Episode 50: It's In The Bag

50: It's In The Bag

Release Date: March 17, 2008

Running Time: 98 min.

Listen Now:

Download: Enhanced Version - MP3 Version

Subscribe via iTunes: Enhanced - MP3

See sidebar for other subscription options

ep 50

Much better than a pig in a poke. We reach into our bag of tricks and find two light but surprising little games: the abstract award-winning Qwirkle and the latest from German designer Freidemann Freise, Felix the Cat in the Sack.

News & Notes: Gary Gygax R.I.P., Expansions galore, Yetisburg
The List: Qwirkle, Felix, the Cat in the Sack
Name That Game: Win Qwirkle from Mindware
Backshelf Spotlight:
Bucket King, Krieg & Frieden
Truckloads of Goober: Roads & Boats
Game Sommelier: Five games for musicians to play during session breaks
Mail Bag:
Geek lists, game logging

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.


Game News & Notes

Gary Gygax, R.I.P. Link

The game world has lost one of its most influential players with the passing of Gary Gygax, co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons. He is responsible for millions of hours of fun and enjoyment by gamers around the world. Would that we could all leave such a fine legacy. His impact on games and gamers will continue to be felt for many many years to come.

Settlers of Catan Adapter Kit Link

The 4th edition of The Settlers of Catan (Settlers-2007)provides an outer frame that encloses the 19 hexes that make up the island of Catan. This adapter kit provides that frame, the frame extension pieces for the 5-6 player extension, and the harbor pieces that allow you to vary the harbor locations from game to game. This adapter kit also allows you to use the Catan: Seafarers® 4th edition with 3rd or pre-2007 editions of Settlers. This adapter kit will be available mid-March 2008.

Descent: Road to Legend Link

New campaign rules for your Descent adventure! New terrors to explore and new adventures to be had! Swinging ropes, nourishing fountains, outdoor maps, sheltering trees, and more!

Thurn & Taxis: All Roads Lead to Rome Link

Two expansions in one box. 1st expansion: The players (clerics) try to arrive at the right time to be received in audience by the pope. 2nd expansion: The postal staff still helps you - but now you can draw additional city cards, get victory points or even set a new house.

Race for the Galaxy: Gathering Storm Link

This first expansion for Race for the Galaxy adds cards, a 5th player, and other ways to expand your universe.

St. Petersburg: The Banquet Link

The expansion cannot be played alone, but must be played with Saint Petersburg. The expansion is actually two in one. It contains "The Banquet", previously available in Spielbox magazine and new cards and components to allow play with up to 5 players.

Pillars of the Earth Expansion Link

With this expansion, new elements of the novel come into the play. The players can put mercenaries for the crusades at the disposal of the king, send their building masters to Toledo or take over the office of the tax collector. And with the enclosed material can be played with a fifth or sixth player.

Yetisburg Link

Four Score and Seven Yetis Ago… On the bloody fields of Pennsylvania in 1863, two great armies collided to decide the fate of a nation. The South rose, and the North responded with fervent mettle. As every schoolchild knows, at the forefront of the battle stood the mighty Yetis, white-furred giants imported from the wilds of Canada to shred the opposing front lines.

The List

Qwirkle BGG | Official Site | Designer's Site

Match shapes or colors to create the board and score points in a crossword style pattern. Simple to learn but full of great strategy, Qwirkle feels like a classic in the making.

Felix, The Cat in the Cat BGG | Official Site

Nine auctions for mystery cats in sacks. Some cats are lovable and nice; some cats are mangy and full of fleas. Collect the most points (and mice) and walk away the winner.

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 Edmund Hack our winner for episode 49!

Bucket King Official Site | BGG Entry

Protect your pyramid of buckets from rampaging barnyard animals!

Krieg & Frieden BGG Entry

Buiild a giant wooden cathedral with help from your workers and knights.

Game Sommelier

Roads & Boats BGG Entry

Suggested by listener Robert Martincic. Any game with over 1200 pieces in the basic set is absolutely a goober game!


Game Sommelier

The Challenge: Five games for musicians to play during session breaks. At least two fo the games must have a musical connection.

Dave's List

Stephen's Vote

Advanced Mastermind Thumbs Up
King Me! Thumbs Up
Probe Thumbs Up
Trumpet Thumbs Up
Takt Voll (suggested by Ken Shogren) Thumbs Up
Yikes (game designed by Dave) Thumbs Up

Next Challenge: Five fun games that are overlooked because of their goofy themes.

Mail Bag

Thanks to donors Scott "The Shogun" Loeffler, Chris "Mayor of Arkham" Maier, and Brennan "Sheep Master" Martin

Ian Mackey has a Geek List at BGG dealing with tips using x-acto knives and game collecting.

Ben Lott also has a nice Geek List covering our Game Marathon episode.

Ken Shogren has a cool Board Game Tracker to record each game he plays.

Snoozefest also has a great game log with a link to download it here .


Carlos Hernandez caught a mistake in the rules rundown for Felix The Cat in the Sack. I (Stephen) said that two matching dogs cancel each other out, but the rule is ANY two dogs in the same lot cancel each other out.

Several listeners (including middleclassjoe below) have written in to note that Maura Kalusky does the art for many of the Friedemann Friese game, including Felix The Cat in the Sack. I mistakenly attributed the art to Friedemann. Sorry, Maura! Here's a link to her web site

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



Great show, guys, even if I did fail to get the Spiel Dice by the thinnest of margins. What number did Dave roll ? I was thinking, today, one of the refreshing parts of the Spiel is that you tend to pick, and give love to, games which are so far off of most gamers radar that they border on the obscure. Not for you a review of Agricola or the latest Essen buzz. No, we are treated to cats in sacks (or pigs in pokes) and farmyard armaggedon. But after the show, I'm here thinking, "hey I should give that cat game a whirl, it sounds kinda cool". (I wouldn't have touched Zombie Fluxx had it not been reviewed here and yet it is the most requested game in Castle Gormenghast)

Talking of cats, have you ever tried Rat-a-tat-cat ? Now there's a game that gets a lot of mileage out of a few smelly moggies. Also worth a look. So, where can we find the rules to the mighty YIKES ?


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

So close, Steerpike, so close to those dice! You may land your second set yet, don't despair.

It's good to hear you value our coverage of games that are a little off the beaten path, like Felix. We don't necessarily shy away from the games with more buzz (agricola will certainly hit our table at some point!), but we certainly make an effort to give equal time to games on our shelves regardless of the hype or accolade.

Not every game we cover is going to appeal to everyone. And that's really one way (we hope) the show can help out. By giving people an in-depth look at both kinds of titles, it should leave you with a better idea of whether a particular game might resonate with you.

Rat-a-Tat Cat is a fun one, I agree. My four year old neice, Rachael, is getting interested in games. It won't be very long before this one gets some serious table time!

Dave will have to answer questions about releasing Yikes into the wild. He has shopped it to a few publishers and I think he'd still like to pursue that option. Who knows! The subject of self publishing has also come up. Stay tuned...


so, Dave, any news on Yikes ?

Felix was actually a game that generated a ton of buzz at Essen, and while I didn't pick it up until later, it was on the strength of that buzz that I got it. The List does tend to be newer stuff and/or stuff that gets buzz (recent lists included Kingsburg, Pillars of the Earth and Stonehenge, all of which have had a huge amount of buzz), but I think that's appropriate since it is after all, new acquisitions that go there.

I do agree with your larger point, though, because the Back Shelf Spotlight does indeed give a lot of love to games that you don't hear about on other shows. I've played Bucket King before, but until this I'd forgotten all about it, and now I feel the need to go get it! :)

-- Joe

Yeah, we don't shy away from new titles, for sure. In fact we have a show coming up with two very new games. but even when we do the new ones, we try to balance things out through the other segments. I am glad you all will help keep us honest in this regard!

As always guys, wonderful show. Can't really describe how stoked I am to check out Yetisburg and Yikes (Need anymore playtesters, Dave? :D).

Anyhow, as much as I hate to be nitpicky, one thing stood out to me from in the Felix: The Cat in the Sack segment of the show.

I think it may have been Stephen who mentioned that Friedemann Friese does his own art. Maura Kalusky actually does the art for many of the Friedemann Friese games. Maura's style really stands out and it's a big reason for me even purchasing Felix. Just thought this great artist should get credit since you guys, rightfully, always make it a point to give designers their credit due.

awesome job guys.

edited: I think I was drunk when I wrote this post the first time.

Thanks for the correction, Joe.

I recognized the similarity in the art with Felix and other Friese games but failed to recognize that actual artist. Sorry, Maura. Bad Stephen! No biscuit! A few other listeners noted the same goof on a separate forum thread, so I'll post the correction to the errata above as well. I'm glad you all are there to catch my slip-ups.

See comment above for more on Yikes. I'm definitely with you on Yetisburg, too. Such a wacky theme is enough to make me bite. :)

I don't know of a "nice" way to bring this up, but here goes.

The Gateplay ad is awful. I actually reached for my iPod and fast-forwarded past it this week after hearing it on another podcast and then the previous episode of The Spiel. I never want to hear it again and I can't even bring myself to visit their site. Maybe my reaction is extreme, but I just wanted to let you know -- if you have any way of asking them for a better ad, that'd be wonderful.

Sorry, but I felt like it needed to be said. :(

-- Joe

Hey Joe.

Feedback is always welcome, good bad or indifferent!

I'll quote myself from episode 49 where another listener had similar thoughts to yours.

As for the ad, I was fairly certain it would provoke a hot and cold response since it is so quirky, so no offense taken at all. Chris Handy, the man behind Gateplay, recorded the commercial himself and he thought the ad would generate a mixed group of lovers and haters. Good or bad, I'm sure he'd love some feedback (info@gateplay.com ). Feel free to let him know what you think.

Either despite or because of their ad, I'd still encourage you to check out their site simply because they've got some good deals on a nice variety of titles.

**Originally posted by DaveNI**

Yes, the ad is tacky, but the thing is, that makes it work. I kind of have the tune wandering around the grey matter in my head - popping up from time to time to see what's new. OK, so I'm probably one of the folks who may not use Gateplay.com very often (only cause I live the other side of the Atlantic).

And if it helps the Spiel then I'm not going to start complaining.

Dave :)

**Originally posted by Dread Pirate Weaver** Wow! My first attempt at posting a new comment. Be still my heart. I agree that the ad for Gateplay is definintely one that provokes an emotional response, and on my part it wasn't too positive, although I laughed a good deal. Happily, I visited their site beforehand and really liked their selection of games, and the fact that you get free shipping over $100. Unhappily, that provoked me to spend more money than I was planning, and got Yspahan, Amyitis, and Pillars of the Earth for just over the $100 mark. I got to play them all with my family over the Easter vacation, and I think even the elder generation (Mom and Dad in their 60s) liked the first two. The younger generation played Pillars and liked it, so my next goal is to get the folks to try it out. Unhappily again, I lost every game. But that makes me want to try again, so I guess it can be viewed as a good thing. No, I am not being paid by gateplay to post this note. Clarinetto Basso: vini, vidi, vici, squawki!