Favorite Games: Worlds of Boris

Worlds of Boris coverThe Smith household has begun a long process of reducing its game collection—which is to say, my game collection. I’ve set a new standard: My bedroom has one free bookshelf set aside for board games; if a game doesn’t earn its place on those shelves, it has to go.

One side effect of this has been my spouse and me getting a chance to introduce some real classics to our one daughter still at home, things she was too young to experience when we first got them. Things like The Worlds of Boris Vallejo.

Here’s our opening setup from last weekend (you can click the photo for a larger version):

Worlds of Boris layout

Each of the colored tiles in the center is a Boris painting, and each represents a world. The “board” is laid out randomly before each game, with some worlds touching many and others more separated. The black-and-white cards are placeholders matching those worlds, where cards can be set face down to defend. (That’s the stack of red-backed cards beneath some worlds.) The colored plastic winks on the worlds show who currently owns what, and the pawns represent each player’s mobile army. Each player has a hand of cards for that army, as well.

So basically you move your pawn onto someone else’s world, try to use your hand to defeat any defenders there and capture the world. The first player to own eight worlds wins.

The game has a few nice twists: You can move your pawn up to two spaces across your own territories; you can ally with an active player to give away a card or two and draw two replacements; and—most excitingly—character cards that belong to a world (show up in the painting) are double strength in combat there. Oh, and there’s even a solitaire version.

Back in 1984, my local hobby store was so tired of having this thing taking up shelf space that they were going to take the tiles out, laminate them, and try to sell them as coasters. I was working Saturdays there at the time and had an employee discount. Expecting the game to be a turkey(as licensed products often are), but willing to give it a try, I talked the store owner into an even bigger discount and took it home. Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be lots of fun, one of my spouse’s favorites, in fact.

One recommendation: If you play three-player, consider setting a time limit rather than a world limit. We battled ourselves to a standstill, with me controlling seven worlds and Jen and Kate each holding five. Every time I went for the eighth, they cooperated to deny me my rightful victory. Curses!

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