Episode 46: Stoned

46: Stoned

Release Date: January 7, 2008

Running Time: 128 min.

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 ep 46

Woah! Five games, five designers... all in one box. The stars align for us to play Stonehenge: The Anthology Board Game. We review all five games, each by a different renowned designer.

News & Notes: 24 hour Game Marathon, Diplomacy, Winter Break
The List: Stonehenge: The Anthology Board Game
Name That Game: Win Archaeology from Adventureland Games
Backshelf Spotlight:
Grass, Druidenwalzer
Game Sommelier: Five New Year's Resolutions for Gamers
Mail Bag:
Archaeology 2nd printing, Game Waves for cheap

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Game News & Notes

Diplomacy Returns in 2008 Official Site | BGG Entry

Hasbro is bringing the classic game of cunning and guile back into print this year!

24 Hour Game Marathon Jan 5-6

Stay tuned next episode for a documentary style show recounting the event!

The Spiel Takes Its Winter Break Feb. 4

No episode on Feb. 4. We'll return raring to go Feb. 18!

Become A Sponsor on The Spiel

We have open slots for four sponsors. Our goal is to have two 3 minute blocks of ads in each show. Drop us a line if you're interested in reaching out to ever-growing Spiel audience.

Colts Cribbage Board

A gift from our friends Jack and Jeanie Mitchell. Pretty amazing, no?

colts cribbage


The List

Stonehenge: The Anthology Board Game BGG| Official Site

Five great games in one box! Each game was designed by a renowned designer and uses the components in different ways and to varying degrees of success. An admirable concept and one we hope they continue to refine!

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 Ozjesting our winner for episode 44!

Grass BGG Entry

Dude! The only way to really have fun dealing drugs is to play this game.

Druidenwalzer BGG Entry

Brain busting 2 player game in the Kosmos series.

Game Sommelier

The Challenge: Five New Year's Resolutions for Gamers

Stephen's List

Dave's Vote

Play more classic games Thumbs Up
Buy small press games Thumbs Up
Organize Your Game Closet Thumbs Up
Design Your Own Game Thumbs Up
Donate/Teach Games Thumbs Up

Next Challenge: Game Sommelier returns later this year after our Winter Break

Mail Bag

Thanks to donors Tom "Make Me a Slamwich" Gurganus, Greg "Blokus Baron" Sweet, Brad "Lord of Hermagor" Keen

Archaeology The Card Game is entering its 2nd printing.

Look at your local Tuesday Morning shops for a good deal on Game Wave systems discussed in Episode 45 .


We forgot to resolve the Poll! Here are the results.

The Question was: When you give games as gifts, what type of game do you most often give?

61% - Gateway Games

12% - Party Games

12% - Gamerly Games

11% - Kids Games

3% - Classic Games

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


You guys will enjoy Kingsburg. I got it off Tanga last week and managed to play it twice last weekend, back to back! It was a lot of fun.

I bought a copy for Dave for xmas, so Dave is chomping at the bit to play Kingsburg, for sure. The problem is, the copy I ordered from a good friend's local store has not actually arrived yet! I had to give Dave an empty box with a picture of the cover buried inside. Talk about torture. Heh.

I already (regrettably) skip most of the shows because I just don't have time. I am really interested in this one, though. Is there any chance you guys might adopt the Pulp Gamer play book and split out some of your sections into separate shows? I'd rather have four 30 minute shows than one 2 hour show...


P.S. I couldn't retrieve my password, so I had to register a new account.

Thanks for the feedback.

The show is broken into segments so that you can listen to individual segments whenever and however you like. There are also chapter breaks included in the enhanced feed so you can more easily navigate the show.

I don't see length as a liability provided that the content and we are providing in each show is interesting and entertaining and we're not just rambling for two hours. So far, I think we pass that test. Anyone else have thoughts?

I like it all being one show. As you say, if there's a segment I feel is going slowly or boring me (say it ain't so!), I can skip ahead to the next segment, or if there's something I want to check out again (except of course for Name That Game) I can easily and quickly get there. I like the way you've structured it and wouldn't want it broken up.

Glad to hear you guys covering Stonehenge. I've been thinking about this little puppy for awhile.

I have been put off by the price tag. Seems to me that for that kind of money I would rather buy one beautiful game (eg BattleLore) rather than five mediocre ones.

Still, it was great to get an honest assessment.

My new years resolutions are posted over at my blog:

It seems we have overlap when it comes to the need to sort out our games cabinets !
We don't stop playing games when we get old...... We get old when we stop playing games

I thought a couple of the Stonehenge games were well above mediocre, but the price certainly seems like a barrier to entry.

The concept behind the game is very cool and I want to see it thrive because I see so much potential in it. In a way, purchasing Stonehenge gives you the chance to find many other ways of having fun with the core components since there are already dozens of new games by budding designers available online. Perhaps it is a weird way to think about a physical board game but not all that dissimilar to the ability to mod a video or pc game. Buying a game liek Stonehenge gives you the tool kit to remake the game in a way that is more enjoyable to you and others.

From your resolutions, sounds like you're considering a targeted purge of your collection. I also like that you're focusing on playing more games with your kids. My little neice Rachael is three years old and she is starting to really enjoy games we we get together. I got her some fun HABA games for xmas this year. It's a slippery slope to gamerdom!

My need to sort out my collection is more along the lines of building shelves for my current closet. My game closet will accomodate way more games than it currently holds due to the lack of proper shelving. Dave weeps a little every time he has to pull a game out of my giant teetering stack in one corner.

Fortunately my son has good taste.
Zombie Fluxx being the current favourite :-)

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

Our group was left kind of cold by the Borg game and didn't really find it all that great, so I haven't been able to get another play in lately thanks to the influx of other Essen games, but I was amused that you came up with the same solution to the vision problem we did by stacking the stones on top of the trilithons instead of putting them beside them. :)

I'm glad you guys covered all five, because now I have a good idea about what to expect from each (moreso than I got from the rules-reads), which I hope means I can get it into rotation on the next game day.

Unfortunately, I never know how long each segment is going to be so fast forwarding through them is... annoying. If someone is using Apple products, then I suppose the show is fine as it is. Personally, I need to be concerned about space. (I tend to prefer shorter shows because of this- it's much easier to manage my space that way.)

I enjoy the show when I do listen to it, though. I just can't listen to it all in one sitting, usually, and that makes it frustrating.


No assumptions made, just pointing out there are some other options available in case you didn't know or were able to take advantage of them. We offer two different versions of the show (both mp3 and the enhanced m4a). And it is true the enhanced features work on ipods. But iTunes itself is free to download and anyone can listen to the enhanced shows through iTunes directly for free. Of course, I realize the vast majority of people listen to the show on portable devices, but if you are interested in a particular show and want a little more control over it, this is an option. I don't own an ipod (i use an ancient 20 GB Rio Karma), so I try my best to make sure non ipod users don't get lost in the shuffle.

That said, I'm sorry if our audio format doesn't suit your needs but given our schedules and vision for the show, we're not planning on chopping up the show.

Now the video stuff we're going to do here on The Spiel may be more to your tastes since the segments will definitely be shorter than a typical show. Stay tuned for more info as we get closer to launch!

Even on iTunes you can't use the chapters, at least not that I've found a way to. Usually I listen on my iPod so it doesn't bother me. An easy way to help out would be to give the time where each segment starts. I've seen that on other podcasts. At least if you have access to that info you know where to skip to manually.

Good point, Greg.

Our pal Scotty Dickey has done a great service by assembling the Boardgame Podcast Report over at Board Game Geek.com. Each month, he outlines and lists the start times for each segment of each episode of The Spiel and many other great game related shows. It is a TON of work to do this every month, so I thank him very much for his efforts. Here's a link to the most recent report, but there are links to past months reports included in his post.


Sweet, it's an extra step to go look it up, but it might help out. Thanks. I might just use this to slice up the podcast myself, it's something I'm very interested in listening to.

It may not work on The Spiel's cast, never tried it (I listen through my car stereo and it's built in iPod cable), but when an enhanced podcast is playing...an all new "Chapter" menu comes up in the taskbar at the top of iTunes. It's sneaky, I don't even notice it most of the time.

FWIW, I love the show as is, and hope it never changes. Well, you can update the content...listening to the show every week may get boring after a while. :P I haven't listened to this episode yet, but I have a lot of driving the next couple days.

You're right, I never noticed that before. It even shows the picture that goes with the new chapter. That's nice.


Stonehenge sounds pretty cool to me, and based on your - admittedly mixed review - I just ordered a copy. A few of the provided games sound intersting, but what really excites me is the "tool-kit" aspect. It's no co-incidence that my order also included Treehouse and a stack of Fluxx Blanxx. Actually my "design a game" resolution was made in November, but I was encouraged to see it appear in your Game Sommelier.

Incidentally, the scoring-for-discards mechanic you commented on seeming both completely original and strangely familiar in Richard Garfield's Magic of Stonehenge... sounds "cribbed", if you will, from Cribbage and it's "box". I'm surprised you guys didn't make the connection - especially in the same show you showed us your pimped-out cribbage boards!

Hey, there's an idea - perhaps we could all design a game for Stonehenge, to live up to the Spiel resolution. We could then get Stephen and Dave to judge the best attempt.

I've been considering some Fluxx Blanxx myself. Right now we can't stop playing Zombie Fluxx in my house (one of my secret santas).
I had to get out Shaun of the Dead on DVD to satisfy my zombie lust as a result (a film I recently heard refered to as a Rom Zom Com - which has to beat a Rom Com hands down).

If I had to design a Stonehenge game I'd have to make sure it included my "bag'o'zombies".

Spiel on, guvnas.
We don't stop playing games when we get old...... We get old when we stop playing games

Cool idea, Steerpike. Are you volunteering for the first design? :) I eagerly await a zombie filled game with trilithons!

Shaun of the Dead = hilarious.


trouble is, I don't have the base game, yet, so I'd be designing without the actual board and bits.
Although I have the Zombies.

And I remain to be convinced at the wisdom of the investment.

Sounds like you're jumping in the deep end of the design pool, Mr. Gruff. Great! I am amassing a big set of wooden cubes and other game components for a stop-motion animation project (Spiel video-related), but the side effect will be that I'll have a nice game design toolkit to work from when the animation is done.

I hadn't thought of Cribbage in those terms at all. Hmm. Guess we were asleep at the wheel on that one! It's probably the closest analog, you're right. But there's still at least one mutation from that basic mechanic. The one thing the Stonehenge game adds that Cribbage doesn't have is to give players different special abilities based on the cards they choose to get rid of. In the crib you simply set yourself up to score (or your opponent if you choose poorly (or are unlucky)). After one has played enough games, it's interesting to see how so many classic game mechanics are repurposed. Not really any different than seeing writers borrow literary techniques from those great ones from earlier centuries. And yet usining those techniques to new and different effect. Standing on the shoulders of giants, that's how the phrase goes, isn't it?


Fun as always listening to the show. I have a couple of comments on your resolutions:

1) If you do make it to Essen, let's hang out! I'm almost certainly going again (and trying to drag a friend or two), so it'd be nice to actually meet and hang out with you all and try out new games together! Of course then I wouldn't be able to tell you how cool those Essen games you haven't seen yet are, but I'll take the tradeoff. :)

2) I don't think everyone needs to design a game. I think that if people think they want to then they should try, but just like I don't think that all people who watch movies or TV should try to make a show, or all fiction readers should write a book, I don't think it's necessary for all game players to actually try a design. Now, I'm IN the video games business and I have tried my own hand at game designs since I was a kid (just never tried to see if they were marketable, something I may try in 08), but I think that game design, like any other subjective craft, is something that you have to have both talent at and the willingness to work through the details and process.

So while I definitely agree that IF someone has a design they have had rattling around in their head, they should give it a go, I don't think that players necessarily have to attempt to be designers. Does that make sense?

I'm eagerly awaiting the results of the marathon! In the meantime I'm off to my own second game day of 2008 with some friends!

Hi jsciv,

I think your statement under point 2 makes perfect sense. BUT somehow people who are really into the boardgaming hobby usually try to develop a game. In most cases it will be never released (I also have a couple of ideas but still have not really an idea how to realize my concepts) but I guess somehow it is just about taking games more seriously.
A film or a book can just be consumed and most people are okay with it. But if you are really interested, you start to think about camera handling, cuts and the story telling itself. Same it is in boardgaming. After a while you get a sense for mechanics, luck factor, balancing, scoring mechanisms and so on. Sometimes (if you are try to review) you think of improvements, further developements or just the things which were done well. And this maybe makes people to say "let

The lowest entertainment consumer-turning-producer threshold is writing, and I totally agree that if you feel the desire to do it, then go for it, and I hope it's great (because I'd love to play one by someone I know! :) ).

I guess I'm just not into throwing myself behind a resolution styled at "all gamers" to design a game. It has to be something you want, not something that you're going to do just "because it's a good idea to have done", if that makes sense.

-- Joe

Hi Joe,


I bought Stonehenge without considering it as a toolkit, but to see what the designers came up with.

But Hamburgum, THAT I bought for the extra wooden bits! (well, and because it's a fun game).....

-- Joe

I see your point about the game design resolution, jsciv, but I'm with oxymoron on this one.

The point of trying to design your own game is to understand the process of play from a different perspective. I think this can be a fun and valuable experience even if you go into it thinking you don't have a creative bone in your body or have never considered designing a game. Breaking the game design down into its component steps: the concept, the mechanics, the components, the playtesting, etc. you learn about what goes into every game you play and enjoy as well as the one you are making. It's something I think a lot of people don't step back and consider and I think for that reason it can be a very interesting and beneficial project for anyone to jump into. My point was not to assume everyone can be a great game designer or even that everyone wants to be one. Not at all. Instead, it's the the journey, the process of game design that I think anyone could find interesting and fun even if the game you come up with would make Dr. Knizia cry.

I see what you're saying, but I don't think that it's necessarily true that learning the process of game design would improve someone's experience. For example, I have been on the set of a TV show. I personally found it fascinating and there are indeed things I learned. But it also took the magic out of that show for me. I know how flimsy the sets really are, that behind that wall is a craft table, etc.

By the same token, I think it's just as possible that it would ruin the fun for some people as it is that it would help them. Or that by concentrating on the "why" you lose track of the "what", lessening the fun you or other people around you have playing.

Again, let me say this. I agree that if you have any desire at all to design a game you SHOULD follow the resolution. I just think that as a general recommendation for gamers it may be too broad a thing to say.

-- Joe

I was interested to note that The Dice Tower had no love for Stonehenge in its recent "Review of 2007" episode.

It came in as "biggest disappointment of the year" and "worst game of the year".

As has been observed before, the beauty of the internet and podcasting is the range of views available :-)

spiel on, guv

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