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: ...so, 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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New Reviews Added!


Eleven new games have been added to the Deseret News Reviews section: Mad City, Here I Stand, Pocket Battles: Confederacy vs. Union, Star Realms, Hapsburg Eclipse, Mound Builders, Astra Titanus, Russian Railroads, Freedom: The Underground Railroad, Steam, & Hot Tin Roof.

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The Date


In this excerpt from episode 4, Justin takes a moral stand about board games while on a date with Kylee.

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Cody & Shawn look at the For the Crown Expansions


Shawn: Cody, I've got to tell you....

Cody: Shawn? Why are you covered in pudding?

Shawn: That's... a completely unrelated story. I have to tell you something else.

Cody: Okay. What is it?

Shawn: I can't get For the Crown 2nd Edition from Victory Point Games out of my head. It's just a great game!

Cody: I know. That's what I said in episode seven.

Shawn: It's like chess- but better, more intense.

Cody: I know... did you see our video? You sang a song in it.

Shawn: There's just one problem with For the Crown, as far as I'm concerned.

Cody: Oh, what's that?

Shawn: I wish there was more of it! This is a great game and Victory Point Games has really dropped the ball by not making any expansions.

Cody: Shawn! Shawn! You couldn't be more wrong. Victory Point Games has released two expansions for For the Crown, and a four player variant.

Shawn: Whaaa?

Cody: I can't believe you didn't know this!

Shawn: Wait a second. I am talking to Cody, right? You're not Evil Cody in disguise, trying to toy with my fragile, perfume scented emotions?

Cody: Not at all. Victory Point Games has released For the Crown: Shock & Awe, which adds new and powerful units to the board and their corresponding cards. There's For the Crown: The World is Round, which boasts pieces that can actually move from one edge of the board to the other. And then, there is the aforementioned variant, All the King's Men.

Shawn: Wow! Tell me about some of the new pieces, Cody.

Cody: Shock & Awe introduces some of my favorite pieces in the game. You can use the Ephemera card to train the Ghost, a unit that can move to any empty space on the board, but which cannot attack.

Shawn: Cannot attack? What's the use of that?

Cody: It cannot attack, but it can block your enemies line of sight and ability to attack your units- since it can move anywhere on the board, you can really screw with your opponent's intentions.

Shawn: Hey, that is cool. What else?

Cody: The Portents card can train the Lightning, a unit that can move two spaces forward or back, and two spaces left or right from there. It acts kind of like a knight does in regular chess. Then there's the Caravan, a unit that actually gives you gold when you deploy it, the Golem, a unit that zigzags about the board every other space until it hits something, the Amazon, a powerful unit that combines the movements of the Bishop, the Knight, and the Rook.

Shawn: That sounds amazing!

Cody: My favorite card, however, is the Doppelganger card. First of all, it can train the Changeling, a unit that can emulate any piece it's touching, making it very versatile and potentially very powerful. If the chess board were the ocean, I like to think of the Changeling as my U-boat, moving in stealthily for the kill.

Shawn: That is a really bad analogy, Cody.

Cody: Whatever, the Doppelganger card...

Shawn: I mean seriously, U-boats don't become aircraft carriers just because they pull up alongside an aircraft carrier. “Oh hey everybody, the U-boat's out there somewhere- I guess Jerry's gonna bomb New York!”

Cody: Can I continue?

Shawn: Sure, but no more stupid analogies. Stick to the facts.

Cody: The Doppleganger card also has a special treasure ability. Instead of giving you gold, it allows you to take a second card from the supply. What that means is that you will want to hang onto the Doppelganger cards for the deck building part of the game, then start building up Changelings as you transition to the strategic game on the board.

Shawn: Far out!

Cody: Shock & Awe also introduces the Surge order, a powerful card that lets you capture all of the units threatened by one of your units at the cost of putting your offensive unit back into your barracks.

Shawn: Shock & Awe sounds amazing! Tell me about The World is Round.

Cody: New units in The World is Round include the Raider, which zigzags forward or back every space, the Magister, who boasts a T formation of movement in any direction, the Nomad, which moves three spaces in any direction, and the Visionary, which moves just like a Bishop.

Shawn: Just like a Bishop? Don't they already have a name for a piece that does that? Oh, yeah, it's called a Bishop!

Cody: That's just it Shawn, all of these new pieces have something really special. For The World is Round introduces cylindrical movement.

Shawn: Cylindrical Movement? Wasn't that a progressive rock band in the early 80's?

Cody: No, cylindrical movement means that these pieces can move from one edge of the board and continue on from the other, as though the whole board was folded over on itself. It allows for dynamic new surprises.

Shawn: Dynamic New Surprises, I'm pretty sure that was Cylindrical Movement's first #1 hit in the U.K.

Cody: The World is Round also boasts new card abilities, such as the Land Lore treasure, which allows you to count up your foot soldiers in every rank, compare them with your opponent's, and gain gold. The Vantage action gives you three gold instantly, but you must move one of your pieces backward. The Far Sight action allows you to guess a card in your enemy's hand. He must then discard any of those cards from his hand. And there are many, many more new abilities.

Shawn: Okay, so what's this deal with All the King's Men? Four players? Seriously?

Cody: It's great. Two players form a team on one side of the board while two others form a team on the other. Each player has their own draw deck. There are two supplies, one for each side of the board, and players can only purchase cards from their side of supply. Each side still has the four core cards, of course.

Shawn: Of course.

Cody: Play goes back and forth in an hourglass pattern, so that each turn a different team is allowed to go. One thing that is really cool is that each player on a team controls his own units (you can rotate your units to keep track of player control), but Kings and other sovereign units, the most important units in the game, are under shared control.

Shawn: You are blowing my mind!

Cody: There is also an extended play scenario, in which players can choose to draw out the game by manipulating the supply and start decks with special cards and a little light math.

Shawn: Cody, this all sounds so cool. But you've played all of these expansions, what are your thoughts?

Cody: Obviously, some of the cards and units are better than others, but both Shock & Awe and The World is Round bring amazing new abilities and aspects to the game. The key word here is variety, if you like the variety of the base game, you'll love what these expansions bring to the game. For the Crown is a simple game with deep and complex strategies. Shock & Awe and The World is Round take the best things about For the Crown and run with them. The best part, of course, is that such variety allows you to customize the game every time you and a friend sit down. It is said that no two games of chess ever play out the same way. If that is true it is true x 1,000,000 for For the Crown and its expansions.

Shawn: I know! How could more of For the Crown be a bad thing! But what about the four player variant? What do you think about that.

Cody: I like it. It adds an engaging new element to the game, and getting more people involved is always fun. I really like how the sovereign units are controlled by both players, meaning that they have to negotiate and strategize with each other. Ultimately, All the King's Men adds a new human element to the game that I really enjoy.

Shawn: So do you prefer the four player game to the two player game?

Cody: No. At its heart I think of For the Crown as chess on steroids, and I really like the one on one competition that if offers. Still, the four player game is a fun way to play occasionally, and a great way to get new players into it on game night.

Shawn: Though I'm still upset about the whole U-boat analogy, I have to tell you that you brightened my day with your glad tidings of For the Crown expansions. Am I right in assuming that your recommendation for all three is buy it?

Cody: You would be correct. My recommendation for For the Crown: Shock & Awe, The World is Round, and All the Kings Men is: Buy it! Buy it! Buy it! But if money's tight and you need to know which one to get first, I'd say get Shock & Awe. It offers the most bang for your buck. Though when payday comes around, if you love For the Crown, you'll want to pick up the others.

Shawn: Cody, for your services today, I dub you Sir Cody the Cool.

Cody: Okay. What is your For the Crown name?

Shawn: Sir Shawn... the... Screw it! Let's go play the game!

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