Episode 235: The Spiel on Paradox


Release Date: June 20 , 2016

Download: PDF

Designer: Brian Suhre

Publisher:  Split Second Games

2-4 pl 90 min ages 10+ MSRP $40


In Paradox you are a scientist fighting to save worlds from The Quake which tears at the fabric of reality. Inspired by Match-3 games like Bejeweled, players manipulate a grid of colorful discs to gather resources in order to save the past present and future of 15 different worlds

The heart of Paradox is the match-3 engine that drives so many casual games. The wonderful surprise is that this same engine can drive a game with greater complexity and deeper strategies. This brilliant union of seeming opposites makes Paradox a worthy winner of the Spiel of Approval Award.

Written review continues after the break.

Episode 234: Deep Sea Adventure is Major Fun


Release Date: June 14 , 2016

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:   37 min.

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Deep Sea Adventure is a wonderfully simple press your luck dice game from Japan with a devilishly fun twist: when you press your luck, you press EVERYONE'S luck!

Glittering treasure entices your team of divers to swim down into the depths. Each roll brings you closer to greater riches. The problem is, everyone shares the same oxygen supply! If too many divers get greedy, no one may make it back to the boat!

The higher scoring treasures are on tokens deeper below the boat. The more treasure you take, the more oxygen you use from everyone's supply, making it more difficult for each player to make it back to the surface with their loot. Playing it safe may insure your survival but one good haul from the depths could net you the victory. 

Tune in to learn more about this hidden gem and discover why we think it's Major Fun!

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Episode 233: Nitro Glyxerol is Major Fun


Release Date: June 1 , 2016

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:   36 min.

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It makes old people young again, turns wallflowers into stunning beauties and can turn dust, dirt or dung into gold! It smells wonderful and tastes even better. You can even reach the speed of light if you have enough!

What is it? Nitro Glyxerol of course! The only catch: every batch has to be mixed fresh... and you never quite know the results until you're done...

Nitro Glyxerol is a chemical mixing dexterity game. Shake and slide colored cubes through a maze to the long neck of your flask shaped mixer as fast as you can. But be careful! Precision is as important as speed in this game. The order of the cubes must match the pattern of cards laid out on the table. Collect cards to score points but beware of the dreaded mouse poop cube. If you prove to be a successful mixer. It could get in the way!

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Episode 231: The Spiel on TIME Stories


Release Date: May 15 , 2016

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:   65 min.

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If Quantum Leap was a board game, it would be TIME Stories. 

Your team is projected back in time to specific key moments to prevent damage to the main timeline. These are not massive historical events but scenes offstage and off the beaten path. Your consciousness is merged with a person of that era and as such you can use your foreknowledge and experience to help you and your teammates to discover the source of the threat to the timeline and prevent it. Each run back in time is limited, so many times you will have to return to the future, learn from your mistakes and re-enter the past in order to achieve your goal.

In game terms, TIME Stories is a hybrid. It is a cooperative story driven mystery and puzzle solving board game. It combines elements of role playing within a more structured environment the framework of board and cards that dictate the boundaries of the world and the game.

Best of all, TIME Stories is more than a single game. The box contains a general toolkit for playing not just the initial story deck that is packed in the box but all the equipment you need to play many different stories or scenarios without having to buy a board or tokens or dice for each one.

It's a carboard console and each story deck is a cartridge that can be plugged in for new kinds of fun.

Listen in to see why we think this level of innovation, engagement and creativity makes TIME Stories a very worthy recipient of The Spiel of Approval award.

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Episode 230: Favor of the Pharaoh is Major Fun


Release Date: May 2 , 2016

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:   48 min.

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Roll like an Egyptian!

Favor of the Pharaoh is a recipe filling roll-and-keep dice game based on an earlier title: To Court the King. Starting as a lowly peasant, you rise through the ranks of ancient Egyptian society by rolling increasingly difficult combinations to gain abilities, bonuses, and special dice. When the final round begins, the player who rolls the most dice with the highest matching number will gain the Favor of the Pharaoh!

This is the first game to merit BOTH the Major Fun and Spiel of Approval awards! The basic game is easy to learn and adaptable for younger or less experienced players. Double sided level bars allow for more strategic and thoughtful play. Put simply, you can tailor the game to fit almost any group at your table. Familiar yet fresh, Favor of the Pharaoh is a worthy recipient of both honors and, perhaps, a spot on your game shelf, too.

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Episode 229: Dr. Eureka is Major Fun


Release Date: Apr. 21 , 2016

Download: PDF

Designer: Roberto Fraga

Publisher:  Blue Orange

2-4 players  ages 6+  MSRP $20


There's an art and science to Dr. Eureka. Mix molecules in three test tubes to creat formulas as fast as you can. This clever combo of speed and caution make it Major Fun!

Written review continues after the break.

Episode 228: The Spiel on Mombasa


Release Date: Apr. 11 , 2016

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:   45 min.

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Experience history from the inside.

In Mombasa, players are investors in chartered companies, the forerunners of modern corporations. These companies were licensed by European monarchs and given monopolies over certain trade goods and certain areas of the world and afforded unprecedented military and political authority in the quest to acquire these goods. This led to massive profits for some at the cost of unimaginable suffering for others. The history of Africa, Western Europe, and our modern world was shaped in large part due to the actions of these companies.

Over the course of 7 turns, Mombasa allows players to explore the economic impact of four different chartered companies through their expansion and growth across the continent. 

The heart of Mombasa is a simple but elegant system of card play. Players select cards/actions but must place each card played into separate discard piles. Because you may only retreive one discard pile at a time, deciding what cards to play and WHERE to discard them becomes a tremendously fun challenge.

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

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Episode 227: New York 1901 is Major Fun


Release Date: Apr. 1 , 2016

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:   50 min.

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Steel giants rise high into the clouds. In New York 1901, you play an up-and-coming real estate developer trying to make your name by building the greatest array of skyscrapers the world has ever seen. 

You do this by claiming lots and placing Tetris-like tiles on the board, scoring points for building and upgrading your properties, having the most buildings along key streets in Manhattan and, if you plan well, you may also score bonus points for a secret goal at the end of the game.

More brainy than zany, New York 1901 allows players to shape the city according to their grand plan from a deceptively simple series of choices. Tune in to learn more about the game and why it deserves the award.

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

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.