You are hereEpisode 71: High-Risers

Episode 71: High-Risers

71: High-Risers

Release Date: Feb. 2, 2009

Running Time: 108 min.

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The alphabet of giants. We shake the buildings from our sleeves by playing Metropolys and Manhattan, two simple, elegant games about skyscrapers.

News & Notes: Gryphon Games Bookshelf Series, dICEHOUSES, Kingsburg Expansion
The List: Metropolys, Manhattan
Back Shelf Spotlight: 
Shark, Big City

Turckloads of Goober:  Sky Runner
Mail Bag: Coleson syndrome, dice collection pics

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

 Game News & Notes

Gryphon Games Bookshelf Series  Link

The Gryphon Games Bookshelf Series is a numbered collection of book-size games that will appeal to a wide array of players of all ages. The games in this series are of medium-weight strategy, featuring short, clear rules playable in under an hour. The series includes some previously out of print classic and a few new titles as well.


The DICEHOUSES Shanty reminds folks that there is no more efficient source of warmth than sitting across the table from one's family, some good friends or strangers and playing some good ol' table top games. Each of the 5 DICEHOUSES is stocked with The Book of Hoyle, playing cards, dice and games for all to play.

Sounds like they've been listening to the show? Or we're just drinking the same kool-aid...

They even have the world's largest cribbage board laid out as a hiking course over the ice! Sign up to play here.

Kingsburg Expansion BGG

The expansion is composed by five "modules". One or more modules can be added to the game in order to customize it to your liking (or to have a slightly different challenge each time).

Immortal Eyes Closes Down Link

Winning Moves Inc. is closing down its hobby game imprint, Immortal Eyes. Trans America, Vineta will remain available through the main company.

Jungle Speed on the Wii   Link

Knuckle-busting card game from Asmodee Editions makes the leap to the Wii.

The List

Metropolys Official Site | BGG

Claim colored neighborhoods and arrange your buildings in patterns to score points. The catch is, you have touse your buildings to bid on each construction site!

Manhattan Official Site | BGG

Play a grid card and place a skycraper in one of six cities on the board. Stack the towers higher and spread your buildings across the map in order to win the game. 1994 Spiel des Jahre winner.

Back Shelf Spotlight

Shark  BGG

Arrange buildings to cash in big time in this dog-eat-dog stock investing game.

Big City Official Site | BGG

Construct a model city using large plastic buildings. Size and type of building determines your score. Here's the official word from Torben Sherwood on the upcoming Valley Games reprint of Big City:

"The official release date is not exactly known at this time. We are having all of the buildings redrawn to give the game a new look, then those buildings will need to be moulded and made from our new plastics folks. Once that is complete then we will need to go through final looks of the artwork with the new pieces and we should be ready to print.

We are looking at Origins as a possible unveiling but it could be a bit later than that, it will just depend on how smoothly things go.

Our new direction is to try and offer up some pictures of the new buildings on our website as they develop so you can tell folks that will be the best place for updates on those.

Truckloads of Goober

Sky Runner  BGG

Race to the top of a massive cardboard skyscraper!

The Game Sommelier

The challenge: five games Bill & Ted could play with the historical figures they kidnap in their time machine.

Medieval Babes - Poker BGG

Billy the Kid- Cash & Guns Official Site | BGG

Genghis Khan - Conquest of Pangea Official Site | BGG

Socrates - Good Question Official Site | BGG

Napoleon - King Me!  BGG

Sigmund Freud - Diplomacy  Official Site | BGG

Beethoven - Gipf Official Site | BGG

Joan of Arc - Havoc Official Site | BGG

Abraham Lincoln - Point of Law  BGG

Mail Bag

Thanks to donors:

Mark “The Nemesis” Wilder
Larry “The Apu” Kruger
Larry “The Mimix”Mendel
Philip “The Traitor” Hoffman
Patrik “Crazy Monkey” Stromer
Jerry “The Medic” Stovall
Jefferson “Catastrophe Tile” Ridpath

Dave has offered up some additional pictures of his dice and card collection.

Spiel-lingo includes a new term: Coleson syndrome. A new form of OCD?

New section on the web site will include segment descriptions and history of games covered.

Find Stephen on Facebook or Twitter.


Architecture is the alphabet of giants; it is the largest set of symbols ever made to meet the eyes of men. A tower stands up like a sort of simplified statue, of much more than heroic size.

- Gilbert Keith Chesterton, 1874 - 1936

Why, I just shake the buildings out of my sleeves.

- Frank Lloyd Wright

The back ground image for the episode album art is a still from Fritz Lang's silent film masterpiece, Metropolis.


I'm sure there are some goofs in there somewhere. Let us know if (when?) you find one!

Each city grid in Manhattan is a 3x3 grid, NOT a 9x9 grid.


joeyhemlock's picture

Dude, that Name That Game turned out awesome. I knew that submitting it in screenplay form was a good idea. :)

sconway's picture

Thanks. I had fun trying to find the right clips to set the scene.

Plus, we had a good script to work with..

xofour's picture

I admit I enjoyed the whole thing.  But I have no idea where to start in solving.  There are perhaps too many clues for my scattered brain to pay attentio to.  But it sounds fun, and will keep me busy for a while so thank you.

joeyhemlock's picture

Oh, and instead of "points" or "dice" earned for posting here, you should call 'em "pips". It just sounds better.

sconway's picture

Agreed. Pips sounds perfect. In fact, I have already made the change!

Now we sit back and watch Dave start posting like a mad man so he can have the most Pips...

joeyhemlock's picture

On the left hand navigation column, under our user name, there is still "my points" and "users by points".  Don't forget those!


Yay! I had a good idea! It's all part of my evil evil plans.

J Moody's picture

You are going to take over the world using your pips?

joeyhemlock's picture

1. Acquire a bunch of pips (here's two more now!).

2. ?????

3. Install myself as Emperor of the World.

xofour's picture

You do have to change the sidebar.  But instead of "users by points"  I think you should have it read "Peeps by Pips" 

edit: when I posted this the yellow bar said "User xofour earned 2 pips! Total now is 154 points"  so that's another one.  Sorry

joeyhemlock's picture

Didn't Stephen decide that followers of The Spiel would be 'meeps'?

xofour's picture

That kind of changes everything.  Because "Meeps by Pips"  doesn't have the same alliterative flair.  Oh well.

sconway's picture

I'm trying to track down the CSS file with the "points" references. As soon as I can, we will be an all pip institution.

What's the exchange rate for pips to political power? Guess we'll have to figure that out...

J Moody's picture

I don't know, but we might need to scrounge up enough points to end joeyhemlock's filibuster. He is raising political capital at an alarming rate.

xofour's picture

Now hold on there J Moody.  Before I donate my valuable Pips to your particular party, I need to know just what you stand for.  I mean Joey Hemlock has made his position clear, a maniacle ploy for world domination and ultimate power.  But just what do you stand for.  Pips don't grow on trees.  (but Pippins do)  While I may not agree with all of Joey Hemlocks platform points (pips?) I can at least see him as an honest piplitician.

joeyhemlock's picture

I don't have a platform because I'm not a politician! I'm a NEMESIS! I just want to systematically break down Stephen and David's spirit by continuing to beat them at games (occasionally throwing a game, just to give them hope), until eventually that leads to global conquest. It's not that different than The Green Goblin, except he wanted to kill Spiderman, not just beat him at Zooloretto.

sconway's picture

I sense a cage match coming on...

The Nemesis vs The Last Emperor of Planet Earth.

We haven't heard from the Emperor in a while, but I am guessing this bold stance by the Nemesis might bring him out of seclusion...

If not, get your dice and cards ready, Mr. N! I have proven you can be beaten....

Street Paintball at 50 paces...

Steerpike's picture

It's amazing that they have not made a Spiderman movie where the bad guy pulls out a copy of Ubongo and says "so you think you're smart, Spidey. Let's see how quickly you can solve these puzzles"

mind you, it would probably work better with the Puzzler in Batman

sconway's picture

I had forgotten all about The Puzzler!

Who knew Carlos Hernandez's (see episode 70) secret identity was a Nemesis for my favorite comic book hero? :)

The Green Goblin might not sit still long enough for Ubongo. Perhaps a game of Carrousel...

Steerpike's picture

I was going to vote to call them "Action Points" but it seems I am too late.

I can live with pips although to me it brings to mind the stuff you spit out, when eating fruit, as it's indigestible.


toodle pip

xofour's picture

Either that or Gladys knight.   I know it's wrong.  I kow it's dice pips.  I know it's a cunning maneuver by the nemesis to take over the world one board game at a time.  But for some reason my mind has to twist the pip from it's beautiful beginning as a cunnigly evil scheme into some kind of horrendous pun.

sconway's picture

We live with a Pip, our cat. So naming the points after her, also seems like a perfect fit.

Action points are awfully good, though...

Steerpike's picture

....although I currently have 234 Action Points. That could be a very long turn especially if I fall into Analysis Paralysis.


Is the cat called Pip because of the dice connection ?

My cat is called Edfu. I'll give 10 of my PIPS (/APs) to the first poster who can give me the game connection there ! (Can I transfer PIPs? Have you thought this through ?)

sconway's picture

Pip is definitely a tip of the hat to dice as well as Charles Dickens and Farscape (Pip is grey and white like Chiana, a character whose nickname is Pip).

Is the Edfu in question the Egyptian city? The temple at Edfu looks suspiciously like the Monuments in Tigris & Euphrates. Monuments, Steerpike is currently using to kick my butt in an online game....

I'll have to see if Pips are transferrable. I know I can allocate Pips as sysadmin, so you cna definitely use me as the exchange bank temporarily. Of course, the Pips need to actually DO something before this matters!

Steerpike's picture

hurrah for Wikipedia !

Yes, Edfu is named after the town in Egypt that houses the mighty temple to Hourus. Actually the cat is named after this location as my wife and I had just returned from a trip down the Nile when wegot him.

Furthermore EDFU is one of the locations in the other Knizia classic Amun Re, so the name just stuck. [the Tigris and Euphrates Nile variant was not out at the time]

sconway's picture

Totally forgot about Amun Re.

I was thinking I missed the boat because I didn't mention Ra!

Man, I thought for sure that the game to play against Napoleon would be Marin Wallace's forthcoming "Waterloo", since you would be gauranteed a win.

Bergbau's picture

Welcome back and thanks for this show.

Skyscrapers is actually a Swedish game, which Ravensburger took up. Dan Glimne (Gleem-neh) is a quite famous game designer in Sweden. He made Batavia (The remake of Moderne Zeiten) together with the designer of Ubongo, Grzegorz Rejchtman. Svea Rike and Ostindiska Kompaniet are older Swedish games, that he deisgned.

He is also a poker expert and has written several books. He is also a good friend of German designer Dirk Henn (who also speaks a little Swedish).

Anyway, I beat Dan in the Swedish Monopoly Championship a while ago. And he was also very happy with an essay on board games, which I wrote back in 2003. So we have occasionally met and he is always willing to promote gaming. While I regard Skyscrapers very similar to Adel Verpflichtet (Hoity Toity), I am happy that you mentioned this game.

sconway's picture

Great info about Skyscrapers. Very interesting!

I was familiar with Batavia and its connection to Mr. Rejchtman, but had no idea about Dan Glimne. He has some other great games to his credit. We enjoy Dungeonquest a lot. Cool that you have had a chance to meet him and play games. 

Another fine episode!

I think you might have been en error about the order of publication on the different versions of SHARK. Granted, it's been a few years, but the original version of Shark was from Flying Turtle, the board looked like this:

Though if there is a new Flying Turtle version I need a copy. (I think Flying Turtle is owned by the designer, but I could be wrong here.)

When I was at ICE we playtested the standard six zone board configuration and a new five zone board because we were going to produce a version of it. After ICE went under Ravensburger produced the game with the new board configuration.

The Ravensburger version also had hotel bits instead of tokens. They were better looking, but didn't work as well. I think that's the one Rio Grand distributed in the US.

Also, I liked the game so much I made my own wooden version of it in somewhere around 1997 - which I think pre dates the Ravensburger edition. Though I could be wrong.

The 5 zone map is much better because it encourages more player interaction. I even created an 8 zone map.


sconway's picture

I defer to your expertise, Donald. Thanks for the correction.

I'll check with Dave and see where he got his info! If there is a new Flying Turtle edition, I'll let you know.

PS: your wooden board looks awesome!

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