Episode 61: GenCon 2008 - Part 2

61: GenCon 2008 - Part 2

Release Date: August 25, 2008

Running Time:   62 min.

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Please, sir, may I have some more? The second half of our convention coverage features nine interviews about new games from the blasphemous to the sublime. We wander from ancient Rome and Troy to the gritty tech-noir streets of Murder City.

Game Companies Interviewed:  Playroom Entertainment, Gale Force Nine, Kings of the Castle, Maxveld Games, Pinstripe Publishing, Roof on Fire Productions, Valley Games, Your Move Games, White Wolf Publishing

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

GenCon 2008 Interviews

Playroom Entertainment | Link

We discuss Ilium, a new Reiner Knizia game where players take on the roles of archaeologists competing for treasures on the site of ancient Troy.

Roof on Fire Productions | Link

The first game from Roof on Fire is Burosh, a neat combination of dice, trump, and poker mechanics.

Gale Force Nine | Link

GF9 supplies the gaming world with top-notch accessories ranging from templates for miniatures wargames and role playing, to scenics and tools.

Pinstripe Publishing | Link

Rival Jesuses compete to gather faith and race to the cross. A game so wrong it's right.

Valley Games | Link

Municipium is the latest release from Valley Games. We also talk about Super Nova and get an update on Big City.

Maxveld Games | Link

God Dice pits players against each other in fantasy combat. Custom dice combos for each type of character allow different attacks in this last man standing game,

Your Move Games | Link

Two big releases upcoming for Your Move Games: Monsters & Mercenaries for the Fantasy system and The Punic Wars, their first venture into historical rules and armies for the Battleground system.

Kings of the Castle | Link

Campaign coins are hefty metal accessories that add a ton of style to any rpg or board game needing money.

White Wolf Publishing | Link

You don't normally think of White Wolf as a place for board games. But you should. We get the low down on a nice range of titles including  Legacy of the Unconquered Sun, Mwahaha, and Murder City.

2008 Spiel NFL Office Pool!

Listener Jim Grosch has a neat side business on the web: funofficepools.com. He generously offered to set up an NFL pick 'em pool for Spiel listeners for the upcoming season. Naturally, being the football maniac, I said go for it!

I'd like to see If anyone cares to match my powers of pigskin prognostication! The pool is absolutely free and, who knows, if someone manages to beat me, I might just throw in a set of coveted Spiel dice as a prize Follow this link to sign up for the football pool.


You sound a little tired after your huge undertaking guys; get some rest.

Yes, Blasphemy has amused me since I first heard about it, but oh, that price is just a heartbreaker. I don't think I've ever dropped a c-note for a single game. Did you add it to The List? It'd be nice to get some details on anything that painfully expensive.

Heck at that price, it should come with a DIY water-into-wine kit.


I bet if they had thought of water into wine kits, they would have done it! Maybe in the expansion.

The components are nice but at the $100 level it's probably a stretch. You get a nice big screen printed cloth board, resin figures (the Jesuses), a cross, faith tokens (counters made from rubbery silicone stuff),  a bunch of cards and I think that's it.

The real issue behind the price is probably the fact that theya re a small publishing company. The first print run was small enough that they couldn't afford to charge less and still make money.

At $50 I'd say the components are more than worth it. At $100. Yeesh. I dunno. For now, the price tag has kept it from hitting The List.

Exhaustion hit us pretty hard after GenCon, for sure. I've had a nice few days of sailing to relax and get away so I think I'll be raring to go for the next show.

My girlfriend and I, being somewhat idiotic, actually picked up a copy of Blasphemy at Origins for her very religious brother as a birthday gift. When we got it home, I looked at it a little closer and realized that, um, no. It's not an appropriate gift for him. So, we're the idiots who bought a clearly not-religious (and possibly offensive) game for a very religious person. It'll be available for trade in the near future. Hopefully a no-ship trade because that thing is BIG.


Close call! That could have been very awkward if you hadn't realized in time.

I played a demo game at Origins and it's definitely a game which is going to succeed or fail based on how one reacts to the theme and how it is implemented in the game. As Samuraicat says the mechanics are nothing revolutionary (basically roll and move with a few interesting twists provided with the cards and collecting faith tokens) but the fun is in the humor/creativitiy of the cards.

There won't be many fence-sitters with a game like this, for sure.


I'm glad to see you realized your error before you actually gave him the game!  I stopped by their booth at Origins and read some of the action cards.  I wasn't personally offended but I could certainly understand how someone could be.

The production values of the game were great (nice bits, cool board, etc...) but the game play looked rather simplistic.  Basically just roll and move, read a possibly offensive action card, lather rinse, repeat.

I didn't stop by the booth, but until this episode I also thought it was aimed at the religious crowd.

I must apologize- I have no idea why my first comment here came out so large nor how to delete it now. I don't mean to "shout" at you.

Sometimes the content management system goofs up when posting comments and uses a non-default input format. When this happens, the text in the posts is larger. I have edited teh post so the text is now regular Spiel-size. :)

At the end of the show one of the guys mentioned picking up Red November. Yay! I played that in prototype form at Essen last year with the designer!! :) Hee hee! I've been waiting for it to come out just so that I can see how the play (and the production of the game) differs!

I was talking with someone at GenCon about Red November and I had no idea the game involved gnomes. I assumed with the title Red November it was some Soviet era submarine game. Whoops!

Yeah, as "Save the Krusk!" it was soviet. The magical "make your roll better" card was Vodka and my character passed out from drinking too much while trying to save the boat (after having gone out and killed the sea monster and been very tempted to just take off in the wetsuit and leave the rest of them to drown). It was a close call but we managed it with only a few moments left!!I'm really curious to see the redress.

After listening to the description of the Blasphemy board game, I was really insulted.  I consider myself very religious.  I couldn't believe the guy was saying that he thought he was treating the subject with respect, when he clearly was not.  I also couldn't believe that he thought anyone who didn't find it funny must be a "bible literalist"  who has no sense of humor, and I'm neither. Worse of all, I couldn't believe Stephen and Dave were applauding him for the creation of the game.  He may have the right to make any type of game he wants.  That's what makes this country great, but that doesn't mean you should cheer him on when it's clearly attacking a faith or race.  If it was a game attacking any other religion, everyone would have been outraged.  Can you imagine if he did an antisemitic board game?  Would everyone find that as socially acceptable as this game?  Would he get applauded for it? If Jews didn't find it funny, would they be told they have no sense of humor? What if it was a racist board game? Would it matter how good the quality of the bits were?

Guys, I love your show but man, that sucked.


We'll just have to agree to disagree about this one.

The game takes a humorous slant on a subject considered beyond humor by some. One publisher's attempt at humor does not equal a hateful attack or a denial of anyone else's faith. It's humor, plain and simple, and the tricky thing about humor is it doesn't always work for everyone. In fact lots of times, humor can fall flat on its face. I can safely say that the fact that Dave and I can see the humor in the game does not make us intolerant or hostile toward any group religious or otherwise. If you find the game's humor (or our appreciation of it) offensive or insensitive, you're well within your rights to speak your mind.

I'd invite you to actually play the game or perhaps even ask the designer for some direct feedback before you pass summary judgment on him, the game, or us.

You can always reach us via email stephen@thespiel.net and Steve Jaqua, the designer of the game is available at info@blasphemygame.com

 I will say this though, the term humor is often used now a days to hide when someone is mocking something. By mocking, I mean: To treat with ridicule or contempt; deride. Ever seen South Park? Those guys mock everything. It may be funny, but it's often mockery more than just plain humor.  The term humor is just a smoke screen.  I like that show and I often laugh when I agree with their position and don't laugh when I don't, but I know ridicule when I see it. 

Seeing the humor in something merely means you see the truth in the world view that is put forth. I know a bit about humor, having worked in the field for 17 years. Oftentimes whenever I get annoyed at something, I mock it. For example: A comic strip I made about the "Traditional Media".  It's easier for someone to get their point across through humor or mockery than through argument.  Specially because it's easy to write something like, "It's humor, plain and simple, and if you don't get it, too bad for  you," in defense of the mockery. Still, there is an element of contempt in mockery that can't be denied.  

Mockery and satire are forms (subsets) of humor, true enough. I don't think employing either of these long standing literary traditions is a way of hiding anything. In satire, human or individual vices, follies, abuses, or shortcomings are held up to censure by means of ridicule, derision, burlesque, irony, or other methods, ideally with the intent to bring about improvement. Steve Jaqua certainly made the case to me for the game as a form of satire. If that's not true for you, that's a reasonable assertion as well.

I've had more than my fair share of experience writing, studying, and enjoying humor in all its forms. But I don't think there's a magic formula that will make humor speak universally to all audiences. Satire certainly has other motives in addition to amusement, but I think malice for the sake of malice isn't one of them. Rather than a shield to hide behind, satire and mockery are most often used not because they are easier but to diagnose or deal with an issue or issues in a way that allows a different kind of discourse than would be possible from taking the same issue(s) without it.

Satire and mockery can succeed or fail just like any other form of humor. And just as with South Park, it can often be a question of taste for an individual's interpretation. Leveling claims that the game may be in poor taste because the humor doesn't speak to you is more than fair. And if our taste doesn't reflect yours, that's fair, too. But we simply offer our perspective on whatever games we cover and certainly don't seek to enforce our opinions or world view on anyone else. My main point here is that any game called Blasphemy isn't seeking to hide behind it's use of mockery or satire.

Excellent point!

One question remains...If it is okay to make a satirical game about Jesus Christ, would it also be okay to make a satirical game about the Jews in holocaust?

I think any intrepretations based on a creative enterprise should be done on a case by case basis. I can't really comment specifically on a game that doesn't exist like the one you mentioned.

Blasphemy the game does.

In a free society, people can create all kinds of things that others consider in poor taste, perhaps even reprehensible by some standard.

The laws that (i hope) still govern this land allow many things to be expressed that I may not agree with or condone. Even so, I'm glad others have the right to speak their minds.

Thanks for answering my stuborn questions and putting up with me, Stephen.  I'm learning a lot. I admire your ability to express your position clearly. Not only that, but I really like your answers.  I wish I didn't have anymore questions but I do. 


Is there no place in this free society to react negatively to a creative enterprise (that the a person has every right to express) which someone finds in terrible taste and even reprehesible? Even though others think there is nothing wrong with it or justify it on the merit that it is free expression.  Is there no objective measure by which someone could say, "this is hurtful and you ought not support it" without being mocked or told, "it's a free country, deal with it"?   If so, what form should or  could it take?


If someone has the freedom to do or express something, does it automatically mean they have the licence to do it?  By freedom I mean: Taking responsibility for our own life. Insofar as it is compatible with the common good, people should be allowed to choose freely what they want to do and how they live their lives. Freedom embraces responsibility and is guided by reason and virtue.  By license I mean: The throwing off of all responsibility. It is a carte blanche to do what we feel.  License is choice without restraint.


Again, thanks for putting up with me.

Somehow, I thought this game would generate this sort of discussion....  :-)

Well, I think anyone has the freedom to react negatively to something they find offensive or reprehensible.   And, since we live in a capitalist economy, we are free to vote with our wallets, and choose not to buy that product as an expression of our offense and outrage.  And, that offended party can encourage all of their friends and acquaintances to boycott the product, in the hopes that low sales will drive them from the market.  But, apart from encourgaing legislators to change public policy, there are only a few options available for expressing disdain for something that is created and distributed within the bounds of the law.   Economics tends to trump morality in our capitalist postmodern society, so the question that is asked isn't usually "is this right?" but more often than not, "Will it sell?".



I enjoy a lively discussion, Luis. Given most of the discourse here doesn't turn its attention to heavier issues very often, but I am happy to respond as time and brain-power permits!

I guess I see any public forum as the perfect place to express concerns, doubts, or even outrage when it comes to the free exchange of ideas and what speech in considered acceptable by a community. Even a site like this serves that purpose to some very small extent.

In a society governed by the rule of law, I think to whatever extent it can, the law serves as a snapshot view of the standards deemed acceptable by a community. The law is imperfect, to be sure, but it does provide a kind of  historical measuring stick from which to gauge such conflicts. It's a constant negotiation, though, not something that is written in stone. Laws and standards of acceptance of speech and expression ebb and flow over time. And clearly there are some boundaries, areas where society and the law have stepped in (think about hate crime/hate speech laws). This seems to be the line between license and freedom for our culture today. And there are plenty of grey areas (as John so rightly points out) where the market itself can counterbalance or marginalize certain kinds of commercial speech simply by ignoring it or choosing not to patronize it.

Can vs should. Being able to say something and knowing when to say something are certain two different things! The law in a free society gives some slack to things that can be said, but it is not completely silent on things that should not. In a free society, if the law becomes out of step with the community, the mechanisms for protest and change are built into the system.

Cool, I got TWO responses to the questions and they were BOTH great. Thanks a lot guys. I think I'm done.

You've just lost a listener for good and I will not buy from any of your advertisers.  Ever.

It's unfortunate because you have a great show, but mockery of my Lord and Savior is beyond the pale!

You owe your listeners an apology for laughing while commenting on this game and not being more sensitive to the variety of backgrounds of your listeners.

Stephen, try to imagine this to see how a Christian would feel.  Suppose that Dave gave his life for you by intentionally stepping in front of a truck to save your life.  Then imagine if someone made a game that mocked this event in your life and Dave's life/death.  I don't think you would be laughing.

I am also going to send an email to GatePlay to let them know of my disgust and I have deleted your podcast from my Itunes subscription list.


It's great that we live in a country where we can all decide what we like to listen to and support.

If our show doesn't fit with your values or tastes, you're well within your rights to seek other forms of entertainment.

   I have got to say this is my favorite title of all time.  (at least for right now, my favorite is subject to capricious whim at any moment)  I noticed it in a game shop a couple of weeks ago & shared the title with my daughter.  Unfortunately I was on a mission & there was some kind of (loud) pokemon event going on, so I did not linger over the game very much.  But it sounds like it might be worth giving a deeper look.


   Also, God  Dice sounded like it could have been either kind of fun, or kind of tedious depending on how long the fights actually take.

Mwahahaha is, without a doubt, the greatest game name in the history of man.

I haven't played a game of Mwahaha yet but I was surprised that the rulebook was very meaty. We're talking 40-50 pages, if memory serves. Now some of this could be extra flavor, I will concede, but just with a casual glance it looked like it was more involved than I expected.

As for God Dice, we played a few sample rounds and it went pretty quickly. Playing wtih a full ineup of characters could take longer, true, but the combat system and each character's special abilities seemed to insure you'd be able to lay some smack down each turn without getting totally dice hosed.

Are you kidding me?  WOW, that is fantastic.  That alone is enough for me to buy the game.  I love reading rule books & instruction manuals.  I am not certain why, but I really enjoy learning how things work.  Provided it is laid out well.  That just kind of tips it over the edge.  Between the name & the rule book, even if the game is horrible, (and it doesn't sound like it) I think I can totally justify owning a copy.  woo-hoo!!

So then is God dice a 2 player game?  or more.  I tought for some reason it was just 2 players.  not sure why.  I definately have to talk a friend into buying it to check out.

I had to check and make sure I wasn't nuts. The rulebook is 40 pages.

Here's a link to a pdf of the rules from the White Wolf site. Some flavor but a lot of it is serious gameplay. Enjoy!

God Dice will play 2-4 players. With less players, each person controls more characters but in either case you fight to the last one standing.

And the tough decision.  Do I read it now?  Or wait and read it in color on glossy paper.  oooh.  Who am I kidding I will probably do both.  Either way this is neat.  thank you.

I'm way behind on my podcasts, just now listening to this show.

I have to ask...just before the God Dice interview...is that a version of Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars"?  It seemed familiar, and I kind of liked it...was just curious if that's what it was, and who does it?

Thanks for the help, and great show.  Helps me catch up on everything I managed to miss by only being able to be there one day. 



The clip in question is one of the spiffy royalty free music loops that comes with Garage Band. The specific loop is titled Feelgood. It annoys me to no end that they do not credit the musicians or groups that record these loops. I'd gladly give them credit if I knew who to thank!

Glad you enjoyed the show. We cram a lot into our convention coverage so everybody else can get a few more games in during the con. :)