It's getting to that time of year when the sun goes down earlier and that means longer evenings to fill. Of course boardgames are a good option.
So too is crafting the board game before playing it.
Which brings us back to the realm of print 'n play, and web published games. There aren't commercial versions of the games available, so the only way to play them is with a bit of work ahead of time.
In many cases the extra work is well worth it, and actually adds a lot to the gaming experience because you have had to create the board and pieces.
One game well worth the effort, and relatively simple to create is Splut!
To start with how cool is the name? It conjures a certain image, and in this case it fits as the premise of the game is to have one of your pieces toss a 'rock' game piece onto your opponent’s primary piece.
But before we get to the cool piece array of Splut!, I should mention this is an abstract strategy game which can be played by two, three, or four players. In the case of abstracts the best, chess, Go and others are two-player only, and frankly in terms of strategic play Splut! is best as a two-player game.
That said, an abstract that even allows a three, or four-player option is rare, so that is a huge bonus with Splut!.
Splut! grows more chaotic, and near impossible to plan strategy with four players in action.
Chaos is not a bad thing in this case, since Splut! is a fantasy-themed game with its roots in chess.
Players compete in an arena (the board) with each participant controlling a team consisting of one stonetroll, one dwarf, and a sorcerer.
Designer Tommy De Coninck has done a nice job with the mechanics. During a turn players have three moves to make, as they attempt to get your stonetroll to a rock (four Rocks are provided in the arena) and let him throw it onto an opposing Sorcerer. This will eliminate that team.
The stonetroll, dwarf and sorcerer each have unique movements.
So back to fashioning a set. The board, in fact several interpretations of the board, can be found online and printed for personal use. Start by checking out www.toco.be/splut
The pieces are a matter of personal taste. Some opt for using gaming miniatures, and there are a huge variety of trolls, dwarves and wizards available from a range of fantasy wargame lines.
Another option is to go for the representational look, which can be easier to achieve. In my case a variety of wooden thread spools painted up nicely with different sizes representing the troll, dwarf and sorcerer.
Whichever approach you take to crafting Splut! it is worth the effort since the game is simple to learn (full rules are online), and a riot to play.
-- Review appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper September 14, 2011 - Yorkton, SK. Canada