Episode 73: Espadas & Cigarros (Swords & Cigars)

73: Espadas & Cigarros

Release Date: Mar. 2, 2009

Running Time: 130 min.

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Avoid the Lulo List. More games inspired by the Spanish speaking world. We duel for glory in Toledo and angle for rum and power in Cuba. Plus two classic card games little known to gringos.

News & Notes: Dominion promo cards, Córdoba, Jugamos Todos, Alea Expansions 
The List: Toledo, Cuba
Back Shelf Spotlight: 
Toruro, Mus

Truckloads of Goober:  Tango
Game Sommelier:  5 Spanish games English speaking players may not know about
Mail Bag: NorthEast Wars, Tantrix online

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

 News & Notes

Dominion Promo Cards for $.01 from BGG  Link

2 sets of promo cards for the Dominion board game by Rio Grande Games. You'll receive both sets (Envoy and Black Market) along with detailed rules specific for the two cards.  Each set will include 10 cards for play as well as one different backed Randomizer.

Asociacion Cultural Jugamos Todos  Link

A group aiming to promote modern boardgames as a form of social and cultural leisure for everyone. They organise different activities open to the public during the year, plus special events.

Alea Treasure Chest BGG

The 10 year anniversary of alea is celebrated with an expansions box: the Schatzkiste. A medium sized box, containing 10 expansions for 6 alea games.

  1. New buildings for Puerto Rico
  2. New buildings for San Juan
  3. A new 'gimmick' for both San Juan and Puerto Rico
  4. Nine new cards for Notre Dame
  5. A small set of new events for In the Year of the Dragon
  6. Building the Chinese wall for In the Year of the Dragon
  7. Material for a 6th player in Witch's Brew
  8. 'Magic abilities' for Witch's Brew
  9. Amulets for Witch's Brew. For a more exciting game with less players.
  10. A new table for Louis XIV

Córdoba Link | BGG

Córdoba is a 2 player mathematical card game set in this historic city's period of splendour, when it was the capital of al-Andalus, from 1300 to 800 years ago. Designed by Reiner Knizia, the game won't be at sale anytime and can't be found in stores. If you want to get one, you'll have to pay attention and participate in the activities of Jugamos Tod@s. Book your trip to Córdoba now!

The List

Toledo Official Site | BGG

Craft the finest swords using steel, gems and strategy and deliver them to the Emperor who resides in the Alcazar. But beware, your rivals' blades will be drawn and there are sure to be duels in the streets.

Cuba Official Site | BGG

Under turbulent circumstances, Cuban villages strive for independent wealth and influence. With raw materials to trade or make into valuable commodities like rum and cigars, it's a race to see which village can find the most success. But keep in mind, one must always pay attention to Cuba's ever-changing laws and manipulate them to your best advantage.

Back Shelf Spotlight

Toruro  Rules (PDF) Edited from instructions sent by Andres F. Pabon 

A trick-taking gambling game popular in South America, especially Colombia. Special thanks to Andres F. Pabon for introducing us to the game!

Mus BGG | History

A 4-card poker-style gambling game played with partners where no money need change hands and gestures signaling the contents of one's hand is legal!

Truckloads of Goober

Tango BGG

Colorful wooden dancers grace the game board!


The Game Sommelier

The challenge: five Spanish games English speakers probably don't know about.

Córdoba - Link

Cafe Race -  BGG

Tobynstein -  BGG

Gaudi -  BGG

Sombra Sobre Isla Negra -  BGG

New Challenge: five games with a co-op element but are not co-op games

Thanks to Crusher Crancko for his Geek List!

Mail Bag

Thanks to repeat donor Brennan "Sheep Master" Martin

Northeast Wars is coming in April. Register today!

Kristof "Funkenschlager" Tersago sent us some links for playing Tantrix online and a mega Tantrix layout!


The background image for this episode features pictures of cuban cigars and a cigar label, the Alcazar in Toledo, and a selection of swords from the period of the game.

Music credits (courtesy of Ioda Promonet) include:

Benedetti & Svoboda "Tarantas" from "Echoes Of Spain"  

Jaap de Kwaasteniet "Los algodones" from "Streetorgan 'The Cuban' - Salsas & Merengues"

Los Cuatro De Belen "El Que Siembra Su Maiz"  from "Los 30 Grandes Exitos De La Musica Cubana"

Los Cuatro De Belen "Guantamera"  from "Los 30 Grandes Exitos De La Musica Cubana"

Tango Lorca "Nuestra Hora Favorita" from "Mujer Sola"


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

I totally forgot to mention the Movement Bonus Tile in my discussion of Toledo! Instead of selecting a fencing tile, you can select the Movement Bonus Tile. This enables you to play one card of a DIFFERENT number when moving your swordsmiths along the road. This card can be played at the beginning or end of your movement phase. It is VERY useful, but beware, if you still have the movement bonus tile at the end of the game, it is worth -2 victory points. You can exchange it at a Fencing Master business for a fencing tile before the end of the game to avoid this penalty.


All of the town men play Mus in the book I am reading (Guernica). I am looking forward to the backshelf spotlight!

I'll be interested to know how the author describes the gameplay if it comes up in the book. With all the legal gestures and tabletalk in Mus, it could make for a good scene.

Funny this game came up. 

I was wanting to teach a friend of mine Scopa (after our game at the Spiel-a-Thon last year), but we wanted a more authentic experience that just using a regular deck of cards.  Unable to order online at the time, I discovered a local store that sold Spanish decks of cards for $2 or $3 (they had tons a couple weeks back).  Now, the card numbering is for Mus I believe, but the suits are the same...so now I not only have a (kinda sorta) Scopa deck, but now I discover I have a Mus deck!  Hooray!

I haven't listened to the episode yet, but back near the Mexican pop aisle at Jungle Jim's they have stacks and stacks of these decks for $3-4! 


Drat! I was just there.

We made the trek to the Ikea in Cincinatti to acquire furniture for the padded cell. Jungle Jims in just 5 minutes down the road. We thought about stopping but it was late and the truck was full.

If only I had known there were Mus decks...

All the more reason to go back again, right?

That said, yes, you definitely can play either Scopa or Mus with that 40 card deck. The numbers might make scoring the Primera in Scopa a little confusing, but other than that, you should be good to go.

it's worth going back.  I plan on it, the card backs were different than the deck I have :P   OCD much?


(I have started the entirely unhealthy trend of collecting playing cards)

If collecting playing cards in unhealthy, I am a sick, sick man.

A great friend here in town runs a magic (abracadabra! magic) business and I was a kind of silent partner helping him with tech stuff over the years. For a while, whenever he was getting new types of playing cards in stock, I was getting a sample deck from him. Sweet! The result is I have a ton of funky cool cards in the collection.

Yeah, I've noticed that magic shops seem to be the place to go for some funky cards.  There are some really slick looking decks out there (especially Black Tigers and Ghost decks like those sold on ellusionist.com ). 

The illness comes in when you find yourself debating eating lunch vs. buying a deck of Spongebob Squarepants playing cards because they are printed in 3D (and come with 2 pair of 3D glasses!)

Lunch won yesterday, but I will have $5 again soon.

I have several different e-lusionist decks and they are among my favorites to pull out for regular rounds of Cribbage with Dave. I like the Viper and the Ghost styles particularly.

As for the Spongebob "dilemma." Hmm, you may have a point...

So, I went back to Jungle Jim's today, and bought a deck.  Funnily enough, the Spanish deck of cards were made in Mumbai, India!  Aka, the hometown of the main character from Slumdog Millionaire. 

Two Spanish podcasts, with very accurate info - an entertaining listening time, as usual. Congratulations!

And your words about Jugamos Tod@s and CÓRDOBA are so nice; thanks a lot!

We are reporting your "Spanish" podcasts on our website, here.

You are invited to come to Córdoba, be sure we would have a good time here (playing and more :o)

¡Nos jugamos!

Our pleasure, JESS. Thanks for covering the show on Jugamos Todos.

We learned a lot and had a ton of fun in the process. I would absolutely love to visit Spain, so don't be surprised if we come knocking on your door in Cordoba some day soon.

One of our favorite local restaurants is a tapas bar called Cafe Barcelona. Give me a nice piece of Manchego with quince, a few anchovies, garlic potatoes, some crispy cod cakes and a big pitcher of sangria and I am a happy camper.

Hey, just wanted to make a suggestion for the Game Sommelier list of games that are not actual cooperative games, but require/use cooperation.  How about Settlers of Catan?  Can't get very far without trading with your opponents!