Episode 22 – Board Games: Traditional vs. Niche

Do you love being a Slum Lord and driving everyone into bankruptcy?  Perhaps you prefer attempting to save the world from simultaneous E. coli, Bird Flu, and Gonorrhea outbreaks? Or is a night of inadvertently insulting your friends in the name of fun your cup of tea?  If you answered yes (or no) to any of the above, then do we have the podcast for you!  Join us this week as we discuss traditional vs. niche board games whilst narrowly avoiding certain death!  It’s Robert with the knife in the podcast studio on this week’s shiny new episode of Monkey in the Cage.

(01:39) – What do saving the world, vengeful samurai, and sexually deviant demons have in common?  It’s the sum total of Ramses’ week. – Wormwood and 13 Assassins.

(06:13) – Robert contemplated gambling with his life and reports on the best version of the worst prequels of the greatest franchise ever! – Doritos Locos Tacos and Topher Grace: Editor.

(10:21) – Matt’s excited for some sweaty man-on-man violence and he actually reads! Plus, a sneak peek at next weeks show. – The Ultimate Fighter, The Hunger Games, and WonderCon.

(15:29) – Karen is feeling old this week as we talk all things Joss and the group discusses questionable (and exhausted) castings. – The Avengers, The Cabin in the Woods, Much Ado About Nothing, and The Lone Ranger.  Plus, George Takei’s Happy Dance!

(24:55) – Robert and his questionable verbal skills kick off this weeks topic as he and the group define what is traditional or niche in the world of board games. – Monopoly, Chutes and Ladders, and Trivial Pursuit vs. Settlers of Catan, HeroQuest, and Forbidden Island.  Plus Clue, Uno, and Cranium.

(35:08) – Robert gets stabby as Ramses poses the question of player interaction in niche games and those that have crossed over. – Munchkin, Mutant Chronicles, Apples to Apples, and Castle Panic.

(41:44) – Are traditional games boring, or do we as gamers need to grow up?  We weigh in (and think haters are gonna hate). – Scrabble, Pictionary, Arkham Horror, Pandemic, and The Walking Dead.

(45:30) – Ramses hates history, while Matt and Robert play by (with?) themselves. – The Downfall of Pompeii, God’s Playground, Opera, Power Grid, Axis & Allies, and Shadows Over Camelot.

(48:20) – We discuss the unique aspects of the new line of Wizards of the Coast board games. – Legend of Drizzt, Castle Ravenloft, Wrath of Ashardalon, and Lords of Waterdeep.

(51:13) – We discuss some of our favorite games; past, present and sexy? – Balderdash, Loaded Questions, Battle Masters, XXXopoly and more!

Closing song – Runawaywritten by Del Shannon, performed by Luis Cardenas


4 thoughts on “Episode 22 – Board Games: Traditional vs. Niche

  1. First off, the word is pronounced nitch, not neesh. Take your fancy talk and your croussants back to where you came from. That being said, I have a few hypotheses on why niche games, or board/card games in general, aren’t more popular.
    1. If you didn’t play board games as a child, you probably don’t play them now. My wife’s family didn’t play games, and as a result, they have an aversion to any game outside the norm (per Robert’s comment on when he brought over Forbidden Island).
    2. Niche games have the stench of nerd coating them. They typically aren’t bought at mainstream stores, have rule sets that are comletely unfamiliar, and as a result, have been marked as unclean.
    3. The typical American doesn’t want to think. Reality television is a testament to the fact that people don’t want to have to use their brains for what is a leisure activity. The most popular games have little strategy involved: your piece moves wherever the dice/spinner commands, and you do what the space you landed on says. No forethought or planning is required. They are mindless exercises meant to distract from the monotony of existence. Niche games, or Euro-games, require the player to be an active participant, to plan/scheme, and to realize that in the event you lost, a large part of that is because your opponent was better than you. That last part I believe is most crucial; when the game is entirely dependent on chance, there is no psychological trauma with losing. Your ego remains intact.
    On an unrelated note, myself, like Robert, have a reputation as a cutthroat player of Monopoly. I do not understand this label. You do realize that the point of the game is to bankrupt your opponents, allowing you to buy up their properties, establishing a real estate MONOPOLY? There is no nice way to do this.

  2. Technically, the pronunciation of niche is acceptable either way. And if us fancy pants go back to “where we came from” there would be no one for Robert to threaten with a knife.

    Yes, I do understand the point of Monopoly. I just hate the game. It’s boring, in my opinion. “Cutthroat” players tend to be the only ones who like it. Robert is probably the most competitive game-player of our group. We’ve played a lot of games together, so we call him cutthroat because he is, and it is that type of competitive personality that enjoys Monopoly. All that being said I have never played Monopoly with Robert. I believe he mentioned that no one likes to play with him because he’s “ruthless” or something along those lines. I think it was mentioned in our Nostalgia show.

  3. So I did; thank you for correcting my my mistake. And even though the dictionary says either pronunciation is correct, it’s still nitch. Monopoly gets a bad rap. The game is actually fairly quick, if you follow the rules: Free Parking is not a bonus spot. All monies go to the bank. A few house rules I have: you can’t buy properties until you go around the board once, and you can only propose trades on your turn. When you guys go to WonderCon this weekend, check out the game Molyneaux in the game room. It looked interesting.

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