Episode 246 - Rollers


Release Date: Nov 15, 2016

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Running Time:   64 min.

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Rollers is a press-your-luck dice game inspired by darts.

Yes, you heard me correctly... darts! Players try to open and close 5 numbered columns on their number boards. When a number is opened and closed, others will pay you chips each time you roll this number for the rest of the round! 

Sound familiar? If you've ever played the dart game, Cricket, you'll see how Rollers is a clever re-imagining of this pub classic, playable by people of all ages.

Best of all, even if you've never thrown a dart in your life, you'll have no problem understanding why Rollers is Major Fun.

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Episode 245 - The Spiel on Isle of Skye


Release Date: Nov. 10, 2016

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Running Time:   51 min.

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The Isle of Skye is one of the most beautiful places in the world, with soft sand beaches, gently sloping hills, and impressive mountains. 

You play as a clan chieftan, laying tiles to build your kingdom, trying to arrange certain features (including whiskey barrels) in order to score points.

The tiles you place are determined by a sort of auction in reverse. You set out stacks of tiles and give them a value. If someone else is willing to pay, then they take them. If no one pays, then you do! Trying to balance enticing people to buy your tiles and not overpaying for others' tiles is the fun challenge at the heart of the game. 

In the end, the player with the best kingdom — and not the richest player — becomes the sovereign of the island.

Tune in to explore the game and learn why it deserves the Spiel of Approval Award!

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Essen 2016: Organized Play


Release Date: Oct. 29, 2016

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Running Time:  63  min.

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This panel explores the different ways people around the world start, run and organize game groups, events or conventions.

The groups can be formal or informal ones. Some may be affiliated with retail shops or cafes or libraries and others float from home to home. In Europe, local and regional governments might provide some assistance. Some events might be once a week, once a month or once a year in the case of conventions.

The goal is provide people with incentive or knowledge to see how they might be able to participate in or even start a game group, event or a convention themselves.

Our panel features:

John Knoerzer

Ezra Denney

Becky Ottery 

Darrell Ottery

Daniel Jensen

Katherine Rosland

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Essen 2016: Technology & Board Games


Release Date: Oct.  28, 2016

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Running Time:   47 min.

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The line between the cardboard game world and the digital game world is blurring now more than ever.

Most people outside the board game industry might take this to mean the digital world is pushing the cardboard world to the side, making it less and less relevant. People spend their time looking at screens not across the table any more.

But this is not so!

In fact the cardboard world is thriving and feeding off the success and interest in digital world. We see more and more board games embracing technology not as a gimmick but as a new and innovative way to enhance game play.

The real truth is these two worlds, the cardboard and the digital are not really colliding, they are converging. 

This panel explores the evolution of board games that embrace technology AND examines how the cardboard world influences the digital gaming world as well.

Our panel features:

Ignacy Trzewiczek (Portal Games)

Ted Alspach (Bezier Games)

Joseph Cochran

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Essen 2016: History in Game Design


Release Date: Oct. 27, 2016

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Running Time:  59  min.

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Whether they are exploring political revolution, biological evolution, winemaking or early American history, each member of our esteemed panel shares a deep and abiding passion for history. And this love has a direct impact on their games.

From research methods to the balance between simulation and gameplay, the panel discusses how and why they incorporate history into their game designs.

Our panel features:

Martin Wallace (Age of Steam, Brass, London)

Vital Lacerda (Vinhos, CO2, Kanban, The Gallerist)

Phil Eklund (High Frontier, Bios, Origins, Greenland)

Max Michael (Credit Mobilier, Empires of the New World, Cheshire Ring)

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Essen 2016: Designing Cooperative Games


Release Date: Oct. 26 , 2016

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Running Time:   31 min.

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It’s been nearly a decade since the publication of Pandemic and Ghost Stories, two of the most influential cooperative games during the current renaissance in  modern board games. Both were published in 2008 and both met with critical and commercial success. This success helped drive interest in the genre as a whole - so much so that nearly a quarter of the games published today incorporate some element of cooperative play.

Matt Leacock (designer of Pandemic) and Antoine Bauza (designer of Ghost Stories) discuss their passion for cooperative play and the challenges and differences in designing cooperative games. 

Our panel features:

Antoine Bauza (Hanabi, Ghost Stories, Samurai Spirit)

Matt Leacock (Pandemic, Pandemic: Legacy, Forbidden Island/Desert)

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Essen 2016: Global Game Makers


Release Date: Oct. 25, 2016

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Running Time:  59 min.

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Now more than ever before the business of games is worldwide. But there is an absolutely essential player in this story that is often overlooked in this process: the manufacturers!

Representatives from Ludo Fact, Panda Manufacturing and Ad Magic, three of the largest manufacturers of board and card games, discuss the challenges they face when trying to make games for clients all over the world.

Our panel features:

Michael Lee, Chris Matthew (Panda Manufacturing)

Frank Jager (Ludo Fact)

Shari Spiro (Ad Magic)

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Essen 2016: Impact of the Spiel des Jahres Awards


Release Date: Oct. 24, 2016

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Running Time:   51 min.

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Since its inception in 1979, the German Game of the Year, the Spiel des Jahres, has grown into one of the most prestigous and noteworthy awards in the game industry. The red pawn trophy is given to a game that German families will love and enjoy for years to come.  

And what started as a single award has expanded to include now a family of awards. The Kinderspiel des Jahres which started in 2001 celebrates the best children’s games in Germany and the Kennerspiel des Jahres which started in 2011 celebrates more strategic and thoughtful games.

Many compare the Spiel des Jahres to the Oscars of the game playing world and this is not a bad analogy at all because the impact and influence of the award has spread far beyond the borders of Germany.

The goal of this panel is to explore the influence and impact of the award - on the game industry, on the organization itself, on the designers and the publishers who win the awards.

Our panel features:

Tom Felber (Spiel des Jahres Jury)

Andreas Pelikan (Game Designer, 2x Winner: Kennerspiel des Jahres)

Wolf Wittenstein (Eggertspiele - winner: Spiel des Jahres & Kennerspiel)

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

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