Episode 239: Chronicler is Major Fun


Release Date: Sept 8 , 2016

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:   43 min.

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Chronicler is a small game with large aspirations.  With less than 100 cards, Chronicler explores the march of technology through time. You’ll be telling the story of your civilization through the tools you choose to build... in 20 minutes or less

Now, this isn't a civilization building game in the long line of a complicated titles that gamers know and love. This is a civ builder kids and families can learn and enjoy. You’re not going to find historical depth in this level of game but it doesnt pretend to offer it. Instead you hit fast forward on the time machine. Plant the seed for your culture with a single card and see how your tech tree grows. 

Tune in to learn what we love about Chronicler and why it deserves the Major Fun Award.

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Episode 238: Ice Cool is Major Fun


Release Date: August 30, 2016

Download: PDF

Designer: Brian Gomez

Publisher:  Brain Games

2-4 pl  20 min ages 6+  MSRP $39.99


Young penguins can be troublemakers, especially if they’re hungry. You and your classmates have decided to sneak out of class to grab an early snack. You’ve hidden some fish around the school and there’s only one thing standing between you and these tasty morsels… the hall monitor! If you’re quick, you’ll be able to scoot through the halls and grab your fish before getting caught. If not, you’ll be stuck in detention…. again!

Ice Cool is a dexterity game where players will take turns flicking their penguins through a 3 dimensional school trying to either catch fish or catch the students skipping class.

Written review continues after the break.

Episode 237: The Spiel on My Village


Release Date: August 29 , 2016

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:   63 min.

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My Village is a game of life and death where players will tell the story of an entire community as time passes from generation to generation. Will your village focus on commerce and craftsmen producing and selling goods? Perhaps you’ll put your energies into building a magnificent church or a town council to provide law and order or send your villagers traveling the countryside to see the wider world. Your decisions wind the clock forward every turn and when time’s wheel makes a full cycle, your decisions will even decide who lives and who dies. A game of life and death indeed!

My Village is built around the same concept used by the game Village which won the Kennerspiel des Jahres in 2012 (listen to our review of Village). Dice feature prominently in My Village; in Village they do not. But I would resist the temptation to think of My Village as Village: the dice game. Instead, think of My Village as a reimplementation. A fresh take on the concept with entirely new game mechanisms at its heart.

Tune in to see why we think My Village is worthy to carry the name of its predecessor and to earn the Spiel of Approval award. 

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

GenCon 2016 - Narrative in Game Design


Release Date: August 16 , 2016

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Running Time:   52 min.

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Game designers build worlds and allow players to tell stories though the decisions they make in the world of the game.

We explore the importance of narrative in game design with a panel of some of the best storytellers in the world of gaming. What is gained by trying to make each game tell a story? How does research factor into building the world of the game? Which comes first: the story of the mechanics? Does the new trend toward campaign and Legacy style games open new doors from a design perspective? 

Our panel features:

Ignacy Trzewiczek (Portal Games)

Richard Launius (King Richard Games)

Christopher Badell (Greater Than Games)

Scott Hill (Flying Frog Productions)

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

GenCon 2016 - Consolidation in the Board Game Industry


Release Date: August 16 , 2016

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Running Time:   44 min.

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There have been waves of consolidation within the board game industry over the past 3 years.

The largest contributor to this trend is the French publisher Asmodee. Backed by a huge influx of funds from a new investor, Eurazeo, Asmodee has acquired several very successful publishers including Days of Wonder, Fantasy Flight Games and most recently F2Z Entertainment. They have also acquired the licenses to mega popular titles Spot It and Catan and have reorganized their retail and distribution policies to streamline their supply chain and limit online sales. 

Does this speak to the overall health of the industry, as it expands out of the niche market, possibly allowing some of the modern games we love to make their way into the mainstream or mass market?

OR is this the start of a cycle known well in economic circles where consolidation leads to less innovation and competition with one massive player in the market dominating all levels of the playing field?

OR is the truth somewhere in the middle?

Our panel features:

Eric Summerer (The Dice Tower)

Lance Myxter (Undead Viking)

Doug Richardson (Spieler, aka Lyle Otterbein)

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

GenCon 2016 - Designing Games with a Partner


Release Date: August 15 , 2016

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Running Time:   37 min.

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Working with a partner in any endeavor can be rewarding and challenging. Collaborating with someone on a creative project perhaps even moreso.

We’ve assembled an all-star panel to explore the process of co-designing games: Matt Leacock, Rob Daviau, Bruno Faidutti and Bruno Cathala. Both Brunos have a wealth of experience working with many different designers throughout their careers. Rob and Matt have also worked with several co-designers and have joined forces recently to combine two game worlds and game systems into an experience that is greater than the sum of its parts (Pandemic: Legacy).

What motivates designers to want to work together? How do they establish a common vision or divide up the tasks involved in the development process? How do they playtest since partners are often separated by distances large and small? How do they deal with conflict? How do they know when the game is done? We learn how our panelists approach these challenges and more over the course of our conversation.

Our panel features four noted game designers:

Matt Leacock

Rob Daviau

Bruno Faidutti

Bruno Cathala

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

GenCon 2016 - The Art of the Matter


Release Date: August 14 , 2016

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:   47 min.

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This round table discussion explores the importance of art and aesthetics as an integral part of the game development process.

From the artwork on and in the box to the size and shape of the components to the layout and logo, we examine the time and effort that goes into making a game beautiful or visually engaging. We also delve into the relationship between publisher, artist and graphic designer. These decisions and these relationships are not trivial. The publishers on our panel invest heavily in the idea that aesthetics can make an average game good and a good game great. Tune in to learn why!

Our panel features:

Stephan Brissaud (Iello)

Stephen Buonocore (Stronghold Games)

Kevin Brusky (APE Games)

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

GenCon 2016 - So, You Want to Start Publishing Games


Release Date: August 13 , 2016

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:   49 min.

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Every month, more small game publishing companies seem to sprout up. Even with a great game design in-hand, bringing that game to market as a sustainable business is a huge challenge for any young publisher.

Each member of this round table discussion has gone through the process of learning the various elements that go into publishing games. And each member has become an established player in the industry as a small or mid-sized publisher.

What can we learn from them? What advice do they wish others had given them when they were just starting out? What pitfalls would have been easy to avoid had they only known about them? Are there basic but not obvious steps anyone interested in publishing games can take that will set them up for success or, at the very least, prevent them from falling prey to common first-timer mistakes?

Our panel features:

Ted Alspach (Bezier Games)

Paul Bender (Greater Than Games)

Tim Fowers (Fowers Games)

Travis Worthington (Indie Boards & Cards)

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.



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