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GUARDS! GUARDS!   A DISCWORLD BOARDGAME

by Leonard Boyd & David Bradshaw  2-6 Players  Aged 11+

Terry Pratchett’s DISCWORLD has spawned more than just books; there are also films, TV Movies, Radio Shows and Boardgames.

For each play test I made sure that all of the players were acquainted with Discworld and that some of them were more than just acquainted. This meant that we were playing the game with full knowledge of the characters and the situations.

It is natural to compare games based on the same subject and so while playing GUARDS! GUARDS! I couldn't help thinking of the Ankh Morpork boardgame by Martin Wallace. The two games are actually quite dissimilar in game play and mechanics so it is unfair for any such comparison, other than to say we found the MW game to flow better and to be closer to the game time noted on the box. GUARDS! GUARDS! can play longer than expected, but although the game play is slower it is time well spent.

GUARDS! GUARDS!

Is actually quite a long and boring game with little going for it other than the association with Discworld. The board may represent Ankh Morpork and show areas known from the tales, but its design is not as inspiring as it could maybe have been (although to be honest Ankh Morpork isn't known to be a brightly colourful city) and certainly not “action packed or fast paced”.

The basics are:- the players represent one of the famous Guilds from the books. These pawns are moved around the board to land on spaces where they can collect (try to collect) cards - Lords & Ladies, Man & Beast and Shades & Shadows, Curses & Cures plus Odds & Sods. These cards are used by the player to fight their way up the central track. On each rung of the track are the traits that need to be beaten by the value of the cards plus the roll of a die.

The Unseen University has 'lost' a number of spells and they are in a flap. The players have to collect 5 Spells, each has a different combination of the available spells (spells are shown by colour) and bring them back to the Unseen University. The central rungs of the board are Windel’s Wisdom (Streetwise 10), Stibbon’s Stumper (Toughness 12), Ridcully’s  Revenge (Loyalty 13), Malich’s Melancholy (Streetwise & Brawl 12) and Rincewind’s Redemption (Magic & Guild 9).  Windel, Stibbon, Ridcully and the others are all Discworld characters.

There isn’t as much for the players to do in their turn as board game players would like. It's basically move their piece and roll a die (possibly) whilst dodging the Luggage which moves round the board on one or the other footprint tracks (there are 2 sets) and bumps into character pawns and sends them to Hospital.

© Chris Baylis 2011-2021