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Magic has reputation of being a very expensive game. It definitely can be. However, you needn’t offload a mountain of money to have fun playing. This week, Aaron and Dave look at inexpensive ways to play Magic. One of Dave’s favorite decks cost him all of $17!

  1. Pauper format
  2. Peasant format
  3. Cube format
  4. Mark Rosewater’s podcast, Drive to Work

*Note, in the episode, Dave says that he’s got a pauper deck that he loves. Actually, it’s a peasant deck. Dave is an idiot. Here’s the deck list:

  • Raging Goblin x3
  • Incinerate x4
  • Death Spark x4
  • Mogg Flunkies x4
  • Lightning Bolt x4
  • Goblin Grenade x4
  • Mogg Fanatic x4
  • Mogg Raider x4
  • Goblin Patrol x2
  • Fire Whip x4
  • Goblin Cadets x1
  • Mountains x22

This week Matt and Dave list several games that you should consider buying and playing with family and friends this holiday season. Plus ,Dave suggests some classic board games that the family might enjoy, and Matt schools him on contemporary alternatives.

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Clue is a classic game Dave enjoys, and Matt suggests Clue FX.

Scrabble is a classic favorite, and Matt suggests Quirkle. Also, “Wall Scrabble” is very cool.

Dave’s contemporary suggestions 

Matt’s contemporary suggestions

There have been many expansions for Survive, including the Giant Mini Squid and Dolphins and Dive Dice. Meanwhile, Dave is hung up on Ultimate Tic-Tac-Toe and Cards As Weapons has the best cover art ever.


This week, Aaron and Dave share everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Plainswalkers. From your role as a Plainswalker player, to “the spark,” the origin of Plainswalker cards and how their use has evolved. If you’ve ever had a question about Plainswalkers in Magic: The Gathering, Aaron and Dave answer it in this episode.

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This week Matt and Dave look at Forbidden Desert, the notion of games that “fire” another and how simple games can be a lot of fun.

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Matt and Dave look at a pair of fun family games, and Dave teaches Matt how to remember the spelling of “desert” vs. “dessert.” They make a Dune reference and then dive deep into Forbidden Desert from Gamewright Games.

Featured game review: Forbidden Desert

Forbidden Desert

Forbidden Desert

  • Designers: Matt Leacock
  • Publisher: Gamewright Games
  • Artists: C. B. Canga and Tyler Edlin
  • Players: 2-5 (Best with 4)
  • Ages: 10 and up
  • Duration: 45 minutes
  • Game Type: Cooperative, grid movement, modular board

Sometimes a game will come out that succeeds an existing game, fixing errors with the original. In this instance, it can be said that the successor fired its predecessor. We can safely say that Forbidden Desert fired Forbidden Island. Dave points out that playing the progression of the D&D board games lets you see issues get fixed in subsequent releases.

Finally, WizKids have taken over D&D Board Games.


Dave: A definite buy. Kids and gamers will enjoy it. Fixed all of the issues that its predecessor introduced.

Matt: A must-buy, for all the same reasons.

If you like…


This is the segment that introduces you to new games. This week our feature review was Forbidden Desert. If you like that game, you’ll probably like:

Pandemic, of course! There are very strong similarities between the two. In this game, you’re scientists traveling from continent to continent trying to combat a spreading disease. It’s a milestone cooperative game that helped solidify the genre. Here’s some more Pandemic goodness that the guys mentioned:

  • The expansion “On The Brink” adds a new disease and a bio-terrorist, who works against the group.
  • The expansion “In The Lab” adds a lab.
  • Pandemic: The Cure is a dice-based version of the game.
  • Pandemic: Contagion lets you play as the disease.
  • Pandemic: Legacy is unique in that the results of one game (or play session) permanently affects the game for all future playthroughs.

Also, “Beating a Dead Horse Munchkin” exists.

What we’re playing


  • Dungeon Roll. A press-your-luck dice game put out by Tasty Minstrel. Walk through a dungeon to gain treasures, XP and glory. What’s neat is two players have something to do with each turn, with one player being the adventurer and another the dungeon master. These rolls move as the turn goes from player to player. It’s fun, but seems to be biased to the person who is exploring the dungeon.


  • Igloo Pop. This crazy game has you picking up little plastic igloos, shaking them and listening to guess how many plastic beads are inside.
  • Progress: Evolution of Technology. A card game about moving your civilization through various stages of progress. It’s complex and the guys want to play it a few more times before passing judgement.


This week Aaron and Dave talk about the upcoming Magic: The Gathering Dual Decks, Commander 2014 and putting together a Standard deck with the current block.

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Hello gamers and friends! In this episode of the Monday show, Matt and Dave share some story-telling games and combat “zombie fatigue.”

Right off the bat, Matt and Dave address the growing number of gamers who are tired of seeing zombies all the time. They term the condition “zombie fatigue,” and even propose a solution: wolves. Want to play Dead of Winter (we discussed Dead of Winter in episode 005) without the undead? Just swap in some wolf pieces. It works thematically and still lets you enjoy a great game. Then they speculate about removing zombies from other games, as well as adding zombies to games that don’t feature them ordinarily. Undead Carcassonne, anyone?

Featured game review: Say the Word


The guys are giving away a copy of Say the Word from Peaceable Kingdom (today — Nov. 3 — is your last chance to register to win), which is our featured review.

Say the Word

  • Designers: Joyce Johnson and Rosie Roberson
  • Publisher: Peaceable Kingdon
  • Artist: (Uncredited)
  • Players: 3-6
  • Ages: 10 and up
  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • Game Type: Story-telling, memory, acting, party

Dave likes Say the Word a lot. It’s a fun, storytelling game with a little Concentration and Mad Libs thrown in.


Dave – Definite buy if you’re looking for a family game.

If you like…

This is the segment that introduces you to new games. This week our feature review was Say the Word. If you like that game (or storytelling games in general), you’ll probably like…

Once Upon a Time: The Storytelling Card Game. Each player receives a hand of cards that they use to tell an ongoing story. Meanwhile, everyone has an “ending” card that they must satisfy to win. But really, the fun is in putting the story together. The gang on Tabletop played Once Upon a Time.

What we’re playing

machi koro


  • Dread. A story- and character-driven RPG that uses a Jenga tower as its main mechanic, as opposed to dice. It does a fantastic job of building tension. You can read about Dave’s adventure playing Dread in this “RPG Diaries” post.


  • Witch’s Brew. This bluffing, fantasy card game accommodates five players. Matt calls it fun, but says there are better games out there that do the same sort of thing.
  • Greed. A quick drafting game with a 1970’s crime theme. There’s a lot of reading to be done up front, but once that’s done, it gets fun. It’s a good filer game, but the theme isn’t entirely family-friendly.
  • Machi Koro. Card drafting and dice rolling. You’ve got to build a town, and you start with a  wheat field and a bakery. The goal is to earn enough money to flip your building cards and thereby build them. Here’s Machi Koro on Watch it Played.

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It’s Friday, which means Aaron and Dave are here to discuss Magic: The Gathering. This week, the guys look at upcoming promo cards, Commander 2014 spoilers and Aaron’s experience with drafting.

mtgGoldfish has published information on upcoming Friday Night Magic promo cards:

The also looked at forthcoming Commander 2014 cards (2014 Commander cards will be officially released on November 7):

Dave’s featured card of the week: Archer’s Parapet.

Aaron’s featured card of the week: Trumpet Blast.

Other cards mentioned: Ankle Shanker, Pack Rat.

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Hello gamers and friends! In episode two of the Monday show, Dave and Matt reviewed Dead of Winter from Plaid Hat Games (spoiler: OMG they loved it) and more.

Featured game review – Dead of Winter

dead of winter

Despite having played this game only twice each, Matt and Dave both highly recommend Dead of Winter. It’s got so much of what we love, including zombie killing, thorough theming, role-playing aspects and great-looking components. Dave likes that there’s almost always something to do, even when it’s not your turn.

  • Zombicie is less story, more zombie killing.
  • Krosmaster Arena features gorgeous pieces that are difficult to assemble. In fact, neither Dave nor Matt will put their copies back into the box.


Matt: A must-buy

Dave: A must-buy

What are we playing?

DaveApocalypse World (plays 3-5. Mature audiences only, as characters may have sex/flirt).  This role-playing game is like a cross between Fiasco and…an nightmare. You can read about Dave’s experience with character creation in this edition of RPG Diaries. He’s eager to start playing for real.

MattSherlock Holmes, Consulting Detective. You must beat Holmes to solve the case. Interesting components make this game a lot of fun, and it’s possible to be led on a wild goose chase. It plays 1-8 players, age 13 and up. Sherlock Holmes, Consulting Detective won the 2012 As D’Or.

Matt’s also playing Quilt Show (plays 2-4 ages 10 and up) which has you assembling quilt tiles to construct a quilt that you then try to sell at a show. Both Matt and Dave are stunned at how much money can be made from selling real quilts.

If you like…


This is the segment that introduces you to new games. This week our feature review was Dead of Winter. If you like that game (or zombie games in general), you’ll probably like…

  • Akram Horror. Lovecraftian terror for 1-8 players. If elder gods are your thing, tuck in. For 1-8 players aged 14 and up.
  • Eldritch Horror. As Matt says, you can’t mention one without the other. It’s not an expansion, but rather a companion game with a few gameplay twists of its own. For 1-8 players aged 14 and up.
  • Last Night On Earth. A fast-paced shoot-em-up. Shoot for the head! For 2-6 players aged 12 and up.
  • Mice and Mystics. Curses! You’re bold warriors who’ve been turned into mice! This game plays a lot like D&D and is a lot of fun. Good story and good combat. Just watch out for the cat. She’s nasty. For 1-4 players ages 7 and up.
  • Zombicide. Tired of all that pesky “story” and just want to bash some undead heads. Enjoy. For 1-6 players aged 16 and up.

Finally, Dave played the video game action to discuss Galaxy Trucker for iPad. It’s a beautiful digital interpretation of Vlaaďa Chvátil‘s board game of the same title. An excellent tutorial and multiple play options, including two multi-player variations, make it a winner.

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It’s Friday, which means Aaron and Dave are here to discuss Magic: The Gathering. This time, the guys discuss the new mechanics that have been introduced with Khans of Tarkir.

Aaron also laments his most recent experience with drafting.

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Show notes and links:

It’s the Essen show! Matt and Dave play the “events action” to spend the entire episode discussing Internationale Spieltage SPIEL’14, or “Essen.” Held in Essen, Germany every year, it’s a massive board gaming show that attracts publishers, designers, artists and of course, customers from all over the world. As Matt mentions, there are many European families who go to Essen to discover and often buy the games they’ll play for the year.

So many games are introduced and/or released at Essen, that it’d be impossible to cover them all in an hour, so Dave and Matt have selected a few that grabbed their attention. Some are new, some have been anticipated for a while and others are expansions to pre-existing titles. If you want a complete lists of what was introduced, take a look at this comprehensive post from Board Game Geek. In the meantime, here’s what the guys found.

Matt’s list:

  • La Isla by Stephan Feld. Capture animals on an uncharted island. Plays 2-4, ages 8 and up.
  • Hyperborea by Andrea Chiarvesio Pierluca Zizzi. Matt calls it his “hex board dream.” Take actions by drawing cubes out of a bag. There are also minis! Dave loves minis. Plays 2-6 ages 12 and up.
  • Owacon by BakaFire. Robots wake up after all the humans have died in the world, and you must recover your memory of what you purpose was. It’s a worker placement game with deduction and hidden win conditions. Plays 3-4 ages 10 and up.
  • Carla Cat by 3-6 players ages 6 and up.
  • Mit Mist und Tücke by Helmut Ast. You play as a dung beetle (yep) who must roll his “stuff” (yep) to the proper place. Plays 2-4 ages 5 and up.
  • Lords of Xidit. By Régis Bonnessée. Whoever has the least amount of resources is eliminated. Who ever then has the least amount of the remaining resource is eliminated next and so on, until there’s one person left.
  • The Magic: The Gathering Strategy Board Game. We don’t know much about this but OMGGGGG (PS – If you like Magic, come back to our podcast every Friday for an all-Magic episode).
  • Castles of Mad King Ludwig. A castle’s rooms are divided up and assigned a value. Everyone gets a chance to buy them and then the master builder buys his piece. You then attach the room to your castle. Plays 1-4 ages 10 and up.
  • Arcadia Quest by Eric Lang. Your heroes have special abilities that move around a town and complete the current scenario’s quest. For 2-4 players ages 13 and up.
  • The Battle at Kemble’s Cascade by Anders Tyrland Olle Tyrland. A shoot-em-up in space that plays like a side-scrolling arcade game from the 1980’s. The board actually moves! For 2-5 players ages 13 and up.
  • Colt Express by Christophe Raimbault. A game about robbing a train that gives you an actual 3D train as a game piece. WE ARE SO IN.
  • Bucket King 3D by Steffan Dora. Knock a color out of a bucked that was played from your pyramid. Just don’t knock the thing over. It ends when one person’s pyramid of buckets has been eliminated. Plays 2-6 ages 8 and up.
  • Balla Balla by Dennis Kirps and Christian Kruchten. Kind of a variation of Gnip Gnop. For 2-4 players ages 6 and up.
  • Wash Dash by Amanda Gruzdiņa and several others. Put wet clothes on a clothes line. Huh, when we were kids that was called “chores.” For 2-6 ages 6 and up.
  • Drecksause by Gunter Baars.  Flick hogs around a circular cardboard track, get dirty, get clean, and win the race. Plays 2-4 ages 6 and up.
  • Lift It! by Per Gauding. Construct a building by using a crane of sorts that’s attached to your head. It’s sillier than it sounds. For 1-4 players ages 8 and up.
  • A Dixit expansion is coming, adding many new cards.
  • Carcassonne 2 has new art one side of the tiles, and older art on the back, so it’s compatible with existing sets.
  • Coconuts Duo expands on the original and can play as a stand-alone.
  • Ultimate One Night Werewolf Daybreak by Ted Alspach adds a whole slew of new roles. For 3-10 players ages 8 and up.

Dave’s List:

  • Haru Ichiban by Bruno Cathala. You play as a gardener who is trying to make blooms appear upon his lily pads in harmonious patterns. It’s a two-player game for those 8 years old and up.
  • Pinocchio: True or False by Edward Chan. It’s a combo story telling/dexterity game and it looks so darn cute. For 4-10 players ages 10 and up.
  • Cat Tower by Aza Chen. It’s kind of Jenga with cardboard cats. Help them get the fish that’s out of reach! A fun, silly kids game for 2-4 players ages 4 and up.
  • Alchemists by Matúš Kotry. Produce all sorts of potions and gain professional reputation among your peers. The game culminates in an “exhibition” of what you produced. Plays 2-4 ages 13 and up.
  • Samurai Spirit by Antoine Bauza. You play as a Samurai who must defend a town. A Samurai who can turn into an ANIMAL! Need we say more? It plays 1-7 ages 9 and up.
  • Luchador! Mexican Wrestling Dice by Mark Rivera. Both competitors roll their wrestling dice, see what cancels out and then see what move hits! Four people can also play for tag-team action. For ages 6 and up.
  • Spider’s Web and Royal Bonus are expansions for Small World that adds new races and powers.
  • BANG! The Valley of Shadows is a nice expansion that adds new characters and threats.
  • Terra Mystica: Fire & Ice/Feu & Glace by Jens Drögemüller Helge Ostertag. New creatures and functions. For 2-5 ages 14 and up.

Other games the guys mentioned:

Non-game references:

The characters in Brian’s book provide a rich experience for the reader. We also share tips on playing One Night Ultimate Werewolf successfully.

Finally, game night isn’t game night without pub cheese.