[The Gentleman Nerd is a weekly column written by Jason McMaster and is dedicated to the more discerning tastes of the refined dork. Due to Jason's extreme nature, most of his columns will be subtitled 'Why I Love...' or 'Why I Hate...' - in case you were wondering.]

World of WarcraftThere’s a certain level of self-loathing that’s required to start playing a board game based on a MMOG based on a strategy game that borrows heavily from a board game that also borrows heavily from a table top RPG. The kind of loathing required is the kind that a sheltered life… or a serious rum bender… can breed. Luckily, I have plenty of that type of loathing. I enjoyed playing the board game so much, in fact, that I want to play it again. The only problem is finding other players.

In my youth, other than playing football and mailbox-baseball, I was also very obsessed with computer and board games. My step-brother and I spent many hours with our graph paper and a copy of Bard’s Tale. So, when Warcraft came out, I purchased it because it reminded me of Warhammer. Little did I know I’d be purchasing the first step in one of the most successful franchises in video game history, or that I’d be playing a board game based on this game’s story while living in an old, creaky house in the mid-west. Then again, back in those days, I thought I was going to be a famous archaeologist. Shows what I know.

World of WarcraftBefore I get into the actual game, let me say this first: the World of Warcraft board game takes for-FREAKING-ever to set up. I’ve never seen a game that has this many plastic figurines and specific cards per class. It’s out of control. Each class has two decks of cards - that’s not to mention the items they can win or find, the store and the events. This game is rather card-heavy.

So, once you’ve set up, it’s time to play… or at least try to play. You see, we had one player quit before we started the first turn because the game seemed too hard. Then we had a couple of other players (not me this time, so HAH) get too drunk to really comprehend the rules. Player number four was more interested in making the demon figurines hump each other. Finally, that left me and Brian. We tried valiantly to play, but without the other players, it loses it's charm.

World of WarcraftI think the biggest thing that this game has going against it is that it’s very busy. I can accept the cards, and the figs, and the quest cards. I can accept all of that, but man, the dice rolling system is intense. There are dice for every occasion in festive Christmas colors. You roll these dice like you’re trying to win the car on the Price is Right and pray to God that you get enough successes. I know that when I roll those dice, I’m clawed into my chair, wailing “OH LORD JESUS, IF YOU LOVE ME, DON’T LET THIS BASTARD MURLOCK TAKE MY LIFE AWAY!” That’s when it hit me. That’s when I finally realized that I must have my message heard. I must talk in depth about the randomization in WoW.

So, as mentioned before, there are different colors for the dice. There’s red, green and blue. Now, I don’t remember what does what, exactly, but I do remember that one is armor, one is magic and one is melee. So, you roll all these dice against a monster’s target number. Anything higher than the number is a success. Now, you split your successes out to whether it was armor, melee or magic. They then get sorted into different circles. I also think there’s a spot for an animatronics gnome reading Dio lyrics from a dusty tome, but I’m not sure.

Once we’ve got defense, melee and magic put into our circles, we then consider our special abilities and we can then “spot” a certain number to use our extra powers. Spotting a number is, well, you just kind of point at a number and go “THERE’S ONE.” So, the action of looking at a dice can sometimes trigger your character’s special attacks. I just want that to be clear.

World of WarcraftAnyway, back to the dice rolling. Once you have calculated your successes, and placed your markers in the appropriate circles, then it’s the enemies’ turn. The enemy then rolls all of their dice and subtracts it from yours. The balance is the damage either taken or given. I honestly think that, with the exception of Arkham Horror, this is the hardest to explain and understand concept in board gaming history. This game makes Twilight Imperium look like Chutes & Ladders.

Needless to say, by the end of the first combat, no one was paying attention. Brian and I played out a few more turns, but what can you do when your bitchin’ Orc Warrior decides to go play Zuma instead. We packed the game up and decided that we’d play again when everyone was sober and wanted to be there.

Still waiting.

[Jason McMaster is a freelance writer who has written for Gamasutra, GameSpy and several other publications. He’s currently working on a few small projects and updating his blog, Lamethrower, as often as he can.]