Welcome to Joe’s favorite episode of the year—our annual Black Friday board game episode! Joining us on this Black Friday, we are thrilled to welcome the Board Game Geek herself, Candace Harris! She’ll give us the lowdown on what’s hot when it comes to finance and business-related board games!
Plus, Neighbor Doug has a classic board game trivia question that’s sure to Boggle your mind!
Deeper dives with curated links, topics, and discussions are in our newsletter, The 201, available at https://www.StackingBenjamins.com/201
Our Topic: Top Board Games this Holiday Season.
During our conversation you’ll hear us mention:
- Candace’s “Top 5 Introduction to Money games”
- Candace’s “Top 5 Games That Are Fun for the Whole Family”
A big thanks to our contributor! You can check out more links for our guest below.
Another thanks to Candice Harris for joining our contributors this week! Hear more from Candice on her show, The BoardGameGeek Podcast at boardgamegeek.com.
Doug’s Game Show Trivia
- What is the minimum word length for the game of Boggle?
Thanks to DepositAccounts.com for sponsoring Stacking Benjamins. DepositsAccounts.com is the #1 place to go when you’re looking to see if your rate is the BEST rate on savings, CDs, money markets, and even checking accounts! Check out ALL of the rates ranked from best to worst (and see the national averages) at DepositAccounts.com.
Mentioned in today’s show
- Mysterium Board Game (Base Game) (affiliate link)
- Hasbro Gaming Retro Series Clue 1986 Edition Board Game (affiliate link)
- Railways of the World (affiliate link)
- Steam (affiliate link)
- Chicago Express (affiliate link)
- Pan Am (affiliate link)
- Wingspan (affiliate link)
- Euchre (affiliate link)
- Sides (affiliate link)
- A Fake Artist Goes to New York (affiliate link)
- Phantom Inc (affiliate link)
Join Us Monday!
Tune in on Monday when we’ll be joined by the Budgetnista herself, Tiffany Aliche. She is one of America’s favorite personal financial educator and author of the New York Times Best Seller, Get Good with Money. Through her Live Richer Movement, she’s helped over two million women save, manage, and pay off hundreds of millions of dollars.
Miss our last show? Check it out here: Our 2023 Hot (and not) Tech Guide (SB1439).
Written by: Kevin Bailey
Fragile! It must be Italian! I think that says Fragile, honey. Oh, yeah.
Live from Joe’s mom’s basement, it’s the Stacking
I’m Joe’s mom’s neighbor Doug and today for our annual board games episode, you’ll find out the top five personal finance related games as well as the top five family friendly games podcast, Candace Harris. But that’s not all. Halfway through the show, I’ll share my ruling trivia question. And now, a guy who paved the way for celebrities who go by three names, it’s Joe Saul
Doug, thank you so much. Hey everybody. Welcome to a special episode of the Stacking Benjamins show. For those of you that don’t know here on Black Friday, this is every year, my favorite episode of the year. And we are going to, as Doug already mentioned, we’re going to dive into board games. I’ve been playing board games myself for a long, long time.
And every year we have someone from the board game. I don’t know, a board game celebrity on. And today we are joined by the biggest board game celebrity of them all. No pressure, Candace. Candace Harris from the Board Game Geek podcast joins us. How are you? Hey Joe, thanks so much for having me. I’m definitely not the biggest celebrity, but I appreciate that shout out.
Come on. Yes, you are. I was telling you before we hit record that I was sitting one table over from you and I’m like, that’s Candace Harris. That’s the Candace Harris. It’s so amazing. Thank you. Uh, how did you first get involved in board games? I kind of grew up playing games like a lot of people do with my family.
Monopoly, SAR, yada, yada, yada. And it wasn’t until 2018. I actually come from a background of playing in rock bands and music was my biggest hobby for most of my life. And it was in 2018 where I was like, kind of needed to take a break from playing music and like, being, being in a band, like, I was just like, I need to not do this right now.
And at that point, I played the game Mysterium for the first time, and that kind of led me down the rabbit hole because I had to look up a YouTube video for how to play it. It was just like, just a hair too complex or something was confusing that we weren’t getting it just from the rulebook, so we went through it.
to YouTube and on YouTube discovered Wil Wheaton’s tabletop show and it was all downhill from there. Just kidding. Uphill. Very exciting. Yeah. Well, no, I mean, it’s a nice gentle ride downhill, I suppose, because it’s, it’s amazing. And it’s easy. Uh, but what’s funny is for people who haven’t played Mysterium, I mean, this isn’t going to be on our list, obviously, but this is a game.
I don’t know if you’re kind of familiar with Clue, I guess, for people that only know the kind of 1950s, 1960s games. I guess that’s kind of where you, is that where you start would be like Clue? Yeah, because if you’re working together to kind of like deduce something. with the other players. But yeah, it’s definitely got that kind of clue mystique to it, you know, but you’re working together.
So yeah, one person is like a ghost and they showed everybody pictures. You’re looking at like how you died, I think. And they’re trying to guess how you died. And yeah, I don’t know. And I’ve been the ghost in that game before, Candace. And, and I’m always frustrated because I’m like, I’m trying to make this really obvious.
This should be very obvious. And it’s not. Uh, we are going to dive into two lists, Candace. You’ve been nice enough to make two lists for us. We’ll explain what those lists are here though, in just a moment.
All right. Our first list. I can’t stand. I can’t stand educational games, Candace. I really, when a game says it’s going to teach me something, I can’t stand it. I don’t know about you. No, because I’ve like, I’ve kind of gotten into a lot of historical games, but they’re not necessarily like saying, Hey, I’m going to teach you something, but they do teach you something.
Yeah. But yeah, I guess I don’t really play a lot of like just straight up educational games. It’s funny though, but a game can like give you this nice introduction. So what we asked Candace to do. is to give us a list of a top five list of Candace’s top five games that might be a nice either introduction to money or introduction to some type of economic engine, that type of thing.
And you’ve been nice enough to put those together. Uh, tell us, are the games we’re going to hear, are these games we can easily buy at Target or the games from all over? What are we about to hear? I’ll let you know for each game, probably how you can get them. Like some of them you might be able to find on Amazon.
Some of them you might need to find at a friendly local game store or online retailers like Miniature Market, Game Nerds. Yeah. One of them, maybe two of them, you would probably need to find directly from the publishing company that makes them. You can find them. Those are sometimes my favorite though.
Cause that means it’s kind of things that none of your friends know exist. You’re the only one, you’d be the coolest person on your block. I wanted to ask you too, before we start generally money games, economic games, business games are those. Games that Candace Harris really likes or not so much. I do like economic games a lot.
I’m not going to say that I’m very good at them. But I enjoy the kind of, uh, crunchy thinking behind them. I like, I like a lot of games that have market manipulation, you know, where things we’re doing in the game, everybody’s impacting how the economy is flowing and everything. So yeah, I would say I, I dig economic games.
That’s funny. I do too. And I equally suck at them. I am not good at any of them. I tend to play fast and have a good time and then, you know, drink a little more wine. So there you go. All right, here we go. What’s Candace’s number five? My number five is brick and mortar. And this is one of the games where I I think you may be only able to get from directly from the publisher’s website, but it’s a two to four player game.
That’s a supply and demand market manipulation game. And in the game, every player is a retail investor and you’re going to be, everybody has their own little neighborhood boards and you’re going to be opening up shops in your neighborhood. You’re going to be trying to make sure you have inventory supply.
And then hopefully if there’s a demand for what you’re trying to sell, you’ll then sell it and make money, which then at the end of every round, you can convert money into victory points. And it’s the kind of game where, like, you know, it’s not, you don’t want to have the most money at the end of the game, you want to have the most victory points.
But the cool thing is, like, you know, you’re kind of building up your neighborhood with these different shops that sell these different types of products, like I think there’s clothing, jewelry. And um, there’s like groceries. Yeah. Yeah. I think there’s groceries too. And the, and the players are the ones who are kind of triggering, like how the, the demand works.
The market is by playing these cards. And then also another cool thing is when it comes time to like, there’s a sale phase and when it comes time to selling. You have to check the demand, and if you, and like, let’s say Joe, you and I are both trying to sell jewelry, and we have like five jewelry each, but there’s only a demand for two, then we do this little bid to, to see how low, how much we’re willing to lower our prices to sell, and it’s just cool.
It’s got a lot of really fun player interaction, and uh, You know, it reminds me of something a little lighter than maybe like, I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of Ark, right? That’s a pretty heavy supply and demand, uh, economic game, but Brick and Mortar is cool. So that, that’s my number five. It sounds like you’ve heard of it.
I, I always get excited when our guest, Candace, brings up a game that I’ve actually played. Oh, cool. Yes. And I do own this game. I have one friend that didn’t like it. My last, rest of my friends loved it. But this guy just, I realized, doesn’t like business games at all. And what’s funny is he was winning and he didn’t like it.
Oh yeah. I was getting my butt kicked and I loved it because like you said, I like having to buy my inventory. It almost reminds me of that really, really old, like early computer game called Lemonade Stand, where you had to buy all the stuff for your lemonade stand, and then some days it would rain and then you would lose all your lemonade.
Yeah, that sounds familiar. Yeah. If you don’t sell your stuff, and this was a big thing, especially like the groceries, yeah, it goes bye bye. Yeah. There’s like a decay. It’s, it’s really neat, huh? It is. And what I like about it too, if you play with friends who are okay with it being a little bit nasty to each other, you can get kind of mean to each other in this game.
And we have a good laugh about how mean we get. That’s great. That’s fabulous. A brick and mortar. Number one. Yeah. Very little. This was this guy’s, Candace, cause I, I bought this on Kickstarter. I think this is this guy’s only game. Like he made one game. Yeah, I think so. And yeah, I bought my copy directly from his publishing company’s website.
You can’t maybe OctoGiraffe or something. Yeah, something like that. But it’s well put for a guy with one game. It’s really nice art. The rules are, are well presented. Like I was impressed. Yeah. Great guy. I love that pick. What’s our number four? Okay, so now I’m curious to know if you’ve played this one, but number four is hegemony lead your class to victory I have not but this is interesting because now we’re into class warfare Yeah, so this is an asymmetric political economic card driven game that basically puts players into you know the role of one of the Four main socioeconomic groups, and it’s, it’s not historically based, it’s fictional, but uh, one player will be the working class, another player will be the middle class, another player will be the capitalist class, and the other player is going to be the state, or kind of like the, the government.
You know, that’s assuming you’re playing with four players. I have actually never played it with less than four players, but some people say it’s cool with three, and I don’t know how it goes with two, but, um, if you play with all four, everybody, you know, gets their role, and everybody has their own, like, deck of cards that ha and they their own little menu of actions they can take, for example, the working class player, Manages skilled and unskilled worker population, and you’re trying to make sure they have food, and all of their needs are met, and you want to provide health care, education, luxuries, and you know, so everybody has their own victory, kind of like the way they score points that’s Related to their role in the game.
Then you have like the capitalist player who can build and run companies like they’re I think two different sized companies if I recall and, uh, you’re trying to hire workers and produce goods and services and then sell goods for a profit to increase your revenue and turn it into capital. Uh, then you have the middle class, who kind of combines elements from both the working class and the capitalist class, and it has, um, workers that can work in the capitalist companies, um, but it can also, the middle class can run their own companies.
And you’re trying to find this balance of producing, selling, and consuming to cover all your workers needs. And then the state is just trying to keep everyone happy and provide benefits and subsidies and trying to maintain a steady economy through taxes and avoiding debt. Oh my goodness! Well, not debt, card debts, but…
But yeah, it’s a really… It’s a fascinating game. There’s also this, um, you can propose bills in the game and, you know, everybody will vote on them, but there’s this, like, really interesting push and pull that happens because you kind of, like, need to, like, sort of work together sometimes, but then you also are really focused on making your class thrive and be the best.
What I was thinking, Candace, when you were talking is to some degree, like, especially if I’m the capitalist, like I’ve got to have everybody do well, except maybe the government, but the government’s got to stand up at some point. Yeah. But I also have to keep my wages down. I would suppose where the working class person needs wages to be higher.
It really is. There’s a lot of like push and pull and it’s a balancing act, no matter. Which of these four factions you’re playing as? And it’s just, you know, this is definitely, I would categorize it as slightly educational, you know, because you’re stepping into the role, these different roles, and you’re kind of, because the gameplay is so good and fitting with this theme that It really like makes you think like that role, you know, regardless of where you’re sitting in real life, it feels like a science experiment a little bit.
Yeah, yeah, but it’s, it’s really fascinating. And, uh, yeah, the hegemony, it’s really cool for people that don’t know what asynchronous means. That means everybody has a different rule set. They are playing a different. Well, and you could hear Candace when you were talking about it, but Is that hard to teach if you’re, if you’re trying to learn this game?
Is it hard to learn? Yeah, I would say any games that have asymmetric factions, they will be a little bit harder to teach and to learn because ideally you will, you’ll want to learn a little bit about everyone’s role. Yeah. Although you could start playing by just kind of studying, Hey, here, here’s what my faction can do, and here are my goals.
You can get started that way and just kind of start playing the game and learn what everybody else does. through that first game. Or you could be someone who’s like, I want to know how every faction works before I get started. And that is going to be a little bit more of a beastie learning experience.
Well, and then second, I’m also wondering with it being such a cool science experiment, sometimes I want those games to go forever, but does the game go forever? Is this a long game? This can be a long game. It kind of depends on players. Like I feel like my, uh, first game of it was, well, I think we played for a four to five hours, but.
But I think other people can play it in three, but, you know, three hours is a long time for a lot of people. Yeah. So, yes, it’s a longer game. Well, that first game, Brick and Mortar, I think, I think we were done with that in like 90 minutes. The first time we played it, we were done in like 90 minutes. Yeah, I think Brick and Mortar is more like two hours or less kind of time frame.
But I always say caveat, every group is different and especially when you play that first learning game, it’s always probably going to be, uh, you know, like at least like 30 percent longer than what it’ll eventually be when everyone knows how to play it. Well, and we generally take whatever it says in the box for most of our games and double it because we just listen to music and drink wine.
Hey, I want to come to your game night. Come on, come on. While you’re here, we got to have one in the basement. Mom, play with us. It’s a phenomenal. And by the way, this game is fairly new. I think maybe it’s what a year old. It is. It was crowdfunded and it was delivered earlier this year. So, um, it was, yeah, it’s a big 2023 release.
And I think this publishing company, it’s also their first game. Fabulous. They’re called a hegemonic project, but yeah, it’s really cool. Um, highly recommend checking out like some videos on it and see if it’s something for you. I bet you might know a website where people could check out videos on that. I might know this little website called BoardGameGeek.
com. Oh wow, that’s weird. Might be a video or two there or a billion, right? Yeah, right. By the way, if you’re walking your dog or you’re commuting or you’re out enjoying Black Friday, whatever it is, we’re going to have our list of all Candace’s picks on our show notes page at StackyBenjamins. com. Don’t worry about following along.
Just whenever you get to your phone or a computer, you can just put in stacking Benjamins, scroll down to today’s, uh, show notes. All right. There’s our five and four. Those are phenomenal. Number three. So number three is another new game. It just, it’s hot off the press from. Essen or Spiele, which is the, the world’s biggest board game convention that happens in Essen, Germany, every October.
Um, and they release a bunch of new games there. It’s very, it’s like for people who are super into board games, it’s like Christmas time. What’s funny is some of the people, you gotta know Candace, are like, there’s enough people to fill up a hall? This place is packed. It’s packed and it’s huge. It’s huge.
I’ve never been to… A bigger convention than this, but I guess I don’t go to a whole lot of conventions outside of board game conventions. Um, but yeah, but it’s big, lots of people, but not like. Overwhelming. You know, like you, there’s still space to walk around and everything, but I know that when I tell people about even like board Game Geek, uh, con, uh, uh, dot con or, uh, gen Con or any of those people are like, what?
There’s that many people going, yes, yes. Yes, tons of people. Such a wonderful time. All right, so what’s it called? Don’t leave us hanging. Okay, yeah, the suspense. You ready? You ready? Kutna Hora, the city of silver. Wow, how do you spell that? K U T N A H O R A The City of Silver. Oh yeah, two words, Kutna Hora, yeah.
This is a historical city building Euro game for two to four players that features this very unique real life supply and demand experience where basically every action that players take during the game Impacts the economy and really, really fascinating ways. So it’s based on, I guess, in 1260, the discovery of silver led to a silver boom in what is today, modern day, Kutna Hora and, uh, Czechoslovakia.
It attracted people from all over Europe. So during the game, you’re going to be like, kind of building up the city. There’s an area on the main board below the city that’s a mining area where you’re going to be trying to produce more ore. The thing that’s really fascinating about this is, there are six resources that you’ll kind of be interacting with.
Like, um, beer, pork, patents, uh, ore, and wood. And you don’t actually have any physical resources in this game. Instead, you have this… This board that shows you the current value of these things, and it’s this really unique little display that has a deck of cards. Uh, one is representing the population, the impact on, uh, the economy based on the population, and the other is based on the amount of ore we’ve produced in the city.
And as you do things, you’re going to be like building buildings on the board, you’re going to be generating production for yourself in the matching resource. So if I build a tavern, my beer track’s going to go up. The thing is, again, you don’t have physical resources, so if my building costs three wood, I’m going to look at this card display and see, okay, the cost of wood right now is Two money per wood, and I don’t remember the exact name of the currency, so I like to just keep it generic and say money, so if I’m, so if I need to spend three wood, I pay six money, you know, but this is fluctuating throughout the game as the population increases in the city, as we’re mining more different things, you’re gonna, Cycle through the cards that are like representing this supply and demand system and it’s so cool So, you know one turn would might be two money The next by the time comes back around to your turn.
It might be three money So you really have to you know, it’s so dynamic you have to kind of plan for that that things that prices are gonna fluctuate and You need to also, like, kind of focus on your income engine, so you’re going to be trying to get these production tracks up so that you can then take an income action and make money every once in a while.
It’s… Really neat. It sounds super and I went right to BoardGameGeek when you told me how to spell it. I’m looking at the photos as Candace can see, nobody else can see. It’s just a beautiful, the art is gorgeous. Yeah, it’s got this kind of monochromatic look where The mining section of the board is black with some art.
And then the, the place where you’re actually building the city tiles is like silver, you know, but it’s got really cool art. Um, if you ever played the game Deluvia Project, it kind of reminds me of that art a little bit. And the components in the game that the player pieces are made of this re wood, something called re wood, which is like recycled wood that gets meshed with something.
But. They are not plastic, but they have this, like, really unique feel and the colors of them really pop on the board and everything. Yeah, like a pastel, uh, arrangement. Yeah, yeah. So this one I would say is a, another, um, Medium weight game, I think this will take about two hours to play, uh, but it’s, it feels fast, you know, it’s, I would say like, it’s one of those games that could probably take an hour and a half, but if people are kinda thinky about what they’re doing, it could take longer, and it’s similar to Hegemony, it’s It’s card driven, so you have, um, card driven in a different way though, but you have a, a hand of action cards, and each card has one action option on the top of the card and one action option on the bottom, and you have six cards total, and each round you’re only gonna play five.
And you decide which side to put them on. So there are probably, each action is covered twice, except one. Oh yeah. There’s another aspect where you’re building this cathedral, which was a part of like the history there in Kutna Hora and everything, but yeah, I, it’s a really unique game, you know, there are lots of city building Euro games, but I’ve never seen something where the way this economy.
Fluctuates and every game has felt so different because it’s so driven by what players do. You had me at city building game and then with that economic engine where I’m, Brought in resource, and the resource is changing, so then I’m trying to predict, I would imagine, if it’s gonna be more expensive or less expensive later on, like, sign me up.
And timing when to take your income, because things that other players do might impact what you’re generating income from, you know? It’s really cool. That is fabulous. And this looks like it’s now probably becoming widely available right now as we speak. Yes. Yes. I think a lot of, uh, websites might still have it for pre order and you should be able to find this one around now.
That is really, really neat. Uh, Candace, you’re costing my wallet some cash here. Apologies. Apologies. That is our number three. Number two. Okay, so number two, I’m going a little lighter here. The game I’m picking is The Rich and the Good. Oh, wow. I’ve never heard of this game either. Okay, The Rich and the Good is an older game, um, that just got reprinted this year.
And I, I want to say it came out in like 2007 or 8 or something like that. And in the game, it’s for three to five players. Uh, we’re stockbrokers, uh, during the second industrial revolution. And you’re trying to make as much money as possible. while also coming across as a good citizen, um, by donating money to charity.
In this game, you are going to be, I think there are six different commodities, uh, like tea, salt, rubber, I don’t know, uh, coal, other things, but you’re going to be You have a board that has a starting price for all of these, these commodities, which starts at 40, I believe, and during the game, you’re going to be able to buy and sell shares, not at the same time, like on one round you could buy, the next round you could sell.
And then one of the really neat things about this is after we do our phase where we go around the table and we each could either buy or sell, then we’re going to manipulate the market. And the way this works is really interesting because In between, let’s say we’re playing a four player game, in between each player, so to my left and to my right, are trays that have a card display of market manipulation cards.
There are gonna be, I think, eight cards in each at the start of the round? So, the player to my left and I can see the one that’s to my left. We both can see, okay, maybe there are a lot of, like, Coffee’s gonna go up cards, and maybe like tea’s going down, so we have some information. On my right, the player who’s on my right and I share this other display of cards, so you share some information with Two players pretty much.
But everybody still has their own like the stuff I know you only know half of what I know and I only know half of what you know. Exactly, exactly. So then when it comes time to manipulate the market you have to pick one card from your left side tray and one card from your right side tray and one of them you’re gonna manipulate at whatever the value is like so I think they range from Uh, 1 to 6, and they also can be positive or negative.
For whatever card you play first, that’s gonna go the full value. So maybe I have a plus 3 coffee card. I move the coffee marker up 3, so now it’s increased its value. And then for my second card, let’s say I want to move wheat up. Uh, if I play a 6, it’s only gonna half the second card I play. So it’ll really go up 3.
Which is interesting, because you’re deciding, like, Which ones you wanna kind of like push up more, but you also remember you’re sharing this display with another player and they might kind of be onto what you’re doing and, you know, play a card for half or, you know, it, it, it’s really neat. And then in between every player, like playing, you know, picking two of these cards to manipulate the market.
We go back and we can buy and sell again. So, you know, now there’s new data. Like, if I see someone pushing the value of something up, maybe I try to get in on that and buy a share before it gets too expensive. And, um, yeah, it’s just, it’s a really neat design, but the hook, the twist here, I’ll say, is… That, after you decide if you’re buying stocks or selling, you can optionally donate a share to charity.
So your shares are gonna be, they’re little cards, they’re gonna be face down. So, if I buy three shares… You know I have those three shares, but then I can decide to put one in my charity pile, and you don’t know which one I picked. And so at the end of the round, after we go through the market manipulation of, you know, I think four times around the table, then everybody reveals how much they donated to charity, and you cash in those shares.
Then we play a whole second round, you do all the same stuff, but then, at the very end of the game, we’re gonna score up, and whoever donated the least to charity is eliminated from the game, so if you’ve ever played High Society, that kind of game where you are trying to like, make sure you have the most money from your like, remaining shares and cash on hand, but if you’re the player that donated least, That means you’re a jerk and you cannot, you’re not eligible for winning the game.
So that’s, that’s the twist, but otherwise you want to have the most money. And it’s just like, it’s really fun. It’s fascinating. It’s, it’s a quick teach. Like this one I’ll be 45 minutes to play. Um, so this is definitely a little more accessible than, uh, the other games that I mentioned, probably. It looks considerably later.
Yeah, but it’s fantastic. Oh, but sometimes that’s the best, you know, when it, when the rules, the rules are simple, Candace. One thing I’ve learned, and I know I’m speaking to the choir here, just because the rules are simple doesn’t make the decision making any less delicious. Yeah, I’m a huge fan of games that are, you know, where the rules are simple, but the decision space is just like really, really deep, you know?
Yeah, yeah. It’s funny how this feels in some ways like the direct opposite of the last two games, but really you’re getting it a lot of the same stuff about it really depends on what the other players do, like the last two games did, and to some degree, you’re playing. Your own game, but you also got to play the person.
This one, especially you got to play the game of the people next to you. Like I got to put myself in your head. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And like, if I see you’re buying a lot of salt and I I’m like, Oh, I might need to get in on salt. He knows something I don’t know. You know, that’s fabulous. That is called the, uh, uh, the rich and the good.
And, and, and I’ve got to assume this also looks like it’s probably pretty widely available. Yes, I believe so. Yeah. Online game stores. Oh yeah. Aries games, a pretty big, uh, Pretty big publisher, uh, that you could get this through. Yeah, I think I got mine from Miniature Market and I believe it was like around 30 bucks or less too.
Yeah, it’s not a big box either. Yeah. All right. Those are the four. We need some type of a drumroll here. Candace’s number one. Okay. So this is a slight cheat. My number one is 18xx games in general. Yeah, we got to explain to people what these are And I have specific ones that I think are good But 18xx is basically a genre of games with stock market manipulation and root building where you basically get to own and operate train companies and You know, some of that might sound a little dry, but the gameplay is just so fascinating.
This is definitely a little more complex on the, uh, economic side and strategy side, but I don’t think it’s that crazy. Like, I have a good friend of mine who loves 18xx games, and he has introduced these games to people who have played much, much lighter games, but they’re just really, really… Uh, rewarding, and if you like games that have root building, so, so basically, at the start of 18xx games, most of them, you’re gonna do a little auction, and you’ll get these private companies, and private companies will give you this kind of like special ability, something special for you, but then, again, you know me, I like my market manipulation.
You are buying shares in companies, and you, if you have a certain amount of shares in a company, you can float that company, and now you are the president of that company, and one of the tricky things in this game, uh, is that you are managing your personal money, but also any companies that you end up becoming the president of, you have to manage their capital, Separately, like their treasury separately.
So, you know, the train company is gonna need to buy trains, and then you’re gonna be putting tiles on the map to build a route, and you’re trying to basically find routes to that are gonna pay you money by like connecting from one city to another city. Like I said, this is not like the, these are not light games, but they are extremely like, really deep strategy wise, and they can be a lot of fun, you know, these are games where you are very invested in what everyone else is doing, when in often cases, you will sell, when you sell shares, it will drop the value.
Uh, the other thing is the stock market in this game looks wild. It’s like almost a grid of squares because the stocks just don’t go up and down, but they your value of a company can move left and right. It’s kind of wild, but, you know, you asked me my favorite economic game, so I I couldn’t not. bring up 18XX.
XX, by the way, for everybody is a year. And so there’ll be a game 1835, 18 whatever, like every, every one is a different year, which is what I was going to ask you, Candace, which one of those If somebody wants to start diving in, should they probably begin with? Yeah, so I definitely would say 18 Chesapeake is a very good introductory level, uh, 18XX game.
Um, that was the first one that I played and that kind of got me really, really hooked in. Then there’s, uh, Shikoku 1889, which just had a reprint. from Grand Trunk Games, and it looks beautiful. So some of these games, just as a caveat, aren’t the sexiest looking board games out there. No, some of them almost look like a third grader put them together.
They look, some of them look kind of prototype y or something. But the gameplay is so rewarding that it’s worth looking at that. Um, but Shikoku 1889, the new reprint, is actually really, really gorgeous. And I’m hoping that newer games are going in that direction. And then I’ll also give a shout out to, there’s a game called 18MS, and I think it’s Mississippi.
This one is, has a very small map, it has a set amount of rounds, so it’s, I think you could play it in an hour and a half. So that could like be a great, I just haven’t played it personally yet. But, I think that would be a great starting place if you wanted to dip your toes into what is this 18xx stuff all about.
Because, again, the map is small, and it has a set amount of rounds, so it ends early. Whereas, like, some of the 18xx games can be, like, all day affairs. Yeah. I tend to like the ones that are about three to four hours, you know, that you can play on a weeknight. And 18 Chesapeake falls in that range, and so does Shikoku 1889.
If any of that sounds like fascinating or interesting, I would definitely say check out one of those three. And just to give a better picture of like the flow of the game, you alternate between stock rounds and operating rounds. So in a stock round, players can go around one at a time buying or selling shares and you do this until everybody’s ready to pass.
After that, you go into an operating round where everyone who has their train companies, you take turns in a certain order running your train companies and you get to buy track. Well, you don’t buy track usually, but you sometimes have to pay for the space you’re, you’re building on if there’s mountains or something like that, but you’ll build your track to like expand your route.
And then you’ll run your trains. And if you need to buy new trains, you’ll buy new trains, because the other thing in 18xx is that trains can rust because technology changes. So, yeah, it’s a wild thing, but in terms of An economic game that just sings to me. It’s 18XX games are just awesome. I have never had a good teacher for an 18XX game, which I heard is important, right?
Find either a great video. Once again, there’s great videos on BoardGameGeek, but either have a great video or have a great person to teach you. And I just have never had that person and yet I love train games and I love anybody who’s played, uh, Sid Meier’s railroad games, the computer game will, will understand that you’ve got the operation and you also have, uh, the stock market aspect of it and the way that it combines these two.
And by the way, like you said, some are prototyping, but other ones, the art is just beautiful. Like on some of these, it’s phenomenal. I’ve done just the operation, the railroad operation part of that. I decided to invest in, uh, the system railways of the world, which used to be railroad tycoon. So good. Yeah.
I love railways of the world too. Yeah. Yeah. I decided to do that. I didn’t want to do steam, which is it’s. older brother, because Steam just seemed too hard, too punitive, too, too difficult. I wanted one that was a little more accessible, but you know, what I’m wondering is a game I have played and our group really likes on game night.
And in fact, some of my friends who like lighter games like this, Chicago express kind of fits this mold of an 18XX kind of beginner game, because you’ve got that, you’ve got your money and you’ve got these different companies racing from the East coast to Chicago. Have you played that one? Yeah, I’ve only played it once.
I’ve actually only played that one once, but yeah, that’s, that is like a good warmup to 18xx, I would say. Chicago Express. Start there, see if you like that, like running companies and managing your, your money and everything. And then go down the rabbit hole. You’re ready to take the training wheels off.
Yeah. I feel like hit us. I’m right there. I’m right there. Maybe next time we meet a board game geek, you can help me out. Yeah, absolutely. All right, that is Candace’s top five. We’re going to take a little short break here. And Doug has some Black Friday trivia. We’ll be right back with Candace’s other list.
We all have these family gatherings where you sit around and somebody decided to buy a rotten game from Target or from Walmart. Well, Candace is going to help us find games that are fun to play with the whole family. You can be the hero for everybody. We’ll be right back.
Hey there, stackers! I’m Joe’s mom’s neighbor, Doug. Despite the existence of television, board games make up an over 15 billion dollar industry that just keeps on growing. And while new games come out every year, the top three selling games of all time are chess, checkers, and… Monopoly. Probably because they’re so easy.
I mean, for me at least. One time, I had the guys over to play Monopoly and I won in just under seven hours. They were all so embarrassed by how badly they lost, none of them will come over and play board games with me anymore. Losers. The games that are the most fun for me are the spelling games like Boggle, mostly because I like the way the letters sound when you shake them around.
Chk chk chk chk chk. Not many people outside of the finance world know this. but the game was invented by none other than the founder of Vanguard, John Boggle. You know, I actually invented a cooler version of the game, Life, but Chevrolet wouldn’t let us license their brand to make the tiny cars and the little El Caminos.
Their loss. Today’s trivia question is… What is the minimum word length for the game of Boggle? I’ll be back right after I finish today’s crossword
Hey there stackers, I’m Monopoly champion and word dologist Joe’s mom’s neighbor Doug. During the break I was looking up what other cool stuff John Boggle started and hate to have to break this news to you He didn’t invent Boggle and his last name’s actually Pronounced really sucks for him. Just a minute ago, he was like an inventor, at least in my world.
Today’s question is, what is the minimum word length for the game of Boggle? I mean, yeah, Boggle. Boggle? Boggle. Probably Boggle. The answer? With a ton of word based games on the market, the one way they differentiate themselves is by varying their required word minimums for play. The New York Times Spelling Bee is four letters while Scrabble’s only two, and Boggle, invented by Alan Turoff, has a minimum word length of three letters.
And now, back to the second part of our conversation with Candace Harris from Board Game Geek.
Candace, I can’t imagine I just can’t imagine like your house over the holidays. Describe to me Candace’s house at the holiday. It’s got to be like nonstop fun games. Well, it is, but I live in Los Angeles now.
Most of my family is in Philadelphia. So my holiday gaming is usually with gamer friends. But I did pick a list of games that I would play with family, like when we do go back east to visit family. Well, and that’s what I actually go the, you would have to go west to east. I have to go south to north, up to Ohio.
And um, I have decided I road trip every year just so I can pack as many games as possible in that list. It is. It is fun. But like you, you know, you got these people. Some people in my family, I’m sure it’s the same for you, Candace, some are gamers, some really like the meteor stuff we just talked about.
Other people just want a card game or maybe a party game. Right, right. Like, choosing the right game for the group is half the battle. Yes, you know, I consider myself very much a game sommelier and I will have people at random points throughout the year message me like, Hey, can you recommend a two player game?
Or, or if different people come over. I can kind of get us, even the people who say, Oh, we don’t like board games. I’m like, I will find a board game. You like, I always, when people say that, I do the same. I’m like, Oh, I’ve been lucky. I’ve our game nights list has grown to 14 people on the list, which is super cool.
So we will often have two tables, of course, you know, a lot of times people can’t make it. But most of these people, Candice, hadn’t played games before they started coming to ours. And they generally start off with, I don’t think I really like games. And my friends now are the ones that go, no, just come once.
Just come once. You’re going to love it. Yeah. Try it out. Yeah. It’s super. Now, I would assume these games are probably even more widely available. We’re about to go through. Yes. Absolutely. All right. Uh, top five games to play with family who aren’t necessarily gamers around the holidays. Candace’s number five.
Okay. And just before I jump into my number five, uh, two quick blurbs here. I did do an episode of the board game geek podcast recently with, uh, Elizabeth Hargrave episode 29, where we talked about, uh, Family friendly games. But I picked some different games for this. Just if anyone’s looking for more, you know, you can check that out too.
Well, that’s cool. So people want this list and you get a bonus list by going to listen to podcast. Yes. Yeah. Bonus list. And by the way, I love that. Can I say something about that? Because I absolutely love that episode. I love her and the two of you together. It’s like just a great, I felt like I was sitting in on this, this conversation, like it was the three of us having this conversation.
And she, of course, people who don’t know who she is, she’s made some phenomenal games. Oh, yes. Oh, yes. Yeah. Wingspan was her debut. release, and it’s still so successful. It’s a fantastic game. We recently, my spouse, Cheryl and I purchased the two player version, the Asia one. And it’s, it’s funny because, you know, you don’t really need it, but it, it takes a good game.
It just makes it a little different, a little, I don’t know, in some ways more fun for two. Yeah, totally. I actually, I haven’t played that, but I’ve. It seems cool and I’m glad they made that version, you know? Yeah, no, it’s very pretty, well, all of Wingspan is so pretty. Yes. The bird’s eggs and the, oh my goodness.
So pretty, and I love reading the facts on the bird cards too. Oh, me too, but you’ve got another one, you had another blurb too, so that was number one. Oh, my other, my other little blurb was just that There are decent games at Target these days, Joe. There are. But I know what you mean. I know what you mean.
I know what you mean. Well, here’s the hard thing because like I was in Target yesterday. There’s some fantastic games. You and I were talking about one game before we hit record, which is a game called Pan Am. You can find there, which is pretty good. But the frustrating thing is how often have you had somebody who knows you like games, they go to Target and they buy it based on the cover art.
And they hand it to you and you go, Oh God, no. It does happen. It does happen. Yeah. I just, I mean, don’t get me wrong. It’s the thought that counts, but I’m still like, Oh, please no, no, no, no, no, no. Yeah. All right. Number five. Number five. Yup. Number five is Dixit. Dixit. I’m sure you know Dixit, but this is a game for three to 12 players where you’re trying to give.
A perfect clue for a card that has art on it, so that most players, but not all of them, you usually want just one player to get it right. But basically, everybody has a hand of cards, and one of the cool things about Dixit is… You know, there are lots of different versions of it. Now there’s a Disney version of it, if that’s your thing.
But all of the cards have this really cool art. And what you’re gonna do is, when it’s your turn to be the storyteller, you’re gonna pick one of the cards in your hand, and then you are going to… Give a word, or a sentence, or something, say something to describe the card, but again, you don’t want to be too obvious, because if everyone gets it right, Um, if everyone’s able to pick your card, then you don’t get any points.
But if no one, if you’re too obscure, if no one gets your card, you know, your clue, Then you also don’t get points. So you want, like, at least one person to get it, ideally. But everybody else is gonna put a card in from their hand that mimics the clue that is reminiscent of the clue that you gave. So then you shuffle them all face down, and then you put them in a display, and then people are gonna try to guess.
Which one is your card? And what they’re hoping, what they’re hoping is, is that you guess theirs instead of the real one. Right, right, because they get points, so you’re incentivized as the person who’s not the active player, you’re incentivized to put something that’s gonna make people think that it’s the storyteller’s card, because you get more points the more people guess your card.
It’s just a really, really fantastic game that you can, you know, it’s light, you can play with anyone, you can play it to a certain amount of points if you want, or just keep, you know, one of those games you can just keep playing rounds of till you’re tired. And I ended up, when I got into it, bought so many expansions, so they’re just endless cards, endless cards, but even with like one of the base games, you can, get so much entertainment out of it because people are going to come up with different clues.
And it’s just really interesting to see people’s interpretation of the clue with, you know, cards that just have art. There are no words, you know? Uh, so yeah, that’s why I picked Dixit. That’s fabulous. We played the heck out of this when it first came out. It’s been out for a number of years. We brought it back out at Thanksgiving last year.
And we had a wide range of people. We had some people who were almost 80 at the table and we had a seven year old and there were maybe Candace, there were maybe eight of us. And this was a huge hit. It was a huge, everybody loved it. Wide audience. Super. In fact, I forgot how much I liked the game until we get in the first round.
And I’m like, I love, this is great. Yeah. Yeah. It’s also like my box is so busted at this point. I got like. Duck tape around it to hold it together. It’s a mess, but yeah, but I definitely I keep it in my collection because You know, there are just moments like, I’ve played a lot of Thanksgiving Dixit just like you, you know?
And this is Target or Walmart. You can find that game at Target or Walmart. Amazon, wherever, yeah, yeah. Number four. Okay, so number four is Quacks of Quiddlingburg. Which, by the way, can I say… You say, I didn’t play this game for a long time because I thought that was a stupid name. It was such a stupid name.
And this is so damn fun. Yeah. And I probably had, I, if I didn’t have a friend of mine, like break it out one day and say, let’s try this game. I probably would have avoided it because of the name myself. But yeah, it’s a 2 4 player game, uh, with one of the, the Herb Witches expansion, you can play it with 5 people.
But it’s a push your luck, bag building game. Everybody’s a quack doctor, and you have your player board, which is this cauldron, where you’re gonna have your own bag with these ingredient tokens, different ingredients that have a number on them. And you simultaneously, everybody will have their own bag, you’ll pull out these little ingredients tokens, and you’re gonna put them into your pot of stew.
And you’re trying to get your pot to have as many ingredient tokens as you can without busting, because there are these, like, cherry bomb ingredients that you might pull out, and once your cherry bomb count is over seven, Boom, your, uh, soup explodes. But it’s just a really fun game, and then you get the opportunity at the end of the round to buy new ingredients.
So as you play the game, you’re kind of customizing the ingredients that are in your bag. I love that the gameplay is simultaneous, so you can kind of get people up and running, you know, assuming someone can teach the game. You really can just teach it by starting to play. You know, there’s five minutes, you say a few things, and then let’s just go and play the first round.
Different ingredients become available that you can buy as the game progresses. It’s just a banger of a game, you know? I’ve never introduced it to someone who didn’t. Absolutely love it. I was about to say the same. Yeah. I was about to say exactly the same. Never once. And it’s funny because a friend of mine who is really into hardcore games like your 18xx kind of stuff.
He’s into that type of stuff. I taught him this game last year at Board Game Geek, where I saw you at the conference, loved it, went and bought it immediately. Immediately went and bought it, but brings it out with his family all the time. I love the feeling that you’re building this potion that could go bad, you know?
Right, right. Super duper fun and also, you know, not necessarily that long, but if you want it more complicated, if you’re, this is a game where you could probably play it with some younger people, eight, nine, ten years old, maybe, but if you really want to get hardcore, you can change up the mix so it really can become a hardcore game as well.
Yeah, there’s two sides to the player board. They’re also each ingredient that you add to the game has a different way that it works and you can, Switch it so maybe like the, the uh, red tokens do ABC this game and then maybe next game we play red tokens do 1, 2, 3, you know? So there, yeah, there’s a lot of little, uh, variability to the game and you can kind of mess around with the difficulty level.
And there also is, for younger kids, there is a Quacks, like a, Kids quacks. Who is there? I didn’t know that. Yeah, there is and it’s actually really adorable and cool. Very cute, too. I mean, I don’t have kids so I’m not good with the ages. Yeah, but I know that some kids We’re like no, they can just play regular quacks.
So I think you know, I would say much younger kids get the kid version But otherwise you can probably get maybe like you’re saying like seven eight nine year olds to if you can count numbers You should be pretty good. That’s the main thing. Yeah. Yeah. But there is a kid’s version too, that kind of simulates some of it in a even lighter way.
And it’s cute. The thing I like about this game is, uh, you laugh a lot. You laugh a lot. And by the way, if you’re playing this game and you play with people that are, you know, really aggressive about winning, which are my least favorite people to play with, those people will have to, you’re almost forced to lighten up playing this game.
Okay, now we were talking about card games earlier, and how usually card games are very good for family settings, and… Lighter gamers usually, and they’re very portable. So my number three pick is The Crew, Mission Deep Sea. You could also go with The Quest for Planet Nine. Personally, I like Mission Deep Sea a little better.
Yeah. So there are two different versions of the same game, right? Yeah, exactly. And this is a cooperative. trick taking game with limited communication with other players. A lot of people know trick taking games from playing stuff like Hearts and Spades, but like everyone will have a hand of cards and you have like four suits in the, you know, blue cards, pink cards, green cards, yellow cards, and then there’s a trump suit that is, I think they’re just like, goes from one to four, but they are the strong, that’s the strongest suit in the game.
And you’re going to be playing through a series of missions. So maybe our first mission is, Hey, Joe needs to win the highest yellow card. So we need to play our cards without talking about what’s in our hand, and get Joe to win the highest yellow card, or, you know. Like, there are all sorts of different missions you’re going to have to deal with.
Like I said, it’s limited communication, so we can’t talk about what’s in our hand, we can’t talk about what we’re thinking about doing, what we’re not thinking about doing, but everybody gets a communication token, so once per hand of cards, once per round, you can play a card down, face up on the table, and put this communication token on it.
If you put the token towards the top of the card, you are signaling to other players that hey, that is my highest, let’s say it’s a blue card, that is my, this is my highest blue card. If I put it on the bottom of the card, then I’m saying, hey team, this is my lowest blue card, and then if I put it on the middle of the card, I’m saying this is my only blue card.
So everyone has one of these communication tokens that you’re able to use once, and it’s very, very helpful, you know, in a game where you’re trying to complete these missions. And there’s also, like, a ton of missions in each of these games, and they kind of… Get more and more complex as you go. I’m a big fan of cooperative games, especially in family settings, because one of the reasons some people don’t like games is because they don’t want to feel like, Oh, I’m a lo I’m losing, you know, that doesn’t feel good.
Like, so when you’re working together against the game, it’s just a more accessible environment that usually most people are down for. Not everybody. Some people are like, I only want to play competitive. I only want to beat you, right? But I find in family settings, like cooperative games like this, uh, work really well.
And, uh, just to give a couple examples of, like, you know, in, in Mission Deep Sea, there are 96 different task cards for your missions. 96, wow. 96. And, you know, they, they might be something like, I will win the blue four, or I will win exactly one pink card. I will win as many yellow cards as green cards in one trick.
You know, I will win a trick that contains only even numbers. Like, they’re all sorts of, things. And it’s just becomes this really like thinky game and it’s so satisfying. Like almost like when you play the mind and you get in that, that moment where it’s like, Oh, we’re synergizing. When you start to like figure out how you can work together.
And when you win that round, it feels so good. I, uh, played this for the first time about a month ago. People that are people that listen to our show. No, we had a group called the fine ears on this, uh, Husband and wife team, uh, came to our house and they taught me how to play it while they were here. I played Candice maybe one hand, the first hand, Corey taught me how to play it.
Played the first hand, immediately realized I’m buying it for my parents for Christmas. Yeah. Immediately. Yes. It is so good. And anybody who likes cards. It’s going to love this game. I’m from the Midwest. They play a game called Euchre there a lot. And, uh, it just, it’s so reminiscent of playing Euchre, but with everybody on the same team, Jess and Corey and I were high fiving each other at the end of every hand as we got it right.
And you can up the difficulty level. It was so, that game is, well, all of these are wonderful. But that, yeah, this game is fabulous. Yeah. Good stuff. Yeah. Yeah. So that’s the crew. Once again, that one I think is a target as well. That should be, you should be able to find that anywhere. Yeah. And it’s in a small box cause it’s just cards.
So if you’re looking for something for like a stocking or a small gift or even to take to a small party as a thank you gift, like it’s a great gift for all those. Yeah. Yeah. Without breaking the bank. All right. We’re down to the last two. I, I, I’m, I’m sad we’re coming to the end, but what’s your number two?
My number two is another small box and it’s a game called Insider. Insider is a I have never played this. Okay, okay, so Insider is basically 20 questions with a twist. Uh, it plays with 4 to 8 players. Every player’s gonna secretly and randomly get assigned a role at the start of each round. Is this a Wait, wait, is this an oint game?
This is an oint game, yes. Can we take a second and talk about this? So, so when you say it’s a small box, these games, everybody, are in tiny. Yeah. And this little company, I think it’s a Japanese company. Right. They make some of the quirkiest, coolest games. Yeah, they do. And these tiny boxes. Yes. Wow. So yes, this is an oink game.
Yeah. So everybody’s gonna get a tile that has a role. One player is gonna be the master, and most players are gonna be commons, and then one player is gonna be the insider. So after everybody gets their roles, whoever the master is, they will reveal it and say, Hey, I’m the master for the round, and then everyone’s gonna close their eyes, and then the master is going to flip a card off of the deck of clue cards, I think they’re numbered one through five on the card, you know, clues.
You’re gonna look at the number that’s now on the top of the deck, so maybe it’s two. And that means I have to get people to guess number two on the card that I flipped. Which might be, I’m looking at one here, so number two on this card I’m looking at is bicycle, let’s say. Okay, so it’s bicycle. Yeah, so I see it’s bicycle, I’m the master.
So then I close my eyes and I ask the insider to now open their eyes. Now the insider gets to peek at the card, but I don’t, no one knows who the insider is, and so they see Bicycle, and then I tell the insider, close your eyes, and then I flip the card back on top of the deck so now no one can see it, and everyone opens their eyes.
Then, we flip a sand timer, And starting to the left of the master, everybody gets the opportunity to ask one yes or no question. Is it bigger than a car? No. Is it red? Yes. No. Like, you just keep firing off questions. If you don’t have one, you just pass and it keeps going around. Meanwhile, you’re watching this sand timer.
So we all know the insider knows the answer, right? By the time it gets to the end, if the Sand Timer runs out, everyone loses the game. So you don’t want the Sand Timer to run out. You want to guess the correct answer before the Sand Timer runs out. So, let’s just say what often happens, you know, it’s coming down to the buzzer.
And somebody guesses it correctly. Now we all have to try to figure out who the insider is. Well, except the insider doesn’t want people to know who the insider is. So the insider, the insider who knows who it is, isn’t going to guess it. Isn’t going to guess. It doesn’t want to guess. It doesn’t want to say bicycle.
Well, yes, they want to avoid saying bicycle, but they want to nudge people in that direction. If, if the other common players are not getting there, like, Oh, is it something you ride? But if they nudge too hard, If they nudge too hard. So that’s what the discussion is at the end. And at the end, you know, assuming you didn’t lose cause the sand timer ran out.
you’re gonna flip the sand timer. And so now you have to figure out who the insider is before the sand timer now runs out being flipped. And you’re gonna be like, Oh, well, Joe asked if it had wheels that was kind of suspicious. Oh, but Karen got it right. You know, like maybe she’s the insider, then you’re gonna have a, you know, a vote 123 point your fingers at who you think the insider is.
And if majority of people pick the insider, or whoever majority of people pick, if that’s the insider, the commons and the master win. Hooray! But, if we all point to somebody who wasn’t the insider, then the insider wins. Yeah, so it’s like, it’s just a twist on like a 20 questions type game. But it is really, really interesting when it comes down to trying to guess who the insider is and I have, like, I loaned this game to friends of mine for their family vacation and their mom, who does not like board games at all, loves Insider.
Like, she had a blast. Okay, I’m buying this one too, damn it. But that’s so, I’m just imagining how everybody’s laughing. Like, this is just, and what, that’s what you want to do around the holidays. I mean, I want to, I don’t want to get involved in the family drama. I want to sit around with my family and laugh.
Exactly. Socialize and laugh. That is fabulous. And this whole series of games, Oink Games, not all. The same. I played a couple of oink games where I’m like, Eh, that might not be as great as the other ones, but, but normally just great. And they’re all a little weird, Candace. They’re all just got something a little weird going on.
Yep. I love it. All right. We’re drum rolling again. So our top game, Candace’s top game to play at the holidays. Just one. Fabulous. Just One. How could I not pick Just One? Just One is a cooperative party game where you’re working together to guess as many words as you can as a team. Everybody has these dry erase markers, and one person, let’s say it’s Joe’s turn to guess a word, he’s going to have a card in front of him that he can’t see the front of, but we can all see, the rest of us, and we’re going to say, Joe, give us a number.
He’ll give us a number, and then let’s say his clue is spaghetti. So he does not know that we’re going to be trying to get him to guess spaghetti. So meanwhile, we all have our little dry erase boards, and we need to each, everyone else, all the other players need to write down just one word. That is going to help Joe figure out spaghetti, but the trick is This is the trick.
This is the trick. If any of us write the same word Joe is not gonna get to see him. We have to flip ours down. We kind of are eliminated from the round So you’re trying to think of something that no one else is gonna say But then you’re in this dilemma of like, huh? Well, maybe everybody thinks they’re gonna maybe everybody’s avoiding saying pasta Because multiple people are gonna say pasta.
So maybe I’ll write it because I think everyone will think people are gonna write it So I’m not, you know, like you get into this like twist because sometimes if you don’t say Something we’re gonna flip all our little cards up And if the words we wrote down don’t make any sense to Joe to get him back to spaghetti, or let’s say two people did write, Meatballs.
And so those are down and maybe you just have one that says tomato and one that says long or something. And it’s like, good luck with that. It is funny how we play games of this where everybody’s to your point are so obscure that even though everybody avoided it, uh, avoided matching, it was, you know, hard as hell to figure it out.
And also. Uh, we played it where two people said the same, everybody’s trying to avoid stuff. So they both say obscure things. Yeah. And they both get the same obscure word. You’re like, how did you guys mind meld on that? Like, where did that come from? Which is super fun. Yeah. It’s, it’s a really cool game.
And it’s one, I don’t keep a lot of party games on the shelf, but it’s something that’s great. You know, it’s not the smallest box, you know, it’s no oink game, but. It’s small enough that you can take it on a camping trip or if you’re going to like a brewery or winery to hang out and just want something social to do.
Throw it in a backpack. Yeah, yeah. It’s pretty, it’s pretty fun. And again, this, because it’s cooperative and you’re all on the same team. Lots of high fiving, lots of feel good, and even you’re playing against like a scale, but we don’t really pay attention to that, but you know, you get done with the rounder, but it’s like, let’s do it again.
Let’s try again. Right, right. And yeah, exactly. You don’t, I think the rules say to pick 13 cards and you try to score as many as you can, but it’s like, no, just play till you’re tired of playing. That’s right. It is the kind of game where if you’re playing, if you’re trying to play. To win something, you’re playing the wrong game.
Yeah, and there is another game that I actually was going to put on this list, um, Maybe instead of or in addition to Just One, but I think it’s a little harder to get still. It’s a newer game called Sides. The thing that I like about Sides that maybe I like a little more than Just One is that Think about those moments in Just One where You’re sitting there as the guesser and everyone reveals their words that they write and everybody’s like oh, you’ll get this Oh, there’s no way you won’t get this and you’re sitting there like I don’t know what this is and sometimes that doesn’t feel so great So sides the the neat thing with that is you always have two people that are working together as the guesser, the guessers, and they, and it rotates.
So Joe, if you’re sitting to my left, you and I will be partners one time, and then next round, you and the person to your left are partners. It’s similar in terms of you’re working together to guess words. But you have a partner that you’re working to guess with instead of being on your own, which I think is really cool.
Oh, that’s fabulous. That is fantastic. You might need to dig around to find that one though. Yeah, I’m going to throw in a couple that I have learned about this year as well. Cool. I just bought an oink game, a different oink game called, um, what’s it called? It’s called A Fake Artist Goes to New York. Have you played that one?
I haven’t played it before, actually. So, everybody, similar thing to Insider, uh, you take these, these little pieces that are dry erase, and on every single piece except one, you put down a word. Like, let’s say I put down the word lion. But on the other one, I just put down an X. And I mix them up, and then I put them out on the table, and everybody grabs one.
So somebody… Somebody has no idea what the hell we’re trying to draw and everybody else knows it’s a lion. And the deal is you send this sheet of paper around the table and everybody draws a little piece of a lion, but you don’t want it to be so good that the person who doesn’t know what’s going on knows what it is because at the end, If everybody picks the person who was the faker, the faker gets one opportunity to guess what the thing was they were drawing and they still win.
Otherwise, everybody else at the table wins. And I got to tell you, we were playing Candice with a woman that doesn’t like drawing. She’s like, I hate drawing games. I’m like, I don’t think this is a drawing game. And we got done and she was laughing so hard. She’s like, this isn’t a drawing game. It’s a bluffing game.
You know. Oh, see, I’m that person that doesn’t love drawing games either, but I heard nothing but good things about this one. So now you’re making me spend money. That game was fun. And then I really like, and this was neat. It was a, it’s a, um, it’s, you know, we just don’t have enough women designing games.
We have more than we’ve ever had, uh, which is great, but a game that, uh, wonderful creator, uh, made, I think it’s even a woman owned company, uh, Phantom Inc. Uh, I’ve been playing lately and phantom ink a little bit. Like we started with Mysterium. I don’t know if have you played this one? You know, I don’t think I have actually just describe it a bit because the reason I’m saying that is because I felt like a couple years ago at a convention, I was about to play it and I don’t remember if we ever did.
Yeah, I’ve only recently started seeing it on shelves. I got it about that same time frame, maybe a couple years ago. And it’s currently my favorite party game. But, uh, you’ve got two teams. You just divide into two teams and two people, one person from each team are the ghost and you’re having a seance, Candace.
So, um, me and the ghost on the other team decide on a card. One of the words, let’s say it’s rainbow as an example. Okay. And, uh, the each team gets a handful of cards. How big is it? If it was a superhero, what would it be? If it was all these weird questions. And so you take two cards when it’s when it’s your team’s turn, you take two cards and you hand it to the ghost and the ghost to say, you know, one of them is just not going to make any sense.
And the other one might be closer. And you start on this pad of paper. You very slowly start drawing letters. So it’s like the ghost is slowly, yeah. Now, only our team knows what we ask the ghost. The other team doesn’t know. So you’re trying to figure out what the word is as quickly as possible. And then you say, Silencio, the team says, Silencio, and the ghost stops.
And then it’s the other team’s turn to write a word. And you’re trying, and once again, our team can watch as your team is trying to guess what the word is. And then after a couple of rounds, you’re allowed to add letters to it so that you start to get clarity about what the other team’s doing. And it’s this race to guess.
the word. And, uh, it is so damn funny. It’s so, so funny. That’s awesome. Yeah. I don’t think I played that one. Well, I’ve never played Insider and I can’t wait to play that one. I can’t. And, and geez, four of the games on your money list. I got to go buy two. Damn it, Candace. Tell me. There must be a podcast out there where people can get a lot more of this goodness.
Tell me there must be. There is, you know, there’s one I can think of. It’s called the Board Game Geek Podcast. That sounds phenomenal. I bet it’s got a kick ass host. She’s okay. She’s okay. She’s okay at economic games, but she likes them. Fabulous. And so what’s coming up on the Board Game Geek podcast?
Probably at the same time that this episode is dropping, we’re going to be doing a holiday gift guide episode. So it’ll go hand in hand with this. We’ll go hand in hand. We’re we’re in sync here. For Black Friday episodes. That’s fantastic. So if you want no money left at the end of Black Friday, listen to that and to ours, Candace, thank you so much for spending the last hour with us, mentoring us on games.
I super appreciate it. Thank you for having me. This was like so cool to hear from you and to be invited on here. I’m honored.
Where did Where are you go Wow, there was a smoke trail behind that dude. Candace got him all lathered up about the new games. Alright, look, I’ll just tell everybody what they should’ve learned today, Joe. You go off and have your fun. First, if you have friends you want to teach about money or economics, maybe interest them in one of Candace’s five picks today instead of boring them with stuff they don’t want to learn.
As a wise woman once said, a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down. Second, is it your job to bring board games to the holiday gathering? Start with Candace’s list here and the lists from BoardGameGeek. com rather than just picking a game with great cover art at Target or Walmart. But the big lesson?
The more I think about it, this Bogle guy really missed out. He, he missed out on all the designer money. All he did was create some little investment company called, uh… What was that again? Oh, gee. Oh, yeah, Vanguard. That doesn’t roll off the tongue at all. Maybe someday it’ll catch on nearly as much as Boggle.
Plus, if you could shake up those investments and make it go chicka chicka chicka, that would be a real seller. Thanks to Candace Harris for joining Joe today for our special board game episode. You can find out more about Candace at BoardGameGeek. com. We’ll also have a link in our show notes at StackingBenjamins.
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