Episode 309 - Holiday Party 2018

Release Date: Dec. 21, 2018

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:   200 min.

Subscribe:  Enhanced  | MP3 | RSS


Old pillow cases, burritos filled with pop rocks, nutmeg jail, Gobblesquatch, oh, and a board game or two.

From Tasmania to Norway and Toronto and across the USA, join our party of misfit nerds for a festive, freewheeling conversation spanning the wide world of geekdom.

Most of all, be ready to laugh!


Jay Bartelt (Racine, WI)

Francie Broadie (Indianapolis, IN)

Stephen Buonocore (Boyton Beach, FL)

Maggi Cottrell (Seattle, WA)

Ezra Denney (Alameda, CA)

Gubbins (Indianapolis, IN)

Miklos Fitch (Houston, TX)

Starla Fitch (Houston, TX)

Beth Heile (Chicago, IL)

Debbie Ohi (Toronto, Canada)

Mark Rickards (Hobart, Tasmania)

Jeff Ridpath (Toronto, Canada)

Katherine Rosland (Stavanger, Norway)

Mark Smalley (Indianapolis, IN)

Mark Wilder (Chicago, IL)


Debbie Ohi provided the artwork for this episode. She was doodling while we recorded and, after you listen, you'll see lots of fun tie-ins!

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Cast of Characters     

Jay Bartelt

Jay Bartelt is a lifelong gamer and one of the organizers of the Gaming Hoopla, a non-profit game convention which raises money for cancer research.



Francie Broadie

Francie Broadie lives in the padded cell with her partner in crime, Stephen. She loves cats, knitting, folk music and makes beautiful beaded jewelry.



Stephen Buonocore

Stephen Buonocore is the owner and President of Stronghold Games and the new face of Indie Game Studios.

Stephen organizes several gaming groups, and is most passionate about heavily thematic, American-style boardgames.

Stephen is also a fan of Sci Fi and fantasy, and an avid craft beer enthusiast and former homebrewer.

Stronghold Games  |  Indie Boards & Cards


Maggi Cottrell

Former chef and noted Cribbage fiend, Maggi (maggibot) lives in Seattle. She is the Hobby Brand Manager at PSI. She covers the game industry on her site meeplesincluded and starting in 2019, Maggi will be recording a segments for The Spiel!

Meeples Included  |  Maggibot on Twitter


Ezra Denney

Noted wallflower Ezra Denney is a theatre nerd, power forward, lifelong gamer, Giants and Warriors fan. He works in the non-profit sector. He plays games at a regular meet up in the Bay Area where all are welcome.

Ezra is also hosting playthroughs of board games and rpgs for the fine folks at Quests & Chaos.

Alameda Board Gamers  |  Quests & Chaos


Miklos & Starla Fitch

Miklos and Starla are avid board gamers in the Houston area. They especially enjoy sharing their love and knowledge of gateway games, hoping to welcome more African-American players into the gaming community.  They run a wonderful page on Facebook called Our Family Plays Games highlighting great games they've played. Look for new segments from Miklos and Starla  The Spiel in 2019!

Our Family Plays Games    Facebook  |  Instagram



Gubbins Boffin is rarely seen and those who have seen him think it is best kept that way.

Gubbins loves co-op games and is still basking in the afterglow from  winning Pandemic Legacy: Season 2


Beth Heile

Beth Heile is, quite likely, the most enthusiastic game player on the planet. She is part of the BGG production crew. She also helps organize and run the largest board game meetup in Chicago.

Beth is an assitive technology expert for special needs students. 

Look for her new segment in episodes of The Spiel in 2019!

BGG livestream archive


Debbie Ohi & Jeff Ridpath

Debbie Ohi & Jeff Ridpath share a passion for fun whether through games or books or art or music. They live in Toronto.

Jeff is a technology development specialist for the Glenn Davis Group.

Debbie is an artist, writer and musician. 

Debbie's site

I'm Sad


Mark Rickards

A man of many voices, Mark  Rickards is from Hobart, Tasmania. He is one of the creators and co-host of The Dice Men Cometh, Australia's leading board game podcast. It airs on 99.3 Edge Radio every week.  

The Dice Men Cometh site


Katherine Rosland

Katherine is a multi-talented creative whirlwind from Stavanger Norway. She is one of the interview hosts for BGG's livestream coverage at Essen. She enjoys performing in live action role playing events and theatre.

Katherine and her husband Geir Harald are active volunteers with their local gaming group and convention.

Alea Jact Est


Mark Smalley

Mark Smalley is an avid gamer, reader and is a huge fan of roller coaster and theme parks. He also has a huge crush on game designer Tom Lehman.  His pal Henson (a Chihuahua) is an avid listener of The Spiel. And one day, little Darwin might be, too!

Tom Lehmann's web site


Mark Wilder

Mark Wilder is a 74 year old woman trapped in the body of a middle aged Chicagoan. Mark loves contract bridge, opera, and his lovely bloodhound Roscoe. Mark has a small photography business and runs Operahound, a site listing all opera performances in Chicago.


Roscoe's web site  | Roscoe on Instagram

Weird Things We're Attached To

Stephen's pencil

Doug's Baseball card - Gus Zernial 1952

Jay's Giant Record

Katherine's triple nut

(NOTE: this picture is an art project based on the nut)

Jeff's Spike Bathing Suit

Maggi's Nutmeg Jail


Mark's Hawaii Picture

And a pic of Percy, Buonocore's cat, because we love him

Things We Love 2018

Jay's picks



The Quacks of Quedlingburg

The Good Place

The Greatcoat Series

Peter Clines' books

Beth's Picks



Millenium book series

Project Gutenberg

Oz book series

Katherine's picks



Final Table

Blind Date

The Hookup Plan

Miklos & Starla's Picks

Ticket to Ride: New York


Black Lightning

Becoming Michelle Obama

Ultimate Braii Master

Jeff's Picks

Concordia: Venus

The Fall

Debbie's Picks

Spirit Island  |  our review

Dragonboats of the Four Seas

Crazy Rich Asians


Hearts Unbroken

Weave a  Circle Round

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

I'm Sad

I'm Worried

Maggi's Picks

The Strain

Never Let Me Go

Ugly Delicious

Lords & Ladles


Pixie Queen


Eye: My Favorite Things

Mark Wilder's Picks

Just the Cheese

How to Be Amazing


Fake or Fortune

Baumgartner Restoration



Doug's Picks

Marvelous Mrs Maisel Season 2

Come From Away

Gubbin's Pick

Killing Eve

Francie's Picks

First Contact

The Thirteenth Tale

Song of a Captive Bird

Mark Smalley's Picks

Slay the Spire

Ear Hustle


Slow Burn


Music credits include:

Holiday For Bells 

by Bert Kaempfert  |  the song

Chickens Are In The Chimes 

by Sascha Burland & The Skipjack Choir  |  the song

Egg Nog

by Ramsey Lewis  |  the song

Christmas in the Stars

Star Wars Xmas Album  |  the song

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

The Three Suns  |  the song