Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Big Game Hunting - Mad Scientist University

One of the rules we’ve got in our house is that there has to be MANY LOTS of silly games. Many lots because there’s always going to be a standing date where one or more of us just don’t want to play in our campaign – either because there’s no time, or we can’t get in the mood or…

So, my partner and I started building up silly card games. We’ve got Munchkin, and Gloom, and some other ones - but by far and away our favourite is Mad Scientist University.

Produced by Atlas Games, it’s one of those cute games that if I tried to offer an actual blow-by-blow ‘actual play’, I might make brains explode. Atlas also makes Once Upon A Time, a pre-requisite for breaking the ice at the first three NaNoWriMos I ran down here, among other things.

The game itself doesn’t have background or character generation (though, you may want to practice evil laughter), and the game package is quite a small, long box, with two piles of cards – the unstable elements, and the assignments. Doesn’t sound complicated huh? It’s the fact that you have to create an evil genius plan by using your unstable element to fulfil the assignment. And with elements such as cheese, flamingos, lava, tweezers, clipboards, coconuts, coffee, bikinis, lawyers, and assignments of the evil calibre of ‘write your name on the moon’, or ‘find yourself a bearable flatmate’, it’s fair to say hilarity can ensue. You only get one unstable element, but the later in the turn you present, the more likely it is you can riff off someone else’s class project to get more chance of being awarded the assignment. You are a Mad Scientist after all.

Gameplay starts when the first player deals out the unstable elements to the other players. You all get 15 seconds to decide what you’re doing, then play starts. In truth, unless you’re only allowed to look at your card for the 15 seconds before your presentation, you get 15 seconds plus however long it takes to get to you. And the people present their zany ideas. The TA chooses who wins, and then the TA position is filled the next week by either the winner, or the person to one side of the TA. It really is a great game, though, be warned, you’re probably going to laugh…a lot.

This week, Kai is getting ready for her mom’s visit, reading ‘The One Ring’ to review in the next few weeks, and being a very good girl and NOT popping over to buy yet more american candy from Ben.

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