Episode 280: Ethnos


Release Date: December 5, 2017

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:   58 min.

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In Ethnos players vie for control of a fantasy realm by collecting and playing sets of cards. The cards in your set will share the same type (minotaurs or giants for instance) or they'll share the same color (matching one of the six regions on the board).

Each set you play gives you a better chance of scoring points in a particular region. And each creature has special powers that provide additional layers of strategy and variety every time you play. But beware, three dragons lurk in the deck and you won't know exactly how your cards stack up until the third one appears.

Ethnos offers challenging decisions through simple to learn but innovative mechanics. The game is familiar yet fresh - tense and interactive to the end.

Friend and patron Jay Bartelt (from the Gaming Hoopla) joins us for an in-depth look at the game. Listen in to discover why we think it deserves our Spiel of Approval.

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Episode 279: Rhino Hero: Super Battle


Release Date: Dec. 1, 2017

Download: PDF

Designer: Scott Frisco, Steven Strumpf

Publisher:  HABA

2-4 pl  20 min ages 5+  MSRP $30



The big city can be a dangerous place. It’s a good thing your new high rise apartment building has its own team of superheroes to protect it! Rhino Hero and super friends Giraffe Boy, Big E and Batguin are on patrol as the building goes up, trying to reach the highest floor. Build with a steady hand and roll well in your battles and your hero will fly high!

Rhino Hero: Super Battle is a mega-scale stacking game. Using folded cards, players build a cardstock skyscraper and hope to move their wooden superhero token toward the top of the structure. When two heroes meet on the same level, a dice battle occurs knocking one to a lower floor. The hero at the highest level when the building comes crashing down wins the game.

Written review continues after the break.

Episode 278: Codenames: Duet


Release Date: Nov. 21, 2017

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:   60 min.

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The party game Codenames took the game playing world by storm in 2015. Teams compete to find the secret names of their agents using a grid of word cards and two simple clues: a word and a number. It's engaging, creative and loads of fun.

Duet offers us a tense two player transformation of the original. You and your partner must contact 15 agents using a grid of word cards and a very limited number of clues. The big problem is each of you only know half the agents in play!

More puzzle than party, Codenames Duet offers a totally different challenge and experience through the same basic set of rules. By all rights, Duet is a game that should not work. Reimagining a lively party game as a thoughtful deductive puzzle for two is a huge leap. And yet Duet sings in harmony with its older cousin - a familiar melody but clearly its own tune.

Listen in to discover why we celebrate this remarkable and resilient game design, in all its forms, as Major Fun!

Show notes continue after the break.

Episode 277: Wordsy is Major Fun


Release Date: Nov. , 2017

Download: PDF

Designer: Gil Hova

Publisher:  Formal Ferret Games

1-6 pl  20 min ages 10+  MSRP $60



In Wordsy, players use a grid of letter cards to form a word each round. Some letters are worth more, others less. But here's the twist: you can use any letters you want to make your words, not just the ones in the grid!

The game challenges you to be creative - to play with letters and words in a way that is distinctly different than most word games. This makes Wordsy a modern classic...

and also Major Fun! 

Written review continues after the break.

Episode 276: Photosynthesis


Release Date: November 1, 2017

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:   42 min.

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In Photosynthesis, colorful cardboard trees grow ever upward, searching for the sun. Each player tends to their plants from seedling to sapling to mighty oak or pine, soaking in sunlight as it moves around the board. The more sun your trees absorb, the more actions you get or the more points you can score. Deciding when and how to start a new cycle of growth in the forest is key to the game

Photosynthesis is beautiful inside and out. It is a wonder to behold on the table and its simple, elegant mechanisms provide hours of challenging fun. 

LIsten in to learn more about the game and why it has earned the Spiel of Approval Award!

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Episode 275: Bonk is Major Fun


Release Date: Oct. 30, 2017

Download: PDF

Designer: David Harvey

Publisher:  Competo, Marektoy

2-4 pl  10 min ages 8+  MSRP $60



Bonk feels like a pub game from a bygone era. It is a fast paced game of dexterity and daring feats of physics. Using a rotating wooden slide and a few little metal balls, your team’s goal is to knock a wooden ball from its perch in the center of the board into the opposing team’s goal.

It offers engaging, simple, addictive fun you can share with anyone, any time. 

Written review continues after the break.

Episode 274: Word Slam is Major Fun


Release Date: Oct. 17, 2017

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:   50 min.

Subscribe:  Enhanced  | MP3 | RSS




Word Slam is a team-based word guessing game.

One teammate provides clues in the form of word cards on a rack.

Can your team guess the target word first?

Now this might sound like many other party games BUT... Word Slam does something different. Something noteworthy. Something ridiculously simple and ridiculously fun. 

Word Slam forces each team to use a fixed set of words as clues.

The challenge and the joy in the game comes from the very clever omissions from the decks of words you use as clues. The word you want is never there, so the game pushes you to be creative with the words provided. To find freedom inside the limitations imposed. 

This simple twist - limiting the language you can use to communicate with your team makes Word Slam both frustrating and fun, because, in a very real way, the fun comes from the frustration.

Listen in to learn more about the game and why we think it is unequivocally Major Fun!

Show notes continue after the break.

Episode 273: The Spiel on Custom Heroes


Release Date: October 3, 2017

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:   71 min.

Subscribe:  Enhanced  | MP3 | RSS



Custom Heroes is an innovative but very accessible twist on traditional climbing card games. The game allows you to do something almost unheard of: you get to play with the makeup of the deck itself!

Using transparent cards that stack together, you can make a low card high, a high card low, turn a card wild, even make a card count as two cards! But beware, every hero card you customize goes back into the deck and someone else may use that hero against you on the next round.

Get rid of your cards first to score big and win.

For anyone who enjoys games like Daifugo, President, Gang of Four, The Great Dalmuti or Tichu, Custom Heroes will feel familiar and yet wonderfully new and different.

Listen in to discover more about the game and why we think it is award worthy.

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

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