Episode 47: 26.2 (Marathon!)

47: 26.2 (Marathon!)

Release Date: January 21, 2008

Running Time: 94 min.

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ep 47

Not miles... hours! 24 of them. We set out to play games for 24 consecutive hours in order to get our unplayed list of games below 200. This episode was recorded as we played and documents the events of our day including session reports on a truckload of games both large and small.

Games Played: Ruse & Bruise, Unspeakable Words, Notre Dame, Weinhandler, Modern Art, Krone & Schwert, Augsburg 1520, Cash N Guns, Four Dragons, Digging, Quo Vadis, Lifeboats, Quao, El Capitan, Diceoku, Archaeology, Ballot Bots, Mister Bill, Pompeii, Showbiz Shuffle

Winter Break: The Spiel takes a week off February 4th. We'll be back Feb. 18th!

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Game Marathon: Games Played

Ruse & Bruise Official Site | BGG Entry

Players employ witches, alchemists, assassins, kings, traders, and others to earn good reputations in their fields of endeavor; but the players must protect them from certain attacks of the other players.

Unspeakable Words Official Site | BGG Entry

Decode the ancient secrets of R'lyeh by forming words with the letters you find in this sanity-sapping letter game. The more angles that appear in the words, the greater their mystical value, but beware! For each word that is created, you must roll a sanity check against its value to see if the word's power drives you mad!

Notre Dame Official Site | BGG Entry

In the shadow of the Notre Dame cathedral, the players compete for prosperity and reputation. Each family controls one of the 3 -5 boroughs that surround the site of Notre Dame. As head of his family, each player tries, through clever use of his action cards, to advance the power and prestige of his family, but beware the rats! Penalties are assessed those who do not take care of the health of the people who live in their borough.

Weinhandler Official Site | BGG Entry

n the world of wine auctions, you need to know when to buy and sell for the most profit. In Weinhändler, you compete to create the most valuable wine cellar. Buy the best wines you can acquire and arrange your wine groups to increase their overall value. Use your business sense and your wine stock to become the ultimate Weinhändler!

Modern Art Official Site | BGG Entry

Players compete to gain the most money by buying and selling paintings at auctions and reselling them for profit. Whoever offers the top bid owns the painting and sells it at the end of the round. The price the painting fetches is based on the popularity of the artist and how well his paintings have sold in the past. The player with the most money at the end of four rounds of buying and selling wins.

Krone & Schwert BGG Entry

Build cathedrals and cities, consolidate power and try to claim the crown long enough to tax your fellow nobles and gain victory.

Augsburg 1520 Official Site | BGG Entry

In the 16th century Jakob Fugger built an impressive trading empire centered in Augsburg. He earned so much money, that he was able to loan large amounts to royals in need of cash. As the royals were often unable to repay the loans, Jakob was more than willing to accept the special privileges the could offer instead - privileges that allowed him to become even richer and more powerful! Players take on the role of Jakob and compete to earn the most prestige by loaning money for privilege.

Ca$h 'N Gun$ Official Site | BGG Entry

In an abandoned warehouse, a band of gangsters is splitting their latest haul, but they can't come to an agreement on the split. It's time to let the guns do the talking, and soon everyone is aiming at everyone… All you have to do is stay alive and have the most money at the end of the game!

Four Dragons Official Site | BGG Entry

In Four Dragons players compete to be the dragon who summons the rains and saves the villages and the harvests. The game is one of trick-taking, but points are not what they seem, for points are scored only if specific combinations of cards are captured! And for players who prefer not to count cards, the game requires that all cards played remain face up - without taking away from the strategy of the game and thus making the game more competitive.

Digging BGG Entry

In Reiner Knizia's first published game, there are nine mine-opening cards and nine mine-closing cards. To score any points you've got to play gold, silver or copper cards onto the corresponding open mine and then close it. Trouble is, your opponents can close your mine before you want or even try to steal it with bandit cards -- a tough gauntlet to run, but here and there a few points trickle through and into the scoring column.

Quo Vadis? Official Site | BGG Entry

Each player starts at the bottom of the political ladder, and tries to move up the board through the committees to reach the Senate. In true Roman fashion, the road to power is strewn with laurels; to win the player must reach the Senate and collect deals and promises, not all of which they have to keep. Players can also use Caesar's favor to advance. But there is only room for five senators at the top....

Lifeboats Official Site | BGG Entry

In Lifeboats, players use their cards to vote for which boat moves closer to safety, which boat springs a leak and who gets thrown overboard. Negotiation skills are a must and backstabbing will not be uncommon - after all, you will do whatever is necessary to get your sailors to shore... and so will everyone else!

Quao Official Site | BGG Entry

What is QUAO you ask? QUAO (pronounced ‘cow') is the absolute, supreme ruler of an unruly wasteland at the edge of civilization where attempts at democracy are futile. QUAO is the ultimate dictator — and evil bovine with secret Rules. What does it mean to be QUAO? Being Quao means you know the rules and everyone else has to figure them out. As you play this fast and fun card game, you'll be challenged to discard all your cards first to win each round, as you try to become the QUAO.

El Capitan Official Site | BGG Entry

You are a reputable merchant in the 15th century, sailing to strategically important cities of the Mediterranean, building warehouses in these cities and fortresses to protect them. It is your ambition to become the most mighty and successful merchant of all. But you will succeed only if you manage to establish your warehouses in as many cities as possible and if you build your warehouses and fortresses in the most flourishing cities. The player owning the most money at the end of the game is the most renowned merchant and winner of the game.

Diceoku Official Site | BGG Entry

Part puzzle, part game, a great way to combine luck with the ultra-popular math grids. Use your chips to buy dice and their numbers from other players to use on your sheet!

Archaeology: The Card Game Official Site | BGG Entry

You are an archaeologist working the dig sites of the Egyptian desert. Search for the right pieces to complete torn parchments, broken pots and other priceless artifacts. Explore an ancient pyramid hoping to uncover a huge stash of treasure! Trade shrewdly at the local marketplace to increase the value of your collection. Sell your treasures to the museum at just the right time for maximum profit. But beware, the desert also has its dangers! A devastating sandstorm can throw your expedition into disarray, and cunning thieves lurk around the dig site ready to steal your prize discovery!

Ballot Bots Official Site | BGG Entry

You are a politician, and your position in the race depends on your ability to fundraise, advertise, debate and speak to your contingency at the right time and place. Advance your campaign, solidify your position, put yourself in the spotlight as you strategically maneuver around your opponents!

Mister Bill Official Site | BGG Entry

Inside Mister Bill's restaurant, waiters and cooks rush about preparing and serving favorite foods from around the world. Customers hungrily watch dishes pass by with sushi, omelettes, or even pizza! However, some say that the owner of the restaurant, Mister Bill, has the most expensive prices in the whole city! So,... who wants to pay his... bill?

Pompeii Official Site | BGG Entry

Come to beautiful Pompeii with this exciting game! You will use cards to attract your Roman friends and relatives to the town. But hidden in the deck is the dreaded Vesuvius card! Once this card is drawn, the volcano will erupt, raining fire onto the unsuspecting city! Now you must struggle to escape the doomed city, rushing to avoid the constant streams of lave that threaten to engulf your people! Will you be able to save them all? The player with the most survivors will be the winner!

Showbiz Shuffle Official Site | BGG Entry

Collect actors and directors, then combine them with stunts, special effects or other pluses to make the biggest box office hits. Out-mogul your friends - or if that doesn't work try giving them bad ratings or a drinking problem! The most fun you can have without making it into Entertainment Weekly!

Contest Winners

Congratulations to Marty Hoover, winner of the Name That Game contest from Episode 46! Marty wins a copy of Archaeology The Card Game courtesy of Adventureland Games.

Also, congrats to JEEP, the winner of the Backshelf Spotlight Connection Contest from Episode 46. JEEP wins a set of coveted Spiel dice for his connection between Grass and Druidenwalzer: hippies!

New Donors

We many new donors and that means game themed nicknames for each of them! Our sincere thanks and appreciation go out to:

Steve “The Autoduelist” Donohue
Ken “Mr. Crokinole” Maher
Mark “The Nemesis” Wilder
Aaron “Count of Carcassonne” Lambert
Kas “Expedition Alpha” Robson
Krista “Whonuu She Was So Good” Taylor
Mark “Ubongonista” Taylor


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


Good episode guys. You know how to make me jealouse. Playing games straight for 24 hours seems like fun in a sadistic sleep depriving way.
But in my house it would be impossible, not only would I be interupted with "what are you doing?" for a few hours till bed time, but the more frequent "are you finished" at 7 AM the following morning would be more of a killer.
Then add in the wifes comments about wasting a day.

Maybe I need to send the wife and kids on a holiday for a couple of days, then arrange my own 24 hour game.athon. Mmm, theres an idea.

Everyone listens to reason.
.......Neal Stephenson....Snowcrash

The whole thing was great fun. I think that comes through loud and clear throughout the show. :)

Our cat, Pip, was very intent on being part of the marathon, but you're right we did lack significant distractions from curious little ones demanding attention. Francie and I do not have kids at this stage in life and Dave's daughter is finishing college.

No nagging from Francie either, since she loves to play games, though she wasn't interested in sacrificing a night's sleep for our cause.

I'd encourage you to try it if you can find the players and the time. It's only one day after all! It was a blast! The ebb and flow of the games... the winners and losers... the overall mood swings of the event... it's something I'm sure we'll remember for a long time.

Thanks for the very entertaining episode. I'm curious, what were some of your favorite games?

Here's an idea for a future episode- how about playing the top 10 games on the Geek including impressions.

Hopefully some of the other marathon yahoos will weigh in with their thoughts here too, but some of my favorites were:

Notre Dame - great balancing act between all the different actions and those damn rats!

Krone & Schwert - constant upheaval trying to ascend and keep the throne really makes the game.

Cash n Guns - we wanted to keep playing this one it was too much fun blasting away at each other with our foam guns

Four Dragons - Funky but really elegant little card game really surprised me.

Ruse & Bruise - I know we hardly describe this one at all in the show (I think we were in such a hurry to begin with that we forgot!) but there a really cool mixture of decisions and mechanics that determine which of the Renaissance era personalities you want to recruit to help you score.

Pompeii - flipping meeples into a volcano. Need I say more?

Quao was really the only one that really fell flat and even then we still laughed alot and had some measure of fun. El Capitan was really interesting but I think I need to play it again when it's not 4:30 AM before I pass judgment on it. :)

I was a little doubtful when hearing about this that you would be able to pull it off (the episode, not the marathon). I was expecting a Spiel Stonehenge, but it was a lot of fun to listen to. The editing was really good (was it my imagination, or were the interludes timed to reflect the actual time passed), and the actual conversation stayed interesting. Extreme conditions like that can sometimes bring out certain qualities in people, but you guys sound as nice after 24 hours as after one.

Great job, and enjoy the break.

From the very beginning with The Spiel, we just dive in and see what happens with the show. So to be honest, we really didn't know if recording the marathon would work either!

Certainly the marathon is a big departure from our normal format, but I like the way the show gives you a good sense of the whole day. I didn't time out the music exactly, but I wanted to make the interludes longer as the episode went on. Time seemed to stretch out for us and I thought that would be a good way to convey it. Glad that worked! One thing I find hilarious is that as it gets later, we actually start going more in-depth in our discussions of the games. Going in, I figured just the opposite would happen as our attention faltered.

We were actually hoping to keep Jason winless for 24 hours just to see if he could continue to whine for the entire day, but sleep deprivation (and a bottle of Sailor Jerry) caught up with us the last few hours. That's our story and we're sticking to it! :)

Not sure what to make of the Stonehenge comment (guess you didn't like it), but we really enjoy taking leaps of faith with the show (whether it's a marathon or reviewing five games in one show) and seeing what happens, sink or swim.

The Stonehenge comment - I was trying to say that I thought the marathon would be a really good idea that just didn't work out.

It wasn't, and the Stonehenge episode itself was also really good.

Ah! I see!

Thanks for the clarification and sorry for the misunderstanding. The perils of the written word... Such a pesky little devil, language!

Awesome episode. You can really feel the sanity slip near the end :)

Too bad I didn't win the contest...

Sanity is overrated, really. I'm surprised we held it together as well as we did!

Sorry the dice gods did not favor you on the Backshelf Connection contest. Incentive to post again next time. :)


But you guys have inspired me to ask my gaming group to see if they want to try a 24 hour gaming session sometime soon.

Now, I know I'd be in deep trouble, because I've never made it 24 hours awake in a row before...let alone trying to game that long.

Any tips you can give for a marathon noob before trying something like this?

I wondered if anyone might get an itch to try their own marathon. Excellent! :)

Make sure you pick a wide variety of games and that you pick some mericifully short and easy to learn games as you cruise in toward the finish line. We did well selecting the titles from our list, but looking back now, we should have mapped out a better plan of when to play some of them. Starting a brain hurter like El Capitan at 3:30 AM, bad idea! We also set a limit at selecting games with no more than 2-3 hour play times (that's play time listed on the box not necessarily how long it will take to play!) for a single game. The wider the variety the more likely your players will not become disinterested in playing because they have been knocked out of contention OR the game is dragging on and on.

Second, read the rules to all the games before you sit down to play that day. We divided up the reading but it still took a lot of preparation time to make sure we had the rules ready to go. Even then the last few games required a fair amount of reiteration. :)

Our goal was to maximize playing time and get through as many games as possible. You may not have that force driving your marathon, but I think that was actually part of the reason we stayed so focused. If the marathon doesn't have an artificial goal other than to stay up all night and play games, it might be easier to make excuses and stop short of the goal. Perhaps there are a few games on your personal list you want to cross off...

Have a cooler with beverages at the ready and food planned for different stages of the day. We had a cold sandwich tray, then we did Italian beef sandwiches for dinnner, snacks for the late night and then a breakfast casseroley thing for the morning. The food was tasty but the goal was to have things that were easy to prepare and wouldn't make a mess at the table.

Two words: Sailor Jerry. Not sure if that's help or a hurdle, but it made the night more fun!

Keep track of wins/losses. As you can see from our recording, this became an issue of great concern, especially to Jason, as the night wore on! Obviously, we had fun win or lose, but the tension from not winning for a while (or at all) added to the dynamics of the event.

I'm a creature of the night by nature, and while staying up 24 hours isn't something I do very often, I function way better than most on very little sleep. Best advice in the sleep department is to make sure you are very well rested before you begin!

I am sure there are plenty of things I have forgotten but this is a good start! Any other marathon veterans care to weigh in?

So, no Die Macher at 3 AM... got it!

Thanks for the tips. Now to just get the game group to go along with it.

I actually prefer a gaming weekend to a gaming marathon. Get the gang together on Friday after work, game late, get up for brunch and game until late again, get up one more time for brunch and game until mid afternoon or so (because after all, you need to recover for work on Monday). You end up getting in more gaming time for harder-core games IMO.

Not that I haven't done 24 hours, mind you. :) I am just at the point where I like sleep every so often...

-- Joe

Gaming weekends are a blast, too, no doubt.

One of my long time game groups, The Rat Bastards, has its annual game weekend coming up to celebrate the Super Bowl. There will be gaming all day Saturday well into the night, a brief respite for sleep, and then more games on Sunday. Some people play during the football but most stop to watch. Francie's birthday is Sunday, so I'll only be able to attend on Saturday, but I'm sure we'll cram as many games as we can in then! :)

I host a Super Bowl party for non football fan gamers every year. It's exactly what it sounds like: we turn the game on and have themed party favors, but basically ignore the TV and play board games (except for the good commercials). So while I'm getting ready on Saturday I'll think of you all, and on Sunday, well, I'll roll a die in your honor. I think I'll be trying out Kingsburg anyway. :)

Great show - really felt the ups and downs with you - without having to stay up for 24 hours.
(12 hours was enough for me at Poodlecon)

As a one off it worked really well and it was great to ring the changes; it worked best when I knew the games (eg Notre Dame) but left me a bit bemused when I did not (eg Ballot Bots). Now I am just awaiting the real reviews of the games !

My recommendation for a 24 hour session would be to ensure that at least one peson knows the rules (preferably having played before) for each of the games that is to be played.

Indeed, at the aforementioned Poodlecon, everyone brought a selection of their favourite games and we rotated between them (you choose, he chooses, I choose). That worked great and led to even more trash talk when the person who brought the game came in last. Need to get one of those hats !!

Speil on, yoko !
We don't stop playing games when we get old...... We get old when we stop playing games

Glad the highs and lows come through in the show. Not many lows, though, unless you were Jason, losing 17 games in a row. Heh. Maybe you should do the 24 hour thing just so you can called it the Poodle-thon.

The point of the session reports was definitely to whet one's appetite. We'll certainly cover several of the titles played in future episodes with our normal breakdown of rules and reactions.

At least one person had read the rules in advance of playing for every game we played. As stated above, this required several weeks of advance preparation! Augsburg 1520, was our only major rules goof in the entire marathon. That's pretty amazing, really. I think your suggestion about playing games we know well is a good one for others to keep in mind when planning their own marathons (scooterb, you listening?), but it doesn't line up well with the goal of our particular event. We're trying to play new games we haven't played before off The List, so the games have to be new to at least Dave or me, probably both. In a few cases Jason had played some of the games before, so he taught us how to play and that worked out well.

I think Dave got that crazy-ass hat at Disney World. We also have a colection of silly hats we use for games like The Great Dalmuti, etc. I'm just glad I didn't have to wear the hat of shame very often.

I agree with the bit about as a one-off this was a lot of fun, but that in some ways it left me wanting in a way that The Spiel rarely does -- the thing I LOVE about this show is that you guys really do get into a game in your reviews and the way you just touched on them in this episode, while kind of expected and necessary, isn't something I'd want on a regular basis from you. :)

When I saw Quo Vadis and Lifeboats on the list of games I was kind of amused: Lifeboats is one of my gaming group's favorites because it's such a great equalizer. If you've been on a roll you will be handed to the sharks very quickly! And QV is one of those I would have liked to have heard more about what the guys thought (as was Modern Art, which was the "other" game we played besides Settlers when I first started into Eurogames since those were the only two really available in the states).

Anyway, I'm through the show now and glad the guys had fun!

-- Joe

For our own sakes, we promise the all marathon format will never happen! Mark would definitely kill us if we did.

Especially since we had a great time with the first one, we'll probably do more game marathons for our own pleasure (and pain). That doesn't mean we'll necessarily devote an entire episode to it in future years. As a one-shot it seemed worth it just to see if it could be done! Now that we know it can, if we decide to record them in future years, we'll mix it up in how we cover it.

The marathon was a fun change of pace from the norm for all of us but we certainly enjoy the more in-depth coverage when it comes to putting the show together.

As for Lifeboats, I agree with your assessment completely since I was the victim of that same vindictive strategy. I had won five games in a row coming into Lifeboats and those creeps made sure my little guys were the first ones in the water. Heh.

Most of the meatier games will certainly see full coverage on the show in future episodes, so Quo Vadis will get its day in the sun.


So .... where are the pictures of our hosts wearing The Hat?

There are pics of the hat in the enhanced version of the show, but since you asked...




I applaud you for the undertaking. Great job! I especially appreciated the energy of the immediate, post game review. I could hear the 'fun' that you had.

Thanks, Larry!

There was certainly an ebb and flow to the whole day, but it seemed like once we finished a game and saw another one on the horizon, we got another burst of energy and couldn't wait to dig in! Game adrenaline? Or maybe that was the Sailor Jerry...

Great show, guys.

Thanks for letting us participate vicariously in your 24-hour marathon.  I enjoyed the show more than expected and while I wouldn't want every show to be like this, I think I'd actually look forward to it if it were an annual event.

Perhaps a fundraiser?  Get your fans to sponser you for each game you make it through, and donate to your charity?

Glad you enjoyed our craziness. :)

As a one-time full length show, it turned out better than I could have expected, but I'm not sure our game marathon would be worth listening to on a yearly basis. As I mentioned in an earlier post, though, we might truncate the marathon coverage and include snippets as part of a regular episode. Stay tuned.

The idea of using the marathon to raise $$ for the foundation (or even for The Spiel itself) is very interesting. Can you hear my wheels turning? Hmmm....

To echo several other Spielers sentiments, I can't believe you guys pulled it off, and man am I freaking jealous! I find it hard enough to squeeze in three hours of gaming in a week, let alone twenty four freaking hours straight! This is the first time I've actually posted here, though I've been listening to your podcast for the better part of a year now... Yeah, it's taken me this long to get to this episode (i have listened to EVERY single one!). My girlfriend probably recognizes your voices better than she does mine at this point.

Keep up the great work. You guys never cease to entertain with your sheer exuberance and joy at the simple pleasures of playing and talking about games. It's infectious. Like ebola. You guys are like Gaming Ebola... Sick Gaming Monkeys bent on entertaining the world, one game at a time.

I can safely say this is the first time we have been compared to a deadly virus.

I hope it's not the last! :)

It took some real effort to keep everyone awake at the table for the whole marathon, but I've already hear some rumblings about next year's plans. We're coming dangerously close to tipping over the 200 mark with The List again (Dang it!), so we may have to take drastic measures.

Also glad you're enjoying the show. If you listen long enough, I bet our subliminal messages (must play more games - must play more games) will start to work and you'll be setting up your own marathon before you know it.