Yes, we’re still bored as hell.

Welcome to The [BLANK] Jones …

On today’s show, The Jones roll the dice and give in to a wave of board game nostalgia. What’s the world’s most underrated/overrated board games? Should Trivial Pursuit be banned at family gatherings? Why should Connect Four become a team sport? All that, plus humming obscure tunes, DVD add-ons, missing Mouse Trap pieces, and a rousing game of Hedbanz played live before your very ears!

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Comments (54)

  1. Depending on the people that you’re playing with, the worst and most frustrating board game has to be Apples to Apples. Have any of you folks played it? Personally, I fucking hate playing with people that actually try to match the noun/adjective instead of going with funny combinations. What a bunch of fun-sucking assholes.

    If you ever get the chance, play Cards Against Humanity. It’s kind of the same principal, but mixed with potentially offensive cards. It’s fantastic.

  2. Cards Against Humanity also requires the right kind of people. I love that game, but you need to not be a person who gets easily offended to play that game.

  3. Good show, I was going for Kate Blanchett or Kate Beckinsale, (KB my personal favorite)
    Worst thing about Cranium is playing it with a teammate who’s english is a second language and doesn’t know a damn thing about western pop culture, but it can actually make the game more fun. Also can be fun when artistically challenged players mold clay figures that are supposed to be an animal but look like a toilet bowl. Not sure if it’s classified as a board game since it uses a cup but liars dice is a glaring omission. If you get bored with regular chess, try scramble chess sometime. It requires changing the starting position of all the pieces and frustrates the hell out of chess snobs!

  4. I’m listening to the episode as I type this, and I have to say that as much as I am looking forward to the start of the season and the return of The Basketball Jones, I am definitely going to miss these blank jones episodes.

    Matt and Leigh are great in these episodes (as well, of course, as the tbj hosts and blogger/ stand behind the desk & update bro) and the topics have all been really fun. Would you ever think of slipping the odd blank jones in during the season? The day after a one game (Bucks vs Bobcats) night in February, perhaps?

  5. JD too. It’s cool to hear him on these episodes too.

  6. Grape Escape, defs:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlrx2tnSw0U

    Also, surprised by the lack of love for Jenga (unless that doesn’t count as a board game?). You can make some good drinking games with that.

  7. I like card games better than board games. Here’s my top favorites:

    1. Munchkin: http://www.worldofmunchkin.com/

    I call it “the card game to end all card games,” because after I’ve played it I need to play it or games like it, and games that are too simple won’t do. It’s very complex, but the complexity gives you freedom to bend the rules quite a bit, or to find creative ways to play combinations of cards to benefit you and screw over everyone else. I used to play every week, sometimes twice, with a couple groups of friends.

    2. Fluxx: http://www.looneylabs.com/games/fluxx

    I have a Fluxx deck on me at all times; it’s that kind of game where you can play a round really fast to kill the time. The rules are always changing so you have to pay attention.

    3. Bohnanza: http://www.riograndegames.com/games.html?id=36

    You wouldn’t think a game themed around bean farming would be fun, but it is. It’s an economy type game, like a low-key Monopoly, but more based on chance. Still, you get a little of the trading/bargaining element you have in Monopoly without the extremely long play times and guaranteed disintegration of long-standing friendships.

  8. Hold on. Matt was talking about the DVD video board game called “The Gatekeeper,” not “MindTrap.”

    • AtmosFear is hilariously cheesy to revisit.

      I’ll second the love for Quelf, but another (obscure) great game no one has mentioned is 13 Dead End Drive, which is basically the exact opposite of Clue. You start in a house where a rich old lady has just died, and the first person to make it outside alive wins the inheritance. The game even has Mousetrap-style deathtraps to send game pieces flying across the room when appropriate. When everybody’s into it, it’s really fun.

  9. Big fan of more obscure board games.

    Ever play Betrayal at House on the Hill? Probably the most fun game I’ve played. That along with Pandemic, Bang!, and Hex Hex are my favorites. Super time consuming, but really fun.

    Oh! And Quelf. Gotta play Quelf with the right people.

    • Posted below before refreshing for new comments, but yes. Quelf. See my post for reasons why.

    • nerdy board games are the best. although i didn’t expect them to cover games like agricola, dungeon lords, ra, or race for the galaxy, i’m happy that they play games nonetheless. and betrayal at house on the hill is a good time. most recent favorite party game: zero (for trivia) or dixit (for creativity and in jokes)

  10. Three words: Hungry Hungry Hippos

  11. My family and friends are really into board games. Last Thanksgiving my mom’s friend stayed late and played Monopoly with us. My mom and I were pressuring her so much to trade with one of us she just got up and said, “I got to go!”, and got up and left. haha It was great… we felt bad for 5 seconds and all just kept on playing.

  12. No honorable mention for Stratego!? Most underrated by far…

    I also had a Monopoly-styled game that I think was called Solarquest that I loved even though I didn’t like Monopoly so much. The premise was the same, with Pluto and Charon as your Boardwalk and Park Place… I learned a lot of the moons that way… Man, it sounds kind of dorky when I try to explain it now as a grown man…

  13. I vote for Quelf as a underrated/new game. Only game created for children that I can think of that caused a friend of mine to break his ankle and 2 girls to kiss.

  14. You guys realize there’s this whole other world to explore when it comes to board games? Try getting into some of the Euro board games. Here are a list of my favorites:

    Carcassonne
    Stone Age
    Ticket to Ride
    Shadows Over Camelot

    If I had to pick a favorite traditional American board game, I would definitely go with Risk.

    Also, worst game ever in my opinion is Apples to Apples. I get pissed when judges don’t pick the right (and obvious) card that fits the word. This is the only game that make me angry, and getting angry is the opposite of what a board game is suppose to do.

    Finally, I would have really liked to hear you guys play Dungeons and Dragon at the end. That would have been hilarious!

    • Someone picking a stupid card in Apples to Apples is the best part of that game. Opinions are funny.

      • Apples to Apples is fine if you don’t consider it a game but rather more of a social activity. There really isn’t a way to win, which is fine if you accept that going into it. If you think of it as something to do with your friends that can both facilitate conversation and work as a catalyst for drunkenness, you’ll have a great time.

      • When judging I nearly always go for the most random possible choice. The Helen Keller card is incredibly clutch for this reason.

  15. Apples to Apples is the most overrated game

  16. Any of you nerdlings ever play Settlers of Catan? Great game that never takes too long.

    • I’d be interested to play Settles of Catan. I’ve heard good things. I think I also went on record last year as saying that not learning how to play Dungeons & Dragons was a huge childhood regret.

      • Yes you should play Settlers of Catan. It is nothing like D &D , super easy to learn and games don’t last very long (maybe an hour). I highly recommend buying it.

  17. Then there are also the world domination games like Risk or Diplomacy. Just when you thought they were your friends.

  18. Great podcast, as always guys.

    My favorite traditional board game is definitely Scrabble, though I am a dab hand at Risk.

    As a kid, my fave game was Hero Quest–it was like a Milton Bradley take on Dungeons and Dragons that was great.

    Now, I really am getting into this Game of Thrones board game. It’s a little like Risk, a little like Settlers of Catan. Super fun, for sure! (in my Trey Kerby voice)

    • I still have my copy of Hero Quest (really worn down). As a kid I painted the figures to make it seem more realistic. Definitely a great fantasy game that doesn’t require the depth of D&D.

  19. Hey,
    A little off topic as what follows is not a board game. Still I couldn’t help sharing with you the popinator. Well, it’s only a game if you manage to put it ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1cz8IasV4w ) in Greg Popovic’s office.

    Great offseason work guys!

  20. Whats wrong with some good old fashioned Pictionary?!

  21. jumanji. definitely jumanji.

  22. I love Scattergories because I almost always win. Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit are up there as well. Over-rated? Mastermind! Even more banal than Battleship. Operation is pretty over-rated as well, sort of falls into the Mousetrap category.

  23. Surprised by some of the hate for Apples to Apples. Love that game if you got the right group of witty assholes to play along.

    My fave underrated game is Wits & Wagers. There will always be someone that thinks he knows every answer that inevitably is the furthest off. But the best board game is Risk. What better conclusion to winning a game then Global Domination?!

  24. Even Kermit Washington would wince at the sucker punch Trey gave the Scene It franchise. Great mix of group play and solo/team work, and the DVD load times just allow for more trash talking.

  25. No love for snakes and ladders?

  26. If you guys like Risk, you need to try out Axis and Allies. It is like Risk, just way better and a little more complicated.
    Pictionary is the best large group game. We always play everything as an “All-Play” because that way everyone is involved every play, and you can try to cheat off the other teams, etc. Way better.

  27. Where was the Trivial Pursuit family gathering discussion? Did I just miss it?

  28. Mental Floss is a great trivia game. Faster and more fun than Trivial Pursuit.

    I think Monopoly is the most overrated. Takes forever and the end of the game drags on even after everyone knows who’s going to win.

    On Apples to Apples: I think it just has the most variance. Can be fantastic or horrible depending on the crowd. I like it best when the judge goes one or two levels deep–not the most obvious surface-level fit, but not totally arbitrary and disconnected and meaningless either.

  29. We have photo evidence to confirm that Team Connect Four was indeed 4-on-3 at Rogue in Portland. It was fantastic.

  30. So glad to hear Skeets remember Fireball Island. That game was crazy fun and apparently very rare now. The stupid little plastic jewel from the game sells for like 12 bucks alone now.

  31. I can almost guarantee that I’d be able to beat any of you guys in connect 4. There’s definitely a right way to start the game out and it’s not as easy as it seems. There was an iPhone app called Link4 (the app constantly crashes now because the company behind it stopped updating it) where you can play anyone online. They had leaderboards and kept stats like winning streaks and your win loss record. I had about a 700-300 record.
    My point is that it’s not a game that’s easy like you guys said.

  32. Great show, as usual.

    Poleconomy was a board game I loved (geek alert), which was like Monopoly but sold companies rather than properties… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poleconomy

    It may have only been in Australia/New Zealand though, but I notice there was a Canadian edition.

  33. Show was hilarious.

  34. I live in Seoul and I went to KFC checked out their version of The Colonel. Looks the same I think but then again they love them some white people eyes.

  35. A little late here, but I’d like to chime in with a story of a board game fight.

    My wife and I were at a friend’s house with several other couples, some of which we knew and others that we did not. We started playing Scattegories. I was drunk. Most other people were not (lames!).

    Anyway, the category is “famous duos or trios” and the letter is “g.” Would you believe that some woman, who i did not know, tried to pull of “Golden Girls?” GTFO. And, an especially egregious offense as she was trying to steal double points with the G alliteration.

    I started calmly, ” that’s not going to work; there are 4 of them.” This woman then proceeds to argue that Sophia is not one of the “Golden Girls” and that the group is really 3 (none of which could dream of fucking with Mona, but that’s another story). …Wait, what? No, that’s just absurd. In fact, she’s the “star” of the show.

    What’s worse is other people are actually persuaded by her argument. Anyway, I do not take this well. There’s lots of cursing and insults flying – now I’m getting mad at her supporters too. …Maybe you are doing this just to fuck with me, but if we are going to play the game, we”re going to play the game. You had your laughs, now cross that shit out and let’s keep fucking playing.

    …Well, whatever, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. My wife was rather upset. Ironically, I was also upset with her because she is a huge Golden Girls fan and I didn’t feel she defended my position adamantly enough – if anybody know how patently absurd that answer was it was her.

    /Cool story, bro
    //Still better than the Leigh Ellis story about the girl he had the crush on

  36. Have you guys tried Imaginiff? It’s a pretty hilarious game. Basically you put 8 names on the board and roll the dice. Whoever comes up pulls a card and everyone answers the question (i.e. If Skeets were a traffic sign, what would he be?). The consensus wins the round.

    I also am wondering why all these bad board game experiences all seem to happen in a cottage or a cabin?

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