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Lords of Trash Smash the Fash - On the Importance of Punching Fascists

AL Updated May 28, 2020
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
1849 0
Lords of Trash Smash the Fash - On the Importance of Punching Fascists

Game Information

Game Name
Players
2 - 5
There Will Be Games

Amongst the dizzying array of streaming media platforms we have access to during these sedentary last days of Rome, there remains one constant amongst all outlets. No, not the bland interfaces and stunted algorithms, I’m talking about Hitler documentaries.

You can barely swing a cat without stumbling upon yet another lukewarm take on this prick, as armchair pundits pontificate with elbow padded gesticulation on yet another redundant retelling of ‘the 20th century’s darkest chapter’.  Aside from highlighting the lack of historical curiosity amongst our populace that continues to render them a profitable endeavour, there lurks a far more sinister aspect to this compartmentalisation of history. Whether a by-product of their format and medium, or merely by dint of their sheer repetition they act as a stultifying agent that has reinforced the comforting notion that Adolf and his cronies were, and remain, a historical anomaly. An aberration. A closed chapter that we disposed of and bookended with VE day footage of sailors stealing kisses amongst showers of tickertape snow.

This, as we should know, is sadly, maddeningly, and dangerously bullshit. The insidious shadow of fascism never left us, and in our current climate, emboldened as it is by the complicity of a shrinking Overton window, the need to treat it not as a fetid footnote, but as a clear and present danger is a sharpened stick that our somnabulation needs prodded by.

In a medium that is most often an embrace of escapism and the aforementioned historical treatment of social movements, indie upstarts Craft Fair games aren’t afraid to take a sly contemporary swing at things, with the recent crowdfunding success of Gutter Scum, an expansion to their previous smallbox hit Trash Lords. This simple collection of tokens and cards carries greater weight than its physical heft implies, offering the perfect treat for anyone that felt a warm glow when they watched that footage of shitlord Richard Spencer getting his clock cleaned, and perhaps more importantly, offering a reminder that we still need to be vigilant in manning the barricades.

But first, the base game.

Hand cut and assembled at a dimly-lit kitchen table, the origins of Trash Lords mirror its theme with the utmost symmetry. Spiky fonts and hand drawn line-work art recalls the zine aesthetic that emerged from Jamie Reid and Mark Perry’s indelible ransom note iconography – inspiring legions of cut and paste cowboys who created the dialogue and aesthetic of a movement, as it bubbled away in the dank recesses where limelight couldn’t reach.

In other words, it’s punk as fuck.

A competitive set-collection, trick-taking, take-that laden frivolity, it tasks players with assembling the requisite crusty assortment of booze, smokes, snacks and dope to appease the titular Trash Lord in a dumpster/altar offering, as it flies tongue in cheek through glue sniffing tropes with a knowing wink.

Players are tempted to press their luck as they rifle through bins in search of the required refuse to stash at their squat, all the while keeping an eye out for the bovine waddle of uniformed oppressors. Spend too long digging at one site, and Officer Plod will poke his trotters in, snatching your stash and sending you back to square one as you lick your wounds in the squat and write impassioned letters to the lead singer of Echo and the Bunnymen.

Player will be pitted against player as they compete for offerings, initiating a dice-fest combat phase that cribs from early GW in its ‘roll high on a d6’ take on fisticuffs, and whilst not mechanically big or clever it does lift the chain link fence to some awesome table trash talk.

Done and dusted in a tight 30 minutes, this is destined to become THE filler game for groups of a certain allegiance and it achieves what it sets out to do with a scuzzy charm that heightens the whole experience as players embody their inner anarchist and do loads of swearing that mother wouldn’t like.

Trash Lords Board Game

Throw the Gutter Scum expansion into the mix, however, and selfishness morphs into solidarity, as our crew of crusties link arms in an attempt to block the snaking Charlottesville-esque encroach of the ‘alt-right’, defending the squat from the march of doughy interlocuters, good ole’ boys,  jackbooted cunts and pale whataboutists.

Similarly slim in its components, this set does a lot with a little, again using a superlative comic book style to embody both the expanded clique of outcasts and their tightly buttoned, Ben Sherman-clad nemeses, whilst also offering additional mechanics and expanding the playtime into something more robust as befits the stakes at play.

Divided into two phases, the first of which mirrors the original game’s objectives, albeit stripped of its competitive argy-bargy, players are now beset with the new challenge of managing the constant flow of tiki-torch waving sad fucks that threaten to impede their summoning of the Trash Lord.

Spacial control and tactful deployment are paramount as the odious blue-lives-matter crew snake in a rhythmless conga-line loop around the scant selection of locations surrounding the squat, contingent responses becoming increasingly vital once the first phase is complete and our heroes become further imperilled as the assault on the squat commences.

The punching is decidedly more joyous here, even as the mechanism leans towards repetition, given that thematically you’re swinging at thinly veiled analogues of Steve Bannon, Sean Hannity, Richard Spencer and your Dad. Strategic elements rear a welcome head from out of the melee as the players marshal their forces, teaming up to choreograph daring dumpster-dives, ducking and weaving, using hit and run guerrilla tactics as they claim the necessary bounty required to bolster their arsenal before returning to defend the squat lest it become overrun.

Trash Lords Board Game

It gets tight too, and while there is every possibility you’ll face the demoralising prospect of being bested by an unhygienic shut-in with a Mjolnir tattoo, if you strategise, snarf enough vegan meals from Food-not-Bombs, and stand fast in unison you’ll surely see the final showdown as you lob molotovs in a sweet arc of justice towards their headquarters at 88 Division Street and bask in the flickering flames of redemptive direct action.

It’s wildly cathartic and offers a truly welcome tonal shift from the usual fare of goblins and grognards, temples and traders.

It’s just a game and it won’t change the world, but it might act as both a fun night in and maybe, just maybe, a reminder that you’ve been slacking, that the fight is not done yet, and there’s still much that we can achieve if we team up fearlessly to stare down this ugliest of troglodytes.

Grab a copy of Trash Lords, Gutter Scum, and other cool shit here.

Donate to, or volunteer with Food not Bombs here.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Rating 
 
3.5
Trash Lords
AL
1 reviews
Andi Lennon
Associate Writer

Andi Lennon is Sydney based writer, musician and soap dodger. He graduated from Wizbang University with full honours and no teeth. When he isn't feeling conflicted about Morrissey he likes to play indie games with a dubious 80's aesthetic.

You can read more of his work by visiting Mongol Cult

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Michael Barnes's Avatar
Michael Barnes replied the topic: #310686 27 May 2020 12:12
Hell yeah, I’m going to have to check this out. Too many games about beating up historical fascists, not enough about beating up present day fascists.

I’m sure some will question if it’s “right” to have a game about fighting real world fascists...but they are wrong. I want to put on a Mob 47 record and play this game with my old time punk buddies.

Bonus points for the Young Ones references.
marcnelsonjr's Avatar
marcnelsonjr replied the topic: #310690 27 May 2020 14:04
You make a good point about not letting dangerous ideologies become comfortably forgotten history.

Any good games about fighting present-day commies? The FARC in Andean Abyss are the most modern ones I can think of.
Gary Sax's Avatar
Gary Sax replied the topic: #310692 27 May 2020 14:40
The Next War series does a lot of North Korea and China communist regime what-if wars against western allies w/western support.
fightcitymayor's Avatar
fightcitymayor replied the topic: #310693 27 May 2020 15:07

Andi Lennon wrote: snatching your stash and sending you back to square one as you lick your wounds in the squat and write impassioned letters to the lead singer of Echo and the Bunnymen.

DEAR MR. ECHO
mc's Avatar
mc replied the topic: #310697 27 May 2020 16:31
Holy shit mate. Haha. This sounds unreal.
Andi Lennon's Avatar
Andi Lennon replied the topic: #310705 27 May 2020 18:49

Michael Barnes wrote:
Bonus points for the Young Ones references.



I'm glad that landed. I was dreading those unfamiliar with the people's poet questioning Ian McCulloch's punk membership card status.

Speaking of Rik:
mongolcult.com/2017/05/05/love-anarchy-a...egacy-of-rik-mayall/
Andi Lennon's Avatar
Andi Lennon replied the topic: #310706 27 May 2020 18:51

marcnelsonjr wrote:
Any good games about fighting present-day commies?


Sigh...there's always one.
Andi Lennon's Avatar
Andi Lennon replied the topic: #310707 27 May 2020 18:52

mc wrote: Holy shit mate. Haha. This sounds unreal.


Yeah man, you should jump on it and sew it to your jacket.
Andi Lennon's Avatar
Andi Lennon replied the topic: #310709 27 May 2020 21:14

fightcitymayor wrote:

Andi Lennon wrote: snatching your stash and sending you back to square one as you lick your wounds in the squat and write impassioned letters to the lead singer of Echo and the Bunnymen.

DEAR MR. ECHO


"No, tell it like it is, put DARLING FASCIST BULLYBOY!"
Shellhead's Avatar
Shellhead replied the topic: #310710 27 May 2020 23:14
If I were to design a game about fighting modern commies, it would be about an invisible boogeyman under your bed. That fascist dictator running North Korea doesn't know anything about communism, and the people of China and Vietnam are vigorously focused on making money these days. Laos and Cuba don't pose a threat to anybody but themselves.
Andi Lennon's Avatar
Andi Lennon replied the topic: #310713 28 May 2020 00:50

Shellhead wrote: If I were to design a game about fighting modern commies, it would be about an invisible boogeyman under your bed. That fascist dictator running North Korea doesn't know anything about communism, and the people of China and Vietnam are vigorously focused on making money these days. Laos and Cuba don't pose a threat to anybody but themselves.


Absolutely man. State Dictatorship is a whole different beast to socialism and the last I checked the free world (read: free market) is happy to turn a blind eye to human rights abuses as long as we keep getting cheap phones.
mc's Avatar
mc replied the topic: #310714 28 May 2020 03:00
I was going to make a smartarse reply about your average economic Euro being about fighting socialism when it all comes down to it, then I remembered there's this game about Barcelona where you play wealthy industrialists trying to build mansions while ensuring that the unionisation of your workforce is not successful.
Shellhead's Avatar
Shellhead replied the topic: #310719 28 May 2020 09:50

Andi Lennon wrote:

Shellhead wrote: If I were to design a game about fighting modern commies, it would be about an invisible boogeyman under your bed. That fascist dictator running North Korea doesn't know anything about communism, and the people of China and Vietnam are vigorously focused on making money these days. Laos and Cuba don't pose a threat to anybody but themselves.


Absolutely man. State Dictatorship is a whole different beast to socialism and the last I checked the free world (read: free market) is happy to turn a blind eye to human rights abuses as long as we keep getting cheap phones.


Cheap phones with GPS tracking, in case Big Brother needs to check on our whereabouts.
Not Sure's Avatar
Not Sure replied the topic: #310735 28 May 2020 14:18

Andi Lennon wrote:

Michael Barnes wrote:
Bonus points for the Young Ones references.



I'm glad that landed. I was dreading those unfamiliar with the people's poet questioning Ian McCulloch's punk membership card status.

Speaking of Rik:
mongolcult.com/2017/05/05/love-anarchy-a...egacy-of-rik-mayall/


That's a beautiful eulogy.

"OR ARE YOU CLIFF!"
Andi Lennon's Avatar
Andi Lennon replied the topic: #310754 28 May 2020 19:33

mc wrote: I I remembered there's this game about Barcelona where you play wealthy industrialists trying to build mansions while ensuring that the unionisation of your workforce is not successful.


Oh my god, legit? That sounds grim as hell. Yeah the 'economic contest' bent of a lot of Euros makes we wonder how far we've actually evolved from Monopoly. Speaking of which, you know Monopoly was originally a socialist game designed to highlight the evil of the property-owning class right? Mary Pilon has an absolutely fascinating book on it called 'The Monopolists' which charts its origins and various permutations as it succumbs to supreme irony. Highly recommended.
Andi Lennon's Avatar
Andi Lennon replied the topic: #310755 28 May 2020 19:35

Not Sure wrote:

That's a beautiful eulogy.

"OR ARE YOU CLIFF!"


ARE YOU TRYING TO BE FUNNY, NEIL?
jason10mm's Avatar
jason10mm replied the topic: #310768 29 May 2020 10:55
Somewhere out there waiting to be made is a fantastic Twilight Struggle type game about assaulting a democratic capitalist state via social media bots, antifa style protests, identity politics in academia, pop culture corruption of social norms, foreign actor interference with elections, mail in ballot election tampering etc. The state responds with police crackdowns, carnivore tracking, cancel culture targeting, district gerrymandering, etc as they lose democracy points in the process. In the end the side that starves to death due to climate change while on top of their pile of smug wins!

Would be glorious if we weren't living through it.
marcnelsonjr's Avatar
marcnelsonjr replied the topic: #310770 29 May 2020 11:32

If I were to design a game about fighting modern commies, it would be about an invisible boogeyman under your bed. That fascist dictator running North Korea doesn't know anything about communism, and the people of China and Vietnam are vigorously focused on making money these days. Laos and Cuba don't pose a threat to anybody but themselves.


I was thinking more about the sort of commies spray-painting Marxist slogans on burnt-out buildings in Minneapolis.
Andi Lennon's Avatar
Andi Lennon replied the topic: #310793 29 May 2020 20:01

marcnelsonjr wrote:

If I were to design a game about fighting modern commies, it would be about an invisible boogeyman under your bed. That fascist dictator running North Korea doesn't know anything about communism, and the people of China and Vietnam are vigorously focused on making money these days. Laos and Cuba don't pose a threat to anybody but themselves.


I was thinking more about the sort of commies spray-painting Marxist slogans on burnt-out buildings in Minneapolis.


Of course, cos "I don't mind a bit of institutionalised racism and state sanctioned murder, but spray painting? SOMETHING MUST BE DONE!"
Vysetron's Avatar
Vysetron replied the topic: #310829 01 Jun 2020 08:18
Craft Fair makes such cool stuff. Trash Lords rules, and I'd love to try Ferox some time. It's supposed to be a bit of a stronger game design-wise but I have a lot of affection for punk shit.
Andi Lennon's Avatar
Andi Lennon replied the topic: #310863 02 Jun 2020 00:22

Vysetron wrote: Craft Fair makes such cool stuff. Trash Lords rules, and I'd love to try Ferox some time. It's supposed to be a bit of a stronger game design-wise but I have a lot of affection for punk shit.


Yeah man, I'm waiting on my copy of Ferox to complete its looong ass Covid-circuit postal journey to my door. I'm definitely way more into punk shit than i am cannibal exploitation films but look out for a piece on it here once it finally does arrive.
MattFantastic's Avatar
MattFantastic replied the topic: #310924 04 Jun 2020 13:06
Wow, this is awesome.

What the fuck happened here while I wasn't around? So stoked to see real talk, weird games, and everyone still being a nerd.
Andi Lennon's Avatar
Andi Lennon replied the topic: #310930 04 Jun 2020 17:44
New blood, dark days? This community is awesome though.
Andi Lennon's Avatar
Andi Lennon replied the topic: #310938 04 Jun 2020 23:04
This has turned out to be a pretty fucking timely game and review too. Great opportunity for LARPing it right now.