What’s better than metal? Japanese metal! No, I’m not talking about Ningen Isu or Babymetal. I’m talking about Metal, the game by Jordan Draper and Lay Waste Games. Jordan Draper, for those not “in the know”, is best known for his Tokyo Series of games, as well as the mix-and-match rules that use the components from multiple games. One of his current projects is called the material series:
“The material series is a set of games that explore and challenge various materials and their uses. Each game focuses on one material, and everything from the box to the components inside must only be made of that material type.”
When it came to creating, and manufacturing, Metal the choice to partner with Lay Waste Games was an obvious one. The all-metal components in their debut game, Dragoon, didn’t just move the goalposts for quality, it blew them right out of the water. (Mixing metaphors, because no single metaphor can do this justice.)
The premise behind Metal is simple. It starts with a (metal) box of (metal) components, that are stylized after classic lawn games like Bocce, Croquet, and Kubb. In fact, you can play those exact games in Metal. At launch, there are rules for six games available on JordanDraper.com and the promise of several more “coming soon”. On top of the three classic lawn games, the three new games are Bangers, Not Pool, and Team Meeting.
Bangers is a bit like real-time speed Bocce. In Bocce everyone rolls their ball, one at a time, trying to be the closest to the smaller ball without touching it. In Bangers, everyone is constantly rolling any ball they can in order to hit the smaller ball three times.
In Not Pool, the players are each trying to hit the lowest of the 12 numbered gold pegs that have been randomly distributed around the play-surface. When they hit the correct peg the player collects that peg and will score its number in points at the end, if they hit the wrong number they discard one of their previously collected pegs. The last peg to be hit should be Kingpin which then lets that player double the value of one of their collected pegs. The ever increasing point values can help keep the scores competitive, and Kingpin multiplier makes it so that victory is almost never out of reach for a player.
Team Meeting is an interesting team-based game (shocking given the name, I know). Teams will draft numbered pegs to a total of exactly 20. These pegs are then set up at the opposite end of the table. Each team will use their choice of the remaining game components to knock down their pegs. The number of throws equals their highest peg number minus their lowest peg number, meaning as pegs get knocked down the next turn that team will have a different number of throws, to a minimum of one throw. I don’t really have an appropriate space for paying this one, since a regular table could easily result in lost components from bad throws.
Something vital that I learned from playing Lay Waste’s previous small-scale game, Heads Will Roll, is that you really should block off heat registers, appliances, and/or any opening small enough for something to get lost in. Thankfully I haven’t lost pieces, but I’ve had some close calls. Speaking of Heads Will Roll, there is enough space in the Metal box to fit my Heads Will Roll bag, and I LOVE that.
My only complaint with Metal is that the box doesn’t include the rules. On the one hand, keeping the rules online makes it easy to stay up to date, and add new games (as I mentioned there are three new games “coming soon”). But this is the size of game I’ll carry when I’m travelling and may not have access to the interwebz. More than just that, there is nowhere that says the rules are only online. I actually went back to the convention booth to ask if I was supposed to be missing them. Ultimately, this a living game that will just get better as time goes on and more games are added.
The next game in the material series will be Paper, being developed with Makerversity in London, and Lay Waste Games’ Dragoon expansion Might and Magma is live on Kickstarter until March 12, 2020.