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.

  • Interview: Justin Gary (Part one)

    Justin shines the Game Spotlight on his most famous game: Ascension

    The SnakesCast is very lucky this week to be visited by Justin Gary, the lead designer of Ascension. We've talked about deckbuilding games on the show before, and Ascension was a watershed in the genre. In this episode we discuss the process of creating the game, the ways it departed from the original formula established by Dominion, and the reasons why Ascension's newer formula became so powerfully influential, paving the way for so many deckbuilding games that followed after.

    Interview guest: Justin Gary

    Games mentioned: Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer, Dominion, Magic: The Gathering, Ascension: Realms Unravelled, Ascension: Dawn of Champions, Ascension: Storm of Souls

    Season 4
    Published: March 15th, 2016 Length: 00:19:53
    Download
  • Game Spotlight: Mysterium (part 2)

    This time with variants

    This week on the SnakesCast, part 2 of our game spotlight on Mysterium. We've never had a game spotlight stretch out to two episodes, but we've rarely had a game as weird as this one to talk about. We were also talking about at least two different versions of the game, each quite distinct. If you're curious about the variant I mention in this episode, here's a link my favourite way to play. Enjoy! https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1328433/good-background-story-rahdo-variant-identify-victi

    Co-hosts: Steve Tassie, David Kingsmill
    Games mentioned: Mysterium

    Season 4
    Published: March 8th, 2016 Length: 00:12:23
    Download
  • Game Spotlight: Mysterium (part 1)

    A game so weird we needed two episodes to do it justice

    Games about mysteries aren't exactly common, but there are a few. Games that involve ghosts are also fairly rare, but they exist. But games where one player is a ghost and tries to communicate with the other players through strange signs and visions because they can't speak or write? That's a new one. This week's game spotlight shines on part one of our discussion of Mysterium.

    Co-hosts: David Kingsmill, Steve Tassie

    Games mentioned: Clue, Dixit, Mysterium

    Season 4
    Published: March 1st, 2016 Length: 00:14:52
    Download
  • Realism and Simulation

    A good thing that you can definitely have too much of

    One of the ways you can get people invested in a game is to make it feel like a miniature world. The more realistic that little world feels, the more the players can believe in it. The more they believe in it, the more involving and engrossing it becomes. But there are some pretty sharp limitations on how much realism is good to have.

    Co-hosts: Holly Wyder, Lisa Weklych

    Games mentioned: Patchwork, Samurai Spirit, Bomb Squad Academy, Dead of Winter, Merchants & Marauders, Mice & Mystics, Tokaido, Robinson Crusoe, 1960: The Making of the President, Agricola

    Season 4
    Published: February 23rd, 2016 Length: 00:12:26
    Download
  • Game Spotlight: Codenames

    The party game for people who can't stand party games

    We've talked before on the SnakesCast about the divide between strategy game players and party game players. This week we're shining the spotlight on a game that could bridge the gap between them. With its team-versus-team structure and quick playtime, it definitely has the feel of a party game, but it's a lot more challenging than you might expect.

    Co-hosts: Holly Wyder, Lisa Weklych

    Games mentioned: Codenames, Agricola, Le Havre, Taboo, Cards Against Humanity, Mage Knight, Telestrations

    Season 4
    Published: February 16th, 2016 Length: 00:14:13
    Download
  • Game Spotlight: Patchwork

    You've probably never played a game with this theme before

    There are dozens of games about zombies, dragons, money, and other popular themes. So many in fact that it's hard for any of them to stand out against all the rest. This week on the SnakesCast, we're talking about a game that isn't about any of those things. It's about making nice quilts. And if you think that can't possibly be any fun, you might be very surprised when you play it.

    Co-hosts: Holly Wyder, Lisa Weklych

    Games mentioned: Patchwork, Bohnanza, Ready Set Spaghetti, Agricola, Le Havre, Battleship, Tetris

    Season 4
    Published: February 10th, 2016 Length: 00:14:53
    Download
  • Miniatures games

    And the art of painting zillions of little toy soldiers

    One of the oldest genres of hobby games dates back to the 19th Century and the Science-Fiction writer H.G. Wells, who invented a game called "Little Wars" about moving little toys around on the floor so they could outmaneuver and kill each other. On the SnakesCast this week, we're talking about how today's miniatures wargames are quite different, and yet in some ways, very much the same.

    Co-hosts: David Kingsmill, Scott Moyle

    Games mentioned: Warhammer 40000, Deadzone, Necromunca, Magic: The Gathering, Colt Express, Kemet, Splendor, Mansions of Madness, Advanced Squad Leader, Sekigahara, Star Wars X-Wing, They Come Unseen, Star Wars Armada, Little Wars

    Season 4
    Published: February 2nd, 2016 Length: 00:22:01
    Download
  • Chaos

    Or, how to make something feel random even though it's not

    Luck has a lot to do with who wins and who loses in many games. But even in games that don't have any dice or cards, the outcome can still feel pretty random sometimes. This week on the SnakesCast we're talking about a little thing called "chaos". It's the strange force that can make even a game that depends 100% on decisions made by the players feel as wild and unpredictable as any dicefest.

    Co-hosts: David Kingsmill, Scott Moyle

    Games mentioned: Boss Monster, Fluxx, Marvel Dice Masters: Avengers vs. X-Men, Alien Frontiers, Catan, Warhammer 40000, Can't Stop, Vegas, Strike, Snakes & Ladders, Candyland, Yahtzee, Rock Paper Scissors, Skull, Scattergories, 6 Nimmt!, Uno, Colt Express, Robo Rally, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Citadels, Incan Gold, Isla Dorada, Mascarade, Shakespeare, Tammany Hall, Lifeboats, Outer Earth, King of Tokyo, Cash N Guns, Chess, Go, Abalone

    Season 4
    Published: January 26th, 2016 Length: 00:20:49
    Download
  • Game Spotlight: Shakespeare

    The play's the thing

    The adventures of William Shakespeare's characters could fill an entire library of games. But what of the bard himself? What about a game where the players face the kinds of challenges an Elizabethan playwright would have to deal with, like hiring actors, building sets, tightening up the script, and pleasing the Queen? That game exists now, and this week on the SnakesCast we're going to shine the game spotlight on Shakespeare.

    Co-hosts: Scott Moyle, David Kingsmill

    Games mentioned: Shakespeare, Shakespeare: The Bard Game, Council of Verona, Kill Shakespeare, Colosseum, Arkham Horror, Legacy: The Testament of the Duke de Crecy, Tales of the Arabian Nights, 7 Wonders, Caylus, Ginkopolis, Puerto Rico

    Season 4
    Published: January 19th, 2016 Length: 00:21:59
    Download
  • Getting Into Character

    There's a little actor in all of us

    For many game players, immersing yourself in a game and traveling to an imaginary world for a little while is a sublime experience, and a major reason to play. But for others, it's terrifying. What if you can't act? This week on the SnakesCast, two actors who also love games talk about ways to help your friends to get properly into character and truly join the fun.

    Co-hosts: Scott Moyle, David Kingsmill

    Games mentioned: Battlestar Galactica, The Resistance, Snake Oil, Werewolf, Spyfall, Colt Express, Bang! The Dice Game, Space Cadets, Space Cadets Dice Duel, Space Cadets Away Missions, Crokinole, Robo Rally, Carcassonne, XCOM, Shadows Over Camelot, Fiasco

    You can find out more about Scott's theatrical endeavours at www.dauntlesscitytheatre.com, and you can learn more about David's radio plays and writing at www.dragonliterature.com.

    Season 4
    Published: January 12th, 2016 Length: 00:22:04
    Download