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228Episodes
Games & Hobbies

One gamer, one hater, tons of board games - who will win?

Episodes

Join us on the open seas as we sail our freighters around the Bermuda Triangle, trying to earn our fortunes by collecting precious cargo. Wait... is that a storm brewing? Highlights include:

- I want to watch Captain Power

- Colour-coding the FRAG page has highlighted some major concerns

- I've learned some geography

- When in doubt, get some oil

- You're not even safe in port

- Oil is worth more than sugar, yeah?

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We were just going about our daily business in Starfleet, making some general repairs on the USS Enterprise, when we get hijacked by a bloody Klingon! Hate it when that happens! Can we get the ship back in time? Highlights include:

- It's not filmed in actual space, sorry

- You must go clockwise - it's the law of board games

- There has been a major lapse in security

- I finished the game in unnecessary stasis

- Get ready for Bij

- Sarah is an extremely 'thoughtful' player

- Nobody wants a low powered beave

- Made locally don't you know

- Amanda pulls rank

- Why are all the good guys human? Racist!

- Munchkin has really traumatised us

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November 17, 2022

Episode 133 - Sub Terra

Patrick and I were just doing some casual caving when we fell down a hole and got stuck. I hate it when that happens! Can we avoid tremors, floods and toxic cave gas to escape before our torch batteries run out? Oh, and I don't think we're alone down here... Highlights include:

- Nobody in this cave is fit

- There's no action tokens, so please never mention them again

- It's a right cave of shittery

- Has anybody seen Steve?

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November 10, 2022

Episode 132 - Risk Legacy

Patrick and Meriel join me for an epic 15 game campaign of war, in which our world will be forever changed! Highlights include:

- Pat is a total villain

- It's all about the packs, baby

- Which shitty mangled world shall we play on today?

- Narratively speaking, I screwed myself over

- If you're not an alien or a mutant, you're basically trash

- Riots... pfff

- Unsurprisingly, there's no reward if you die

- Naming things is an immense pressure

- Some continents are just... shit

- The dice are incredibly unforgiving

- There was one day where I had the rage

- Sometimes you just have to be a bastard

- This will severely alter the victory stats

- Alaska is like, literally gone

- Jump to 3:84 for a completely out of time experience

- The highs were high and the lows were low

- You might get Risk Fatigue

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Riley joins us as we all gather round and... dunk fake biscuits into fake tea. Why are we doing this? To avoid the sludgy cup, of course! Highlights include:

- The board did what??

- Now you can find your favourite guest's episodes!

- The rules seem to think we were doing something quite different...

- Once again, Mark forgets all the main elements of how these episodes work

- Do you like a girthy biscuit?

- Tony, what have you done?

- Do YOU know what 'The Biscuit Game' is?

- It's a tea related breakdown

- Brackets are important

 

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Thanks to Cynthia Whipshaft's lies, Grace has been taken away! Can the others collect enough evidence to prove her innocence and get her back, and what will she discover up in the Welsh mountains?

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School's out and the kids have got to get home. Trouble is, the town is full of aliens! Literally hate it when that happens! Highlights include:

- We got a rule wrong last week. What you gonna do about it?

- Now you can play Monopoly FOREVER

- Half the fun is naming the kids

- You might get stuck with a handful of bus

- Got a problem? Ask Holiday Jones

- You'll be safe at the prom, surely?

- They're not aliens, they're 'strangers'

- American bins don't typically have 'US Mail' on the side

- Why would I kill my own twins?

- Ben Stoll: King of Cryptozoic

- Mark gets confused between Marvel and DC

- Who froze?

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October 13, 2022

Episode 129 - Get Bit

Our robots are enjoying a lovely swim when a shark starts chasing them. I hate it when that happens! Who will make it to safety, and who will get bit? Highlights include:

- 'Tabletop' is just not inclusive enough... what about games you play on a lawn?

- Hey baby, wanna come play flat surface games with me?

- Congratulations to Tim!

- They have to be robots otherwise it would be a massacre

- How many bits can you break a robot into anyway?

- Hmmm... I think you can hear my tumble dryer

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Ten turns. Four letters. Infinite possibilities (unless you're illiterate). Highlights include:

- It's the best selling game in the world, apparently

- Research (looking things up on the internet)

- Masterblind: You won't see it coming

- It's Wordle, innit

- You've got black and white pegs

- Mark admits that he turns the sound down when I'm talking

- Don't forget, there's black and white pegs

- It's not Stephen Hawking or anything

- It's got a board. It's got pegs (black and white)

- We hope you enjoy 70s Brown

- The 70s is not ancient

- If you can play it without the board and pieces, does it need to exist?

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Chargeball is back! Now featuring slightly less shit production value, as well as some new boards, cards and tokens. Oh yeah, and a TTS version too - Woo! Highlights include:

- Throwback to Year 1

- Imagine Space Rugby. Magical Space Rugby.

- Mark talks about the hexagons like they're new, but they aren't

- Penalty cards (Copyright Riley Stock 2022)

- Get the ball. Score some points

- I Pinocchioed it

- Mark frequently forgets that he's presenting this one

- Ugh, if you want to play it yourself? Eeewww!

- Coming soon - all the games Mark hated, from worst to best worst

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Phil, Tim and Riley compete in the Ancient Game Tomb Challenge! A set of random components have been unearthed in a freshly discovered tomb. Perhaps they are part of a game of some sort? We each pitch our games, but the vote is down to you! Highlights include:

- Which do you prefer, reviews or 'other' content?

- MS Paint for the win

- Ancient cultures really were brutal

- Riley makes us all look bad by actually creating his game

- Snakes can be tricky

- How did string survive?

- Indiana Jones has given us lots of inspiration/education

- Did I cheat? Who knows!

- I'm a total selfish bastard

- What happened to your hands, Grandma?

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September 15, 2022

Episode 127 - Piepmatz

We've put out some seeds on our feeder, each hoping to collect the best selection of birds - but watch out for those bastard crows! Highlights include:

- What is this?? ~30???

- Everyone knows birds love to queue

- If a seal turns up at your feeder, you've automatically lost

- To win, you need to be strategicking

- How do you gender a bird anyway?

- Greenfinches were just not interested in our seeds

- Mark invented 'Creator Corner' then promptly forgot all about it

- Look out for the common or garden Pinchback

- What else has eggs?

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Grace's nemesis and all-round biatch, Cynthia Whipshaft is hosting the Welcome Back Ball - can't possibly go wrong, surely?

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Classic novelist Jane Austen has totally lost the plot and jumped on the zombie bandwagon - the only trouble is, she's set on eradicating her existing stories! Can these beloved characters endure the undead hordes for long enough to complete their narratives? Highlights include:

- It sucks to be a woman in Regency England

- You cannot romance a zombie

- LGBT, yes. Incest, no

- A lady must never be without her bin lids

- Augusta Elton. Gooseberry

- Please, Miss Austen!

- You blink, and suddenly zombies are everywhere

- She better run!

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August 25, 2022

Episode 125 - Munchkin

We are about to enter the dungeon... who knows what lurks behind the door. Will it be immense treasures or weird monsters? Who knows! Highlights include:

- Apologies for the shit quality - I got the settings wrong, whoops!

- Make way for the Dragon Master

- This game lasted 84 years

- Sarah's tinfoil hat is inordinately strong

- It's all a bit beige

- You REALLY need to read your cards

- Sarah needs to learn the meaning of 'helping'

- Amanda loves her some buffs and nerfs...

- We phoned Simon while he was driving, but it's ok, we didn't kill him

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August 18, 2022

Episode 124 - Snowdonia

It's 1894 and we've decided to build a railway right to the top of Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales (and England to be fair...) like you do. Who can build the most stuff and make the most meaningful contribution to this effort? Highlights include:

- It's the Snowdonia Deluxe Master Set, and don't you forget it!

- 30 minutes or 90 minutes: there is no middle ground

- Mark is an honorary Snowdon Mountain Railway driver

- Do they have trains in Dungeons and Dragons?

- I regularly mix up steel and iron... what you gonna do about it?

- There will be no lollygagging whatsoever

- We don't speak about the Hebron Incident

- What do you need coal for?

- Guaranteed a yeti will fuck up your railway

- Mark introduces a new section, Creator Profile

- Tony Boydell is trains to the max

- Here's the player aid tome

- Time to assign your labradors

 

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Safely back from their ordeal, our heroes stumble on the perfect opportunity to explore the vaults beneath the school - will they discover anything that can help explain what's going on?

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August 4, 2022

Episode 123 - Elevenses

All of society's greatest are gathered for a simply scrumptious morning tea, but who can put on the best spread? Highlights include:

- Tea? That's the 1800s isn't it?

- Yeah, but how does it actually work?

- Strap in for the worst explanation of a game ever

- Why would you give away your milk?

- Just leave each other's tea alone!

- Alright darlin, flash us your kitchen

- Afternoon tea is only for ladies

- Tactics! Strategy! Tea!

- If it's already in the box from the start, is it an expansion?

- Nan's gone to bed, get the cocks out!

- Congratulations to Mark for remembering the format of an episode

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Turns out that the self flying brooms were possessed, and now Jessie and Merida find themselves being whisked away to a mystery location - who or what will they find when they get there? And what will the rest of the team do without them?

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It's Friday at Hollyfirth, and everyone is excited about the grand finale of Barry Cooper's tournament, with the prizes being presented at a special Whack concert. What could go wrong?

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It's the end of our fourth year! Find out all the best bits! Highlights include:

- Derek Ring is yesterday's news

- Introducing the Fluxx Desk. Your drawers will never be the same again!

- Polyhedra sleeps...

- Trains and Potholes!!!!

- Which was the fake game?

- Mark cannot remember Mysterium

- Horrorclix is basically an ancient game now

- Sarah thinks the stickers are hilarious

- Mark seems to love Tiny Library way more than he let on

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July 7, 2022

Episode 122 - Agility

Mark's dream comes true as we play Brent Povis' other game! But can my dogs out... dog his? Highlights include:

- I'm still croaky

- A bonus surprise from Brent himself!

- Dog games are not my thing

- Mark finds reading the box particularly challenging

- Our first ever rondel

- I want to summon the dark lord Cthulhu, should I?

- Does Crufts still exist?

- A serious bagging issue has occurred

- What was the fake game?

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It's 1930s Berlin and we're trying to choose the best government possible. The only problem is that one of us is secretly Hitler. Ugh! I hate it when that happens! Highlights include:

- Not as much fun as watching Madonna fall down the stairs at Eurovision

- Newent: It's a magical place

- Amanda's amazing 1933 Berlin intro was not recorded

- We're all here solely for the parliamentary procedure

- It's all about the lies

- Jane was a huge fascist just out of curiosity

- Being liberal isn't as fun as killing people

- Sarah thought there were more fascists than there actually were. We've all been there.

- I lost my 4

- Envelopes always make you feel like a spy

- Like most things, when you're dead, there's nothing to do

- Chancellor by default - it's a hollow victory

- Sarah's description of Cluedo: That game where it's you, in the room, with the knife

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June 23, 2022

Episode 120 - Ecosystem

Meadows, streams, and a load of animals with specific requirements. Who can build the best ecosystem and keep everyone happy, or who'll end up with a poor bunny surrounded by wolves? Highlights include:

- Mark saw, Mark bought, we played

- Oooh, a biologically derived card game!

- Everyone knows the bears and the foxes don't get on

- Anybody heard of a Fwolf?

- Mark doesn't know the difference between a bee and a dragonfly

- You never know if your forest will get taken over by wolves - it's always a risk

- Yes, Mark does say 'coral leaf'

- Obviously, the next logical step is the zombie apocalypse

- Let's introduce some invasive bastards

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June 16, 2022

Episode 119 - Quarriors

Who can gain the most glory in this dice building game of quiddity, quarry and... q words! Highlights include:

- Brent Povis, are you still out there?

- As usual, we're playing things in the wrong order. Here's the version before Marvel Dice Masters

- Still not a fan of the rulebook...

- Nobody likes to win by default

- The more expensive a dice, the better, right?

- But could it be done with mushrooms?

- Summon the Royal Dorrier

- Games are always better when they're tactful

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June 9, 2022

Episode 118 - Fungi

We're off for a scourage in the woods to see who can cook the best mushrooms. As you do. Highlights include:

- We were not actually mushrooms

- There's a pronunciation debate

- Don't use Twitter to tell someone who doesn't have Twitter to get Twitter

- You have to pick these mushrooms quick

- There are some complicated mushroom names

- It's all about the pans, baby!

- What the hell is scouraging?

- You won't believe this, but poison is bad

- Sorry, there isn't any delicious dinner tonight. I swapped it for sticks...

- Which came first, cider or fire?

- Why do you always use a wicker basket?

- Game mechanic - tick. Tasty mushroom medleys - cross.

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June 2, 2022

Episode 117 - Unlock

We branch out in our escape game experience by trying Unlock. In French. Don't ask. Highlights include:

- We totally butcher some French (the language, not the people)

- Hooray for tutorial mode!

- On your guard, or on your toes - choose your translation

- The icy surface of Hoth is an environment that's shit

- The app is literally amazing

- A triangle has three sides, duh

- It's a messy FRAG this week...

- You can't criticise what you can't read

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It's Thursday at Hollyfirth, but after finding an obvious clue the previous day, our heroes decide to complete ignore it. Whatever.

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Things are heating up as the two schools prepare to compete for Barry Cooper's grand prize! But will this distract our heroes from the mysteries that the school campus is hiding?

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The Doctor and his companions have crash landed on a seemingly abandoned space ship. But, oh no!! It's infested with Weeping Angels, intent on sending us back to the past and stealing our life energy. I hate it when that happens. Can the heroes fix the Tardis and escape before it's too late? Highlights include:

- Mark can't remember what we played literally less than a week ago

- Weeping Agents would be an entirely different villain

- Backs to the walls, chaps

- Even the rules say the heroes won't win

- Sorry Doctor, it's not about you

- The game has middling complicatability

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The crew of the commercial tug Nostromo are in a bit of a pickle. After detouring to pick up a supposed distress signal, we're a man down and an alien up. Shit. Can we complete various tasks around the ship whilst avoiding the nefarious xenomorph? Highlights include:

- Typos ahoy!

- Ash is a dick

- Everyone knows androids love junk

- Instructions or flavour text?

- Bank Holiday History Lesson!

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After a shocking attack on one of the students, can a celebrity visit from Serpentball star Barry Cooper lift the Hollyfirth spirits?

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April 21, 2022

Episode 114 - Boo-quet

There's been a lot of deaths in our little Victorian town, but don't worry, it's not all doom and gloom! The ghosts are out in force, telling us exactly what flowers they want for their graves, and it's up to us to make their final wishes come true! Highlights include:

- It's a very alliterative box

- Sometimes it's a case of 'pass the duffer'

- Are orchids rare? No, they're in Tesco

- You have to please the ghost the most

- It's the Battle of Jenny Strachan!

- You wouldn't want to upset Dierdre's mourning husband...

- Funerals are real. Zombies are not real.

- Mark doesn't know the difference between fun and aesthetic

- It doesn't look Kickstartery

- Can you draw a photo-realistic ghost?

- Where's the dude from Oliver Twist when you need him?

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This week we are furiously collecting works of art in the hopes of influencing the worth of our favourite artists. It's a tough old life... Highlights include:

- Unfortunately, business first

- Abalone is all balls

- No cats allowed in the gallery

- Fuck you Degas, you suck

- Nothing like a 'Cheeky Vincent'

- Classic art is famous for its lack of guns

- Apologies to Reiner Knizia - we cannot pronounce your name

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We've been investigating a spooky old castle and now we've accidentally awoken a ghost (I hate it when that happens!) Who will be the first to escape the spirit's fiendish traps? Highlights include:

- Was I at the last EVER Clix tournament?

- Next week: Mince!

- I foolishly assumed I would win, then played like a total idiot

- It's way older than we thought

- Saw it. Bought it. Played it.

- Who calls their house 'Ghost Castle?' You're just asking for it, surely

- Sometimes, it's trigger one trap, get another trap free!

- When you're an old man, standing up is difficult

- Don't get twatted by the flap

- Would you rather get flapped up or tossed off?

- Sometimes you just have to take a risk

- Come on guys, marbles might seem fun at the time, but...

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March 31, 2022

Episode 111 - Horrorclix

It's my team of monster hunters versus Mark's collection of general horror creatures! Who will win control of the graveyard? Will the game still click after so many years? Highlights include:

- It's been so long, I can't remember how old I was

- You're listening to an official Horrorclix Tournament Champion, baby!

- How do you choose a team when it's all just 'horror?'

- Clicker rings at the ready!

- The Alien Queen almost got taken out by Tesco Security...

- My priest gets a boyfriend! 

- Who needs tactics when we can just meet in the middle and scrap!

- Jane Cleaver can't stand up straight... maybe she's drunk?

- Who is that cool superhero? Oh, it's Jesus...

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Shit is going down all over time! Can the Doctor and his companions defend key locations around the galaxy from hoards of monsters, aliens, and general ne'er do wells? Highlights include:

- We created a Desperate Housewives paradox

- #SaveNeighbours

- I found it... aesthetically challenging

- All the cards have been put through the shit filter

- It comes complete with some player aid tomes

- Time Points are not Victory Points!

- We should have used Shufty, then Mark wouldn't be able to complain so much

- Just in case you didn't know, Mark has a Doctor Who Podcast

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Welcome to Wisteria Lane, a hotbed of scandal and saucy secrets. Whose shady past will remain a mystery, and whose dirty laundry will be aired for all to hear? Highlights include:

- It's another victory for Mark... sorry

- The deckbuilders list gets even more questionable

- Who can build the best Paul?

- Prepare for some very naff American accents

- Spot the tin!

- You don't get shushed by enough board games these days...

- We've totally swapped roles

- Housewives are in fact, the lowest common denominator

- If you married a man and had a load of kids, you've failed at being a lesbian

- A red dice, how exciting!

- It needs more plastic women 

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We have 48 hours to complete a charitable mission, collecting as much free shit as we can! Get your beach buggy and your satellite phone, and away we go! Highlights include:

- As usual, it's a smooth start

- Mark ignores all my helpful notes

- You're such a deck bag

- There are some questionable games on the BGG Deckbuilding list

- There's lots of Anneka Rice impressions

- Barry isn't doing anything today

- I'm afraid you've phoned the deaf primary school

- There are some very untrustworthy volunteers

- Make your mind up... is it the Community Centre or the Community Hall?

- 1990 = shit

- It needs more Anneka Rice

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The zombies have hit the casinos! As well as killing the undead hordes and searching for a helipad to escape, there's also gambling! Highlights include:

- Deckbuilding disappointment

- There's gambling... but why?

- Can you have too many expansions?

- You can't be a dog

- Who goes into a shop and buys Zombies 11?

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We're back in space, duking it out for control of the Star Realms, but this time there's scenarios to change the game - will they help or hinder? Highlights include:

- We're both legendary commanders

- Mark's recap is particularly clear and concise

- It's 'Baby's First Deckbuilder'

- Mark is not that great

- There are a few pound shop spaceships

- There's a disappointing set up for next week...

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Are we too negative? Who's the most negative? Strap in for a montage of all the criticisms and rants we've had over the past three and a half years - reach your own conclusions, yeah?

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Welcome to Hollyfirth! It's a new term at this formerly prestigious Milton Keynes based magical academy. What adventures await our students, Grace, Jessie and Xavier? 

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February 3, 2022

Episode 107 - Near And Far

It's our Listeners' Choice episode! We gather supplies and recruit adventurers in the town, before setting off on the world map, questing and exploring and whatnot! Sometimes we're near, and sometimes we're far! Highlights include:

- Just to clarify guys, our names aren't actually Eyim and Rin

- Mark is inordinately impressed by the index

- There's a version for everyone!

- Let's rob the general store

- Has Mark solved what the name means?

- The Mystic doesn't give out very good presents...

- There's nothing wrong with a pagoda, if that's your jam

- I think I killed Mark's husband...

- Ok, but what are we actually trying to do?

- Mark repeatedly forgets to read the story...

- Mark is responsible for the deaths of many villagers

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Long John Silver is in jail, reluctantly giving out hints to the location of his buried treasure! Can the pirates of the Hispaniola track it down before Silver hatches his escape plan and beats them to it? Highlights include:

- Awful pirate accents!

- We've got cabin fever...

- I struggle with colours

- Drawing on the board??? Shudder!

- Where's Blind Pew?

- Am I telling the truth? Or am I a dirty liar?

- How to make your hints as useless as possible...

- The treasure has not been found

- Might I interest you in some boots?

- I made some bad horse-riding decisions

- It's basically CSI Treasure Island

- Coming soon, 'Midwife: The Game'

- It's a bit like the scary Watership Down style artwork

- Jim Hawkins: a 13 year old boy with the face of a 40 year old man

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An episode that has literally been years in the making, Trains And Potholes is finally here! All we have to do is get our trains to all the stations - simple right? Not if those potholes have anything to do with it! Highlights include:

- Mark contradicts himself many times - see if you can count them all!

- It's been so long, I can't track down all the previous references

- I, famously, did not create Fireball XL5

- Trains cannot overtake each other. Fact.

- The age old dilemma: further your own progress or hinder someone else's... but with trains

- We feel immense sympathy for our imaginary passengers

- Everyone knows that all the great inventions started off with a little paper prototype

- We will now be calling at 19 Shit Alley

- Do NOT bring your baby on a safari

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January 13, 2022

Episode 104 - Kids On Brooms

We're swapping the bikes for brooms as things get magical - but how does it compare to the original, and does the magic measure up? Highlights include:

- It starts with glowing blue ends and nobs

- Patrick reveals his magical heritage

- We treat Harry Potter like Voldemort... those books that shall not be named

- Is magic a help or a hindrance?

- The best subject at our magical school is actually Maths

- What exactly was the scandal of '78?

- I forgot the familiars... and sometimes the magic

- Who calculates the magic?

- If you get lost, make Bunty have a vision

- Where's the class schedule, eh?

- Just how many times can we say 'familiar?'

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It's NYE and we embark on a mission to play board games from 12 noon to 12 midnight! Will we (Mark) have the stamina? And which game will we be playing at the crucial moment? Highlights include:

- We revisit some games we haven't played for ages!

- My beer drinking is ridiculously poor

- The excitement peaks early with an Exit card trick

- Get ready for a horrendous impression of Aunt Beru

- Even when we get the rules right, Xenoshyft is still impossible

- Aerion gets a second wind! Mark even wants to play it again!

- Battle For Biternia gives me the rage

- I said I was going to list all the games and episodes... but I can't be bothered

- Every time I say what game we're playing next, Mark acts like he's never heard of it

- Mark commits a heinous crime

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If you want to hear two guys fudge their way through 24 days of escape puzzles, then this is the episode for you!

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Mark tries to guess the top 20 best selling board games of all time, and we discuss what makes them so - how many of them do you own? Highlights include:

- We finally pick the 'Listeners' Choice'

- Epic PvP is surprisingly not on the list

- Who remembers Dream Phone?

- Mark wants to play Candyland with real sweets. In fact, he wants to play most things with sweets...

- The Logo Game: it's everywhere!

- Are simpler games more likely to be popular?

- Everyone's played Chess, whether they wanted to or not

- If I haven't heard of it, it can't possibly be on the top sellers list!

- Come on guys, let's get Old Maid to the top spot!

- Coming soon: Shitty Preschool Colour Match

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