10 Questions with Ken Cheng

Tell us one thing about you that the audience won’t already know.

I used to play Bejewelled, which is a game similar to Candy Crush, for money when I was 15. So, I have a long history of gaming and gambling.

If you could swap lives with another NRB team member for a day, who would it be and what would you do?

Hmm. The problem is that I think my life is pretty great. Not to brag but I definitely have the most free time out of anyone (laughs). I’m thinking about everybody’s lives and yeah, they’re all fun, but I’d definitely lose a lot of my free time. I suppose I would quite like to experience the world through the eyes of Sullivan so I could see what it’s like to be such a calm, cool person, going on tour with the sketch shows. Performing on stage with Rosie would be quite fun too.

What’s been your favourite game to play on NRB and why?

It’s probably Poetry for Neanderthals. It’s just such a fun mechanic to have to talk in one syllable. It’s like having to learn a new language. It’s fun having to rewire your brain. We play it once a month in real life now. After playing it on the channel I bought it immediately. It’s great and it also has the bonking stick so you can hit people are the head with an inflatable club. What other game could claim to have that?

If your personality was a board game, which one would it be and why?

My personality is quite chaotic and silly but also I can be quite serious and competitive. I think I’ll go with Herd Mentality. I really like Herd Mentality because you’re purposely trying to be a member of the crowd. That’s my whole life. I’m always trying to fit in despite knowing I’m not (laughs). I’m pretty good at pretending to be part of the herd though.

What’s one board game you think is underrated and deserves more attention?

I’ll go with a game called Haiclue, which is a game you can play online. It’s a really simple game and it’s so fun. It deserves attention especially because it’s out of print in the UK. In fact, I’m not even sure it was ever released in the UK. It’s so hard to actually get a copy of and, as a result, no one has really heard of it.

If you could have any fictional character as your board game opponent, who would it be and what game would you play?

I’d play someone like Captain Picard from Star Trek. I think it would be a good romp. He’s very eloquent. He’d also be a competitive opponent. I’d probably play a really simple 1-v-1 abstract game. Maybe something like Qawale, a very simple abstract game with stones.

If the NRB team were superheroes, what would each person’s superpower be?

Dom could summon lightning like Storm. He would be able to control the skies and the winds. Sullivan would have the power of telepathy because he’s quite empathetic. Laurie could cause the Earth to erupt and split in two because he has a lot of rage. Blair would be able to hop up and down really fast. She has the power of super hopping, like a bunny. Tilly could turn invisible and zip around. Holly can turn her hand into a massive hammer and smash people down. As for me, maybe mind control or persuasion.

Imagine board games are now sentient and can play themselves. Which game do you think would have the biggest ego, and which one would be the most humble?

Twilight Imperium 4 would be very egotistical because there are just so many pieces. It would definitely be like, “I’m the best big box game.” It would just be so up itself. A humble game would be a nice cute game called So Clover. No bows and whistles, it’s just shaped like a clover. It’s pretty sweet and likeable.

Have you ever considered cheating at a board game, and if so what was your self-justification?

I’ve not cheated since I was a child because I don’t believe you get anything out of winning if you haven’t earned it. I don’t think I could bring myself to do it nowadays. I know people who cheat and it just makes no sense. Also, you have to play the long game. If you cheat at one game then no one is going to invite you to play any more. I don’t think it’s ever justifiable. Maybe to save your loved ones? Perhaps if you were playing against Death, then you’d need to cheat. Aside from that, no.

What’s your favourite joke of all time and why?

I don’t know if this is my favourite joke but it’s the first one I thought of – It’s hard to explain puns to Kleptomaniacs because they always take things literally.

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