Episode 417 - Pessoa

Release Date: April 24, 2022

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:  158 min

Subscribe:  Enhanced  | MP3 | RSS

This game chronicles the last 22 years of Portugal’s prodigal son, Fernando Pessoa, the renowned poet, mystic, and raconteur of the early 20th century. Pessoa wrote most of his work not under his own name but as one of 77 distinct heteronyms, each with its own identity, passions, and outlook on life. He allowed the artistic voice of each heteronym a chance to speak through his.

In the game , you play as one of Pessoa’s heteronyms, attempting to transform creative energy into inspiration and inspiration into poetry. Visit cafes to gather cards or the bookshop to influence your outlook and style. Then linger in the public square to assemble the best poems you can, hoping the stars align with each move you make.

But here’s the rub: There are four players in Pessoa but also only one. You, the player, live in Pessoa’s mind, while  Pessoa, the poet, the person, is an independent but neutral force in the game.You’ll need to flow from metaphysical mind space on one board to the physical world where Pessoa himself wanders Lisbon in search of his latest creations. Which part of Pessoa will be the most adept at finding the words that will echo through the ages?


Poetry professor and fellow podcaster James Engelhardt joins us for a special interview with Pessoa, the game review, AND Doug goes toe to toe with James in the Game Night Grab Bag segment.

Check out James on Lay It On The Table, part of the Geek & Southern Network.



Designer: Orlando Sá

Artist: Marina Costa

Publisher:  Pythagoras  |  BGG Entry  |  Buy Pessoa

1-4 players  60-90 min  ages 10+   MSRP 35 ($38)

Time to teach/learn:  10-15 minutes


Fernando Pessoa

Pessoa's Disappearing Act  |  Wiki  |  Biography

Special Guest - James Engelhardt

Thanks to James Engelhardt for helping with the Pessoa interview, game review, and *especially* for taking Doug to school in the Game Night Grab Bag segment. :)

James teaches writing at Furman University in Greenville South Carolina. He is the co-host of Lay it on the Table which is part of the Geek & Southern Network.

Klaus Teuber, rest in peace

Barbarossa - 1988 SdJ
Adel Verpflichtet (Hoity Toity) - 1990 SdJ
Drunter & Druber (Wacky Wacky West) - 1991 SdJ
CATAN - 1995 SdJ
Catan Card game -1996
Entdecker - 1997
Seafarers - 1997
Lowenhertz - 1997
Cities and Knights- 1998
Pop Belly -1999
Starfarers - 1999
Starship Catan - 2001
Chip Chip Hurray -2001
Anno 1503 - 2003
Domaine - 2003
Candamir - 2004
Elasund - 2005
Catan Histories: Struggle for Rome - 2006 | Settlers of America - 2010 | Rise of the Inkas - 2018
Tintenhertz - 2007
Catan Junior - 2007
Catan Traders & Barbarians - 2007
Catan Dice Game - 2007
Anno 1701 - 2007
Catan Geographies 2008 - 2012 (Germany, Indiana & Ohio, Mallorca, New York, Delmarva, Austria, Georgia, New England, Corsica, Hispania, Tennessee/Kentucky )
Rivals for Catan - 2010 (reimplementation of the card game)
Spinnengrift und Krotenschleim - 2012 KinderSdJ nominee
Star Trek Catan - 2012
CATAN explorers and pirates - 2013
North Wind - 2014
Tumult Royal - 2015 (with his son Benjamin)
Dohdles (reimplement of Barbarossa) - 2015
Smugglers - 2016 (with his son)
Mag-o-Mag - 2017 (with his son)
Starfarers - 2019
Catan Dawn of Humankind - 2022

Tom Broadie

Kind, intelligent, generous and an immensely talented surgeon and educator. Lover of sailing, music, good food and drink, and a good novel. We'll miss you. Bon voyage, Captain...  more


Game Night Grab Bag

The Challenge

There will only ever be one Catan, but if you went to the shelf now, what 3 games could be the modern day Catans?

No game will have the impact of the original of course, but 3 games that can kick open the door to the wider world of games. All selections must have been published in the last 5 years.


3 Games That Could Be Modern Day Catans

James Englehardt's Selections

Cascadia  | Wingspan  | Parks

Doug's Selections

Quacks of Quedlingburg  |  Lost Ruins of Arnak  | Isle of Cats


Apropos of Nothing

Dolphin Dave

Money on the highway

Weiner Man Stolen


Mandy Patinkin learns Wingspan



Bill Russell: Legend


Interstitial music credits include:

Dança das Estevas  |  by Alexandre Bateiras  |  the song

Cante do Monte do Galaz|  by Alexandre Bateiras  |  the song

Lisbon Antigua  |  sung by Eartha Kitt  |  the song