Last week I reviewed a Print and Play game as a great option for boardgame lovers with a crafty side to get into some fine games, such as Ragnarok: Aesir and Jotunn.
As reasonably priced as PnP games can be, there is an even cheaper avenue into some new games.
There are designers out there creating very interesting games which can be played with the generic gaming equipment you are likely to have at home.
Mark Steere is one such designer, with several games under his belt which can be played with items as simple as a checker board and accompanying checkers.
Steere's most recent creation is Monkey Queen. In this case you might have to draw out a gridded board, since it plays on a 12X12-square board. A sheet of bristol or core board works slick for drawing out a board.
It can be easy to see angles on a checkered board, but there is nothing specific about the rules to Monkey Queen which require alternating coloured squares.
After you have the board you require 20-stackable checkers in two colours. Existing checker sets, or a popular game such as Connect Four (it comes with 42 checkers) are sources many gamers will already have.
Once you have the items, your set to explore a really simply, yet deceptively deep abstract strategy game.
A two-player game the objective is simple, capture the enemy queen, or deprive your opponent of a move.
The queens are the initial stack of 20-checkers under the control of each player.
A monkey queens moves and captures like a chess queen, by sliding the entire stack along any of the eight possible directions for as far as desired provided it is unobstructed. It captures by replacement.
When moving the Monkey Queen, but not capturing, it still moves as a chess queen. But on a non-capturing move it leaves a single checker (monkey baby) behind in the square it started its move from.
A monkey baby, like the monkey queen, moves as a chess queen, and captures by replacement. When not capturing, a baby must move toward the enemy queen whereby the straight line distance between your baby and the enemy queen must be shortened by the move.
That's it. Simple rules, but on the big board there is room to develop strategic attacks and defences. A game worth some repeated play to explore the possibilities.
A definite winner made better by the free access rules at www.marksteeregames.com
If anyone is interested in this game, or other boardgames feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Past reviews are collected online at calsboardgamemusings.blogspot.com
-- Review appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper April 27, 2011 - Yorkton, SK. Canada