TDG: 11 Great Companies & Games


Cody takes a look at 11 board game companies and picks his favorite game from each.

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TDG: Crisis 2020


Cody takes a look at Victory Point Games' Crisis 2020, a game set in a 21st century American Civil War.

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New Star Wars tabletop games announced


See Cody's story on Fantasy Flight Games' recently announced Star Wars titles in the Deseret News Games Stories section.

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Ode to Courtier


Shawn sings a song about Courtier, from AEG, from our episode 4 Courtier review.

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Breaking Up with Fortune & Glory


Cody has an awkward break up with his old flame, Fortune & Glory (Erin Saunders).

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S1E12: A Game of Thrones: The Board Game, 2nd Edition


In our season one finale, Cody, Shawn, and Justin take a look at A Game of Thrones: The Board Game, 2nd Edition, from Fantasy Flight Games. But if the king suspects that they are disloyal will they all lose their heads?

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Justin & Cody explore The Spoils


Justin: Hey, Cody, what have you got there?

Cody: Oh, hi, Justin. This is The Spoils.

Justin: Spoiled what? Eggs? Cheese? An overly indulged nephew?

Cody: No, no, Justin. The Spoils is a Trading Card Game from Arcane Tinmen. This is their New Player Pack: Basic Box of Awesomeness.

Justin: Basic Box of Awesomeness? The cards all better have pictures of that girl that sang the “Friday” song. She defined awesomeness and taught America how to sing way back in 2011.

Cody: Er... no. This Basic Box of Awesomeness contains everything you need to get started playing a game of The Spoils.

Justin: Okay, okay. So what is this game about? It looks like Magic: The Gathering.

Cody: It's similar, though there are a lot of differences. Players attack each other in the hopes of knocking their opponent's influence down to zero. There are five factions cards- the same cards- that essentially tell players what they can do on a turn and set their influence at 25. Players begin with a starting hand, then over the course of the game lay down more cards like characters, items, and tactics. They also can put down resources from their cards which can be used to activate the other cards. This Basic Box of Awesomeness comes with five different trades, or decks of cards that you can use to attack your opponent.

Justin: I'm intrigued. You may continue.

Cody: First of all there is the Arcanist trade. This trade employs the powers of the undead and bizarre monsters to achieve its goals. Next, the Rogue trade is all about deception and thievery, stealing other players cards and turning it back on them. The Bankers are pretty cool, and use greed as a weapon in order to get a lot of stuff, while trying to deprive their enemy of getting stuff for themselves.

Justin: Wait a second! Are those Bankers big cats? They literally look like big cats- and not the Sammy Davis Jr. kind of cat.

Cody: Yes, the Bankers are a race of cats, and I don't really like to play with them because of my allergies. Next, the Warlord trade is a society of total war that will attempt to blow the enemy out of the water by sheer force of arms..

Justin: Wait, there's water?

Cody: Figure of speech, Justin. Lastly, there's the Gearsmiths, fellows who like to build robots and toys and funky little surprises to attack their enemy. Each trade has characters that can be played to attack the enemy or protect your own influence. Items and Tactics can then be added to the character to make him even more deadly.

Justin: So, you go back and forth using your cards and resources to attack each other. Sounds fun. What do you think, Cody?

Cody: I've got to be honest, I'm not a huge fan of Trading Card Games like Magic, and I went into The Spoils with some reservations. There is a lot I like about The Spoils, however. First of all, the sci-fi, steampunk, horror, themes that permeate the game are all great. The artwork on each card will blow you away. Really first rate stuff. (I gotta be honest, even if I hated the game I'd be tempted to pick up this pack for the artwork alone- it really is that cool- and there is so much variety to the art). I should point out, however, that because of the artwork, this isn't a game for the kiddies. The various resource cards all feature half-naked women. Now, I don't mind that. In fact, I REALLY don't mind that. But certainly gamers with families might think twice about this game for that reason. There's also some pretty gory cards, including one gruesome but awesome warlord card called “Eye gouge.” I'll let you imagine what the card artwork is like.

Justin: Puppies?

Cody: Yes, Justin. Puppies.

Justin: But how does it played compared to Magic?

Cody: It's a lot less structured, and I found that very cool. Instead of phases, you can keep doing card actions provided you can pay for them with resources. This introduces a more free-form style of play that is really exciting and fun.

Justin: Cool.

Cody: One thing players should be aware of as well- this game is pretty fiddly. Many cards call for tokens to be placed on a card, or near a card, or for other purposes. Make sure when you play The Spoils you have some pennies or small pebbles or human teeth nearby. This can offer some cool aspects to the game, but a lot of the time it was kind of headache to keep track of everything- especially on that first play through when you're not expecting it. I really wish Arcane Tinmen had included some chips or cubes along with the Basic Box of Awesomeness. Also, players will need a piece of paper and a pencil to keep score. Again, it's not a big deal, but I wish the box came with some cool mechanic or system to keep score. Remember Star Realms?

Justin: Ooooh, Star Realms. I love the Authority cards that track health. Yeah, something like that would have been cool for The Spoils.

Cody: I should point, however, that I really do love the box. It's a wonderful little box to keep your cards in, with enough room for future card expansions. A handy Styrofoam cube takes up the excess space in the box.

Justin: Maybe you could use the Styrofoam cube for keeping score.

Cody: Justin, how would you use the Styrofoam cube to keep score?

Justin:, what do you think of the game overall, Cody.

Cody: Like I said, Trading Card Games are not really my thing, and I don't really think The Spoils will make a convert out of me. That being said, I think that players who like Magic, but want to take their card games in a new and fun direction will really enjoy The Spoils. Players new to Trading Card Games should also take to it. It's not my cup of tea, but I can tell a good game when I play one, and The Spoils is a good game.

Justin: So, your recommendation is?

Cody: Like I said, Magic players will eat it up. But if you haven't yet played a Trading Card Game, I'd recommend that you try it before you buy it.

Justin: Hey, Cody, you're right. The artwork on these cards is really great and I... That's not puppies Cody!!! Why did you tell me the “Eye Gouge” card had puppies!!!

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Ode to Cruel Necessity


Shawn sings his timeless "Ode to Cruel Necessity," from our Season 1 Episode 3 Cruel Necessity review.

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S1E11 Freedom: The Underground Railroad


In a serious tone, Cody and Chase look at Freedom: The Underground Railroad, from Academy Games.

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Cody & Shawn discuss good and evil Korea and the card game Koryo


Shawn: Hey, Cody! I've got to tell you, I really like Machi Koro. Thanks for reviewing it in episode ten. It's a great game from our friends in Japan.

Cody: That it is Shawn, that it is. Say, would you like to hear about another great game from Asia, this one from Korea?

Shawn: Would I? Of course I would- wait- is it from the good Korea or the evil Korea?

Cody: The good... I think. In any event, I can't imagine joyless communists coming up with a game like Koryo.

Shawn: Koryo?

Cody: Koryo.

Shawn: Okay, so the name of the game you are going to tell me about is Koryo?

Cody: Yup. Koryo.

Shawn: Please proceed.

Cody: Koryo, from Asmodee, is a card game for two to four players that is part of the micro-game movement, packing big games into little packages like Coup, Love Letter, and the aforementioned Machi Koro.

Shawn: How does it play, this Koryo of which you speak?

Cody: First of all, there are eight season cards. Each round a new season card is revealed which denotes how many cards each player receives, as well as how many cards a player can keep in front of him at the end of his turn. As the game goes forward, players receive less and less cards, but they can keep more and more cards in front of them.

Shawn: Wait, wait. Back up. I want... No Cody, don't literally backup. Step forward. Okay, I want to know why you're putting cards in front of you? What's that all about.

Cody: On your turn you can only lay down sets of the same card- never different cards. But you can lay down as many of the same card as you have- and you'll want to. There are nine numbered cards that denote special characters, each with a special ability- if you posses the most of them in front of you. For instance, if you have the most banker cards (sixes), you gain a victory point. If you have the most spies (twos), you can steal victory points from other players. If you have the most broadcasters (eights), you can get dealt an extra card at the beginning of the turn. And there are many more special abilities.

Shawn: So if I lay out the most of one card, I get that special ability, but no one else, right? What about ties?

Cody: In the event of a tie, no one gets the special ability, unless they have the most omniscient cards (ones), which break ties.

Shawn: Wow! So that's it? You just try to lay down the most cards of a set in front of you every round?

Cody: Not quite. In addition to the character cards, there are also event cards- the barbarian card and the lobbyist card. Both cards are listed as negative one. If you play a barbarian card, you can destroy one of your opponents' cards. If you play the lobbyist, you can force two players, including yourself, to swap two cards.

Shawn: The swine! Is there any defense against barbarian and lobbyist cards?

Cody: The Guardian (sevens) and spies (twos) block the barbarian and lobbyist cards respectively. But the player who plays that card has problems, because that event card remains out in front of them until they gain the power of the priest (fours), which allows them to get rid of the event card.

Shawn: Oh- I see, you are limited by the number of cards you can have out in front of you by the season card, and the event cards take up space. I assume you have to discard excess cards in front of you.

Cody: Exactly.

Shawn: Wait a second Cody. You said the game lasts eight rounds, but how do you win?

Cody: At the conclusion of the eight rounds, players gain points for having the most cards in a set before them equal that set number. For instance the player with the most merchants (nines) in front of him at the end of the game gets nine points, the player with the most broadcasters (eights) in front of him gets eight points, etc.. etc.. It is possible to have the most of multiple sets. Also, victory points scored from the banker are factored in, and all event cards count as a negative one to the victory point total.

Shawn: And if players are tied the player with the most omniscient cards (ones) can break the tie, no?

Cody: No! Only omniscient cards can only break ties during the rounds, not in final scoring!

Shawn: Cody, there's no need to yell at me!

Cody: Now you're yelling!

Shawn: I'll be the bigger man and stop yelling. So what do you think of Koryo?

Cody: Koryo is a fun game. It is very reminiscent of those other micro-games, and it's generally engaging. I like how it forces players to guess what other players are going to attempt to do, and I like the event dynamic, where you can really screw over another player, but you'll pay for it in the long run. I also really like how quickly this game can turn. You're in the lead one minute, then one bad round can completely change the game's balance of power.

Shawn: I sense a “but” coming...

Cody: It is a fun game, don't get me wrong. The problem I have with Koryo, however, is that as the game goes on, players become more and more limited. Their choices gradually disappear. Your strategy gets locked in fairly quickly, and it can be difficult to switch gears by mid game.

Shawn: Did that increasing stagnation ruin the game for you, like it nearly ruined our friendship?

Cody: In fairness Shawn you lacked spontaneity in 2006. Just saying. The answer is no, because Koryo is a relatively quick game. It plays in about 15 to 20 minutes, so that even though you may get bogged down in a strategy, it's over so quickly you don't really have to brood on it. It's not an evening long epic game where you screw yourself over early and have to live with it for two hours. If Koryo were a longer game, I don't think I'd like it much, but given its length, it's a pretty fun little game.

Shawn: So, what is your recommendation, Mr. Excitement?

Cody: I'd have to say try it before you buy it. It's a fun game, but not an amazing one.

Shawn: For your sake, I really hope that game came from the good Korea. Evil Korea has gone to war over less!

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