Monday, September 5, 2011

Saturday Night Board Games: Formula De, Famous Missions, The New Yorker: Cartoon Caption Game and The Impossible Machine

Saturday night was our big board game night once again. We started the night saying that we were going to play games we haven't played in a long time, but once we realized that we had 5 players, the plan evolved. In the end, it was another weird night of board games. Aren't they all kind of weird though?

The Impossible Machine
We started out the night with another round of The Impossible Machine. 

We all knew how to play and jumped right in. So, how did it go the second time around? Well it started off slow because we all had bad hands, but eventually it got pretty vicious. Well, as vicious as a game about building perpetual motion machines can be. Nobody held anything back and eradicated each others parts, and ended the machines as quickly as possible. George won by about 5 points, which is much different than last time where we were all about a point away from each other.

We also made the largest machine yet. It gets a little crazy after splitting a few times.

Formula De
I bought an older version of Formula De (with a ton of expansion tracks) at a local game store's going out of business sale. I think I paid $15-20. It was their store copy, but in nice condition. The only real issue is that one of the track boards tore at the seam, but it doesn't effect the gameplay. In fact, that was the track we chose last night. 

If you've never played or seen Formula D, or the newer version that I really, really want.. Formula D, here's a quick description courtesy of our friend Wikipedia.
The game is about automobile racing, formerly with an emphasis on Formula 1. The object of the game is to cross the finish line first and win the race. Races can be anywhere from one to three laps long. Formula D comes with a game board measuring 100 × 70 cm (39 × 28 inches), seven specialized dice, twenty plastic race cars, and ten "dashboard" indicators that track the cars current gear and condition throughout the one, two, or three lap races. 
The game has seven dice. There are six colored dice (d4, d6, d8, d12, d20, and d30) that are used to simulate specific gears, and a black d20 used for collisions, and other course events. 
Each of the dice represent a gear shift. The d4 is used for 1st gear, the d6 for 2nd gear and so on. Each die has a series of numbers representing the number of spaces the F1 cars move. 
The black die is a d20 and used for determining collisions, engine wear during fifth and sixth gears, pit stop speed, pole position, and whether or not at the beginning of the first lap you stalled, or had a flying start. If you are playing with the advanced rules, you can set up weather conditions with the black die.
We played the Monaco track. It's a pretty twisty course on the water, with wonderful board art of a guy (I guess the Formula De guy) on a waterski with a woman on the back. So random. 

The game is a lot of fun, especially with 5 people. There were lots of collisions and players were forced onto spaces where they couldn't move. Marty wound up winning and only 3 of the 5 cars survived the course.

Famous Missions
Everyone was in the mood for a party game so I pulled out on of my favorites, Famous Missions. I'm a little biased though because it's a game that I created. 

You are a passenger in an airplane and you overhear the pilot has died in mid-flight! Now it's your job to pick 3 people to land this airplane! 
Mission Objective: Land An Airplane With A Dead Pilot. 
You choose Genghis Khan, George Lucas and Cher. Why? I'm not exactly sure, you tell me. That's the game!
Usually there are two players and a judge, but we had five. So we decided to play the multiplayer variant. I had to pull out the instructions and figure out what the multiplayer variant actually was. It's been a few years, and even though we play this pretty often, I don't think I've played the multiplayer variant since before the actual game release in 2009.

I didn't get many pictures, but the semi-exclusive crowd favorite mission "Make A Porno" was definitely the highlight of the night. 

Here was the topless group that was selected to make a porno.

After a handful of rounds I had enough cards to win the game. I REALLY want to revisit this one and make more people, more missions and go for a larger release.

The New Yorker: Cartoon Caption Game
The final game of the night was the New Yorker, a game where players each try to make the best caption for a single panel comic strip. (I guess it's not a strip if it's a single panel?) 

We've played this before with the same group and it always gets a lot of laughs. One player is a judge, so similar to Apples to Apples, Famous Missions and other party games, you can really play to the judge. Another interesting aspect of the game is not only do you pick the best caption, but you have to try and guess who wrote each one. This changes things up for the writers, because you don't want the judge to know which one is yours. 

I won this one as well. It was getting late. I was getting tired. Someone broke my plastic deer on the wall. So naturally in order to speed the game up, I started to write dirtier captions that are almost guaranteed winners.

Here are a few of the best captions of the night. 

Oh hai Mark.

Should I jump?
Uh, huh.
See you next week! Maybe we'll finally get to Quarriors! or Irondie.


  1. Great stuff! I need to start doing one of these too, since we play almost weekly as well.

    Is The Impossible Machine a good buy then? Seems like you guys are having fun with it.

    Formula De has been very popular with the Western Australian Boardgame Association, so I've been interested in it. We don't have any race games in our personal collection yet. I was thinking about getting Leaping Lemmings maybe? But I'd like to try Formula De some time.

  2. Definitely! I'd love to see yours as well.

    The Impossible Machine is a pretty fun light game. It goes up to 5 players, and is very easy to teach. I have a few small issues with it, but their easy enough to overlook. Also, someone else picked it to play again. I would have chose something different just to keep things fresh.

    Leaping Lemmings looks like much more than a race game. I've never seen it before today though. Formula De is really simple. Choose whether or not you want to o up or down a gear. Roll to move. You have to stop in teach curve (the bigger the curve, the more stops you have to make) so you can't just speed right through the course. There are 5-6 different ways of taking damage (blowing tires, breaks, engine) and you really have to be careful to survive the course. I have an older game called Turbo that's really similar. If you were going to play I'd suggest the newer Formula D. It looks amazing and added things like Turbo and Drifting. Also, it's much better with 3+ players. We played with 2 the first time, and it wasn't nearly as chaotic.