Episode 315: Gugong

Release Date: Mar. 18, 2018

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:   68 min.

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Ming Dynasty China. The Emperor rules from the Imperial Palace, the Gùgōng. 

You are the head of a noble family doing your best to gain influence and power. You do this by bribing palace officials with extravagant gifts, hoping they will act on your behalf. Four days separate you from glory or disgrace. Without an audience with the Emperor himself, your family’s prestige will fade.

Gùgōng is driven by a wonderfully simple but richly strategic set of decisions. Playing a single gift card can unlock several actions and benefits. But at what cost? Servants and cards are precious and often in short supply.

Gùgōng is a deeply rewarding and refined example of modern euro-style game design - a beautiful blend of history and theme with compelling gameplay.

Listen in and wander the Forbidden City with us and discover why Gùgōng deserves your attention and our Spiel of Approval.

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Episode 314: Just One

Release Date: Feb. 18, 2018

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:   74 min.

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Just One is a cooperative party game. A stack of 13 cards stands between everyone playing and perfection. Each round clues will be given and a guess will be made in hopes of finding the magic word for the round. But in each case, whether you’re a clue giver or word guesser you get JUST ONE.

The tension in the game comes from each player’s imagination and trying not to get in synch with anyone else at the table. Can you use your powers of inference, using your knowledge of the word and the knowledge of the people at the table to figure out what path they might be on so you can avoid it and find one of your own?

And by shifting the competition away from each other to a question of how well can we all do, it celebrates the joy of playing over the joy of winning. It’s not even funny how Major Fun that is.

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Episode 313: Reef

Release Date: Feb. 25, 2019

Download: PDF

Designer: Emerson Matsuuchi

Publisher:  Next Move Games

2-4 pl  | 30 min  |  ages 8+  |  MSRP $40

 

In Reef, you create your own tiny coral kingdom. Using cards, you’ll gather colorful pieces to build your reef, hoping to stack them into the right configurations to score. 

It's a game of pattern building and recognition. Choose carefully and Neptune will reward you with his approval .

We may not be Greek gods, but to us, Reef is a masterpiece of the sea and most definitely Major Fun.

Written review continues after the break.

Episode 312: Piepmatz

Release Date: Feb. 18, 2018

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:   74 min.

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A flock of little songbirds gather at the feeder to eat. One by one, different birds hop on the perch and carry away their meals, large and small. Can you gather the best collection of bird and seed cards as the feeder empties while avoiding greedy squirrels and angry crows?

Piepmatz is a beautiful and beautifully simple card game for players of all ages. It's easy to learn but provides an enjoyable, ever-changing puzzle to sort out each turn.

It takes creative vision to find a game in something so seemingly ordinary. That vision is a sure path to Major Fun.

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Episode 311 Monster Crunch

Release Date: Feb. 11, 2019

Download: PDF

Designer: Forrest-Pruzan

Publisher:  Big G Creative

2-5 pl  | 20 min  |  ages 9+  |  MSRP $20

 

It’s Saturday morning. You and your monster friends are bored and hungry. There’s only one way to settle this: make breakfast into a battle. Get your bowl and spoon and ice cold milk ready to go. Crack open your box of sugary cereal cards and play as many as you can over the course of three hands. The monster who munches the most cereal wins and walks away the champion of breakfast!

Written review continues after the break.

Episode 310: Petrichor

Release Date: Feb. 4, 2018

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:   64 min.

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Petrichor is a game about clouds and weather and how they help things grow. Over the course of the game each player will manipulate cardboard clouds, hoping to fill them with rain drops and direct these drops onto fields to score. 

Petrichor is peaceful, but full of interaction. It's contemplative, but filled with moments of sudden change.

Listen in to explore how Petrichor embraces this wonderfully rich subject and invites us to play with it. In doing so, Petrichor helps break our expectations of what games can be.

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

The Short List - 2018

 

We play hundreds of different games every year. Each and every one is given due consideration for our two award programs: The Major Fun Award and The Spiel of Approval. 

Out of these hundreds only 12-15 games are selected per award. And these are the games we cover with in-depth audio and written reviews.

Every year, though, inevitably, there are games that might not be a good fit for the award criteria but are games we really enjoy nonetheless.

So, starting this year, we are going to do a round up of games that made our short list. It's not a comprehensive list by any stretch, but rather a snapshot look at some games that may have slipped past your attention.

Think of  the Short List as an Honorable Mention category from this point forward.  These games didn't make the final cut, but we think they're engaging and fun.

Read on to explore the list.

I bet you'll find at least a couple you'll be itching to try! 

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Episode 309 - Holiday Party 2018

Release Date: Dec. 21, 2018

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:   200 min.

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Old pillow cases, burritos filled with pop rocks, nutmeg jail, Gobblesquatch, oh, and a board game or two.

From Tasmania to Norway and Toronto and across the USA, join our party of misfit nerds for a festive, freewheeling conversation spanning the wide world of geekdom.

Most of all, be ready to laugh!

Guests:

Jay Bartelt (Racine, WI)

Francie Broadie (Indianapolis, IN)

Stephen Buonocore (Boyton Beach, FL)

Maggi Cottrell (Seattle, WA)

Ezra Denney (Alameda, CA)

Gubbins (Indianapolis, IN)

Miklos Fitch (Houston, TX)

Starla Fitch (Houston, TX)

Beth Heile (Chicago, IL)

Debbie Ohi (Toronto, Canada)

Mark Rickards (Hobart, Tasmania)

Jeff Ridpath (Toronto, Canada)

Katherine Rosland (Stavanger, Norway)

Mark Smalley (Indianapolis, IN)

Mark Wilder (Chicago, IL)

**SPECIAL THANKS**

Debbie Ohi provided the artwork for this episode. She was doodling while we recorded and, after you listen, you'll see lots of fun tie-ins!

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Episode 308: Rajas of the Ganges

Release Date: Dec. 10, 2018

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:   88 min.

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India, at the time of the Mughal Empire. The Taj Mahal shines like a jewel. The call has gone out to each provincial leader - expand and develop your holdings. Who among you will be the greatest among all the Rajas of the Ganges?

Rajas of the Ganges is a beautiful reflection of eastern philosophy. It's a game about balance and karma.

Players gather fame and money along two separate tracks until they meet. You must find harmony between these goals to succeed. 

You do this using dice, but you're not pawn of fate. Spending karma gives you agency over your fate to some degree. Your task is to manage your karma for greater rewards in the end.

Listen in to explore Rajas of the Ganges (and the history behind it) and discover why this pressure packed race game earns our Spiel of Approval.

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Episode 307: The Mind

Release Date: Oct. 18, 2018

Download: PDF

Designer: Wolfgang Warsch

Publisher:  NSV, Pandasaurus

2-4 pl  | 15 min  |  ages 8+  |  MSRP $15

 

Have you ever been in The Zone? Maybe you found it playing music. Everyone in the orchestra playing in perfect time. That pure sweet sound is impossible to forget. Or you found it on the basketball court - each teammate anticipating the moves of the next - it’s like poetry - no one can stop you and no one can miss.

It’s special, being in The Zone - a moment of perfect harmony - being totally in synch with everyone around you. Special because The Zone is so hard to find and special because it’s so hard to stay in The Zone once you do! If you get there even for a few fleeting seconds, it’s like magic. The Zone leaves its mark on you and you’ll strive to find it again and again.

The Mind is a cooperative card game that wants its players to find The Zone…and stay there as long as they can!  Over the course of several rounds, your team must find a common wavelength to play numbered cards in order to a single stack hoping to reach your goal.

Written review continues after the break.

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