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July 23, 2021 @ 11:15 pm

Ep 85: A Conversation with Dan Thurot on Board Game Criticism

Dan Thurot has been reviewing board games for a number of years now, and for my money he's the best in the business. I had the pleasure of sitting down with him to talk about games criticism, and in the course of the discussion we touched on history, economics, literature, and more. Also, lots of Cole Wehrle games.

Find Dan's writing at spacebiff.com 

1:24 -- Dan's start in board game criticism
6:35 -- "Fun"
14:10 -- Changes in board game criticism over the last few years
18:43 -- Misunderstandings about criticism
26:24 -- Board game criticism is still young
29:16 -- Overspecialization of critique
36:18 -- Shared language
48:28 -- The value of historical games
1:00:27 -- Challenges posed by abstraction
1:13:49 -- Civilization games and accidents
1:18:50 -- Playing as the villains

Music: Sailing The Solar Wind by Abstraction

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July 12, 2021 @ 11:24 pm

Ep 84: Golf, Disc Golf, and Course Design

Marc and Bubba sit down to discuss two different forms of golf. They're still games, just on a larger scale. What makes them compelling as games, and what kinds of lessons can we learn about board games by looking at the history and development of course design?

1:18 -- Difference between a sport and a game
2:59 -- What is disc golf?
4:27 -- Our histories with the sports
12:19 -- Classifying golf and disc golf as games
15:57 -- The appeal of mastery over a difficult game
20:30 -- How will disc golf change in the near future?
24:02 -- Course design
25:26 -- The penal school of design
29:19 -- The strategic school of design
33:20 -- The strategic nature of par 4's
45:07 -- Designing around unorthodox throws in disc golf
49:15 -- Risk/reward, or push-your-luck
51:53 -- The heroic school of design
56:15 -- How should disc golf course design evolve and improve?
1:08:36 -- Applying these lessons to board game design
1:26:24 -- Which sport is best?

Music: Sailing The Solar Wind by Abstraction

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June 29, 2021 @ 11:46 pm

Ep 83: Pain

Straight from the mind of Amber, this is an episode where she and Marc discuss games that are "painful". Marc prefers the word "tense". Regardless of what you call it, there's a reason Agricola is both known as "Misery Farm" and beloved by thousands. What makes a game painful rather than pleasant? What tricks can designers use to adjust the perception of their game? Are all board games simply metaphors about the inevitability of death?

2:15 -- The background
6:23 -- Game actions and the perception of time
15:00 -- Kingmaking tangent
18:53 -- Existentialism
27:02 -- Other games that cause Amber "pain"
29:53 -- Generous and non-generous games
37:17 -- Point floors
42:23 -- Non-gamers and not wanting to feel incompetent
46:22 -- Intermediary goals
49:37 -- Games where you can lose on the first turn
59:52 -- Is pain good?

Music: Sailing The Solar Wind by Abstraction

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June 1, 2021 @ 7:28 pm

Ep 82: Reiner Knizia

Amber and Marc are here to talk about perhaps the most prolific board game designer of all time: Reiner Knizia. Going strong since the early 90's, Knizia is a master of making a game no more complex than needed. His games are straightforward and clear--something we see less and less of. Weirdly, this episode is not straightforward, with some truly odd tangents and rants.

1:50 -- Knizia's reputation (and many tangents and rants)
20:24 -- Lost Cities
25:46 -- Battle Line
27:42 -- The Quest for El Dorado
28:49 -- Through the Desert
29:13 -- Medici: The Card Game
30:23 -- Stephenson's Rocket
32:20 -- Babylonia
36:39 -- Abstract isn't the opposite of thematic
39:30 -- My City
43:20 -- Things get...weird
48:02 -- Modern Art

Music: Sailing The Solar Wind by Abstraction

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May 15, 2021 @ 1:12 am

Ep 81: A Conversation with Dan Kazmaier about Chai: Tea For 2

Dan and I chat about game design, his experience as a top-tier chess player, and, of course, tea!

Check out Steeped Games and the Chai Tea For 2 Kickstarter, live now.

0:00 -- Creation of both Chai games
10:16 -- Dan's history with board games
12:25 -- Dan's experience as a Chess Master
35:39 -- Chess influencing modern game design
41:27 -- Tea

Music: Sailing The Solar Wind by Abstraction

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May 5, 2021 @ 4:16 pm

Ep 80: Solo

I'm by myself talking about solo games. I got a bit experimental with this one. I hope you enjoy.

0:32 -- A note on silence
3:43 -- Solo games
6:10 -- Arraial
7:35 -- My thoughts on the Fantasy Flight Arkham games
15:37 -- Arkham LCG
24:30 -- Unbroken
32:40 -- Nemo's War
44:26 -- Spring emerges, literally and figuratively

Music: Sailing The Solar Wind by Abstraction

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April 10, 2021 @ 1:10 am

Ep 79: A Conversation With Cole Wehrle

I was delighted to sit down with one of our most interesting historical and conflict game designers, Cole Wehrle. The discussion starts with talking about the second edition of John Company (on Kickstarter right now) before wandering to the the rest of his designs as we talk about the ways games can portray history or make interesting arguments. One of my favorite conversations yet.

1:00 -- John Company 2nd Edition
10:00 -- Inspiration for John Company
14:06 -- Connections Between John Company, Pax Pamir, and An Infamous Traffic
17:42 -- Handling Tough Themes
28:40 -- John Company's Success
32:29 -- Game Aesthetics and Kickstarter Expectations
44:58 -- Resolving Conflicts Between Simulation and Fun
1:04:56 -- Cole's Future Game Plans

Find more from Cole at https://wehrlegig.com/ and https://ledergames.com

Music: Sailing The Solar Wind by Abstraction

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March 24, 2021 @ 4:27 pm

Ep 78: 18xx Revisited

Marc, Orion, and Ben have been playing all sorts of 18xx games over the past year, and they're here to compare and contrast the five they've played the most. How much variation is there within this sub-sub-genre of game? What kind of dynamics do different rule variations create? Which is the best starter game? What makes 1817 "bananas-insane"? Find out this and more.

If you do not have any experience with 18xx games, we recommend checking out Episode 52 for more of an introduction to the genre.

1:44 -- Plug for 18xx.games
4:41 -- 1846
13:53 -- 18MEX
29:10 -- 1889 and 18Chesapeake
48:35 -- 1817

Music: Sailing The Solar Wind by Abstraction

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February 21, 2021 @ 2:11 am

Ep 77: A Conversation With Sean Chappell About Hivernation

I sat with Sean Chappell from Ramstar Games to talk about their first release: Hivernation. We discuss the design process for this abstract game as well as the challenges of being a first-time designer and publisher. Hivernation will be on Kickstarter April 13th.

1:01 -- A little about Hivernation
3:23 -- Origins of the design
7:20 -- Experience with co-designing and publishing
13:55 -- Constructing a Kickstarter campaign
21:46 -- Development and polishing process
30:31 -- Sean's history with modern board games
33:32 -- The unique joy of playing games in-person
41:47 -- Release info about Hivernation
46:25 -- Future games in the works for Ramstar

Music: Sailing The Solar Wind by Abstraction

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February 9, 2021 @ 12:46 am

Ep 76: Conventions in the Time of COVID — With Kimberly Revia

I sit down with Kimberly, one of the co-organizers of the excellent Granite Game Summit, to talk about how to run a great board game convention. And, now that everything is necessarily virtual, how do you continue to keep that community alive?

1:01 - Origins of the Granite Game Summit
9:10 - Keeping a convention safe and welcoming
14:36 - Going virtual
30:40 - That unique "feeling" of a good convention
34:26 - Scaling up without losing the spirit of the thing
40:04 - Creating convention comfort
46:51 - Improvement hopes for the future

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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