The SnakesCast

Bite-sized bits about board games from the game gurus at Snakes and Lattes

The world of tabletop games is a lot bigger than most people realize. In fact it's so big that the idea of investigating it can actually be kind of intimidating. When you see all those games you've never heard of, with rules and concepts and themes you've never seen before in a game, it's hard to know where to start. The answer is: start with the SnakesCast. Every week, we'll bring you ten or fifteen minutes' worth of banter about what makes these games worth playing. With a different theme every episode and a rotating cast of both gurus and non-gurus from Toronto's premiere boardgame café, we'll show you just how much there is to play with out there.

  • Monday
    If you're
    new, start
    here!
    Raptor, Part 1 - What is Raptor, and what is the basic gameplay like?

    Raptor, Part 1 - What is Raptor, and what is the basic gameplay like?

    This week's SnakesCast series is on the two-player game Raptor, and to begin with we look at the basic gameplay.

    This week's SnakesCast series looks at the asymmetrical, two-player only game Raptor. Today, Monday March 27th 2017, we look at the basic gameplay, and talk about the differences between playing as a velociraptor protecting her young and the scientists trying to capture them.

    Published: March 27th, 2017
    Length: 00:08:24

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    Wednesday
    Raptor, Part 1 - What is Raptor, and what is the basic gameplay like?

    Check back on Wednesday!

    Friday
    Raptor, Part 1 - What is Raptor, and what is the basic gameplay like?

    Check back on Friday!

  • Monday
    If you're
    new, start
    here!
    Worker Placement games, Part 1 - What is the worker placement mechanic, and what are some examples?

    Worker Placement games, Part 1 - What is the worker placement mechanic, and what are some examples?

    This week on the SnakesCast, worker placement games are under the microscope, and today we describe the mechanism and give some examples.

    This week on the SnakesCast, we are putting worker placement games under the microscope. Today, Monday March 20th 2017, we explain the mechanism and some of its most common traits, and look at some examples of accessible worker placement games to get you started.

    Published: March 20th, 2017
    Length: 00:07:23

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    Wednesday
    Worker Placement games, Part 2 - Agricola, and how worker placement games evolve between turns

    Worker Placement games, Part 2 - Agricola, and how worker placement games evolve between turns

    This week on the SnakesCast, worker placement games are under the microscope, and today we discuss the game Agricola, and also how worker placement games evolve within gameplay.

    This week on the SnakesCast, we are putting worker placement games under the microscope. Today, Wednesday March 22nd 2017, we discuss Agricola - perhaps the most famous worker placement game out there - and also look at what happens between turns in worker placement games, and how important those moments can be.

    Published: March 22nd, 2017
    Length: 00:09:25

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    Friday
    Worker Placement games, Part 3 - The history of worker placement, and examples of mechanisms that work well with this one

    Worker Placement games, Part 3 - The history of worker placement, and examples of mechanisms that work well with this one

    This week on the SnakesCast, worker placement games are under the microscope, and David joins the discussion today to look at the history of worker placement and further game examples

    This week on the SnakesCast, we are putting worker placement games under the microscope. Today, Friday March 24th 2017, David joins us to look at the history of worker placement, and we discuss examples of games that also have other mechanisms that work well with this one, or offer different ways of using worker placement.

    Published: March 24th, 2017
    Length: 00:13:11

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  • Monday
    If you're
    new, start
    here!
    Zombies, Part 1 - Why are zombies so common in board games?

    Zombies, Part 1 - Why are zombies so common in board games?

    This week on the SnakesCast we are looking at the theme of zombies, and in this episode we ask why they are such a common theme in board games, and mention a couple of accessible examples.

    This week on the SnakesCast, we look at one of the most frequently used themes in board games - zombies! Today, Monday March 13th 2017, we begin by asking why zombies are so ubiquitous in games these days, and also look at a couple of accessible examples of games with the zombie theme.

    Published: March 13th, 2017
    Length: 00:12:00

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    Wednesday
    Zombies, Part 2 - The Walking Dead franchise in board games

    Zombies, Part 2 - The Walking Dead franchise in board games

    This week on the SnakesCast we are looking at the theme of zombies, and today we talk about various board games that use The Walking Dead franchise.

    This week on the SnakesCast, we look at one of the most frequently used themes in board games - zombies! Today, Wednesday March 15th 2017, we look at The Walking Dead - the franchise that is most in people's minds when zombies are mentioned these days - and some of the many board games that use this theme. Unfortunately there is some line interference towards the end of the episode that was not noticed until post-production - apologies for the slight distraction.

    Published: March 15th, 2017
    Length: 00:09:55

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    Friday
    Zombies, Part 3 - Zombie games that we enjoy, and what makes them good

    Zombies, Part 3 - Zombie games that we enjoy, and what makes them good

    This week on the SnakesCast we are looking at the theme of zombies, and in this third part of the series, we take a look at zombie games that we most enjoy.

    This week on the SnakesCast, we look at one of the most frequently used themes in board games - zombies! Today, Friday March 17th 2017, we discuss some of the zombie games that we most enjoy, and what makes them so good. Also, since we had to re-record this part due to the audio interference, we welcome Jonathan back to join us for this discussion.

    Published: March 17th, 2017
    Length: 00:16:13

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  • Monday
    If you're
    new, start
    here!
    Isle of Skye, Part 1 - An introduction to the game

    Isle of Skye, Part 1 - An introduction to the game

    This week we are looking at the game Isle of Skye on the SnakesCast, and in this episode we introduce you to the game and its basic concepts.

    This week on the SnakesCast, we are putting the focus on the game Isle of Skye - a light strategy game that provides lots of food for thought! Today, Monday March 6th 2017, Emilie and David discuss the initial concepts of the game, and give a very quick overview of gameplay and the surrounding decisions.

    Published: March 6th, 2017
    Length: 00:09:09

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    Wednesday
    Isle of Skye, Part 2 - Gameplay and strategies

    Isle of Skye, Part 2 - Gameplay and strategies

    This week we are looking at the game Isle of Skye on the SnakesCast, and today we look at gameplay in more detail, as well as some game strategy.

    This week on the SnakesCast, we are putting the focus on the game Isle of Skye - a light strategy game that provides lots of food for thought! Today, Wednesday March 8th 2017, we delve deeper into the gameplay and some of the strategies that the game offers up.

    Published: March 8th, 2017
    Length: 00:10:59

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    Friday
    Isle of Skye, Part 3 - Inspiration and comparable games

    Isle of Skye, Part 3 - Inspiration and comparable games

    This week we are looking at the game Isle of Skye on the SnakesCast, and today we discuss other games with comparable mechanisms.

    This week on the SnakesCast, we are putting the focus on the game Isle of Skye - a light strategy game that provides lots of food for thought! Today, Friday March 10th 2017, we look at games that share comparable mechanisms, and how they are similar and/or different.

    Published: March 10th, 2017
    Length: 00:12:19

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  • Monday
    If you're
    new, start
    here!
    Hidden Traitor Games, Part 1 - What are they?

    Hidden Traitor Games, Part 1 - What are they?

    This week we are looking at Hidden Traitor games on the SnakesCast - today's question is: what are they?

    This week, the SnakesCast looks at Hidden Traitor games, in which one or more of the players at the table might not be as friendly to the others as they seem! Today, Monday February 27th, 2017, we ask what a hidden traitor game is, why they are fun, and name a couple of examples you might have heard of before.

    Published: February 27th, 2017
    Length: 00:08:53

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    Wednesday
    Hidden Traitor Games, Part 2 - Accessible examples

    Hidden Traitor Games, Part 2 - Accessible examples

    This week we are looking at Hidden Traitor games on the SnakesCast, and today we examime some good examples to start with.

    This week, the SnakesCast looks at Hidden Traitor games, in which one or more of the players at the table might not be as friendly to the others as they seem! Today, Wednesday March 1st 2017, we talk about some well-known examples which are accessible and good to start out in the genre with.

    Published: March 1st, 2017
    Length: 00:11:58

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    Friday
    Hidden Traitor Games, Part 3 - Games to get your teeth into

    Hidden Traitor Games, Part 3 - Games to get your teeth into

    This week we are looking at Hidden Traitor games on the SnakesCast, and in this episode we look at some of the deeper and more complicated games in the genre..

    This week, the SnakesCast looks at Hidden Traitor games, in which one or more of the players at the table might not be as friendly to the others as they seem! Today, Friday March 3rd 2017, David Kingsmill joins Emilie and Jonathan to chat about more complicated examples of games, and the experiences they have had playing them.

    Published: March 3rd, 2017
    Length: 00:13:36

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  • Monday
    If you're
    new, start
    here!
    Introduction to Gaming Terminology, Part 1 - Game Categories

    Introduction to Gaming Terminology, Part 1 - Game Categories

    Season 5 begins with an introduction to a variety of gaming terms, and a whole new format - today, game categories.

    As season 5 begins, so does our new format. Firstly, we welcome Emilie to join Jonathan as co-presenter of the SnakesCast. Secondly, we will now have three episodes per week, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. This week, we are starting with an "Episode Zero" of sorts, and we are introducing various terms that we will use over the episodes to come. Today, Monday February 20th 2017, we look at the different categories that games can fit into.

    Published: February 20th, 2017
    Length: 00:09:43

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    Wednesday
    Introduction to Gaming Terminology, Part 2 - Game Mechanisms

    Introduction to Gaming Terminology, Part 2 - Game Mechanisms

    Season 5 begins with an introduction to a variety of gaming terms, and a whole new format - today, game mechanisms.

    As season 5 begins, so does our new format. Firstly, we welcome Emilie to join Jonathan as co-presenter of the SnakesCast. Secondly, we will now have three episodes per week, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Continuing from Monday's discussion on game categories, today (Wednesday February 22nd 2017) we look into the wide variety of mechanisms that are used in board games.

    Published: February 22nd, 2017
    Length: 00:14:27

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    Friday
    Introduction to Gaming Terminology, Part 3 - Game Genres

    Introduction to Gaming Terminology, Part 3 - Game Genres

    Season 5 begins with an introduction to a variety of gaming terms, and a whole new format - today, game genres.

    As season 5 begins, so does our new format. Firstly, we welcome Emilie to join Jonathan as co-presenter of the SnakesCast. Secondly, we will now have three episodes per week, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Today, Friday February 24th 2017, we explore the various genres that games fit into.

    Published: February 24th, 2017
    Length: 00:14:54

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  • Out With the Old

    Final thoughts on four seasons

    This week's episode is the final weekly SnakesCast. Jonathan reminisces about favourite episodes from four years of recording, and gives a preview of the new show, which will be premiering in 2017.

    Season 4
    Published: December 20th, 2016 Length: 00:14:56
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  • Game Spotlight: For Sale

    Buy properties and flip 'em for a profit

    Game aficionados will do almost anything to convince players to try something other than the old stand-bys like Monopoly. But it can be really hard to convince players to move outside their comfort zones to try something new and unfamiliar. You need something that offers the same appeal as what the players are used to, but has to be simpler and easier to grasp. Enter Stefan Dorra's For Sale. It's an irresistibly clever little game and one of the best Monopoly alternatives you can play.

    Co-hosts: Holly Wyder, Steve Tassie

    Games mentioned: For Sale, Monopoly, Marrakech, Taj Mahal, Quartz

    Season 4
    Published: December 13th, 2016 Length: 00:16:59
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  • Bluffing and Deception

    Or as I like to call it, "creatively interpreting the facts"

    Our society maintains some fairly strong taboos against lying and deceiving, but when you're playing a game, there's a different set of rules. This week we're talking about games that involve misrepresenting yourself to your friends in all manner of different ways. When is it okay to lie to people you care about, and when is it crossing over the line?

    Co-hosts: Steve Tassie, Holly Wyder

    Games mentioned: Secret Hitler, Panic Station, Good Cop Bad Cop, Bang! The Dice Game, Poker, Cockroach Poker, Diplomacy, Balderdash, Dead Last, Dixit, Risk, Battlestar Galactica, Shadows Over Camelot, Dead of Winter, Skull, The Resistance: Avalon

    Season 4
    Published: December 6th, 2016 Length: 00:19:21
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  • Meet the Curator

    Keeping a large publicly accessible game collection in shape for play is no small task, and no-one knows it better than the curator at Snakes&Lattes: Steve Tassie. This week, Steve tells us all about his role in building and maintaining that collection, offering a look inside one of the most important aspects of the board game café business.

    Co-host: Steve Tassie

    Season 4
    Published: November 28th, 2016 Length: 00:20:01
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  • The Panic! Series

    Castles, Zombies and Klingons, Ohhhhh Myyyyy!

    Introductory-level co-op games are always a good thing to have at a board game café, and few are more friendly and accessible than Castle Panic. The gurus sometimes refer to it as "baby's first co-op game", but there's more to it than a pretty face and an easy introduction. It also spawned a series of games, including the recently released Star Trek Panic, which brings this unique tabletop tower defense game to the final frontier in the company of Shatner, Nimoy, Nichols and Takei.

    Co-host: Steve Tassie

    Games mentioned: Castle Panic, Dead Panic, Star Trek Panic, Forbidden Island, Last Night On Earth, City of Horror, Dead of Winter, ZOMBIES!!!, Munchkin Panic, Colt Express

    Season 4
    Published: November 22nd, 2016 Length: 00:19:14
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  • Publishers We Love

    Who they are and what they do

    It takes more than just a designer to create a board game. This week we'll just barely scratch the surface of the enormous task of publishing a board game, and give the tiniest, most cursory (and probably unfair) introduction to a tiny fraction of the game publishing companies active today. For a deeper look at the process of manufacturing games, you might enjoy this video by our friends at The Spiel: http://thespiel.net/?q=node/957

    Co-host: Steve Tassie

    Games mentioned: Ticket to Ride, Memoir '44, Mystery of the Abbey, Risk, Clue, Monopoly, Masterpiece, The Inventors, Dark Tower, Warhammer, Magic: The Gathering, Catan, Carcassonne, El Grande, Bohnanza, Agricola, Le Havre, Caverna, Shadowfist, Mice & Mystics, Specter Ops, Dead of Winter, Zombiecide, Arcadia Quest, The Others, Kaosball, Bloodborne: The Card Game, The Grizzled

    Season 4
    Published: November 15th, 2016 Length: 00:21:57
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  • Favourite Designers

    and the reasons why we love them

    Most people can probably name the authors of their favourite books, the musicians in their favourite bands, and the actors and directors of their favourite movies and TV shows. But very few people can name the designers of their favourite games, and that's a shame. Every game designer brings a unique vision and style to the games they create, and this week we're going to talk about some of the more famous designers out there and what makes their games special.

    Co-host: Steve Tassie

    Games mentioned: Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation, Qin, Ingenious, I'm the Boss, The Awful Green Things From Outer Space, Robo Rally, King of Tokyo, Cosmic Encounter, Samurai Spirit, Tokaido, Wits & Wagers, Say Anything, Dominion, Kingdom Builder, Robinson Crusoe, Galaxy Trucker, Codenames, Dungeon Lords

    Season 4
    Published: November 8th, 2016 Length: 00:22:24
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  • Game Spotlight: A Touch Of Evil

    A spooky piece of post-Hallowe'en candy

    Hallowe'en was yesterday, but November is no less appropriate for horror-themed games, and this week we're shining the game spotlight on one of Jonathan's favourites: A Touch Of Evil. Set in the isolated little town of Shadowbrook (which is totally not Sleepy Hollow with the serial numbers filed off) just after the war of independence, it brings a uniquely accessible style of colonial gothic horror to your tabletop.

    Co-host: Steve Tassie

    Games mentioned: A Touch of Evil, Fury of Dracula, Dead of Winter, Arkham Horror, Last Night On Earth, That's Life, Spinderella

    To see Jonathan waxing poetic about this game on video, click here:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOHith-WBzI

    Season 4
    Published: November 1st, 2016 Length: 00:19:36
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  • Top 10 Café Recommendations, Part Two

    The most indispensible games for teaching to absolute beginners

    This week we finish out top 10 games for gurus. The games you can teach to players who only know Monopoly, and aren't quite sure they remember the rules to that. It may seem strange to some of us who are used to today's games that anyone out there could be so deprived, but experience teaches the teachers, and when you work at a board game café, it doesn't take long to realize just how hard it can be for newbies. These are the games that make it easy for everyone to start having fun right away.

    Hello, spoilers!

    Season 4
    Published: October 25th, 2016 Length: 00:19:12
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  • Technical Difficulties

    Your podcast is important to us, please hold

    Just a quick announcement; this week's podcast will be released on Friday instead of Tuesday.

    Season 4
    Published: October 18th, 2016 Length: 00:00:18
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  • Game Spotlight: ...And Then We Held Hands

    An unusual game with an remarkable theme

    Why aren't there any board games about love and relationships? The short answer is that relationships are difficult and complicated, while most people want games to be simple. The longer answer is that relationships are delicate, nuanced things that don't easily lend themselves to the kind of concrete rules and systems that are necessary for a board game to work. But this week, we're talking about a game design that dared to try this daunting challenge, and the surprising ways it succeeds.

    Co-hosts: Amanda McKnight, Emilie Finnerty

    Games mentioned: ...And Then We Held Hands, Hanabi, Ladies And Gentlemen, The Grizzled, Pandemic

    Season 4
    Published: October 11th, 2016 Length: 00:15:36
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  • Game Spotlight: The Long Night

    Dead of Winter just got deadlier

    Back in Season 3, we talked about how much we loved Dead of Winter, a game about a zombie apocalypse in the freezing cold. This year, Dead of Winter receives a huge expansion set called The Long Night, which adds a lot more to an already weighty game. Does it go too far with the complexity, or does is it still playable but with more tense stories to tell?

    Co-hosts: Emilie Finnerty, Amanda McKnight

    Games mentioned: Dead of Winter, Dead of Winter: The Long Night, Specter Ops

    Here's a link to our earlier Game Spotlight episode for the original Dead of Winter:
    http://podcast.snakesandlattes.com/uploads/109/GameSpotlightDeadofWinter.mp3

    Season 4
    Published: October 4th, 2016 Length: 00:15:42
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  • Limited Play

    Games with only so many plays in them

    Most board games can be played over and over as many times as you like, and they're different each time you play them. But some games are built to be played just a certain number of times. The recent popularity of "Legacy" games like Pandemic Legacy has some people worried about games becoming disposable. But is that something we should really fear?

    Co-hosts: Emilie Finnerty, Amanda McKnight

    Games mentioned: T.I.M.E. Stories, Pandemic Legacy, Seafall, Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective, Risk Legacy

    Season 4
    Published: September 27th, 2016 Length: 00:20:46
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  • Absolute Beginners

    What can you recommend for a blank slate?

    One of the most challenging and enjoyable tasks for a game guru is recommending games to suit someone's taste. Everyone has different preferences, and based on what they tell, a skilled guru can find just the right game. But what's a guru to do when they can't tell you a single thing about what they like or don't like in a game? This week we tackle the question of how to recommend a game to someone who has no idea where to begin.

    Co-hosts: Amanda McKnight, Emilie Finnerty

    Games mentioned: Monopoly, Kulami, Ghost Blitz, Kwizniac, Zombie Dice, Dead of Winter, Last Night On Earth, Pandemic, Camel Up, Colt Express, The Duke, Quarto, Pentago, Yinsh, Onitama, Jenga, Concept, Hanabi, Castle Panic, Forbidden Island, Forbidden Desert

    Season 4
    Published: September 20th, 2016 Length: 00:18:12
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