Friday, July 8, 2016
Rattlebones, and the Struggle with Overpopulation
Rattlebones, designed by Stephen Glenn
Most of my plays with Rattlebones have seen less players than the max of 4. With all players fully loaded into this game, a few extra issues float to the surface.
Like any decent roll-and-move, all the pawns in Rattlebones begin on the "start" space.
Part of the problem lies in the dense, meaty nature of each of these pawns. Each of these magic monkeys is enormous compared to a traditional pawn in just about any other game. And you play with 3 of them!
A 4-player game of good ol' classic Klingon Monopoly looks ok.
A 4-player game of standee-infused Monopoly Disney Junior starts to look a little packed.
Finally, this is what 4-player Rattlebones starts out with.
In a loud, crowded table environment, Rattlebones is the kind of game you always wish you could remember what color you were playing, or whose turn it is. With the pawns moving pretty rapidly, and people often taking their turn while the previous player is still adjusting their dice, things get mixed up. I could really use the plastic dinosaur from Firefly: The Game.
The squares of the game are also poorly delineated. While the circles ARE easy to see, you aren't going to pig-pile 4 different magic monkeys on one of these circles. And ambiguity starts to arise.
Finally, there is always at least one person picking something off the floor at any give time. Strangely enough, my dog has yet to show interest, I can't wait for a die component to end up in his digestive tract.
I still appreciate Rattlebones for the stylish blend of determination and luck. And I love the off-beat theme of magic monkeys + mice + the creepy guy in From a Buick 8.
But a responsible game owner needs to reign in this type of overpopulation before subjecting other players to a confusing pile of wooden knees and elbows.