Episode 81: Spiel des Schpiel 2009, Part 2

81: Spiel des Schpiel 2009, Part 2

Release Date: June 22, 2009

Running Time: 128 min.

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Decision time. Five nominees, four weeks, one chance to predict the winner. We review and discuss Fauna and Finca, the final two games in contention for the prestigious Spiel des Jahres award.

News & Notes: Battlestar Galactica: Pegasus, Foundation bundle donations
Nominee #4: Fauna
Nominee #5:

Predictions:  Favorite Game, What Should Win, What Will Win
Mail Bag: Duck Duck Go Variant rules, monster dice, and more

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

 News & Notes

Battlestar Galactica: Pegasus Expansion BGG | Press Release

Pegasus expansion adds two new supplemental game boards featuring the Battlestar Pegasus and the planet of New Caprica, seven new characters, a new Cylon Locations overlay, two plastic Basestars, as well as new Destination, Crisis, Loyalty, Quorum, Super Crisis, and Skill cards.

New Contest

Your Move!  Link

New sponsor, new dice, time for a new contest. Introducing Your Move! Head over to the forum to see the format for the new contest. Over time, we'll have several varieties of Your Move contests and cycle through them. The emphasis in Your Move is on participation. Name That Game may burn your brain, but this one shouldn't. We'll pick a winner at random from all the entries and the winner will receive a set of newly minted Spiel dice!

The List

Fauna Official Site | BGG

Fauna is a game about animals, but it’s also a game about educated guesses. Place your betting cubes on the board, wagering on the animal’s location its weight, its height, perhaps even the length of its tail. After bets are placed and the animal’s information is revealed, you score points based on these cubes. You’ll score points for being right on the money. But in many cases, you’ll also score for being close. Shuffle up a new animal from the deck of cards and you’re ready to go again. First player to reach a set score (determined by the number of players) wins the game!

Finca Official Site | BGG

A colorful game with more depth than first meets the eye. Maneuveer your workers on the windmill to gather fruit. Use your carts to deliver your wares to Mallorcan villages with rapidly changing tastes. 

Donors - Pledge Drive 2009

Thanks to the following donors/subscribers:

Ben "Wonder Brick" Tichy

Mike "Sente Sucks" Bazynski

Rick "Braaains!" Baptist

"Cribtastic" Christopher Onstad

Misha "Keeper of the Comfy Chair" Nosiara

Darren "The Dominionator" Bezzant

Mail Bag

Duck Duck Go! designer Keving G. Nunn sent us a link to a variant rule.

Alex from the Game Preserve clued us in on monster dice from Maow Miniatures

Larry "The Mimix" Mendel found a great dice game compendium set.

Check out Lost Dice a neat home brew variant for Lost Cities using dice.

Our Spiel-themed Game Journals have arrived!

Spiel meet-up for dinner and drinks Friday night, 6:30 Barley's Brewing Company (467 North High St. Columbus, OH)


The background artwork is a picture of the completed Cribbage Tree!

Music credits (courtesy of Ioda Promonet) include:

"Animals Running Wild" - by Tommy Lepson & The Lazy Boys - buy the mp3

"Aquarium from Saint-Saens - Carnival of the Animals" - by David Kempers - buy the mp3

"Floating on a Fruitloop" - by Uncle Ira - buy the mp3

"The Best Is Yet to Come" - by Sy Rosenberg - buy the mp3

"The Fruit" - by David Hazeltine - buy the mp3


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


It's hard to wait, but I am saving the episode for my drive to Origins. I figured since it was the drive to Origins two years ago that started me listening, it should top this year's playlist.

Now I have to pick one of the original 30 to listen to on the way back...

Given that we are such windbags, you won't have to switch episodes very often on the road. Heh.

Packing today. I'll be on the road tomorrow. See you soon.

Personal choice (from these five): Pandemic.

Should win: Dominion, primarily for innovation.

Will win: Finca- my hunch is it will prove a comforting center around which to circle the wagons of a certain style and asthetic that one more time and it is a fine game in its own right. Unless the "Lifetime Achievement" aspect you discuss swings it.

Longshot bet: Pandemic; on the very off chance the jury agrees with me that compact co-ops like it are the way forward for family games.

Conspicuously absent- Ghost Stories, Metropolys.

Good call on Metropolys! It should have at least been on the reccommended list. Fits so many of the SdJ criteria.

I think the designer recognition weighs in much more than the jury is willing to admit, given the last two winners. That's not necessarily a bad thing. I just wish they made this fact explicitly part of the judging criteria OR create a separate award for the designer of the year.

Dave, how could you?

When you resolved the poll, Dave you made the assumption that a vote for "None of the above" meant that some other game than those listed was a game that turned me off. In fact, for me "None of the above" meant that there was NO GAME that did so! I "outgrew" games a bit in high school and early college, but only because that was what my peer group did, not because there were games that I refused to play or that made me not want to play them. When I found the designer game market, I was absolutely in heaven because I never had gotten over games!!

So while I'm sure that some of the 38% were "some other game," please don't discount all of the votes as that: I literally meant that there were none! :)

-- Joe

The way the poll was worded "what game (if any)" makes the assumption that if you were answering the question, there was some game that may have put you off games at an early age.

We're fully aware that many people wouldn't fit this description since (after all) we're doing a show about games and people who love them! :) That said, there are still many players (myself included) who have had bad experiences with games as kids.

The comment field is always open for this kind of discussion on any poll, but in this case, I guess we didn't do a good job explaining the question.

Yeah, I had that understanding from the commentary that some of us had made in the poll forum, but I wanted to mention it here because the way Dave said it on air kind of lumped my vote in with the "other game" vote. :)

-- Joe

I've already stuck my oar into this one far enough, although I'm pleased to agree with you- often I feel like this question turns into the same old barrel shoot of the usual fishy suspects.  But as long as Monopoly's come up, I should acknowledge an erratum on my part. Some time ago, I suggested that it was wrong to play it as a two-hander, since my 1935 copy lists three to seven (and if memory serves, the higher numbers involve some players sitting out and acting purely as banker or auctioneer- otherwise that would inject way too much money for the game to work correctly.) I noticed on a new copy though that it indeed now lists 2 on the box. I still have no idea how this would work given that an equitable one-for-one trade is so rare and auctions would be substantially less interesting but it does make me curious how else my copy differs from its descendant. (It's so old there aren't even illustrations on the cards.) I do like the game but as it turns out it might be because I'm playing a somewhat different game. YMMV.

So Dave is giddy today, right?!  This was a shock to me, and I'm sure many of you as well, but it's nice to see this entertaining game get this kind of international recognition. 

Sorry I wasn't at Origins this year to meet you Stephen.  I'm trying to work it out with my wife to be there multiple days next year :)

I was a bit surprised Dominion won, but it is certainly deserving. Very innovative and yet accessible to a fairly wide range of players. Not as wide a range as the typical SdJ winner, I would argue, but I am glad to see a quality game get attention like this.

Dave's response to me on email this morning was. "I am speechless."

I am still recovering from Origins (back yesterday evening). Hope we'll get to see you next year! If all goes well, Dave should be there as well.

When I was listening to the episode I was wondering if you guys were over-thinking your guesses. There was a lot of talk about the politics and other reasons, and I wasn't sure if that was the right way to go. It was hard not to given last year's winner, but I felt like BECAUSE of last year appearing to be a "lifetime achievement" award it would go back to the game, and Dominion seemed like the right fit to me (not that I was willing to put my money where my mouth was like you guys were!). I've had the opportunity to teach Dominion to a wide variety of players, and the thing is, even people who are just lukewarm about most games I teach them LOVE this one, so I can see why it won. I'm FF will get his shot!

Glad you had fun at Origins: I had a little game day of my own on Saturday to be with you all in spirit, even though I couldn't be there. :)

-- Joe

Dominion is a bit of a surprise to me simply because the range of possible players is certainly more limited than the others. Based on innovation and variety of gameplay, it's a very strong choice, indeed.

As for over-thinking, I still think there's a possible political element involved in the jury's selection. This is the first game initially published by Rio Grande to have won the Spiel des Jahres. It is a real feather in the cap for an American published game to win this coveted prize. One could make the argument that Jay Tummelson's massively positive contribution to the expansion and success of the euro game industry could have factored into the jury's decisions. Don't get me wrong, Dominion is a very worthy game on its own merits. But having served on several film festvial juries, I speak from experience when I say the political aspect of any juried award cannot be ignored.