Episode 388: Holiday Party

Release Date: Dec. 20, 2020

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Running Time:   221 min.

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Join our party of misfit nerds for fun, games, and freewheeling conversations spanning the wide world of geekdom.

We hope you'll be in a festive mood for the season after being part of some Grade A goofing around.

Guests: Francie Broadie (Indianapolis, IN) Erik Bussé (Hasselt, Belgium) Ezra Denney (Alameda, CA) Alex Despres (Arlington, TX) Suzie Despres (Arlington, TX), Dave Eckard (Lebanon, IN) James Engelhardt (Greenville, SC) Gubbins (Indianapolis, IN) Max Michael (Indianapolis, IN) Darrell Ottery (Reading, UK) Mark Reed (Atlanta, GA) Mark Rickards (Hobart, Tasmania) Katherine Rosland (Stavanger, Norway) Mark Smalley (Indianapolis, IN) Erwin Susara (Indianapolis, IN) Bruce Voge (Baltimore, MD)

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Episode 387: Hibachi

Release Date: Dec. 15, 2021

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Running Time:  42 min

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It’s a hectic night at the Hibachi restaurant. So many hungry people to feed. And so many different dishes! The spatulas are ting -ting-tinging against the hot cooktop and the onion volcanoes are erupting, as shrimp and steak, broccoli and mushrooms and rice fly from plate to bowl. No one leaves here hungry!

Hibachi is a charming dexterity driven set collecting game. Players throw their chef's coins (hefty poker chips) to gather ingredients and special actions to fill recipes.

Give a listen to learn how Hibachi puts a fresh face on elements of chance and skill. And be ready for a heaping helping of Major Fun!

Episode 386: Ten

Release Date: Nov. 22, 2021

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Running Time:  1 hr. 41 min

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Ten is a press your luck card game with a twist. The goal is simple: assemble the longest runs of consecutive cards in four colors. How many cards are you willing to draw as you push two different totals closer and closer to ten? Use currency cards to buy from the market or win auctions for wild cards. Be careful, though! If you bust, everyone else may cash in.

Engaging, interactive, and filled with tough decisions, Ten is great for all ages. Listen in to explore the game and discover how Ten delivers on its promise of Major Fun.

ALSO in this episode... a Game Night Grab Bag segment featuring Brenna Noonan and Doug! The challenge: games where you build the board as you play.

Episode 385: Hammer Time

Release Date:  Nov. 3, 2021

Download: PDF

Designers: Shaun Graham, Scott Huntington

Publisher: HABA

2-4 players  | 15 min  |  ages 5+  | 2-3 min to learn | MSRP $25


Sparkle mountain stands before you, its caverns filled with glittering gems. You and your crew of gnomes are ready to fill your wagons with riches, tapping rubies, diamonds, and emeralds loose from the walls with your trusty hammer. There’s just one problem. Dragomir the Dragon sleeps under the mountain. Make too much noise and he will chase you away!

Hammer Time is a game about knocking gems off a box with a hammer. Can you tap just hard enough to knock the right combination of gems into your wagon? Master the basics and you might have to hammer with your eyes shut... or with your head on the table.

Read on to explore the game and learn why the simplest forms of Major Fun are often the most lasting.

Written review continues after the break.

Episode 384: Watergate

Release Date: Oct. 25, 2021

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Running Time:  1 hr. 50 min

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At first it looked like a third rate burglary. Five men were caught in the early hours of June 18 1972 breaking into the Democratic National Committee Headquarters, situated in the Watergate Building. The botched crime and successive cover-up lead reporters Woodward and Bernstein to discover a conspiracy directed by then President Richard Nixon.

Watergate is a tense card-driven tug-of-war. One player is the Editor of the Washington Post - trying to piece together a chain of evidence to tie the President to the crime and a corrupt plot to undermine democracy. The other player is the Nixon Administration whose goal is to preserve just enough momentum for the campaign to survive until the end of the President’s term.

Will your efforts help usher a corrupt President from office or protect him from prosecution and preserve his legacy?

Listen in to explore the game and take a deep dive into the history behind Watergate.

PLUS... a Meal segment featuring recipe and game recommendations for a cool Fall night.

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

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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

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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

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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.