Episode 93: Relic Wranglers

93: Relic Wranglers

Release Date: Dec. 21, 2009

Running Time:  151 min.

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Holy hand grenades. We play Colonia, a game about collecting dusty old bones and shiny baubles to push medieval merchants to fame and fortune.

News & Notes: New 10 Days in Beautiful Africa, Sonic, Cardcassone, Haunted House
The List: Colonia

Back Shelf Spotlight: 
The Gambler

Truckloads of Goober:  Relic Raiders: Haunted Ruins
Game Sommelier:  5 games from the past decade that will stand the test of time
Mail Bag: 
Scopa addictions, Epäillyt, Railroad Dice, Fudge Dice, 2010 Resolutions

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

 News & Notes

10 Days in Beautiful Africa   Link 

A new version of the classic travel/geography game featuring the art of Lap Ngo.

Out of the Box Games in Sonic Kid's Meals    Link 

4 mini-versions of Out of the Box Games will be included in Sonic Drive-In's Wacky Pack kid's meals starting in January 2010.

Cardcassonne    BGG

A set collecting card game where players "build" the medieval city one card at a time.

Bongo Becomes Haunted House Online  Link

Bruno Faidutti's dice/logic game Bongo has made the leap to the web with the help of designer Emmanuel Ornella. The game has been re-themed from Safari animals to classic horror monsters. You can play for free at the link above.

The List

Colonia Official Site | BGG

Your merchant family has six weeks to amass the most valuable collection of holy relics. Gather resources, order goods, and ship them off to foreign lands. Use the four types of money to visit the Church each Sunday and make your way to fortune and fame.

Back Shelf Spotlight

Gambler   BGG 

Classic roll and move game from the '70s with a super cool dice rolling paddle.

Truckloads of Goober

Relic Raiders: Haunted Ruins Official Site | BGG 

Pop-up game board with moving elements.

The Game Sommelier

The challenge: 5 games from the past decade that will stand the test of time.

Dave's Selections

200: Carcassonne

2001: Traders of Genoa

2002: Puerto Rico

2003: Alhambra

2004: Ticket to Ride

2005: Twilight Struggle

2006: Through the Ages

2007: Agricola

2008: Pandemic

2009: Automobile 

Stephen's Selections

Apples to Apple


Ticket to Ride

Memoir '44

1960: Making of the President


Notably Absent: Puerto Rico, Agricola, Power Grid

Not enough data: Pandemic, Ubongo

Small Companies: Hive, Blokus, Ingenious, Gipf, Time's Up, Wits & Wagers, Formula D


Thanks to the following donors/subscribers:

"Field Marshal" Allen Stucker

Paolo "The Phoenix" Robino

Chris "15 for 2 & a Pint" Watts

Martin "Narrow Gauge" Boiselle

Adrian "Señor Subbuteo" MacMillan

Mail Bag

Thanks to Antti Koskinen for sending us a copy of Epäillyt, a deduction crime-solving game that looks like great fun!

Jeremy "The Bellmaker" Piets sent us a picture of the fudge dice and meeples he and his lovely bride served to their guests at their wedding reception. Nicely done!


The background images is a picture of the reliquary containing "The Holy Right" or the hand of St. Stephen.

Music credits (courtesy of Ioda Promonet) include:

Asperges by The Choir of Etheldredas - buy the track

La Conferma Della Regola by Capitanata - buy the track

Fantasia a 5 by Meridian Arts Ensemble - buy the track

Calabaña, no sé, buen amor by The Dufay Collective - buy the track

Galliard by Peter Fletcher - buy the track

Can She Excuse My Wrongs? by Russell Oberlin, Joseph Iadone - buy the track

La Rotta by The Dufay Collective - buy the track

Hey Trolly Lolly Lo by I Fagiolini, Concordia - buy the track

Flos Carmeli by Carmelite Monks of Wyoming - buy the track

Helas Madame by I Fagiolini, Concordia - buy the track

Propiñán de melyor by The Dufay Collective - buy the track

Holy Hannah by The Spectaculars - buy the tracks


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


The original version of this show has a small editing error during the Contest Winners segment.

The replay of the last Name That Game puzzle is just the music, no puzzle. Whoops! Stupid mute button...

I will post corrected files to the media servers on Wednesday. I have to wait until older files archive due to disk quota limits.

Until then, here's a link to the previous puzzle

Thanks to all the listeners who made me aware of the mistake!


Not to dwell on your mistakes, but your inclusion of Apples to Apples as a game of the decade neglects the fact that it was published in 1999, i.e. LAST decade. :)

It's a baker's decade, didn't I mention that?

In my defense, I think I consulted my copy and looked at the rules which said 2000. Looks like I should have double checked online. Whoops.

We don't call you our Nemesis for nothing. I'd say keep 'em coming, but I'm afraid to unleash your powers any more!

Well, that just proves that he was right! The definition of “standing the test of time” seems fuzzy. If mainstream appeal is vital, for instance, how to explain Diplomacy? Many games maintained a following despite going out of print (Dune, Wiz War etc.). Ironically, the greatest obstacle to standing the test of time might be gamers themselves, who sometimes seem a bit quick to dismiss things as “good for their time” (and there’s a phrase that sends a cold chill up my spine). The Settlers Of Catan, arguably the most successful crossover hit ever and a huge holiday seller, seems often viewed as a relic by the “cult of the new”. Even when classic games are reintroduced, the first question is often “how will it change to appeal to today’s audience” (and there’s another… brrr... hang on, let me get a sweater.) Surely there has to be some middle ground between stagnation and cultural ADD. Still, happy new year! I suggest this decade left its mark in two major areas rather than individual titles. First, a new style of cooperative game grew from The Lord Of The Rings through Pandemic. Second and easier to overlook, the new power of “print-and-play” allowed designers to affordably take their work directly to the public and provided a way to distribute some classic games that stood the test yet were never graced with a full reprint. So the best decade ever? Maybe, maybe not, but (cue the stirring rendition of "Pomp and Circumstance" here while I switch on the backlight and wind machine) certainly one that stands proudly alongside the 1960’s when 3M provided a fresh image of new game design for adults. The 1970’s when the rise of D&D, Cosmic Encounter and the prime of Avalon Hill revealed possibilities beyond the deserving classics of the early 20th century. The 1980’s when the mania of Trivial Pursuit proved that table games would survive the new rivalry of the video screen while Mayfair and Steve Jackson began their rise to glory and the RPG came of age with edgier titles like Paranoia. And the 1990’s when Magic: The Gathering created an entirely new concept just as people in the states were first learning new and exciting names like Knizia and Catan. (I do realize that this is an increasingly eccentric and isolated view, but that’s okay. It just makes for a crowded bookcase. Or five. That wind machine’s a little strong by the way…) As for mainstream success, much derision was (rightly) targeted at the recent article in a Fort Worth newspaper dismissing titles like Ticket to Ride and Pandemic in favor of second-tier party games and TV tie-ins(none of which I expect to stand any kind of test). Now, while I by no means defend it, I wonder, given phrases like “we’re not stupid people” and “those old games are classics for a reason” and the carefully specific selection of some trumpeted “gateway games” only to acknowledge that they hadn’t even bothered to finish reading the rules, if the article’s aggressive and willful cluelessness only made sense as a backlash piece. After all, over this decade I have seen some gamers- and I stress the word some- refer to people unexposed to “those games of theirs” as (and I’m not making any of these up) “nongamers”, “noobs”, “the mundanes”, “the great unwashed”, "the easily entertained", “the (less) intelligent ones”, “(those who) need to touch the f---ing monolith”, ”sheeple”, “Jethro McAverage”, “idiots”, and much, much worse actually. (I had to stifle a giggle in a local game store recently when I overheard someone ask if they could bring in Ticket To Ride or if that was “too ‘pleb’ for the store.” Look, is there a lower setting on that wind machine? I don’t know how much longer I can hang onto this pole.) Granted, I’m probably giving the columnists far too much credit, but I can imagine them trying to innocently strike up a conversation near the recent con, inadvertently dropping the name of one of The Dreaded Mainstream Titles That Dare Not Speak Their Name, then deciding to write something specifically to smack down those strange people who had so talked down to them. A predictable torrent of geeky abuse followed on their website to which they snappishly replied that they weren’t there to serve a “niche”. And when I look at those two extremes, to be honest, I’m not really eager to sit down at a table with either of them. (Seriously, now, it’s going to blow me down the hill here. It’ll take me until at least Valentine’s Day to walk back…) The titles that really break out, I think, are going to fall somewhere in the middle ground and they're mainly going to reach new people through friendly inviting local game stores but as to what defines them I’m baffled. I’ve had much better luck introducing casual players to The Princes of Florence than to Chrononauts, go figure. Settlers made it. Then again so, like it or not, did Fluxx. Blokus is produced by Mattel now with at least four distinct variants available; I’d say it’s safe. Zombies!!! seems to keep gradually lurching further along. (Losing grip… what’s that blowing toward me… no, it can’t be! COW! *Moooooo…WHUMP!* Aiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh!)



Gregory - I have no idea what you are talking about - well, I have an inkling, and I think I agree.


Great show, guys. I enjoyed the review of Colonia if only because it reconfirmed that this does not look like it will be one on the top of my list. It sounded, so, well, derivative.

Mind you, my mind is fudged with too much Scopa.

How comes you guys are never online when I am feeding my addiction?

Hey, what's your highest score in a single round ? I managed 8 a few days ago which felt pretty cool. Argh, I'm turning into a Scopa nerd and it's all your fault.

Still listening to the episode (will get into the meat of Colonia during my evening commute tonight), but I thought it worth pointing out that the copy of On the Brink in the goodie bag is actually autographed and dated Essen 09 by the designer. I don't think you mentioned that on the show. :)

-- Joe

Yes, dang it, I did forget to mention the autograph.  I realized it after I was too far along the editing process to go back. D'oh!

It's just a bonus to the already over-the-top prize pack, right? :)

I've heard from Matt, our first lucky winner, so Essen Goody Bag #1 will soon be on its way.

Thanks again, Joe!

Still finishing the listen, but through the review of Colonia. Thanks so much for that! All I've ever been able to get people to say about this is (paraphrased) "oh, it's a really EURO eurogame. You use cubes to get a resource to get a resource to get another resource that is the VP's" without ever actually explaining the theme (even if it's pasted on I want to know it) or the mechanics. It was really frustrating to try and find out what this game was about! So thank you for the review!!!

-- Joe

Hi guys,

How about tying episode 100 in some way to "The List?" Perhaps you should set yourself the goal of playing 100 games off the List before episode 100 and devoting a segment of the episode to those 100 games? Maybe a challenge where some of the listeners might play some of the games on the List as well and share thoughts/comments?



I wholeheartedly concur. Furthermore, I suggest that you make it the basis of your second marathon episode. And start with that new copy of Android.

Aw c'mon. I dare ya. I double dare ya...