Beer And Board Games

Chutes And Lagers

The creators of Chad Vader discuss their alcohol-fueled improv show, Beer And Board Games.

By Danny Gallagher • August 14, 2013

Building on the success of their hit video series Chad Vader: Day Shift Manager, Matt Sloan and Aaron Yonda (pictured above—first and third from left, respectively) have tapped into their other passions to expand their comedy empire. One of the more popular shows produced by their company, Blame Society Productions, is nothing more than the two co-founders playing board games with friends and sharing the results. They drink heavily and verbally rip each other to shreds, just like any number of board game nights around the world. Beer And Board Games is a weekly experiment that’s almost guaranteed to go awry. It combines the adrenaline rush of fighting your friends for glory with the emotional volatility that naturally results from the heavy consumption of alcohol.

Each episode is funded by fans and a live audience who pay for toasts, insults, and the right to choose the next game or beer. The games aren’t limited to more grown-up fare like Axis And Allies or Dark Tower. Some of the best episodes feature the competitors avoiding the dud in a drunken game of Mystery Date or dealing with endless banishments to the “Black Hole” in a loud round of the VHS horror game Nightmare.

Beer And Board Games has found enough of an audience to crowdfund three seasons of shows, with a long backlog of donation rewards. Sloan and Yonda talked to The Gameological Society about obscure board games, what kinds of board games make for the best comedy, and their love-hate relationship with show regular Dylan Brogan.

The Gameological Society: How long have you been playing board games?

Matt Sloan: I had brothers and a sister when I was growing up and we’d play board games all the time. We had a closet full of them. Unfortunately, they’re all gone now, but I wish I still had some of them.

Aaron Yonda: My brother and I played board games all the time when we were growing up including some of them that we play now on the show, like Talisman and other stuff. Actually, in a way, that’s where the show idea came from because my brother and I—was it three years ago? We were just playing board games and drinking beer and we said, “We should make a show out of this because we’re riffing off each other and making fun of each other and being jerky like brothers do.” We just thought this would be a really fun show to do.

It was good and bad and stupid and fun. That’s the important thing.

So we made it into a challenge. We’re going to drink six beers and play a game and see what happens. It was as simple as setting up some cameras and recording it. It was just an experiment. We had no idea if it was going to be good or bad or stupid, but I think it was kind of a combination of all those things actually. Good and bad and stupid and fun, that’s the important thing.

Then, I got really sick of editing it because it’s really hard to edit four hours of footage from two different cameras, and we stopped making it for a little while. I thought, “What if we expand the show?” Matt wanted to be on the show, so we said, “Let’s do it.” We have a lot of comedian friends, and we can just rotate them in and out.

Sloan: That way the show will stay fresh and we’ll always have new combinations of people and new faces and it’s always like a different—uh, what’s that called?

Yonda: Dynamic?

Sloan: Yeah, but where you throw a bunch of people in an enclosed space?

Yonda: Reality show?

Sloan: I don’t know. I don’t know what I’m saying. It’s always a different dynamic, and it is a reality show.

Gameological: And I imagine games like Talisman help with that dynamic. I’ve never played it, but I’ve heard Matt describe it as one giant excuse to fight with your friends over the rules.

Sloan: That’s basically it.

Yonda: It’s a real friendship test to play Talisman. Although, I have to say the new version they’ve released is a little bit better, but there are still plenty of opportunities.

Sloan: Yeah, it still takes eight hours to play.

Gameological: The first few episodes were just with Aaron and his brother playing games that seemed really complicated. There was an episode where you just gave up and started playing Street Fighter II.

Sloan: Yeah, I think it was one of the early ones. They just gave up.

Yonda: After six beers, we were just like, “What’s happening? I don’t even know what’s going on anymore” and we just said, “Let’s go play Street Fighter, that’s easy.” Actually, it was the Cthulhu game. That was incomprehensible. There was shit in the rules that said, “Pay attention to the rules in this book unless a rule on a card makes more sense.” It was like they made it as confusing as possible.

Sloan: I think as the show evolved, that was one of the major innovations. We actually have to play the game.

Yonda: We wanted to expand to other board games because, of course. I’m really glad we did with classic games like Monopoly, which was actually the first episode with Dylan [Brogan, a show regular]. We were friends with Dylan for a while before that, but we never knew exactly…

Sloan: …how horrible he was, and boy, we found out.

Yonda: You get a few beers in him, and he gets funky.

Gameological: He’s become one of the show’s breakout stars. I imagine he’s one of the more requested members.

Sloan: [Sighs.] Yeah.

Yonda: Much to our everlasting regret, yes.

Sloan: The audience is sort of conflicted on him too because a lot of our audience is like, “Don’t have Dylan back” and the other half says, “You have to have Dylan back.”

Gameological: Well, he is one of the more dangerous members of the show.

Yonda: He’s the only one who has exposed his testicles so far.

Gameological: Well, yeah, I was dancing around that. Is there another member in the rotation who gets requested a lot other than Dylan?

Yonda: I think everyone else is fairly equal. Jason Stephens gets requested a lot.

Sloan: He’s the other most frequently requested performer. Mostly people get requested when they’re actually on the show. The audience will see someone they haven’t seen in a while and they want that person back again. It’s mostly Jason and Dylan.

Yonda: [Jason] is a voice guy who does really good impressions. He’s a really good improviser. Actually, he and Brad Knight run a local improv company here in town called The Monkey Business Institute. He really enjoys being on the show. He loves playing games, and he loves drinking, and he loves to just dick around and be funny. So this is the perfect venue for him.

Gameological: It seemed like when you started the show, you wanted to do pure fantasy and role-playing games and at some point, you started to do more accessible games like Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit and then kids games like Candy Land. What sparked the move?

Yonda: I think it was all part of the experiment. Let’s find out what happens when we play a kids game and drink our regular portion of beer and just see what happens. Kids games can be fun to play off of. We had the whole “King Kandy” routine where I won the game, and then, my reward was going to meet King Kandy, who’s actually a molester.

Sloan: All that stuff, it just happens spontaneously. We don’t write any sketches. We don’t really prepare anything and that’s what really keeps the game fun for us. Another reason for the move to doing different types of games is the same reason that we have different people on the show. We just want every show to be unique and have a different kind of vibe to it. We don’t want the show to be the same thing every time. Like if every week, you’re seeing the same kind of jokes and Dylan dropping his pants. We don’t want that to happen every time.

Yonda: The next episode that we’re doing is an old ’90s VHS interactive game. It’s a Star Trek game, and there’s going to be a Klingon telling us what to do on the monitor.

Sloan: We played a horror VHS game called Nightmare like two years ago, and it’s one of our more popular episodes. So it’s about time we try another one of those.

Gameological: Those games with interactive hosts seem fun for you guys as improvisors. There was Mr. Gameshow, which was a disaster.

Sloan: Oh, Mr. Gameshow was terrible. I actually was really worried we weren’t going to have an episode there because Mr. Gameshow was so difficult to deal with. He doesn’t stop talking.

Yonda: I think what’s fun, especially with Nightmare, was when the guy would come up and interrupt us and we were legitimately like, “What the hell?” He would always come up right while we were saying something. There was this weird timing that was really funny, and we were constantly being interrupted by the game. And you had to respond to it.

Gameological: Where do you find all of these games?

Sloan: A lot of them are from thrift stores.

Yonda: We go to thrift stores here in Madison and can find them for a dollar or two. We found a copy of Cranium for $1 that was fully intact with no missing pieces. Also, our fans send us games all the time and loan them to us. The Star Trek VHS game is being loaned to us by a guy who played a Stormtrooper in an episode of Chad Vader.

Sloan: A lot of times people will sponsor episodes, like they’ll pay for a sponsorship to have us play a particular game. We usually have to go to eBay to find it or just some special place. We get them from all over.

Gameological: Has there ever been one that was requested that you couldn’t find?

Sloan: The talking princess game called Enchanted Palace. We couldn’t find that one, so the person who sponsored it actually sent us their copy.

Sloan: Then we played it and sent it back to them.

Yonda: There was a game that I saw on eBay recently called The Vanilla Ice Rap Game. It looked really great but unfortunately, I was outbid or something. I really want to play that. If any of our fans happen to see this interview, send us your copy of The Vanilla Ice Rap Game. We know you have one.

Gameological: And there was a bidding war for this?

Yonda: Yeah.

Sloan: Oh, of course.

Gameological: How much did it go for?

Any game for kids that says, “If an adult is leveling a gun at you, what should you do?” blows my mind.

Yonda: I don’t remember what the final cost was. It was probably around $50. I forgot the auction was happening and missed it by like 60 seconds or something. That’s quite a bit for a game like that, but the fact is, it comes with an electronic mic and you get to rap along. They give you the rhymes in the game and you just have to improvise rap lyrics, which—

Sloan: —is right up our alley.

Yonda: I saw a couple of games that have been going viral on the Internet that would be really fun to play. I forget exactly what it was called, but it’s about prisoners in jail, and they get released when people play “liberal” cards.

Sloan: Oh, is that called Capital Punishment?

Yonda: Yeah.

Sloan: It’s like a conservative propaganda game.

Yonda: There was another one along those lines, probably made by the same people, where your goal is just to live off the government and collect welfare from various places and cheat the government. Those are very expensive like $100 or $150 because they are pretty rare. Those would be a real treat to play on the show too.

Sloan: Some of our favorite games are educational games. We’ve got quite a few child safety games.

Gameological: Yeah, like The Child Awareness Game that you played with the makers of Cards Against Humanity. That seemed to be pretty popular because the questions were so jarring.

Sloan: Right, and The Social Skills Game was another one of our favorites. We’re always on the lookout for those. We’ve got a couple of those types of games that are coming up pretty soon that are going to be a lot of fun.

Yonda: Any game that’s for kids and says, “If an adult is leveling a gun at you, what should you do?” That just blows my mind. You’re playing it with your 4-year-old, and you’re like, “Timmy, you’re out in the street, and this guy’s leveling a gun at you.” Did they really think that was something that needed to be taught to really young children?

Gameological: Could you think of a kids game that wouldn’t work or do you not know until you start playing?

Sloan: The games that are the least successful on the show are strategy games or games that require a lot of concentration because either the game is so over our head that we can’t even get started—which goes back to the origins of the show—or we get so wrapped up in it that we’re just too involved in the game and the show is just four guys with their heads down playing a game. Those are games like Axis And Allies or the Game Of Thrones game that are just complicated.

Yonda: Those can often be funny because we can’t play them properly. We just can’t really wrap our heads around them, or they’re so complex that we get enraged.

Sloan: Anything can work.

Yonda: I think that’s one of the strengths of the show: No matter what game we’re playing, we’re going to find a way to make a video out of it.

Gameological: I imagine Cards Against Humanity is the fan favorite because it’s just made for an Internet audience. If TV would allow you to say certain things, it would be popular there too. Is that hands-down the favorite?

Sloan: I think so, yeah.

Yonda: Our Cards Against Humanity episodes are the most popular ones. We’ve played it four or five times. We’ve played every expansion, and we also sort of added Cards Against Humanity into a recent episode, Peter Coddle Tells Of His Trip To Chicago.

Gameological: Where did you find that Petter Coddle game?

Yonda: [Cards Against Humanity co-creator] Max Temkin actually told us about it, and we found it on eBay.

Sloan: Basically, it’s 19th century Mad Libs, and that was another problem because that was a story. How do we make Peter Coddle’s trip make sense but not be 30 minutes long?

Yonda: The biggest problem with that game was that as we played with the little slips of cardboard paper in the game, they disintegrated in our hands and we lost a lot of clues.

Gameological: I imagine that had to cost quite a bit.

Yonda: It was surprisingly cheap. It definitely was an antique, but these old Peter Coddle games are pretty common.

Gameological: Is there a game that you’re dying to do that you haven’t yet gotten to or you’re afraid won’t work for the show?

No matter what game we’re playing, we’re going to find a way to make a video out of it.

Sloan: There’s really popular games that I don’t feel would work for the show, like Scrabble, Boggle, or chess. Stuff like that. It just seems like there’s not enough of an interactive element, but who knows? People certainly request them quite a bit.

Gameological: Is it because they’re just pure strategy?

Sloan: Yeah, I think so. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to watch four guys sitting around and playing Scrabble. Also, there’s just so much sitting and thinking. That’s not really good television.

Yonda: A lot of people want us to play Twister. That’s stretching the boundaries of the definition of a board game. I just can’t imagine us being able to film that. That would be challenging. Maybe during a live, on-stage broadcast.

Sloan: Oh yeah, that’s a good idea, sure.

Yonda: We’re thinking about doing a couple of live shows like we did in Chicago. It was really fun and maybe we’ll try to do one here in Madison and there might be another one in Chicago this fall.

Gameological: We’ve talked about games that you’re planning on playing and hinted at some future episodes, but are there other plans you have for this? New directions you want to take the show? Not just the games you play but the format?

Sloan: I think we just want to keep growing the audience. We want more people to get involved with the show and become fans of it. I think it’s a unique show. I don’t think there’s anything out there exactly like it and definitely venturing more into live performances.

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79 Responses to “Chutes And Lagers”

  1. PaganPoet says:

    This sounds fun, even though I don’t have much experience with mixing booze and board games. On a recent family vacation, I shared a margarita-fueled game of Apples to Apples with my sister, niece and mother. My sister, niece and I have a pretty twisted sense of humor, so we pretty much spent the whole night cackling over who could come up with the most devious answers. Surprising coming from my niece as well, as, being only 17, was not having drinks, and yet she was able to keep up with our mischief. My poor mother was naively earnest with all of her choices and could not grasp why nobody was choosing her words. We were using cheap tequila, though, so that means she tops out at one Marg. If we had upgraded to Cazadores or something, I bet we could’ve gotten her delightfully wasted.

    Drunk Twister sounds like one of the circles of hell.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      Actually Drunk Twister is a like a sheet of many, multicolored circles from hell. Grope-hell that is.

      • PaganPoet says:

        Even if I had the male cast of True Blood and a bottle of baby oil, it still doesn’t sound like a goo—okay, I can’t honestly finish that statement.

    • Fluka says:

      I’ve told this anecdote before, but…

      I played drunk Risk with friends in college.  Where you take a drink every time you lose a territory.  It’s really super fun.

      Until someone throws up on the board.

      • PaganPoet says:

        That person would probably be me. I’m notorious for going from delightfully tipsy to black out drunk in seconds. The saddest part of it is that I’m 29, not a 16 year old high school kid.

      • boardgameguy says:

        I like this idea but think you should have to drink every time you win a territory, to provide balance.

      • Effigy_Power says:

        Which is different from non-drunk Risk only in that someone throws up onto the board rather than just throw the board out of frustration.

  2. *draws top card from deck of questions in The Vanilla Ice Rap Game*

    “Q:  What is it like, havin’ a Roni?”

    • Marozeph says:

      I can’t imagine ever playing a game like that, but i would love to see others play it (see also: Karaoke).

  3. You know,

    these videos have worse set design than Red Letter Media or AIGN.

    I mean, i like the videos but it looks cheap compared to Half in the Bag or even Best of the Worst (which is cheaper to make yet looks better than any BSP video).

    • Not to be a dick, but the “sets” in the videos are just in people’s homes (i.e. “Welcome to the Basement” is in Matt’s basement, and “Beer and Board Games” is filmed in Aaron’s apartment). Besides, the shows aren’t really about the look (frankly, neither is Red Letter Media’s stuff) but rather the humor and (most evident in both review-styled shows “Welcome to the Basement” and “Half in the Bag”); to just knock something due to budget, on-set limitations, or holding to the standard for a completely different organization and style of comedy is really unfair towards these guys.

      • Well, i get ya but to be fair nowadays i get spoiled RLM a lot that i care too much about things like set design and production value when it comes to videos like these.

        • Marozeph says:

          Well, they still look better than Demo Reel *Rimshot*. Okay, seriously: proper production values are a good thing, but with shows like this, i’m okay if i can see and hear whats going on.

  4. NakedSnake says:

    I played Monopoly recently. And let me tell you, that game sucks for everyone. Don’t get me wrong, I won, but I felt so shitty about slowly reducing all the other players to penury that the beer turned sour in my mouth. I’m fairly convinced, now, that Monopoly is actually designed to be an implicit critique of capitalism. Everything is happy happy at first, but as the power starts to gather in a few player’s hands, everyone else starts to feel the pinch. Players who are not outright winning bounce from one humiliation to another, mortgaging property, selling the houses they prize so much, giving away their property for pennies on the dollar. They barely scrape by, with each trip around the board rendering their empire a bit shabbier than it was before. Jail is a sweet release from the pressures of the capitalist world for them.

    • Marozeph says:

      My problem with Monopoly is that it’s often far too luck-based. Yes, you need some luck for most board games, but in Monopoly, a single bad throw can ruin the whole game. And once most streets have been sold, the game tends to turn into an total slog where the less fortunate players can’t do much than wait for the end.
      Cracked suggested Power Grid as alternative. I never played it, but the description sounds interesting:

      • wafflesnsegways says:

        I like Power Grid a lot, but I don’t think it’s a good Monopoly replacement. It requires a lot of careful planning, you have to pay close attention to what other players might do, and it involves a lot of math.  

        Here are my thoughts during a game of power grid: If I buy this coal for 11, I’ll still be OK, but the price will go up next turn, and at least one other person will also buy coal, which means the price will go up to 17 next turn, and I also need to save enough to expand my network, which will cost 10 unless Rachel takes my route, then it will cost 15, which means that I’ll have 26 left for the auction phase, which isn’t much, but if I buy oil instead of coal…

        It’s a mentally tiring game in a way that Monopoly just isn’t.

        My pick for a Monopoly replacement: The Resistance. It’s rules-light and interaction-heavy, everyone gets caught up in it, it’s nice and short, and it leaves everyone excited to play again, rather than drained.

        • The_Helmaroc_King says:

          I love Powergrid, but you’re not wrong about the math. Whenever I play, the end-game inevitably involves more than one player holding a calculator.

          The only caveat for The Resistance, and its medieval themed version, The Resistance: Avalon, is that they require more people than your average game of Monopoly. I think it’s a minimum of five people, but I play the Avalon version regularly at work with a group of seven to nine players and it’s gangbusters. Playing with the same people regularly means we can also use weird meta-game logic as well.

      • boardgameguy says:

        Power Grid is really fun. It includes a bidding aspect like Monopoly (if you are actually using the Monopoly rules) but also incorporates a resource market that makes money management tougher. There is no roll the dice and move mechanic, so a lot of the luck is mitigated that way. Definitely try it out if you have the chance.

      • Matt Koester says:

        I thought Nintendo and Squenix’s Fortune Street was sort of an attempt to improve monopoly. There’s a variety of boards, and components like stock trading mean even if your properties aren’t going well you can manipulate the situations into your favor, and the houses actually can be used to give you different sorts of properties that you can use. That said, I wouldn’t call it any less luck-based. I lost a two hour long game to the guy in last place one game because he happened to win the game’s slot machine minigame and been rewarded twice the amount of money required to win. 

    • Unexpected Dave says:

      It’s been years since I’ve played Monopoly, and even longer since I’ve played a game to completion. As soon as players have to start making deals to get colour groups, someone invariably starts to feel like a victim. And when there are only two players left, everyone else gets impatient, so you just abandon the game.

    • The_Misanthrope says:

       The recent renaissance in board-game design, in tandem with the renewed interest in board games, is a boon for those of those who are sick to death of all the old “legacy” board-games that are passed on down from generation to generation:  Monopoly, Risk, Sorry!, The Game of Life, Operation, Clue, etc.  It’s good to see some newer games muscle into their shelf space. 

      • NakedSnake says:

        Woah that’s awesome. Regarding your other point about new blood, what would you consider the key crossover games? Like, games that kids can play but that are actually fun and interesting for adults, too.

        • boardgameguy says:

          Lost Cities: The Board Game, Carcassonne, Ticket to Ride, Animal Upon Animal

        • The_Misanthrope says:

          I’m not quite the expert I’d like to be (My friends are scattered far and wide, so we don’t get together to play as often as we’d like), but I’ll take a crack at this.  I’m not sure what age kids you are talking about, so I’ll just throw off a bunch in no particular order:

          — First off, the article @Marozeph:disqus  links above has some pretty good suggestions.
          –Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride seem to be the leaders of the new school of board games.  I’ve never been crazy about them myself, but I can’t deny that they are solidly designed.
          –Cranium is a blast for all ages, though I suspect that’s because it is actually 4 or 5 games cobbled together.  I do suspect that it might fall prey to the Trivial Pursuit problem of limited cards; Over time, I would imagine players might become overly familiar with the cards.
          –Apples to Apples is a simple party game to pick up.  The regular version has a number of references (not smutty, just old) that are bound to be lost on kids, but I believe there is a Jr. edition.
          –In a Pickle is another simple one to learn; Its a creative little card game where you win sets by nesting one object into another (“the sofa” is in “the house” which is in/on “the planet”).  I did discover a big exploit while playing that you might decide to house-rule out of existence:  Anything can conceptually be “in” a book-type object (dictionary, atlas, notebook, etc.)
          –Someone already brought up The Resistance and I can’t disagree with that choice.  Its quick to play and easy to learn (though there are optional cards to add in the mix if you want to get fancy).  A lot of the play is about the meta-game of determining who is lying and who is telling the truth, so its great to play with friends and family.
          –Munchkin boils down the essence of RPGs to its basest essence:  kill things that are not you and get loot that will enable you to get better at killing things that are not you.  It is deceptively simple, but I would recommend beginner players not play against veterans since the vets will likely know all the key strategies and trounce the newcomers.  And if you ever get bored with the standard vanilla deck, there are many, many expansions.

          Apologies if any of these were thuddingly obvious; I’m just trying to cover all the bases.  There are probably more that I’m forgetting, but that should be a good start. 

        • NakedSnake says:

            @The_Misanthrope:disqus Thanks! These are basically all new to me. I like the sound of In a Pickle and Resistance a lot.

    • SamPlays says:

      I had a similar experience playing Settlers of Catan for the first time ever recently. I understand it’s a dynamic game but I completely crushed everyone thanks to random tile placement and gaining a virtual monopoly over one of the resources. I felt accomplished and terrible in equal measure.

    • EmperorNortonI says:

      It’s interesting that you say that, because Monopoly was, in fact, designed to be a critique of capitalism.

      Specifically, there was a line of economic theory founded by Henry George which attacked the privileges and unearned income made possible by private land ownership and rent.  Henry George proposed a “single tax” on land use value, which would force the people who actually have wealth to pay up, and to dilute the socially destructive effects that come about from land ownership and the ability of landlords to charge rent.

      Monopoly, the game, was designed as a teaching tool, to help people grasp the root ideas behind George’s critique.  The original edition was quite explicit about this.

      Henry George has more or less been written out of the history of economics, and out of economic theory in general, by the neo-classical economists of the Chicago School.  Their early work was funded (through endowed teaching chairs and direct departmental support) by a variety of wealth capitalists who saw George’s theory as a direct threat to their own wealth, and their ability to use that wealth to break the will of the poor.

      Oddly enough, the game survived, and transformed into a celebration of capitalism – one that is at odds with the feelings of many players, who feel awful crushing their friends and family.

  5. TreeRol says:

    This sounds like every Friday night for me. These guys are professional comedians, so on average we’re less funny. But there are usually about 10 of us. So the total amount of comedy in the room has to be comparable.

    In short, I’d rather go to game night than watch these guys’ game night. Am I really missing out?

    • boardgameguy says:

      I think you are correct – playing board games is more fun than watching other people play board games.

  6. HobbesMkii says:

    Oh man, propaganda games are the best! We had two in my house, both from 1978, interestingly. One was Class Struggle, whose Board Game Geek description reads thus:

    “This Avalon Hill game is a vehicle for instructing students (there is a classroom section in the rules) on why Marxism is superior. The Workers move around a board while trying to survive against the Capitalist who control everything. As the Workers unite they take power from the Capitalist players but if they do not suceed in uniting the Capitalist will win.

    The Marxist politics are very up front in this game in presentation and in the suggested reading in the rules. A surprising publication from a war game company”

    The other favorite is the classic Save the Whales which my mother, who was working for a environmental group at the time, brought home one unfortunate day. It’s description:

    “Very few games are based on cooperation. However, in this game, all players work together, trying to save eight Whales. Your goal is to beat THE SYSTEM – the worldwide forces which are causing our great Whales to become endangered species and extinct.

    “The only way you can really ‘win’ this game is to save all eight Whales. However, this is a game of fun, so enjoy yourself while trying to do the very best you can. As you play, you’ll discover various strategies you cause to SAVE THE WHALES. Naturally, the more you play, the better you’ll become.”

    • Marozeph says:

      Uh, i remember playing some “educational” game that was meant to teach children about the evils of smoking. Can’t remember the name though.

      Also, i love how Safe the Whales literally orders you to BEAT THE SYSTEM. Did The Dude design it?

      • HobbesMkii says:

        I dunno, but it also features a “Golden Barnacle” which will allow you to do just that (by protecting one species of whale from harm). So, even in the game about working together to overcome the trend of humanity-facilitated extinction, you need a deus ex machina.

    • Effigy_Power says:

       I found a very neat game just recently in a weird surplus entertainment store called “Ideology”, by a German company. I paid like 5 bucks for it, mostly because I bought a whole pile of Boardgames there (one about the translation of the Bible from Latin to German, which looks very fucked up, and one about building a dystopian city.)
      The game has Capitalism, Fascism, Communism, Islamic Fundamentalism and Imperialism duke it out by trying to gain influence over countries.
      It’s misanthropic and downright depressing and just lovely.

  7. Unexpected Dave says:

    Since this is the first board game article we’ve seen in a while, let’s take the opportunity for some reminiscence.

    What are some bizarre and discontinued board games you played back in the day?


    • Unexpected Dave says:

      There are three that I want to single out:

      1. Fireball Island: It was a 3D board game with a pretty simple objective: be the first player to retrieve a gem from the top of a mountain and then escape the island. This is complicated by the fact that players can blast each other with marbles. The potential for hurt feelings is minimized by the fact that whoever has the gem is the obvious target. Unlike Risk or Monopoly, you always gang up on the strongest player, never the weakest.

      2. DragonStrike: This is a pretty typical D&D-lite board game played with miniatures. It’s designed for kids and beginners. The most notable thing about it is that it comes with an “instructional” video, which is a dramatization of a game session.

      3. Battle Masters: This was Warhammer-lite, a miniature-based strategy game played on a vinyl mat with a hexagonal grid. You drew cards to see which unit you were allowed to move, which was extremely frustrating.

      • NakedSnake says:

        Did Fireball Island have an awesome ad that made the game look way more exciting that it should have been? Or am I thinking of someone else?

      • Kyle O'Reilly says:

         Holy godballs, Dragon Strike!  I loved that game when I was a kid but wehonestly watched the tape more than we played the game.  This might have been due to the fact that we purchased D-strike at a Goodwill and were probably missing a lot of pieces but I remember that blonde elf lady was badass, climbing up walls with her grappling hook.

    • boardgameguy says:

      I’ll hop on:

      Risky Strategy: A roll and move game that was about collecting enough electoral votes to win the Presidency!

      Oodles: A party game that worked so poorly because whichever player first correctly shouted the answer wins the round. So it was frequently impossible to know who actually said it first, versus loudest.

    • TreeRol says:

      When I was a little kid (between ages 5 and 10) I lived in my grandparents’ house in a small town. They had a friend named Dave, and I remember him very distinctly. He was a mentally challenged older man; he seemed to be ancient to me, but he was probably in his late 40s or so. He lived with his mother about a mile from my house. For as long as I can remember, he would trudge to our house one night a week with a different board game under his arm, and play with me and my brother. He was a sweet, gentle, and patient man, and I’d always look forward to him coming over. I honestly think this was one of the formative experiences of my life, and has contributed to my love of games. I don’t know what happened to Dave – I imagine he died sometime in the past 25 years, but I can’t find an obituary. I should ask my mom.

      Anyway, a few favorites that I remember from Dave’s day:

      Masterpiece, an art-selling game where you tried to pawn off your valueless art to other people
      The Magnificent Race, which involved a very cool spinner into which you placed marbles to simulate your race
      Mille Bournes, a card game that simulated a long auto race. There were hazards such as flat tires and out of gas that you could play on others
      Go For Broke, where you had to spend your fortune faster than everyone else. You could even gamble!
      NBA Basket, a basketball game where you had to use levers on the board to propel a ping-pong ball toward a raised basket

      We never played anything too complex, but it was nice to see game mechanics beyond “roll dice, move your piece.”

      • EmperorNortonI says:

         I played both Masterpiece and Milles Bournes.  Both of them were rather meh, if I recall correctly.

        • TreeRol says:

          For some reason I feel like Masterpiece was really fun. But that might be child feelings. And by just looking at the phrase “child feelings,” we know those are bad.

          I agree, though, that Mille Bournes was meh.

        • marshall says:

          Yo @TreeRol:disqus Masterpiece is really fun, you are not wrong!

    • ItsTheShadsy says:

      I have one that I will never, ever know the identity of.

      It was a golf game, seemingly decades old. Instead of having a traditional board, the game took place on a gigantic, heavily detailed styrofoam replica of a golf course, complete with hills and miniature trees. The board had to have been inches thick, and at least 3-4 feet long. It came with little thumb-sized golf clubs that you used to hit balls around the course. Everything was very roughly textured, so bits of styrofoam were regularly getting sliced out of the board by the clubs. I don’t believe there was any luck involved; it was just a small version of golf.

      Mystery Golf Game was incredibly, recognizably bizarre, even for me as a small child. It felt like the result of a mistake. Every time I played it, it felt wrong. I can’t think of a single other game like it.

      My parents naturally threw it out at some point. Mystery Golf game is lost to all time.

      • NakedSnake says:

        I definitely just went on a little search through the internet trying to find your golf game. Sounds great. I didn’t find anything tho. Don’t get discouraged. I recently went on a quest to find an old computer game set during the French and Indian war that I pirated back in the 90s. I mostly remember staying up all night playing it and failing an assignment because of it. In frustration, I deleted the game. But ever since then, I’ve had an itch to play it. It took me a few hours (the game is super-obscure), but mixing and matching search terms and approaches finally turned up War Along the Mohawk . Now I just need a computer that will run it.

      • A_Shogun_Named_Marcus says:

        I also went on an internet search for your game, because it’s the internet and it’s in there somewhere.  A quick look through Board Game Geek and it seems the most likely candidates are Carpet Golf and Home Golf.
        Also, can I just say what a weird word golf is once you’ve read it like two dozen times? Really weird, that’s how weird.

        • ItsTheShadsy says:

          Carpet Golf looks INCREDIBLY similar, but the Mystery Golf Game was pre-installed on a giant piece of foam board. I remember hearing my parents say that it was given to us by a family friend or work acquaintance, so I almost suspect it was a weird homemade concoction that used something like Carpet Golf as a base.

    • Enkidum says:

      This doesn’t really count, but a bunch of old Steve Jackson games, including Illuminati (which is apparently available now) and Car Wars (which is, kind of).

    • SamPlays says:

      Disaster. A truly confounding game as a child, my sister and I simply made up our own rules and watched our tokens perish in the cardboard flames.

    • Hey, Free Dummy says:

      I had a board game based on the movie Krull when I was a kid. I don’t think I ever managed to talk anybody into playing it (story of my life *frowns at the still-wrapped copy of Puerto Rico on the shelf*) but it came with a figure of the monster from the movie who became the de facto leader of Cobra in GI Joe battles around my house. I also had an Incredible Hulk game with a Hulk figure on wheels that would rev up and spin around at random and smash things. Again not sure that I ever played the actual game. A lot of kids’ games suffer from the Mousetrap Effect, where the game itself is secondary to the game pieces.

    • ItsTheShadsy says:

      I also once played a game called Don’t Get Rattled! in which you had to take a piece of gold from a pressure-sensitive container being guarded by an electronic rattlesnake. If you set off the rattlesnake, it pounces and attacks you. The game was very poorly designed because the rattlesnake ACTUALLY HURT YOU. I played it maybe once or twice and walked away almost injured.

    • josef nelson says:

      diggety dark tower,of course.

    • Pig Iron Maiden says:

      My parents were big into educational games, so we used to beg to play Monopoly. That should tell you how fun they were. The two biggest offenders- Game of the States (I remember plastic trucks and having to ‘drive’ over state lines) and TriBulation, which was a math game and therefore sucked. You played thusly- lay a bunch of random number tiles into a grid. Draw a random round number. This is your target. To ‘win’, come up with a math equation that equaled your target. It couldn’t be just plain addition or subtraction, either. Nope, had to be a two parter, with either multiplication or division leading. Good god, did I ever hate that game. I swear it gave me a math phobia that lasted until I started working.

  8. boardgameguy says:

    I’m surprised that they haven’t tried out any dexterity games (think Jenga). Perhaps they are too drunk to have any kind of success at it, but some can be visually interesting, like Riff Raff or Hamsterrolle. Plus, I frequently enjoy watching things topple.

    Otherwise, I could see something like Saboteur working well. It incorporates a hidden traitor that tries to stymie the work of others. Dixit would also be a good choice, as it is like Cards Against the Humanity, but with pictures rather than words.

    • TreeRol says:

      We busted out Saboteur toward the end of game night a few weeks ago. There were only 4 of us, and because there’s a bonus to the person who reaches the gold first (and anyone with broken equipment doesn’t get a cut) we spent the entire game sabotaging each other, even when there wasn’t a saboteur in the group.

      It was HILARIOUS.

      Watching them try The Resistance would be fun, too. Drunken logic is the best logic!

      • boardgameguy says:

        I considered suggesting The Resistance but figured there wasn’t enough to watch if you aren’t playing the game. Whereas Saboteur has building, breaking, and healing happening.

    • Enkidum says:

      Drunk Jenga is honestly one of the tensest and most exciting experiences I’ve ever had.

      • PaganPoet says:

        A bar near my apartment has a giant Jenga set. I partook. You’d think the liquor would be good for taking the edge off the anxiety you feel playing that game, but you’d be mistaken.

      • boardgameguy says:

        This is what I’m talking about. And with one person going at a time, it provides the perfect opportunity to be heckled by others.

    • Kyle O'Reilly says:

       I’m at work and was afraid to click that Dixit link…

      Oh it’s just like weird paintings on cards.  When you describe a game as Cards Against Humanity but with pictures my immediate reaction was to envision the picture version of “pooping back and forth forever.”

  9. TheLivingTribunal says:

    It’s interesting how they treat Dylan Brogan. Matt Sloan in particular is particularly cruel. It often goes way past good natured ribbing into being genuinely unsettling and mean spirited.

    • Elidir says:

       If you watch the full live shows (available for a $10 donation on rather than the edited versions, you’ll see that isn’t the case. 20 minutes of Dylan is very funny. 3+ hours is often a nightmare. In the best possible way. Love them both, but I can totally see where Matt is coming from.

  10. Kyle O'Reilly says:

    Well that’s the bees’ fucking knees. Love it.

    Shameless Self-promotion time

    If you’ve ever clicked through to my profile you know I’m an amateur comedian (I’ve opened for Neil Hamburger, that means something right?!?) and me and my comedian buds have been contemplating a similar show but with Wine and multiplayer video games called Wineo-Games.  Do you think there is a market for people getting drunk on cheap wine and riffing on  NFL Blitz?  We’re hoping to get some of the touring comics we’re bringing into town to join us for special guest sets, but I feel like Comedy Podcasts and Lets’ Play videos have long been watched by the same people but never seem to have cross-pollinated.

    Also if you have any wine and video game pairings please throw them our way.  Thanks, love ya, bye!

    • HobbesMkii says:

      Only if you buy the finest boxes of wine.

    • Unexpected Dave says:

      I can’t think of many Comedy Let’s Play videos, and very few that are actually funny. I always liked the drunken improv of “Broken Pixels”, but the pre-scripted Angry Videogame Nerd never did it for me.

      • Chalkdust says:

        Yeh, this is my aversion to most amateur commentary, be it on movies, games, TV, whatever.  Folks think just swearing and being loud = comedy.  Projecting hyperbolic hatred towards this thing they are voluntarily subjecting themselves to.  Pass.

        Give me something like the How Did This Get Made? podcast, where they may have strong feelings about a movie they’ve watched, but really dig into the subject matter and mine its absurdities, rather than just making bold proclamations about how the Smurfs movie killed their soul or whatever.

      • The_Misanthrope says:

         I never quite got the appeal of AVGN myself, but I guess he was one of the first to do the whole “swearing and snark” thing with video games.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      Dishonored – Cabernet Sauvignon
      It actually made the game fun.

    • ItsTheShadsy says:

      Four-player Monaco with pinot noir.

  11. Andy Tuttle says:

    Man, these were really funny. My girlfriend and I just wasted like two hours watching their videos because of this article. Thanks Gameological!

  12. doyourealize says:

    These hit a little too close to home. Drunken game nights with a couple of my friends usually involve me and one friend yelling at each other, while the other sits and laughs. On an up note, I recently, for the first time, got to be the guy that sits and laughs, so that was fun.