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December 7, 2019 @ 11:32 pm

Ep 61: A Conversation With John Zilch About Clever Kids Mysteries And Family Games

I sit down with John Zilch, creator of the Clever Kids Mysteries series of puzzle games, to talk about how he creates puzzles for the family gaming experience. We also discuss family gaming in general, and how games can help us all learn and think more critically.

0:56 - Creating the Clever Kids Mysteries games
11:18 - Narrative in puzzle games
29:22 - Family gaming
42:44 - Obligatory sports tangent
48:42 - Using data and feedback to aid puzzle-making
53:48 - Designing puzzles for diverse thinkers  

Music: Sailing The Solar Wind by Abstraction

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November 25, 2019 @ 8:12 pm

Ep 60: Trading Games

We just finished a game of Trade on the Tigris and decided to sit around a microphone and talk about trading games. Marc, Matt, Lindsay, Amber, and Ben lend their thoughts to this exciting, but challenging genre of game. What is a trading game? Why is Matt insane to think Catan isn't one? What kind of challenges face someone trying to design one? Which one do we think does trading best? Find out!

3:26 - Marc tells a story about middle-schoolers and epistemological horror
5:46 - Board games are first mentioned
7:15 - What is a trading game?
14:47 - Characteristics of trade
19:03 - Creating different valuations
27:45 - Double coincidence of wants
32:48 - Deception and risk analysis in Trade on the Tigris
41:48 - The "single winner" problem
49:43 - An aside on economic notions of value and profit
52:52 - The length problem
58:18 - The uncertainty of value problem
1:02:55 - The aggressiveness problem
1:06:38 - The "trade dominates the game" problem
1:12:22 - Pie

Music: Sailing The Solar Wind by Abstraction

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November 12, 2019 @ 1:20 am

Ep 59: Amber And I Brainstorm A Game Design (part 1?)

Inspired by a conversation over dinner and the success of Geoff and Ryan doing this on the Ludology podcast, Amber and I work through the initial brainstorm for a game design idea we had about...chili peppers. Amber loves peppers, and despite them now being a staple of Indian and SE Asian cuisine, they were originally an exclusively New World plant. How did this massive shift in cuisine come about? We want to find out and make a game about it.

2:38 - We need questions for a future podcast!
4:55 - Origins of the game idea
8:08 - The brainstorming process
12:08 - The POV
23:19 - Honing in the key ideas
33:31 - Goals for historical research
37:05 - Mechanisms: interesting or discard?

Music: Sailing The Solar Wind by Abstraction

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October 25, 2019 @ 11:17 pm

Ep 58: A Conversation With Tom Russell

For my money Tom Russell is one of the most interesting, thoughtful game designers working. For 90 minutes we go deep into his design process, what he hopes to accomplish with his games, the strategy behind Hollandspiele, and what he considers his best work ever: This Guilty Land. 

1:40 - Tom's Introduction to Board Gaming
11:08 - Starting in Design
20:49 - Publishing and Hollandspiele
29:03 - Design Process and How Do You Make So Many Games?
46:36 - Irish Gauge
48:42 - The Soo Line
55:24 - For-Ex
1:06:07 - This Guilty Land
1:15:56 - What is a Wargame? What is Objectivity?
1:27:52 - Hollandspiele Recommendations

Music: Sailing The Solar Wind by Abstraction

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October 10, 2019 @ 12:19 am

Ep 57: How Do You Critique A Party Game?

This is less an episode about party games than it is about the nature of criticism. Marc, Matt, and Ben sit down (around a single mic, old-school style) and talk about what features contribute to the classification of "party game", and Marc throws out some ideas he had while he was laying in bed trying to sleep. If criticism is not about trying to predict what people will generally like, and if being generally likable is a valuable thing for a party game to have, does criticism of a party game look different? There's also some nonsense and buffoonery in there. The usual.

0:00 - Something about prime numbers and hockey
3:35 - What is a party game?
15:06 - The critical dilemma
26:01 - Some ruminations on the party games we've played
32:03 - Marc's response to the critical dilemma

Music: Sailing The Solar Wind by Abstraction

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September 13, 2019 @ 3:42 am

Ep 56: A Conversation With Corey Konieczka

I am delighted that I got to speak with one of my favorite designers, and a guy whose games I've been playing almost as long as I've been playing modern board games: Corey Konieczka. We go through his time at Fantasy Flight Games, highlighting many of his most popular designs, before talking about his recent announcement that he'd be heading up his own studio called Unexpected Games.

1:08 - Beginnings at Fantasy Flight
7:04 - The design and development process at Fantasy Flight
8:53 - Battlestar Galactica
15:12 - Descent 2nd Edition
20:52 - The Star Wars Games
26:24 - SW Imperial Assault
33:34 - SW Destiny
36:45 - SW Outer Rim
41:06 - Twilight Imperium 4th Edition
49:26 - The future and Unexpected Games

Music: Sailing The Solar Wind by Abstraction

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August 19, 2019 @ 11:40 pm

Ep 55: Dominion Expansions: Nocturne and Renaissance

Marc, Matt, and Ben are here after a bit of a break to talk about one of our favorite games. In our reviews of all of the Dominion expansions Nocturne and Renaissance had not yet been released. We're now catching up, and these are two very interesting expansions! One fits in with the later, more complex expansion, and the other hearkens back to a simpler time.

Music: Sailing The Solar Wind by Abstraction

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July 25, 2019 @ 6:31 pm

A Conversation With Dan Letzring About Adventure Tactics: Domianne’s Tower

Dan Letzring is back, and he's here to talk about the latest offering from Letiman games: Adventure Tactics. This is a campaign game inspired by Final Fantasy Tactics that promises to offer the adventuring and character growth of a game like Descent or Gloomhaven without the mandatory 3 hour play sessions. 

Adventure Tactics will be on Kickstarter July 29th!

See more from Letiman Games here: https://www.letimangames.com/

Music: Sailing The Solar Wind by Abstraction

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July 15, 2019 @ 10:38 pm

Ep 54: Vital Lacerda

Vital Lacerda is one of the most significant eurogame designers of the last decade, delivering consistently high quality complex games others can rarely match. In this episode Orion and Marc go through each of Lacerda's games chronologically, evaluating them individually and as part of a larger body of work. What design aspects stand out as particularly "Lacerdian"? What trends have emerged in recent games, and what do we predict for the future?

2:48 - Vinhos
17:33 - CO2
27:34 - Kanban
33:56 - The Gallerist
48:40 - Lisboa
55:50 - Escape Plan
1:07:56 - Tangent about some sci-fi book
1:13:00 - Design consistencies

Music: Sailing The Solar Wind by Abstraction

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June 19, 2019 @ 11:03 pm

Ep 53: Magic the Gathering

Marc and Matt have started playing Magic again, so they're going to talk about the game itself, its impact in the gaming community, and the new online implementation -- "Arena".

2:15 - MtG as a game
21:18 - MtG as a drafting game
26:42 - Theme
46:28 - MtG as an institution
1:00:59 - MtG Arena

Music: Sailing The Solar Wind by Abstraction

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