Jeff Kornberg’s YouTube channel, The Dragon’s Tomb, does not stand out from the throng of other channels hosting tutorials for board games. Like his peers, Kornberg explains the rules in a slow, gentle voice with frequent cutaways to each game’s pieces, cards and setup.
The difference between Kornberg’s channel and the others is that every single one of his tutorials is completely fake.
Kornberg’s channel kicked off two months ago with a tutorial for Settlers of Catan, in which Kornberg explained that “gameplay is focused around an eccentric billionaire named Mr Catan who wants to build a tower”. Players use the resource tiles to construct Mr Catan’s tower, each competing to be the one to place the “tower hat” (the final tile) on top of the completed structure.
Except, uh, those aren’t the rules to Settlers of Catan. But maybe they should be?
Since the initial Settlers video, Kornberg has released five other tutorials for well-known party games, such as Twister and Ticket To Ride.
Twister, of course, requires one player to use the “spinner of devastation” to determine when the tornado chasers (the other players) will lose each of their limbs over the course of their quest to find the location of an F5 tornado.
Ticket To Ride, as we all know, encourages players to take on the roles of waste collectors picking up trash from the plastic train cars — err, dumpsters — strewn all over the streets of North America.
Some of the videos work better than others. Kornberg’s redesign for Codenames has a transmisogynistic premise (players’ teams get brainwashed by the government into becoming women, at which point they lose), but the host concludes the video by lampshading it all, deadpanning to the camera that “whoever came up with the concept for this game should really be ashamed of themselves”.
One of the commenters pipes up that players could make their own remix on Kornberg’s version by switching the gender cards according to their preference, at which point Kornberg responds in character to advise the commenter against changing board game rules. We can’t have that. It would be madness!
In every video, Kornberg wears the same bright blue T-shirt that reads “Cards. Deal With It.” He concludes every review with the same overused platitude: “All in all, this game is a blast to play.”
The channel’s title and logo, The Dragon’s Tomb, are so mundane and forgettable that it took me weeks after first seeing the Settlers of Catan tutorial video to even find the channel again. (Searching for “mr catan dragon’s cave” did the trick.)
The channel’s unassuming appearance allows it to disguise itself in the related sidebar alongside reams of earnest board game tutorials. It’s much funnier if you watch it without knowing what you’re getting into, but after a week of laughing at all of these by myself, I just didn’t want to leave this hidden gem buried any more.
I hope he does Monopoly next. I’ve always wanted to know how to play it.