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Bush’s Board Game Thing Episode 5: The Loneliness of Pandas

Bush's Board Game Thing Episode Five

Bush's Board Game Thing Episode FiveWelcome back to the Zatu blog for another podcast recap. Today we’ll be giving you all the highlights from Bush’s Board Game Thing Episode 5. Bush’s Board Game Thing sees Andy Bush celebrating the wonderful world of board games and the experience of gaming with friends Jess Temby and Brian Murphy. Each week, expect passion, enthusiasm, and multiple trips through gaming wormholes. This podcast is powered by Zatu – we’re making sure the board game cogs keep on turning. Every week, I’ll be bringing you the best bits here on the blog and letting you shop the podcast! Today, we’re recapping Bush’s Board Game Thing Episode 5.

On last week’s episode of Bush’s Board Game Thing, Andy, Jess and Brian were talking about transportation games. Despite being back in lockdown, we were hitting the road with Flamme Rouge and Ticket to Ride to beat the lockdown blues. If you haven’t already listened to the previous four episodes of Bush’s Board Game Thing, you can click here to catch up on your favourite streaming service.

This week, continuing on the lockdown theme, we’re looking at games you can play online, over Zoom, and even solo. Bush’s Board Game Thing Episode 5 is a lockdown special!

Playing Board Games Online

Listener Jill sent us a message this week asking a very good question. She lives in a remote area and doesn’t have any board game friends nearby, so she wants to know about games she can play online. While we’re in lockdown, it’s pretty much impossible to play games with anyone outside of our households or bubbles. Luckily, that doesn’t mean we have to miss out entirely on our favourite hobby.

Our trio recently played Takenoko online using Board Game Arena. This is a browser-based collection of board games which allows you to play with friends and family online. It works best when you have a call going in the background so that you can communicate with your fellow players.

Takenoko is a fantastic game for 2-4 players. The aim of the game is to grow bamboo to feed an adorable, hungry panda. Jess admits that she wasn’t quite sure what was actually going on for much of the game. However, with a last-minute realisation, she was able to take the virtual game by storm and win! For those of you who have been following the podcast and the blog closely, you’ll know that this marks the end of Brian’s reign as undefeated champion! But what did our trio think of playing board games virtually?

Virtual vs. Real Life

Andy, Jess, and Brian agreed that it was amazing to be able to play during lockdown. Resources like Board Game Arena are a godsend for board game fans while we can’t meet up with our usual groups. Of course, it’s not quite a substitute for playing a board game in real life. For example, Jess said that even after playing a board game online, she would probably want to go out and get a physical copy of the game to play in real life too.

Andy made another great point. Takenoko is particularly famous for its gorgeous components, which are a huge part of any board game’s appeal. Rendering a game online can’t really hope to do those components justice. However, until we can all gather around the same table again, online resources are a lifeline for board game fans around the world!

Choosing your next Board Game - Takenoko

Board Games for One

During lockdown, lots of us have had to get used to spending time by ourselves. For people who are used to being busy and not getting a moment to themselves, this has been a big learning curve. As a result, many board game fans have been turning to solo gaming. To some people, the idea of playing a board game by yourself might seem odd. To Andy, however, it’s no different from sitting and playing Candy Crush on your phone!

In Bush’s Board Game Thing Episode 5, Andy and co. recommend some great games to play with just one player.

Escape the Dark Sector is an excellent sci-fi adventure game with gorgeous components. You play as the crew of a starship, taken captive on a distant space station. Your aim is to find your ship and escape. This game is a great introduction to role-playing games.

Meanwhile, Robinson Crusoe challenges you to survive on an idyllic but deadly desert island. The game is suitable for 1-4 players, perfect for solo play during lockdown. Andy, Jess, and Brian discussed whether they would survive by themselves on a desert island. How long do you think you would last if you had to hunt your own food and build your own shelter? Anyone who is an only child like Jess might have a big advantage here, being used to spending time by themselves.

Flying Solo

Here at Bush’s Board Game Thing, we love hearing from listeners. This week, the one and only Keala Settle (star of The Greatest Showman) got in touch to recommend some board games! So, there you go – you’re in very good company, dear listener.

For Bush’s Board Game Thing Episode 5, we asked you: what in life is better when you’re by yourself?

Dave wrote in to say he prefers travelling alone – and Jess definitely agrees. The airport faff isn’t nearly so bad when you’re on your own. Meanwhile, Zach got in touch and said that cooking is definitely best when you’re alone. According to Brian, cooking is a military operation, much better without people around to distract you.

If you’d like to be mentioned in future episodes of the podcast, make sure to give us a follow on Instagram. Send in your questions and comments – we love to read them.

Brian’s Board Game Fact of the Week

Once again, it’s time for Brian’s Board Game Fact of the Week. After last week’s stunning revelation about Columbo and Trivial Pursuit, we’re all excited to hear Brian’s fascinating fact.

Well, after a collective Tiger King obsession last lockdown, this time everybody seems to be watching The Queen’s Gambit. As you may know, this is a hit Netflix series about chess, which is why this week’s fact is chess-themed. Did you know that the Queen was originally one of the weakest pieces on the board? Nowadays, it’s one of the most versatile pieces, with the ability to move any number of spaces in any direction. However, once upon a time, the Queen wasn’t called the Queen at all, but rather the King’s advisor, with moves almost as limited as a pawn. All of that changed when Queen Isabella came to power in Spain. The Queen piece became a companion to the King and was suddenly the most powerful piece on the board, in homage to the new ruler of Spain. Thanks, Brian!


More Solo Games for Board Game Lovers

There are so many great games that you can play by yourself during lockdown. Escape room games are becoming more and more popular – just like real-life escape rooms. This week, Jess played one of the Unlock! Escape Adventures games. She did encounter some challenges in setting everything up and getting to grips with how the game works. However, once everything clicked, the experience of completing the game matched the feeling of excitement that you get in a real-life escape room. The companion app on your phone will give you hints and challenges along the way. Can you escape within the hour?

Shut The Box is another classic solo game – one which Brian has had great fun with this week. It consists of a wooden box with nine numbered flaps and 2 dice. The aim is to put down all the flaps and (you guessed it) shut the box. You do this by rolling the dice. If you roll a 5 and a 3, for example, you could put down the 8 flap, or the 5 and the 3, or the 7 and the 1 etc. If you run out of possible moves, you start again. Brian says it’s super simple but incredibly addictive.

Finally for Bush’s Board Game Thing Episode 5, we have The Lost Expedition. This is a gorgeously drawn card game from British publisher Osprey Games. It follows in the footsteps of explorer Percy Fawcett, who disappeared looking for the lost city of El Dorado in Brazil. This game presents an amazing challenge, with some truly agonising decisions along the way. Can you survive the jungle?

If these solo games have caught your eye, you can find a whole bunch more in our guide to solo gaming.

Until We Meet Again

That’s all for Bush’s Board Game Thing Episode 5. We’ll see you again next week for another episode of the podcast and another recap right here on the Zatu blog.

As always, you can find every game that Andy, Jess, and Brian have mentioned on the podcast right here in our Podcast Approved collection.

Happy lockdown gaming. Stay safe!