A board game review by . Game published by Backspindle Games in September 2011
Another board game based around the Discworld's oldest, grubbiest and most exciting city - Ankh-Morpork. This time the focus is firmly placed on those plucky characters who try wrestle some form of control on the streets of the ancient city - or at least give that illusion. The game is loosely based on the book of the same name and see's Captain Vimes and his colourful men of the City Watch try and recover the eight "Great spells" following the theft of the Octavo from the library of the Unseen University.
What follows is some the most fun two hours you can have with all your clothes on (although that is of course entirely optional) as each player (acting as a new recruit within the city watch) must try and collect a number of the errant spells and return them to the University before it's too late. To begin this seemingly monumental challenge each player chooses one of the four main Guilds to infiltrate - Assassins, Thieves, Fools or Alchemists. The appropriate Guild card then supplies them with a selection of the Great Spells to collect and provides them with a unique ability that can be used against opponents - also helping to develop abilities such as "charm", "magic" and "guild".
Guards! Guards! is one of those games that is really simple and easy to play, you can pick it up and get going within the first 20-30 minutes - although there is a little ambiguity in places which isn't explained in the documentation quite as easily as it could have been. It can take a few plays before you really appreciate the strategy involved though, if indeed you want to.
The pace of the game (once you get into the swing of it) is spot on and if feels very much like a Pratchett creation with genuinely clever humor and incidental touches that really do give you a wonderful sense of immersion. You don't even need to be a fan of the Discworld or the author to enjoy the game, it's just so much fun that anyone who likes to spend a few hours not glued to the goggle-box should enjoy it.
The quality of the board and it's many tokens, myraid pieces and varied cards is excellent; I was seriously impressed but what impressed me even more was that they provide you with those little seal-able bags to keep your coins and counters together after you've got them off the punch boards. In all my years of gaming that's the first time I've seen a board game manufacturer be that considerate - usually I have to find those little bags myself or have the counters loose in the bottom of the box - which then takes ages to sort out the next time you want to play. The artwork is also of the highest standard and fit's perfectly within the Discworld universe.
Guards! Guards! is a perfect way to spend a few hours with family or friends, it's entertaining; with some genuine laughs, easy to play; but with a depth of strategy for those seeking such and above all lot's of fun.
Written on 18 February 2013 by .