Little elf and patron of the arts DMExplains has once again worked hard to send a special gift my way: a box containing two board games he’ll think i like, and that wants to see covered on Nights Around a Table. Here’s the first game i pulled out!

(click to view transcript)

Hi! It’s Ryan from Nights Around a Table. And i bet you’re wondering what’s inside this box. So am i! You can see it’s already been opened. i’ll tell you that story in just a second. But this box was sent to me through a wonderful board game store – a friendly local game shop called Board Game Bliss in… what are they – Markham? Or Scarborough? Anyway, they’re in southern Ontario near.. quite near me. It’s one of my favorite places in the world to go. And it was sent to me by DMExplains, aka Dr. Ben, who’s an electrical engineering prof down in Americaland, and he occais… he’s a stalwart… he’s probably THE staunchest patron of the channel! He’s been there since almost the very beginning. And he’s an amazing supporter, and i appreciate his help tremendously. He’s also a great guy to hang out with! If you want to hang out with me, and Dr. Ben aka DMExplains, and the rest of the crew on the Discord server, there’s the link at the bottom. You can follow that, and you can meet him and me and everybody else and we’ll have a good time together! Dr Ben occasionally sends me games, and so that’s what he’s done. He knew it was my birthday coming up and the birthday of um… somebody else. Oh… Jesus! So he thought he would commemorate both birthdays by sending me a coupla things. If you caught the last mystery unboxings, both of those games were from DMExplains. And then another wonderful supporter, BigDeuce, aka Don, he sent me a game as well. He sent me Taverns of Tiefenthal, and the last two in mystery unboxings 1 and 2… click away if you haven’t seen them… were Res Arcana and Pulsar 2849. So a little bit of… of how it’s gone with those games. We’ve played Taverns of Tiefenthal, and we enjoyed it very very much. We played it Res Arcana. LOVED the heck out of it! And if you saw over the summer, we d… Cheryl did like a Top 5 Board Games to Bring Camping, and it felt like a bit of a fraud putting that up there, because we brought all these board games with his camping, and we shot that video at the tenting site. And then we didn’t play any of them, because we just played Res Arcana every single night! We enjoyed it that much. Pulsar 2849 i was really into because it’s by by Vlad Suchý… i don’t know if that’s how you pronounce his last name… i’ve not brushed up on my Czech enough. But he’s one of the two lads at Czech Games Edition – one of their two designers named Vlad – and i really like his games, and the family really enjoyed Last Will. Unfortunately, Pulsar 2849 has spaceships in it, which is a really hard sell with my two daughters. They’re more into things like Wingspan with beautiful birds. We just recently played Genotype, which you’ll see me do a How to Play for on the Rahdo channel coming up in a little bit. And that’s, like, pretty plants… So they enjoyed that. Spaceships… i mean, like, i should say it’s… it’s Isabel more who… who likes the beautiful artwork. Cassie, she likes sort of accounting simulations, because we think she might be an accountant when she grows up. You know what i mean? When you’re raising kids, and you’re like, “i don’t know? i think one of our kids might be a little… you know… (ahem) Accountant-y.” That’s… (laughs) that’s what we’re thinking about, about Cassie. Anyway, what are we even talking about? DMExplains got me two games for mine and Jesus’s birthday. And they’re both in this box. And i’m not supposed to look cuz these are mystery unboxings. But “Why,” you ask, “is the box open?” Well because i knew i was expecting this package from DMExplains… by the way. DMExplains, i should say, also has a YouTube channel. If you want to check out what he does, he’s an electrical engineering prof. And he’ll teach you Math Lab. And i just recently took a look at the list of videos that he’s got, and i didn’t understand a goldarn word of it. But if you are interested in learning more… like, if you want to learn what Ohm’s Law is, then he’ll teach you! He’s got a video on that. And he’s got other stuff with terms that i tried to memorize before i started shooting this video. And they’re already – boom – out my… my leaky brain. i have no idea. No idea whatsoever. But if you want to check out his channel, there’s a link maybe up at the top, and i’ll link to him in the bottom – DMExplains – if you want to learn more about electrical engineering if you want to learn more about what’s in this box, here we go! The reason why it is open is because i was expecting it, but when this box arrived, sometimes i get things unsolicited, and then… as you can see, it says on the little label there… what’s that say? Tasha’s … D&D Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, which is some D&D-related product. And i thought, “Oh, no! Did some publisher send me a D&D thing thinking that i’m, like, totally into D&D, and i’ll open it with aplomb…?” Because i don’t really play D&D, and that’s happened before. Publishers have sent me stuff i’m not super into. But that’s not the case here. They just reused a box. So i thought “Oh no, it’s Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything!” and i pull… and i opened it like this. And then i saw what’s underneath the top piece of tissue paper, and it’s not Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. And i saw about this much of it, and i thought, “Oh, shoot, that IS the box from DMExplains, so i won’t look. It’s supposed to be a big surprise.” But that little piece that i saw …i thought “Man, that looks familiar. i can’t quite identify the game.” And i sort of, like, let it stew. And it was brewing in the background, more and more and more, and i kept thinking about like, “What IS that game? What is that game??” i recognize that piece of artwork. So, in a bit, i will show you that piece of the cover. And then you can see if you can guess, as just based on that little snippet of what i saw, what the top game – not “Top Game,” but – you know – the overmost game in the box is. Now, i tried initially in the first couple years of the channel, to… to not mention anything… i wanted these videos to be timeless, right? i didn’t want people to jump in and go, you know, two years after i shot a thing and he’s like, “What is he talking about ‘last week’? When was ‘last week’? Oh my gosh, two years ago!” So i didn’t mention COVID because that – you know – that dates a video, and i didn’t mention… i didn’t say “Oh, in last week’s video…” But then i discovered the more i did this, that things like unboxing videos… the How to Plays have a little bit of a longer tail and more longevity, but the How To Play stuff, man that’s popcorn entertainment. That… they… that enjoys a moment in the sun for a week and then it’s out of everybody’s minds forever. So i will recap what’s been happening on the channel for the past few weeks. It has been an… at DMExplains’s urging, and it was a pretty good instinct, i think… it has been Uwe Rosenberg month. And every single video for the past five weeks has been Uwe Rosenberg-related. That’s a designer who’s done a great number of games. And among them are DMExplains’s absolute favorites. And a lot of people like them too. It’s not just… it’s not just his favorites. Many of us like them. So Uwe Rosenberg did Agricola, and we did How to Play Agricola video, we did a How to Play Caveran video, i did an unboxing of the Caverna expansion. What else did i do? i can’t even remember, man! It’s all a blur! But i was happy and exhausted and relaxed and relieved at the end of that five weeks to be done with all the Uwe Rosenberg stuff. If you want to check out that, i’ve got that in a playlist and you can click the little link and check out all the Uwe Rosenberg stuff that i’ve done recently. So now, we move on to non-Uwe Rosenberg things. So here’s that snippet of the cover of the box that i peeped when i accidentally opened it. Do you know what that game is? Here’s a hint: it’s illustrated by Klemens Franz, quite obviously. Okay, here we go. And I’m gonna try to open it so that i don’t see the thing underneath the game that’s on top because i still want that to be a surprise. Wa-da-boop-wahp. Not looking. It’s like i’m… like i’m opening the Ark of the Covenant down here. Can’t look directly into the box. It’s uh… it’s uh… Ora & Labora, another Uwe Rosenberg game! Oh my gosh! We c… we can’t escape it! Uwe Rosenberg will rule the channel FOREVER! (cackles) But this… this is cool! This is really, really exciting! i like Uwe Rosenberg games. i don’t know if you like him, or if you’ve played any. Let me know either in Discord or in the comments below. But i know very, very little about this except how to pronounce it. Because when i saw the title, i was like “How do you say that?” (It’s in Latin.) And in Canada, we study French in school. So whenever you see the… the & symbol, it’s et (ay)… you know, in French, or in Canadian, “eh?” But in.. in Latin, i realize it’s… it’s “et,” and Ora et Labora is a phrase in Latin that means, i think, “gold and work”? Or “money and work”? i think that’s what… i looked it up a long time… i should have done it before this video because i knew what was coming out of the box. But here’s… here’s the story… ♪of a lovely lady♫. i’m not going to read all of that. But it looks like it’s monastic in nature. It’s Middle Ages based because you know, these European designers, they just love their aggressively boring themes. So it takes place on a monastery, and it looks like you’re doing… i don’t know? What monks do? That’s w… let’s just open it. What’s weird, though, is that this is… if you can believe it, maybe you can, this is the second monk-based game i’ll be playing in as many weeks. i mentioned Genotype before. That is a monk-based game. It’s based on Mendelian genetics. And Mendel was a monk. And this one: also monk-based. Very strange. So you know, looking at the cover, i can’t…. you know. What did i see? Yeah, it was just this little piece. And it’s funny, it says right across the… “Expert level,” you know, so they’ve started putting these… this is a reprint, and it even says on the top of the box, “A reprint of the classic.” So i don’t know if it’s the same situation is with Agricola, where they had the original version. And then they thought, “Oh shoot, we gotta make the base game a little bit cheaper for, you know, entry level people.” They did that… Mindclash games did that with Anachrony, when i went over the Anachrony Essential Edition and how it differs from the original print. They take stuff out to make the box cheaper. That’s what they did with Agricola: they took two player components otu of it, and then they made a 5-6 player expansion, and they removed a whole pile of cards. i don’t know if there’s anything different in this one from the original run, but maybe you can tell me, if you know about that. But look at all the awards they won and everything… the Spiel des Jahres… i’m going to do an actual video on Spiel of Jahres and… the Spiel des Jahres and tell you things that you may not know about it, but… let’s all listen very very closely. (no sound from box) Smooth like buttah! Box Fart-O-Meter: zero. What’s inside? Always very generous productions, i find, Uwe Rosenberg games. T here’s a whole big pile of plastic bags. Do you ever get a game that requires a whole big pile of plastic games (bags) but they don’t supply a whole big pile of plastic games (bags)? That’s always a bit, like… what do plastic bags cost? Come on. Give me a break. And what does the game cost? Come on. It’s not a cheap game at all. Wood, and some pieces that i recognize from other stuff that i have, but i can’t quite place them. These little dudes with the hat… i’m going to go over to the overhead camera over here. That’s what those guys look like. You’ll notice that i’m not doing the blue screen thing with the overhead camera this time, because Paul… magician Paul, another one of my wonderful patrons on Patreon suggested that i try it without the… without the blue screen, because it does make the colors go a bit weird. And this guy, we… he would totally disappear if we stuck him in there on the blue screen. So yay! We can see blue now. And we’ve got these very, like, classic Hasbro Sorry-looking pawns…not Sorry…like, i don’t mean… i don’t mean they’re sorry-looking… i just mean they look like they’re from the game. Sorry. And we have a sheep! What else do we have in the bundle of wood? Not very many sheep. Sheeps. Clay, i assume. But there’s only, like, one of each of these. This is interesting. And then, sort of like a purpley lookin’… grapes? Wine, i’m assuming that is? Now i don’t know if this is… it’s weird that i’m only finding one of each thing in this little handful of goodies i’ve got? i wonder if i’m going to delve in deeper and find a whole gigantic pile of wood bags in there with many more components of the same ilk? Or if this is it, and this is how the game goes? That’s all it’s got? That’s… i’m going to assume is… is iron. And knowing Uwe Rosenberg, that’s probably… that orange one is probably a vegetable, pumpkin-y kind of thing. Wheat, m… no, no, no. i’m wrong. i’m wrong. THIS is wheat, for sure. No idea what the yellow disk is. The Sun? Might be a clock or a time tracker? And then the rest of them are all just… you get two of these pawns per player color. And one of these little hat guys. Where have i seen the hat guys? It might be… It might be The Voyages of Marco Polo that had the little hats? Or… Uh… No, i know what it is. It’s The Princess of Florence! Am i right about that? i dunno. You can correct me if i’m wrong about that. What else is in the box? We get a little very familiar, now that I’ve gone through a bazillion Uwe Rosenberg games, this is a score sheet. Fine. Fine, fine, fine. And some cards, and the cards remind me a whole lot of what i saw in A Feast for Odin, which was another Uwe Rosenberg game that i’ve covered on the channel very, very recently. We’ll get into those if i remember in just a second. And down here, a very complex looking bound-together… i don’t even know what this is. Box scores, or something? Here, let me get this wrapper off real quick. (indiscriminate scatting) i’ll throw em under there. Lookit that! What the heck is going on with that? It looks like we’re placing bets at the Kentucky Derby or something. i have no idea. i have no idea! But there’s, like, a big pile of them in green and red. What do they even say? i can’t even read them on the close-up cam. They look like they’re… gee whiz, i don’t know. The one set says Ireland on the bottom, one set says France. The red set is France. The green set is Ireland, and they…. phhhtsp! You know, until you read the instruction book – and by the way, here’s the instruction book- i have no idea what is going on with any of these games. One of the hallmarks of an Uwe Rosenberg game is that they are constantly drawing him as a little cartoon character in the rulebook, which is kind of cute, and he, like, pops up and gives little… little tips, which is kind of nice because it reminds – you know – there’s a human being behind this game, and he wants you to have fun playing the game. So there he is, a little Uwe… a little Uwe throughout. This is a… maybe a quickstart guide? This one: general rules. Wow – it’s only like a… like a two… two page double-sided thing. Where’s the… where’s the giant thick book? Detailed game rules goes to seven pages but, i mean, surprising amount of restraint for an Uwe Rosenberg game. Heavy, though, on the text, you can see there are some picture examples, but he’s got a lot to say about how different things work. A Feast for Odin was ab… ah, here we go. It was absolutely insane, and i think this is what i’m gonna get into right here. You’ve got – yeah – a really super dense, like, rundown of what every single card does, with every single – you know – curb case, hopefully spelled out and accounted for. Whoo! Oh my Lord, look at this. Look at this! What is this six point font nonsense?? Holy crimoles. Whoo! Bluh! Nug. Make my eyes go buggy. i might have been wrong with the wood? i’m gonna take the cardboard out. Here’s some cardboard. always tons of cardboard in (terrible French accent) Uwe Rosenberg games. i don’t know i said that in a terrible French accent. This little thing looks like… i’ll put it on close-up cam. This is a cap for a spinner. But what’s nice is that… sorry, my zoom is not cooperating. That’s… it’s metal! i don’t know the last time i’ve played a game that had a metal spinner doodly bit… what do you call that? Is… there’s an… i know there’s a word for that. i thought about… that was a video idea i came up with where i talk to board game manufacturers like Panda or something. And i ask them for a lexicon of bizarre manufacturing terms that describe things like this, like these little, these little… fulcrums? Fulcrum! There’s a… fulcrum is a word that you might learn on DMExplains’s channel. …Might you? No. i don’t think that’s a chemical… or… electrical engineering… oh, i’m getting confused. Here we are! To the cardboard! Dee da deet doo… i know nothing of science. i’m just a caveman. Here we are. Yeah, so you get one wood piece that represents stone, and then a big pile of cardboard stone chits. So i’m wondering if that may be a concession in the reprint, like, “Let’s cut down on the cost,” or the cost… not the cost to you the consumer, of course, because everything is just going to go up for you until you die in a debtor’s prison, “But,” (forever…) “for us, you know, we’re going to make it cheaper by making it cardboard. And we’ll only print… we’ll only make one wooden token to represent wood.” Maybe not, maybe not. Because you got other things that we… do we see them represented as wood? Maybe that square that i looked at was a book? i can’t really tell. i can’t really remember. But bear… it looks like there’s more. There’s ham…? This game has pork in it? So it looks… Whoa! Accidentally punched one. It looks like there’s more stuff in there than we saw represented by wood. So i could be wrong about that. There’s brick and all kinds of stuff. i’m not happy with the zoom level on that close-up cam. So we’ll fix that for the next video. But there are just tons… tons of cardboard sheets with lots of things to punch out. There’s the wheel. So i’m wondering if this is a rondel, by virtue of the fact that it has a gigantic circle, it makes me suspicious. Not suspicious like “Hmm… i wonder if my kid’s a little bit of an accountant,” but more like, you know… i think that this is where the screw bits go to hold that spinner in there, and there’s a spinner. There’s a spinner. Everything’s a nice thick cardboard, bla, bla, bla, bla, bla, bla, blap, blut… no idea what it does. B’doop! These are unique so far, these little holy illustrated manuscript book-y lookin’ things. That, we got to put on the close-up cam, because those look weird. That’s really weird. It reminds me of when you go through, like… in Toronto, you go through Portuguese town, and every house has this little shrine-y sculpture of the Madonna or something outside and it’s always got like, RAY BEAMS coming out of her head, and it’s a very specific aesthetic. And that… that reminds me of that aesthetic, the whole beamy… Jesus laser beam thing going on. And finally, the last bundle of cardboard… is a big pile of… i’m assuming these are going to be player boards. So Uwe Rosenberg games like to give you a little parcel of farmland that you can put tiles on and build out your little thing. So i think this might be about monks makin’… w-wine, i’m gonna say. Partially. So there’s more of these. i think they’re all identical. So one for each player. How many players does this support? Wud-duh-doo! Let’s see. It’s… 4. 1-4. 1-4 players. 1 player. That’s interesting. So it has a solo mode, and DMExplains is very knowledgeable about that, and so are a bunch of the others who hang out on Discord because… you know, we’re in the middle of a pandemic. It’s hard to get together and play with people. So if you want the skinny on what’s good to play solo, those people can tell you. i can’t, because i still, to this day, if you believe it, have never, ever in my life played a board game solo. But i’ve got my eye on it, because it’s getting more and more challenging to play, you know, with… my family’s getting tired of me, basically. They’re like “Don’t make us play another board game, dad!” These are more… these look like extensions to the player boards? So maybe you do something cool and you get more spaces, or more spots, to do stuff on? Pretty sure that’s how these games work. It’s not my first board game. Aaand some kind of beach… piece that is unique. And these look like.. oop! It’s not unique. There are more beach pieces. And on the back of the beach piece, there is a mountainous rugged road piece, and more beach pieces. And that… aside from the cards…. is the sum total of what you get in the box. So let’s just take a look at what a couple of these cards look like. Now i complain a lot about Klemens Franz and his horrible, horrible artwork, because he really is not very good. But what i think he IS decent at, and i don’t know because I don’t know enough artists who do this to… to be able to compare them, but I don’t mind his layouts. i don’t mind his UI and the way he – you know – i think his… the way he lays cards out is very, very clear and straightforward. So i have no complaints there. Drawing humans? Nnnnnrgbbb… No, not so much. Eugh, i’m… these have to go over here. There’s no way that we’re going to be able to see them. Oh, so blurry! The virrage. The problem with the close-up cam is that when it’s over here, i can’t read what’s on there. So you’re just going to have to read for yourself what these cards say. i’m not going to go through all of them. There’s something directional based about placing tiles on your shanty town. Mm hmm. A hamlet. Looks like maybe you’re upgrading things to nicer, nicer stuff. There’s a bog. Uwe Rosenberg likes this idea of bogs. He did the expansion for Agricola, all based… it’s all entirely bog-based. Farmers of the Moor. So he’s got this interesting obsession with a few things. He’s obsessed with bogs. He’s obsessed with meat, and killing and eating animals. Like every game he does involves – even Patchwork, you’re like, “Mah! Let’s make a quilt! Nah – we’ll eat animals while we’re doing it!” And he… and just animal husbandry! He likes it when animals do it for some bizarre reason. i don’t know. He’s… we all have our thing, i guess. That’s more… lots… lots more bog. Lots more bog cards, peat cards. And then this one has about the same number of cards in it as the first deck. If i were to estimate, it’d probably be about 50,000. i’ll do a giveaway or something, or a guessing game where YOU can guess how many cards are in the deck. And i’ll give you something if you guess correctly. The only correct answer will be 50,000. Here we are. Yes, this is more like what i was expecting. So these are cards that give you special abilities or powers or let you convert certain resources into other resources. There are those sheep! He loves those sheep! Think he might be a bit of an accountant? No – i dunno. And cottage, and… yeah, it looks like you’re upgrading these buildings, and the buildings do different things. This reminds me – and especially since it’s the same illustrator, Klemens Franz – reminds me a lot of Oh My Goods! The symbols look really s… like, how many different ways can you draw sheep? Do they really need to be a different sheep per game? i guess not. But yeah, it looks a whole lot like Oh My Goods! where you’re converting things into other things. That’s really all eurogames are, really, isn’t it? Just converting things into other things? Anyway, i don’t sound too excited. And i usually don’t by the end of it because i’ve just got this pile of overwhelming cardboard all of my table. i’m excited to play. Have you Ora et Labora? Do you know what it means in Latin? Probably? Just hit Wikipedia and then you look like the smart person and i’m a dolt. Fine! That’s your advantage. You can do that. Leave me a comment below, and tell me what you think of this game. Or if you want it, if you’d like me to do a whole How to Play video on it. This will probably – i’ll probably be taking an Uwe Rosenberg break after this. i just wanted to get this one unboxing out. And then we’ll talk about something other than Uwe Rosenberg. And if you want to be a cool person like DMExplains or like BigDeuce or any of the other people in my crew, head on over to the Patreon page and you can back me at any amount of money you want. Just pick a number. It doesn’t really matter. Just pick a number, and… and you can be one of the cool kids too! See you in the next video. Did you just watch that whole thing? Oh – hey! To 100% this video, click the badge subscribe and then click the bell to get notifications when i’ve got new stuff! [Music – Board Game Boogie by Ryan Henson Creighton]

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