age, or maybe save that money for that far off day when we can afford Eclipse.

But here's the problem. Buying those heavier games would be great. I mean, I'd really love those too. But then we'd be stuck in our initial problem of not having short 'filler'-ish games. But buying those short games almost always never feels worth the price-tag, because they are so darn high already in Australia, and then we usually have to add shipping cost... $$$.

Welp, time to wait for those games to meet new stretch goals... and eventually when they get here!

I am most looking forward to seeing what kind of production quality the games have, as I'd like to compare with other games.

What kind of experience have you guys had with Kickstarter?
What are your thoughts on crowd-funding v. companies producing?
How many projects have you backed? How many of them bombed out on you, how many are brilliant gems? Any regrets?

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Lesbians On: Death, Destruction and Prototyping

Today was a momentous occasion. 

For today I discovered how to decimate trees, bore the GF, construct equilateral triangles and turn my dining table into a DEN OF DESTRUCTION, all at the same time.

That's right, this morning I, amateur board gamer, blogger of no serious content, and poverty stricken student owner of a mere 23 games did attempt TO MAKE A PROTOTYPE.

I'd had such ill-fated aspersions but once before, when, in my gaming youth I did attempt to make a card gaming involving werewolves, aliens, demons, and amoeba. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately for the GF), the game was based on earning gold, which, being made of paper in our prototype, fell down the back of the couch. I was too demoralized to attempt remaking the 76 highlighted pieces. But the fate of this long ago game seems merciful compared to what happened today.

So What Was This So Called "Game?"

At approximately 1:25 pm I clattered down the stairs, and disturbing my girlfriend from her non-boring activity shouted "I HAVE AN IDEA...... FOR A GAME! Wanna hear?"
"Wanna hear?"
"Wanna hear?"
Having taken this as an obvious green light to consume the GF's time for the remainder of the afternoon, I proceeded to explain the idea.

The Player plays as Space Explorers, searching an abandoned spaceship for fuel capsules. Fuel is rare, and players must compete with each other to collect the most capsules and get out. BUT to complicate things there are....wait for it oh my its so original....ALIENS which players can deploy against other players to do them damage. And players cannot heal, so damage is deadly....

The central idea of this game is the tiles. These are triangular pieces that tessellate together in three columns. Each of these pieces has one two or three exits. Tiles are placed randomly, but players can use cards to rotate the tile they are on, and any adjacent tiles, so they can get where they want to go.

Cards are rare, players cannot draw cards, but must find tokens that allow them to draw. Additionally, players can find resources and supplies that give them additional abilities, such as making their own door, seeing the other players hands, and control of super awesome aliens.

My ideas thus explained, me the GF, and our more geometrically able flatmate then proceeded to construct a prototype and play.....

The Disaster That Followed

So, we played the game. And we played the game, and we played the game. One and a half hours later, we agreed on a tie.

It started off not badly. Their were a few bitchy moves to cut other players off from fuel rods and valuable cards. The aliens did not work as expected - they functioned more like bombs the players threw at each other, but hey, that was fine too.

As time progressed, so the problems mounted. Until, the end game....was disgusting.... horrifying...and really god damn boring. I was reminded somewhat of the end game of Zombies!!! which I have previously vented my dislike of. Except by then all our alien cards had been used up, so it was MUCH MUCH WORSE.

What went wrong?
1. PIGGYBACKING. Well, without aliens, or if a player was holding ways to get around the aliens they just followed another player around, forcing the other player to use all their precious movement card, and then passing them by when it counts. The other player, realizing this, simply just hung around, and all in all nothing happened and everyone was bored.
2. OH LORD WHERE BE THOSE FUEL CAPSULES. Board tiles are revealed when they are adjacent. So if a player failed to reveal a tile earlier on, all the players may find themselves WAY on the other side of the board, with a fuel capsule necessary to win on the other side. And this is a game where moving is HARD.
3. So as a result EVERYTHING SLOWS DOWN. Slows down soooo much......pain....anguish....consumption of two entire packets of Doritos....

Anyway, at the end of it all, I sat back, and looked at the beast we had laid out on the table.
"Well....babe....I've got to admit it had its flaws....but I think if we tweak them enough, it's nothing we can't fix."
"Yes but...." replied the GF
"But what. BUT WHAT?"
"Well...." and so I prepared my tender first-time-board-gamer-designing feelings for what was coming next.
"It's just not fun."


And thus was the beast recycled (luckily for the trees) and our table did return to its former use of dining. Most of the despair and anguish I should probably have felt had been numbed by the boredom I had just experienced.

What I Learned

Yes, I have attempted to turn my tragic experience into some sort of lesson because it's just less depressing that way. What I learned was, WOW board game designers are amazing. The sheer number and variety of board games that come out every year just making taking up the pen, cards, and tiles yourself seem so easy, but it is not! Board game designers put months or years into the same game (and all that play-testing!), and now I can see why. I have a huge respect for these people who have the ingenuity and dedication to make products that are truly awesome. I SALUTE YOU ALLLLLL.

As for me, I should leave the scissors and the stack of paper sitting in my living room alone for the while. If only for the GF's sake. (Did I mention she was working on her final exam? Heh heh.)

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Lesbians Bitterly Review: Descent 2.0

Hello girls and guys, how you doin’? We’re a couple of geeky gay gamers from the home of Vegemite, and today we are reviewing a game that brought bitterness and woe upon our table top relationship.

Descent 2.0: Journeys in the Dark Fact File
Players: 2 - 5
Playtime: 120 minutes
Genre: Adventure/ Dice Rolling

It all started as an innocent gift for the GF’s birthday.  For weeks, yea months, the GF had been pining for said game, praising its merits and drooling over its figurines. Finally, the game was purchased. But like black clouds crawling across clear skies, the shadow of descent meant that our gaming was never to be the same again. (Well, for a week at least.) ALAS THE DARK CURSE COMETH. For we, once so united in our opinion of games, have become divided like so many polystyrene cups when torn apart by little children and fidgets.   

disclaimer: the following is an actual chat conversation between me and the gf

[08:08 pm] lesbigamer: Descent 2.0
[08:08 pm] The_GF: I sense that bitter tone in your voice.
[08:09 pm] lesbigamer: It is not a bitter tone, it is a well-considered and conclusive tone.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

[Android:Netrunner] WANTED: New Recruits for Evil Corporation. APPLY WITHIN.

*Ahem* I would like to preface this post by saying that the Girlfriend and I have been playing a little too much Android: Netrunner lately... (Read FANATICAL OBSESSION)... In fact, it feels almost like the world of Netrunner and our own world have become one.....


Yes, there comes a time in every person's life when joining an evil corporation is both a goal and a dream. When you must take control of your future and destiny and invest it multi-planet domination. But although exciting, this time can also be stressful and confusing. For you must answer the most difficult and significant question you will ever face. Which evil corporation should I join?


That's right. We here at Games Reviewed by Lesbians have spent years mulling over the scientific research, studying personality archetypes, and profiling the leading evil corporations of today. And we have pooled our knowledge and expertise into THIS QUIZ. Merely answer 7 SIMPLE QUESTIONS, and tally your score, and behold you will find which corporation suits your persuasion.


Wednesday, 3 October 2012

The GF On: Our DESCENT Into Lesbian Bed Death

It all began once upon an evening, when I erroneously let Lesbigamer play a particular game on my PS3 and she discovered, with great delight, the wondrous joys of SKYRIM. My woeful predicament:

Obviously, this situation was not to be condoned, and, I had, words, with her to the effect that fine, you're out on the couch tonight. Which was just fine for her. Damn.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Lesbians Review: Thunderstone Advanced: Towers of Ruin

G'day gamers, we're two lolzy lesbians from the land of the drop bear and today we bring to you a review of a game where heroes sometimes fight for players and players always fight for hereos, Thunderstone Advance: Towers of Ruin.

Thunderstone Advance Fact File
Payers: 1 - 5
Playtime: 45 - 60
Genre: Deck Building/ Fighting

Our journey with Thunderstone Advance started when my GF failed to recieve a mysterious package in the mail. For three days and three nights a great famine of Board Gaming swept the land (by which I mean our house). There were complaints. There were depressive spurts. There were complaints about the depressive spurts. Just when we thought that the delivery truck containing the game had definitely been abducted by aliens and deposited on a random desert planet to observe human board gaming behaviour in times of intense stress, A KNOCK CAME ON THE DOOR.
When we opened it, no human was in sight, just a white package the size of two shoe boxes, and a faint whisper through the air saying "lose not faith....lose not faith..."
As you can imagine, it did not take us long to get from a cardboard box to a snowfall of torn white paper and a fully set up board.


Thunderstone Advance has in general opted for a welcome-to-Middle-Earth style fantasy iconography, with all the usual pointy-ears, bearded midgets, and glowing mages, none of whom are called by their canonical names (shh....maybe players will think the creators were being original). Given the um...particular perspective... of my GF and I, the highlight of the artwork were definitely the female heroes, who when unboxed we greeted with the appropriate wolf-whistles, offers of drinks in the nearest tavern, etc. etc. In some cases however, odd creative choices seem to have taken place. Here's my top three ???s:
1. Draken Lairds. T'is a scottish konbold fight I?
2. Tree-Folk. Why is this a thing? Why are they harder to kill than dragons?
3. Glamercasts. No. Just no.

Yeah....I would take this guy in my elite band of heroes to kill a fearsome dragon....

Overall though, the theme is strong, and carried out with a reasonable level of success.

In terms of the component quality, this game is slick. The colours are intense and bright, and the game board and card stock are great. 


Thunderstone's Rules of Play happens to be one of the most well-presented and accessible rulebooks we've had the pleasure of reading (see our earlier post on the terror of the Ghost Stories rulebook). In this particular case I would actually refer you to this 4-page learn to play booklet that easily summarizes the game if you are interested in learning how to play Thunderstone: HERE BE BOOKLET

BUT, if you only want a quick few lines on the gameplay... Thunderstone is a deck-builder game. You have starting deck of a few sub-heroes, weapons and items. At the start of your turn you draw six cards. You use these cards to:
(a) go to the village, where you can purchase moar and shinier heroes, weapons, villagers and items; or
(b) go to the dungeon, where you can fight a nice array of evil creatures and gain xp to level up your heroes, as well as gaining victory points for defeating the monsters.

Obviously incredibly fearsome

When you defeat a monster, they are added into your deck as 'trophies'. Some of them have useful effects you can use in your turn (e.g. count as +1 attack), but for the most part, they sit around in the style of dominion estates, clogging up your deck till the end of the game where they count as victory points. 

The idea is to balance the different kinds of cards in your deck to put you in the best spot for monster collecting. In other words, in the style of most other board games, you get more stuff to get more stuff.


Thunderstone Advance feels a little bit like a five year old kid making his own milkshake. DECK BUILDING, yummy, we'll throw that in. FIGHTING, yes, fighting SUPER-BADASS MONSTERS, everyone likes to fight monsters. With HEROES, with DIFFERENT COOL SKILLS that you can LEVEL UP! Then blend it all together, and it's got to be delicious right? Right, right? But somehow, despite the fact that Thunderstone is a pick-and-mix of all the gaming elements I really love, something about it falls flatter than a solo game of Scrabble.  All the right elements are there but game play often makes me feel as if I am stuck in a traffic jam. 

If I try and diagnose this problem I would put it down to most card sets just really not working well together.  The problem with this is that it lays waste the idea of strategic deck building. There is no sense of challenge in Thundersone for me, nothing I can sink my metaphorical brain-teeth into. Instead, Thunderstone often feels like a track team race to grab those heroes and level ‘em fast before your opponent steals both those Thundermage Bolters and magically zaps their way to victory. This is not particularly fun. 

This is particularly not particularly fun when you are losing. Now I’m a person who likes to view losing as a challenge rather than a problem, a transitory state to be swiftly passed through on the way to crushing your opponent and using their morale as your personal footstool. In Thunderstone however, triumphant comebacks are rare, and this is a systematised effect of the game. In other words -  “I heard you like winning, so I’ll give you xp while you get vp so you can win while you are winning.”

The GF has XP

You'll notice that a lot of the problems I've been talking about are multi-player. Oddly, I've actually found Thunderstone Advance a more satifying ridin' solo (or fightin' solo). Suddenly, you are plunged into a deathly struggle that requires wits, and planning to defeat, rather than spending your time worrying about your opponents XP pile. The difficulty of solo play can be easily adjusted, and as a masochist, I love the fact that you start off facing the unbeatable, which gradually becomes the beatable and then hopefully, the beat.

I am well aware  that I've only played Thunderstone Advance 2-players (or solo), and perhaps it is a game where more is actually merry. Any Thunderstone players around who can share their experiences here? We would well appreciate some discussion on this game, because if there exists a way for us to enjoy it more we would love to try it. 

Final Review

Me: Thunderstone Advance is a game with more cool things then you can poke a stick, pike, or dwarven bear hammer at, yet despite that it doesn't really fit together. There is still a certain satisfaction however in deck-building and monster blood splattering, especially in the games beginning - stabbing that first skeleton in the bony ribs holds a charm that even a dodgy game mechanic cannot vanquish. But multiplayer the game is more frustrating than fantasy adventuring, as players with xp earn more xp and those without find themselves drowning their sorrows continually in the tavern (read:village).
Rating: 6.5

GF: The coolest thing about this game is the vast amount of cards you get. So many heroes to level up, each with their own distinct charm.... the problem is that you don't get to use many of them in the one game... funnily, I never had this problem with Dominion, but here in Thunderstone, I feel the lack. Perhaps it is because Dominion has more of a slant towards strategy, meaning that card sets are more like a deck-optimization puzzle that makes you work with what you've got. Thunderstone slants more towards the fantasy theme and involves you more in a story, an epic tale of Thunderbearer-killing quests... and it's actually a bummer you can't involve yourself with all the elements of the game in one play. It's like if you played a demo version of something like Final Fantasy where you're locked to only playing the Knight, but you know all the cool kids are playing Black Mage. Thunderstone has that kind of feel.
BUT WAIT.... THERE IS AN EPIC VARIANT, which lets you use all the cards! This is great, albeit a little long to set up. I had some fun with this game, but it quickly grew stale for me, sadly.
GF's Rating: 6

...solo, I'm fightin' solo, I'm fightin' solo, I'm fightin' solo solo....

Saturday, 22 September 2012

A Lesbian Session Report!: Ghost Stories - Players vs Rulebook

G'day folks, we're a couple of gay gamers from the land down under, and today we have for you a speedy session report of that game of otherworldly difficulty, Ghost Stories.

A game of Ghost Stories is never the same twice. Or, if played between the Girlfriend and I, a game of Ghost Stories never has the same rules twice. Yes, believe it or not, Wu Feng's ugly incarnations are nothing compared to the utter terror contained with the German/French/English rule book. Let's recap (somewhat embarrassingly) what happened when the GF and I tried to play Ghost Stories as a "brief" evening game.

9:00 pm - Play Starts.
Mood: Happy. The night is young, and the ghosts are few. Even if we did turn over the defective side of the green Taoist board. 

THIS SIDE. Wish I could re-roll this board

9:20pm - Rule Violation: A Taoist must end their turn on the central square in order to retrieve the neutral tokens.

Mood: Self-irritation at our newbie level oversight, but pride at our honorable, chivalrous, and ok, maybe downright pedantic commitment to playing the game properly.

9:55pm - Rule Violation: When a player's board is overrun, players do not draw a new ghost. Yah...crucial point.....
Mood: Relieved at being saved from the fiery fiery pits of pseudo-Chinese hell.

10:35pm -
Two turns from kicking some serious ancient ghost arse... (metaphorically....because of course you can't actually kick ghosts.....)  
Rule Violation: No reward is gained for killing ghosts in the Sorcerers' Hut.
Mood: Kind of like when you see a bear in the forest, and then you run away from the bear, into a bear cave.... Oh sacred laws of board game rule-fidelity, WHY DO YOU TAUNT US?

11:05pm - The snacks have run out. The snacks we bought to replace the snacks have run out.  The determination and shear grim willpower we bought to replace the snacks to replace the snacks is dwindling. But so is the number of ghosts. UNTIL
Rule Violation: Black Ghosts must, if possible, be placed in front of the active player.

Mood: What? You mean you can't place them anywhere?

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Hiatus End: Resuming Normal Operations!

Dearest friends,

This is the GF speaking.

You may have noticed an ominous silence in these parts as of late. Yes, we have been missing-in-action since July. But, good news, the lesbigamerz are back! And more furiously game-playing than ever before.

As a short explanation for our Ramona Flowers-esque flaky and sudden disappearance, I am happy to announce that Lesbigamer and I have moved in together ...  

We are living there with another friend who went to high school with us.This is Ren.

She occasionally gets dragged into our game-playing, fortunately not kicking or screaming.
It's a happy little terrace house (emphasis on little). But we've been so busy trying to find a place to live, getting rental applications approved and actually moving in, the last two months have flown us by without a blog post.  We hope to continue our regular posting now that things have settled down somewhat.

So really, the point of this boils down to, we've missed you all sorely, we've missed board game posts and WE'LL SEE YOU BACK HERE! (Very soon, Lesbigamer is next to me writing up a session report on Ghost Stories!)

A warm thank you also to the kind people who have left us encouraging messages to continue. We really appreciate your support.

The GF.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Lesbians On: A Few Hiccups in My Relationship with Board Games

Hey there, we’re two gay board gaming girls from the land of Vegemite. Now I like to think that I’m a bit of a board game Casanova – wooing the best units with my skillz and dashing good looks, playing my cards right to charm those victory points to my side of the board. I mean, I do literally keep all my games inside my (not usually steamy) boudoir. Sadly however, there are times when there are little hiccups in our otherwise beautiful relationship. Ok, it is a shameful admission, but there are a few parts of gaming I fail at harder than a five estate hand in Dominion. Try as I might, there are some things at which I will never improve, even with my very own training montage. Today, I’m writing about those curs’ed things.

1. Hoarding Cards to Make Apocalyptic Hands

There is a wise old saying, urging speedy and decisive action, which goes like this: “Strike while the iron is hot.” Sadly, I seem to have developed my own personal version of this phrase which goes something like “strike while the iron is still tepid.” Draw a killer card first round? I’m not waiting for that so called “optimal strategic moment” to play it as part of a “killer combo.” If I’m holding TNT in my hand I want to scorch my opponent now dammit, not wait to fuse it into an atomic bomb. Apparently, this is not what hard core awesome gamers do. I BRING SHAME ON MY FAMILY. An example. I mentioned on our Twitter ( that my gorgeous gorgeous girlfriend had given me the best surprise an obsessed gamer can get, and planted a brand new copy of RFTG: The Gathering Storm in the middle of my games collection. She also slipped in another game – a cute and quirky card-based quick play called Gloom.

Featuring wonderful art by Keith Baker!
The object of Gloom is to subject the family you play to the most extreme misery possible, and then kill them off for points. Because, you know, board game players are such nice people. For a game of family fun, Gloom can get hilariously vicious, especially when I play with the GF when, as I mentioned before, a friendly match becomes an attempt to crush each other TO THE FIERY DEPTHS OF HELL.

Most of the cards in Gloom are averagely useful, but now and then in a 2 player game you draw a card SO AWESOME that it’s almost embarrassing. These cards have such power that when played it feels like your opponent has picked up your entire game so far and put it through a blender. Thus, when three or four of these cards come out in a row, it’s like a blender, followed by a meat mincer, then an industrial mixer, then back through the meat mincer once again. Which is pretty much what I felt had happened to me after I lost to the GF four games in a row (out of four). The first two games my ego let me chalk it down to luck. After the second two, I could deny it no longer. The GF had a skill I didn’t. The problem was, that while I played a series of unfortunate events, she played the game like a Shakespearian tragedy – everything goes along swimmingly until suddenly everyone ends up dead. No matter how determined I was, I could not hold those great cards until the end. My apocalyptic nuke’em hand of ultimate doom and destruction is never to be…

Saturday, 30 June 2012

History of the Bored: Being Board Back in B.C.

Hey there, we’re a pair of gay gamers from the land of Kangaroos, and today we’ve got the first of our posts on ye board games of olde.

Long ago, when Gods were believed to roam the earth, when philosophy and mathematics were in their first golden age, when statues of inconceivable grandeur were built, and when men pulled each other’s brains out through their noses after death….people were bored. Very bored. Building pyramids and harvesting crops gets old after a while, and sometimes there isn’t even a civil war to keep you entertained. So, the bored Egyptians invented the first board games. Back then, sadly, this was not a pun, until the Proto-Germans in their great wisdom chose to make the two words somewhat similar (buron and burdam), a great linguistic development which I like to believe was not a coincidence but in fact a product of proto-germanic enlightenment about the relationship between the two concepts.

There is much debate as to exactly what is the oldest board game of all time.  The two contenders for the prize are the game Senet, from Egypt and the Royal Game of Ur from…well, from Ur actually, which is located in modern day Iraq.


An Original Senet Set. Photo not From Egyptian Timez

Senet is a seriously ancient board game. Archaeologists found it in tombs from the First Egyptian Dynasty – dating 3500B.C - 1500 years before anyone tasted a peach and a whopping 5200 years before mankind was gifted the grapefruit.  Since then, it’s popped up in tombs all over the place, and apparently was a great hit in Egypt, particularly among the dead.  The rules of Senet are not known, but what we do know is Senet is a race game, where players roll….roll…something….to get their five pawns to jump like lemmings off the edge of the board before their opponent. Senet was essentially a game of luck, but the Egyptians didn’t believe in luck, they believed ALL FATE was written by the mighty gods. Therefore, the winner of a game of Senet was not just a champion of chance, but CHOSEN by the power of THOTH, RA, and OSIRIS to TRIUMPH. The victor was considered to be under their patronage. Which is a good thing, because you wouldn’t want to get on the bad side of three guys who cut things to tiny pieces, doll out eternal punishments, and generally hold all the secrets of the universe. The game apparently made it as far as Crete and Cyprus, but since no one there really went for the whole Gods-with-animal-heads thing, they played it just for the kicks.

The Royal Game of Ur

The Royal Game of Ur lookin' pretty royal

The Royal Game of Ur is was around from at least 2500 B.C, but it may be as old as 5500 B.C, if it were named and claimed by Ur not long after the city itself was established. In a naming conundrum almost as bad as “Die Fugger” (quite a decent game from Adlung-Spiele), it seems that the Royal Game of Ur was indeed not a royal game but was in fact more widely played by commoners who, often too poor to afford a set, scratched boards out on bits of stone (reminds me of the Chinese chess set I made out of paper in English class.) The rules of the RGoU are handily transcribed on a 175 B.C. stone tablet from Babylon (when the literacy rate had probably increased from 0.00000001% to 0.0000001%).

Rules in Easy To Read Format

It is a race game, much like Senet, or how we think Senet was played. But wait, there’s an added demonic twist. A player can take his opponents pieces and remove them from the board, unless they have landed on a safe space. With seven pieces, it’s possible for one lucky player to occupy all the safe spaces and screw over his opponent utterly. Tactical play in 2500 B.C? Awesome.

Who Wins?

Like so many things in history, we don’t actually know for sure which game is the oldest. But the true winner in modern eyes is Senet, which has a BBG rating of 5.86, beating the Royal Game of Ur which scored only 5.47. It’s nice to know that even though these games were invented thousands of years ago we can still evaluate them online next to Puerto Rico and Memoir 44. The internet, they say, cares not for carbon dating.

What in the Weird?

Another very ancient Egyptian game was Mehen, which dates back to 3000 B.C. Mehen was played on a board depicting a coiled snake which is cut into segments – but not every board is divided into the same number. It is also played with 3 lion or lioness tokens per player, and 6 round marbley things. None of the components actually fit neatly within the segments of the snake. 

Anyone want to hazard a guess as to what on earth the rules were?

Because all I can imagine is a group of Egyptians burying the thing especially for archaeologists to find and sniggering smugly to themselves.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Lesbians Review: Race For The Galaxy

Why hello there, we’re two game lovin’ and girl lovin’ chicks from down under, and today we are reviewing a staple of so many game cupboards, Race for The Galaxy.

The GF! In Space.

Race for the Galaxy Fact File
Players: 2-4
Playtime: 30 - 60
Genre: Card Driven / Civilisation 

Race for the Galaxy entered my apartment not so long ago in an exciting package inside another exciting package we received in the mail. The girlfriend and I had played it before, and we had also played it before we’d played it before, and before that, we had also played it, but had got most of the rules wrong. I’m reviewing it partly because it tops the “recently played” list, and partly because I have been challenged to slip ALL the phase names into my review. And I always accept a challenge. Unless it involves Vector 3 (shudder). 

Before I slide into the review proper, I wanted to announce that we now have a twitter – for all the stupid (I mean um…clever and droll…) board gaming jokes I think of throughout the day. Check it out here:!/lesbigamerz


See the resemblance?
Race for the Galaxy, not surprisingly, is set in “space,” and that is “space” as it appeared on the front of 1980s hack sci-fi novels. The cards feature painted intergalactic landscapes, bad CG, and variety of tropes to let us know it is set a dark, stark, violent, but really really shiny future. Lazerz, alienz, and spaceshipz are trotted out on almost every card letting the player build themselves a glorious twelve card empire of stereotype.

But rare indeed is it for the player of RFTG to be looking at the background art, instead they are much more likely to use their eye power to explore the tiny tiny symbols on their cards – and be warned, these are a weirder alien language then any sci-fi flick I’ve ever seen. 


(The GF is writing the gameplay section again because she is able to explain things in a calm sophisticated manner without using !!, sarcasm, or CAPSLOCK)

Each player is dealt a starting world, with it’s own special powers – some military focused, some trade focused and so on – and six cards. Two are immediately discarded, giving each player a starting hand of four. This is a nice touch, giving you at least a bit of choice in how you’ll be going about taking the galaxy for your own (i.e. earning VPs).

Friday, 22 June 2012

A Lesbian Session Report!: Mage Knight, The Reconnaissance

Hi everybody, we are a pair of geeky gay gamers from Aussieland, and today we have for you the first of our Speedy Session Reports for your general viewing.
It all started one quiet morning when the girlfriend and I received a mysterious package.

Me:  That’s odd. We didn’t order any mysterious packages. They must have delivered this mysterious package to the wrong place.
Me: … You know what’s in this package don’t you?
Me: It’s a Board Game, isn’t it?
But my girlfriend was no longer in the room, and echoing down the corridor were the suspicious sounds of bubble wrap being chewed, crushed and ripped into a million pieces.
And so it happened that the girlfriend and I played Mage Knight.

Nothing like a brand spanking new MK game, with no missing bits!
Why is it that battling the shrink wrapped card
and tokens in MK makes you feel like you're
doing your best chipmunk impersonation?

  1. Setting Up

    GF:  Don’t use the scissors on that! You’ll damage the cards!
    (30 minutes of battling shrink wrap later)
    Me: Can you get me something from the kitchen?
    GF: Sure
    ME: Can we play now?

  2. Why You Don’t Skim the Rule Book

    Me: What does this funny roman-statue-like thing on this enemy token mean?
    GF: Maybe it’s a super-good looking enemy.
    Me: Well, we are in a strange fantasy world. Snakes-for-hair could be the rockin’ look. Oh well, I guess I’ll attack.
    (10 minutes of battle later)
    Me: What?
    Oh well, if it wasn’t the medusa it would have been malnutrition.  

  1. The Girlfriend Is Infinitely Moar Awesome than Me

    GF: And then I use the green mana from mana gain to activate Concentration which I use on Improvisation for 7 attack, killing the second creature in the spawning ground, and gaining my reward! I also level up.
    (I think for ten minutes)
    GF: You move one space?
    Me: That’s all I can move.
    GF: That’s it? That’s your turn?
    Me: I’m in a desert.
    Me: I just explored and I got here.
    GF: SIGH…never playing co-op with you….(solo-play, my one true love)

  1. The Game Gets Really Big

    GF: Can we move your bed?
    Me: No, we’re not moving the bed. Just imagine these two tiles are connected.
    GF: Aw….
    …..Can we move your desk? (Or to a bigger place?)
  1. The Final Exciting Moments!

    GF: I explore!
    Oh look, a city.
    Well… I guess we won then….
    Me: Yep, I guess we did.
    (A moment to embrace our sensational heroic breathtaking victory.)
    GF: We should play a scenario with a better win condition next time…
    Me: YES WE SHOULD.(Still, it was an excellent beginner scenario, especially since in the beginning we could not even work out how to move!)
  1. Packing up

    ME: Why not?
    GF: WHY NOT?!?!?
    ME: Why not?
    Me:….. No.
    Me: Uh….where else would they go?
    GF: DO YOU NOT SEE THE SIZE OF THIS GAME. I demand a full  inventory count.
    (And it was true, the entire room was covered in cards, and the spell offer was lined up along the windowsill.

    All in all, I reckon it was one awesome first time play of Mage Knight!
    Look out for a review coming soon (after five billion more plays) 
Our Heroic Triumph - Finding the City

Lesbians On: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Board Games

There is an argument that board games are behind the timez. We live in a psychotic electronic world where I can shop, bank, eat vegemite sandwiches, and throw wet sponges at my boss all online. What more could I want in my cybertransative* and post-modern** existence? Yes, I admit, there are times when one is playing Mage Knight, and one is like, ok, now all I need to do is - deep breath - refreshthespellofferrefreshtheunitofferrefreshtheadvancedactionofferreshufflemydeckflipthedaynighththingrerollthesourcedierefreshmycharacterabilities WHY IS THIS NOT ON A COMPUTER? Oh ye of little faith… Don’t get me wrong, video games can be a sack full of awesome, but for those of us who have the board game bug, or rather TERMINAL and CHRONIC board game insanity, there’s got to be some things that keep our games on the table top instead of the desktop. Here are my two main reasons board gaming = hellz yeah.
*means nothing
** probably also means nothing

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Lesbians Review: Small World

Hey everybody, we’re a duo of crazy boardgaming lesbians from the arse end of the world, and today we are reviewing a game of small spaces and vast numbers of races, SMALL WORLD.


Small World Fact File
Players: 2 - 5
Playtime: 80 minutes
Genre: Civilisation / Wargame

Small World charmed its way into my apartment with its exciting fantasy world premise, and its little flowery elf tokens. Since then it has been our go-to-game for big groups, including an infamous incident in which it was our go-to-the-park-and-cause-my-OCD-girlfriend’s-head-to-explode game (no, I am never going to let her live that down). Since it has been the cause of much fun and fuss, I thought I should give it a review.  


A picturesque country scene

Small World looks almost as cute and loveable as my tiny Gf. It is the first game that I have actually wanted to hug (…except the ratmen…poor ratmen….forever alone….) Fun and funny, quirky and engaging the graphics of Small World entice you to open the box and jump in. They look like how Middle Earth would look if it was a toddler – all the ingredients of Tolkenesque fantasy but walking just a little too off centre (in an endearing way) for you to take it seriously. And in my opinion, this is how the game itself wants to be taken. Not so much frowny frowny super-intensity, but friendly, approachable, and with a lot of lolzy pseudo-fantasy.

Small World is kind of like risk with ADHD. Conquering ALL THE WORLD and CRUSHING THE HEATHEN FOES is a bit too intense for this game, so the winner is simply the one with the most VPs at the end of the game. 

Gameplay begins when you pick a fantasy army, with an illusively titled bonus (and speedily read up on what exactly it is all the bonuses do….) Collect all the tokenz and assemble your killer force of fearsome skeletons wearing Stetsons, or ferocious halflings with tiny knives.

Monday, 18 June 2012

MAILBOX! Race for the Galaxy, Twilight Struggle

And after many days of the above, the MAILBOX has finally arrived.

Hey guys, this is the GF here. Ordinarily, lesbigamer writes and produces our content, but this is a quick post because I am just that excited.

Purchased these from Milsims Games based in Melbourne, Australia. I'd definitely point out they're the cheapest place for games in Australia (a good AUD$10-30 below other online stores, and AUD$20-40 below brick and mortar ones). Some people have complained about the service there, but so far my experience with them have been wholly positive.

Anyway, what am I doing just ogling the box with my camera? Here we go with the ripping sounds.

Aaaaaand.... ta-daaaah!

Oh gosh, I'm so excited. We don't have huge collections like many people out there, so getting two games in one day is a huge deal for us! (And a total luxury, it's like, what almost 40% of my wages?)

Looks like I'll be spending the rest of the day delving into these..... instead of studying. Damn.

Give us a shout and let us know what you think of these games below!

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Lesbians On: Valuable Lessons I Learned About Board Gaming

Hey guys, we’re a couple of very gay and very gamer chicks from Australia.
As I write somewhere, somehow, a postal package – the only kind of package I would ever handle – is slowly snaking its way towards my girlfriend’s house. Inside it contains two things. Twilight Struggle, the commended and recommended cold war game, and a gaming classic, Race for the Galaxy. But in the interim until this package of rainbows and gaming related happiness arrives, I thought I would write on the subject of:


And boy, did I learn all of these the hard way.

1. Boardgaming is not a valid way to express or resolve underlying group tensions.
This point is especially true for Risk. Anyone who has played Risk with a group of people they are close to will know that it DESTROYS friendships and RUINS relationships. To play Risk is to push your bf/gf/bff/bffbf/bffl/any other acronym to the extreme limits of their feelings towards you. So deciding to play Risk with the intention of having a fun afternoon that will bond your irritable and somewhat pissed off friends back together and bring about harmony and peace and love is just stupid. At least, I know that in retrospect.

The particular game of Risk I am thinking of ended particularly badly. Some of the highlights included: a player checking the rules to see if it was legal to attack himself; many tiny Risk tokens being thrown at said player - hitting 20 or so times for 0 damage per hit; and a player becoming so upset by everyone they locked themselves in the TV room with all seven seasons of Buffy. All this left just my girlfriend and I, ALWAYS competitive UNTIL THE DEATH, and utterly confused about what happened, staring at the board. From memory, we had the following conversation:

Me: Wow.
GF: Yep.
Me: This sucks.
GF: Yep.
Me: I WAS JUST ABOUT TO TAKE EUROPE. (Extremely Awkward Silence) I mean…um…wow, isn’t all this fighting terrible.

So, if you’re going to play Risk, you’ve got to be willing to deal with the risks. (badoomcha)

2. Do not pressure non-Boardgame Geeks into playing games with you.
They WILL go out of their way to show you they are not having a good time. They may even finish all your beer just to prove this to you. Once a non-gamer did even make me listen to an entire Jay-z album just because I made them play one stupid game of Puerto Rico. It is therefore, not worth it.

3. Playing Games Outdoors Is Not “A Great Picnic Idea.”
This is not a hard and fast rule - there is a difference between playing cards on the table in your backyard, and trying to play Smallworld in the middle of a busy park. Yes, I tried to play Smallworld in the middle of a busy park, and I regretted it even more than being forced to watch a video recording of the Taylor Swift concert.

First, my OCD girlfriend freaks out every time a piece of dirt touches one of her immaculately sorted tokens. Which is a lot of the time. Because parks are full of dirt. Being parks and all.
Second, the ants become massively annoying pests.

Third, large dogs, much larger, more scary, and more dangerous to your gameplay than ants, decide that trampling on the board would be a fun activity. Too many games that should have ended in my glorious Smallworld-domination instead ended playing hide and seek with many tiny tokens that were scattered all over the grass. THEN, WOE and MISERY if you happen to be me and have an EXTREMELY OCD girlfriend who discovers one of her little giant tokens has gone missing. This means you have to search your entire section of the park not once, not twice, but three times for this tiny little cardboard thing like it was a wedding ring.

The offending giant token

BUT it does not end there because, for the rest of the day and the next day, you have to hear about how her perfect mint condition board game now has a metaphorical scar so big and noticeable that it dwarfs the scars on TWOFACE. AND THEN one month later when you find the offending giant token under the five bivouacs, you do not even get an apology….
So I am not bitter about this point at all.
Anyway, I would recommend against playing complex multi-piece boardgames in the park.

4. The “Strip” of Strip Poker cannot be applied to games at random.
Like scrabble. It cannot be applied to Scrabble.
I am not going to elaborate on this one.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Lesbians Review: ZOMBIES!!!

Hi everybody, we are two super gay lesbians from the land down under, and today we are reviewing an excitingly themed game called ZOMBIES!!!
(Hold on to your brains everybody.)

My lovely Girlfriend having her face mauled by Zombies!!!

Zombies!!! Fact File
Players: 2 - 6
 Play Time: 60 minutes (theoretically)
Genre: Figurine/ Board-Building

Zombies are pretty in right now. Books, movies, games, Zombie strippers, it’s hard to get away from the undead (unless you have a 2+ modifier on your movement dice roll). Zombies!!! is a game which feeds your expectations of this genre just as its zombie figurines feed on your brains.
I purchased this game for my lovely girlfriend on her birthday based purely on the pun on the front of the box – “This one’s a No-Brainer!”



The Zombies!!! artwork has the gritty, bloody, funhouse feel you would expect from game jumping on the Zombieland style bandwagon of gleeful gore. I may have been a bit too excited about the figurines (“BABE, IT’S IN 3D!”). I’ve never really played a figurine style game before (unless you count smashing batman into the joker when I was five), and it’s fun to play in “real space” so to speak; a game that really has space and location at its core. The only problem is, the 2D buildings seem pretty flat in comparison. I’m not going to lie, the zombies are cool, they even come as female/male ones!

(When they aren't hungry for brains our zombies support marriage equality)

Monday, 11 June 2012

Lesbians Review: Dominion

Hi everybody, we are a pair of very gay lesbians from Aussieland and today we are reviewing one of our all time favourite games DOMINION! (No relation to anything to do with BDSM)

Dominion Fact File
Players: 2 - 4
Play Time: 20-45m depending on no. of players and card set
Genre: Deck-Building

We first played Dominion inside a games shop inside a mall inside a suburb close to a train station. We were taught by a very nice man whose last day it was working at the shop, so he didn't give a damn about the customers and spent ridiculous time on clock playing with us. We planned to crush him because he was a member of the patriarchy, but actually he won because I wasted my time buying up all the villages and my girlfriend clogged up her deck with too many coppers for her extra buys. (She's Asian, she can't pass up anything free.)

Since then we have played it 1000000000 times and even fallen asleep on it, so we thought we would pick it as our first game to review.