Scandinavia and the World: A Heap of Trouble
Imagine a world in which countries are people: Fighting, loving and adventuring together. Recently all of their possessions were thrown into a giant heap and there are some disagreements about what belongs to who. Scotland feels it needs to declare independence more than America ever did, while America is busy eyeing up oil that Russia is sure is his. Denmark’s pornography is missing, but nobody will admit to having it. Your role is to sort this whole sorry mess out, by gathering countries together, using their abilities and giving them what (they think) is rightfully theirs.
What sort of game is it?
A bidding card game for 3-5 players that plays in half an hour or so. Each turn everyone gets an item and can use it to satisfy a character or sell it to get coins. Then new characters are revealed and players bid their coins in order to obtain them, with the highest bidder getting first choice of the available characters.
What makes it fun to play?
A game is based on interesting decisions. A heap of trouble has straightforward rules, but still offers a lot of them:
- Every item card is also a money card – do you use it to bid or to satisfy a character?
- Characters provide an ability and a means to win – do you bid for characters that want the items you have or ones with more powerful abilities?
- The first player distributes money and decides ties – is it worth skipping over a character to obtain these advantages?
- Highest bid wins – do you trust that you can predict your opponents well enough to slightly outbid them or spend resources freely for characters you really want?
- Some characters have negative abilities – how many resources do you spend to avoid Estonia driving away all of the real Scandinavians?
What makes the world interesting to explore?
The game is based on a much loved webcomic about the interactions between the spirits of various countries. It’s cute, interesting, informative, naughty, silly, heartwarming … it’s a lot of things.
Whether it’s commenting on how Iceland grows bananas with lava, the love story of Denmark and Bornholm, why Estonia is crying or different countries attitudes to female leaders it’s always got something engaging to say.
So how does that come through in the game?
Item Cards have snippets of quotes talking about the relationships between these countries and the things that they’re trying to obtain. These might be quotes from the webcomic or bits of historical perspective. Do you know why Iceland needs a human penis in a jar – and why they were delighted when one was finally donated to the cause a few years ago?
Other effects come across directly through the game mechanics themselves. It should be no surprise to anyone with a passing interest in world politics that Russia and America can both score a point by acquiring oil.
Existing fans of the series can also look forward to over a hundred brand new pieces of art drawn by the SatW team specifically for this game, including the odd Easter egg surreptitiously snuck into the game for their enjoyment.
Alright then, I hope you get a chance to play it sometime. We’re delivering to our Kickstarter backers at the moment, but once that’s done I’ll post a link here to let you know where to buy a copy.