I made a precarious journey there via an extremely delayed train and with my heavily laden bicycle serving as my packhorse. Male, female, young, old, and everything in between--this event proved the universal appeal of board games beyond the old family standbys of Monopoly, Scrabble, and its ilk.
It was worth the effort, as I was able to sink my teeth into games I already knew as well as two that I didn't. One of those was called Chinatown, a negotiation-based property building game that, while I wasn't amazing at, seemed very fun and like something I'd definitely want to try again.
Word on the street is that the response was positive enough that these events will become a regular thing, which would be fantastic, both for myself and for the local community.
This inaugural night also featured Ruddy Vikings, the debutante card game from Rounded Squarish. I purchased a copy from the developers, who were present to show off their delightful little gem of a game.
Here's what the packaging looks like:
It's simple and effective, about the size of a Fluxx box. When you lift off the lid, you're presented with the rules, but not in the manner to which many of us are accustomed. They're printed on the box bottom, so no more losing the rules. If you have the box, you have the rules.
As to the actual contents of the box...you get one play mat with space for four players, a deck of player cards, and a second, much smaller deck of cards that affect the entire game.
So here's the playmat, laid out flat for all to see. I'm told the shield resembling a Pokéball was totally done on purpose. I can also confirm that the mat is, in fact, waterproof! HOWEVER THE CARDS ARE NOT. So please sleeve your cards if you're careless with drinks(or your friends are).
Now here is the mat in terms of game play:
As I said, room for four players, colour indicated by that of the shields on the sides of the little viking longships. Interestingly, the carvings of menacing beasts, such as dragons and snakes, on the prow of the ship allegedly protected the ship and crew from the terrible sea monsters of Norse mythology.
Now on to the cards! There are two decks, and the first of those are the Town Cards. These are cards whose effects apply to the entire game for a round.
The second, beefier deck, is the individual players' cards. Each player is dealt an opening hand of five cards. There are five different types of cards:
From Left to Right: Vikings, Gods, Chance, Defences, Buffers.
Vikings are used to attack other players, which is the main mechanic of the game. God cards allow for extraordinary actions to be taken, such as two attacks per turn(as opposed to the usual one per turn). Chance cards make things happen, such as countering other players' attacks, or giving yourself bonuses. Defence cards are played to the mat where I previously indicated, and help protect you from other players' Vikings. Buffers help your Vikings overcome other players' Defences.
Overall, I found the gameplay very accessible. This is a great game for introducing children to card and board games, with a fun concept, amusing artwork, simple rules, and quick, easy play. I'd definitely recommend supporting these guys further, as the game was born of Kickstarter.
I'm really looking forward to future Board Game Cafés, and hope it turns into a regularly scheduled thing. Thanks to Marcus Pullen of Blue Donut Studios, Adam Carter-Groves, and Ben Cooper for arranging a great night!