Panini™: The Game

Space-Biff!™

Whatever the marketers may tell you, solipsistic horror masquerading under the guise of a cheery board game isn’t new. Dixit did it. A Fake Artist Goes to New York perfected it. Even Mysterium can’t escape that most terrifying existential fact of humanity, that our minds are rafts untethered and adrift on a fog-choked sea, ever in proximity but never quite able to sail in parallel. It’s crazy stuff. Like, does a number even exist, man?

Meanwhile, the real-world Pantone can apparently bring a lawsuit against you for using a particular shade of orange. Perfect for a game that celebrates artistic creativity! But that’s the weird thing about Pantone™: The Board Game. It’s ostensibly about a corporation that owns color, yet somehow manages to stage an odd and endearing paean to player expression and artistic abstraction.

Yeah. Go figure.

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Not Swerewords

insert something funny, because what on earth am i supposed to say

I’ll bet you a silver dollar that I can review Werewords in a single sentence. A sentence that, upon being read, will inform you with total accuracy whether Werewords is just one more social deduction gimmick or the long-awaited incarnation of the One True Deductor.

Deal? Deal.

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Book-Space! #4: The Stars Are Legion

If a jinni can bring you back from the dead, Wee Aquinas doesn't know what to believe anymore. Faith crisis!

Sticky! Join Brock, Summer, Dan, and our friend and special guest Tim Fowers as we dive into our clammiest episode yet. We discuss intestines, unwanted pregnancies, and jinni. It’s The Stars Are Legion by Kameron Hurley. And despite our being beset by technical problems from all sides, you can head over here for a download link or listen below.

Next month we’ll be talking about The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison. Give it a look and share your thoughts at spacebiffbookspace@gmail.com!

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The Elusive Cryptids of Cryptid

This week, in board game covers that have nothing to do with the enclosed game, episode #2,401!

There’s an utterly wonderful idea nestled at the heart of Cryptid. For far too long cryptozoology has been dismissed and discredited by more “serious” scientists. But you know something is out there. Yeti, Bigfoot, Nessie, the Pope Lick Monster… something. Problem is, all your buddies from the message board are also on the trail. It’s a race, then, every rival cryptozoologist determined to capture more than grainy footage of obvious rubber-masked imposters. Real proof this time.

As a concept, it’s lovely. Too bad the actual cryptids are as absent as any real-life hunt for Mothman.

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Two Minds about Dungeon Alliance

legs!

Every so often, Dan tosses a spare Space-Biff! key to his buddy Brock for a duel of wits they call Two Minds About. Today’s subject is the most important one yet: Dungeon Alliance. It’s got a dungeon, it’s got alliances. But has it got game? Find out below.

Brock: I considered starting this one with a long jokey paragraph, something along the lines of, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we could have board games about exploring a dungeon? What a dream world that would be!”

The thing is, designers continue to show us that there’s meat left on the dungeon crawl bones. And — more to the point — Quixotic Games’s Dungeon Alliance, despite its occasional cleverness, is guilty of worse crimes than having an unoriginal theme.

But I’m getting ahead of ourselves.

Dan, why don’t you do the thing where you tell us about Dungeon Alliance?

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A Shallow Bowl of Spaghetti

bang

Ah, the Western. I’ve waxed eloquent about it before. It’s easy to do, really. Picture sunsets and six irons at the same time, imagine breaking a horse while breaking ore, and utter silly swears like “goldarn” and “skinny as a sack of deer horns.” For such an iconic genre, there are hardly any games set in the Old West. Fewer good ones.

Western Legends hopes to make up for that deficit. All of it, in fact. How? Well, none other than by featuring a dozen dusty-trails tales rolled into one. And the biggest surprise of all is that it does a decent job of it.

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Go Truck Yourself

I hate this art style. Just so's you know.

The best thing about Truck Off isn’t that its headlines write themselves, though that’s nice too — and by the way, alternate titles include “What a Trucking Game” and “Mothertrucker.” But again, it isn’t that. Rather, it’s that Truck Off offers a surprisingly solid primer on how to craft a dice game that doesn’t completely turn on the roll of the dice. What a novelty! Sort of like the food truck craze itself!

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Still Not a River in Egypt

At least there's plenty of yellow. Tan. Orange?

It’s hard to imagine anybody improving on good old Tigris & Euphrates. At over twenty years old it still remains a monument of our hobby, a surprisingly fluid combination of setting and systems, simple enough to learn, incredibly difficult to master.

Yellow & Yangtze is Reiner Knizia’s attempt at besting his own classic. What’s there to change? A whole lot, it turns out. And much of it has to do with that staple of Tigris & Euphrates strategy, the monument.

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Fast Math: A Look at Lovelace & Babbage

Stolen!

Despite being terrible at theoretical math, one of my favorite classtime activities was to take a large number — probably something like 55378008, since I was a hormone-addled thirteen-year-old — and divide it mentally into the smallest possible quantity. Dividing by two or five was easy; three was tougher, but there were tricks. Sevens or other primes usually left me stumped.

Lovelace & Babbage, on Kickstarter right this very minute, is all about the joys of simple arithmetic — with the caveat that it must be done fast.

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The Happiest of All Possible Planets

This is my subtle way of bragging about our garden. This is the only nice patch.

To this day, Happy Salmon remains the only game to occupy the hallowed annals of Best Week without first getting reviewed here on Space-Biff! Doubly embarrassing, considering that it earned its spot two Best Weeks ago. That’s right, way back in the dark ages of 2016.

But today I’m setting things right. Especially because North Star Games has since rounded out their Happy Planet line with two more creatures.

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