If you, like me, seem to have collected an enormous mass of wires and cables you don’t know what to do with, good news: two new board games about plugging real-life ethernet cables into ports might let you finally make use of them.
Clickport and Speedport are two separate games, but with a shared idea. Both games use boards that feature a grid of ethernet ports - the same as you might use to plug your computer into the internet, or to hook up a LAN server to banks of local PCs if you misspent your youth hosting Counter-Strike 1.6 parties using borrowed school IT hardware. For a non-specific example. Ahem.
Players will be plugging their ethernet cables - which are included with the game, but you could always use your own if you prefer - into those ports. The when, how and why depends on each game.
Clickport is a slower, more strategic game in which all the players are plugging their cables into a single, larger board. Each player is trying to make the specific pattern of cables on their hidden objective card, but can make use of their opponents’ cables to do so - or choose to unplug two existing cable ends instead of adding their own, if they like. There are also some ability cards with special actions to help players complete their pattern faster than their opponents.
Speedport, by comparison, is a much faster game that will suit those who can wire against the clock. Each player has a smaller four-by-four grid of ports and their own four multicoloured cables. In the middle of the table, a pattern card is turned over, at which point the players race in real-time to match the pattern first. The first to complete five patterns fastest wins.
While Clickport and Speedport use almost identical components and have similar gameplay ideas, the two games are being released by newfounded publisher Loodo Ninja as separate boxes, each costing €35 (£30) as part of the games’ Kickstarter campaign that runs until February 27th. Both games are planned to release this October.
Having played both games at last year’s Essen Spiel convention in Germany, I enjoyed their fast-paced mix of dexterity and colourful puzzling with their novel use of cables, though the close similarities between the two did beg the question of why you couldn’t push four of the Speedport boards together and just use a second deck of pattern cards for Clickport rather than coughing up twice for two similar games. Still, I had a good time - finally, a way to put my teenage years hooking up dusty desktops to use.