Going Analog

Where video game industry veterans introduce great board games to video gamers

Podcast #47: Storytelling games, fave themes, and more (guests: Sen-Foong Lim, Banana Chan)

What do we really mean when we want to play a "storytelling" game? Designers Banana Chan and Sen-Foong Lim join to discuss this as well as the upcoming Jiangshi RPG, our favorite board game themes, and board game cultural appreciation vs. appropriation.

It's 1920s America. You run a Chinese restaurant by day and deal with jiangshi (vampires) by night in Jiangshi: Blood in the Banquet Hall, the new tabletop RPG from veteran RPG writer/designer Banana Chan (Sea of Legends, Dune RPG) and board game designer Sen-Foong Lim (Belfort, Junk Art, Dungeons & Dragons: Rock Paper Wizard). Banana and Sen join us to discuss what people really mean when they want to play a board game with storytelling elements, what unique themes we like seeing in board games, and how board games can show cultural appreciation rather than appropriation.

This week's topics:

  1. Christina (host): What are your inspirations for some of the settings in your RPGs or board games? (5:45)
  2. Banana Chan (guest): What are some of your favorite themes used in board games that are different from what you've seen in the past? (20:08)
  3. Shoe (producer): Story-based/RPG-style board games -- do you like them? What are some that you like or don't like? (33:28)
  4. Sen-Foong Lim (guest): Culture appreciation vs. appropriation. What’s the difference? What are some examples from gaming or other facets of culture of these phenomena? How can game designers make sure they’re showing appreciation rather than appropriating from another culture? (58:03)

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Correction 1: We incorrectly credited the artwork in Succulent to Beth Sobel. The illustrator is Anna Daviscourt.

Correction 2: During the podcast, we listed a few titles as being published by Plaid Hat Games, having forgotten that it has transferred the rights to some of these in its split from former parent company Asmodee. Dead of Winter is now under Fantasy Flight Games while Mice and Mystics and Aftermath now fall under the Z-Man Games label. Abomination and Forgotten Waters remain with Plaid Hat. Our apologies! (We've just been associating these games with Plaid Hat for so long now....) To learn more, check out the press release or see Plaid Hat's current line-up.

Here's a full list of games discussed on the show:


  • Jiangshi: Blood in the Banquet Hall
  • Scooby-Doo: Betrayal at Mystery Mansion
  • Sea of Legends
  • Dune RPG
  • Junk Art
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Rock Paper Wizard
  • The Legend of Korra: Pro-Bending Arena
  • Scooby-Doo: Escape from the Haunted Mansion
  • Mind MGMT
  • Kingdom Rush
  • Betrayal at House on the HIll

Christina's topic: What are inspirations for the settings in your games?

  • Jiangshi: Blood in the Banquet Hall
  • Scooby-Doo: Escape from the Haunted Mansion

Banana's topic: Favorite game themes that you don't see as often

  • Succulent
  • Pret-a-Porter
  • Abomination: Heir of Frankenstein
  • Alice is Missing
  • Wait for Me
  • Anachrony
  • T.I.M.E Stories
  • Belfort

Shoe's topic: Story-based/RPG-style board games

  • ATMA
  • Forgotten Waters
  • Mice & Mystics
  • Aftermath
  • Dead of Winter
  • Sea of Legends
  • Warp's Edge
  • Tales of Arabian Nights
  • Once Upon a Time
  • Fiasco
  • Paranoia
  • Kobolds Ate My Baby
  • Apocalypse World
  • Monster Hearts
  • Dungeons & Dragons
  • Pathfinder
  • Kids on Bikes
  • Samurai

Sen's topic: Cultural appreciate vs. appropriation

  • Jiangshi: Blood in the Banquet Hall
  • Arkham Horror
  • Puerto Rico

Final thoughts

  • Jiangshi: Blood in the Banquet Hall
  • Wait for Me
  • Dissident Whispers
  • The Shivers
  • Gloomhaven
  • Surrealist Dinner Party
  • Mechanica