This week's Friday Five is courtesy of Mark Gerrits. Mark is avid (not to say obsessed) boardgamer. Each October, he undertakes a pilgrimage to Essen for Spiel, the world's largest boardgaming fair. When not rolling dice or shuffling cards, he can be found with his nose pressed against an ebook. He has a small blog hidden away on Boardgamegeek and can be found on twitter as @MarkGerrits.
Who doesn’t like books? Nobody! Who doesn’t like board games? Okay, I guess there’s one or two of you. But for the rest of you, here are some great board games based on famous works of speculative fiction. And even if you don’t consider yourself a boardgamer, you might want to check these out anyway - they're far more than crappy Monopoly rethemes.
The Dune board game is as old as I am and I think it went out of print around the time I left kindergarten. So if you want to try this one out, be prepared to scour a lot of flea markets or to pay a hefty sum on the internet. Or you could settle for the recent rethemed version, Rex: Last Days of an Empire. But then you’d miss out on one of the game’s greatest strengths: the masterful way it blends its game mechanisms with Frank Herbert’s world.
On a large map of Arrakis, you will order your troops around to collect the precious Spice and take control of strongholds, all the while avoiding sandstorms and sandworms. Inevitably, fights ensue. The rules are simple but its your unique faction powers that add spice (see what I did there?) to the game. The Harkonnens are extra treacherous, the Fremen know all the ins and outs of the planet, the Bene Gesserit can use The Voice on you, and so on.
In the end, it’s the player who made the most opportune alliances and manipulated his fellow gamers best, who wins. Plans within plans within plans…