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  • Writer's pictureJoe Pace

Player of Games, #55: Crossbows and Catapults

You can hear this picture.

When a game has "and" in the title, you know you're in for a good time. That dubious aphorism may not hold true in every case, but it certainly does when it comes to this 1983 classic. God, what a great game. Forget tabletop play, this thing demanded floor space, conceived in terms not of inches or feet but yardage. In Crossbows and Catapults, you commanded either the Vikings or the Barbarians, erecting fortifications with plastic bricks in formations informed by science or experience or experience. Your goal was to protect your castle and king, and to destroy and capture those of your opponent. To accomplish this mission, you were equipped with - spoiler alert - a crossbow and a catapult. With those rubber-band-fueled armaments, you laid siege to your foe's walls by launching round plastic caroms across the room. This was sanctioned warfare, permission to fling projectiles toward your brother and his carefully arranged defenses. What could be more joyous than that?

The answer? More weapons! Dragons, ogres, and minotaurs pressed into your service. Siege towers, battering rams, a Trojan horse. As expansion sets were released, the game grew more crowded, more challenging, and more fun. There are plenty of games on this list I'd love to play right now, today, with my own kids, often to show them how much fun we had back in the days when Atari could only do so much on a screen. Crossbows and Catapults is right at the top of that list.

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