Episode 359: Beasty Bar

Release Date: October 12, 2020

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:  28 min.

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There's a party at the club and all the animals from the neighborhood are clamoring to get in! Each turn, a new animal arrives in the line, jostling to get past the bouncer.

The tall Giraffe can step past shorter animals one at a time. The sneaky Weasel scootches past bigger animals. The speedy Cheetah replaces the slowest animal. The hungry Crocodile eats all animals lower on the food chain.

When the line is filled with five beasts, the club doors open and the first two animals in line are let into the bar. How many of your party animals can you get into the Beasty Bar before the night is over?

Beasty Bar is a family of whimsical card games with elements of trick-taking and hand management. Each game features the same core set of rules but adds a new set of animals and abilities to explore. You can play each game separately or combine cards across editions to create your own deck of twelve party animals.

Listen in to discover why we we aren't lion when we say Beasty Bar is a whale of a good time (and also Major Fun).

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Episode 358 - 1987 Channel Tunnel

Release Date: Sept. 28, 2020

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:  150 min.

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Sometimes rivals, sometimes allies, Great Britain and France are connected across an ocean of history. Only the English channel has kept each nation at a distance… until now.

The year is 1987. You are in charge of one of the most massive engineering efforts in human history - the construction of the Channel Tunnel, affectionately known as the Chunnel.

English and French teams begin digging with the intent of meeting in the middle. Plan your course, rally investors, develop new technologies and drill! But beware, if you stray too far off course, the whole project could be scuttled.

1987 Channel Tunnel is a 2-player action selection game powered by clever auctions and multi-use cards. Listen in to explore the game and discover how it packs a whole word of strategy and history into its small box.

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Episode 357 - Artbox

Release Date: Sept. 14, 2020

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:  28 min.

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Here are three circles and a square… Can you make a toaster? Or a banana? 

Working from a common set of shape dice, can you create a simple drawing, hoping others can select your magic word from a grid of cards?

Artbox is a game about perception. How to say a lot with a little. And much like negative space in a painting, what you leave out helps define what everyone gets to see.

Listen in to explore this wonderful game of drawing and deduction!

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Episode 356: Similo

Release Date: August 24, 2020

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:  109 min.

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Similo is a cooperative game of characters, communication, and deduction. Can you guide your team to the secret character in a grid of cards using only other character cards as clues? A vertical clue means the card is similar to the secret character. A horizontal clue means the card is different. Each round the pressure mounts, because the team has to remove more cards from the grid!

Similo comes in three flavors. You can play with people from history, myth, and storybook legend. If you're up for a real challenge, you can even combine decks!

Similo is a springboard into the minds of everyone at the table. It provides a puzzle and laughs in equal measure. That's a sure sign of Major Fun.

Listen in for our in-depth review!

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Episode 355: Gridopolis

Release Date:  August 17, 2020

Download: PDF

Designer: David Schultze

Publishers: Gridopolis Games

2-4 players  | 20-60 min  |  ages 8+  | 5-6 min to learn | $50


Combine the Lego-like joy of building with the meditative fun of playing 3-D chess versus Mr Spock and you get... Gridopolis!

Gridopolis is a game of construction and capture. Players build a multi-level modular board and then use pawns and kings to jump and capture their opponent’s pieces. Teleporters and blockers present challenges and opportunities in equal measure. And the game board itself will shape every decision you make, because each player has a chance to add new elements to it as the game unfolds! 

Read on to discover why we think Gridopolis is Major Fun.

Written review continues after the break.

Episode 354 - The King's Dilemma

Release Date: June 29, 2020

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:  101 min.

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The King’s Dilemma tells the story of a royal council over many generations. This story is involved and evolves from game to game. Each player assumes control of a noble house on the council and each game represents the career of one member of your house and the reign of one monarch.

Every crisis the kingdom faces is yours to navigate. And each decision, even seemingly trivial ones, will shape the future of the country with consequences planned and unforeseen.

The question is: how to rule? Each house has its own private agendas and each council member has his or her own personal goals. What legacy will you help write with each vote? Every decision will impact you, your house, and the people of the land.

The King's Dilemma is a drama-driven game. It is a world in a box, inviting us to explore difficult topics and explore people and their motives by making choices for them or as them.

Listen in to take a deep dive into this story-forward experience and discover why this game is a refined step forward in the evolution of a new genre.

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

The King's Dilemma       Horrible Games  |  BGG  

Episode 353: Maquis

Release Date:  June 19, 2020

Download: PDF

Designer: Jake Staines

Art: Ilya Baranovsky


Side Room Games

1 player  | 20 min  |  ages 14+  | 10-15 min to learn | MSRP $25


You are a leader in the Maquis, the Resistance. Your small band of freedom fighters works to disrupt the Nazi Occupation of one small town in France.

Your agents sneak around - blowing up trains, cutting phone lines, publishing underground newspapers - while avoiding collaborators and soldiers patrolling the streets.  It's a deadly game of cat-and-mouse. One rash choice and your comrades might be swept up, never to return.

Maquis is a solitaire worker-placement game with variable goals. You have 15 days to complete 2 Missions before the Occupation discovers you. 

This isn’t WWII in a box. It isn’t even the Battle for France. Your decisions create the story of a brave handful of people, banded together in a struggle for freedom.

This makes for a game filled with tension and empathy, a hidden gem you can play in less than 30 minutes.

Read on to explore Maquis and discover all the reasons we think it earns our Spiel of Approval.

Written review continues after the break.

Episode 352: Wonder Woman: Challenge of the Amazons

Release Date:  June 10, 2020

Download: PDF

Designer: Prospero Hall   Art: Jenny Frison

Publisher: Ravensburger

2-5 players  | 45-60 min  |  ages 10+  | 5-8 min to learn | MSRP $35


Long ago, Amazons were given a formidable task by the gods of Olympus - protect Doom’s Doorway on the hidden Island of Themyscira. 

Countless dread beasts, powerful magic, and fallen gods have been imprisoned through this gate to the Underworld.

The Amazons have watched and waited, ever-vigilant, for this day…

Three enemies now threaten the island: Ares, Circe, and The Cheetah. It’s time to sound the alarm!

Don your golden armor, your battle tiara, your lasso, and your sword.

Can you lead Wonder Woman and her band of fierce warrior women to save their home?


Wonder Woman: Challenge of the Amazons is a cooperative programmed action game whose base mechanism might make you think of stud poker. Each turn a plan will arise from partial knowledge each Amazon shares. But these plans are temporary at best. The game encourages a flexible mindset and demands teamwork. Diana and her allies must coordinate their efforts to accomplish as much as possible each turn or face ruin.

Read on to learn why we think Wonder Woman earns our highest honor and discover how it is leading the way to a new era in media licensed games.

Written review continues after the break.

Episode 351 - Across the United States

Release Date: May 29, 2020

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:  57 min.

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Prior to the American Civil War, you had two ways to move people and goods between coasts. You could make a 2,000 mile journey by wagon train through daunting terrain, or take an arduous voyage by ship all the way around the tip of South America.

Both of these choices were dangerous and expensive. And, as everyone knows, you most likely just died from dysentery.

But now, in the latter half of the 19th century, the vast American continent stands open and ready to be connected... by rail!

Can you build a transportation empire by investing in railroad companies, delivering goods and passengers, and picking up gold along the way?

In a train game world full of slow freights, Across the United States is a Bullet Train, delivering balanced fun at blistering speed, refusing to get sidetracked by little details. 

Listen in to discover why we think it deserves a place at your table and the distinction of our Spiel of Approval.

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Across the United States       Okazu Brand |  BGG  

Episode 350 - Walking in Provence

Release Date: May 19, 2020

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:  100 min.

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Fields of lavender coat the hills of southern France with waves of purple blooms each Summer. Nestled between the flowers are rows of golden wheat, lush forests, sunflowers, windmills, and small villages with magnificent old churches.

Equipped with cameras, handheld and aerial, you set off into the countryside to explore and capture the wondrous beauty of rural France. 

Walking in Provence is a card-driven map building game. Over ten turns you will create a mini-map and move your photographers to open meadows hoping to create the right mix of flowers and features for the perfect shot. 

The game is elegant and welcoming; it offers depth and challenge to players new and old. Listen in to discover why we think Walking in Provence is a treasure hidden in a small box.

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Walking in Provence       Emperor S4 |  BGG