Santa Toad is coming to town

W Updated
Santa Toad is coming to town
There Will Be Games

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This game gets played but once per year… As the weather gets cooler in the U.S. and we get closer to year end, you can feel the excitement in the air. Yes, boy and girls, it is almost that time of year. Santa Toad is coming to town.

Every year, specifically on the day Thanksgiving is celebrated, I will break out my copy of Dirk Henn’s Shogun. (Editor’s Note: Never let the facts get in the way of a good intro. Besides, I didn’t like the sound of Turkey Toad.) My kid’s will eagerly gather around the table while my wife scoffs. My youngest daughter will restate that this is her absolute favorite game. I will have prepared for this moment as I always do, by rewatching a couple of rule explanation videos. We’ll delight, as we always do, at the cube tower. I’ll set up the game and we’ll debate who gets what color…as long as I get black.

The start will be a bit rocky, as everyone slowly remembers the rules. As the smell of the Thanksgiving feast being prepared wafts over the tables, we will ironically complain that there is simply never enough food in this game. The rounds pick up speed, as everyone finds their groove back. After a few hours, a new champion will arise. They will stride over to the chalk scoreboard on the kitchen pantry door and write their name as reigning champion of Shogun. The players involved in the game will insist the game went quickly, while those sitting on the sidelines, will tend to disagree. Finally, this Wallenstein retheme will be returned to the shelf with much less fanfare that when it was pulled out. There it will reside, most likely, until next year.

It’s not a conscious decision not to play it until next Thanksgiving. But there always seems to be something new to play, something that plays quicker, or something else that I’d like to play in order to review it. I picked up the Big Box edition from someone who, more than likely, had the same issue getting it to the table consistently. Maybe if, cube tower notwithstanding, it was more exciting in appearance it would get the benefit of a few more plays. It can be a hard sell to the uninitiated when it is a huge map, tons of cubes, and a three hour play time (your mileage may vary). I genuinely enjoy this game, and have no plans to purge it from my collection. You can call it a shelf toad, or as I have dubbed it “Santa Toad,” because I know I will play it at least once a year on my holiday break….and I’m cool with that.
There Will Be Games

Wade MonnigSubscrive to Wade Monnig Follow Wade Monnig Message Wade Monnig


Board Game Reviewer

In west Saint Louis born and raised
Playing video games is where I spent most of my days
Strafing, Dashing, Adventuring and Looting
Writing reviews between all the Shooting
When a couple of guys reminded me what was so good
About playing games with cardboard and Wood,
Collecting Victory Points and those Miniatures with Flair
It’s not as easy as you think to rhyme with Bel Air.

Wade is the former editor in chief for Silicon Magazine and former senior editor for He currently enjoys his games in the non-video variety, where the odds of a 14 year old questioning the legitimacy of your bloodline is drastically reduced.

“I’ll stop playing as Black when they invent a darker color.”

Articles by Wade

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WadeMonnig's Avatar
WadeMonnig replied the topic: #284330 22 Oct 2018 13:27
He sees you when you're sleeping, I knows when you're awake. But, mostly, he just stares at you awaiting that one time a year when he gets to shine.
Jackwraith's Avatar
Jackwraith replied the topic: #284332 22 Oct 2018 14:13

WadeMonnig wrote: He sees you when you're sleeping, I knows when you're awake. But, mostly, he just stares at you awaiting that one time a year when he gets to shine.

This is like Steve Martin's old routine about the Crimestoppers:

"Let's repeat the Crimestoppers oath!"
"I promise not to bully my friends!" (Crowd: I promise not to bully my friends!)
"I promise not to leave my keys in the car!" (I promise not to leave my keys in the car!)
"I promise not to depreciate non-taxable items brought forth from the previous tax year! (random mumbling and laughter)