Year of Tabletop — Dancing Queens
February is a big month in my house, but I’m going to present another tiny game this time. Why? Because it’s my wife’s favorite, and her birthday is this month, that’s the dang why, sonny!
Dancing Queens is a little pen-and-paper game about terrain control. The best analogies I can point to are Tic Tac Toe, and Dots & Boxes. You play on a 7x7 grid, and every time you move, your old position becomes an impassable barrier for both players. You set it up like so:
The two players start in opposite corners, and the center square starts out scribbled out. Each player, on their turn, moves in a cardinal direction of their choice (up, down, left, right, or diagonal), moving for a distance of their choice (at least one, and you cannot move through any scribble or opponent). It’s like a Queen’s move in chess, except that your opponent cannot be captured, only trapped.
Let’s say that X moves first, and they choose to move 4 squares to the right. At the end of your turn, you scribble out your old position. So the top left corner becomes a scribble.
And now it’s O’s turn, where they might move defensively along the diagonal, right against the center square:
Play continues until one of the players can’t move. The trapped player loses, and the other player wins!
This game is on the strategic end of a casual family, which I guess puts it at some sort of medium complexity? It’s great for road trips and family gatherings, when those activities become good ideas again. Being able to play with just pen and paper is a great portability advantage, and also makes it easy to share the game with new players. You never need special supplies, knowing the game is enough. The only problem is that the ending can drag out a bit, but otherwise, I really enjoy this game, and will definitely be playing it more with the missus this month.
Video production continues to be the main challenge/bottleneck for these game releases, but I’ll have one for Dancing Queens soon. What makes me really nervous is that I have my first “big” game next month, with a proper board and unit markers. I’ll definitely have to break some new ground on the publishing side, with downloadable PDF and SVG files to give people options when printing. Wish me luck in March!