WHAT A LONG STRANGE TRIP IT'S BEEN
An instalment in the rise of
Fiendish Board Games
to the apogee of apathy
Plucky games inventor,
John Harrington, and easily duped financial sponsor, Mike
Woodhouse, collaborated under the trading name of Fiendish Games to produce version one
of Breaking Away, the popular bike race
having a few technical difficulties with the components,
version 1 practically sold out its first print run of 100
copies, enabling the Fiends to invest in producing a
second version of Breaking
Away, the even more popular bike race
You must have made a fortune
Yes, we have, but not on Breaking
It cost us about £550 to produce version
1 of Breaking Away in the early nineties. Record keeping is not
our strong point but we reckon that we made between £300
and £500 profit on it. Encouraged by customer feedback
and mindful of the very pertinent criticisms of the
production qualities of version 1, Fiendish Games decided
to reinvest the profits from version 1 into producing a
better version of the game.
Not being part of the car or
software industry where new versions are given baffling
code-names like "Cairo" or the
"PZ3bX" we decided to call this one version 2.
For those of you
unfamiliar with version 1 of the game, here are some of
the details with pertinent criticisms attached.
Board - at school I was the
joint-worst student in the Technical Drawing class. I
was a natural, therefore, to do the artwork for the
board. Actually, with the aid of MicroGrafx Designer
software, I did not do too bad a job. There was one
major design flaw, however, and that was the absence
of numbered squares. This slowed down players'
calculations when they were deciding on their moves.
The master-copy as provided to the printer chappie
was big enough to accommodate the cyclist counters we
had purchased. Printer chappies, however, like to
photo-reduce stuff wherever possible to get greater
definition or, possibly, to piss off games designers.
Whatever, when the board came back the
"definition" was great - lovely bold lines,
and they had even added some rudimentary artwork free
of charge - but unfortunately the size of the squares
on the track were no longer capable of accommodating
the cyclist counters unless one was extremely careful
in their placement
Packaging - it
came in a large gripseal polysomething bag. According
to the supplier, these were heavy duty bags but I had
a few split on me and I would not be surprised if
customers did too.
Movement pads - low technology they may be,
but they are cheap. Some lucky punters also got to
write on the pads with the famous MidCon pencils,
enclosed with their copy of the game, but my partner,
who looks after the finances, soon exercised his
right of veto over such extravagance.
We used card stands and thick cardboard square
figures to fit in them. Some people prefer these to
the new plastic cyclist figures. We still have about
1,000 bases and about 600 cardboard cyclist figures
in stock, so expect a new bike race game from Fiendish Games circa
2019 purely to
get rid of the surplus stock.
Rules - The rules generally got favourable
reviews although whether this was because the
reviewers were already familiar with the game from
playing it by post, I don't know.
Part two of this article