My firend Pat came over for a bit today. We stuffed ourselves with perogies, flipped through some comic books (among other books in hand he had Hellboy Weird Tales #8, which includes a nifty Evan Dworkin story), shot the breeze in general and about gaming in particular, and actually played some games. The first game we played was Safari Jack by the nice people at Cheapass Games. In this nifty little card game the players are big game hunters looking to blast exotic animals while vacationing in Africa. We had a lot of fun. The cards themselves are so flimsy I doubt they'll last too many hands, but I'm not too concerned since they're so cheaply replaced. Safari Jack is the third Cheapass game I own that involves Victorian gentlemen on dubious adventures, the first two being Chief Hermann's Holiday Fun Pack and Captain Park's Imaginary Polar Expedition. I enjoy all three, though I think the Imaginary Polar Expedition is clearly the best of the lot.
After two hands of Safari Jack we decided to play something different, so I pulled out my copy of Ancient Board Games by Irving Finkel (Welcome Rain press, 1997). This is a board book that contains rules, pieces, and boards for the earliest known boardgames. Last time Pat and I had this out we played the Royal Game of Ur, the first game in the book. This time we tried Mehen, also known as "the Snake Game" because the board takes the form of a coiled snake. The snake is subdivided into spaces, resulting in a standard track game. Mehen proved to be too slow moving a game for Pat and I. Too many turns we would throw the sticks (plastic replicas of the precursors to dice) and come up with a turn in which absolutely nothing happened. We gave up after a quarter of the way through the game. Mehen is a poorly designed game, even by the loose standards of Mr. Bradley and the brothers Parker. The title of this blog entry harshes on Horus because of the prominent Horus-hawk on the reproduction board we played on. That's the closest thing to a credits page that I have to work with, so ol' Horus gets the blame.