Episode 347 - Wordsmith

Release Date:  Apr. 24, 2020

Download: PDF


Bill Eberle, Peter Olotka, Greg Olotka


HeidelBÄR Games

1-4 players  | 20-30 min  |  ages 10+  | 5 min to learn | $30


Writers have talent - stringing words together, making them sing. But Wordsmiths? Their skills are more rare and special. They build each letter in every word from the ground up, one piece at a time.

From an assortment of basic shapes, can you assemble letters from a template and then use those letters to build words? Be quick and dig deep into your vocabulary to score big. Wordsmith gives new meaning to word play!

Written review continues after the break.

Webcam Cribbage

So, you want to play Cribbage with a friend even though you’re sheltered during the pandemic?

Of course, you could play on an app, but part of the joy and fun of playing a game like Cribbage is being able to chat and see the person you are playing with. There’s also a tactile experience to the game, holding the cards, moving your pegs around the track. So...

How about trying Webcam Cribbage?

Here’s how.

Episode 346: Planet

Release Date: Apr. 6, 2020

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:  100 min.

Subscribe:  Enhanced  | MP3 | RSS


You hold the power of cosmic creation in your hands.

Here, in your very own little corner of the universe, there’s a planet waiting to take its final form. You have mountains to sculpt, oceans to pour, forests to tend - hoping each new ecosystem will attract more animals to fill your world.

After locking in the last land mass, you’ll step back to admire and compare your creations. The most lively planet will earn a special place among the stars.

Planet is a 3-D magnetic tile laying game that invites us to think big and think carefully every time the world turns. Tune in to learn why it earns our Spiel of Approval.

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Episode 345: Point Salad

Release Date:  Mar. 30, 2020

Download: PDF


Molly Johnson, Robert Melvin, Shawn Stankewich


AEG, Flat Out Games, Mandoo Games, Pegasus Spiele   

2-6 players  | 15-30 min  |  ages 8+  | 3 min to learn | $20


There are lots of veggies in the market today. Can you assemble them into a meal for the ages? 

Point salad is a fast fun family friendly card game. The title is a nod to a nerdy joke among gamers. A "point salad" game is one that offers many different ways to score. Like a giant salad bar, you assemble your score by loading your plate with points from here and there.

Point Salad invites players to the biggest salad bar ever. There are over 100 different ways to score which means there are hundreds of ways to play and win.

Point Salad combines amazing variety with simplicity - a feat that proves playing with your food can be Major Fun.

Written review continues after the break.

Episode 344 - Hadara

Release Date: Mar. 16, 2020

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:  27 min.

Subscribe:  Enhanced  | MP3 | RSS


In Hadara, you take on an ancient challenge: build a civilization from the ground up. Can you recruit talented people, encourage technology, explore other lands, and inspire great works of art - all to promote your civilization ahead of the rest?

Hadara allows players to accomplish the work of millennia in under an hour. The game is streamlined without feeling generic - a work of true craftsmanship in modern game design.

Listen in to discover why Hadara is worthy of your attention and of our Spiel of Approval.

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Episode 343 - Medium

Release Date: Mar. 2, 2020

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:  33 min.

Subscribe:  Enhanced  | MP3 | RSS


How psychic are you? Medium will put you to the test.

Your goal is to create a telepathic bond, a Vulcan mind meld with your partners in the game.

From two words selected, can we come up with a word that connects them on the count of 3-2-1.

The instruments of the game are simple. Just cards and a box. But the game can take you undiscovered places with each new set of players.

Medium cultivates mystery and magic and feels like a game that would be at home in any Victorian parlour.

Listen in to learn how it conjures Major Fun every time you play!

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Episode 342 - Masters of Renaissance

Release Date:  Feb. 24, 2020

Download: PDF


S. Luciani & N. Mangone


Cranio Creations 

1-4 players  | 30-45 min  |  ages 14+  | 10 min to learn | $45


You are a citizen of Florence, seeking to gain wealth and favor with the Church. Gather resources and influence through developments. Play your cards right and powerful leaders may join you. But don’t forget the most powerful Leader of all, the Pope. He stands as the ultimate judge of your devotion and good works.

Approachable and challenging, Masters of Renaissance packs great depth into a game that lasts less than an hour. If you like tactics and strategy, this game is like catnip - a treat that is impossible to ignore!

Written review continues after the break.

Episode 341 - Parks

Release Date: Feb. 14, 2020

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:  105 min.

Subscribe:  Enhanced  | MP3 | RSS


Let's take a hike together.  You set out to visit National Parks across the United States. A game of Parks is the story of your journeys along the trails throughout the year.

The goal? Collect as many points as you can along the way to win.

Parks is a work of playable art. It is beautiful to behold and a joy to play, whether you're a veteran or new to games. 


This episode also features a big announcement about The Spiel and The Spiel Foundation. Tune in for more detail... or click here!

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Episode 340: Slide Quest

Release Date:  Feb. 3, 2020

Download: PDF


J. Rochas & N. Bourgoin


Blue Orange Games    

1-4 players  | 15-30 min  |  ages 7+  | 5 min to learn | $23


Your kingdom has problems. From the coast, to the mountains, to the castle at the center of the realm, villains have taken over! It’s up to you and your team to guide one brave night along a perilous path to reclaim the land for your king!

Slide Quest is a cooperative dexterity game that draws equal parts  inspiration from video games and a wooden toy from a bygone era.

Written review continues after the break.

The Short List - 2019


We play hundreds of games every year. Each one is given due consideration for  The Spiel of Approval and Major Fun Awards.

Out of these hundreds, only a dozen or so games are selected per award. 

Inevitably, there are games that might not fit all of the award criteria but are games we really enjoy nonetheless.

These games make our Short List. 

Think of  the Short List as an Honorable Mention category.  

They might not have made the final cut, but any game on our Short List is one we think is 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.