Tired of not knowing how to get into money topics with friends OR sick of boring holiday parties where someone picked out a lame game from Walmart? We’ll solve BOTH problems today with our friends from the Australia-based YouTube channel Thinker Themer, Amy and Maggie! They’re board game reviewers who walk us through two lists, one detailing great games introducing people to money or economic themes, and the other with party games that will be sure to entertain your friends and family over this holiday season. They’re sure to bring some games you’ve never heard of that can provide hours of entertainment for a lot less money than a night at a bar or trip to the local cinema.
You’ll find show notes for this episode at https://www.stackingbenjamins.com/amy-and-maggie-thinker-themer-1281.
Deeper dives with curated links, topics, and discussions are on our newsletter, The 201, available at StackingBenjamins.com/201.
Amy and Maggie from ThinkerThemer
Big thanks to Amy and Maggie from ThinkerThemer for joining us today to talk about board games! Check out their YouTube channel here.
Check out all the games they mentioned on today’s show. (A quick note: we earn a small commission from Amazon on sales from the below links).
- You probably know where all the places in Monopoly, are, such as Atlantic Avenue, Park Place, and Boardwalk. But, my question is, where is Marvin Gardens in real life?
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Written by: Brooke Miller
Miss our last show? Listen here: 2022 Hot (and not) Holiday Tech with CNET’s Bridget Carey
Prefer to read the transcript from the show? Read on below:
Doug: Live kind of from Joe’s mom’s basement. It’s the Stacking Benjamin Show.
I’m Joe’s mom’s neighbor. Doug reporting from out in the field on this Black Friday. Things are crazier than I thought they’d. Our regulars are out shopping. So today we are joined at the card table by Amy and Maggie from the Popular Thinker theme YouTube channel to help us get the board games that will have our families giggling instead of groaning This holiday season, stick around for not one, but two top five lists.
First games about money or economics. Second, the best games to play with friends or family, especially those black hearted weirdos, the non-gamers. Oh yeah, and halfway through you can count on me rolling in with my trivia question. And now a guy who’s helping you play the Game of Life and win. It’s Joe
Joe: Well, thank you Doug and happy Holiday weekend stackers if you’re in the United States. If you’re anywhere else, happy Friday. Right. Welcome to another episode of the Stacky Benjamin Show. I am Joe Saul-Sehy average Joe Money on Twitter. This is a very special episode. I’m here no og Doug, uh, knows that it’s light duty for him today because today we’re all about board games.
A long time ago what happened was we realized that very few people were listening to Money Talk on the day after Thanksgiving, and that’s when I realized this needed to be a really special episode. Of course, if you’ve listened to the show for any length of time, you know how much I love board. My family decided when I was in seventh grade to no longer have a television that we would just not get one.
I remember pulling into the, this is an old guy story, but I remember pulling into the TV dealership, right? There’s old guy right there, and my parents go in and leave the kids in the car with a window down, another old guy moment that should not happen today. And happened I feel like regularly then and came out and I think that it’s decided it was too expensive.
And you know what happened? A love of all things. Games began, our family began communicating better. My grades went up in school, and I began this, uh, love affair with just everything games. So this is now our annual board game episode in one of our most listened to episodes every year, so I’m super excited.
If you’re new to the family, welcome to Stacking Benjamins. This is a little bit different than usual. But we’re gonna give you two top five lists.
Let’s get into it with Amy and Maggie from Thinker Theme. Here we go,
and I’m so happy that we finally got them here halfway across the world from us. Amy and Maggie from Thinker Them are here. How are you? Two?
Amy: We are so great. Thank you so much for having us. Yes. Excited to be here.
Joe: Well, thank you for getting up early on a Saturday for me. I, I
Amy: appreciate it. Oh, you’re welcome.
We often actually do a lot of board game content early in the morning before our day job, so it is not different for us. So yeah, thanks for you for staying up late. Get the
Maggie: voice warmed up and going and then we’re good. Yeah, .
Joe: I would like to talk to you cuz a lot of people are interested in starting a side hustle, but that’s another time maybe we’ll have you back and talk about this side gig and creating this channel that’s gone really, really well.
We told people in the open about how Board Game Geek just did a kind of a spotlight on you and I’ve just been a big fan for a long time. I do wanna ask you about this because a lot of our, a lot of our listeners are not board game players. How did you two get involved in board games? Like in, in most relationships, one person is like the instigator, , and then the other person might be dragged into it.
Is that the two of you?
Amy: Well, it was actually,
Maggie: was one of Amy’s friends
Amy: was the, uh, the person that introduced us. We sort of went, went over for games
Maggie: night and they brought out this game called Splendor, which is one of the very well known gateway games that kinda, it’s all about kinda like gem collecting, but it’s a very, very clever, very simple to get into the, quite crunchy to, to master a type game.
And we just loved it. And then over a series of date night, uh, or game date nights with these friends, they introduced us to like more and more games. Another one called Dominion, another one called Ticket to Ride. And we were like, what is this? This is amazing. We need to know everything about this. And we actually both got into like, we both discovered the hobby at the same time and we both got like incredibly.
Straight away. So it was actually quite lucky in a way because we have someone to share it, but it’s unlucky because there’s no one
Amy: to kind of hold us back, enable
Maggie: one another a bit too much. So yeah, that’s how we got into it. Is that what,
Joe: well, I have to ask then in, in Australia, because in the United States you get a tax break for things you use for business.
So part of what I like about talking board games is I get to write all those off against my taxes. , do you, do you get that too? Do you have a similar.
Amy: Yeah. Yeah, it’s very similar. So, um, yeah, we have of course set the channel up as a bit of a, a business, not to necessarily make money, but it definitely helps, uh, because we do earn some income through YouTube, uh, whether that’s add revenue or, uh, the support of our wonderful community to help the channel going.
So, um, yes, it does make some game purchases, certainly tax deductible, which is a nice little benefit. Yeah. Yeah. And that whole thing
Maggie: here, it’s as long as you’re having to pay tax on it, which is we would, because it’s income, then you get to deduct things against it, and that’s, you know, that’s fair.
Joe: I think that’s fair.
No, absolutely. And what a wonderful way to justify your addiction. It’s very true.
well, you, you’ve been nice enough though to share with us today, two top five lists, the first top five lists that you put together for us. And thank you so much for doing. Is five games that you really like and we’ll do this kind of David Letterman style 5 4 3 21, where, um, five games that include economics or maybe a little bit about money.
So let’s do those. How about our number five?
Amy: Sounds great. Well, we haven’t put them in any particular order. Um, but we’ll start with . Well, cause they’re all good for different reasons. Oh, yeah, yeah, that’s right. And they, they’re all coming from our collection, so we love them all. But the first one is a bit of a classic and, um, it’s a little card game called High Society, and this is by Reyna Kinesia.
It is a game where you’re playing as the French aristocrat. You’re trying to collect wealth and adornment that are going to prove that you are definitely worthy of everybody’s time in the social and want to be jealous and
Maggie: envious of you, and you know, the way that you achieve that in a franchise.
Amy: having the most
Maggie: luxury. So that’s what you’re going to be spending your money on this
Amy: game. Yeah. And so everybody starts with a handful of cards that all have different denominations of, of monetary value, and you’re going to be bidding on cards as they come up. So, Someone is going to reveal the top card on a deck, and that card is going to generally have a value from one to 10, and we’re going to be bidding on those in order to bring them into our collection of adornment.
And ultimately the main goal is that you’re trying to have the highest number of points at the end of the game. But the trick is the person who spends the most is eliminated from the game. The end of the game, if you have the least
Maggie: amount of money, you’re, you’re gonna immediately be
Amy: kicked out in
Maggie: high society because you might have all the
Amy: luxuries, but everyone knows.
Yeah, they bank balance is really low. So it’s a really intense balance between how
Maggie: much do I need to acquire all these goods versus, oh, am I spending too much money? Am I going to be the person with a lot, with the least amount of money in the end? Yeah. So you’re kind of also checking things
Amy: around the table.
And there’s a randomization of the end game as well, so you don’t know when the game is gonna end. So you’re still. Thinking, well, do I have enough points to win at this point? So there, it’s, it’s very, very difficult, tough choices. The other thing
Maggie: that I love about it is there’s also, some of the cards are full pass or like scandals or things that you don’t want.
And so that round, yeah, that round is hilarious because now you’re actually bidding to
Amy: not get that. So, so everyone’s like throwing money to make that problem go away, sort of thing, and
Maggie: so it’s the person who can’t or won’t pay for that to go away, that ends up getting these usually other negative points or something that’s going to have their score.
And so it just creates an incredible dynamic and tense and hilariousness around the table. I, I absolutely enjoy it. Love it. Yeah.
Joe: Yeah, we’ve had a lot of laughs playing this game. and really this is a game you, you talked earlier, Maggie, about gateway games. This is a very easy game for people to understand.
Like, you can take this over to friend’s house and they’ll get it. Yes. Yeah.
Amy: It is a favorite of my mom’s actually. So, . Oh, is it? Yes.
Joe: Well, and also to your point, I think my favorite part is when those cards come up, of the things you don’t. Like that is my favorite part where you’re like, oh God, no. Please, no, no, no, no, no.
I do not need that. Yeah. Yeah. And you lose
Amy: all your money making problems go away. That doesn’t invent you in the game at all. Yeah, it’s a
Joe: great game. Yeah. It feels like when, um, you know, your roof needs repair. You know, if, if you own your house and your roof needs repair, you’re like, this does nothing for my lifestyle.
But if I don’t do something about it, then
Amy: I’m in trouble. Things are gonna get exponentially
Joe: worse. Yes, absolutely. That’s a fantastic one. What’s
Amy: next? Uh, well, the next one is a little bit of a bigger game. So we’re going straight from accessible car game to, uh, Uh, what is known as probably a Euro style game, so it’s little bit heavier, and this game is Nusfjord.
Joe: never played this game. It is a beautiful cover though. This is a beautiful cover.
Maggie: This is an excellent game and it’s an excellent as well for the more complex strategic Euro style games. This is a great way into those because it’s, it’s in a smallish kind of package and it plays fairly quickly.
It probably plays within an hour or so. You get so much of those elements of the, the strategy and the complexity. But I’ll, I’ll let Amy talk
Amy: about it. Yeah. Well, economically you are the, like, you’re the owner of a fishing. And so what you’re trying to do is you’re trying to build up your, uh, fleets of ships so that you can get more fish, um, and you’re trying to sell those fish, but you are also trying to sell shares in your company, uh, which is really interesting.
So you can issue shares in your own company and you want to do that because if you don’t issue shares in your company, they’re going to be worth negative points at the end of the game. So, whoa. Yeah, you need to issue those shares. But what’s really interesting is the other players around the table can purchase those shares, and then you’re going to have to pay fish dev dividends every time you go.
You go out and you bring back a hole of fish. You’re going to have to pay out proportionately to all of the investors in your fishing company. Yeah. Um, so it is just a really interesting Absolutely, yeah. Economic dilemma because it’s all like, ultimately it’s sort of
Maggie: this concept of having, um, your net worth.
So it’s a combination of shares, um, it’s a combination of the buildings that you manage to, to build based on all that, that money that you’re able to kind of accumulate along the way. But also you can buy shares in other people’s companies and then you’re actually getting those fish from other, you know, from the other, from the other companies.
You can even buy back your own shares if, if they’re available. And so you’re then, you know, just like when you buy back your own shares, you get to keep more of the profit. But you, when you buy them back, there’s no, there’s no negative
Amy: cuz it’s already, you know, they’ve been sold,
Maggie: it’s sold, you’re buying them for good reason.
So I just love how much they’ve managed to, and it has also an excellent solar mode I should say. So if you’re, um, out there wondering, oh, I don’t really have anyone to play something like this with. You can play the solo, and it’s an excellent, very, very streamlined way to play. You don’t have to worry about any kind of complicated AI or robot to facilitate.
It’s just beautifully simply done.
Joe: This game wasn’t at all on my radar. And now I’m like, okay, take my wallet. Just take my wallet. Cuz this sounds totally,like me, but I love the idea. So what you’re saying, I think So Amy, if you’re winning the game and I think you’re doing really well, I can buy into that winning, right?
By buying shares of your company. I mean, if you’re doing really well, then I share in that Yeah.
Amy: You get only opportunities as and when I decide to issue shares. Yeah. And so if I put them out there onto the board, then you have the opportunity to snap them up. Um, and there’s lots of other elements in the game too.
Um, you know, you are clearing forests so that you can build buildings that are gonna help you, you know, get other resources and continue your journey as, um, you know, to build more ships and, and to get help from elders. So it is much more complex. There’s just the issue issuing of shares. But that certainly is a really interesting component of the.
Joe: But this one is much more for somebody that wants a little bit of a deeper dive, I would imagine. Absolutely. Yeah. Yes. Yeah. But this designer, uey Rosenberg, I mean, he’s done multiple people over the years. Have talked about another game of his, it’s much more accessible. And I don’t wanna preview, maybe this is coming up later, but Bonanza his bean trading game.
Like tons of people have talked
Amy: about that game. Very different game. Very different. It’s not on our list. No. I wish it was because we absolutely love that game. Yes. It’s hilarious.
Maggie: And it’s just this like back and forth and, you know, I’ve got stink bean, you know, who wants my stink bean? Who wants my coffee bean?
It’s a, it’s a,
Amy: it’s a hilarious shedding game. You’re just trying to excel things to people who don’t want them. Also hilarious.
Maggie: If you’re not in the room, if you’re kind of overhearing people talking about it and sharing like trading beans, it’s just, apparently it’s a hilarious conversation to
No, Maggie, it’s funny when you said, who wants my stink beam? My dad loves this game and he’s shortened it to just, who wants my stink? Who wants my stink? And we’re like, no, nobody wants your stink. Nobody. Yeah. Yeah. That’s
Amy: a, that’s a classic dad thing to do.
Joe: Yes. That sounds, and for, for everybody listening, I’ll just throw that in the show notes too, but Oh my goodness.
I love the idea of being able to buy other people’s shares in a game That’s so, so, so fun. But anyway, what is next ladies?
Maggie: Okay, what is next? So next we have one that is a two player game.
So head to head, and it’s called RadLands.
Maggie: radlands takes place in this post-apocalyptic world where everything has been ravaged and the currency now, and all that really matters is water. So droplets of water are actually the equivalent of money. So that’s what you’re using to, to build things, to acquire or recruit people, to pay them for the things that they’re doing.
And what you’re going to be doing is you’re going to be protecting, essentially both players are going to be protecting their three camps, which is where you’re gonna be holding, essentially. That’s where obviously your water, your precious water is being held. You’ve got these three camps and in front of them you’re going to be placing cards so that as you’re getting attacked, those cards are the ones getting attacked instead of your, your camp at the end getting attacked.
And those cards that you’re gonna be placing there are your, the people that you’re recruiting kind of different versions of either, um, different skills. Like some of them are fighters, some of them are things that allow you to heal other things or recover. But the interesting thing about this is, again, as you’re using like what are so, or the currency is so scarce that you, every turn is so excruciating going, oh, what am I gonna do?
Are I gonna try and get more people? I’m gonna activate some of the people that I have. Um, am I going to try and attack? Do I have to try and prepare for an onslaught that’s coming? The other thing that you can do is you can set events in motion. So you can kind of, um, there’s these cards that then once you activate them, they take a few kind of sometimes turns or sometimes, uh, time to get closer and closer.
Creating something really bad for your opponent. So as the opponent,
Amy: you start seeing that thing coming, you’re going, how am I going to mitigate
Maggie: against that? And sometimes you have a round or two, sometimes you don’t have a lot of, uh, times So it’s just, it’s an excellent, again, fairly, fairly straightforward game to get into cuz it’s just, it’s just really cards in those tokens for, for the water and it’s just beautiful.
The artwork and the cards is just so fluorescent and so almost like, um, yeah, that sort of neon punk look. And it’s just such a fun, tense, exciting
Maggie: The deluxe, uh, edition that came with Kickstarter. I believe the retail addiction actually comes in a smaller box that it comes in cuz the version that we have has neo print mats as well.
But it can also come in this cuz it’s just cards really. So it can come in this format. So cards and the, and the tokens inside, and it’s just an excellent, excellent two
Joe: player game. This very much has a mad max feel to the artwork.
Amy: Yes, absolutely. A hundred percent. Yeah.
Joe: And the idea that water is the resource that is scarce, uh, is hitting a little close to home in the American West, like that’s a little, little too close to him.
But isn’t that a hallmark of a great game? Like when I watch your videos, I feel like when money is scarce, right, when, when you really have to make these tough money decisions, for me, that seems like a hallmark of a really good game.
Amy: Absolutely. And the whole back of life really, isn’t it? ? That’s true.
Tradeoffs attention, attention of life. Do I buy another board game or do I pay that Bill ? It just really makes those, uh, yeah, those moments really, it makes you appreciate them even more when you
Maggie: manage to actually, you know, get that thing. You’re like, oh, work so hard for it,
Amy: and here it is, finally.
Joe: Yeah, maybe, maybe that is a little too close to home there too.
Yeah. . I’ve never heard of that game. I’ve never ever heard of it, and now I can’t wait to try it out. What, what, what is.
Amy: the other one, actually, we don’t have it to show because it’s it’s, it’s behind me
Maggie: somewhere. I’m not gonna be able to, cuz it’s a massive, massive box. So it’s called Magnate the first city.
So this one is for anyone who loves the real estate component of Monopoly, but it’s monopoly. Yeah. This is, in my opinion, the single best real estate game that has ever hit a table of mine.
this might be in all our years of doing this, the first time somebody’s recommended besides maybe for sale.
But this may be the first. Real, real estate game that we’ve, I can’t think of another real estate game. But anyway,
Maggie: it is such a pure real estate joy of a game to the point where if you don’t like real estate,
Amy: stay away from this game , because this is like, it just harnesses that so beautifully.
Maggie: The whole game is about, you have all these plots of land and you are, you know, at the start of it, you’re trying to time the market. You wanna make sure that you buy those plots of land when the market is low, so you can grab up some bargains there, then you’re going. Building buildings there and you actually even get to decide the type of building are you gonna go industrial, commercial, residential.
Wow. And depending on what they’re near or next to, they’re gonna make them more worthwhile or more valuable, or less valuable. So if you’re near
Amy: parks, then of course residentials are gonna
Maggie: love it. Um, if you’re near an industrial complex, residential is not gonna be, it’s not gonna do so well cuz there’s, you know, so the adjacencies are important.
And then the, um, when you’re bringing in tenants as well, cause you can bring different, lots of tenants. The tenants are going to pay more based on, again, what is it adjacent to, what other buildings are around that are, that are kind of synergistic with them. And then this is the best bit. The point where you start seeing, okay, you know, I’ve got my buildings, they’re tenanted, the market’s about to crash, or it’s out of peak, then you wanna sell, sell, sell.
Cuz then at that point, as you’re selling, you are getting so much money and eventually the the game kind of ends after it. There’s this peak in the market and then there’s the inevitable crash that happens. And then at that point, if you’ve held onto your properties for too long, they can be worth very little.
They’re still worth so,
Amy: But very little. Yeah. And when you’re selling your properties, you’re actually contributing to the crash as well. Yes. So, um, you know, it, it peaks and then everyone around the table’s kind of eyeing off each other and you’re like, are you gonna sell off all of your property ? Because if you are, I am
Maggie: so clever.
And even the way they use advertisement, so you can use advertising to like attract more people and, and yet the value of, but again, as the value goes up, then that impending crash is getting closer and closer. So, so clever. A lot. Obviously it’s, this one’s a little bit heavier than some of the other games that we’ve, that we’ve talked about, but if you love real estate, this was gonna be a well worthwhile
Amy: getting into.
Yeah. The other thing, and you know, a hearts back to Monopoly is that gamers, board gamers are a bit funny about paper money. Mm-hmm. so. Money represented by bits of paper. Just like in Monopoly? Yeah. Uh, no, gamers are not into that because it’s not very long lasting. Um, and eating especially they
Maggie: like the metal coins
Amy: and poker chips, that type of thing is usually used in board gaming.
But this game has paper money and at first we were like not sure about that, but in this game you get a wallet that stores all of the paper money and keeps it hidden from your opponent. So they dunno how much money you’re sitting on. And this wallet just gets fatter and fatter and fatter, satisfy and it’s so satisfying to feel so rich.
Joe: Yeah. The
Amy: opposite. What is very thin. Yeah. And you’re like, oh,
Maggie: not, but all my money is tied up in the buildings and I know that my payday will come when I, you know, finally
Amy: like, sell those buildings or when, you know, my passive
Maggie: income will come within the new round starts and I get to, uh, charge rent to all my tenants.
So it’s just so well executed. It’s an excellent game. So it’s magnate first city.
Joe: think there’s so many of our fans that are gonna love that when we have so many people interested in real estate that listen to the show. I do have a question about it though. When you talk about the economic cycle and the inevitable crash, is that at the same time every game?
Or is it No. Is it random or can we kind of, it sounds like you can kind of see it coming
Amy: though. Yeah. So it’s
Maggie: not random. This is what makes it so clever. It’s not random. It’s determined by the actions that players are doing and the so again, the more things, the more the
Amy: market is active, um, and the more advertising is happening
Maggie: and the more so it’s actually the dynamics that are playing out in that particular game that are going to speed up or slow down that, that market crash.
Joe: That’s cool. like we’ve had here in the US kind of an overheated, probably the same, there have had an overheated real estate market mm-hmm. that will help bring about the crash, you know, so as people are, are buying, buying.
Amy: Yeah, in Melbourne actually, we have one of the highest costs of real estate in the world.
I think it’s in the top five now, . Um, and so it’s a little close to home. We were playing this with my sister and she was like, this game is a little bit triggering because I’m never gonna get into the property market and this is why. You know, so yeah. At least you get to buy it in the make relief, uh, board game.
You get to feel rich for a
Joe: moment. So, . Yeah. Or, or just come move to a little tiny town in Texas, right here, mom’s basement where we make podcasts and it’s a, it’s cause we’re, we are nowhere near the top five. Nowhere near mm-hmm. . These have been fantastic and I love the fact that I have never heard of three of them, which is awesome.
Let’s, uh, dive into the fifth one.
Amy: Well, the fifth and final one are complete opposite of Magnate. Um, if you can’t make money, well you might as well go digging for some. So it’s a card game called, so what’s called a. Roll and write are a flip and write are called silver and gold. And what we mean by roll and write, if you haven’t heard of that term before, is a fairly new genre of board games where everybody has a pen or a pencil and you’re trying to mark something off on a piece of paper in front of you.
And all of the different games have different objectives. In this particular one, you are trying to scan islands for treasure. And the way that you’re going to be looking for that treasure is you are going to be crossing off shapes on different island cards that are in front of you. And those shapes, if you’re familiar with Tetris, uh, poly shape.
So those Tetris piece shapes are going to be drawn from a deck, and that deck is randomized. And so you might get, uh, you know that L piece shape and you’ve got to mark that off on one of your islands. And the objective is to fit all of these shapes onto the island and complete them because when you complete them, they’re gonna be worth points at the end of the game.
And then you get to draft a new island. And of course, in treasure hunting style, there are gold coins that you can collect along the way. So if you are successful in covering up these gold coins, they’re going to. Filling up your bag of coins until you reach a certain amount, and then you’re going to get a trophy.
And that trophy is a little bit of a race element with the people around the table, because the sooner you can fill up your bag with coins, the higher the amount of points that you’re going to get for doing so. Um, there’s also this really fun combo feel to the game because you can cross off these little red X’s and they’re going to allow you to then cross off any square on any of your islands.
So if you can get that momentum going where you can, you know, cross off a lot of things at once, that’s what’s really kind of fun about the game. Um, but it’s a really straightforward game that is really family friendly, very easy to
Maggie: get into, very easy to teach, and just get going and very, like one of those very fun plays fairly quickly.
And most of the time people go, okay, again, let’s do that again. That’s, that was
Joe: Yeah. Often these type of games could be played with large numbers of people. I mean, the number of people could play, this is 99, is this the same? ,
Amy: um, a bit limited. It’s just limited by the markers and the
Maggie: number of cards.
So this one only plays up to four, but if you get a couple of copies, yeah, so you have more markers and you have a few more cards you can add multiple copies together and increase the player count if you wanted
Joe: to. Yeah, I’ve had an analogy that I’ve used for this type of game, and I don’t know if you’ll agree with this.
Uh, so feel free to strongly disagree, but it just feels to me what I like about this game. There’s a little bit of a bingo element where you, you like turn over a thing and then everybody decides where it goes. It’s kinda like bingo for people with a brain, you know? Yeah.
Amy: That is absolutely a great way. I also love bingo.
Maggie: Excellent. I will not hear a bad word about bingo, but also in this one there’s choice, cuz in bingo it’s like, it’s just about, you know, making sure that I, I capture, you know, the numbers that came out and this one you, yeah, there’s, there’s like, well, where am I gonna put it? And in what shape and in what form?
So yes, there’s that element of like, oh, which one came out, but also, Yeah, what am my, what are my decisions? What decisions am I
Amy: gonna make that I, everyone has the same shape and you’re all doing different things with it. I love that. You know, it’s kind of pure information and it’s just about who can use that information the best, in the best way.
Joe: I like, that creates these great conversations. I mean, part of what I like about board games versus a video game, let’s say, is that they’re so communal that you can sit across a table from people and have these wonder. Discussions, but you know, when I played this type of game, at the end of the game, we’re all talking about how we made different decisions with that same information, and that’s kind of, oh, I put it over there and that’s where I screwed up, you know?
Yeah. Which is super fun. Well, those are fantastic. We will link to all of Amy and Maggie’s. top five here on our show notes page at Stacking Benjamins dot com. In just a moment, we’re gonna have you ladies come back and, you know, for a lot of people, they go to Target, they go to Walmart, and around this time of year try to play games with friends and family.
And if you don’t know what to buy, you might make a really bad decision. So Amy and Maggie are gonna help us not waste money and, uh, make some better decisions when we buy games around the holidays.
Doug: Hey, there’s stackers. I’m Joe’s mom’s neighbor Duck. I just took a shin kick from a kindergartner over an lol surprise, OMG remix Pop BB Fashion Doll. Luckily, Seems like she skipped arm day because I still wrestled it from her in the end. Whew. Okay. Where were we? Oh, board games. So you probably know where all the places in Monopoly are, such as Atlantic Avenue Park Place and Boardwalk.
But my question is, where is Marvin Gardens in real life? I’ll be back right after I ice down my bones and strap on some more protective gear to head back out for more Black Friday. Fun.
Joe: You may be out shopping today, but I am playing games and you know why both of us are doing. Those things because we have the freedom to do it, and that’s because of our veterans. But companies rarely thank veterans in a way that’s meaningful. Well, at Navy Federal Credit Union, every day is Veterans Day.
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Doug: Hey there, stackers. I’m Shopper and Karate Chopper. Joe’s mom’s neighbor, Doug. All right. I gotta confess that this was a trick question. Marvin Gardens with an E is near Atlantic City, but you’ll notice in Monopoly it’s spelled with an I in real life. Here’s what happened. There was a typo on the game board and they just left it.
So Marvin Gardens versus Marvin Gardens. Yeah. Marvin Gardens of Monopoly fame doesn’t exist. And now we’re the top five list to help us figure out which games we should bring to our holiday party so we don’t waste Benjamins. Back to Amy and Maggie from Thinker
Joe: Theme. All right, we’re here with our second half of our discussion with Team Thinker Themer.
Before we get back to this second idea that we have about not wasting our money on games and making good choices, uh, of buying games, we play them with non-gamers, with friends and family stuff that’s fun around the holidays as we get together with lots of people. I wanna ask you about Thinker. Thinker and about how you guys decided that.
Are you truly, Amy? Just all about the thinking, the mechanics of the game, and the theme is irrelevant. Like what the game, you could be trading stuff or making wine or who cares. And Maggie, are you really just all about the theme and who cares about the mechanical parts?
Amy: That’s such a good question. When we came up with Think Athema, it was really just trying to place a label on what we were starting to see with our game preferences.
Like we would play games together for the longest time. We, you know, enjoyed the same types of games. As we got further into the hobby, I was like, why do I log this so much and you just hate it and vice versa. And also in our real life, I am a very much. I guess, uh, bottom up type thinker, like I have to start in the detail in the weeds before I can grasp like the bigger picture.
Whereas Maggie is, she’s extremely spiritual, extremely, like, all about the meaning of life. Like, you know, big picture. Yeah. What’s that big picture? So we actually fundamentally different in this way, and that translates through to the way that we enjoy a play game. So I grew up with chess. I’m very happy to sit down for an entirely seamless, um, abstract game.
Uh, whereas Maggie hates those style, that style of game she has because there’s no meaning to it. There’s no reason for being, there’s no, there’s no thematic bigger picture. My but why, why is this happening? Am I doing this? Like, I don’t understand. Yeah. Yeah. But I guess the games that we both enjoy the most are ones where that two come together.
So when there’s a purpose or a. A strong theme, and then that plays out with the mechanics of the game, so you actually feel like you’re doing what you’re meant to be doing. So those are definitely our favorite games because it brings us both together in competition. , of course.
Joe: Yeah. Because you guys also very famously for your fans, That your fans know, you guys don’t like co-op games.
Like you don’t like games where you’re on the same team. You wanna be at each other’s throat.
Amy: We realize that
Maggie: unless there’s a real big element of tension, like for example, sand timers, so we seem to do fine with co-op games where there’s a lot of pressure that you have to complete things before the
Amy: sand timer
Maggie: runs out or before a, a beeper goes off because it’s like, you know, your countdown has finished.
I think a big part of that is we, what we don’t tend to enjoy the sort of like sitting around negotiating what’s gonna be the best thing or what am I gonna do? What are you gonna do? It’s like, okay, we’re in, we’re in no time to talk . Yeah, we’re in, this is crisis mode. We need to like problem solve. We’re very efficient.
And there’s still that tension and so
Amy: that, yeah, that seems to work for us. That’s funny.
Joe: Will they say that’s what Yeah. Yeah. They say opposites of track, so there you go. Maybe that’s it. Yeah. Maybe that’s it. Absolutely. . Well help us out here because I know you’ve made bad. I know. When I was first, uh, starting to collect a few games in my twenties, I, I jumped on eBay and I just made some horrible decisions.
Just bought some just crappy games, horrible stuff. And then I learned about Board Game Geek. And then now we’ve got great channels like Thinker theme where we can go and we can learn about a game and decide if we like it or not. But for the two of you, what are maybe five games that we could safely go to the store or jump on Amazon or wherever we buy from?
And not make a bad decision with people that don’t play games much.
Amy: Yeah, well, we’re trying to focus on games for the holiday season. Games that bring everybody together. And we’ve got a few great ones here. Um, interestingly on our channel, Maggie is known for not enjoying fun. Um,
Maggie: I look like games that had a lot of fun that are just like fun and funny and like I do, like, that’s a hilarious thing.
Cause I’m a fun person and that’s not true. I’m
Amy: not a fun person that’s like,
Maggie: I’m a person, but I don’t like fun. I like funny things and I laugh very easily, but I don’t
Amy: enjoy Yes, sitting around a table, like just having something
Maggie: silly. Like I’ll do it for a little bit, but I want to kind of like sink my teeth into something meaningful.
Strategic things. What’s it
Amy: about? Like, but
Joe: why? Yeah. Yeah. So the idea of a party game in general, which is what you’re gonna play is not your thing. Like, no thanks. Not my thing at all. Lead me outta
Amy: the party game. But I have to say, the ones we’ve chosen maybe does enjoy, but this list might be dominated a little bit by my s like 90% will say this is, I’m also the extrovert in our relationship as well.
So I certainly games for me, the biggest part of it is seeing everybody else enjoy it around the table too. So, all out,
Joe: sorry. Yeah, actually, I was just gonna say that it may seem, you know, this joke is old now, but uh, I like the idea that Maggie puts the fu in fun. So just .
Amy: I have never heard that before.
That joke didn’t make it to Australia. Oh, I know . I love it. Yeah.
Joe: Yeah. All right. Uh, so let’s jump in. Amy, what do you got?
Amy: I have a recent game, um, from this year actually, uh, a game called Kites and Joe, in our emails, backwards and forge, this was one that you had mentioned that you had seen on the channel and you wanted to give it a go because we’ve been talking about it so much.
But this little game really caught us by surprise. One of the reasons is because is a cooperative game. So in this game, you are all working together, but you are trying to keep a series of kites in the sky. And those kites are represented by sand timers. So you have all of these different colored sand timers in front of the group, and then what the group is going to be doing is one by one in turn.
You are going to be placing a card from your hand down onto the table, and that card will have a different colored kit representative, sometimes one, sometimes two. And when you play that card, it’s going to mean that the sand timer gets flipped. And so what you’re doing is you’re extending the time of that kite being in the sky and collectively you don’t have all of the colors of the kites in your hand.
So you need to be talking, communicating the whole time. You know, I can, I can just hurry up and take a turn because I can save the blue one back in a cooperative way. Yeah. And if at any 0.1 of the kites falls the sky game over, you lose as a team. But if you manage to keep them all up in the sky and get rid of everybody’s cards in their hands, as well as the cards, um, in the deck that you are redrawing.
Then you’re all going to win as a group. So it’s definitely a, an all win or all lose style game. You can also increase the complexity in the game by adding in some advanced cards into the deck that are going to really confuse things. So there’s one called error play mode, and when someone picks up that card, they have to play it on the next turn.
They say a play mode. And that means nobody can talk for the next round, be silent. They turn like, could someone please that timer? Just yeah. Nudge towards it. And then there’s also a card that will force you to swap cards. Yeah. The person next to you, the best one, the storm, that storm is coming. So when you get this card, you say a storm is coming and on the next turn you have to play it.
And what it does is it flips every sand timer no matter where, how low or high they may. Yeah. And one of the complications of the game is that, All of the different colored plants have a different amount of sand in them. So some of them are, you know, need to be flipped more often. It’s just extremely chaotic.
It’s super stressful. And what a better way to bring people together. .
Maggie: It’s a real energizer. Like it’s one of those, like, we play this at like one in the morning when everyone is just so out of it and tired.
Amy: And by the end of it, everyone’s so full of adrenaline and they’re like, all right,
Maggie: I’m ready for a three hour game
Like, i’s better than a shot of coffee essentially.
Joe: The big thing that caught my eye, uh, watching the two of you go over it, two things. The first thing was you were maybe, I don’t know, three minutes into your description of how to play and I got it like, this is a very easy game to teach number. Well, you’re great at teaching games, but I think it is easy for anybody to teach, which as you know, with, with people that don’t play a lot of games, people go, oh, I don’t the rules.
Uh, I just don’t wanna read the rules. Yeah. But then number two about this game, it’s so pretty. It is just, is pretty.
Amy: Yeah, the artist by an artist called Beth, so who is, uh, quite famous in, um, the board game realm, uh, for doing beautiful artwork across a number of different, you know, themes and, and the kite artwork is just gorgeous.
Yeah, it is stunning. Good. So
Joe: if your holiday event is as stressful enough, guys go by kite. So again, ,
Amy: Add some more sand timers into the mix.
Joe: Yeah, that’s right. there’s some, there’s some relatives that I end up going to have to eat with over the holiday season where I wish we had a sand timer on their stories.
That would be cool.
Amy: like, oh, I was loving that story, but the,
Maggie: unfortunately we’re moving on the, so sorry. Thank you
Joe: Raja. So
sorry. , right. What, what is next in the, in the basket of goodness. So
Amy: the next
Maggie: one is a beautiful game. Now
Joe: this is gorgeous and this is brand
Maggie: new too. This is brand new. It’s called Flame Craft.
This is a gorgeous production,
Amy: much bigger box. So this is not the one that you kind
Maggie: of just, you know, crack open in, in between family events. This is one of those that you wanna, you know, we wanna have the table and you wanna have some time to kinda sit down and play it. But in this game, flame Craft, you are a, a flame keeper.
And what that means is you can actually communicate with dragons. But these are not your, you know, your stock standard, uh, destructive mean dragons. These are their cousins who are just so beautifully gentle and artistic, and so they are artisan dragons. And so you are essentially in this beautiful town with all these lovely beau Little Dragons who all, all they wanna do is make crafts.
And so there’s all these different shops and you’re going. Essentially matching the best dragon to the best shops so that they can help with, you know, flaming things, making glass, making, uh, helping.
Amy: Yeah, they’re basically hipster dragons. They’re hipster dragons. Yeah. Hipster dragon. But it’s, it’s like,
Maggie: it’s kinda, and so, so every component of this is just so beautiful as well.
It’s one of those beautifully aesthetic experiences. It’s very, it’s fairly light, uh, in terms of the complexity to get into. And it is a good way of teaching gamers about the mechanic of what we call worker placement, which is you’re kind of taking, uh, your worker or you’re kind of key dragon putting them in one of the shops and then activating different things out of, they’re getting things from that shop or the, or fulfilling what we call a recipe, essentially in that area.
Which again, either means that you can attract more dragons to. To that shop, uh, or give you point in different ways. And so it’s a fairly, um, from a theme point of view and just from like a table presence point of view, it’s just beautiful.
Amy: Yeah, I think young and old will really enjoy this, but it’s just a great gateway game.
You know, we’re always looking for ways to bring more people into the hobby of board gaming. And this one has that table presence to bring people in, but it’s also not that complex, but it teaches you little elements that, you know, you can then take and, and kind of level up your board. Gaming as sophistication, ,
Joe: what’s the minimum age that’s listed on the box, do you know?
Maggie: the minimum age is 10. And one of the things that I learned about the, when you see the minimum age,
Amy: this was one of the things that got me once.
Maggie: I was like, oh, I remember seeing, I think before, it’s like this minimum age 12 or 14, and I thought, oh, that means that it’s a really complex and, you know, a heavier, tight game.
And that’s not what it is that a lot of times the age. Apparently it’s more to do with the level of testing that they’ve done, that they’ve put into, which is an investment in terms of, from the publisher side, because apparently there’s particular types of cognitive type testing and even um, uh, what do you call it, sort of like that, that for example, to, to make sure that kids are gonna, that’s gonna be safe for particular ages, but also that they’re going to be able to manage some of the components and things like that.
So even though this says 10 and up, I think you could potentially play it with younger kids. I probably wouldn’t play this with toddlers, but yeah, like I think, you know, someone in like eight, you know, eight plus would be fine with,
Amy: and that meant by the dragons. Absolutely. . So, so I guess
Maggie: that’s more of a word of warning of like with the, with the age when it sort of shows the age.
Obviously one element is safety, particularly for the younger age groups in terms of components, cuz it does have small components and they all will say, this is not a toy. Like these are not. Toys. There are components for a board game. But yeah, I feel like, you know, a seven year old, eight year old would be able to play
I took one of these back in the back, you know, I mean, I’ve been doing this forever and we used to have to buy board games that we liked, you know, these super nerdy games directly from Germany. So I had this game that came from Germany and a relative’s toddler chewed on one of my cards. Oh no. Back then you couldn’t get, you know, you just couldn’t get another one.
There was just, there wasn’t gonna be another one. So we had to figure out some silly
Amy: rule. But yeah, I did just have that moment of, am I worried about the toddler or the card? Like I actually, in my mind, I was like, do you know what? That’s terrible, isn’t it? Do you know
Joe: what? You know what’s crappy, Amy?
This is totally horrible. Cheryl, my spouse got angry at me because I was upset about the card. I was not
upset about the
toddler. I’m like, this came away. You from Germany on a ship? Like I
I order this thing, it comes like two and a half months later. Right. And it cost a bajillion dollars. And three weeks later, my relative’s kid is chewing on the card and I’m, oh, anyway, Hub’s not from Germany,
Amy: so no one star.
That totally just came from down the road. It’s like, which is more in Sonic here.
Joe: I know. Come on, come on. And she’s like, everybody in the room could tell that you could care less about this kid’s health. I’m like, I’m sorry, . I’m so, I am an evil, evil.
Maggie: There’s a loud noise. Which one do you reach out to?
Protect . It’s like your style’s
Amy: like, oh, protect the game. Yes. And the kid’s just like, oh, seriously. Back
Joe: to Flame Craft, though. I think the word cute comes to mind first for me, when I see this board.
Amy: Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, and board gaming, uh, traditionally, and, and probably, certainly at the time when you were importing games from Germany, a lot of the themes are not very diverse.
So there’s a lot of fantasy. There’s, um, you know, a lot of sci-fi and, and if you’re not into those themes, and we’re actually not, it’s, it’s quite hard to find games that have something different. And this, you know, artisan dragons with their little stalls in a village that could not be more different.
And it’s just, and it’s so great to see games like that, you know, big games like wingspan as well, you know, which is all about bird collecting and bird watching. Yeah. Um, those kind of games are just opening up the hobby to so many, uh, new gamers, which is really exciting. Yeah.
Joe: I love that. Hipster dragons.
I think Amy was a good phrase. That’s, that’s awesome. Yeah. Hip and dragons. Uh, what is next in the bag of goodness?
Amy: Well, the next one is an absolute favorite of mine. I’m pretty much known for always buying copies of this and sharing it. Uh, when I go to cons and things, it’s a little tiny game called Taco Cat Goat cheese pizza.
And, uh, when you asked about the list, of course I always wanna share this game and talk about this game. Any the excuses, any excuse someone asked for the time, she’s like, have you heard of Taco? Taco? She’s like, I, no, but that’s not what
Joe: I asked. And by the way, for people not watching us on YouTube right now, you can see Maggie rolling her eyes as she’s saying that , you can totally see her rolling.
Amy: I didn’t realize I was rolling my eyes. I feel like you were deep down my soul. Yeah. . But this game, uh, Well, it’s really easy to find, so that is a great reason to put it on this list. When we’ve traveled in America, we’ve found it in the airport stores, we’ve found it in Walgreens. There’s, you know, time everywhere.
Everywhere has this game, but this little game is really simple to teach. You are simply going to have a pile of cards in front of each player, and they are going to, on their turn, turn it over and say the next word in the sequence. Taco, cat, goat, cheese, pizza. So one of those words, one at a time. As we go around the table, people will just be chanting that.
So if it’s smart, and I’ll say, taco, Maggie will then say, cat, and we keep moving around the table saying that. But the interesting thing is you are also gonna be flipping a card out of your deck, and if the word you say matches the image. So if I say Taco and I am flipping a card that has a taco on it, everybody has to slap the pile of cards in the center.
And if you do that last, you are going to have to take all of the cards. And obviously the objective in this game is to get rid of all of your cards. Now there’s a few little twists in the game that make this a bit more complex. Festival. A lot of the shapes look a lot like each other, so the cheese looks a lot like the pizza.
So you’ve gotta be very sure that you know what you’re slapping. And if you are going to go for it and slap the pile of cards, then you wanna be sure because if you flinch or hesitate, you are also gonna have to take the pile of cards. You’ve gotta be very careful about that. Then there are these three special cards in the deck that are hidden somewhere in the piles of cards.
Um, one is a gorilla where as soon as that comes out, everybody has to beat their chest. Yes. Go gorilla. And then you like beat your chest. And if you are the last person to do that, guess what? You’re also taking my cards. Um, there’s a na wall where you have to make the, you know, the on the top your head.
Yeah. And then there is a groundhog where you need to beat the table. Yeah. And if on the, and obviously the groundhog and the grill look a lot alike, and it’s very confusing. So if you beat your chest when you’re meant to be knocking on the table, well then guess what? You also take the pilot card. So a very fun, simple, easy game.
It’s silly, but it’s hilarious. And this is the best game that I’ve found so far to bring a group of people together who don’t know each other. On a table and just have them laughing and all of a sudden there’s this rapport. And now guess what? We can hit you with a heavier game. So , I do have to always warmed up whenever we talk about TA
Maggie: cheese pizza, I have to give a health and safety warning because I have, I have, um, house rule this, I hate games where you have to reach into the middle of the table with the hands and things, because inevitably you get the twisted fingers and the, you know, things that kind of go
Amy: horribly wrong.
And every time Maggie vetos the game, I’m always saying, Maggie, why do you hate fun so much? Yeah. But, but so this is the
Maggie: thing. So in my, like, whenever I’m playing or run, whenever I’m around, I’m like, the rule is you’re gonna, instead of slapping, reaching towards the middle, you are slapping in front of you.
I slips at whoever slaps in front. Last, again, is the one who takes the the pile. And they always give me crap about it going, oh, why do you have to, we now have met someone who actually broke their finger. Really? So someone, someone came up to
Amy: us and said, Hey, I wanna show you something. Yeah. And I posted on our social media and saying, Ugh.
Like basically Maggie was right? Yes. And then multiple people wrote back and said that they have also had injuries playing this game. So if you’re out there, you do end up picking up this game, please be careful,
Maggie: safe. I would recommend my house rule of don’t reach into the middle to kind of cover the card just.
Amy: right in front of you. It’s still very fun. It’s still, yeah, it’s still fun, which means I still don’t enjoy it because it’s still too fun. ,
Maggie: I like watching it play. I
Amy: like watching people
Joe: playing it. I was thinking that too, that this would be a fun game at a bigger party if you’ve got a group of people playing it.
Like for people just standing around watching would be super fun. But I like how the thinker thinkers come with a game that has an injury warning. Like, that’s pretty badass.
Amy: Pretty badass. Well, the game itself doesn’t, I bring the warning because I have first, as a, as a nurse myself, I had,
Maggie: I had concerns about it and then my fears were.
So now I feel
Amy: very vindicated going. Yes, be
Joe: safe. I was traveling around the country on my book tour this summer and I went to 40 different cities. But when I was in Atlanta, somebody, one of our fans and, and I’m sure he is listening to this cuz he loves board games. He actually liked this so much. He came up to me at the event.
And he sent me this game. So I have this, I have this because somebody in our stacker community, Amy is just like you. He and he and you. He,
Amy: let’s be friends. You’re listening. Let’s be friends.
Joe: Yes. He was so adamant that I had to play this game. And you’re right, it’s
Amy: fantastic. And there is actually a, there’s a Christmas edition, there’s a Halloween edition.
Oh. And there are many other variants of it. And of course I have to own them all. But, um, .
Joe: Cause there’s, it’s like I own all the Cards against Humanity sets and I don’t play that game anymore. Like I never play it. I’m like, oh, they have a new set. I gotta buy that. Why I,
Amy: I don’t gotta buy that. Yeah. Well, the designer of this game actually, Knows me and not from the channel at all.
Not all, just from, there’s that crazy fan that always finds me at, at a board game convention and like, you know, it has to buy something or get my pins or,
Joe: well, the way we’ve been chasing the two of you around, I thought you guys would think that way of me. Oh, it’s the crazy podcast guy guy’s. that wants us to come on.
Yeah. Right. I think we have one more, right? Am I, is my math right? We we have two more. We have two more. Oh my good. Bonus
Amy: content. We, two more. More fun. More fun. So the next one is a game called Dream Crush.
Joe: I saw you talk about this just recently. Another game I have never heard of. And by the way, nothing.
Can you hold that up for just a little bit longer for our YouTube friends? Uh, nothing turns me off more than a game that says a timeless fantasy dating.
Amy: But a timeless fantasy dating game, ,
Joe: it’s a,
yeah. Hearing the two of you talk about it, this game sounds
Amy: hilarious. It is. It’s a really, really fun game.
Sorry, Nike, but in this game, actually, don’t mind this game. The exception of the rule. Yeah. So in this game, you are on a dating show. So imagine, you know, those old school dating shows where there are three potential suitors and these, um, suitors take the form of just this, you know, a cardboard. Um, cut out that just has an illustration of someone on them, but we know nothing about these people.
And what’s really interesting about this game is every round something is going to be revealed about that potential love interest. So we’re going to be learning more about each of the candidates to love, um, as the game goes on. And so, uh, there might be something that is revealed about them that is either going to be a turnoff for everybody around the table or someone around the table, or a turnoff maybe for some people.
Um, and there are strange little facts about people, so it might be as something as benign as, you know, this candidate, uh, keeps a dream journal. Some people might be really into that and others’ not. Or another one might be that every weekend they want you to go to a motor show with them. And some people might be like, that’s great, I’m into cars.
Like, that can work for me. And other people are like, wow, that sounds like the worst possible thing to do. It’s like, has a cockatoo that will live 50
Maggie: years and hates you, , .
Amy: So they range from Yeah, the things that you can kind of live with and other things that you’re like, can I, can I live with that? I’m not sure.
But, um, the way the game works is, uh, you are actually going to be trying to predict who your friends and family around the table would choose to date in every given round. So , it requires a good knowledge of the things that annoy your friends and family that would be, that would rule out these different love interests.
And so every round we’re learning a little bit more information that’s painting a, you know, broader picture of the candidate. And then I have to evaluate. Now, is that thing a deal breaker for Maggie? Should I, is she gonna swap to a different candidate based on this new information? And so the way you get points is by correctly predicting who everybody is going to date each round, and is extremely hilarious as you can imagine in the table talk that goes on when someone decides to stay with someone or decides to swap, you’re like, of all the.
That’s the thing. That’s where you draw the, that’s where you draw on the line , like, how can you put up with this other thing? And it’s just really hilarious. I will say though, this game shines the most, um, with a group of people that you know really, really well. So a really close group of friends. It can be a little bit awkward if you choose to play with your parents, for example.
Yeah, I mean, I think things that you don’t wanna know that come out, they’re like, oh no, Bob, like I didn’t need to know that. And also, it’s not the type of game that you wanna play with a group of strangers. Board could vary. Doesn’t, doesn’t make sense cuz you don’t, don’t know them well enough. So, but it, you know, amongst the right group of people, this game is fantastic.
Like people always ask to borrow our copy. It is just so much fun and a great one for the holiday season, I think. ,
Joe: that’s fabulous. I have, again, before I saw it on your channel, I’d never heard. and it’s on my list because I know our family would have a ton of fun with that game and the fact that it’s awkward.
Our holidays are already awkward, so this just makes it even more delicious. That true
Amy: so much
Maggie: more. But this is like, it’s awkward in a funny way. It’s not because none of it, like none of the stuff in there is like controversial
Maggie: awful or confronting. It’s all really silly
Amy: stuff. So,
Joe: yeah. All right. Well now we have four of.
What’s, I feel like I need a drum roll and I feel like I’m gonna start crying cuz this is the end. This is the last one, ?
Amy: Yeah, we do. We have one more and this one is for the gamers out there. Um, this game is called Cat In the Box. It is a, a game that is what we call a trick taking game. Uh, which you might, you know, you might know some of the traditional card games that are trick taking games like hearts.
But there’s been a real resurgence of those games recently, particularly coming out of Japan. Uh, Japan are really into this style of game where basically everybody is trying to play cards from a hand of cards and then win what’s called a trick by, um, usually having the highest playing card in the suit of interest, um, into the center.
But cat in the box is really interesting. It’s a twist on the trick taking genre. Where all of the cards have no suit. So all you have in your hand is a handful of black cards that have different numbers on them. And what you’re going to be doing is you’re going to be trying to win tricks by allocating that card a suit as you play it down in front of you.
So all players have a little cardboard, uh, rectangle that depicts four different suit colors on there, and you’re gonna be playing the card down. So if I have an eight, I might play it next to yellow and it be like, this is now. And, uh, yellow eight. Then there is a board in the center that represents all of the possible, uh, colors and their numbers, um, in front of you, usually from one to eight or one to nine, depending on the play.
And what you’re gonna be doing is placing one of your tokens out to cover off that yellow eight. So now the yellow eight is out of the round, and nobody else can ever play the yellow eight again. So instead of having a full deck of cards, the board represents the full deck of cards. But yeah, so it’s quite interesting.
But what’s interesting as well is that there will be four eights shown on the board, but actually there are five eights in the cards in people’s hands. And so what you’re trying not to do is get stuck with a card that you can’t play, or cards that you can’t play in the board of choices. Because if that happens, you are going to cause what’s called a paradox and you are going.
Basically end the round, but then every trick you’ve won so far during that round is going to be worth negative points. Oh no. So you don’t want to be that person . Yeah, yeah, yeah. And it’s actually based on a really interesting theory, thematically, I can never say the name is aro something. Yeah. So that whole, yeah, the quantum,
Maggie: like that quantum, well they actually call it the a quantum trick taking game.
Cause Yes. That quantum theory of, you know, um,
Amy: before if you have a cat
Maggie: in the box, uh, and. Jane, you don’t know if the cat is alive or dead until you open it. And at that point there’s like, you know, it’s like this whole splitting off into, it’s both alive and dead. And then at that point it’s like whatever reality you kind of step into.
So that’s the whole thing with the cards. It’s like the cards have no suit or no color until it gets played. And at that point it kind of gets decided what color it is. So that’s probably the link that’s far thematically linked as you go after that. It’s really just, yeah, a card game that has got this very, very clever.
Thing of like, oh no, don’t be the one that they can’t play a card. And yeah. But the
Amy: thing, and the thing I love about this game is we’ve been kind of carrying it on us when we’re out at board game days, and it’s a game that is actually really fast to teach. Yes. And it works equally well with people who have never played trick taking before or are new to board games as it does, uh, heavy gamers who love trick taking because there’s multiple layers to it that you can try and challenge yourself to achieve, you know, more points.
So it works equally well, um, with both sets of people. And we love games that can kind of bridge that gap because obviously during the holiday season we, we play a lot of board games, but, um, a lot of the people we see over the holiday season don’t. And so it’s really nice to have a game that we can enjoy and they can enjoy and brings the, you know, the group.
Joe: I think the holidays is the perfect time for that late night car game too. I know in our families, yes, there always seems to be at some, some night we’ll all be sitting around in a late night car game and one that’s finally different so we’re not playing the same game that we’ve played every year is also nice by me.
Thank you so much Maggie. Amy, this has been such a great time. So what do you guys have? I, I know that you just got done going through your, your game collection and rating all of your games, which I found incredibly fascinating. If you wanna see some cool games that you’ve never seen before, tune into thinker theme.
But what do you guys got for the rest of the year in 2023? Yeah.
Amy: Well, we’re still working on that series, so we made this commitment to rate every game in our board game collection. It was ambitious. Um, we are about 50, I think we’re 50 games through now of probably a 300 or so game collection, but we’ve got this problem where there’s more and more coming in the door.
So maybe the series will go, go on forever. . Sorry, we’ve now sort of realized it’s both a conundrum, but also it makes for a very sustainable source of content because
Maggie: we literally can’t stay on top of all
Amy: the, all the new games that are kind of coming through. So it means
Maggie: that there’s always obviously one we have to be getting rid of games that we no longer play or no longer kind of have a role.
We sell them, uh, we might give them to people who we think are gonna enjoy them and then make room for all the new stuff that also comes in and then yeah, gives
Amy: us a chance to talk about as well. Yeah. And just on top of that, we are just reviewing board games or previewing board games, um, a lot of the time, you know, in prototype form before they come out to give people a sense of what they’re all about and whether they want to, you know, spend their hard earned cash on them.
Cause it’s always a, you know, board games are not,
Joe: No. Right. So I mean it, you definitely don’t wanna just show up at a Target one day and just pick a game based on the artwork because that will burn you. Go to thinker theme and check it out and see if Amy and Maggie have looked at that. It’s funny, I was speaking with, uh, Tom Vassel from the Dice Tower a few years ago.
Mm-hmm. and I was telling him how great it. The people like him and the two of you get these games ahead of time and is like a, as a board game nerd. I’m like, how fun is that? And he goes, dude, it started off as fun. It is not as fun as you think it is. ,
Amy: yeah, with it comes deadlines. And uh, that is always tricky to, but that’s the level of
Maggie: evolution that that prototype is at.
Sometimes if they’re too early in the piece and they haven’t been play tested enough, they haven’t been balanced enough, the rules are still changing. So it can actually be really frustrating because you’re playing something that’s not really complete or have, it hasn’t found its footing yet. Yeah. Yeah.
And so that can be, that’s its own sort of challenge, but it can be so satisfying when you do play something there. You’re like, wow, this is so clever. And it’s doing something really new. And unfortunately, like a lot of times the majority of the stuff that you play is like, yeah, it’s okay.
Maggie: the, it was fine and it was okay, but it’s so worth it for those endless quests.
Yeah. One where you got, oh, this is so special. This is
Amy: amazing. Yeah.
Joe: It’s thinker theme. We’ll link to the channel on our show page at Stacking Benjamins dot com. Amy Maggie, thank you so much for helping stackers everywhere, not waste money and have some more fun around the holidays. I really appreciate it.
Amy: Thank you so much. Yeah, and happy gaming. Yeah, it’s been our pleasure.
Joe: That’s gonna do it for today. Aren’t they great? I just love the way Amy and Maggie talk about board games, and if you like them as much as me, you will find a link. I’ve been mentioning links to all these great board games on her show notes page, but there will be a link to Amy and Maggie’s channel. On our show notes as well at Stacking Benjamins dot com, but it’s Thinker theme is of course the name of their channel.
Hey, a few things here in the community calendar. If you are new here, head to Stacking Benjamins dot com slash welcome. People that have been with us, know that we are committed to making sure that you know how easy and how fun good money management can be, and how even if you’re not a money nerd, that good money habits can fuel all the things that you really wanna do.
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So whenever you change jobs, whenever the rules change, as long as we have a product. Continually download this. You buy it once. You never have to buy another one again. We tried to chalk it full of every decision you would make with your benefits. So if you struggle to make the right decisions with your benefits, we start off with a checklist to make the easy decisions, the usual culprits, and then we dive into the weeds with all kinds of our favorite curated spots to find the best info.
So if you want to go really deep, you can with our benefits guide. If you just wanna get it done quickly, we take care of you. Stacking Benjamins dot com slash benefits gets you there. Those are a couple great resources that point to all the places where Stacky Benjamins can help. Finally, I gotta say, this is a guy that lives in Little Town America tomorrow.
Small business day, right? Small business shopping day. Support your small businesses, support things that are local. I know when Professor Scott Galloway was here, he was talking about how we just don’t do local things anymore, and really they need your support, so don’t go spend money unnecessarily. To support you.
You don’t want them to be a place where you sleep. Later on, you just wanna support local businesses. So whenever possible, dude, take care of that tomorrow. All right, that’s gonna do it for me. Doug, man, you got it from here. What should we have learned today? Happy Holiday weekend everybody. See you Monday.
Doug: Here’s what everybody should’ve learned today. First, take some advice from Amy and Maggie at Thinker Theme. You spend good money on entertainment. Don’t just pick your next game because the cover looks snazzy. Do a little research and you can turn a good party into a great one. And money topics, they’re far more fun to learn about if you add in a little entertainment value.
Second, don’t worry about your latest typo monopoly. Let One Ride for like a hundred years, but the big lesson. These kids are brutal. Out here on Black Friday, a band of middle schoolers threatened to slash my tires when I grabbed the last Marvel Avenger action figure set. It’s every band for himself.
Thanks to Amy and Maggie for hanging out with us today. Check out their YouTube channel Thinker theme For more information. This show is the Property of SP Podcasts, llc, copyright 2022, and is created by Joe Saul-Sehy. Our producer is Karen. The show is written by the brilliant Paulette per Hatch, with help from Joe, me, and Doc G from the Earn and Invest podcast.
After you listen to our show, check out the 2 0 1 deep dives written by our website manager and blog editor, Brooke Miller. You’ll find the four 11 on all things money at the 2 0 1. Just go to Stacking Benjamins dot com slash 2 0 1. Once we bottle up all this goodness, we ship it to our engineer, the amazing Steve Stewart.
Steve helps the rest of our team sound nearly as good as I do right now. Want a chat with friends about the show later? Mom’s friend, Gertrude is our social media coordinator and the room mother in our Facebook group called The Basement. So say hello when you see us posting online. Here’s a weird fact.
Both she and Tina Ichenberg are never in the same room at the same time. To join all the basement fund with other stackers type Stacking Benjamins dot com slash basement. I’m Joe’s Mom’s neighbor Doug, and we’ll see you next time back here at the Stacking Benjamins Show. Not only should you not take advice from these dorks, don’t take advice from people you don’t know.
This show is for entertainment purposes only. Before making any financial decisions, speak with a real financial advisor.