Miscellaneous games
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Date: 4 November, 2003


 
'What a difference a goat makes! Learn the realities of African village life, as you help Josephat to milk Lucky the goat, to collect Lucky's poo, and finally to use the poo to fertilise crops.'

No theme this month, just ten excellent games. Some of these are games that defy categorisation but which we couldn't leave alone. Be warned, this month includes the most joyously bizarre game yet to be featured in this column.

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Go Goat Go!
The latest offering from Christian Aid's Global Gang. What a difference a goat makes! Learn the realities of African village life, as you help Josephat to milk Lucky the goat, to collect Lucky's poo, and finally to use the poo to fertilise crops. The three separate stages of this game link together well (your performance each one influencing how well you are able to do in the next). Ethically aware, and good fun too. And I never thought the editor would let me include a game so intrinsically linked to poo. (I'm a fan of Mr. Hankey - Ed)

Mancala Bugs
Manoeuvre your insects around the board and into your jar. Play cleverly to catch your opponent's bugs and make sure that most of the insects end up in your control. Three different skill levels make this tactically satisfying. For the biggest challenge, let the computer play first on level three.

Pluck That Tash
Oh my word - a game unlike anything else we've brought you! A homage to BBC football pundit Mark Lawrenson, whose rash dismissal of Bolton Wanderers' chances of staying in the Premiership a couple of years ago led to him having to shave off his moustache. In this game, you control a laser-guided pair of tweezers (yes, really) and try to stop the unwanted facial hair from growing back. Later levels feature corner flags in Lawro's ears and other surprises. Wonderful, and deeply, deeply strange.

Addiction
An online card game, but a very good one. Aptly named, beware of playing several 'just one more' games. Fill the gaps to arrange the cards in the correct order before you run out of moves and reshuffles. Simple - or so it seems. Very difficult to win, but it can be done.

Lego Worldbuilder
Adventures in a Lego themed world. To complete your missions you will need to collect the instructions and parts to make different Lego vehicles. Build and rebuild yourself to get across different terrain. Starts out simply enough, but builds (apologies for the pun) in complexity. Satisfying.

Letter Lasso
Wordsearch on the web. The grid partially changes each time you find a word, and to score the most points you have to move quickly to spot your target word. A simple idea, but delivered very nicely.

Ashte Kashte
A traditional eastern board game for 2 to 4 players. You can play on your own against one or more computer opponents, or set things up for multiple human players. Get your counters round the table and home before anyone else, and make sure that you don't get knocked off and sent back to the start.

Atoms
A simple Othello/Reversi-like game, Play against the computer, taking it in turns to put pieces on the board. Once a square exceeds a certain number of pieces (limits differ depending on whereabouts on the board the square is) a chain reaction occurs, causing other neighbouring squares to change colour. Keep your wits about you, or you can go from almost total domination to defeat in just one move. Simple to play, but more complex strategy is required to master the chain reactions. Engrossing.

Alien Abduction
Another strange one. You control a UFO, and your mission is to abduct humans to take back to the mother ship. It's a slow moving game, but there is a certain sense of satisfaction when you master the tractor beam. On later levels, enemy spaceships harry you, and the need to defend yourself enters the equation. Good fun.

Rocket Mania
Manipulate a maze of fuses and fire off all your fireworks before dawn breaks. A simple mouse-driven game, but compulsively moreish. Get bonus points for setting off more than one rocket at a time, and upgrade your rockets at the end of each level. The basic premise of the game doesn't change, but there is enough variety and additional power-ups from level to level to give a sense of progression. As the points rack up you advance in rank, and some of the rank titles are gloriously obscure - have you got what it takes to be a curious badger? There's only one way to find out!