Yet again ZERO gives you a new cliché to replace the old favourites of yesteryear. Remember the old "An easy game to learn but a difficult one to master"? Well, its time has passed - here comes "An easy game to play but a pain in the frontal lobotomy to explain." That's The Ball Game for you.
In fact, trying to explain this sort of game is a heck of a lot harder than doing battle with Magnus Magnusson. So without further ado, let's move into the black chair and have two minutes on our chose object: The Rules And Scoring Of The Ball Game.
What is the maximum number of players who can take part in The Ball Game?
What is the design of the board?
Square at the easier levels with an increasing number of gaps higher up.
What are the two types of move open to you?
A step of one square or a jump of two.
How do you place a ball on a square?
You take a step, leaving a ball of your colour on the square you've just left.
What happens if you jump?
You don't leave a ball behind, but any balls surrounding the area you land on will be changed to your colour.
Is there any other way of moving?
Wrong. You can teleport.
What is the disadvantage of teleporting?
Oh dear... oh, I know it... ah... pass.
What are the two systems of scoring in The Ball Game?
Oh blimey... um... ah... well, during a game you get points every time you place a ball or change an opponent's ball to your colour. This is the running total and at the end of the game the highest score wins. However, at the end of each round (or board) the points you have on the board at that moment are added up. The highest score wins the round and gains an extra teleport.
When does the game end?
When the players have used up all their teleports.
What colour is the... (PARP, PARP)... I've started so I'll finish. What colour is the flag of the Maldive Islands?
Oh, that's easy - red, green and white.
At the end of that round you scored a total of 8 points. You passed on one. The disadvantage of teleporting is that if you teleport to an occupied square you die. Thank you, good evening and God Bless Iceland.
Paul: Falling somewhere between Battle Chess and Othello, The Ball Game manages to be both mindboggling and fun. Unusually for such a mind-game it is also very nice to look at. The little figures who serve as playing pieces move smoothly and have an anxious look around while preparing for the next move.
Even the sound effects are quite appealing. In fact, after a few minutes I was beginning to wonder if this really was a puzzle game. Surely it was some sort of shoot 'em up? It was during my eight hour wait for one of my computer opponents to move when I realised that a puzzle it certainly is.
The simplicity of the rules is not matched by simple strategy. At the highest difficulty setting the computer is as patient as Kasparov while deciding on its next move. (If you've got the attention span of an amnesiac goldfish in warm water you can choose the easy level where things move apace).
Although it's at its best when you've got more than one human player, The Ball Game is an addictive little number even as a one player game. The only real disappointment is actually winning. The game sort of peters out when everyone but the last player has run out of lives and (provided you're as skilled as me) the high score table appears. "Is that it?" I thought. Where's the fanfare? Where's the list of winners, losers and also-rans?
That apart, the game is simple and complicated in the right measures and in the right places. One of the best and most addictive games of this ilk that I've played and a whole more imaginative and exciting that its title.