Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson Will Not Seek Reelection, Brewers Hold Steady, The Best Board Games And Card Games For Summer

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Milwaukee Brewers’ Jonathan Villar tags out St. Louis Cardinals’ Yairo Munoz at second as he is caught stealing during the fifth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, May 30, 2018, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

If board games have fallen off your radar for a while, it may be time to tune back in. We talk to a game expert about the latest, the classics, and the slightly obscure games you might give a try this summer. We also take a look at the Brewer’s season thus far and we’ll discuss the tenure of Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson in light of her decision to not seek reelection next year.

Featured in this Show

  • Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson Will Not Seek Reelection

    Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson announced Wednesday she will not seek reelection in 2019. Justice Abrahamson has the distinction of being the first woman appointed to the state’s highest court and is its longest-serving member. We speak with Aaron Weinschenk, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, about Abrahamson’s tenure with the court.

  • What's Behind The Brewers' Fast Start In 2018?

    At two months into the season, the Milwaukee Brewers have the best record in the National League. We look at what’s been driving their success and whether they can keep it up.

  • Roll The Dice This Summer With These Board Game Recommendations

    When it comes to resolving boredom with board games, Margaret Rasmussen of I’m Board! Games & Family Fun in Middleton has other ideas for summer fun that extend beyond Candy Land’s Princess Lolly and Clue’s Miss Scarlet.

    With many developed board games requiring a bit of strategy, other newcomers are primed for parties or sourced from originals and offer something to pique all players’ interests, Rasmussen said.

    This desire of people getting back to the simplicity offered by board games that were once thought to be eclipsed by the excitement over electronics has been noticed by the industry, which last year published more than 3,000 new games, Rasmussen said. Bloomberg reported United States sales of board games increased 7 percent from the previous year to $1.1 billion.

    “Facebook used to be fun, email used to be fun, and now it’s yet another chore you have to do,” she said. “And there’s something to be said for sitting down across the table from someone and actually interacting with a human being. And that’s what board games do.”

    Fantasy games such as Dungeons and Dragons are making a comeback, Rasmussen said, which she linked to the popularity of the Netflix series, “Stranger Things.” Players also have an appetite for cooperative games, such as Pandemic, which pits teammates against the game itself.

    Rasmussen recommends rolling the dice with these games this summer:

    Strategy Games

    Ticket to Ride:

    Developed in 2004, Ticket to Ride has been dubbed the gateway to strategy games that take more thought than just rolling the dice.

    “There’s a lot more different strategies that you’re going to be doing,” Rasmussen said about strategy games that have gained in popularity over the past decade. “It’s one of those things where you can play the game over and over again, but it might be different every time that you’re playing it.”


    Catan, formerly called Settlers of Catan. Kim Laurenson (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

    Formerly called Settlers of Catan, this strategy game has players earning resource cards that they trade in to build roads, settlements and cities, with the winner being the first to earn 10 points.

    Created in Germany, this game was first marketed in 1995.

    BoardGameGeek recommends four players for this game, which is estimated to take one-to-two hours to complete.

    “New people are still being brought into the hobby with that one,” Rasmussen said of Catan.

    She said it’s a great option to introduce to friends and family who aren’t familiar with strategy games.

    The game has numerous expansion packs as well.

    Puerto Rico

    Puerto Rico board game. PGuiri (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

    Tasked with developing Puerto Rico, players in this game have to ship goods back to Europe or build in order to get points.

    For two to five players and a projected time span of 90 to 150 minutes, this is an example of Euro games that venture away from the Axis-Allies World War II games that Rasmussen said Germany is “sensitive” to because of its history.

    These colonial and farming games — another example is Carcassonne — are now being developed in all countries, Rasmussen said.

    “So it’s more of a style game now versus the actual location of where they come from,” she said.

    Another strategy game Rasmussen suggested is Dominion, which also includes numerous expansion options.

    Party Games

    The Resistance: Avalon

    Similar to The Resistance, Avalon sets up players into two teams without you knowing who’s on your team, this version is set in the era of King Arthur.

    “Who’s your friend and who’s your enemy? You don’t know; that’s what you’re figuring out as you go through ” Rasmussen said.

    An option for five to 10 players, this game is estimated to take about 30 minutes to get through.

    Players are either loyal or evil. Loyal players win the game by completing three quests, which, if incomplete, result in evil winning.


    With its own take on the popular Apples to Apples game, Dixit has players piecing together sentences. One player, who is the storyteller, creates a sentence using the cards in his or her hand. The storyteller doesn’t show their cards but shares the sentence with the other players. The other players then put cards down that they think best match the sentence. The storyteller shuffles the cards from the other players and includes their card in that shuffle. Now, other players have to guess which card belongs to the storyteller to get points.


    A team-based game, Codenames takes about 15 minutes to play and pits two teams against one another to see who can connect with their agents first.

    “I’ve played it with 20-plus people; I’ve also played it with four, so it’s got a nice, wide breadth,” Rasmussen said of this word association game.

    Wisconsin Designers

    Role Player:

    Designed by Keith Matejka, this fantasy game played among one to four players in a 60- to 90-minute time frame. The rules of the game require players to design the “perfect hero,” according to BoardGameGeek, by rolling dice to define the characters’ attributes. An expansion for this game, Role Player: Monsters and Minions, was released this year.


    Gearworks by designer Kirk Dennison is expected to be released sometime this summer, Rasmussen said. For two to four players, this game has “machinists” attempting to fix gears that have broken by putting cards into a grid.


    The board game designed by Kane Klenko is a 10-minute community game that was released in 2015, is working on a few new releases, Rasmussen said.

    Starving Artists:

    This is from another Wisconsin designer, Mike Wokasch, and asks players to use their turn to buy canvases, paint and sell their canvases to avoid starving.

    Other Options

    Rasmussen said some favorite options for players who like horror themes are Beytrayal at House on the Hill and Mansions of Madness, Second Edition. Mansions of Madness allows users to download an application for the game that handles some of the bookkeeping associated with it.

    “That’s another big thing that’s happening now is the technologies being added,” she said.

    Family games such as Machi Koro, Stratego and Tokaido are also options Rasmussen recommended, though her favorite is the bean-farming game Bohnanza.

  • Board Games To Play This Summer

    If the first board game that comes to your mind is “The Game of Life” (1860) or “Battleship” (1969), there may be room for some newer titles on your shelf. Board and card games can be great activities when seeing old friends this summer, or entertaining kids for a few hours. Wisconsin is even home to lots of game crafters and creators. We talk to a board game expert about choosing the right games to play this summer.

Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • J. Carlisle Larsen Producer
  • Bill Martens Producer
  • Natalie Guyette Producer
  • Aaron Weinschenk Guest
  • Tom Haudricourt Guest
  • Margaret Rasmussen Guest