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Episode 125: Great Western Trail, Above and Below and Board Games Past, Present and Future

This year's Christmas Special is bonkers! First the founders talk about all the great games they've been playing and announce the winners of the big Christmas Contest. Then we give Great Western Trail the deep dive review treatment. We checkout what Above and Below has been doing at our table over the past year. Tony T gives us an amazing news round up and then, Scrooge Tony is visited by 3 spirits bent on teaching him about great games of the past, present and future. And sprinkled in throughout, our famous Christmas Songs of the past.

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Opening Banter and Reviews

Feature Review: Great Western Trail

America in the 19th century: You are a rancher and repeatedly herd your cattle from Texas to Kansas City, where you send them off by train. This earns you money and victory points. Needless to say, each time you arrive in Kansas City, you want to have your most valuable cattle in tow. However, the "Great Western Trail" not only requires that you keep your herd in good shape, but also that you wisely use the various buildings along the trail. Also, it might be a good idea to hire capable staff: cowboys to improve your herd, craftsmen to build your very own buildings, or engineers for the important railroad line. If you cleverly manage your herd and navigate the opportunities and pitfalls of Great Western Trail, you surely will gain the most victory points and win the game.

Designed by Alexander Pfister

Published by Stronghold Games

BoardGameGeek.com Entry

Lookback Review: Above and Below

Your last village was ransacked by barbarians. You barely had time to pick up the baby and your favorite fishing pole before they started the burning and pillaging. You wandered over a cruel desert, braved frozen peaks, and even paddled a log across a rough sea, kicking at the sharks whenever they got too close, the baby strapped tightly to your back. Then you found it! The perfect place to make your new home. But as soon as you had the first hut built, you discovered a vast network of caverns underground, brimming with shiny treasures, rare resources, and untold adventure. How could you limit your new village to the surface? You immediately start organizing expeditions and building houses underground as well as on the surface. With any luck, you'll build a village even stronger than your last-- strong enough, even, to turn away the barbarians the next time they come knocking. Above and Below is a mashup of town-building and storytelling where you and up to three friends compete to build the best village above and below ground. In the game, you send your villagers to perform jobs like exploring the cave, harvesting resources, and constructing houses. Each villager has unique skills and abilities, and you must decide how to best use them. You have your own personal village board, and you slide the villagers on this board to various areas to indicate that they've been given jobs to do. Will you send Hanna along on the expedition to the cave? Or should she instead spend her time teaching important skills to one of the young villagers? A great cavern lies below the surface, ready for you to explore-- this is where the storytelling comes in. When you send a group of villagers to explore the depths, one of your friends reads what happens to you from a book of paragraphs. You'll be given a choice of how to react, and a lot will depend on which villagers you brought on the expedition, and who you're willing to sacrifice to succeed. The book of paragraphs is packed with encounters of amazing adventure, randomly chosen each time you visit the cavern. At the end of the game, the player with the most well-developed village wins!

Designed by Ryan Laukat

Published by Red Raven Games

BoardGameGeek.com Entry

Gaming News by Tony T

Community Info
Upcoming
Crowd Funded Projects

Discussion: A Christmas Carol

Christmas Past
Christmas Present
Christmas Future

Please Checkout Our Sponsor Stronghold Games!

The Secret Cabal Gaming Podcast couldn't be happier to be sponsored by a great publisher and close personal friend Stephen Buonocore of Stronghold Games. We have been partnered with Stronghold games for over 4 years and we continue because we respect their the quality and integrity and feel good about promoting their products. Please take some time to check out their website at StrongholdGames.com.

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