Lord Carter's Sack O' Bricks

Lord Carter's After Dinner Games
aka Bausack (Zoch, £38)
aka Bandu (MB, £20?)
Designed by Klaus Zoch
2-6? Players, about 30 minutes
Reviewed by Mike Siggins

There was a time when Bausack, that infamous German game that involves building towers out of blocks of oddly shaped wood, had a certain exclusivity. You could only buy it in Germany or on import and the price (often nearly £50 for what amounted to a bag of wood) was enough to deter all but the excessively keen (hello) or the terminally stupid. This was rather a shame as the game seems to be almost universally popular. Only with last year's release of MB's Bandu, at prices closer to $30, did the game begin to acquire relatively widespread coverage, but the UK was still stuck for a domestic source.

You can imagine my surprise then when I spotted a stand at Olympia which seemed to be selling bags of wood in a very Bausack-ish bag. I thought initially it must be a copy but the game turned out to be Lord Carter's Sack O' Bricks, a full UK licence from Zoch in Germany and set to appear in British game shops this Spring. While I understand the price will still be in the high £30s, which is rather warm, it will be readily available. Also, whereas the latest Bausacks have rather cheaper components compared to the original (I still don't know what to do with the pegs), Sack O' Bricks has top quality wood. They have even scented one of the pieces a nice touch, but I'm not quite sure why!

Now it is officially available, it might be about time to get round to a full description, which won't take too long. The game comes with a range of scenarios, all with a similar theme of building the variously shaped blocks into structures. Some concentrate on height, others on including 'red' bits (the difficult ones) and most emphasise being the last structure standing. Shapes vary from plain blocks, cylinders and half-domes to eggcups, acorns and skittles. The idea is, through a basic bidding system each turn, to acquire only those pieces that you have a chance of adding to your building, there and then. You ideally start with a solid block base (an acorn makes things a little tough), add perhaps a column or two to lend stability and then you are required to accommodate the oddities, always attached and upwards. This progresses until you find yourself trying to balance a ball on the end of a lipstick or place a really heavy angled block on a wobbling tower. The game ends for you when it all falls over, to much hilarity and dented tabletops.

At the end of the day, Sack O'Bricks still represents a lot of money to pay for a bag of timber and doubtless there will be resistance from adults to sitting down and playing a game that takes them way back to their childhood. Of course those that do, and any kids readily joining them, will find a superb, fun game that remains a fixture here to this day. It never fails to raise a laugh, and it is hard to quantify that asset you must decide whether the price is a fair one.

On to the review of Die Erbraffer or back to the review of PinPoint.

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