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.

  • Roll and Move

    Roll your dice, move your mice

    Roll a die (or two). Count the dots. Move that many spaces along a track. For many people, this is the very definition of a board game. It's universally recognized and loved by millions. So why is it that when you ask your friendly neighbourhood Game Guru if you can play something like that, they so often look like you just kicked a puppy down the stairs? Tune in to find out!

    Co-host: Todd Campbell
    Games mentioned: Monopoly, HeroQuest, Chess, Risk, Clue, Trivial Pursuit, Snakes and Ladders, The Magic Labyrinth, Dungeon!, That's Life!, Magical Athlete, Battleball, Formula D

    The article mentioned in this episode was written by Nick Bentley, and it can be found here:

    http://nickbentleygames.wordpress.com/2013/10/14/a...

    Season 2
    Published: March 11th, 2014 Length: 00:14:26
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  • Game Spotlight: Lords of Waterdeep

    Winner of the Snakey Award for Game of the Year 2012

    Whenever we get a request from boardgaming newbies for something challenging and strategic, Lords of Waterdeep is always at or near the top of the list of recommendations we give. And it's not out of sentimentality or favouritism. Every time we bring this game out for a table full of new players, it delivers the goods and leaves them wanting more. This week we shine the spotlight on one of the best games we know for introducing people to the wider world of modern boardgames.

    Co-hosts: PT Douglas, Todd Campbell
    Games mentioned: Lords of Waterdeep, Caylus, Scoundrels of Skullport (expansion set for Lords of Waterdeep)

    Season 2
    Published: March 4th, 2014 Length: 00:16:15
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  • Guru Voodoo: Guru's Nightmare

    "We just want something fun."

    In our second ever Guru Voodoo episode, our gurus face their worst nightmare: a group of people who refuse to offer any useful information at all about what sort of game they like or dislike. When every game ever published is loved by some and hated by others, when every player's taste is so individual and unique, how can you possibly help a group that flatly refuses to tell you what they want out of a game?

    Co-hosts: Sean Jacquemain, Matti McLean
    Games mentioned: Spot It!, Hey, That's My Fish!, Batik, Cards Against Humanity, 5 Second Rule, Taboo, Ghost Blitz, Love Letter, The Resistance, Can't Stop!, Fandooble, Say Anything, Ticket to Ride, Word on the Street

    Season 2
    Published: February 25th, 2014 Length: 00:13:41
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  • Multiplayer Solitaire

    Games where the players do their own thing

    A solitaire game is a game you play by yourself. Some boardgames (especially Euros) have the reputation of being "multiplayer solitaire", meaning that the players all sit at the same table and each of them plays their own little game without interacting with one another, as though all of them were playing solitaire. What is the appeal of this kind of game, and why is it so divisive among boardgame aficionados?

    Co-hosts: Matti McLean, Sean Jacquemain
    Games mentioned: Dominion, Boggle, Yahtzee, Snakes and Ladders, The Game of Life, Battleship, Mastermind, Scattergories, Fits, Ubongo Duel, Take It Easy!, Tales of the Arabian Nights, Race for the Galaxy, Puerto Rico, Lost Cities, Innovation, Settlers of Catan

    Season 2
    Published: February 18th, 2014 Length: 00:13:59
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  • Dexterity With a Twist

    So you like Jenga. What do you play next?

    A lot of people like the idea of a purely physical game. But Jenga is just the tip of the iceberg. There are lots of other dexterity games out there, and some of them are about more than just being good with your hands. Some dexterity games test your brain as well as your reflexes. But can that spoil the simple fun of it?

    Co-hosts: Matti McLean, Sean Jacquemain
    Games mentioned: Jenga, Crokinole, Villa Paletti, Toc Toc Woodman, PitchCar, Cube Quest, Elk Fest, Gulo Gulo, Chop Chop, Rampage, Ascending Empires, Catacombs, Horseshoes

    Season 2
    Published: February 11th, 2014 Length: 00:15:37
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  • Game Spotlight: Kemet

    A brightly coloured, hyper-aggressive battle game

    Sometimes at the café, we get a table of people who really want to be at each other's throats. When Risk is too long and A Game of Thrones is too complicated, we like to bring out Kemet. It's a comic-book fantasy version of ancient Egypt, with clashing Gods, giant monsters, building pyramids, and of course, armies of loyal followers to fight each other to the death. If you're not afraid to get a little nerdy, it's crazy good fun.

    Co-hosts: Sean Jacquemain, Matti McLean
    Games mentioned: Kemet, Risk, SmallWorld, Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation, A Game of Thrones Boardgame

    Season 2
    Published: February 4th, 2014 Length: 00:15:36
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  • Guru Voodoo: Two Versus Two

    Our first Guru Voodoo episode!

    In our new Guru Voodoo segment, the gurus of Snakes and Lattes are put to the test. We describe a table full of customers and they work their voodoo, picking and presenting the games they'll bring to show the folks a good time. In this episode, we get a table of four who want to play in teams of two, but aren't sure what else they're looking for. What games will the gurus bring out?

    Co-hosts: Steve Tassie, Scott Moyle
    Games mentioned: Risk, Settlers of Catan, Taboo, Catch Phrase, Phantom Society, Time's Up!, Last Night On Earth, Blokus, 1775: Rebellion, Conquest of Nerath, Risk: The Lord of the Rings, War of the Ring, Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 1 - Team Asia & Legendary Asia, Bioshock Infinite: The Siege of Columbia

    Season 2
    Published: January 28th, 2014 Length: 00:15:27
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  • One Against Many

    Games that pit one player against everybody else

    We've talked about co-operative games where it's everyone against the game, but how about a game where it's everybody against one player? It sounds unfair, but what if that one player has some kind of advantage that balance the scales, giving everyone a chance to win? Have a listen and find out about this strange and fascinating sub-genre.

    Co-hosts: Steve Tassie, Scott Moyle
    Games mentioned: Dungeons and Dragons, Paranoia, Fury of Dracula, Letters From Whitechapel, Scotland Yard, Nuns on the Run, Betrayal at House on the Hill, Shadows Over Camelot, Battlestar Galactica, Panic Station, Pandemic, Pandemic: On the Brink, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Mutant Chronicles: Siege of the Citadel, Last Night on Earth

    Season 2
    Published: January 21st, 2014 Length: 00:16:00
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  • Runaway Leader!

    When one player gets out in front and can't lose

    In some games, one player can get an early lead that just gets bigger and bigger. In games like that, as soon as one player starts winning, the game is effectively over. For some players, this is all part of the fun, but for others, this is an absolute deal-breaker and a reason never to play that game again. How big a problem is a runaway leader, and how can a game deal with it?

    Co-hosts: Scott Moyle, Steve Tassie
    Games mentioned: Monopoly, Power Grid, Yinsh, CIA vs. KGB, Settlers of Catan, Risk, Munchkin, Dominion, Trains, Lords of Waterdeep, I'm the Boss!, For Sale, Risk 2210AD, Risk Revised, Risk StarCraft, Risk Metal Gear Solid

    Season 2
    Published: January 14th, 2014 Length: 00:15:22
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  • Game Spotlight: Coup

    A closer look at our new favourite microgame

    There's been a fashion lately for so-called "microgames". These are games that have very few components. A small box, a few cards (less than 20), maybe some tokens, and that's it. The latest to earn the affections of the gurus at Snakes and Lattes is Coup, by Rikki Tahta. It's a bluffing game with very sharp teeth. Have a listen, and find out if it's something you'd like to try on your next visit.

    Co-hosts: Steve Tassie, Scott Moyle
    Games mentioned: Coup, Love Letter, Coin Age, Mascarade, Cockroach Poker, Skull and Roses

    Season 2
    Published: January 7th, 2014 Length: 00:15:04
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