Episode 332 - Fantasy Ranch

Release Date:  Sept. 27, 2019

Download: PDF

Designers: K & A Swanlund

Publisher:  Fantasy Board Game

2 -4 players  | 15-75 min  |  ages 5+  | 5-15 min to learn | $40


You started when you were young. Riding the trails, corralling horses through the wilderness, guiding them through shows and into camp to add to your herd.

Next, you bought a barn and a small patch of land—just enough for a few horses. Can you make your ranch into the talk of the town? With a lot of hard work and planning (and a little luck), folks will flock from miles away to admire the ranch and the beautiful show horses you’ve raised.

Fantasy Ranch is a collection of six horse-themed games enjoyable by a wonderfully wide range of players, whether you’re a greenhorn or a grizzled ranch hand.

Written review continues after the break.

Episode 331 - Dekalko

Release Date: Sept. 16, 2019

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:  68 min.

Subscribe:  Enhanced  | MP3 | RSS


Dekalko is a drawing game that is not a drawing game.

Everyone must get others to guess a picture without seeing the picture itself. How you get there requires a quick hand, a pen, and almost no artistic skill.

That's because Dekalko is a tracing game! The lines are right there for you to draw. Which ones are important? Which ones can you leave out? 

And that's where the magic of the game begins. You don't have to draw like a professional artist to learn how to see like one.

Listen in to explore the game and learn how Dekalko takes a possible point of stress and turns it into an opportunity for Major Fun.

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Episode 330 - Krass Kariert

Release Date: Sept. 3, 2019

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:  57 min.

Subscribe:  Enhanced  | MP3 | RSS


Krass Kariert (Checkered Combinations) is the free-spirited granddaughter of several beloved classic card games. It combines elements from ladder games like Tichu, trick-taking games like Euchre, shedding games like Uno, and adds a dash of Poker just for fun.

Your goal is to play combinations of cards to stay alive as long as you can in the round, playing sets or runs to each trick... but here's the twist: you cannot rearrange any of the cards in your hand! 

This seemingly simple tweak (along with three special cards) makes the game sing. We think it's a modern classic and most definitely worthy of our Spiel of Approval. 

Listen in for a full review and discussion!

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

GenCon 2019 Panels

Here you'll find an index of all the discussion panels we recorded at GenCon 2019.

It's a great mix of interesting, intelligent and engaging people who are involved with the world of board and card games and united by a passion for play.

GenCon 2019 - Iterative Game Design

Release Date: Aug. 16, 2019

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:   53 min.

Subscribe:  Enhanced  | MP3 | RSS

Like artists in other disciplines, game designers often stand on the shoulders of those that came before them. One great idea provides the spark and inspires the next - each one an iteration - the goal being to create something unique and yet it remains connected to a lineage beyond itself.

This panel assembles a group of renowned designers to examine the process and protocol that goes into iterative game design.

The panel:

Ted Alspach  (Bezier Games)

Justin Gary (Stoneblade Entertainment)

Ben Rosset (designer: Between Two Cities)

Elizabeth Hargrave (designer: Wingspan)

Tom Lehmann (designer: Race for the Galaxy)

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

GenCon 2019 - Thinking Inside the Box

Release Date: Aug. 15, 2019

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:   54 min.

Subscribe:  Enhanced  | MP3 | RSS

It's a simple pleasure: the joy we get from the components in a game. How can humble cardboard, wood, and plastic create such magic? 

From the publisher to the manufacturer and even after market accessories, we examine the incredible amount of time and creativity that goes into every bit and how that shapes our experience with a game.

The panel:

Beth Heile (BGG)

Frank Jaeger (Ludo Fact)

Jean-Francois Gagne (Panda)

Scott Hill (Flying Frog Productions)

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

GenCon 2019 - Indie Publisher Round Table

Release Date: Aug. 14, 2019

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:   50 min.

Subscribe:  Enhanced  | MP3 | RSS

In a day and age where we have seen so much corporate consolidation within the board game business, in many respects the creative engine that drives the industry are the many small game publishers bringing an amazing variety of titles to the marketplace.

We sit down with a group of successful publishers for a discussion on the challenges, lessons, advantages and pitfalls of being an independent publisher today.

The panel:

Gil Hova (Formal Ferret Games)

Tim Fowers (Fowers Games)

Maggie Clayton (Greater Than Games)

Julie Ahern (Greenbrier Games)

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

GenCon 2019 - The Expanding Board Game Market

Release Date: Aug. 13, 2019

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:   53 min.

Subscribe:  Enhanced  | MP3 | RSS


The board game market has grown dramatically over the past two decades. From the mass market to board games figuring into pop culture and even mainstream media, the community of players has continued to expand as we see more designers and publishers try to reach a broader and more diverse audience. 

We examine this topic from an industry perspective, asking how game designers and developers, publishers, retailers, educators and media outlets try to make sense of the market today and where it might be headed.

The panel:

Stephen Buonocore  (Stronghold Games, Indie Game Studios)

Shari Spiro (Breaking Games)

Morgan Dontanville (Catan)

Kathleen Mercury (teacher, game designer)

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

GenCon 2019 - International Trade & The Business of Games

Release Date: Aug. 12, 2019

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:  48  min.

Subscribe:  Enhanced  | MP3 | RSS

The business of games is global. A game today may be designed in Canada, signed by an American publisher, manufactured in China and distributed throughout Europe and sold to players in multiple languages.  It’s a complex engine to keep spinning. We dig into this game behind the games to gain a better sense of how the parts of this trade engine fit together and discuss how tariffs can jeopardize the health of the industry as a whole.  

The panel:

Mike Selinker  (Lone Shark Games)

Daniel Zayas (Longpack Games)

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

GenCon 2019 - Redefining the Boundaries of Play

Release Date: Aug. 9, 2019

Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Running Time:   49 min.

Subscribe:  Enhanced  | MP3 | RSS

There’s a new wave of drama-driven games. They are fueled by tragic events and deal with topics not often associated with tabletop games let alone fun. We examine how these narrative based games are pushing the boundaries of how we define play with some of the great minds helping to create this new genre.

The panel:

Rory O'Connor (HUB Games)

Michael Fox (HUB Games)

Ignacy Trzewiczek   (Portal Games)

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.