A couple of new PBM games delight IAN LACEY this month, but only after all the grovelling apologies have been made over games misnamed, games that don’t exist, interviews missed...

FIRST OFF I must apologize for the mistake in last month’s column. Warlord is Casus-Belli II and Crucible Of Power does not exist! After announcing that Casus-Belli II would be called Crucible Of Power, KJC Games then changed the name again (to Warlord) without any formal announcement. Their fault, not mine, honest! I must also apologize to those who looked forward (myself included) to the Project Basilisk interview, mentioned in the Christmas issue, I had banked on them attending the Northern Convention, which they did not. My fault this time, but an interview will appear shortly.


The new PBM company On The Brink, first mentioned in Issue 59 with their futuristic sport game Skullball, are now launching their second game. Called Mobster, this is a humorous game involving mafia bosses set in San Corrupto, a fictitious American city of The Thirties which has just broken free of the mafia boss, Vito Spaghetti. Your aim is to replace him by eliminating seven other players with similar ambitions. After that you must wipe out Elliott Mess and his incorruptible ‘unmentionables’.

The game is simple to play but contains twenty different orders and some nice little complexities designed to keep all the mob bosses on their toes. It’s like It’s A Crime, only funnier, easier and cheaper at £1 per turn for 14 orders. £2.50 will get you a startup package and two turns. Turns are a regular eight days (UK) or 15 days (Europe).


Spiral Arms II is now in the strange position of being run simultaneously by two UK companies. Apparently both Sloth Enterprises and Spellbinder Games have bought the rights from the American Graaf Simulations. Both UK versions have now been launched and have a few differences, mainly price. Sloth have decided to run the game on an increasing turn fee. Start-up and the first two turns come free, turns 3 to 10 cost £1.50, turns 11 to 20 cost £2 and turns 20+ cost £2.50. Spellbinder, however have opted for a set turn fee of £1.50 which works out a lot cheaper if you play to the end (around 40 turns).

The Sloth version of Spiral Arm II has been streamlined, however, and several of the more complex aspects re-written. Spellbinder’s program remains almost identical to Graaf Simulations’ version. Having not seen Spellbinder’s rulebook I can only comment on Sloth’s attempt, which is pretty impressive, with some nice pictures of Clangers! The rules are easy to follow and nicely structured allowing you to make a fast and unconfused start. The game itself is all about conquering the galaxy! Original concept, hey? I’d be glad to hear from anyone playing both games, which is best.

No promises for next month (because I invariably get it wrong), so just wait and see...