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Episode 90: The Indoor Kids
Salute to Tabletop Games…
The Indoor KidsThe Indoor Kids

The Indoor Kids #90: Salute to Tabletop Games with Ivan Van Norman

In honor of Tabletop Day (which was Saturday), we invited King of the Nerds/Outbreak:Undead creator Ivan Van Norman on the show. As both a gamer and a tabletop gamer, Ivan schools us (and you) on the different types of tabletop games, what they offer that video games cannot, and what are the best way to dip your video gamer toe into the tabletop waters. Plus, we take a walk on the Burnside to give our first, spoiler-free impressions of Bioshock, play Twitter games, and more!

Fallout 3, Starcraft, Tomb Raider, BioShock Infinite, Lego City Undercover, God of War Ascension, Dead Space 3, Ruzzle, Ridiculous Fishing, Plague Inc.
Monopoly, Diplomacy, Vampire the Masquerade, Magic the Gathering, Risk, Pokémon cards, Super Top Trumps, Pogs, Hero Quest, D&D, Outbreak Undead, Call of Cthulhu, Dread
King of the Nerds, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Burning Love
The Shining

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  1. naturally like your web site but you need to take a look at the
    spelling on quite a few of your posts. A number
    of them are rife with spelling problems and I to find it very troublesome to inform the
    truth then again I’ll definitely come again again.

  2. ryangatts says:

    I can’t speak for dragons, but we actually value gold for mostly practical reasons.

    In antiquity, it was valued because it was considered to be a perfect metal (this in the bronze age) because it was easy to work and would never tarnish. It wasn’t a good tool metal, due to its rarity and softness, but it could be worked into complicated designs much more easily. Granted, it served more a symbolic purpose than a utilitarian one.

    In the modern age, though, we use it on satellites and astronaut helmets for its infrared shielding properties (it’s also nice that it can be manufactured thin enough to see through). It is one of the most conductive metals in the world and was used in the electronics of the manhattan project and other high failure cost electronics.

    Also, it has long been used in reconstructive dentistry because it’s hard enough to be useful in chewing, but soft enough not to damage the other teeth; and again, is non reactive and won’t tarnish or rust in your mouth.

  3. cdr says:


  4. asharkforexample says:

    Plague Inc. You guys, you don’t know the visceral, hand-trembling joy of devastating seven billion lives, especially when you combine sneezing and diarrhea and find out that it slows cure research because of “embarrassing accidents.”

  5. Darren says:

    I can’t believe no talk of the MGSV announcement/trailer! One of the biggest, most daring AAA games next to Grand Theft Auto and not even a mention in the news section.

    I guess welp?

  6. Conner says:

    You’re making me want to listen to Nerd Poker on Earwolf.

  7. s1yfox says:

    love the games you guys come up with at the end! would love to join in on the fun somehow 🙁

    Earth Ness Hound

    Dragon Ape: Origins

  8. Joshua Bryan Hammack says:

    Dread is a great survival horror game. There are no dice (at least the version I played) and all checks come from pulling from the Jenga tile. The only problem with the game is there is player elimination. Great episode. Also people may want to check out A quiet year, which is a Game Master Less RPG where people play a community in a post apocalyptic world. You create a map by the end of the session. Would have loved to have had more board games in it. Burnside thanks for the Bioshock recommendation last week. Will get it after such a glowing mini review. Too bad I am still player Witcher 2!

  9. Ben Clarkson says:

    When Emily said her friends played Vampire I clapped my hands in glee at the gothness of it.

  10. amysrevenge says:

    HEY! My own chief area of nerdery, largely outside the new mainstream geek worlds of Nerdist (and Geek and Sundry) is slowly elbowing its way in.

    By this I mean miniature games – I’ll name the company even if your guest didn’t – it’s Games Workshop, the proud owners of thousands of my hobby dollars.

    With the addition of On the Table over at G&S my nerd corner isn’t completely neglected, but it’s still pretty sparse out there…

  11. Joshua Bryan Hammack says:

    Really looking forward to this episode. I play table top games more than video games. Why? Because you get together with your friends. You can escape. You can use your brains. Whatever play style that suits you. Well I will now listen to the episode.

  12. Jeff MacDonald says:

    Forgot to say, great episode. Ivan was great. Getting more game designers on the show would be awesome.

  13. Jeff MacDonald says:

    Giant Magic: The Gathering nerd here. Wanted to point out that Ivan’s info on the game was slightly incorrect. He mentioned the most expensive card as Black Lotus, which is correct, except that now it goes for over $1,000 (3,000 for the rarest version). Also, there are different formats of MTG which are all played competitively at tournaments, some of which you can only use the cards from the past 2 years, and others where you can use most older cards as well.

    Sorry, this is my biggest hobby (so much so that I have a podcast about it: for those interested) so my head would have exploded without me correcting the mistakes.

  14. John says:

    My friends and I have gotten into Settlers of Catan. Going even further, I downloaded the game on my Xbox and play real people/the computer. I don’t consider myself a board-game fan, but the game is enthralling.

  15. Alec says:

    Speaking of survival horror games, there’s an RPG title whose development I’ve been following, called Dead State. It’s very much a Zombie Choices type of game- do you look for reinforcements for your stronghold, or morale-boosting luxuries like candy? If you meet an aggressive human trying to loot the same store as you, do you try to take them out quickly with a gun, or are you more concerned with attracting the outside horde?

    It has one of the main writers from VtM: Bloodlines working on it, and that was one of the best written games of the last decade.

  16. Xeroz says:

    That intro was fkin hillarious. Awkward, but still funny as hell.

    As to the ‘king of the nerds’ show, It really lost me by making the ppl come up with their own ‘original’ cosplay characters. (And, yes I know this was probably due to possible copyright/licence issues… but surely a good lawyer could have come up with a disclaimer to get around that.)
    But, this is where I really didn’t watch anymore. I mean of all the nerds out there, not all are into cosplay. And the ones really into it, have a favorite character from any number of sources that they would cosplay as.
    Anyway, hopefully they’ll be a little more lax in the future of that show. I doubt it, but I guess it’s possible. Although, I imagine they’ll only let them use DC/Marvel or any other ‘American’ comic or animation characters.
    Sorry for the long rant, but this is just my opinion on that 1 part of the podcast.

  17. Daniel says:

    Wow, Ivan was a great guest.

    I loved the mention of Call of Cthulhu, a game I haven’t played in more than twenty years. It had one of the funniest game mechanics ever — the Sanity Check. Upon encountering something horrible and failing the Sanity Check, players could lose points from their Sanity stat and potentially do everything from panicking to going into a catatonic state.

    I didn’t find this episode’s Twitter game funny though. The answers might have been great if they had occurred spontaneously, but just rattling a list of them off? I understand the Twitter game is a nice way to involve fans of the podcast, but the answers have to be something that will stand on their own. As an example, perhaps worst hypothetical pick up lines by game characters?

  18. jhg says:

    should check out some of the virtual tabletop software out there. i’ve been learning maptools at to play some DnD. combined with skype/teamspeak it’s pretty good for setting up long distance versions if like me, most of your friends live in far off spots as adults. there are several options out there besides maptools, but personally I like the customizing it offers.

  19. Liam says:

    Top Trumps! We have those in Britain. You do just play them by comparing numbers for a different stat on the card each turn. I used to have a load of different ones when I was a kid – there were superhero and horror ones but also ones that were just cars or planes or other stuff small boys got obsessed with

  20. Zombeast says:

    Thought up Half-Life shrew whilst listening to the podcast.

  21. Kelsey L says:

    After five years of playing MMOs together, my friends and I, are slowly moving away from video games when we play together. We still have a few we play but most of our attention has been brought to tabletop games. All of us have varied experiences with them, some are new to the concept while others have been playing since middle school. The allure of seeing your friends face to face for a couple hours really makes it all worth something. When it was brought up in the podcast that pen and paper games allow you to see who your friends really are I began thinking. It wasn’t long before I realized how true that statement really is. The games we play really seem to bring out the best and worst sides of us. It’s really interesting thing to see.

  22. erratic gorilla says:

    “I shouldn’t have to do this without Emily.” Epic Intro! That was a nail-biter. Loved it.

    It’s kind of unfortunate, but understandable, that Shadowrun didn’t come up in this episode.
    Shadowrun started as (and still is) a pen & paper RPG, had individual Genesis and SNES games, I got interested in the world and concept when the short lived Shadowrun CCG (Customizable Card Game) came out, and the Shadowrun Returns video game should be coming out this year after a successful Kickstarter campaign.
    To me, the Shadowrun world is a great setting for a video game, or any kind of game. It’s future cyberpunk, crime and fantasy. What other world has cyborg street samurai, Matrix hacking, gangs, orcs and dragons, and a dystopian future city? I love the all-inclusive, gonzo style of using disparate fantasy elements in one world.

    The game:
    Grand Theft Otter
    Red Squid Redemption
    Super Street Flounder 4
    BorderLambs 2
    Dog Space 3
    Kittens of Amalur: Reckoning

  23. Daniel says:

    Man, I love the Hero Quest stories. I’m another nerdy dude that was drawn into the world of D&D and fantasy games via HQ, though I haven’t yet gotten into the broader world of tabletop gaming.

  24. Ivan Van Norman says:

    And yes, I <3 Farscape 🙂

  25. BTW, if you are looking for my Twitter its @Hydra_Lord

  26. bastien says:

    Is… is that John Crichton’s vest?

  27. itsAlrightPodcast says:

    Don’t skip the intro ad…it’s a lovely funny solo Kumail mini-masterpiece of addy comedy…loved it! Laughed at it!

  28. Ben Z says:

    Ivan was one of my favorites!

  29. Andrew says:

    Not sure if there was an intentional reference to this sketch in the episode or if the similarities were purely coincidence, but I couldn’t help thinking of this when the topics of dragons and cash-for-gold shops came up. Surely, many people have had a similar idea.

    In case people haven’t seen this:
    Mitchell & Webb are hilarious.

  30. Jacob says:

    Ivan! Ahh, I was rooting for him the whole time on King of the Nerds. Hope you’re doing well, man!