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January 17, 2019 @ 6:07 pm

Book Discussion: The Three Body Problem Part 1

Join Marc, Matt, and Orion as they discuss a truly wonderful sci-fi series: The Three Body Problem. Here they discuss the first of this trilogy, looking at memorable moments and thematic elements of interest. A lot of what we find here will carry over into the broader second and third installments.

2:15 - Pre-spoilers: should you read this book?
9:14 - Spoilers ahoy!
9:48 - The "three body problem" in physics
12:39 - Cultural revolution and science in society
15:17 - Two great early scenes
21:56 - The VR game
23:03 - Okay, we're spoiling everything, for reals, now
27:35 - Underestimating scope and human scrappiness
32:34 - Tripwires and pessimism

Music: Sailing The Solar Wind by Abstraction

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January 4, 2019 @ 2:10 pm

Ep 44: Aesthetics

Marc, Matt, and Orion, three people who typically don't care very much about the look of the games they're playing talk about the games that do have remarkable visuals and design. What games' aesthetics are so good or so bad that they affect our rating of them? What is it about those games that make them truly stand out? Also we talk about buckets.

6:08 - We stop talking about sports
8:43 - Ryan Laukat's games - selling the setting
12:53 - Forbidden Desert/Sky - the toy factor
18:47 - Rising Sun and Lacerda - abundance of detail
25:54 - Wingspan and Stonemaier
27:20 - Fog of Love, Tokaido, and others - clean looks
31:29 - Go and Chess - the look of history and myth
35:35 - Orion talks about buckets
45:18 - Our top games where the aesthetics significantly improve our rating of the game
1:04:47 - The wargame aesthetic
1:06:08 - Games we want to get a deluxe remake
1:10:17 - Lamenting about the lack of tangents in the conversation, which is in and of itself a tangent

Music: Sailing The Solar Wind by Abstraction

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December 22, 2018 @ 12:13 am

Ep 43: PAX Unplugged 2018

Marc and Amber sit down to talk about their time at PAX Unplugged. We played some new games, some old games, and some that aren't even released yet. What are the highlights? What do we think of Keyforge? Why is Marc such a tough critic of games he playtests? The world may never know. Except you, if you listen to this.

5:10 - Expo Hall
9:58 - Inhuman Conditions
15:06 - Tiny Towns
18:38 - Pirate Tricks
20:16 - Digression on Language
24:38 - Alchemists
28:50 - Spirit Island
32:00 - Prototype Playtesting
35:49 - Megagames
37:53 - Ivion
39:20 - MtG and Keyforge Tournaments

Music: Sailing The Solar Wind by Abstraction

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November 29, 2018 @ 5:21 am

Ep 42: A Conversation With Isaac Shalev

We're delighted to sit down with game designer Isaac Shalev to talk about a variety of things, from the designs of Ryan Laukat to Isaac's history with board games, to his current project creating an encyclopedia of game mechanisms. Don't miss this one.

2.54 - Empires of the Void II
22:19 - Isaac Shalev: The Man, The Myth
27:10 - Seikatsu
38:57 - Cataloging design patterns and language in a general sense
1:11:40 - Juicy bits about The Mind and Hanabi
1:22:09 - Games criticism

Music: Sailing The Solar Wind by Abstraction

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November 7, 2018 @ 8:12 pm

Ep 41: Marc and Amber: Pseudo-Ludo-Autobiographies

Marc and Amber talk about their gaming life, from childhood to the present. A trip down memory lane.

1:22 - Childhood
15:28 - Video games
24:08 - College
32:02 - Post-college to present
43:26 - Back to childhood

Music: Sailing The Solar Wind by Abstraction

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November 2, 2018 @ 4:58 pm

Desk-side Talks With Marc #16: Looking For Feedback! Also, 3 Good Games

I'm looking for your feedback--what interesting board game things should I do while in Philadelphia after PAX Unplugged? What monthly themes should I focus on each month in 2019? Also, I give some first thoughts on three eminently interesting games I've been enjoying recently.

0:22 - PAX Unplugged and Philadelphia

1:37 - Give me monthly theme ideas!

3:15 - Brass

5:41 - SPQF

7:59 - Innovation

Music: Sailing The Solar Wind by Abstraction

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October 26, 2018 @ 3:31 pm

Ep 40: Area Majority — Dominant Species, El Grande, and The Expanse

After a bit of a break, we're back! Marc, Matt, and Orion talk about area majority games with an emphasis on their recent play of The Expanse. What separates these games from the more broad category of "area control"? What makes them work or not work?

Music: Sailing The Solar Wind by Abstraction

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September 26, 2018 @ 7:19 pm

Discussion With Sam Wolkenhauer About Football Analytics

We've got a bonus 'cast! Marc, Matt, and Orion are joined by Sam Wolkenhauer, who has built a football analytics algorithm to try to predict games and evaluate teams. You can find all of his stuff at peteratings.wordpress.com. In the podcast, we discuss his model and what kind of cognitive errors he sees football teams and coaches making that are causing their teams to lose more than they should. We cross apply some of that thinking to board games, even. Tune in and find out all sorts of good rational thinking, even if you're not a big fan of American football. Also find out why running backs don't matter.

Music: Sailing The Solar Wind by Abstraction

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September 15, 2018 @ 11:55 pm

Ep 39: Root And Other Games

Marc and Orion discuss the talk of the boardgaming town these days: Root! But first, we went to the New Hampshire Comicon's board game room and had a wonderful time with great people and great games! 

4:16 - Baseball Highlights 2045
13:58 - Roll Player
33:07 - Sticheln
35:45 - Tribe
38:38 - El Grande
41:01 - Root

Music: Sailing The Solar Wind by Abstraction

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August 30, 2018 @ 5:18 pm

Ep 38: Randomness and Uncertainty

Marc and Matt are joined by Orion (who is on a train) to talk about randomness. What is randomness? No, really, what is it? What kinds of randomness work best in board games, and what are some of the most interesting applications of random elements we've seen? Will we finish before Orion's train arrives?! (Spoiler: no)

4:22 - Defining Randomness
17:31 - Input/Output Randomness; Acceptable Amounts of Randomness
40:32 - White and Pink Noise
47:05 - Chaos
59:10 - Games With Interesting Randomness

Music: Sailing The Solar Wind by Abstraction

Like the podcast? Want to watch it being recorded, live? Consider supporting it on Patreon.

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