Episode 383: Ohanami

Release Date:  Oct. 9, 2021

Download: PDF

Designers: Steffen Benndorf

Publisher: NSV, Pandasaurus Games

2-4 players  | 20 min  |  ages 8+  | 5 min to learn | MSRP $15


Cherry blossom season is about to blanket Zen gardens with their resplendent wonder. Water, vegetation, stones, and sakura trees must be placed in perfect harmony in order to become a Master Gardener.

Over three rounds you will carefully select or reject the elements for your next garden creation. Do you have the skills to craft the best Zen garden?

Ohanami is filled with humble beauty and quiet playful pleasure. Read on to explore the game and learn why it earns both our awards!

Written review continues after the break.

Episode 382: Super Skill Pinball

Release Date: Sept. 27, 2021

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:  2 hr.

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Welcome to the cardboard arcade! Four colorful pinball machines are nestled into a single box - each one a unique world, ready test of your skills.. and luck - challenging you to rack up the high score.

Go to the carnival.  Hack a MegaCorporation. Slay a Dragon. Be a Dancing Queen. 

No quarters or tokens needed in Super Skill Pinball. Just dice and a dry erase pen. Your decisions guide the ball around each machine, striking targets, bouncing off bumpers, flipping through spinners to trigger big bonuses, mini games and even multi-ball!  The longer you can keep your ball going, the higher your score will climb. Collect enough points and you will walk away a true Pinball Wizard!

Tune in to explore the game and discover how it earns our Spiel of Approval.

PLUS.. Ben Maddox, host of Five Games for Doomsday, joins us for a special Game Night Grab Bag segment!

Episode 381: Embarcadero

Release Date: Sept. 14, 2021

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:  43 min.

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San Francisco, 1850. Gold fever seizes the world once again, and this time the rush is on to California. People and the materials they need stream in, some by land, but most by ship around the southern tip of South America.

A curious thing happens when the ships arrive. Their crews unload the freight, collect their pay, and vanish into the hills to seek their fortune elsewhere. The ships, now abandoned, lie anchored in San Francisco Bay.

A few savvy business moguls stake their claim to these derelict ships, and have them towed and anchored alongside the wharfs. The hulls will make excellent structures upon which to erect buildings which will house their growing enterprises.

In Embarcadero, you will step into the shoes of one of these historic figures. You’ll acquire ships and construct buildings, seeking your fortune as a city leader and ruler of the bustling waterfront.

Listen in to explore the game and discover how it earns our Spiel of Approval!

Episode 380: Flapjack Flipout

Release Date:  Aug. 25, 2021

Download: PDF

Designers: Peter Newland

Publisher: Mind the Gap Studios

2-4 players  | 15-30 min  |  ages 8+  | 3 min to learn | MSRP $30


The morning rush is on! The griddle is hot and the batter is ready. Don your apron and join the crowd of short order cooks in the kitchen. Sling the most pancakes and complete three orders to become the Champion of Breakfasts!

Flapjack Flipout is a frenetic race to collect the right combination of pancakes. Using a wooden griddle, you'll flip a cardboard flapjack into the air and try to catch it in order to reveal its flavor. Once revealed, you'll plate it face down. When you're ready, ring the bell and flip over the the pancakes needed for the order... if only you can remember where you put them!

Read on to explore this quick, challenging, and hilarious game and discover why we think it serves up a full menu of Major Fun!

Written review continues after the break.

Episode 379: Tricky Tides

Release Date: August 16, 2021

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:  122 min.

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Life on the open sea isn’t easy for merchants. You have to know what each island needs. And you have to know where to sail to buy the right mix of coffee, sugar, spices, silk and gold so you can deliver the right goods.

And did I mention there are monsters lurking below the waves? Sharks and whales and dragons and even a kraken! You may spot them as you travel. And if you play your cards right, you might even get them to do your bidding once in a while.

Tricky Tides is a charming and challenging trick-up-and-deliver game. Play cards to tricks like a classic card game. The card you play determines how your ship sails across a network of islands.

Chart a course over three hands; collect and deliver as many goods as you can, and you’ll amass fortune enough to retire to your own island.

Listen in for a full review, PLUS:

- The Meal, featuring recipes and game recommendations from Doug and our newest contributor: Brenna Noonan!

- Game Night Grab Bag, featuring Ezra Denney and Stephen. The challenge? Choose three surprisingly mean games for their next game night.

Episode 378: Shifting Stones

Release Date: June 28, 2021

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:  95 min.

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A mysterious grid of 9 ancient stones lies before you. Rearrange them to match your pattern cards and score points. The challenge is, these pattern cards may either be used to move/flip the stones or score points... but never both! 

Therein lies the maddening but simple genius of the game. Shifting Stones is a light game but not a slight game. Familiar, yet full of surprises, this is a game for players from all walks. Play with your kids; play on a lunch break, or at the pub at the end of a long day. Deep enough to offer a challenge, but approachable enough to allow space for fellowship as you play.

Tune in to discover why Shifting Stones is a modern classic.

Episode 377: The Shores of Tripoli

Release Date: June 14, 2021

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Running Time:  61 min.

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After winning its independence from England, the United States finds itself embroiled in a prolonged battle with pirates. For nearly a decade, pirates from Tripoli, Tunis, and Algiers capture American merchant ships, seizing cargo and enslaving their crews. Rulers in each pirate nation demand exorbitant tribute payments in order to prevent these attacks.

When President Jefferson refuses to pay increased tribute demands, Tripoli declares open war. 

The Shores of Tripoli is a two player card driven strategy game simulating the first Barbary War (1801-1805). 

Play as President Thomas Jefferson or Pasha Yusuf Karamanli

As Jefferson, you’ll have the power to dispatch small fleets from the newly formed US Navy to blockade and bombard Tripoli or send envoys to negotiate new alliances and plot an armed revolt.

As Karamanli, you’ll rally as many regional allies as you can to constantly harass American merchant fleets, gathering gold and spreading the US naval forces thin.

Event cards capture the essence of the era, but your decisions will ultimately determine the course of history and your nation.

Tune in for a deep dive into the game and the rich history that surrounds it.

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Episode 376: The Red Cathedral

Release Date: June 7, 2021

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:  37 min.

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Nine domes rise above Moscow in 1561. St. Basil's Cathedral is the heart of the city, a colorful bonfire soon to be known across the world.

You and your team of builders have been commissioned by Tzar Ivan IV (The Terrible) to complete this strange and wondrous building. Gather materials and use your influence over guilds and the clergy to claim and build more sections than your rival architects. Earn the most prestige to gain the favor of the Tzar and your place in history.

The Red Cathedral is simple game filled with subtle strategies. Using three basic actions you'll claim, collect, and build towers and domes, adorning them with arches, crosses and jewels. Timing is the key. Tune in to explore the game and discover how an amazingly deep experience rises from such a humble set of building blocks.

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Episode 375: Unforgiven

Release Date: May 25, 2021

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Running Time:  120 min.

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In the Spring of 1865, a military tribunal is convened to determine the fate of Mary Surratt, one of eight citizens put on trial for plotting to assassinate Abraham Lincoln and other members of his cabinet. In a rush for vengeance more than justice, Mary was the first woman executed for treason by the United States.

In Unforgiven, you play as prosecution or defense, trying to persuade the jury to convict or acquit the accused. Build your case by drafting cards and dice, hoping to collect evidence, recruit jurors, and establish reasonable doubt. Will Mary once again face the hangman's noose... or can you tip the scales of justice in her favor?

Tune in to explore the game and the history behind the trial and discover why Unforgiven earns our Spiel of Approval!

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Episode 374: Hats

Release Date: May 14, 2021

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:  42 min.

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It’s a garden party in Neverland.You came for the tea and cookies, but the Mad Hatter has other plans. You are swept into a game gathering wondrous and colorful hats, a hurricane of haberdashery a maelstrom of millinery. The clock is ticking… in eight short turns, by swapping cards on the tea table, can you assemble the most cherished collection of chapeaus?

Tune in to explore this card shedding, set collecting game and discover why Hats is Major Fun!

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.