Butts on Things

Release: 6/17/24   | Download:  Enhanced  | MP3

Run Time: 20 min   | Subscribe:  Enhanced  | MP3 | RSS

Fun begins at the ends in Butts on Things. Collect as many cards with keisters by pairing posteriors on the tails of any row or column on the table. It might be a juicy set of peaches, a burger with a nice set of buns, or a cactus with a caboose that cant stop. You’ll be over the moon when you find a way to cap off any line with a nice set of cans. You should also be on the lookout for the dumptruck. When it shows, get off your duff and snag a buttload of cards.

Butts on Things

D: Tim Roediger
A: Brian Cook
P: Gamewright
2-4 pl | 15 min | ages 8+ | MSRP $12.99 | BGG Entry
Time to teach & learn: 3 minutes

Full show notes on all the segments are available at The Spiel.

Music credits include:

Bertha Butt Boogie | The Jimmy Castor Bunch | the song

Booty Butt | Ray Charles | the song

Baby Got Back | Richard Cheese | the song

Hand-to-Hand Wombat

Hand-to-Hand Wombat

Designers: Cory O’Brien
Artist: Matthew Inman
Publisher: Exploding Kittens
3-7 players 15 min ages 7+ MSRP $26
Time to Teach/Learn: 3 minutes

Written by: Stephen Conway

No one knows why wombats enjoy architecture. A desire to build towers is buried deep in their bones. But there are exceptions, wicked wombats, born to make trouble. Hand to Hand Wombat pits a team of builders against fuzzy little secret sowers of chaos. The builders must stack pieces to create three towers, while the bad wombat works to sabotage them without getting caught. This might seem easy or impossible depending on what team you’re on, until you discover the twist. Everyone plays with their eyes closed!

The entire game takes place within the confines of the box lid.

In it, you’ll place all the pieces needed to complete three towers. Each tower has a spindle and six nubbly square pieces. The pieces have holes in the center, allowing them to slide onto the spindles. The piece with 6 nubs along its edges is the base of the tower. The five nub piece stacks nicely above it and so on.

To play, deal out wombat cards to see who is on the builder team and who is the wicked wombat. Do not share your identity with anyone else! Place all the tower pieces and the spindles in the box lid and you’re ready to go.

The goal in Hand to Hand Wombat is to complete towers if you are a builder, or to keep towers from being built if you are wicked.

Each game round is 90 seconds, plus a vote. When the timer starts, everyone closes their eyes (no peeking!). Builder Wombats try to assemble the three towers, using one hand only, placing the widest piece of each tower at the base (the six nub piece), then the five and so on. You can communicate with everyone at the table. You can pass pieces to each other. You can even place your hand over a spindle to prevent others from messing with it. You can never take pieces out of the box to sort or save them.

While the Builders are building, the Wicked Wombat is trying to screw things up. You must be subtle, though! If you’re too obvious, you’ll get caught. You might give someone the wrong piece, or place a piece on a spindle out of order. You might even rotate the box lid! Even TALKING REALLY LOUDLY could be enough to throw things off.

At the end of the round, all players vote on who they think the wicked wombat is. If one player has more than half the votes, that player is out! That player does not reveal their identity and the game continues. Reset the timer and the goal is the same. Build towers or cause trouble.

Each round, one team scores. The builders must get at least two towers built to score one point. If they build all three, they score two points. If only one tower is built, the wicked wombat scores one point. If no towers are complete, the sneaky side gets two points. First team to score three points wins the game.

A subtle but important note: the wicked wombat can win even if they have been voted out, since the builders won’t know they have discovered the traitor! The Builders have to complete 2 towers each round or the wicked wombat still scores points. The Wicked Wombat will cackle with glee if they win because the builders didn’t trust each other.

It is hard to think of another game that combines such disparate elements: cooperative stacking paired with a traitor. By all rights this game could be a hot mess. And yet, this marriage works! Playing blind with just the right amount of time pressure balances everything. Even without a player trying to wreck things, getting a group of people to work together without sight to build three simple towers takes an incredible amount of teamwork and communication. The traitor certainly needs to play a role in creating chaos, but the clock and the cloak of darkness allow each side to figure out a way to play that works best for them.

Hand to Hand Wombat is a hilarious invitation to play. Teamwork based on touch and talking and trust is a challenge you’ll almost certainly stumble through the first few rounds. And therein lies one kind of fun. You can’t take yourself too seriously in order to find a way to accomplish this ridiculous task. If you’re wicked, trying to listen and literally feel your way through the game to find ways to subtlety wreck everyone else’s plans is a deliciously fiendish kind of fun. But wait, there’s more. Hand to Hand Wombat yearns for an audience. It is play as a form of performance. It’s hard to argue that any onlookers might have even more fun watching than the goofballs playing the game!

June 2023

Written by: Stephen Conway

Root Beer Float Challenge

Root Beer Float Challenge

Designer: Brady Peterson, Tim Swindle
Publisher: Gray Matters Games | BGG Entry
2-8 players 30 min ages 8+ MSRP $25
Time to Teach/Learn: 2 minutes
Written by: Stephen Conway

You have come together to crown a new champion by assembling that most tasty treat – the root beer float! The ice cream, the soda, the straws and cherries are laid out and ready. Using these charming props, you will compete to complete a series of hilarious challenges – sometimes on your own, sometimes with a team, and sometimes head-to-head. Be the first to collect the right combination of ingredients and you’ll claim the crown!

Instead of a box, the game itself comes in a giant root beer can! The can is more than just a gimmick. It is actually an integral part of the game.

Inside the can are four sturdy straws, two cherries, and a large scoop of ice cream (a white plastic ball). These are the ingredients you’ll use to complete challenges.

There are three decks of challenge cards (solo, co-op, and head-to-head) and a 6-sided die. The backs of the cards are color coded and have one to three ingredients displayed. The die has sides that match the colors of the decks.

Last but not least is a deck of individual ingredient cards. These are the trophies you’ll collect for completing challenges.

The goal of the game is to collect the right set of ingredient cards to make a root beer float. You’ll need a can of root beer, some ice cream, a cherry, and a straw.

On your turn, you roll the die and draw a challenge card from the deck that matches the color you rolled.

If it’s a solo challenge, you’re on your own. If it’s head-to-head, pick a player to compete with. If it’s co-op, pick a partner to help.

The challenge cards are wacky and ridiculous. Each one will lay out what props you need to use and the goal you need to accomplish. Here’s a few examples:

Solo Challenge – Bounce the ice cream ball into the can from one straw length away.

Co-Op Challenge – One player balances two straws on the back of their hand. They must transfer the two straws to the back of their teammate’s hand. The straws cannot fall.

Head-to-Head Challenge – Players balance a cherry on their heads then walk ten paces forward and ten paces backward. The player who returns first (or goes the farthest) wins.

Give the challenge your best shot! Not every one will go your way and that’s ok! The game goes fast; you’ll get ‘em next time. And if you land upon a challenge that is beyond your capabilities, no problem, just pick a new one.

If you complete the challenge, you collect an ingredient card of your choice from the ones shown on the back of the card. In a co-op challenge your teammate gets one, too. In a head-to-head challenge, your opponent will collect one if you lose!

The first to collect the right ingredients for the root beer float wins the game.

Root Beer Challenge celebrates the joy of active, silly fun. It brings the spirit of the playground indoors. Each challenge is an event in and of itself – a mini-game that includes opportunities for little triumphs and laugh-out-loud disasters. The scale and the stakes are balanced such that the fun comes from the playing, from testing yourself against each silly challenge, whether you succeed or fail. In fact, the failures are often more fun, more hilarious, and more memorable!

Many years ago, the beloved founder of the Major Fun Award, Bernie DeKoven, wrote a book called Junkyard Sports. In it, he lays the foundation for over 75 different games using low or no cost found objects. Think of the made up games played at recess; games you assembled with rules to accommodate the equipment, time, and players you had on hand.

Root Beer Float Challenge carries a torch that was lit by Junkyard Sports. The game reminds us that this flavor of active silly fun is always available and can be created on the fly. It is not something we need to abandon or deny ourselves as “mature” adults. The door to play is never closed. Sometimes all we need is a small push to peek through and rediscover Major Fun.

December 2022



Devir |  BGG

Designers: Romain Caterdjian and Théo Rivière
Artist: Fran Collado
Publisher: Devir
2-5 players 10 min ages 5+ MSRP $10
Time to Teach/Learn: 3 minutes

Written by: Doug Richardson

You and your friends are out in the desert and everything is blooming, especially the cactus. You shouldn’t touch… but they have so many pretty flowers! Risking a little prick, you can’t help but pick a few.

Ouch! is played with a deck of 44 cactus cards. 36 of these cards have only cactus flowers. Eight cards also feature an animal: either a helpful snake or a cute fennec fox.

The back of each card will show the whole cactus plant, as well as a number of flowers, ranging from one to three. The more flowers, the better. But be careful! The more flowers a card has, the more dangerous it is. The back of each cactus card has thorns covering one to three sides.

To set up a game of Ouch!, simply shuffle the cards and deal out six of them to the table, back side facing up. Players will now take turns going clockwise, starting with the youngest player.

The goal in Ouch! is to pick the most flowers. Extra points will be added for having sets of flowers of the four different colors as well as having the most red flowers.

What you are trying to NOT do is to get pricked. Remember, cactus plants have sharp thorns! 

On your turn, you will choose one of the six cards on the table. Then pick it up by one side of the card: top, bottom, left, or right. Now turn it over quickly and see what you got.

If the side you chose shows no cactus spines, congratulations! You have picked flowers successfully. Put the card in front of you in your collection.

If you picked up the card by an edge showing the cactus, then shout “Ouch!” and drop it quickly. Discard this card. It is out of the game.

Red cactus cards carry extra risk and extra reward. If you pick a red cactus and it stings you, you must discard a card from your collection. That’s the risk. The reward is, at the end of the game, the player with the most red flowers will score five extra points

You may also encounter some helpful animals in the desert. If you collect a card with a snake, watch the next player’s turn. If they are pricked by the card they choose, you get to add that card to your collection.

If a card you collect shows a fennec fox, you may choose to take another turn picking flowers. But be very careful! If you’re stuck by this card, you lose it, and the card with the fennec.

Whether you picked flowers, or got stuck by thorns, after your turn, draw another cactus card so that there are always six cards for the next player to choose from.

The game ends once someone has collected eight cards, or when there are no more cards in the draw pile. Then everyone adds up their scores.

  • You get one point for each flower on your cards.
  • You get 4 additional points for each bouquet of four different colored flowers you can make.
  • The player with the most red flowers gets 5 points. If tied, each player gets this bonus.

The player with the most points is the winner!

People play games for so many reasons. Some of us enjoy the thrill of competition. We get a charge out of besting our fellow players. 

Or maybe it’s the challenge of building up a tabletop empire – a kingdom, or business, or farm. We revel in creating a beautiful, efficient, or productive machine. 

Others love the challenge of playing cooperatively to solve a mystery, or beat back a pandemic. It’s us-against-the- game. Surviving or solving as a team is the reward.

Whatever the game, fun should be the ultimate prize. 

Ouch! delivers fun at its most basic level. This is fun we know deep in our bones – fun we can see and hear and touch.

The fun is in the look of relief on someone’s face when they pick a card and don’t get pricked. It’s in hearing a loud “Ouch!” from a smug opponent. You see this fun in the look of real apprehension as someone fearfully flips their card.

Which is silly, really. After all, those aren’t real thorns on the cactus plants. They’re just playing cards. And yet, you will find yourself smiling, and cringing, and shouting “OUCH!” as you play! 

Here’s why.

The game is just an object. But when it becomes an object of play, it becomes something more – an invitation to a world of imagination. We invest the cards in Ouch! with a power beyond mere cardboard. The game invites us to make believe, and the more you buy into that small illusion, the more fun we make the game.

A game can invite its audience to stop the “real” world. Come play and let’s find the fun. 

Most of the time, fun is hard to describe or know. The simple genius of Ouch! is that it helps us create fun we can recognize and surrender to in the blink of an eye… or the turn of a card. 

Ouch! allows us to lose ourselves in a simple lie and be silly for a few moments. The fun it gives us permission to find is evergreen – anyone of any age or background can find it. Ouch! delivers an experience far beyond a deck of cards. If you let it, the game will drop you off in a land we call Major Fun.

June 2022

Written by: Doug Richardson

Hide N’ Cheek

Hide N’ Cheek

Big G Creative | BGG

D: uncredited
A: Kevin Hill, Ryan Noonan
P: Big G Creative
2-4 players ages 6+ MSRP $20

Time to Teach/Learn: 2 minutes

You are a chipmunk. And you are one crafty little bugger! In your spare time you play a bluffing game with your friends. Deep in the forest, you take turns hiding acorns under some logs, and, one by one, you and your pals get a chance to search. You might scare up a single nut or you could hit the motherlode. Any nuts you find get crammed into your chubby little cheeks! Do your best to avoid coming up empty or, even worse, finding a bad nut! With a little luck, your cheeks will be the chunkiest. You might look silly, but you won’t mind at all, because you’ll be crowned the Hide n’ Cheek Champion!

No matter how many games you may own, it is a safe bet you probably don’t have any games with four flexible smiling chipmunk masks. The masks are adjustable for heads and faces large and small. The cheeks on each mask have a stretchy fabric pouch.

There are 40 plastic acorns (36 good ones and 4 bad ones) and 4 hollow logs – small plastic cups with wood grain texture.

To play, each player will don a chipmunk mask, gather all the nuts into a pile and get ready to laugh.

Each round, one player will hide nuts and the others will try to find them. The Finders shut their eyes while the Hider selects three nuts from the pile and decides how to arrange them under the logs. Once the nuts are hidden, the Hider mixes up the logs and presents them to the group. Eyes open, the Finders now, one by one in clockwise order, get a chance to look under a log and see if they find a nut. If a nut is found… wahoo! They take the nut and cram it into one of their cheek pouches. If the log is empty, better luck next time. The next player in order becomes the new Hider and repeats the process, selecting three nuts, hiding them, and the others taking turns searching.

Once per game, instead of selecting three nuts, each Hider can declare a Bad Nut round. Instead of placing three regular nuts, the Hider places a single green Bad Nut under one of the logs. Bad luck for the player who selects the log with the bad nut! They must give the Hider three nuts from their cheek pouches.

When the pile of nuts is gone, the player whose cheeks are cram-packed with the most nuts wins the game.

Without the ridiculous masks, Hide ‘n Cheek would be an amusing diversion at best.

It is physically impossible not to laugh once you see someone wearing a mask. If you ever wondered what you would look like as a demented cartoon animal, this is your chance! The masks are equal parts hilarious and horrifying. It is very very likely once you see the masks, you may feel self conscious and silly about putting one on. And in the era of pandemics, it is worth emphasizing that each and every mask should be sanitized between uses. But here’s the thing…

EVERYONE playing will be wearing the masks. You ALL share the experience of looking and feeling and even sounding ridiculous as you play the game. Crazy chipmunk voices are not only allowed; I say they are encouraged!

The masks are a perfect reminder to not take yourself, or others, or even the game too seriously. Wearing the mask literally conceals your you-ness. But wearing the mask also sets you free. It unites you with the other players. You all look silly. You can’t point and laugh at others without them pointing and laughing at you as your cheeks fill up with acorns.

Any game may gather a group at a table to play, but few can create a truly shared experience that makes winning or losing an afterthought. Hide n’ Cheek celebrates the fun of playing by poking gentle fun at the people playing. “Relax,” it says. “Take a beat. Take a deep breath and laugh at yourself.” Hide n’ Cheek wrestles us to the ground and makes us come to terms with the fact that play is an essentially absurd activity. But not without meaning or value. It is joyful, silly, freeing, and oh so human. A game like Hide N’ Cheek is Major Fun because it reminds us of this simple, noble truth.

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