Victoria Fraser (she/her) is a freelance writer and podcaster. She has worked on several podcasts, most notably Boardgame B*tch where she reviews board games and has all sorts of fun board game badassery.
I recently had the privilege to be a guest on Boardgame B*tch to discuss one of my favorite table top games: Wingspan! Check out the episode now on the Podcast delivery site of your choice: Apple | Spotify | Google Podcast. I wanted to get to know Victoria a little more, and she kindly agreed to chat with me about her history playing games and some recommendations of board games that I’m eager to try out!
Victoria, you host the podcast Boardgame B*tch where you discuss the rules and playability of table top board games. What prompted you to create Boardgame B*tch?
I got into podcasting during university through the UBC Creative Writing program. We had to focus on three different genres; although I mostly took classes in children’s writing, comics, and poetry, during the last semester I took a podcasting class. Honestly, I hadn’t really listened to a podcast before that class! I knew about radio plays and radio dramas, though, so I thought it would be fun.
That class made me fall in love with podcasts! My classmates recommended some of their favorites, like “Spirits,” “Serial,” and “The Adventure Zone.” We had to make practice podcasts for school, which made me want to start a podcast of my own. From the very beginning, I wanted to host a podcast about board games because they’re one of my favorite things to talk about. But it wasn’t the right timing at that point. Instead, two years ago, my friend Allie and I started I Like Your Dress where we reviewed Vancouver-based restaurants, festivals, and other things. That’s how I became connected to the Cave Goblin Network.
A year ago I started freelancing and focusing on my business, and that left less time for our podcast. I stepped away, but couldn’t stop dreaming about that original idea of a board game podcast. When my life felt a little more balanced, I decided to give it a try. Boardgame B*tch was on Patreon for a few months before going fully live in April 2021, and I’ve just started my second season!
It sounds like board games have been important to you for a long time. What is your history with board games?
I like to say I’m a third generation gamer! My grandmother played bridge, and my mom loves playing games. In fact, she bought a bunch of D&D books in the 80s but couldn’t find anyone to play with. I taught her how to play a couple years ago as a Mother’s Day present! I grew up playing cards, poker, board games, and Euro games with my family all the time. I have a picture of myself when I’m 2 or 3, and I’m rolling dice, looking super fucking pumped; I still play “Dice” (a simplified version of Yahtzee) with my family. Every Christmas we all get board games as gifts and then we spend Boxing Day playing them.
That’s amazing! And what would you say is your favorite board game currently?
I’m glad you said “currently”! It changes all the time, but right now I would say Tokaido. It’s this great game set in Japan where players are tourists traveling the Tokaido road taking pictures and buying souvenirs. It’s a very peaceful board game that is artistically very lovely and has cool mechanics and movements.
I also love party games! Even if they’re mechanically simple, they’re so much fun socially. Rules are great, and I love a complicated game, but sometime you just want some quick fun with your friends. I especially love Superfight, a game where you create fighters in a ring with weird traits and Cult Following, where you’re all cult leaders trying to start a cult. You have to create a story and recruit more players to join your cult than someone else’s.
I have not heard of any of those, but I’m definitely going to check them out! If someone wants to get into the world of board games and table top games, what are 2-3 options you would suggest as starter games?
I think it’s important to introduce people to games with something simple and fun. You want a little bit of complexity, but not too much!
- Citadels. It’s an easily transportable card game that only takes about an hour to finish, and it doesn’t take up much space. It’s a game with a lot of player interaction, and it’s set in a Medieval setting, so people can easily latch on to that. It’s not new, but it holds up!
- Betrayal at the House on the Hill. This is a game that is good for storytelling. It’s one of the best co-op games, so it’s great for people who are learning and want to work together. It’s a good middle game – not so complex that it’s impossible, but it’s not so easy that it’s boring.
- King of Tokyo. This is a dice game that is pretty simple but gets more complicated with expansions, which makes it great to slowly build up for people.
I love all of your recommendations! If someone wants to hear more of your thoughts on board games, which podcast episode would you suggest people start with if they want to start listening to Boardgame B*tch (other than my episode on Wingspan, obviously)?
I really love the “Hive” episode. It’s a two player game, and my guest and I had a really fun conversation goofing off and talking about bugs. Otherwise, scroll through the options and choose the one that resonates with you!
What can we expect to see from Boardgame B*tch in the future?
When I first launched my podcast, it was a solo show. Now I am focusing on board game interviews and board game conversations with guests. I’m branching out a beyond just reviews to have episode about things like board game design and D&D etiquette. I would also like to someday do episodes about conventions outside of Vancouver!
One last question: Roar Cat Reads is a blog for queer, nerdy content. What’s your favorite nerdy book of the moment?
Welcome to Mina’s: A Diner Comic Anthology by Cloudscape Comics. It’s a Kickstarter project that I backed because I know Haley Boros, one of the creators, and the premise sounds really cool. It takes place over time but always centered on the same diner in Vancouver. A couple of the chapters focus on queer couples!
I also really like Sidequesting, a fantasy podcast about avoiding the main plot. It’s not queer, I don’t think, but it is very nerdy and fun.
Thank you so much for talking board games with me, Victoria!