i have to admit that even after i knew where to find the secrets that Belfort‘s artist Josh Cappel hid in the game, i had trouble tracking them all down. Thank goodness for 600 dpi scans and the zoom tool in Photoshop!

(click to view transcript)


Hi! It’s Ryan from Nights Around a Table, and this is The Secret Life of Board Games, a series where i interview board game creators about the Easter eggs they’ve buried in your favourite games.

Belfort is a worker placement/area control game from Tasty Minstrel Games. Illustrator Josh Cappel packed the board with tiny little doodles referencing all kinds of neat stuff. But you’d better bust out your jeweler’s loupe, because most of them… are microscopic!

The game’s name is a reference to a real town in France called Belfort, which has a pentagonal downtown just like the game’s board.

This shifty fellow is hocking the five famous resources from Catan: brick, wheat, wool, wood, and ore.

The Tasty Minstrel Games dragon, whose name is Dargon, is singing for his supper over by the wall. This guy’s not into it.

This donut-looking thing is a scout ship from another TMG game, Terra Prime, which Josh also illustrated. There’s a coin from Terra Prime up here on the player board. The ruler on the same board is made from 100% ent-free wood. Lucky for Treebeard.

TMG’s head of development is Seth Jaffee. Seth’s BoardGameGeek user name is carved into the wood on the permit board… and parts of Josh’s own signature are here and here.

These maple leafs are a nod to the fact that the game’s artist and designers are all Canadian. Well so am i! But i don’t go around braggin’ about it.

TMG’s CEO Michael Mindes is hawking copies of Terra Prime and Train of Thought down here.

Characters from the webcomic The Order of the Stick show up down here.

Up in this gatehouse, there’s a goon reading the Belfort rulebook.

BoardGameGeek’s old mascot Ernie is hanging out by this tower.

This particular critter is a dray beast from Conquest of the Fallen Lands, another Josh-illustrated game.

This blacksmith is hammering out three pieces of metal that spell out T M G.

Josh pointed out a bunch of little doodles that aren’t really references – they’re just fun little things happening around the board.

An elf and a dwarf are delivering gold to this bank, which is fun, because elves and dwarves team up to harvest gold on the mining space.

These thieves have broken into the bank, and this elf is calling the goons to come and investigate. Hey, buddy: snitches get stitches.

This market stall sells nothing but elf hats.

There’s an elf skinny-dipping in this pond.

There’s a huge lineup outside this pub… maybe it has something to do with these scantily-clad ladies being ushered in through the back door?

These guys outside the inn are selling the game’s four resources: ore, wood, stone, and gold.

This dwarf’s had a few too many. THIS dwarf thinks it’s hilarious.

That’s only a fraction of the things Josh pointed out to me – i’ll leave you to discover the rest. Are you a board game creator with secrets to share? Get in touch! Special thanks to the eagle-eyed Board Game Geek players who originally compiled a thread of all these secrets, which Josh and the designers later confirmed for me. If you want to hunt down secrets with me and the people who make Nights Around a Table a reality, come join us on the Discord server. That’s it for now – see you next time on The Secret Life of Board Games.

Did you just watch that whole thing? Oh – hey! To 100% this video, click the badge to subscribe, and then click the bell to get notifications when i’ve got new stuff!

[Music: Board Game Boogie by Ryan Henson Creighton]




Get Your Own Copy of Belfort

Belfort is a good little game with interesting choices to make, and is often filled with gut-wrenching “just one more resource” moments. To add the game to your own board game collection, use the Amazon link below, and i’ll receive a small commission.