Not bored with ZX Spectrum actual PHYSICAL game boards

edited May 2016 in Hardware
There are a few ZX Speccy games with actual physical gaming boards that are worthy of attention
Post edited by rich_chandler on


  • Oh dear [-X
    Another new thread in the Updates section, but which has nothing to do with updates... [-(

  • Re the need for a new thread . The old thread (now ideally to be used for hardware only) was "Not Bored with the Boards" : Well the themed gag used "bored and boards" and was running a bit thin ; the idea for the gag was to include both gaming boards and PCB boards just because I was allegedly "not bored" . As time went on this was looking a bit "thread"bare , so a new thread is now needed.Here it is , and it is about the Speccy games with PHYSICAL GAME BOARDS.

    On Getting rid of a Misconception by me ;- The idea of there being a software equivalent , to a physical board was misconceived and came about because online I misjudged the size of some of the graphics of cases/boxes for the games I saw . I thought "Well they cannot get a physical board into a cassette case" so it must be software based but I had not given enough thought to this . But it turns out , in fact , that CDS , with the Brian Clough game , used a bigger style plastic case than it appeared to me online (or as I conceived it looking at the online picture ) and they were also very skilled at "shrinking it all down" with clever packaging and use of thin materials. It is easy to forget that JPEGS for a PC and "their like" came a lot later and although magazines like "Crash" could do great graphics and maps ,the average gamer could not because he would not own the equipment needed . I remember , at the time , I paid a "fortune" for a "daisywheel" printer so the idea that a mass market product could be made based on "software" for a game board was definitely premature . So this is why CDS stuck to "shrunk" down physical media . So without more ado I will drop the idea of the possibility of any original games being produced with "software" game boards . It was a nice idea but just totally wrong!

    The other thread "Not Bored with the Boards" does still contain some of the introductory info. Here is a summary :- So far there are 4 games found with Physical boards. These are :- 1) Tank Attack 2) A.T.R.A.M 3) Brian Clough's Football Fortunes 4) And possibly a game called "Conflict" from Martech

    On buying Games Second Hand :- One difficulty with these games is getting "all the bits" that came with the game when it was first sold .When sold second hand a lot of the pieces are missing . Sometimes the seller will know about this and will indicate that the game is "for spares only " (this was the case when I bought A.T.R.A.M ) and it reflected in the price . However some of the games come with so many gaming pieces that it is sometimes difficult for a seller to know all the detail so it possible to pay "full second hand whack" for a game missing parts (and bear in mind that some sellers on Ebay charge around £70 for a second hand game)

    So I appreciate being told about this in relation to my recent purchase of Brian Clough's Football Fortunes (or in this case this turned out to be more like "My Gaming Shortfall's!!) However I have now contacted the retailer about this so hopefully it can be sorted out

  • Sorry about choosing the wrong category
  • Re Missing parts.

    Yes it is best perhaps to assume when buying these games that parts are missing . I apparently missed info on this when I bought it so it is probably my fault in this case . Never mind I will look out for another copy to complete the game (very funny yes I have bought 2 incomplete games!)
  • Re Missing parts

    I decided to reorder another copy of the Brian Clough game . I hope that will sort it .
  • How Many Games are Needed to "Make it Up"?

    Well it appears that RobeeeJay knew about "old games" or "guessed ahead" better than me . But thinking about it, there are numerous problems associated games with lots of pieces . Why I assumed that everything would be 100% I do not know but clearly this needs a careful "buying" approach.

    I suppose from a seller's point of view these things can be a nightmare . Lots of extra working , counting it all up etc . Then assessing its real value , describing it in a fair way . So lots of pitfalls there and there are bound to be difference in the sellers' approaches ( ie how they describe it etc).

    But what about the Buyers? Well there will be both the "click happy" ones ( I can be like that sometimes) and those with a more considered approach .So lots of variables to consider just between "buyer and seller". But what about the games themselves?

    Those games like the CDS Brian Clough game were designed to fit into the ZX Spectrum software general retail market not the traditional "old style boxed games market . Because of this they did not come in a traditional "Monopoly" style games box . Instead the many bits and pieces were highly compressed into a small plastic case . Arguably the chance of this being kept intact for subsequent purchasers was probably close to zero . So for an average buyer the question is "How many second hand copies do I need to buy to stand a reasonable chance of "making up" a complete set? or will "You could not make it up" turn out to be true in this case!

    Well I am about to find out . I have ordered a second copy . The seller mentioned that this has happened before and that online downloads can be found to make up the shortfalls (by printing the downloaded JPEGS out) but he did not know where these were . So it gets "interestinger and interestinger "!

  • Re: " Brian Clough's Football Fortunes" (CDS)

    I had ordered a second cheaper one from the same supplier . It was a "risk" purchase , a gamble . Would the missing cards be there? : It has just arrived : Are the missing cards there? I open it up . No , I lost today's the bet . In the case is a nice board but no cards , or counters and a bit of pencil writing on the instructions ( "thrown in" I suppose : so a least a "throw in" has been included!) . But I knew this one at least was not perfect as it was cheaper and sold as not perfect . So it is lucky I have already anticipated this and had ordered a 3rd copy from another supplier !

    Obviously I would be a pretty profligate football manager so I need some practice and I will put in the "training" on the game itself!
  • Re Brian Clough game

    It appears the same part (the cards) gets lost a lot . I need a plan to track down the cards
  • More on the Brian Clough game and a way to get the missing cards done

    In the end I went to a site called :- "" (Commodore 64) . This provides all the info on the the cards and I was able to print a load in black and white (not colour) ; the site does actually allow you to order prints. There is also a very useful text file with a listing of the 1) Type of card 2) Quantity needed 3) The name of each player . It says " To save time ,I have scanned only one of each card and you must print out the number stated ,adding the players name in the space provided . Also in the star , add the "star" number ."

    So all in all a "life saver" if I do not succeed in getting the originals . I just ptinted out a load of blanks and I will do the rest manually . it was quick and easy that way .

    i have not spent a fortune . Much of the stuff in on WOS and the rest is on this one . So job more or less done
  • You could've put shout out in the wanted section harrius. Never know someone might have copy they'd be willing to sell.
  • Reply to Your Spec-chum

    Good point :I did not think of that . I suppose I will be doing it the hard way by"hand crafting" the bits needed to get the game playable .But at least it shows it is still possible to correct shortfalls by getting some help from a C-64 site. And combined with all the stuff on WOS ,it all makes for some pretty good resources available for this game online

    I have found out there was also a German variant of this game though not sure if this was true for the Speccy : it could be for just the Commodore .Another copy , now ordered , is on its way : and maybe , if this German version is what arrives next , I will find that there are international variations in the way that games are "tidied up" and the cards are all "neat and tidy" ! But ,of course , this is just fantasy or wishful thinking. But seriously though , it is strange how the same parts were missing with both the sets I got.There must be some explanation for this
  • Just grabbed this off ebay, not sure how complete it is:
  • Wow

    You did well , nice price: you are a skilled buyer I think . I hope you get the instructions for it ! It would be interesting to get your opinion on the game itself ( when you get time to try it out) assuming you get enough of the gaming bits and pieces ."Crash" gave it a bad review but the developers appear to have game tested it thoroughly before release.It could be one of those strategy games that is competent but also very "niche"

    I am still working on getting my copy of the Brian Clough game into a playable state. The third copy has not arrived yet.

    I cannot believe how much the Martech "Conflict " game is going for on Ebay .And there is still the question :- Are there any more of these "physical" Speccy board games ,"out there" waiting to be rediscovered?

    I think I still play a better game of Chess with a physical board as there is a more competitive environment and better visualization and this helps with involvement and concentration in the game : the phone based apps for this game are fun but fiddly to use . So that is why I like the idea of physical Speccy board games . Ideally they should give elements of "Best of Both" worlds but there appear to be very few examples of this type of game. But as they were probably a "business mistake" we are lucky to still have these few examples.
  • I'm not sure what is skilled about creating a watch and then buying something when it comes up. :) It's more luck.
  • Ok not skill but maybe effort and persistence .

    The Brian Clough Game : I have found a different version/reissue of "Brian Clough's Football Fortunes" that I had not previously been aware of . It is on the "The Complete Games Centre" by CDS from 1990 and the Brian Clough game is the main attraction in this tape compilation . The version I saw was being offered complete for £25 . Incomplete versions of the Brian Clough game can be had for much less than this but then there is the work of getting or making up the missing pieces : so there is some choice here on how to do it.
  • The "RETRO JIG" (to avoid getting Bored) (A Retro Spec. Tiv)

    Well it does take time to get everything from the 1980's back together in working order , to get our "Retro modus operandi" worked out , to get all our Physical game board pieces back together and then to choose which (from the many "Retro Spec Tiv" ways available (geddit?") will be our main or subsidiary Spectrum Retro modes. (And of course someone will have to create a TIV codec!)

    When all that is done it is time for celebration: time to sing and dance the Retro Jig (to be danced in time to the Retro Grade step) . Something like this , the draft "rough and ready" version;-

    " Hey Ho! . How do do "Do Your Retro"?
    Hey Ho! I'm a Retro Man "

    (more verses needed , Chorus Repeat then at the end

    " Hey , now I can "Do My Retro".
    Hey Ho! I'm a Retro Man
    Hey Ho! Now I can Do My Retro , as authentically as I can"
    (more work needed!)

  • Buying games from European suppliers.

    My hunch was that buying the "Brian Clough" game from a European "continental" supplier might give a different result (from a UK purchase) regarding the completeness of the game but "no luck"here. The "Europe wide"supplier I used for this thought the game was in stock but this proved not to be the case . So I am due a refund on that . My next "go" at this is to try my luck with the "Complete Games Centre" reissue

    Bad news : I have totally forgotten the tune to the "Retro Jig"!
  • Sounds like you need some better luck. :( My ATRAM came yesterday, has all the pieces so is complete. \o/ So that's three Speccy board games I have now.
  • Well , as they say you "make your own luck" ." My Complete Games Centre" CDS arrived today .It has the cards in unused blocks . The Case and board has "loft stored mildew effects" so at £27.00 odd all in it was expensive but a necessary way to get original bits . My best buy was "Tank Attack " complete for £10.00 but that has not arrived yet.

    Needless to say when I actually play the BC game I will use the "made up" cards not the originals!

    Let us know what you think of ATRAM as a game
  • Micro difference spotting with Brian Clough's Football Fortunes" (CDS)

    This is about the 2 versions of Brian Clough's Football Fortunes and comparing them and finding a minute difference!

    The first version (CDS 1987) was the the game on its own and this sold for £14.95 for the tape version and came in a specialized plastic "software" style box . The second version , in a cardboard box, appeared on a compilation of 10 games called "The Complete Games Centre" (CDS 1990) and this compilation retailed for £12.99 ; So as is usual compilations had more games for less money as the Spectrum gradually lost its market pre-eminence. Times were tougher for the Speccy by 1990 and anyway compilations cost less than games sold as first releases

    By about 1990 , the previously strong market position of the Spectrum was being eroded so the producers of these board games had to be inventive to make money : so increasingly some economies were made in game production . I have spotted one with "Complete Games Centre" Edition I bought second hand and which arrived today : with this set the board is unlaminated unlike the board when this game was sold on its own .The game board that came with the original version did have some lamination of the top side of the game board ( so a minute cost saving identified here!!) The cardboard used for both relaeses was not much thicker than "cereal box" cardboard and without any lamination it would be easily marked by wear and tear as the game is used.

    So "The Complete Game Centre" I bought second hand arrived today :- Previously I had had difficulty in getting a complete version of the game in particular the games cards were missing from the previous set so I had had to "make up" my own versions of these . When I saw this copy of the game available on the "Complete Games Centre" with a full set of cards I decided to buy it.Overall ,although it cost a whopping £27.00 approx all in .Overall I am pleased with the game box sent by the seller : the perforated cards for the game appear to be unused , complete and almost intact with only one of the Immunity Cards detached from its perforated block .Inside the box there were ten pages of these game cards (2 blocks of 5 perforated pages) plus 6 Immunity cards. There are 16 cards on each perforated page and all of these 10 pages are intact .With this set , as sent , the game money was included as well as some counters , 2 cassette tapes , and an unlaminated game board but I could see not instructions for the games included in the box . So it appears virtually impossible to get a second hand set that is absolutely perfect in every way. On further inspection , only the box itself shows slight damp mildew effects . There are some slight marks on the underside of the game board itself , but on closer inspection , these turn out to be not mould but just "normal dirt/mark transference" after a bit of wear and tear . On the container cardbaord box the stuck on label identifying the game as for the Spectrum was a bit mildewed and needed re-sticking but apart from that it is pretty good for a game of this age . So "condition wise" this is as good as it gets I think but I had to pay for it . I will keep this game as a "proof copy" in other words not to be played with!
  • Brian Clough's Football Fortunes : my first TZX test using a PC (a first "go" at the Game)

    "TZXing" with a PC is probably my MAIN Spectrum mode use . So how does the Brian Clough game fare on initial test using this mode?

    I kept it simple with just one other player and the two of us had a first go at it . As well as a PC wireless keyboard I would also used my DKtronics US keyboard which I have not tried for a while. This piece is not a review just an initial assessment of how we got on with it on a "first go" basis.The question here is "Could I have "got away" with a PC keyboard . I think the answer to that is "Yes" though the USB keyboard was nice to try out again : it is very good . The keyboard entries required though are very basic so really I was just indulging myself using this : it was not really needed. A PC keyboard is good enough for this I think

    Space needed . This game has quite a big "baggage" factor . All the cards for the playing teams have to be laid out so space was needed for that . Then I set up the board on one small table and the 2 keyboards on another .There was also money to find floor space for etc.

    The Computer "on screen" game bit . the trick was to relate this to the paper instructions as there were "on screen" abbreviation like SP and ML to cope with. The computer's role was to do the fixtures ,league tables ,gate receipts and luck factors. It does not do money ,team strengths and the other accounting bits . So you have to do quite a lot manually .We got better as we went along and figured out what things like SP and ML meant . So this was not in any sense a game that could be played without the board game bits and pieces.. It is only my opinion but I think it would have been better if the computer did a bit more of the boring accounting stuff

    Playability . Many of us think we know why LAN games did not catch on . This game is not LAN based but it needs that kind out cooperation between a limited number of people for a fairly intensive gaming session Getting a limited no of family members to agree on what to play and when is almost as hard as getting the extended family to agree on which Pub to go to for a celebratory meal : quite often too many choices of pubs , prices and participations to be discussed : very complex Can arranging a game be this complex? Maybe , so with this in mind, this time , for this game I kept it simple with just 2 players to worry about . We did a few rounds for a couple of hours and we could see that the game could have a long duration and we had spent too much time figuring it out . We needed to speed up (a lot) to get anywhere or even near a result . So in some ways it is like Monopoly it is easy when you have learned the rules . It takes a bit of time for familiarization.

    Contrast this with Tank Attack . Some time ago we had a 4 player game of that on that game's "simple" mode . We concluded that "simple" mode had flaws but we got a result within 2 hours (my team was defeated) . so for the time being a least "Tank Attack" remains my favourite for this particular genre as it is quicker to "get into"

  • Re. Brian Clough's Fooball Fortunes

    The now "totally obvious" point (about why complete version of this game are rare) has not yet been made . As long as the card sheets remain complete and with their individual cards undetached from their perforated sheets , the original box will be OK for storing all the bits and pieces needed for the game . Once the cards are detached however ,more space is needed. And so probably most people used other boxes and these were presumably , in most cases , lost over time . So "unplayed games" are the most likely source of complete card sets . Most copies of this game , I have seen , are sold without the cards probably for this simple reason . So it is not a "tidyness" question after all! : more a storage difficulty. (mystery solved!)
  • The economics of it all.

    One of the good things about the Speccy was that the software developers tried all kinds of ideas that subsequently proved to be unviable economically . So we have things like these board games and other ideas like game specific interfaces ( "Shadow of the Unicorn"). But this Unicorn game would probably best be dealt with ,by me at least , on my other thread "Not Bored with the Boards" ( but , at least , this has given me the idea at least to try and "dig it out" and take a look at the PCB inside the interrface)

    But , at least CDS tried to make this genre of games succeed .Later on maybe, I will try and document some of the "savings" CDS made over time, to try and make this genre of games viable by cutting out some of the production costs. It is a shame it did not work enough to make it a big Speccy genre . But the opportunity remains , the Spectrum is fairly easy to program and "letting the board" do the work should take some of the strain off the Speccy's limited memory resources.So it is the kind of game genre that could be taken further by enthusiasts , possibly .

    Of course , the two parts (the software and the game board) have to relate well to each other . The instructions tying the games' concepts together, I thought worked better in "Tank Attack" than in "Brian Clough's Football Fortunes" . In the Clough game the use of on screen abbreviations was not explained and it was as though the on screen software had been done by "team one" and the board by another team , "team two". . Somehow the instructions provided did not quite flow well enough to pull the concept together so time was wasted figuring it all out instead of playing the game.Also the is the "2 Hour Posterior on Lounge Carpets " rule (in the colloquial this is the " ***s on Seats" rule): anything that does not get a result within 2 hours is probably misconceived . Some of these games just "go on" way too long.

  • Re TANK ATTACK : a second copy arrives today

    As I think "Tank Attack" is probably the best implemented example of this genre with a very good board and a good rule book I decided to purchase a second copy on Ebay which arrived this morning . I have referred to (see above) the minute variations that can occur between different editions of games like "Brian Clough's Football Fortunes". I think I have found yet another variation this time within the same edition of the "Tank Attack" game.

    The "very slight" differences are:-My (original version) Rule Book has a plain paper outer cover for the Rule Book .This second version has a full colour cover for the Rule book which is like the Box Cover pic and the typesetting is slightly different on the introductory pages only . The rest of the layout from page one onwards appears to be exactly the same.

    The layout of the pages before page 1 has been changed by the addition of a blank page after the table of contents and the reference to the Pack Contents is done as a separate page . Also it says "Full details of the control keys for your computer version are given on an enclosed sheet" which I have not got on my original copy but it is here with this second copy.The "stick on" label on the side of the box is exactly the same . So ostensibly this is the same edition/version and yet there are differences! (very slight differences!).All in all I am very pleased with the approx £10 I spent on this.

  • tank Attack : An enemy tank gets very close to HQZX%20-Uno%20case%20mod%20June%202016%20010_zpscw6z60db.jpg
  • Re Tank Attack in above pic

    We played a marathon 4 hour game with 4 players with 2 teams. We changed the victory conditions using the advanced rules but this was a mistake as the game went on too long .Under the new advanced rule (we chose to use for this game) the rule for capturing the enemy HQ was changed to ;- "players must reach its location and then remain for a full day before being allowed to capture it the following day" So the game was not finished in time for tea so it was a kind of draw. Under the new rule the enemy tank was easily chased away. The game ended as a kind of unsatisfactory draw.
  • the computer bitZX%20-Uno%20case%20mod%20June%202016%20003_zpscb7ir8ko.jpg
  • Starting the gameZX%20-Uno%20case%20mod%20June%202016%20002_zpsifksk9nf.jpg

  • A.T.R.A.M.

    As there are only about 4 of these Physical board game ZX Spectrum games I decided to invest in this one , called A.T.R.A.M. as my previous purchase of it got me about "half a game" , as it was very incomplete .For this , my second purchase of it , I had to pay a lot more than RobeeeJay did on Ebay (see above) : I decided to pay the "price" I had to and it was expensive .Of the games I have got so far , in this category , all of them have been available , after extensive searching and with some effort , complete on the second hand market . I am less sure about the Conflict Game by Martech: the only examples of this game I have seen on Ebay include "remade pieces" so it has to be assumed that this game is almost impossible to get complete with original parts on the second hand market. I am not so sure about paying a high price for a remade game so I may not bother to get this game

    .A.T.R.A.M. has a magnetic board which was said to have the potential to damage the cassette tape : so it is a good job that we have TZX files!

  • Tank Attack compared to the games of today like the App Version of X-Comm board game (not the PC version)

    .At a "games afternoon" yesterday we had a 5 hour games marathon . The board games included the app version of X-Comm ,Ticket to Ride and Carcassonne. We had a "games master" who acted as games "guru" as he knew all the rules .

    What struck was how complex this app version of X-Comm was . I think , though I may be wrong , that Julian Gallop was involved in earlier previous incarnations of this game concept so there is "kind of" a Speccy link as he did some very good early Speccy games

    The Complexity :- Even our games "guru" said he had got lost when , on a previous session, he had played a "one player" game of X--Comm game . He said that playing it , this time , with 5 people "helped" as each person was assigned their own "management" role within the game which helped in delineating and cutting through all the complexity.

    The app/board game version of X-Comm is in many many ways very different from the Spectrum version of "Tank Attack" as X-Comm is a cooperative board game and Tank Attack is adversarial .But they both share a game board with computer/app modality .But X-Comm is very complex and Tank Attack is very simple . Both can take a long time to play..

    So is a long ,complex , cooperative game better than a long ,simple adversarial game? Well I don't know! At the end of X-Comm I did not really care whether we had won or lost I was just pleased to have got through it all . Perhaps we should have played it as the first game not the last!

    Perhaps what was needed was a Speccy "quick and simple" board/computer game . I don't think we got one of those in the 1980s .Maybe it can be simply reprogrammed to make it quicker but I doubt it.

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