Tom Vasel

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Thomas J. Vasel (born September 8, 1976) is a podcaster, designer, and reviewer of board games.[1][2][3] Vasel co-hosts a long-running gaming podcast titled The Dice Tower.[4][5]


Vasel earned a B.S. in Biblical studies from Pensacola Christian College in 1999. From 2003 until 2010 he taught mathematics at the International Christian School in Uijeongbu, South Korea. Vasel assumed the role of pastor of Uijongbu Baptist Church, succeeding Pastor Rick Kelley in March 2007. After leaving South Korea in 2010, he worked a couple of years as a math teacher at Colonial Christian School in Florida, then set aside his teaching career in the fall of 2012 to dedicate his time to The Dice Tower and to his part-time position as youth pastor at South Dade Baptist Church. Since January 2015 Vasel stepped down as youth pastor to devote all of his time as president of The Dice Tower network.[6][7]

Vasel hosts a weekly audio podcast about board games named The Dice Tower. Originally, Vasel represented players who prefer designer games, while co-host Joe Steadman advocated for those who prefer wargames. Steadman left the show in May 2006 after the 50th episode. Vasel, hosting alone with occasional input from Sam Healey for a few shows, rearranged the format to include recorded segments by guest reviewers and players. Gradually Healey began to take a larger role and was eventually promoted to co-host. Healey has since left the show and has been replaced by the show's voice-over man, Eric Summerer.[8] Every second episode of the podcast is hosted by reviewers Suzanne Sheldon and Mandi Hutchinson.[9]

Board game reviewer[edit]

Vasel's board game reviews have been referenced in media publications such as MTV,[10] Spiegel Online,[11] The Christian Science Monitor,[12] The Escapist,[13] The Oregonian,[14] Wired,[15] and in the scholarly journal - Intensities: The Journal of Cult Media.[16] He has reviewed about 5,000 board games since 2002.[17][18][19][20] His first board game review was for The Settlers of Canaan.[21][22]

The Jack Vasel Memorial Fund[edit]

Following the loss of his infant son Jack Vasel at the beginning of 2011, Tom Vasel established the Jack Vasel Memorial Fund, at The fund is a not-for-profit with a simple goal: raising and distributing funds to help gamers in their hour of need.[23][24][25]

Selected publications[edit]

  • Phillies, George; Vasel, Tom (2012). Designing Modern Strategy Games. Amazon. ASIN B008XRNQMQ.[26]
  • Phillies, George; Vasel, Tom (2012). Modern Perspectives on Game Design. Amazon. ASIN B0098E01IK.[26]


  1. ^ Banks, Dave (January 25, 2011). "You Can Help Raise Funds For The Dice Tower's Vasel Family". Wired. Retrieved August 3, 2016.
  2. ^ Morgenegg, Ryan (February 1, 2016). "Game Salute's Nothing Personal game review: Influence is power". Deseret News. Retrieved August 3, 2016.
  3. ^ Florence, Robert (January 30, 2011). "Cardboard Children: Tom Vasel". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved August 3, 2016.
  4. ^ Conway, Stephen (2008). "Board Game Broadcasters". Knucklebones. Iola, Wisconsin: Jones Publishing. 3 (2): 26–29. ISSN 1554-3277.
  5. ^ "Sam Healey From The Dice Tower Podcast To Visit Local Gaming Shop". July 10, 2015. Retrieved July 10, 2015.
  6. ^ "Tom Vasel - President at The Dice Tower". Linkedin. Retrieved August 3, 2016.
  7. ^ Lewis, Kylie (April 16, 2013). "Board games can offer many benefits for families". Deseret News. Retrieved August 3, 2016.
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Contributor: Mandi Hutchinson | The Dice Tower". Retrieved 2020-01-20.
  10. ^ Morgan, Matt (October 4, 2011). "Risk Legacy: There's No Turning Back". MTV. Retrieved August 3, 2016.
  11. ^ Meyer, Steffen Daniel (October 25, 2014). ""Risiko"-Variante: Ein Brettspiel, das nicht vergisst". Spiegel Online. Retrieved August 3, 2016.
  12. ^ Hamm, Trent (March 29, 2011). "When should a hobby become a business?". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved August 3, 2016.
  13. ^ Varney, Allen (August 4, 2009). "Dominion Over All". The Escapist. Retrieved August 3, 2016.
  14. ^ Parks, Casey (March 15, 2011). " says Railways of the World by Aloha businessman is best family game of 2010". The Oregonian. Retrieved August 3, 2016.
  15. ^ Wecks, Eric (June 15, 2012). "What to Do When Settlers Isn't Enough: Part 2". Wired. Retrieved August 4, 2016.
  16. ^ Brown, Adam; Waterhouse-Watson, Deb (Summer 2014). "Reconfiguring narrative in contemporary board games: Story-making across the competitive-cooperative spectrum" (PDF). Intensities: The Journal of Cult Media (7): 5–19. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  17. ^ "Tom Vasel: boardgamegeek contributions". Retrieved 2018-04-01.
  18. ^ "Tom Vasel: boardgamegeek mostly written game reviews". Retrieved 2018-04-01.
  19. ^ "Tom Vasel: boardgamegeek game reviews on video". Retrieved 2018-04-01.
  20. ^ "Tom Vasel: game reviews". Retrieved 2018-04-01.
  21. ^ "The Settlers of Canaan reviews by Tom Vasel". Retrieved 2018-04-01.
  22. ^ "Dice Tower History, Part III: Starting the Podcast". Retrieved 2018-04-01.
  23. ^ Liu, Jonathan H. (November 11, 2013). "Jack Vasel Memorial Fund Board Game Auction". GeekDad. Retrieved August 3, 2016.
  24. ^ J., Sean (December 31, 2014). "Good Game: What can be Accomplished Through Play". The Daily Worker Placement. Retrieved August 3, 2016.
  25. ^ James, Chris (November 9, 2015). "Jack Vasel, a Symbol of Hope for the Board Gaming Community". Casual Game Revolution. Retrieved August 3, 2016.
  26. ^ a b "George Phillies releases 2nd editions of his game design textbooks". Worcester Polytechnic Institute. September 20, 2012. Archived from the original on August 18, 2016. Retrieved August 11, 2016.

External links[edit]