Episode 52: Noble Niblicks

52: Noble Niblicks

Release Date: April 14, 2008

Running Time: 108 min.

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ep 51

Break out your nine iron and flibberty-gibbets. The Spiel turns two! We take on Coppertwaddle a medieval card game with a rich (fake) history and we roll our way through Box of Golf in all its wooden splendour.

News & Notes: Stone Age, Rapscallion, España 1936, Dave's Database
The List: Coppertwaddle, Box of Golf
Name That Game: Win Qwirkle, Mosquito Tiles, Spiel dice, & a mystery game!
Backshelf Spotlight:
Luck Plus, Password
Truckloads of Goober: Mouse Chaos
Game Sommelier: Five alternatives to Diplomacy that play in 2 hours.
Mail Bag:
Mike Selinker upcoming games, Listener's Choice, Exactly!

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.


Game News & Notes

Stone Age Link | BGG Entry

Players struggle to survive the Stone Age by working as hunters, collectors, farmers, and tool makers. As you gather resources, and raise animals, you work to build the tools needed to build your civilization. Players use 40 stone age men in 3 phases. The first phase players place their men in regions of the board that they think will benefit them, including the hunt, the trading center, or the quarry. The second phase activates one of these areas. In the third phase, players must have enough food available to survive. Note: Michael Tummelhofer is the pen name for the designer of Saint Petersburg Bernd Brunnhofer (the adding of Michael Bruinsma and Jay Tummelson is just a thank you for the good economic partnership).

Rapscallion Link | BGG Entry

As a sophisticated Victorian era card player, you'll stop at nothing in order to obtain a decisive advantage over your adversaries, even if it means using methods that are...well, less than respectable.

In Rapscallion, players vie for the best poker hand by bidding for playing cards using unique bidding cards and powerful Rapscallions. During each hand, players obtain more powerful bidding cards by giving up playing cards already won. Points are given for the best hand, certain types of hands, and for other criteria, until one player reaches 100 points.

España 1936 Link | BGG Entry

ESPAÑA 1936 is a game that simulates the Spanish Civil War (1936-39). It is played on a board depicting Spain and divided in connected zones, with counters representing each army. It has cards to develop the events of the war and to modify decisive battles. Some of the important real Spanish Civil War events will happen in the game, mainly through playing cards. But it is possible to change the course of history.

Dave's Database Download the Database (40 MB)

At last, Dave's game database is ready for public consumption! You can download it by clicking the link above. The database was built using Microsoft Access.

The List

Coppertwaddle BGG | Official Site

A medieval themed card game that uses collectibl card game style mechanics without being collectible! First player to fill their domain with four Noble and four Peasant Threlms wins.

Box of Golf BGG | Official Site

Slide the lid off the ingenious wooden box and you're ready to play 18 holes of golf. A press you rluck style dice game with a surprising amount of strategy and tension.

Backshelf Spotlight

Mystery Connection Contest
Can you find a connection between these two games? We find a mystery connection each episode and challenge you, the listener, to hunt for it! Post your guesses to the Forum . Find the connection and you could win a pair of coveted custom Spiel Dice!

spiel dice

Congratulations to Chris DeFrisco our winner for episode 51!

Luck Plus BGG Entry | Rules

Roll dice match them to your stacks of eight cards and be the first one to get rid of them all. Cards with special abilities can help or hurt you. Simple, addictive, fun.

Password BGG Entry | Wiki | History

A great game show that makes a fantastic party/parlor game. Try to get your partner to guess the password by giving them one word clues. Make Allen Ludden's day. Give this classic a try!

Truckloads of Goober

Mouse Chaos BGG Entry

Any game with a kitchen table, a mini persian rug, and cheese covers HAS to be featured in this segment of the show!

In this game, you have a set of mice to which you need to get to your nest. The problem is you don't know which mice are yours! Maneuver four mice into the nest and then check the color on the bottom of each mouse to see if they match.

Game Sommelier

The Challenge: Five Diplomacy alternatives (negotiation & backstabbing) that can be played in 2 hours.

Stephen's List

Dave's Vote

You're Bluffing Thumbs Up
Dragon's Gold Thumbs Up
Bootleggers Thumbs Up
Lifeboats Thumbs Up
I'm the Boss Thumbs Up
Cutthroat Caverns Bonus Pick
Lifeboat Bonus Pick

Next Challenge: Five games that match anniversary themes for years 1-5 (paper, cotton, leather, fruit/flowers, wood).

Mail Bag

Thanks to donors Timothy "Hive Mind" Harshbarger and Larry "The Mimix" Mendel!

Mike Selinker wrote in to quibble over calling him insane for one of his latest games: Yetisburg. Civil War with Yetis... You be the judge! He has several other new titles coming out this year: Link 26 , Dust & Sin , Harrow , Veritas , a trading object game from Duncan Yo-Yo, revised editions of Attack and Falling, and 2 yet to be named titles from Bucephalus Games. For more info on Mike and his work, check out lonesharkgames.com.

Here's a link to Lima, Ohio . Exactly where Dave was born.


Stone Age credits Michael Bruinsma and Jay Tummelson as designers. This was done by the designer as a thank you for the good economic partnership between the designer and publisher.

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



Michael Tummelhofer, the "designer" of St. Petersburg and Stone Age, is actually a pseudonym for a collaboration of publishers Michael Bruinsma (999 Games, Phalanx Games), Jay Tummelson (Rio Grande Games), and Bernd Brunnhofer (Hans Im Gluck). My source is BGG, but I've read that other places, too. Mark Wilder(a.k.a. JoeyHemlock) Chicago IL

I did not mean to include Michael Tummelhofer as one of the designers. I had written the pseudonym on my notes in case we wanted to talk about it, which we didn

Also, I was meaning to comment on how much I liked the music for the segment intros, and then you had to go and change it all! I want the Django-ish gypsy jazz from the "The List" intro. Oh well, at least you kept the excellent opening/closing theme. Are you guys going to make it to Origins this year? I hope so, and I might even let you win a game! Mark Wilder(a.k.a. JoeyHemlock) Chicago IL

Hey Mark.

Heh. I wondered if anyone would comment on the music.

The musical interludes in this show were a tip-of-the-hat to year one of The Spiel where the music behind the segment intros was different almost every time. Since we're only two years old, does that qualify as "old school?"

I'll keep the old intros and cycle them in for sure, but we may re-record the intros sometime soon and use some new musical selections, too. Some of the new loops I have are pretty catchy, so hopefully they'll grow on you.

Great to hear your take on Box of Golf. I have the St Andrews Deluxe version and pretty much agree with your sentiments. It's my favourite rainy Sunday afternoon game - it has enough challenge but with a gentle pace. A great one for table talk and socialising.

Not sure that I agree with many of the Sommelier picks though. I'm a hardened Diplomacy player and therefore difficult to please - but what people tend to miss about the game is that it's not endless rounds of "say one thing then do another". It's about forming relationships, making them work for you more than your ally, keeping people 'onside' but ruthlessly stabbing when (indeed, if) the need arises. ie It's not just about stabbing. If all you do is stab people you tend to be out pretty quick. I think the nearest one on your list is probably Cutthroat Caverns, though I've never played it (would like to), where you have to work together for most of the game but kill your comrades only when the game is almost won. (or, at least, the time is ripe) Wish I could think of some for myself - unfortunately I've yet to find a 2-hour Dip substitute. Thankfully there is pbem !


We don't stop playing games when we get old...... We get old when we stop playing games

I haven't finished listening to the podcast yet, but I peeked at the Sommelier after reading this comment. OMG!!! How can Quo Vadis NOT be on the list??? More later, when I've finished listening! :) -- Joe

Yep, Box of Golf woud be a great rainy day game. We found ourselves egging each other on to make riskier shots as the game progressed. IN my case, that mean I lost A LOT of gems. Should of played it safe...

Dave was at a distinct disadvantage with the Sommelier challenge because I forgot he has never played Diplomacy! It's such a classic and it's been around so long, I always forget he hasn't played. I'd agree he may have overemphasized the backstabbing elements of the games he chose, but all but one features negotiation in a pretty significant way, too (Bootleggers is the one I probably should have given him a thumbs down on - such a softie). Deals must be struck in order to survive and the obvious backstabbers will be pounded in like high nails. I think the time constraint makes the challenge difficult because any games that feature a lot of deal making and metagaming tend to take more time to play.

Thematically, Dave's five don't seem to fit since they come at the challenge from a purely mechanical point of view. For games that fit the theme as well as the time limit, JCSIV's suggestion of Quo Vadis is excellent and seems like it would fit the time limits. Gregory in Seattle recommended War on Terror from TerrorBull Games also. War on Terror seems like it might take longer than two hours but features a ton of wheeling and dealing within the socio-political arena.

Finished the episode, yay! So yeah, I have to kick Bootleggers in favor of Quo Vadis on the Sommelier list. If you guys haven't played this almost classic euro, you need to go grab it now! :) I give many many thumbs up to Lifeboats (you mention its release but don't mention that it's actually a reprint of a german game that's been around since the '90s, "Rette sich wer kann" which is the one I have and have played and loved for years)! I'd also give thumbs up to You're Bluffing and Dragon's Hoard, but I'm not sure about Cutthroat Caverns. Mouse Chaos: are you sure it's out of print? I saw it being shown and played at Spiel '07 in Essen. Maybe there's a reprint (if "print" is the right word) coming or something? -- Joe

You're definitely right on about Quo Vadis having more wheeling and dealing. We played it during the Game Marathon and we had a great time with it. Kind of surprising that Dave didn't think of it!

As for Mouse Chaos, I did a little more digging and, sure enough, it looks like one publisher is still making the game... in Iceland! The publisher is Isold Ehf. Here's the link to the game. It will set you back 4.990 kr (Kroners?). I had two classes in Icelandic literature in college. Always wanted to go there. Maybe I need to make a trip to buy the game...

4900 kronur is about $65...so make sure you save up! Also, hope you like Coca Cola...since Iceland is supposedly the country with the highest Coke consumed per capita ratio in the world :) What random crap you pick up from 7 year olds!

Glad I'm not the only one whose brain latches on to random information and locks it away like nuclear secrets!


Iceland is FULL of cool TOTALLY USELESS information...It's one of the few places you can eat rotted dead (Greenland) shark.  They sell a green bottle of liqur with a black label and white lettering and it is NOT Absinthe. You know those totally adorable puffins?  You can eat them. And the word Quarashi means Supernatural in Icelandic which is where the (FREAKING AWESOME) Icelandic rap group Quarashi got their name (Ironically from a spray paint tag from a founding memer...that left the band after their first big album...yeah I know.) And if case you looked them up, found the first album, and wondered what Tarfur means...it means Bull.



Great episode as always. I was skeptical going into it because the list game didn't sound like my cup of tea, but both of them ended up sounding surprisingly interesting. Also, I personally really liked the new music in the episode (not that I disliked the old music).

Thanks for the vote of confidence on the music. I have a lot of fun with it; plus, it seemed like was time to mix things up a bit and help keep the show fresh. I am hoping that we'll find time to record new versions of the segment intros sometime soon, too.

Also glad to hear we gave you reason to give Box of Golf and Coppertwaddle a chance. We try our best to encourage people to take a second look at games you might have passed over.