Episode 89: Threatening Pinocchio

89: Threatening Pinocchio

Release Date: Oct. 26, 2009

Running Time:  138 min.

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No strings attached. The gloves come off when we fight as storybook characters in Scary Tales and weasel our way to power and influence in Revolution.

News & Notes: Opera, Metal Meeples, Dixit wins Juego del Año, Play - Modena, Italy
The List: Revolution, Scary Tales
Table Talk: Arctic Scavengers
Back Shelf Spotlight: 
The Warlock of Firetop Mountain

Truckloads of Goober:  Nelly Nilpferd and 4 others
Game Sommelier:  5 games to play while trapped in the restroom
Mail Bag: gaming therapy for autism

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

 News & Notes

Metal Meeples from Jofasa Games   Link

Available in aluminum and other colors.

Opera   Official Site | BGG 

Help the new form of musical entertainment called opera spread across the continent.

Dixit wins Juego del Año   Official Site | BGG

Party game asks players to choose a word or phrase to fit lush stylized artwork on cards.

Play - Modena, Italy - March 13, 14  2010  Link

If you didn't make it to Essen, you should check out Play coming in March next year! Play is a regional game convention featuring tournaments, an exhibit hall, and open gaming events for every variety of game imaginable.

Spiel-a-thon 2009  Link

Saturday, Nov. 21 4:30 - 7:00 PM. Come join us for fun, games, and help support a great cause.

The List

Revolution! Official Site | BGG

Choose the right form of persuasion to gain the support of townsfolk before the Revolution comes!

Scary Tales  BGG

Storybook characters battle to the last fairy standing using a combination of cards and dice.

Table Talk

Arctic Scavengers  Official Site | BGG

An open ended deck-building game where each player leads a rag-tag future tribe struggling to find enough equipment and support to survive.

Back Shelf Spotlight

The Warlock of Firetop Mountain   BGG 

A dungeon crawl par excellance with a fun deductive element

Truckloads of Goober

Alcazar - castle blocks

Antarctica 2090 - ceramic penguins

Nelli Nilpferd - wooden hippo butt

Savannah Tails - wooden ostriches

Ubongo 3-D - puzzle blocks

The Game Sommelier

The challenge: 5 games to play whilst trapped in the bathroom (challenge courtesy of Simon Wilcock) 

Roll Through the Ages




Agricola (really? Be serious!)

Box of Golf

Donors - Pledge Drive 2009

Thanks to the following donors/subscribers:

Andy "The Stickler" Rustleund

Mail Bag

Thanks to Karen and Randy Welker for sharing their wonderful story with us!


Music credits (courtesy of Ioda Promonet) include:

"Revolution" - by E-Dee - buy the track

"Puppet on a String" - Enos MacLeod - buy the track

"Iceland" - The Uglysuit - buy the track

"Revolution Poem" - Blaze - buy the track


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

The correct title of the game in the Back Shelf Spotlight is The Warlock *of* Firetop Mountain.


The bags for sale at the BGG Flea Market are for a donation and all proceeds will go to the Spiel Foundation.

Thanks for the clarification, Dwayne. You're even more generous than we gave you credit for! Every dollar counts and will certainly help us donate more games in the coming year.

See you soon in Dallas!

Glad Dixit has taken yet another honor, having already won France’s Game of the Year. Its success means that it should be more available. I’ve craved this one since first seeing the box art with no clue as to how the game worked and it’s all down to the alternately charming and sinister paintings of Marie Cardouat. I don’t think I’ve seen a game so dependant on its artwork before and recommend a peek at her website for a taste of her other work. Beyond that, though, this is the kind of sophisticated style that I’d like to see encouraged rather than inhibited. I read an interview with Kris Burm discussing the revamped GIPF series and the new look of TZARR. He said part of the reason for the change was that people found the original look “elitist” which struck me as just flat-out weird. I would have said “stylish”… “distinctive”- the GIPF project as a whole is a bizarre artistic concept anyway; why not go for broke? Here’s to those blurry individuals in the twilight zone between art and games and their diversions that eat my waking hours but keep me sane- well, saner- here in zombietown.

Not everything has to be Magritte or Rembrandt, of course- so going from the sublime to the charmingly ridiculous, since you mentioned it in the backshelf and since you’ve spoken of being fans, could I draw your attention for a moment from the sparkling French champagne of Dixit to the reassuringly familiar British lager of Talisman? I came across a copy at an irresistible price and had some mindless fun with it despite a common problem with randomness in games, namely that frequent reversals of fortune may lead players to believe that the game will never end. Apparently I have the disreputable third edition. Fine by me- the over-the-top 2000 A.D.-ish artwork makes the fantasy genre more palatable to me for much the same reason that heavy metal album covers sink so far into the ludicrous that they come out the other side as kind of cool. But as authorities on the subject, can you tell me why this edition is viewed so differently?

And to complete the long slow slide from grace to disgrace, how could Dave miss Cribbage, in which you can score by having runs and making a flush? (I’m so very, very sorry. I’ve let the site down and I've let myself down...)

Wow, you were right about Marie Cardouat's web site. Eye candy, galore! Like you, I applaud publishers for looking for art and artists with strong style and vision. It's one of the reasons I enjoy Mike Doyle's game art so much. What may seem like a risk in giving a broader range of art a chance actually helps give a game an image (literally) that sets it apart from the herd.

As for Talisman, it wasn't the art that put me off at all. GW has some great over the top fantasy artists. For me, it was the way in which Games Workshop tweaked the rules that really irked me. It's not as if the game was difficult to grasp in its earlier incarnations and it seemed to me that they tried to dumb it down (perhaps in a misguided attempt to make it appeal to the mass market?). It has been a while since I have played, so I can't think of the specific tweaks, but I played it a few times and remember thinking I much prefer 2nd Ed.

Your Sommelier suggestion has me circling the drain....

That's how weird I am. While most people print out overlays to bring the shortlived 4th edition up to the new FFG standard, I will quite possibly do the same at some point to retrofit my 3rd back to 2nd (looking deeper after resources online, it doesn't look like it would be that hard. The primary challenge looks like replacing the center ring, which I suspect they removed not so much to dumb things down or speed up the endgame as to compel you to buy the nifty tower expansion to cover the empty space. No irresistible prices on that these days though.)

Actually, your sommelier challenge parallels the early history of games, many of which were invented in the primitive equivalent of the bathroom, hence the ancient race game of "Plumbers' Snakes and Ladders", later known as "Ludo" and eventually adapted as The Very Clever Pipe Game. Ludo might still be popular today if its makers hadn't flooded the market.

Yes, the missing or altered center section was a main gripe about the "new and improved" version of the game now that you mention it. Very annoying!

I had no idea you were such a scholar of ludography. You're simply flush with knowledge.

OK, OK, we should both stop now.


Black Box is a nice abstract that can be played solo. In Black Box there are 4 yellow balls in a closed box and a player sends in 'rays' that will come out the other side unless they get near a yellow ball which will bend the rays and send them out a different side.

The game comes with a booklet that allows solitaire play and this would be a great addition to the 'Loo List'

Ah, my days in the smallest room are now not without comfort.... and so to the Steerpike verdict on the Sommelier.


First of all I would like to clarify that I was not on the toilet for two months. I was there for a day about two months ago - a small point, perhaps, but worth a note lest anyone feels the need to point me to a GI specialist.

Secondly, the English refer to the toilet as the smallest room for a reason. Because it's small.  Agricola ??? I can scarecly fit that one on my dining room table let alone in the cramped space of the great gaming dunny.

A massive thumbs down for that one but fortunately Dave redeemed himself with Box of Golf (funnily enough one of my favourite dice games and one which I had not thought of for my solitary confinement).

Thumbs up for the other suggestions although clearly, with reference above, Einfach Genial would need to be the travel version.

Thumbs up, too, to Okiedokie - as it happens Black Box was one of the games that I did play during incarceration along with Lunar Lockout and Go on the iPhone.

Good grief, is it some kind of game now to go on the I-phone? Those things are expensive and I imagine that such a thing would pretty much eliminate any potential resale value even if you got a bucket of bleach and- sorry, excuse me? What? Oh I see... yes that would be different...

Never mind.

 Just making my way through another great episode and wanted to comment on Scary Tales and kids. 

Game play aside, for me the graphics are way to "mature" for me to think of this as a kids game (for 8+).  I think they missed the mark with art matching game play.  It makes me wonder if thats the real reason for the high age hurdle.

Not something I would buy to play with my two girls...my 2 cents.


I hadn't thought about the art being the reason the game was marketed to older players. You could very well be right! In a way, that makes it all the more perplexing since the game would certainly appeal to a younger audience without this additional barrier to entry for some. Hrm... Very odd decisions in how they handled this title.

Great Episode as always! 

If we are talking about being stuck in the smallest room, why not give some props to the old Fighting Fantasy game books you mentioned earlier in the show?  Those things are great, lots of fun and very portable.

And here's an idea for when you are using them to make the whole thing a little more streamlined ... turn your pencil (you always need one for these books) into a die!  Just put the numbers 1-6 around the end of a standard 6-sided orange pencil and tadaa! 

Fun fact... it seems the Warlock on Firetop Mountain has been turned into an RPG game for the Nintendo DS.  It looks to be played from a first person perspective.

I must also talk about some other board games I've seen that have been ported to the DS... many of these seem to be Europe only, but a few are out in the US.

Subbuteo, Carcassonne, Stratego Next Edition, Scotland Yard, Jumble Madness, Scrabble, Catan, Blood Bowl, Rummikub, and maybe Keltis (I haven't played this yet to make sure it's actually the board game yet).  Not to mention the Hasbro collections like Family Game Night, and others like Clubhouse Games.

This is one of the reasons I keep a DS near the bathroom.  You should never be without boardgames!  Even on the throne!   Be prepared!


First rule of the DS in the bathroom: don't drop the stylus!

Other than avoiding the aforementioned hazzard, sounds like the DS would provide a ton of great board game options. I had no idea there were so many available on the DS. I've been tempted several times to get one and now you're making that choice even more difficult. :)

I just played Keltis DS (don't ask too many questions), and it is indeed a version of the board game.  I found a single player version is also included.  It seems to be that you go through finishing score challenges in that version.  I say seems, because the game is completely in German.  And I don't speak German very well (at all).  There are a few options I don't understand yet, but it seems to be solid.

I also forgot that there is a Dr. Reiner Knizia Brainbenders game.  It's a series of mini games, many based on old games.  It's neat because there's a cartoon representation of Dr. Knizia during the game.