Games with figures very rarely relied on luck. Sometimes there would be a figure left to fate and luck would be the master, but this was most uncommon. So imagine my delight and surprise when my mastermind friend of games Thimos, introduced me to his fantastical concept of the Olympic games. He had effectively combined our motion picture figure culture with a board game. Yes, the figures would be controlled by dice.
Oooo such a well worked out concept drove me mad with excitement. First however, the teams had to be sorted. A little prep work before the proceedings. Patience Laos! The total number of figures was added and evenly divided into teams. Wow! Mathematics! Advanced gaming here! Teams were populated by figure affiliation. This could mean identical figures, their colors that may have represented a real nation or ethnicity. Sometimes teams were linked to previous games! A popular game we had played involved a High school and a gang of deadly bullies called the Black Panthers, made up of black Imperials. They were so stealth and fast they would nail innocent students effortlessly. As it turned out, they were recognised by the Physical Education department as a potential talent. They believed their brutality and previous assaults could be forgiven if they were nurtured appropriately. So as ridiculous as it might sound, they made the jump from high school to the Olympics. Though don’t think they waited around for the dice to settle scores 😆.
Now it was time for Thimos to demonstrate the concept.
We started with the 100m sprints. We put down lane markers by using colored felt pens and the figures were put at their starting marks in a push up position. This proved the best technique as we would play on carpet and standing the figures in their lanes was not an option. We moved through the lanes with a 6 sided dice roll. Every number represented a body lengths advance. I could not believe this structured excitement! The fate of the figures was actually out of my hands!
This was fair competition as the dice proved, but strangely enough, fate would intervene and the dice would favor a team for repeated success. Much like my wrestling figure concept around the same time period known as “The International Incident”, repeated champions would emerge. Most notably, it was the teams made up from the Imperials, with their dashing uniforms that made the spectators hearts flutter.
Alas, now it was time for the concept to get corrupted.
Medal ceremonies would take place at the conclusion. A quick sellotaped cotton loop with a round blu tack attached to it was all that was needed. The ceremonies were when the structured gameplay fell apart and the standard motion pictures 4 figures culture returned with a vengeance! Figures abruptly started to fight each other due to the jealousy flowing through the air and new games sprung out of the ashes, as the Olympic teams somehow turned into gangs. The aforementioned Black Panthers were clearly the catalyst. This instantly led to another game where the injured athletes escaped to the Hospital and the staff had to take up arms to defend the patients from the Panthers closing in.
The Olympic Games was a revolutionary approach to sports gameplay and it was really the only way you could simulate sports with the figures. I used the concept in a similar sporting event I created based on the America’s Cup Yachting race with Jabba’s 1985 Kenner throne christened “The Canadian Crusher” from Canada, naturally.
Technically, the Olympics and their various sibling games, had the making for continued gameplay as one grew into adulthood, since they technically fell into the realm of boardgames.
However, the Olympic flame was extinguished long ago and the events have not been reenacted in close to 30 years….