Saturday 26th May is playing host to a bit of a wild animal extravaganza here at Proud Lion! In the afternoon, we'll be running a regional tournament for everybody's favourite school themed penguin flicker – Ice Cool, with a copy of the game and a place at Nationals (held the following weekend at the UK Games Expo, Birmingham) up for grabs for winner. As our warm-up act, throughout the morning, we'll have a selection of animal themed games available to play, with one lucky attendee getting a copy of one of those games too! It's going to be a really wild event with some really cool prizes. To whet your appetite, here are some previews of just some of the games we'll be hosting on the day and why we think you'll love to come down and play them.
Someone's let the penguins loose in the school! In each round of this dexterity-based game, you'll be racing to slide, swerve or even sometimes jump your way around the frosted rooms, with the aim of trying to collect all three of your fish before one of the players – the Catcher – manages to crash into you and stop you in your tracks. Each player plays one round as the Catcher, and whoever has caught the most fish will be declared the winner. The rascally, weighted, penguin miniatures will definitely occasionally behave the way you want as you flick them around the board, and there's always the chance of an amazing curving shot that arcs around the Catcher, through two doorways (getting two fish in the process) and ending nicely in the way of the next player's otherwise easy shot, no, honest, I made that shot once, but you weren't there at the time …
Hey, That's My Fish!
But Ice Cool is not the only penguin related fun to be had, for we shall also be featuring Hey, That's My Fish! This time, the penguins have to deal with a shrinking ice floe and you're trying to grab as many fish as you can before the other players either get there first, or block you off completely. It's fast, it's frenetic and it's full of opportunities to try and block off your opponents penguins and hopefully leave a large haul for yourself as the ice sheet breaks up under your feet. Play continues until no more moves can be made, and then whoever has eaten the most fish is declared the winner.
Don't you just hate it when you're under the cool and shady canopy at the foot of the pyramids, partaking in some light-hearted wagering upon the outcome of a camel race, and then the they just end up on top of each other in a heap, being moved along by the poor creature on the bottom of the stack (I mean, we've all been there, right?). Camel up is a game of betting on the outcome of a speedy race around a pyramid undertaken by five camels, and trying to be the first to correctly predict the outcome. Great components, always capable of an unpredictable change in fortune or a last-minute comeback, and a great fun game with stackable camel meeples.
Running With The Bulls
A chaotic and fun game of trying to outrun the bulls of Pamplona, while working to to try and direct them into your opponents runners. Runners and bulls alike are represented by dice, and their current value represents which direction they will turn at each street intersection, with event cards allowing you to re-roll, remove or otherwise mess with the dice to gain an advantage. But watch out - if a bull catches up with you, it might send you veering off course, or worse, be caught and knocked out of the race. Players score points by aiming their runners towards the most prestigious buildings at the bottom of the board. Whoever has the most points after three rounds is the winner.
Or, perhaps something more gentle is what you're looking for? In Shutterbug, you're completing with the other players to take the best photos of four different rumoured fantastical beasts and submit them to the morning papers. You'll journey across the varied biomes of America trying to find a high quality photo, with each player having received a secret offer as to which creatures will most interest the readers of the various tabloids. Players can also score bonus points in a variety of ways, including having photos in all 6 landscapes or of all four creatures. Whoever has scored the most points at the end of 8 rounds of wildlife photography is the winner.
For something slightly more tactical and calculating, I can also recommend Raptor as a fun two-player game. One player takes on the role of a velociraptor mother and her five young hatchlings, while the other player plays as a group of scientists trying to either successfully capture her or three of her babies for study and so they can grow up to star alongside Chris Pratt in various high-budget movies. The veloci-mother wins by getting three of her children off the board to safety, or by eating all the scientists. Actions are controlled by a mechanic where both players simultaneously select cards from their hand, with whoever played the lower value performing the event on their card, and whoever chose the higher value gaining a number of action points equal to the difference in the value of the cards.
Bears vs Babies and Exploding Kittens
If you've never played either of these games, then you're going to be in for something interesting - fast, easy to learn party games that are silly, funny and just a tiny bit horrific in equal measures.
In Bears vs Babies, you are trying to build up monsters, some of which will definitely be bears, to fight against incoming waves of land, sea and airborne babies that are coming to fight you. As the brave and glorious monsters, you'll go up against these horrible babies in battle, whilst competing against the other players to be the monster who defeats the most babies in combat.
In Exploding Kittens, you're aiming to draw cards from the deck without drawing an exploding kitten. Draw one of those cards, and you're out of the round, unless you have a defuse card (because of course a laser pointer will stop a kitten from exploding). Collect actions cards to take a peak at the deck, skip your turn, or shuffle the deck, and collect cat cards to steal cards form other players, and the last player unexploded wins. Quite simply, grab some friends, play these games, and enjoy some rapid, chaotic fun!