Welcome to Bucks’ Boxes – reviews of tabletop games for heroesofnoise.com
Over the past few years, and particularly during lockdown, tabletop games have become increasingly popular.
I have enjoyed board games since childhood, having spent many happy hours with my family playing games like Sorry!, Yahtzee, Rummikub, The Game of Life, Uno, plus various traditional card games.
As a teenager I got into Dungeons and Dragons and more geek-related themed games and RPGs such as Laserburn (a early prototype of Warhammer 40k), Call of Cthulhu, Car Wars and Blood Bowl.
An early Games Workshop title I really enjoyed was Chainsaw Warrior. It was loosely based on Escape From New York, a favourite movie of mine, and the box cover, board and cards were illustrated by an artist from my favourite comic 2000AD. So far, so perfect. But what made it really stand out for me was that it was a solo board game.
Yep. Johnny No Mates had a game he could play on his own. Extra perfect
(I did have mates. No, really I did. Its just that they weren’t into board games. Thats my story and I’m sticking to it).
I spent hours and hours fighting my way through hoards of zombies, rabid rats, radioactive mutants, hoping my ammo and few items of equipment would last long enough to destroy the Darkness, the big bad, before New York was dragged through a dimension rift into Hell. Only 60 (game) minutes to do it. To even reach the boss was super tough. To take him out was a Death Star exhaust port-type almost impossible shot. Probably a 5% chance of winning the game.
And I loved it. Hard as nails, full of atmosphere and cool horror and sci fi elements. It was very much a precursor of FPS video games like Doom or Resident Evil that I would enjoy years later. Same vibe.
Indeed, into the 90s video games would largely replace tabletop games in my gaming time. This was a global trend and boardgames became a little more niche as the digital games they inspired took over the world.
Now the geeks have taken over popular culture. What were once outsider interests are now the mainstream. The biggest movies and TV shows are based on comics and fantasy novels. Tabletop games such as Pandemic, Catan and Ticket To Ride have led to a major revival of the pastime, alongside high profile role playing celebrities and Netflix’s Stranger Things bringing D&D into a cooler place in popular culture.
Chainsaw Warrior is available in app form!
Lockdown sucks. No doubt about it. Tabletop games, either real or virtual, have provided a good way to keep ourselves entertained and cope with this unfamiliar and strange time. There has been an explosion in online role playing through platforms like Roll20. I have started playing regularly with a group, most of whom I have never met IRL, and its been so good, a great way to socialise and interact.
I have also been able to get games from my growing collection off the shelves and onto the table. Prior to lockdown, when I had a little disposable income, I bought the odd game. Well, not odd, more regular. Pretty much one a month, let’s be honest.
Problem was I was too busy working to play them. As of March 2020 – not a problem.
So out they came.
We have fought zombies, battled the Elder Gods, hunted treasure on sinking islands, in the desert, in floating cities in the sky… we explored cave systems filled with danger and horrors, farmed prehistoric creatures, expanded intergalactic empires, raced across post-apocalyptic wastelands, tried to read each others minds, needed a bigger boat…
All without leaving the house.
These boxes are magical.
Let me show you…
Let me know your thoughts.