Snakes & Blogs

  • Video: You Can Dance if You Want To

    Written by Angel R / Published July 21st, 2014 / 0 Comments

    A celebration of 2014's Spiel des Jahres winner, Camel Up.

    Also check us out on The Dice Tower's Board Game Breakfast!

  • Video: Racing Games

    Written by Angel R / Published July 14th, 2014 / 0 Comments

    Steve ponders the philosophy of the Race Game genre.

    Also check us out on The Dice Tower's Board Game Breakfast!

  • Video: Ask Snakes III

    Written by Angel R / Published July 9th, 2014 / 0 Comments

    Wayne returns to answer some questions that aren't about puppets.

    Thanks to Rick and Kevin for the questions!

    Also check us out on The Dice Tower's Board Game Breakfast!

  • Beyond the Gateway

    Written by Steve / Published July 2nd, 2014 / 0 Comments

    There is a term in the board game hobby for games that introduce new players to the wonderful world of modern board games: gateway game. 

    Gateway games are accessible examples of Euro-style games that are frequently used by gamers to convince their non-gamer friends and families that the modern board game movement has created a lot of interesting games that go well beyond what the average person thinks of when you say board game (“you mean like Monopoly and stuff?”).

    There is a sacred trinity of gateway games. Most gamers played these games early on in their gaming lives and even many non-gamers will have heard of at least one of these titles: Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne, and Ticket to Ride. Many gamers who joined the hobby ten to twenty years ago, may find that these games do not do it for them any more (although that certainly isn’t the case for all gamers – I play Ticket to Ride and Carcassonne on my tablet quite a bit), but they likely were part of their first steps into the world of gaming. And if you’re just getting into the hobby yourself, you should definitely pay these games a visit; they aren’t that complicated but they allow for a variety of play styles, and they introduce you to a variety of game mechanics that will lay the foundation for your comprehension of more challenging games down the road. The trinity are by no means the only gateway games, but they are some of the earliest modern games to achieve mainstream success.

    But what if you have played the gateway games? What’s next? There are a lot of steps to take between Ticket to Ride and the seriously heavy games like Agricola, Game of Thrones, or Caylus. Not everybody wants to take the journey all the way. You might find that gateway games satisfy your gaming needs completely. But then again, you may find that they don’t. You may find yourself yearning for something deeper.

    When you are ready to move beyond the gateway, what should you be looking for? That all depends on you. Some players will be ready to plunge right into the deep end of gaming after they've had a little exposure, but this article is not for them. This article is for you. You are unsure of what to play next; you want to avoid having a bad gaming experience or getting in over your head. One of the best ways to avoid getting out of your depths is to look for games that provide a sense of familiarity in some respect - theme, mechanics or designer can all offer a through line that will allow you to expand your comfort zone without ever leaving it.

    If you enjoyed Ticket to Ride, there are a number of train games you could try that will likely entertain you. Trains by Hisashi Hayashi and AEG games takes the trains on a board aspect of Ticket to Ride and pairs it with a deck building mechanic that will prepare you to play games like Dominion or Thunderstone in the future. Trains & Stations by Eric Lang and Whizkids combines train building with a push your luck dice mechanic that prepares you to play other games that ask the question: should you be happy with what you have or risk losing it to get something better?

    Carcassonne's tile placement and area control mechanics open the door to tons of other games. Qin, one of Reiner Knizia's recent games from Gigamic games, is a gateway game in its own right, but is also a good next step from Carcassonne because it builds on the ideas of growing the board with tiles and claiming areas of the board with your pieces and adds a more direct sense of conflict that is harder to come by in Carcassone. Another good next step from Carcassonne is Vegas Showdown from Hasbro's Avalon Hill line. It uses tile placement to build casinos but it adds an auction mechanic that will prepare you for other auction games like Ra, For Sale, and Modern Art. Jonathan, our senior Game Guru and host of the SnakesCast, says that once you've played Carcassonne, you're ready for Suburbia (which is basically like SimCity the board game) because "each player lays down their own tiles, building their own little borough with its own distinct personality."

    After playing The Settlers of Catan, you are prepared for any number of "modular board" games, such as Nexus Ops, Last Night on Earth, or Kulami. These are games where the board will be different every time you play and, like Settlers, you will have to adjust your strategies to adapt to that.

    Other games with an agricultural or colonial theme may also appeal to someone looking to go beyond Settlers. Santiago from Z-Man Games is a great agricultural game that adds auctioning and bribery to your skill set. Puerto Rico and Stone Age are both agricultural worker placement games that rely on gathering resources to build your empire. Puerto Rico has a lot more moving parts and substantially deeper strategies than Settlers, so it isn't the next step for every gamer, but it should definitely be on your radar if you've developed a taste for good Euro games.


    To hear Jonathan and some of our other staff talk further on the subject of Beyond the Gateway, listen to the episode of the SnakesCast of the same name.


    In addition to being a Game Guru at Snakes & Lattes, Steve Tassie is an actor, comedian, certified English & drama teacher, writer and game designer. Follow him on Twitter @RealSteveTassie or read the blog he shares with his wife, novelist Christina Upton onesfunnytheothersinsane.wordpress.com.

  • Video: Snakes Favourites - Mission Red Planet

    Written by Angel R / Published June 23rd, 2014 / 0 Comments

    Mission Red Planet. A steam punk favourite. Starring Mikhail.

    Also check us out on The Dice Tower's Board Game Breakfast!

  • Video: Backstabbing Games

    Written by Angel R / Published June 9th, 2014 / 0 Comments

    Steve used BACKSTAB. Critical hit!

    Also check us out on The Dice Tower's Board Game Breakfast!
    Part I and Part II

  • Newsletter: June 2014

    Written by Angel R / Published June 3rd, 2014 / 0 Comments

    IN THIS ISSUE...

    In this issue we talk about our newest venue Snakes & Lagers, board gaming in the great outdoors, and some of our retail games news. Read on to find out about our new retail games prices, what Query is, why you should be at Snakes & Lagers on Wednesday June 4th, and to witness some well deserved love for Game of Things.

    Questions or feedback? Email us at contact@snakesandlattes.com.


    SNAKES & LAGERS

    Lagers Patio

    Not to jinx it, but it looks like our capricious Toronto weather has finally decided to settle down, and after months of hibernation, seemingly everyone is rediscovering what fresh air and sunshine feel like. But how to balance our newfound climatic freedom with our insatiable appetite for board games?

    Well for starters you could stop by our newly opened patio at Snakes & Lagers! Nestled between the cozy back lots of College Street, the patio offers gamers a chance to unwind in the shade and enjoy a pint of their favorite brew.

    Board games outside? Scandalous! (We thought you might say that.) To make your gaming experience as seamless as possible, we've put together a special library designed for the outdoors, and built custom tables to ensure nothing ever slips through the cracks.

    We may not be your mothers, but we still know what's good for you, so turn off the screen and get outside.

    Snakes & Lagers
    488 College Street
    Toronto, ON M6G 1A4
    snakesandlagers.com

    New Menu

    What better way to experience our newly opened patio than with a brand new summer menu?

    Keeping it light and healthy as accompaniments to the warm weather, we have a brand new quinoa salad, and our fresh rolls are now available with or without shrimp.

    If you're more of a meat and potatoes kind of person, our Buffalo Chicken Slider, and Twice Cooked Jacket Potatoes with avocado and cheese sauce are sure to satisfy the deepest of stomachs.

    And if you have room for dessert, our house made seasonal ice creams with fresh fruit are a great way to beat the heat.

    Come by Snakes & Lagers to sample these new items, and the many more that we'll let you discover for yourself.

    Check out our new menu here!


    PRICE DROP

    Two weeks ago, Snakes & Lattes quietly dropped its retail game prices.

    We stared at our numbers for what seemed like ages, and considered how much it can cost a hobbyist to get a fledgling game collection started. Ultimately, we don't want to push anyone to buy more games. We know that this isn't the cheapest hobby around. But. We really want to ensure that at the very least, that you can get a better bang for your buck.

    Having said all of that, this is us formally announcing our online board game price drop!

    Check us out, and if you ever have any questions, any special requests, or questions just about games in general, then send us an email and we'll help you as best we can.

    Good luck and good gaming!

    Check out our online shop here!


    QUERY LAUNCH PARTY

    Local game designers, Phoebe and Nikki, have recently capitalized on the modern ubiquity of internet search engines; more specifically, the connected world's tendency to ask the internet the most bizarre, nonsensical and unbelievable questions.

    With classic party games such as Balderdash, Say Anything, and The Game of Thingsas a starting point, this Toronto duo has created Query, a game in which the players compete to create hilarious auto-completed answers to actual search engine questions.

    Snakes & Lattes has become so enamoured with their game that we'll be hosting alaunch party for Query at our sister bar, Snakes & Lagers, this coming Wednesday, June 4th. Phoebe and Nikki will be on hand to teach their game and have a few drinks with our patrons, and we fully expect to see a lot of tables playing this great new game.

    7pm, Wednesday June 4th

    Snakes & Lagers
    488 College Street
    Toronto, ON M6G 1A4

    The launch party is open to all 19+ patrons.


    GAME OF THINGS

    What charms us about The Game of Things is how easy it is to learn, to teach, to play and, most importantly, to create. For ten years now, The Game of Things has been a staple of family game nights. And The Game of Things has been at Snakes & Lattes since Day One.

    Whenever we talk party games here at Snakes & Lattes, we're obliged to tip our hat to certain games, like Apples to Apples, Balderdash, and Cranium. All of these games are award-winning, accessible and hilarious titles which appeal across generations; that much should be clear at the outset.

    In an era where game designers are seeking simpler, more accessible gameplay and rule sets, The Game of Things ought to be closely examined for its simplicity, its subtlety and, more than anything else, for the fun it generates so effortlessly. Pick a card, read the topic, and get people to write down ANYTHING they want. Freedom, in game terms, can be terrifying and unwieldy, but it gives each player immediate agency in creating the experience they want to have.

    Snakes & Lattes is proud to partner with Tom Quinn, the designer (and Toronto resident!) of The Game of Things. Find your copy at thingsthegame.com.

  • Video: Space Games

    Written by Angel R / Published May 19th, 2014 / 0 Comments

    STEEEEEEEEEEEVE
    IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIN
    SPAAAAAAAAAAACE

    Also check us out on The Dice Tower's Board Game Breakfast!

  • Video: Ask Snakes II

    Written by Angel R / Published May 12th, 2014 / 0 Comments

    Wayne helps Steve in answering some legitimate viewer questions.

    Thanks to Rick and Cecily for the questions!

    Also check us out on The Dice Tower's Board Game Breakfast!

  • Video: Snakes Favourites - Escape: The Curse of the Temple

    Written by Angel R / Published May 5th, 2014 / 0 Comments

    Matti explores the mechanics of furiously rolling dice in a temple.

    Also check us out on The Dice Tower's Board Game Breakfast!