Episode 290 - Pioneers

Release Date: April 2, 2018

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:   82 min.

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Westward ho! Immigrants from around the world have flocked to the United States to start a new life. As the country expands its territory to the Pacific, more and more pioneers set out, using stagecoaches and wagon trains, to reach new cities and towns along the way.

Each town has its own needs - a barkeep here, a farmer there, bankers, merchants, soldiers, innkeepers, and even a gold digger or two. Your job in Pioneers is to help these folks find a place that suits them by building roads and using your stagecoach. The player who does the best job settling this new generation of Americans will win the game

Pioneers is a gateway game to a new generation of players just discovering the hobby. It’s easy to learn, easy to teach and each time you play, you’ll discover new layers of depth and fun by charting a different path, literally. Each decision and each road and pioneer you settle will give you a new way to see the game. And best of all how everyone else plays will change your decisions. Their choices will let you see the game in a new light every time.

Listen in for a full review and discover why Pioneers deserves BOTH our Spiel of Approval and Major Fun Awards!

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Episode 289: Santa Maria


Release Date: March 19, 2018

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:   84 min.

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It's the 16th century and you're in charge of a fledgling colony in the New World. Here's your chance to write a new kind of history: one where you keep *all* the colonists in your community happy!

Santa Maria is a dice-based action selection game. Each turn you place a new tile in your colony and use dice to activate a row or column. Your goal is to create chains of actions and resources through production, religion, conquistadors and shipping.  And when you retire at the end of each round, all the work you've done will reap even greater rewards. 

The game offers a fantastic variety of strategy without being needlessly complicated. This makes Santa Maria constantly challenging and consistently fun - and a worthy winner of our Spiel of Approval!

Listen in for a full review.

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Episode 288: Witches of the Revolution


Release Date: Mar. 16, 2018

Download: PDF

Designer: M. Craig Stockwell

Publisher:  Atlas Games

1-4 pl  30-60 min  ages 14+  $40



The American colonies were a refuge to those seeking shelter from religious persecution. When the rallying cries for independence from England began to ring out, many answered the call for open revolt, including the witches.

These are the untold stories of a few brave covens of witches who fought for freedom, silent authors of American history along side the Founding Fathers.

Witches of the Revolution is a cooperative deck-building game. Players each lead a coven recruiting allies and weilding magic to overcome a constant wave of threats and complete secret missions. Complete enough missions before tyranny overwhelms the land, and you’ll help forge a new nation!

Written review continues after the break.

Episode 287: Squaremino


Release Date: Mar. 12 , 2018

Download: PDF

Designer: N/A

Publisher:  Frost & Frost

2-4 pl  15 min  ages 6+  MSRP $28.95



Squaremino is like a favorite sweater or perfectly broken in pair of shoes. It feels familiar and comfortable. So familiar, in fact, you may even think you've played before because it stays true to the soul of its cousin - dominoes.

That said, Squaremino is a clever and strategic twist on the tile laying classic. It celebrates its heritage but finds a way to stand on its own.

That’s a fine line and a fun line for any Major Fun game to walk!

Written review continues after the break.

Episode 286: Ancestree


Release Date: March 1, 2018

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:   68 min.

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Genealogists are a curious and squinty lot. They spend much of their lives buried in the archives doing research, trying to uncover hidden branches of their family trees.

All those late nights are about to pay off. If all goes well you’ll have enough information to prove your lineage is historically significant - a family tree for the ages!

Ancestree is a tile drafting game where each player cultivates a family tree over three rounds. You'll build dynasties, marriages, and wealth to score points. 

The game is wonderfully simple to learn but the scoring system makes each decision matter and each decision fun. 

Ancestree is also inclusive. It celebrates diversity and allows us to play with the idea of family.  Allowing more people to find themselves in the game is a powerful and playful idea. Inviting more people to the table helps open a door to the wider world of games and (we hope) allows even more people to share the joy and fun we find through play.

Listen in for a full review and discover why Ancestree is Major Fun!

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Episode 285: Majesty: For the Realm


Release Date: February 19, 2018

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:   64 min.

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From millers and brewers to knights and nobles, it takes all sorts to build a kingdom.

In Majesty, players recruit subjects to help create a prosperous new realm. Each character offers a simple but specialized way to bring wealth, health and security to the crown. 

Majesty is an easy to learn, wonderfully elegant and interactive card game. Each character card you add to your kingdom will have implications within and beyond your borders. 

The game is simple enough for almost anyone to learn but also modular, so as you learn, you can tailor the rules to suit your tastes.

Not only does this make Majesty: For the Realm Major Fun, it means you have a hand in defining the kind of fun you have every time you play!

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Episode 284: The Lost Expedition


Release Date: Feb. 16, 2018

Download: PDF

Designer: Peer Sylvester

Publisher:  Osprey Games

1-5 pl  30-60 min  ages 14+  $30



In April of 1925 explorer and adventurer Percy Fawcett set off into the Brazilian jungle in search of the lost city of Z. Z was Fawcett’s code name for El Dorado, a mythical hidden city filled with immense wealth. He was accompanied by his eldest son, Jack and Jack’s best friend Raleigh Rimmel. They disappeared five weeks later. His last letter was dated May 29 from Dead Horse Camp and recounts the many hardships the group had already faced but was generally optimistic. To this day, no one knows the real fate of this adventure. 

In the Lost Expedition, you and your fellow players take up the task of Percy Fawcett and attempt to do what he could not: find the Lost City of Z and live to tell the tale!

Written review continues after the break.

Episode 283: Pocket Ops


Release Date: Feb. 8 , 2018

Download: PDF

Designer: Brandon Beran

Publisher:  Grand Gamers Guild

2 pl  15 min  ages 8+  MSRP $15



Cue the James Bond music….

In Pocket Ops, you are a spymaster, infiltrating a secret facility with a team of agents to steal a doomsday device. Unfortunately for you, a rival agency has sent their own spies on the very same mission. Using the tools and skills available, you must position your agents in key areas so you can grab the device before your opponent.

Written review continues after the break.

Episode 282: Raiders of the North Sea


Release Date: February 1, 2018

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:   67 min.

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The North Sea Saga is a trilogy of games that follow the progress of the Viking culture in 3 different eras using 3 very different types of game mechanics but united by art and history.

In Raiders of the North Sea you play a viking warrior raiding unsuspecting settlements. Assemble a crew, collect provisions and journey north to plunder gold, iron and livestock... even if it ends in a glorious death!

The game is a brilliant balance of strategy and simplicity.  Start with a worker, do an action, pick up a worker (and possibly do a second action).

It is a perfect introductory worker placement game. In fact it might be THE perfect way to teach someone the basics of the genre.

And by Odin's beard, that makes it very worthy of our Spiel of Approval!

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Episode 281: Holiday Party


Release Date: Dec. 22, 2017

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:   2 hr 36 min

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Robot cheetahs, dentures, musical failure, D&D resources, pooping Amazons, and board games galore. 

Join our party of misfit nerds for a festive, freewheeling conversation spanning the wide world geekdom. Most of all, be ready to laugh! A lot.

Guests: Debbie Ohi (Toronto, Canada), Jeff Ridpath (Toronto, Canada), Darrell Ottery (Reading, UK), Daniel Jensen (Linkoping, Sweden), Stephen Buonocore (Somerset, NJ), Doug Richardson (Gresham, OR), Ezra Denney, (Alameda, CA), Lucio Rodriguez (Riverside, CA), Beth Heile (Chicago, IL), John Knoerzer (Chicago, IL),  Mark Smalley (Indianapolis, IN), Gubbins (Indianapolis, IN), and Francie Broadie (Indianapolis, IN)! 

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.