Episode 304: Maki Stack

Release Date: Oct. 2, 2018

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:   89 min.

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Mom told you, don't play with your food.

Maki Stack says forget that.

Sushi isn’t just delicious ; it's fun to build towers with it, too!

Using your fingers like chopsticks, listen close and see if you can stack your wooden maki faster than the other team. 

Then try it blindfolded! 

So much Major Fun packed into a simple set of blocks and cards.

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Episode 303: Drop It

Release Date: Sept. 25, 2018

Download: PDF

Designer: Bernhard Lach & Uwe Rapp

Publisher:  Kosmos,  Thames & Kosmos, 999 Games

2-4 pl  | 20 min  |  ages 8+  |  MSRP $30


The name says it all. Gravity is your friend and enemy in this game. Take turns dropping wooden pieces between two clear panes. Some areas you want to avoid; others, you’ll cash in for big points. The player best able to bend the laws of physics to his or her service will win the game.

Read on to  discover why we think the simple joys of playing with gravity paired with puzzle logic makes Drop It a rewarding surprise full of many different flavors of Major Fun.

Written review continues after the break.

Episode 302: Ya Blew It!

Release Date: Sept. 19, 2018

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Running Time:   75 min.

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There are lots of gems buried in this here mine. It'll take some dynamite and a bit of luck to get the shiny ones you want without collecting cursed ones that'll cost you dearly.

In Ya Blew It, you roll your stick of dynamite (a nifty 8-sided die!) trying to scoop up the best claims of gems before the prospector decides to nab them all. Mining is a high risk and reward business, so you have to play your cards just right to know when to press your luck and when to play it safe. The more you can build and protect your glittering collection, the more you'll cash in for big points. 

Tune in to explore the game and learn why we think Ya Blew offers up a heap of simple, addictive Major Fun.

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Episode 301: Hardback

Release Date: Sept. 5, 2018

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:   81 min.

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It’s the 19th century and  you’re a writer. Letters and such.

And you’re looking to break into the world of novel writing.

These novelists get paid by the word so, you’ve set your sights on penning a page turner with lots and lots of pages! You’ll earn prestige as you churn out the chapters and the writer who can finish their masterpiece first will be known as the finest novelist of the age!

Hardback is a delightful, fun and challenging twist on both deck and word building. It will make you look at the simple task of spelling in a totally new way. Each word is an engine that drives your novel forward generating income, abilities, and points.

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

GenCon 2018 - Wrap Up

Release Date: Aug. 18, 2018

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Running Time:   84 min.

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We recap our impressions of GenCon 2018, including discussions of industry news and several games of note.

Special Guests:

Darrell Ottery (Eclectic Games)

Gubbins Boffin (The Spiel's very own sound guy)

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

GenCon 2018 - Crossing the Cardboard & Digital Divide

Release Date: Aug. 17, 2018

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Running Time:   42 min.

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The digital world is encroaching on territory that was once purely cardboard. In an increasing number of games, a digital presence is a necessary part of the experience. 

We’re heading toward a marriage of these two worlds. And the question for some is: how comfortable we might be with this relationship? 

Our panelists have set up shop in the borderlands between the cardboard and the digital. They know this is a space worth exploring and that the future of gaming trends this way. 

We discuss the challenges and opportunities presented by crossing the cardboard and digital divide.

The panel:

Ted Alspach (Bezier Games)

Tim Fowers (Fowers Games)

Tim Burrell-Saward (Sensible Object)

image credit: dized.com

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

GenCon 2018 - The Mixed Blessings of Media Tie-Ins

Release Date: Aug. 16, 2018

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Running Time:   45 min.

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You have two good friends. Maybe one you met on a trip or at work. The other you’ve known your whole life. But they’ve never met. You love them both, but they are two separate worlds orbiting on different paths.

And then some day, by choice or some twist of fate, they meet. And you hold your breath. Because there’s that moment when you’re not sure whether these worlds will mesh together or collide in some spectacular fashion.

Now imagine that one friend is a novel or movie or comic or tv show you love. And the other friend is a favorite game designer or publisher. Two worlds we love, each in their own right, and when they come together, we hold our breath. We hope they mesh and create an experience that lets us play as - or along side -  the characters and settings we know so well. We hope for a rich thematic experience provided by the media married to gameplay that’s engaging and fun. 

This panel explores the mixed blessings of media tie-in games. What challenges and opportunities are unique to working with a media license? How do you forge an alliance between good media and good games?

The panel:

James Ernest (Cheapass Games)

Rob Daviau (Restoration Games)

David Brashaw (Baskspindle Games)

Francesco Nepitello (game designer,  War of the Ring)

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

GenCon 2018 - Media Roundtable

Release Date: Aug. 15, 2018

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Running Time:   46 min.

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We invite a fun-loving group of people in the gaming media to join us for a free-wheeling chat on a variety of topics both serious and silly. 

The panel:

Scott "Aldie" Alden (Board Game Geek)

Bebo (Be Bold Games)

Marguerite Cottrell (Meeples Included)

Eric Summerer (The Dice Tower)

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

GenCon 2018 - The Art of the Pitch

Release Date: Aug. 14, 2018

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Running Time:   35 min.

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You're a game designer. You've put in the hours playtesting, revising, playtesting, writing rules, playtesting, making prototypes and playtesting some more. Until, at last, the day comes when the game is ready for its first pitch to a publisher.

The question is, are you ready?

The art of the pitch is a learnable skill. And our panel of experienced game designers and publishers  will walk you through the essential elements.

When and how to schedule the pitch? 

What materials or documents to prepare?

How to craft an engaging but brief explanation for your game.

Learn the art of the pitch and you'll have a better chance of making your game stand out from the crowd.

This panel features:

Mike Selinker (game designer, Lone Shark Games)

Stephen Buonocore (Stronghold Games)

Tim WK Brown (game designer)

Erica Bouyouris (game designer)

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

GenCon 2018 - Games as Teaching Tools

Release Date: Aug. 13, 2018

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Running Time:   42 min.

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Games can be brilliant teaching tools both in the classroom and beyond it.

We discuss how each panelist uses games in creative ways to facilitate learning and develop life skills.

This panel features:

John Knoerzer (Licensed Clinical Social Worker)  

Beth Heile (speech therapist, assistive technology expert)

Kathleen Mercury (middle school teacher, game designer)

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.