Better Than

Discworld Monthly - Issue 174 - October 2011

Table of Contents:

1. Editorial
2. News
3. Readers' Letters
4. DiscTrivia
5. Review: Snuff
6. Competition
7. Review: Ankh-Morpork and Guards! Guards! Board Games
8. The End

1. Editorial

Welcome to issue 174. It's been a busy month for Discworld merchandise, what with two new Discworld board games, an unofficial biography / bibliography and the new Discworld novel Snuff.

This month I finally persuaded William to write a review of Snuff and managed to get Richard (our resident games expert) to write a review of the two board games.

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Don't forget, if you visit a play or a talk and would like to let the world know about it, please feel free to email your review to and we will consider it for publication.

Also if you have written an article that you think we might want to include in the newsletter please feel free to email me at the address below. We will of course give credit for anything we use.


Jason Anthony (Editor)
William Barnett (Deputy Editor)
Richard Massey (Games Master)

2. News

Update from Terry via website (


After numerous enquiries I would like to make it clear that although I am indeed working on my autobiography, the book 'Terry Pratchett - The Spirit of Fantasy' is not officially authorised in any way. The writing of my personal account of my life is well under way, including all the saucy bits and lies I can now tell because the people who know otherwise are now dead :)

Furthermore, just to clarify, due to our punishing writing schedule neither Rob or myself will be attending the Irish Discworld Convention this year.

All the best.

* * * * *

Terry is number 28 in The 2011 Guardian and Observer Books Power 100 list. The list shows the most influential people in the publishing industry.

* * * * *

On Monday 3rd October 2011 John Blake Publishing Ltd will be publishing Terry Pratchett - The Spirit of Fantasy.

In the book author Craig Cabell examines Terry Pratchett's extraordinary life, showcased against the backdrop of his irreverent works.

The press release states: With 2011 the 40th anniversary year of his first novel, The Carpet People, this is a fitting time to pay tribute to the author's artistic achievements and celebrate one of Britain's true national treasures. Featuring an in-depth look at the man and his work, as well as on-screen adaptations and a complete UK bibliography and collector's guide, this is essential reading for any fan.

Craig Cabell is the author of 17 books including Ian Rankin and Inspector Rebus, The Doctors - Who's Who and the acclaimed Operation Big Ben - the Anti-V2 Spitfire Mission 1944-45 with Graham Thomas.

The book has a RRP of 17.99 GBP and its ISBN number is 1843585073.

It appears to already be available from Amazon at:

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An Evening with Sir Terry Pratchett will be a talk by Terry at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on October 18th. Tickets cost 35 - 45 GBP and include a copy of Terry's new novel Snuff.

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Terry will be discussing Snuff at The National Press Club, Washington, DC, USA on October 14th at 7pm. Tickets cost 15 USD for non member, or 5 USD for members. You can also pre-order your copy of Snuff from the site.

Terry will also be discussing Snuff in Seattle on October 11th and New York on October 13th.

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Transworld have put the first few pages of Snuff up on their website, for those who can't wait until October 13, at:

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The latest edition of SFX magazine continues its Terry Pratchett coverage with an extremely positive review of Snuff.

SFX have also included a short unboxing video of the Ankh-Morpork board game at:

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Discworld Dates...

This section will contain events that you need to keep in your diary. Entries will remain until they go out of date. New entries will include the word [New] next to them. If this section gets too large we will start pruning entries.

* * * * *

[UK and AU, Updated] The Broken Drummers and The Drummers Downunder are groups of fans that meet up monthly in the UK and Australia.

Unless otherwise stated the Broken Drummers meet on the first Monday of each month. In October this will be Monday 3rd October.

The Drummers Downunder (Perth) will be meeting from 6pm at The Vic Hotel, 226 Hay St, Subiaco, Australia. You can contact the organiser Daniel Hatton on

The Drummers Downunder (Sydney) meet at Maloneys Hotel on the corner of Pitt and Goulburn Streets (across the road from World Square), Sydney, Australia from 6.30pm. For more information contact Sue (AKA Granny Weatherwax) on

The Broken Drummers meet at The Monkey Puzzle, Paddington, London, W2 1JQ, England at 7pm.

The Drummers are always happy to welcome new visitors.

* * * * *

[AU] Monstrous Regiment will be performed by Brisbane Arts Theatre starting from 8th October.

Performances will be on:


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[AU] For fans in Adelaide, The City of Small Gods Terry Pratchett Fan Club meets on the last Thursday of the month from 6.30pm at the Ed Castle, 233 Currie St. Details, discussions and organisation of extra events (such as play outings) are held on our email mailing list, so please sign up at

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[IE] Irish Discworld Convention 2011 (IDWCon11)

The second biennial Irish Discworld Convention will take place, once again, in the Falls Hotel, Ennistymon. Taking place from the 4th-7th of November 2011. For those of you who missed it the first time, and if you don't mind us saying so, it was a bit of a bit! If you would like to be there this time membership is now open and information on all sorts is available at our website!

With the news that Terry is unable to attend the Irish Discworld Convention Bernard Pearson has stepped up to the mark and will now be the new guest of honour.

* * * * *

[CA] Walterdale Playhouse will be performing Wyrd Sisters in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada from 30th November to 10th December 2011.

Tickets cost: 12.00 CAD to 16.00 CAD (depending on event date, time, and ticket type)

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[UK] The Eighnnnnnn International Discworld Convention will take place from the 24th to 27th August 2012 at the Hilton Metropole in Birmingham.

For more information visit:

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Small Ads...

Please note, DWM has no way of checking the veracity or validity of any of the items in our small ads section. As always, exercise caution when giving out your details over the Internet. We *strongly* recommend parental supervision for younger readers who
follow up any of these contacts.

* * * * *

Gene Bennett writes: Many years ago I got as a gift what I believe is a Collector's Edition Thud set. It came unboxed and has a 21.5" (54cm) wood game board, 2.5" (6.5cm) dwarves, 3.5" (9cm) trolls and 3" (7.5cm) Thudstone. The rulebook has a 2001 copyright.

I'm not a gamer and it has been set up once in 9+ years, so I'm looking to sell it, but I have no idea what the original price was. Does anyone out there know which edition this is and what the original price was?

3. Readers' Letters

If you have any letters or comments, please email them to

We assume any correspondence is eligible for use in the newsletter unless otherwise stated, including the sender's email address. We may also edit your letters while waiting for Terry's next tweet.

It is vitally important that you don't pass off other people's work as your own. If you use information from other resources please let us know so we can give proper credit.

* * * * *

* From: "Lin Estes"

First let me say how thrilled I am to open my email and find a dispatch from DWM. I'm one of the few TPratchett fans I can find around here in the Deep South of America and it puzzles me since I really think they would nominate Granny Weatherwax for Governor of most southern states if not for President. DWM helps me keep connected with all things Pratchett.

But I just wanted to pass along a TPratchett moment in my life that I hope others have experienced and can enjoy the same small smile of satisfaction at the bewilderment that shows on other's faces in situations like this.

Many years ago, my uncle passed away. In the scurry to get the family together for the wake, the funeral, the funeral dinner and all that goes along with a big family funeral, I had to go to a small regional airport to pick up my mother who was flying in from the West Coast where she had been attending a conference. Since it was unscheduled she had to take the first set of flights she could find to get her home and so she was due to land in Birmingham at around 1 a.m. in the morning. I went to meet her there and knowing flight schedules, I assumed I would have some time to spare sitting there waiting for her plane to land, so I grabbed what was at the time the newest of the TPratchett novels, Interesting Times. Well, I did say it was many years ago.

Anyway, Birmingham, Alabama airport tends to pull up its runways after 10 p.m. so I had the waiting area at the gate to myself for the most part and began reading. Every so often, I would look up and notice various personnel coming or going, usually pushing a trolley or a hand truck as we would say down here or talking on a radio. At some point, I made it to the passage where Rincewind encounters C.M.O.T. Dibbler and utters the famous 'SAAAAUSAAAAGE INNNNNNAA A BUNNNNNNN' line and I broke out laughing so loudly and hysterically that the night shift security guards began paying close attention to me. Of course, that made it even funnier so I laughed and laughed, long past the point where it hurt to even think of laughing any more. I remember how suspicious they looked and you know that they were just looking for a reason to come have a talk with me, the Sam Vimes theory of criminality being very popular down here as well.

By the time my poor mother landed, I was laughed out and trying to explain to her what was so funny was an exercise in futility. She just couldn't get what had been so funny. I wanted to pass it along and hope a few others would understand and smile.

DWM replies: Lin gets this month's Letter of The Month.

* * * * *

* From: R Campbell

I watched Terry's programme with great interest as I lost my own mum (Nanny Ogg) to Alzheimers several years ago and found it very helpful with coming to terms with her loss.

Having met Terry on a couple of occasions once when he used to work for C.E.G.B & again when he came to Norwich he is the most amazing man and author I have ever come across and I hope along with all the other Discworld fans that he can provide us all with many many years to come.

Keep up the good work with the newsletter and a special message for all those families supporting members with Alzheimers be positive, live well and happy memories.

4. DiscTrivia

This month I'll take three random quotes from the Discworld series and ask you to name which book they came from.

Killing off a wizard of a higher grade was a recognized way of getting advancement in the orders.
The Patrician steepled his fingers and looked at Carrot over the top of them. It was a mannerism that had un-nerved many.
Another little memory burst open as silently as a mouse passing wind in a hurricane.

The answers as usual can be found at the end of this issue.

5. Review: Snuff

Reviewed by William Barnett

It says on the back cover that Snuff is the thirty-ninth Discworld novel - thirty-ninth! That's nearly enough Discworld books to make one for each year of the Ed's significant birthday this month!

You're probably already aware that Snuff is a Commander Vimes story. Vimes has been hustled off for a holiday by Lady Sybil (although it appears the Patrician may have played a part as well...). Along with Young Sam, now aged six and so a good deal younger than DWM's Ed, they set off to the Ramkins' country retreat, Crundells - locally known as Ramkin Hall.

Vimes is not at all keen on the whole scheme - he'd rather be back at the Watch in Ankh-Morpork. In fact, much of the first part of the book is taken up with Vimes's observations on the strangeness of the countryside, compared to the bustling, filthy, vibrant city he loves so dearly. To be honest, I found the story a bit slow to get moving: just like Vimes himself, I was eagerly waiting for the first corpse.

There are hints at the start of the book. It opens with some details about goblins, specifically their practice of Unggue. This is based on the belief that bodily secretions and waste should be stored as they will be needed for eventual resurrection at the end of one's life. Bit of a messy system, of course, and perhaps Unggue has contributed to the contempt, if not hatred, that other species feel for goblins on the Discworld.

Goblins first cropped up in Unseen Academicals, although at the risk of spoilers I won't say anything else about that. In Snuff, we learn more about them: they're universally despised, untrusted and it's said they even eat their own babies! The unusual thing about the Discworld's goblins, though, is that they more or less share the general view - they see themselves as creatures made up from the leftover bits after all the other, proper races had been made.

Once again, the Discworld is a mirror of worlds. The rationale for the goblins' mentality, their world view, really strikes a chord. A people who are perpetually downtrodden, driven by the 'dreadful algebra of necessity' - you only have to read a newspaper to see this in our own Roundworld. A quality paper, mind you, not a celebrity scandal rag.

Naturally, Vimes becomes embroiled in a case connected with goblins and threatens to open a right can of worms in the peaceful environs of Ramkin Hall. Happily, the Watch back at Ankh-Morpork get to play a part as well - much as I like Vimes, I miss the old days with Nobby, Colon, Carrot, et. al.

Snuff is just what we expect from a Discworld novel: Commander Vimes doing his thing, a new species to learn about, wry observations about country life. I found the writing a bit long-winded in Snuff, though. The wordplay and funny observations sometimes seemed to be getting in the way of the story. Of course, Terry's sideways view on the world and the people in it is a big part of what makes him a great writer - Snuff just didn't grip me the way Discworld books often do.

That aside, there are some great characters, Young Sam's early forays into scientific research, Bang Suck Duck, Colonel Makepeace's dietary issues, Sybil's ancestors... and of course the goblins. A worthy thirty-ninth entry in the Discworld canon.

6. Competition.

Last month we received three copies of the new Ankh-Morpork game to give away courtesy of Esdevium Games (

We asked you to answer the following question:

In the game the map is split into 12 sections which number corresponds to Seven Sleepers?

The answer we were looking for was number 11.

We received 134 correct entries and about a dozen incorrect or incomplete entries. The three randomly selected winners are: Barry Starr, Claire Carstairs and Richard Wilcox. I'll get your games in the post as soon as possible after I get paid (30th September!).

7. Review: Ankh-Morpork and Guards! Guards! Board Games

Games reviewed by Richard Massey (resident board game expert)

Typical isn't it: you wait ages for a Discworld game and then two come along at once. The two games in question are Discworld: Ankh-Morpork, by Martin Wallace, published by Treefrog Games, and Z-Man Games' Guards! Guards! A Discworld Board Game, designed by Leonard Boyd and David Bradshaw. Being an avid fan of board games it is down to me to tell you about them.

First off Discworld: Ankh-Morpork. The blurb goes that the city's Patrician has left Ankh-Morpork to see how its inhabitants will behave without his guiding hand. At the start of the game each player is given card naming a famous character from Ankh-Morpork (e.g. Commander Vimes, Lord Rust, Dragon King of Arms and, yes, the Patrician) which details a secret player objective. Game play takes place on a map of the Discworld's most infamous city, which has been divided into twelve districts. The game is driven by action cards with nice Discworld related artwork on them (including one very familiar looking Chair of Indefinite Studies [Jason]). Most cards have one or more symbols across the top which tell players that they may add or move minions, build buildings, get money, remove a trouble marker and a couple of other things which escape me at the moment. Some cards have additional text giving more detail of what they do. A few cards have a fate symbol on them meaning the effects of a fate card must be read out bringing various types of chaos. Play continues until a player has achieved his/her objective and so wins the game.

We all liked this game. Even Bill, who's a bit of a Philistine when it comes to these things. The artwork is excellent, and the quality of components impeccable. Some special editions even come with a die which has the number 8 replaced by 7a. The Discworldlyness is almost entirely down to the artwork and descriptions on the cards, and the fact that you spend the entire time staring at a large map of Ankh-Morpork. This is probably a good thing as you don't need encyclopaedic knowledge of the books to play. The rules are easy to learn and game-play flows nicely. I guess I'd classify it as a light to medium weight game, one could call it a 'gateway game', so perfectly suited to its target market.

If I have one criticism it is that the winning conditions could be a bit more secret. Four of the seven objectives are to take control of a number (depending on how many are playing) of city districts. All well and good, but if the other players know this then they can all work together to make sure that this never happens. There is another, similar objective which all players can guard against. My objective (Commander Vimes) was to keep the game going until the stack of action cards had run out, which is something that cannot be controlled by the other players, so I won. Or maybe I'm just brilliant.

Guards! Guards! is a very different beast. The aim of the game is to be the first to collect five of the Eight Great spells (which have inexplicably gone missing). Once again play takes place on a board representing Ankh-Morpork, this time divided into quadrants, one for each of four city guilds. A patchwork of hexagons (Jason commented that they should be octagons) mark out various paths you can move your pawn along and on the way pick up spells, items and assorted volunteers to help you. While you do this the Luggage charges round the board, injuring any playing piece that might be in the way. The volunteers are the crux of the game, since it is they who for the most part win the spells for you. For example: each volunteer has, among other things, a Streetwise value; when you try to get your first spell you must send a number of volunteers to retrieve it. You then roll an eight sided die and add their total Streetwise. If you get more than 10 you have your first spell and you're a fifth of the way to finishing the game. Most of the other spells are won using similar, albeit slightly different, methods. In addition to these spell runs the volunteers have other effects, such as invoking the effects of a fate card, making you catch the pox, even summoning a dragon.

There are many more game elements that I could talk about, but I don't have the space to go into them here [this is already twice as long as my review of Snuff - WB]. Guards Guards is quite a rules heavy game, so it might have helped if I'd read through them before we sat down to play. But after a few turns we seemed to get the hang of things, only to refer to the rulebook...well, pretty well all the time, but only to make sure we got things right. It is a much longer game than the other one - four of us finished Ankh-Morpork in the time it took three of us to half finish a game of Guards Guards (and yes, I am writing this having never finished the game, but I think we got a good feel for it). Once again the production values are excellent, as is the artwork, and any knowledge of the Discworld might help you to enjoy the game, but not to win it.

We certainly enjoyed playing Guards Guards, and of the two I am looking forward more to playing this one again than Ankh-Morpork (Bill and Jason might disagree). It is rules heavy and there seem to be a lot of disparate elements crammed into one game, but for me Guards Guards gave more of a feel of being in the city and taking part in the action, rather than some minor deity moving pawns around from Cori Celesti.

In summary then: if you like all things Discworld and want to give board games a try, buy Ankh-Morpork. If you enjoy that then at some point give Guards! Guards! a go as well.

8. The End

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* DiscTrivia Results *

Killing off a wizard of a higher grade was a recognized way of getting advancement in the orders.
Reaper Man
The Patrician steepled his fingers and looked at Carrot over the top of them. It was a mannerism that had un-nerved many.
Men at Arms
Another little memory burst open as silently as a mouse passing wind in a hurricane.

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