12/2/14 11:41 am - go thud! for christmas! or new year! or hogswatch! - or any other festivities!
my apologies, if this was your last, best hope (ob babylon 5 ref.) of avoiding any mention of "the c-word", but a thought struck me all unasked yesterday, itself arguably sufficiently rare an event to be worthy of note, that there must be a whole generation of parents'n'kids of suitable agerange, as've played and enjoyed (fcvotw) many a boardgame, butnever experienced the delights of Thud! Thud! is a game played on a board that looks a bit draughts (chequers) or chess board turned through 45 degrees, with the corners chopped off neatly. a minitude (tm) of dwarfs occupies every square but four around the edge of the board, the exceptions being the four along the major axes... (good. phrased carefully to get the axes in; they could be significant and are, of course, important.) - these dwarfs can rush around apace, up to as far in any one straight line (whether on the diagonal or no) as is unobstructed, one per turn of the dwarf player. they take the opposing player's pieces, the trolls, either by throwing themselves at one adjacent to them at the start of the dwarfs' turn - not a very likely circumstance, it is true, but one that i have seen arise in real, "serious", play, or by being one of the end dwarfs of a line of two or more dwarfs that is thrown at a troll further up the line of the dwarfs, and at a distance of no more than the number of squares in their line including the troll at which it's been thrown - a dwarf has to hit a troll with its hardest part, its head, to take the troll out of the battles of the looks valley. any of the battles of the kooms valley. for it was, of course, the dwarfs' attempt at the seizure of the Thudstone, and the unspeakable things they proceeded to perpetrate around and about it - including, some trolls swear, attempting to kid- er, Thudstone-nap it. "Not so!" roared the dwarfs, "every dwarf worthy of his axe, his hammer, his chisel and his beard will bear witness to the ages-old established truth, that it was the perfidious trolls' who violated the sanctity of the Thudstone; our forefathers did merely their duty and seek to maintain their honour, by recovering the sacred stone from its proper place, and its proper protectors - and we will never forget this! and so the war, or wars, of the looms valley would start up again, whether in the valley itself, or in - or outside - any inn, public house, tavern or other disorderly house in Ankh-Morpork large enough to cater to the thirsts of both dwarfs and trolls... trolls, of course, are slow (if thorough) thinkers, and consequently move second from any of their positions at the start of the two halves of the game - surrounding the Thudstone - itself a suspicious circumstance, claim the dwarfs, and not without reason. they move slowly, one square at a time in any direction that is free - not already occupied by another troll, or a dwarf - and take or capture one or more dwarfs by moving up next to them and hitting them on their heads that very turn. the troll-player cannot suddenly wake up and say s/he meant to take this or that other dwarf or dwarfs at the same time as the ones properly declared to have been taken, after the end of that turn. trolls also nudge one another; if they start a turn in a continuous straight line, whether diagonal or no, they can nudge one another so hard, the troll at either end moves up to the same number of squares in the direction of their line, so long as it ends up next to and takes at least one dwarf. now comes the tricksy, inspired part: when the troll-player and the dwarf-player agree that neither of them is liable to take another of their opponent's pieces in a reasonable length of further play, the score is recorded, and all the pieces set up again in their original positions - BUT the original dwarf-player is now the troll-player, and the original troll-player now marshalls the dwarfs. the second half of the game also continues until ended by the players' agreement, and the winner is the player scoring highest over the two halves of the game combined. Thud! is one of the few boardgames I've played that I judge truly to be good enough to last as well as chess, and the chinese game of go - of which latter it's been said, it takes five minutes to learn the rules - but five lifetimes to truly master. Thud! is that rarity amongst boardgames, an asymmetric game that is fair, very absorbing - and great fun. (time for the bus to kendal, and then one to the wgh and further torture...)