Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Coolest Game Ever

I imagine it went something like this:

Hasbro Exec: Okay. Any more bright ideas? We're late for lunch.
Hasbro Idea Guy: I have one: Kids buy figures, push them around on the table, and the goal is to knock the figures over by hitting them together or with giant spring-loaded rockets.
Hasbro Exec: Goddamnit Bob, you keep bringing this up. Don't you remember the lawsuits?
Bob: Yes.
Hasbro Exec: Then why bring this up now?
Bob: I dunno. I thought this time would be the time.
Hasbro Exec: We're late for lunch, Bob.
Bob: I know. But lookit! I had some made!
Hasbro Exec: Okay, fine. I'll take a look.

(Bob busts out a few figures. They look like horribly misshapen Star Wars characters, some with gigantic goofy hands and others with big fuck off guns that shoot spiring-loaded rockets)

Hasbro Exec: Those look like crap, Bob.
Bob: I know. But it's like this: If you don't pay to manufacture and market these toys, then my friends the Horribly Misshapen Clone Troopers and I will have something to aay about it.
Hasbro Exec: Bob, I don't think--

(Bob triggers several figures to fire, and the Exec is assaulted in the eye by several huge-ass plastic missiles)

Bob: Anyone else have a problem?


Attacktix is an interesting idea: Why not let the figures physically hash things out on the table? Instead of rolling dice and tallying hit points, you march your figure up and thwack enemy figures, hoping to knock them over. Or you take aim from afar, fire a (surprisingly powerful) plastic rocket at the enemy, and hope to knock the enemy over. Really, you end up with a game in which kids are shooting at each other with plastic rockets, which really sums up my childhood to a T. But this, in the day and age in which most toys' "rockets" only fire about 3 inches because some kid managed to shoot himself in the eye and burst into flames or something, shows an interesting reversal of flow. This tells me that toy manufacturers either don't care if kids shoot themselves and burst into flames, or they have decided to take a risk and put something out that's new and different (if not terribly deep). That's somewhat encouraging.

There's some strategy to it. The more expensive the figure, the harder it is to knock down. Melee units have faster movement (represented by the number of clicks, or "tix," made by the little wheel in the base as you push the figure along on the table. Many units have special powers that activate when they fall over, often enabling other figures to take a free attack or letting the player bring dead figures back to the table.

The rules are simple, and they're based on physical things. For example, the Emperor can possess enemy units, but only if the Emperor figure can physically grab on and piggy-back the possessed figure without touching the table himself. If you shield a figure with another, and if the figure in back physically props up the shielding figure, then the figure in front doesn't die. The simplicity and physical nature of it is pretty damn interesting and, dare I say, refreshing. It beats counting squares or arguing whether one can pre-measure before one shoots.

I'll likely never find someone to play this game with, but I like it in theory. I just can't shake the feeling that it won't be around too long before some parent hauls her burning wreck of a child to court with one huge red rocket sticking out of his eye. Hrm. Maybe I'll get a second starter to keep closed for eBay.