Episode 51: Take Me Out To Olympus

51: Take Me Out To Olympus

Release Date: March 31, 2008

Running Time: 108 min.

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ep 51

Play ball! But forget the steroids; we've got Divine Intervention. Just in time for Spring Training, we play Pizza Box Baseball, a light card-driven simulation. Then we ascend to the heavens to protect four mythical races in Age of Gods.

News & Notes: Ticket to Ride Card Game, Kaleidos, Web Site issues
The List: Age of Gods, Pizza Box Baseball
Name That Game: Win Mosquito Expansion or Hive from John Yianni, the designer
Backshelf Spotlight:
Mexica, The American Dream Game
Truckloads of Goober: Descent
Game Sommelier: Five games with themes that keep people from trying them
Mail Bag:
Geekway to the West, Northeast Wars, Felix errata

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Game News & Notes

Web Site Issues

Thespiel.net has had some serious issues over the past week and a half. It's a good kind of problem to have since it is being cause by more and more people wanting to use the site. The site is collapsing because my current web host enforces a strict limit on the number of hourly queries to the database that runs the site. More traffic meaens more queries but it also means the site keeps imploding. I have a new web hosting account in the works and we'll be moving the site over within the next week. I'll also be upgrading the content management system to a newer version, so that should make the site less flaky.

Ticket To Ride on XBox Link

Microsoft plans to publish Ticket to Ride for their XBOX Live online service. No word on release dat yet.

Ticket To Ride: The Card Game Link | BGG Entry

Players collect sets of illustrated Train cards which are then used to complete Destination Tickets - routes between two cities depicted on each ticket. But before their Train cards can be used, players must face the risk of "train-robbing", where another player may force them to lose their hard-earned cards.

Kaleidos Re-Released Late 2008 Link

Picture based party gaem Kaleidos is getting a makeover. New illustrated boards form the basis for the game. Players write down as many items and people from these wacky illustrations that begin with a letter chosen at random. You'll score points for finding items that no one else does.

The List

Age of Gods BGG | Official Site

An epic struggle between divine powers to protect mythic races and ensure their survival to the end of the game. Problem is, you don't know which races to protect until the game is well under way! A surprising game of bluffing, clever card play and strategy.

Pizza Box Baseball BGG | Official Site

A must-have for any avid baseball fan. The card-driven mechanic does a great job of simulating the ebb and flow of the sport. Bring your own hot dogs and beer and you're set!

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 Auction God our winner for episode 50!

Mexica Official Site | BGG Entry

Third in a trilogy of games that include Tikal and Java, Mexica plots the development of the city of the same name on an island in lake Texcoco. Players attempt to partition it into districts, place buildings and construct canals. Districts are formed by completely surrounding areas of the island with water and then placing a District marker.

The American Dream Game BGG Entry

Invest in stocks of actual Fortune 500 corporations, buy franchises, collect royalties on inventions and copywrights and be the first to earn a million! A game for the budding Capitalist Pig in all of us.

Truckloads of Goober

Descent: Journeys in the Dark BGG Entry | Official Site

In Descent: Journeys in the Dark, heroes explore the corridors, chambers, and caverns that exist below the surface of the world, gathering equipment and treasure, battling monsters, and working together as a team to complete their quest. Over 60 miniatures, dungeon tiles, doors, treasures, and hundreds of counters. Book of scenarios and multiple expansions insure hundreds of hours of fun.



Game Sommelier

The Challenge: Five good games with themes so weird/boring/stupid that many people avoid playing.

Stephen's List

Dave's Vote

Relationship Tightrope Thumbs Up
Queen's Necklace Thumbs Up
Power Grid Thumbs Up
Vino Thumbs Up
Lunch Money Thumbs Up
Bohnanza Gimme

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

Mail Bag

Thanks to donors Joe "El Grande" Cochran and Hugo "Consulting Detective" Caprichoso

Carlos Hernandez wanted people to know about Geekway to the West , June 6-8 in St. Louis, MO.

Brennan Martin reminds us about Northeat Wars 8 , April 4-5 in Burlington, VT.

Several listeners wrot in to correct a rules mistake during my rundown of Felix: The Cat in the Sack. ANY two dogs in a lot to be auctions scare each other off and have no effect.

I also mis-credited the game's artwork to Freidemann Friese. Maura Kalusky is the artist. Sorry Maura! Here's a link to her web site


The American Dream game was published by Milton Bradley, not Parker Brothers.

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



**Originally posted by Steerpike**

I still don't get "take the Hale out of Whale".

What is Hale ? What has that got to do with ill health ?
Whilst I got "cosmic wimpout" the W remains a mystery to me.

Please enlighten

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

**Originally posted by Dave**

Hale means to be strong and healthy, so if you have a great blue whose health is gone, you have a whale - hale = W. Don't shoot the messenger!

Your discussion on Descent was timely - I have been pondering this question for a while, and just wasn't sure where to post it.

My son loves playing my old copy of Talisman. I don't. His birthday is coming up, and I was thinking of getting him either Runebound or Descent. Runebound was my early choice, but he has also recently gotten started playing D&D, so the dungeon crawl sounded good as well.

Any personal thoughts on these two games?

With the addition of the campaign rules, I think I lean more toward Descent. With either game what I am looking for is a story I can tell after the game. The adventure went like this... and each time you play you can get a different story. Both games have scenarios or expansions which allowyou to play through different narratives. But with Runebound, the order in which the encounter cards come up can sometimes break the story line in ways that make it feel more gamey and less like an adventure. With Descent you also have a huge toolkit with which to create your own adventures.

The one possible downside to Descent is that it takes appreciably longer to play than Runebound. I realize this could be just as easily seen as an asset!


I can't give a thumbs up to Power Grid simply because it's just too popular. There's nobody I know who would skip it because of the theme simply because word-of-mouth on the game is so overwhelmingly positive that you can't skip it and be considered a serious gamer! :)

I think I'd suggest Hare & Hedgehog ("excuse me, you're cute fluffy bunnies racing home while eating lettuce?" when actually it's an amazing little game) over Power Grid.

Oh and for Lunch Money: I was actually in the RPG industry at the time that game was made. The girl in all the photos was the daughter of one of the Atlas guys, and part of what they WANTED to do was to juxtapose the disturbing imagery with the play of the game. There used to be a game designers group game every year at Origins where everyone used a stack of quarters as their life, and the winner took all. :)

-- Joe

I'd have to say I'm on the fence about Power Grid as well, having seen the original version of the game which had map that you created a la the crayon games. Then again, if you're going to put Power Grid into this category, here's a few off the top of my head that shouldn't be discounted

Die Macher - Running elections in Germany
Ad Acta - Moving files around an office
Race The Wind - Yacht racing

Dave :)

Die Macher came to mind for me, too. Francie even said (after enduring a game with Dave and I) that she felt the theme was so boring or dry that it kept her from really getting interested in the game. I believe her exact comment was "if this game had monkeys and robots it would be a lot better." Gotta love that Francie. :)

Hard to argue with fluffy bunnies... Hare & Hedgehog is a great pick.

I thought I might stir the hornets nest a little by picking Power Grid. :) I'll admit it's glowing reputation may be able to overcome a gamer's initial objections, but I think based on its theme alone, it can be a tough sell to many, especially casual players. As gamers, we're already a group that gravitates toward the odd or unusual and by and large aren't afraid to try something a little left of center. I'll make a case for Power Grid because I think there are a lot of people who aren't necessarily big time gamers who would also enjoy it but because the theme seems to be so bizarre/dry/boring, they're more likely to play something else.

That's great inside information on Lunch Money! I think the juxtaposition of art and theme works as they intended it to, but that choice also keeps a lot of people from giving it a fair shake which is a shame since it is a lot of fun.

Croc is the pseudonym of a fairly well known French game designer. He's most known for his roleplaying game designs, and of these, probably the most famous is In Nomine Satanis/Magna Veritas which was translated/re-formed by Steve Jackson Games in the US, under the name In Nomine.

Viktor Haag

Thanks for the information, Viktor! I've played In Nomine but (obviously!) never took the time to pay attention to the designer. So, is the true identity of Croc really a secret? Sounds like you might know where his secret lair is...