Wednesday, December 20, 2006

40 Strangest Board Games Released in 2006

Every year, a whole lot of strange games are released, too many for everyone to notice them all. That's what I'm here for.

This year's list of strange games, like last year's, include a whole lot of games that may or may not be worth anything, but at the very least have some rather ... unusual themes or components.

Descriptions are from Board Game Geek.

"Oh My God! There's An Axe In My Head." The Game of International Diplomacy
GENEVA, 1920.
The League of Nations convenes for the first time. Proud to be the host for this august world body, Switzerland invites their champion axe-juggling troupe, Les Bella Lieben Jolie De Von Giorno, to entertain the assembled delegates.

Unfortunately, halfway through the demonstration, the Troupe goes insane, and begins hurling axes into the audience, splitting head after head. The Secretary General calls for calm, but before he can order a recess, his cranium is split as well.

The remaining Great Powers use the confusion to pass the gavel between themselves, conduct international business amidst the chaos, and generally try to shift the balance of world power while escaping a bunch of armed psychopaths.
(There's a) Fly in My Soup
Fast paced game of action and skill, where the goal is to be the first player to fill out your game card by "flicking" your flies into everyone else's soup. Outsmart the Crazy Chef while he attempts to block your flies with his ladle. Or aim for a bonus shot by flicking your flies into the Chef's soup!
Age of Steam Expansion - Disco Inferno / Soul Train
Age of Steam Expansion: Disco Inferno: This Age of Steam expansion takes place in a Disco Inferno, where “satisfaction comes in a chain reaction” and everyone keeps shouting “Burn, baby, burn” as you set up routes for disco dancers (goods cubes) to be shuttled between various discothèques (colored cities) on a map covered with flames. Unique features for this map include empty cities that “burn to the ground” when goods are emptied out of them, as well as the ability to “chain” deliveries together from one city to the next up to your total Locomotive strength.

Age of Steam Expansion: Soul Train: Souls are in jeopardy, and only you can save them! Build a train to carry souls (goods cubes) from Hell to Earth, and then deliver them to their final resting spot in Heaven. This Age of Steam expansion uses the bottom of the “Disco Inferno” board for the first part of the game as you deliver cubes from Hell to Earth. Then you flip over the Hell part of the board to show Heaven, which is placed above Earth, resulting in a linear delivery system that provides a strategic challenge to Age of Steam players.
Alaska Dyke
The object of the game is to "collect as many girlfriends as you can!". "Girlfriends" = points, which are traded among players as they move onto different spaces.
Animales de la Muerte
Each player tries to earn points by killing evil zombie animals.
Annoying Thing Game, The
Roll the Die...It's a 5. How quickly can you name 5 sticky things? Well, try it with the annoying thing bellowing in your ear! You just can't hear yourself think. Before you know it, you're out of time!

Comes with a real live loud annoying thing.
The bank directors want to have more alternation and excitement in their life. So they decide to rob their own banks. As one of those bank directors the player can speculate with money transfers, distract policemen with a beautiful women, spy and intrigue against each other.
Each player controls seven bellhops in the hotel and attempts to earn the most tips by helping guests with their luggage as they arrive in the lobby. You can backstab your friends' bellhops and reduce his/her tips by stopping their elevator. Be careful, though, as you might not be able to get your guests to the lobby without help! The player who has received the most tips at the end of the game wins.
Check, Please!!
Your objective is to order and receive three dishes on a fine restaurant. The problem is a chef that cooks the meals in an order of his free will and a butler delivering them in as he sees fit. If you receive your dishes and the check before any other player, you have won the game.
Cleopatra's Caboose
Cleopatra's Caboose: The train game Ancient Egypt?!?

Cleopatra's Caboose is a train game for 3 to 5 players that's based in Ancient Egypt. Each turn, players bid for the right to utilize a game designer of their choosing which denotes both the turn order and a special ability that can be used that turn.
Den stora kassaskåpsjakten
Players are moving around the streets of the city picking up tools they need for blowing up a bank safe. When all tools have been found, the search for the safe is on. The first player to find it is the winner.
Der magische Finger
In Der magische Finger (The magic finger), a life sized green hand crawls around the table. It rotates around the thumb planted in the middle of the table, until it stops and points at a person.

The game is otherwise like Truth or Dare.
Devil's Deeds
There is a job open in hell for a nasty devil like you. But you has grown to like working on earth and desperately wants to avoid going down to hell again. You must be bad enough to keep your job, but not bad enough to get a new job. A devilish challenge.
Die Kullerbande
Farmer Marble ball has set out to the fields to harvest turnips. As soon as he is out of sight, there is great turmoil on the farm! The cows play whilst the pigs surf on the internet. The rooster stays on the lookout for the master's return. He uses binoculars the help see Farmer Marble bail from far away.

Suddenly the dog has a brilliant idea for a game! The animals stand all around the courtyard and in a flash there is a little mouse rolling through their legs. What fun! Suddenly there is a loud "cock-a-doodle-doo" form the manure heap. Farmer Marble ball comes homes from the harvest with huge turnips and the animals quickly stop playing and pretend nothing has happened.
Evil Ted
Horror has come to the happy town of Cotton Falls! The peaceful teddy bears have become... zombears! A few lucky survivors have barricaded themselves in the remaining buildings. Can they escape from... the Evil Ted?
An "injury management" game about Extreme! sports.
Feeeeed Meeeee
Feeeeed Meeeee is the most popular game among the Big Trolls. The rules are simple: Big Trolls sit around a table loaded with food.. but they are not allowed to eat! As time passes, they get hungrier and hungrier. The first Big Troll that can´t control his hunger and starts to eat the food is the loser.
Feel Safe
Welcome to the Department of Homeland Security shell game. Hand over your Rights and the DHS will protect you from the bad guys. Although the Department of Homeland Security cannot actually protect you from terrorists and random acts of violence, they sure can make it look like they’re doing something (or, in the face of hurricane Katrina, maybe not). A facade of security so you can feel safe (without actually being safe).

Feel Safe, The Game of Homeland Security is a satirical board game in which players start off with ten Rights (as per the Bill of Rights) and must exchange those Rights for perceived security and safety, the first player to lose or give away all of their Rights (in the name of national security) wins the game.
It's summertime at Adriatic coast. Beautiful girls from all over the world came to enjoy sea, sun and good fun. And here they are... who will have more success? Local guys Roko, Stipe, Ante, Borna, Sale... or maybe you?

When a Lady comes into play, each GALEBAR plays one of his available Approaches. Depending on Lady's Interests (Romance, Sex, Fun and Money), active Place and Event, each player counts his score. The player with the highest positive score wins over the Lady. The end winner is the player with the most Ladies won during the game.
Gezanke auf der Planke
Pirates are afraid of water but today is bath day and they all have to go into the ocean. But nobody wants to. Because for pirates, the rules is: he who washes and saves, loses. Nobody wants to go into the water, and so there's a lot of pushing and shoving on the plank. Each tries to stay as far back on the plank as possible and push the others overboard. Finally, a large shark was also spotted happily circling the ship in anticipation.
Gong Fermer
The year is 1348 AD. Workers and servants are dropping like flies. Instead of working 12 hour days, Gong is working 18 hour days. His small plot of land is overgrown with weeds and rotten vegetables because Gong has not had the time to tend to his measly, yet only plot of land. If that isn't enough, this lowly servant, the lowest of all peasants, is sick and tired of being spat on, ridiculed, despised, scourged, and literally "crapped on" while he worked. Has Gong Fermer finally had enough! What in the world can a person of his stature do? All this peasant has is his shovel, his bucket, his similarly lowly friends, and his “PRIDE”. On the other hand, the king has his many knights, chariots, horsemen, weapons of destruction, allies along with a huge treasury to support his every endeavor.

Is revolt conceivable? Is insurrection possible? Can and will Gong Fermer get his revenge? Or will the Black Plague do the dirty work for Gong?
Hart an der Grenze
In Hart an der Grenze (Close to the Border), players are people trying to cross a border with luggage full of legal and also illegal goods. Each one declares what he is carrying, but of course he only declares what the law allows (even if it means to lie).

Each turn one of the players take the roll of sheriff. The sheriff must choose who to spot check. In case the sheriff picks someone whose luggage does not have exactly what was declared, the person must open the luggage and show his goods. The not-declared goods are lost and a fine is paid.

However, before opening the luggage, the person may always suggest that the sheriff take some of his dollars so as to be kind and let him pass. If they come to an agreement, good for them!
Julchen und die Monster
When Juliet is at home alone at night, the monsters awake and creep up from behind wardrobes and beds. They are keen on a tasty midnight snack. With flashlight and fly swatter Juliet sets out to defend herself. Will she survive until dawn?

There are two ways to win: Save Juliet or eat her!
A family dinner is arranged and you are one of the members: however, this family has trust issues, and no one's certain who will spoil the pot! Dinner is served in this game of bluffing, cruelty and fun.
Melt Some Plastic
A tactical wargame using plastic toy soldiers and some home-made maps.

That's all the description, and I think that I don't want to know more.
Mongolian Goat Rodeo
Mongolian Goat Rodeo - 2 to 8 players tussle over possession of a goat and ride it around a goal.
On a beach in St Tropez, some celebrities are having a nude midnight swim. But the paparazzi are here! It's a mad scramble to find your clothes in the dark before the flashes of the cameras.

In the dark, the icons in the corner of the cards glow. You can tell its a pair of underpants, but whose shoes are they? You can switch around the cards to try to confuse the other players. At any moment, anyone could switch on the lights and then it's "freeze!" as the celebrities' pictures are splashed across the front page of every gossip magazine.

You get "embarrassment" points for being naked, or for wearing someone else's clothes.
In PerkyGoth, you play cards to accumulate stuff and be seen at events that increase your Perkiness and Gothiness while having the smallest difference between the two.
Puppy Lake
The basic Puppy Lake game is a solitaire game involving puppies, a lake, Mean Old Man Hubbard, a truck, a canoe and still more puppies. Players must attempt to maneuver their canoe to save as many puppies as possible before they drown.

Mean Old Man Hubbard drives his truck back and forth across a bridge, tossing puppies into the lake. Puppies float downstream towards certain death. The player has limited control over how far he or she can paddle the canoe each turn.
Re-Route: The Marching Season Game
The crux of the game is in judicious playing of the cards: The Loyalists play a March card in Armagh - will you, as the RUC player, allow it to go ahead and risk a Republican Riot; or do you Re-Route that March and risk a Loyalist reaction that may itself provoke a worse Republican reaction? Should have kept that Tear-Gas card...
Really Wild Bug Eating Party
A series of challenges are used to decide who will ultimately have to suffer the fate of eating a handful of bugs. At the start of the game players are split in to two teams and a leader for each team is nominated. Next a series of ‘bug’ cards are dealt out to each of the players. Lastly a spinner is spun to select a bug and if you’re the unfortunate person holding the most cards with that bug then you’ll have to eat it, that is unless your team can complete a challenge card…

Note: this game comes with honest-to-goodness real dead bugs, worms, scorpions (devenomed), etc. that must be eaten.
Players each start with two boy figures and two girl figures on opposite sides of the grid-marked modular board, which is dotted with playground-themed obstacles. A child that lands on a space occupied by another child starts a fight and takes a coin from him. Other children can break up a fight by landing on that same space, or tattle by landing on a nun's space. If a nun moves onto the fight space, the attacker is sent back to the entrance for detention. Finishing thirty of the minute-long turns marks the end of the game, or it ends immediately when one player's boy and girl figures meet on the same space while out of sight of the nuns. The resulting kiss earns two coins from each player, but to win you still have to end up with the most coins.
Red Dragon Inn
In Red Dragon Inn, you and your friends are a party of heroic, fantasy adventurers. You've raided the dungeon, killed the monsters, and taken their treasure. Now you're back, and what better way to celebrate your most recent victory than to spend an evening at the Red Dragon Inn. You and your adventuring companions will spend the night drinking, gambling, and roughhousing. The last person who is both sober enough to remain conscious and shrewd enough to hold onto his Gold Coins wins the game.
Schillerstraße - Das Spiel
Convince your fellow players of the advantages of Italian men. Get a case of beer from somewhere, anywhere. Or get everyone together to practice a Canon.

Uncle Fritz tries his hand at being a sports reporter. Sister Lucy puts on her famous cucumber facial. Using the director's instructions, each player must improvise a short scene that incorporates all of the directions.
The Hamster That Eat The World
Some mad scientist, somewhere, for some mad reason has injected a small hamster, Mr. Chip, with who knows what. Now the hamster has escape, grown and gotten hungry. It seems that only the cities of the world can feed the ravenous hamster now and he's heading this way.
Players take turns wearing the fun pig nose and hunting for truffles (those prized mushroom that grow in the earth).

Yes, it comes with a pink pig nose to wear.
In the game of Whipped!, you're a regular guy trying to hold onto your friends and the lady in your life. Your garage band may breakup when she throws out your guitar, or you may never hear from good old Chuck again after he sees you carrying her purse at the mall! Boost your male pride with an Iron John weekend, or flagellate yourself silly at the Relationship Counselor.
Wolf in Disguise
In Wolf in Disguise, players seek to wreck havoc at the peaceful ranch. Each player is a Shepherd who tries to gain the most profit on the ranch. Player can hire wolf to attack other player's sheep or raise shepherd dog to protect his own sheep. However, to make the game interesting, all the wolves are disguised as sheep.
Zizanie beach
Two players, each representing a male, compete on an evolving archipelago (which they build in the beginning of the game) and aim to end up isolated with the only girl on the set of islands.
Zombie Cafe
Players are owners of delicatessens selling brains to zombies.
And you thought gamers were all boring ...



Anonymous said...

Wow, what a large selection and unusual games. I think I want to try finding that Mamma game.

Anonymous said...

An utterly amazing post dear Yehuda. Brilliant! Perky Goth... hehe...

Gerald McD said...

You research and write some amazing articles, Yehuda. Always entertaining.

I just acquired a game that was published in 2005, but it seems to fit your list -- Scavenger Hunt card game. Each player is a different scavenger, all fighting for animal carcasses (or parts of them) on the African savannah. Jason Little sent this to me, and I've played it once. It is a fun and funny game, with some play mechanics similar to Magic: The Gathering.

Yehuda Berlinger said...

Gnome: I wrote an examination of Perky Goth back in May in Perky Goth Mechanics.

Thanks, homemom.

GG: Thanks. Obviously more 2006 games will be added to the BGG database over the next few years. Can't get 'em all.


Anonymous said...

A fantastic post - really strange board games. I particularly like the sound of Galebari and the Bug Eating Game. What boy has not got Alaska Dyke on his Christmas list this year

chin chin!


Anonymous said...

Tahnks for the link too, my friend! Lovely.

Yehuda Berlinger said...

montegue: I wrote it just for you!


Anonymous said...

hey man,

I guess you mastered the art of choosing a niche wisely...

a blog about board games is wonderful, keep up the good work!

also you asked about getting rid of calendar and blogrolls, in my opinion they just clutter the sidebar, worsening the reader experience, but it is just my opinion

Anonymous said...

Thank you Yehuda - your post makes me want to try and play every last one of them.
I believe that the Truffel Schnuffel game is based on a real party game where children are blindfolded and have to crawl around finding chocolate buttons on plates and snuffle them up without using their hands.
I wish that 'the Hamster that Ate the World' was based on reality too.

I made the mistake of reading about the game based on the Irish Marching Season whilst eating