307 – Jon Manker and Pax Viking – The Family Gamers Podcast

Jon Manker with Pax Viking
Jon Manker with Pax Viking


Major league record for most homeruns hit by a single team: 307, by the Cleveland Indians in 2019. But so many teams in 2019 had a lot of home runs (9 of the top 20 all-time)! Questionable. (See Wikipedia.)

What We’ve Been Playing

Vendel to Viking (Jon’s design, new this year)
Galaxy Trucker (our review of the new streamlined edition from CGE)
Condottiere (take over Italy!)
Aldabas (Grand Gamers Guild)
Sunset Over Water: Pocket Edition (Pencil First Games – Pre-order before Sept 1 to save $5 if you buy multiple games.)

Word A Melon game

SNAP Review – Word-A-Melon

Test your anagram skills and your memory with this watermelon-themed game from Bananagrams.

Watch the video or read the transcript to find out what surprised us and why we recommend it.

Interview with Jon Manker

Jon is the lead game designer and co-founder at Ion Game Design.

“Games based on reality” – not a simulation, but following the real history or science.

Jon has been designing games for a long time (RPGs, web games, video games, board games, and doctoral research)!

The vision for Ion is to “Make board games more accepted as a profession, and something serious and important.” Trying for serious acceptance that even though games are fun, they’re also incredibly useful.

Jon worked on both the video game and board game versions of Crusader Kings.

Jon tells us why he prefers these really meaty games: “when you’ve played them, it’s hard to go back.” Richness and rewarding.

The idea behind Pax Viking is to provide a window into these complex games in a more accessible way.

Simple games can be beautiful and important, but complexity allows for many more paths and rich worlds.

Vendel to Viking is partnering with World Book – it’s especially great with this very niche topic (Vendel period) and will spread World Book to Europe.

PLAYING is central to our well-being, even as adults! And it’s less fun if you think a game is trying to teach you something.

Announcement – Pax Viking Jr.

Pax Viking Jr. is going to be the first “junior” game made by Ion. The goal is to get children to play, but in a way that will include the whole family.

This game will give roughly three options for what a player can do on their turn (the full Pax Viking has nine!) and be aimed for older kids to be able to read the rules & teach younger siblings.

Pax Viking Jr. is planned to be an add-on to an upcoming Ion crowd-funding campaign, and hopefully available for Essen 2023.

They’re also launching some family games as “Ion Lite” – StegegetS (a dice game), Dawn of Titan, a Moomin game

Find Jon & Ion Games Online:

Instagram: @jonmanker (and @iongamedesign)
Ion Game Design Discord
… and of course, BoardGameGeek.

Find Us Online:

Facebook: @familygamersaa and thefamilygamers.com/community
Twitter (X): @familygamersaa
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or join the Family Tabletop Community on Discord! thefamilygamers.com/discord

Or, for the most direct method, email us! andrew@thefamilygamers.com and anitra@thefamilygamers.com.

Check out our new Family Gamers and Play Games with Your Kids merchandise – T-shirts, hoodies, and mugs – at thefamilygamers.com/merch.

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The Family Gamers is sponsored by First Move Financial. Go to FirstMoveFinancial.com/familygamers to learn how the team at First Move Financial can help you pile up the victory points.

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