THE PLAYING BOARD
The playing board for Soho! measures 60cm x 74cm – so nearly twice as big as a Monopoly board – and is printed onto a tough plastic sheet, which means it rolls up rather than folding. (So if you decide you don’t like it as a game, you can always just put it on your wall – we think it’s rather reminiscent of Piet Mondrian’s Broadway Boogie Woogie, though with green instead of yellow and more pigeons.) Being plastic rather than paper, the board is also tear-proof (as in it won’t tear, not that it won’t get stained if you start sobbing – though it won’t do that either; we reckon red wine will wipe off too, though don’t hold us to it…).
THE PLAYING PIECES
We’ve given you enough playing pieces for six people – though there’s actually no limit to the number of people who can play, you’ll just need to improvise a bit if there’s more than six of you, and possibly buy a bigger table. There are also three dice – a 4-sided one, a 12-sided one, and a 20-sided one, which are things of enigmatic beauty in themselves – and lots of counters whose significance will only become significant once you start playing.
THE PLAYING CARDS
Again, we think these are rather lovely, as one pack (there are two) features gorgeous black and white photos of 46 Soho hostelries, not to mention two rather familiar – some would say sadly familiar – jokers. To find out what sort of fun you might be letting yourself in for, the text of the cards is here, along with images of the pubs – large versions of the latter are also on our Pub Gallery page. Smoke’s regular cartoonist Alex Farebrother-Naylor drew the jokers, by the way – she also provided illustrations for the board itself.
THE INSTRUCTION SHEET
This is essentially a sheet of instructions. It’s difficult to dress it up any more than that, but it’s A3-sized so, if you get bored waiting for Auntie Mimsy to make up her mind between taking a taxi down Wardour Street and wheeling her bike through St Anne’s Court, you can always make it into a hat. And this is probably a good place to point out that we’ve also put all the instructions online, as we know these things tend to go missing during family arguments (or get made into hats), so if you want a little taste of what to expect, download a pdf by clicking here.
AND YOU MENTIONED A BOX?
Yes, it all comes in a plain brown cardboard box. It’s designed for posting the game, but can also be used for keeping it in afterwards, as long as you don’t rip it to pieces in your excitement.
Soho! is suitable for all ages, though under-12’s might not get some of the jokes and under-8’s will probably throw tantrums. Also, any taxi-drivers will have a built-in advantage, but there’s not much we can do about that – they have enlarged hippocampi. Oh, and I think that for legal reasons we’re supposed to say that the game contains several small parts on which toddlers and former U.S. presidents can choke, and several small jokes on which, in our dreams, George Osborne might.