Nanty Narking still means ‘Great Fun’
I saw the post go up that Nanty Narking was live, and then instantly stopped. It is being produced by Phalanx, the people behind the upcoming UBOOT game. I backed that project, and am really looking forward to playing it. It’s not a ‘Who are these guys?’ issue, it’s a ‘the project is in pounds’ issue.
I already own Discworld: Ankh-Morpork, and can barely get it to the table as it is. That said, I enjoy it a lot. Each character has a secret goal they are trying to achieve, and exert their influence on the city of Ankh-Morpork to try and reach their own goals.
The game has some issues – anyone that tells you it doesn’t is in fan denial. But it is a middleweight game that is a lot of fun at the highest player count, and has a special spot in my collection.
Mechanically, the retheming of Discworld to the fictional Charles Dickens/Sir Arthur Conan Doyle London makes a lot of sense. Sir Terry did base a lot of Ankh-Morpork on Old London after all, with many characters a parody of the same source material.
A lot of the issues of the original have been addressed in Nanty Narking, but I think the same problem still exists.
I am not talking mechanically, I believe that Martin Wallace would do what he believed best to address those issues. No, the problem I am talking about is that this is a big heavy game feel with fairly simple mechanics.
This made Ankh-Morpork a miss as a gateway game and an enthusiast game, meaning really Discworld fans were the main audience to give it a go. Too heavy for a gateway game, to light for a ‘serious’ game, an IP with a loyal fanbase and yet somehow still not mainstream – Discworld: Ankh-Morpork was a niche game in almost every way.
I have seen lots of reports of people demoing the game at conventions and the like and wondering what they just did. This is not the sort of feedback you want for your game.
That said though, I am fairly confident that a 2-hour learning game (which was always my experience) was kind of crunched into a rushed demo experience. If I ever tried to teach Ankh-Morpork at ‘normal’ speed, the same feelings were often described as problems – Playing an action because they had to, not understanding the impact the actions on the game, etc.
If you can pick up a copy of Discworld: Ankh-Morpork, I really do recommend it but with the ending of Discworld licensing after Sir Terry’s passing, they are really hard to get.
The more I look at Nanty Narking, the more I see a very pretty version of a game I wish I could convince more people to play. But this is an AUD$170 game including shipping for a game I essentially already have!
Check out the Nanty Narking Kickstarter and see what you think. Keep this in mind though – the player count is really 3-4 players, with the best experience at 4. If you have three other players that are keen, everyone going in may be the better way to go?
Until next time,