The Game Sommelier: David Girling


Written by: David Girling


Like matching the perfect vintage with a delicious meal, The Game Sommelier finds the right game for any crowd, age, experience or situation.

Each month, we select a Spiel supporter to serve as a guest Sommelier. This Spieler must find five games to meet a fiendish challenge. We'll judge each selection with a thumbs up or thumbs down and discover whether he or she has earned the right, ne, the honor to be called The Game Sommelier!

This month's guest Sommelier: David Girling

Introduction: The Legacy series of games and TIME Stories are bringing a novel approach to board game design - a linear narrative. This is a concept borrowed directly from video game culture. You play through the story of the game and you're done. This makes them less replayable than other sorts of games but it emphasizes a player's journey through the game - through the story. The risk or the challenge is that the story better be good or players will feel cheated by the experience and hours spent playing

The Challenge: Find 5 games that could be reinvented with a linear narrative; 5 games that deserve the Legacy treatment.

Read David's selections after the break.

Episode 226: The Spiel on Ascension: Dreamscape


Release Date: Mar. 21 , 2016

Download: PDF

Designer: John Fiorillo, Justin Gary

Publisher:  Stoneblade Ent.

1-4 players  ages 13+  MSRP $40


Battle cosmic forces in Ascension by building a deck of cards filled with powerful heroes and machines from otherworldly realms. With nine versions of the game, Ascension offers a nearly infinite variety of card combinations and strategies while remaining easy to learn and quick to play. Dreamscape is the latest addition to the world and it continues to carry the banner of quality and fun for the entire family of games. 

Written review continues after the break.

Episode 225: Fuse is Major Fun


Release Date: Mar. 7 , 2016

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:   45 min.

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Red alert! Dozens of bombs are hidden across the decks of your ship. Can your team find defuse them all before time runs out?

Fuse is a 10 minute cooperative dice game. Bomb cards have a recipe of numbers and/or colors needed to defuse them. The team must roll and negotiate to collect dice in order to fill each bomb's recipe and move on to defuse all the bomb cards in the deck before time runs out.

Fuse is easy to learn, fast to play, hard to win and amazingly addictive. That is a winning recipe for Major Fun! Tune in to learn more about Fuse and why it deserves the award.

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Episode 224: The Spiel on Burgle Bros


Release Date: Mar. 1 , 2016

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:   45 min.

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Get Together. Get the Loot. Get Out.

Burgle Brothers is a cooperative heist game that is clearly inspired by the wonderful cinematic tradition of films like Ocean’s 11, The Italian Job, Topkapi, The Great Train Robbery and modern films like the newer Oceans movies Inception, and one of my new favorites, Tower Heist. You have a crew of specialists ready to help you infiltrate a bank or an office or even Fort Knox. The goal? Find the safe on each floor of the building, crack it, grab the loot and escape to the roof where a helicopter awaits to whisk you away to safety.

This game emphasizes teamwork and builds in many fun heist movie moments filled with suspense... when your careful plan hangs in the balance and moments of panic... when everything falls apart and you have to come up with a new plan on the fly.

Tune in to find out why Burgle Bros deserves the Spiel of Approval!

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Episode 223: Strike is Major Fun


Release Date: Feb. 15 , 2016

Download: PDF

Designer: Dieter Nüßle

Publisher:  Ravensburger

2-5 players  ages 8+  MSRP $20


Sometimes the simplest things in life are the most fun, or, in the case of Strike, Major Fun!

Written review continues after the break.

Episode 222: The Spiel on 7 Wonders: Duel


Release Date: Feb. 5 , 2016

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:   37 min.

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Is it possible to improve a classic? 

The card drafting game 7 Wonders stormed onto the scene in 2010 to overwhelming critical and commercial success. Players build toward one of the great wonders of the ancient world over three ages, scoring points for each area they develop: science, culture, military, commerce. It strikes an amazing balance between strategy, accessibility and speed of play. And best of all, it can accommodate up to 7 players.

Enter 7 Wonders: Duel. Same concept but designed solely for 2 players. The team of noted French designers Antoine Bauza and Bruno Cathala provide players with an experience that feels similar to the original yet filled with its own unique challenges and strategies. This is no cheap knock off or imitation. This is a game that can stand the test of time, just like it's cousin. Tune in to see why we think it deserves the very first... Spiel of Approval!

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Episode 221: Pingo Pingo is Major Fun


Release Date: Feb. 1 , 2016

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:   39 min.

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Space penguins guard The Golden Pineapple on a mysterious island.

You had me at space penguins... :)

Pingo Pingo is a wacky game driven by a 15 minute soundtrack. Using a deck of cards and your trusty rubber dart gun, you must face traps, cross rope bridges, avoid angry polar bears and hordes of pengiuns to collect the most treasure and escape before time runs out. Tune in to find out why Pingo Pingo is... Major Fun!

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Episode 220: Changes

Release Date: Jan. 18 , 2016

Running Time:   73 min.

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New year, new format. The Spiel and Major Fun have joined forces! We'll be reviewing games over the course of a season and bestowing each game reviewed with a Major Fun or Spiel of Approval award. In addition, we'll be producing roundtable interviews at GenCon and Essen with designers, publishers and artists in the industry.

The Spiel 2.0: We discuss the new format for the show
The Game Sommelier: 5 designers with whom Dave wants to design a game
The Game Sommelier: 5 Star Wars themed games that dont exist but should.

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.



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