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Boardgames To Go - Season 1 (2005)
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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Boardgames To Go, the podcast, started in March 2005. BGG's own Geekspeak was the first boardgame podcast, mine was second, and The Dice Tower was third. I consider myself in good company. My podcast was originally an experiment, something that grew out of my earlier mobile-device blog of the same name. Instead of expensive microphones & mixing boards, I wanted to see if a little podcast could be done with less expense. Ideally, I wanted to demonstrate how easy this was so that others would produce more podcasts for me to enjoy.

Pretty much the nature of the whole podcast was established in this first year: episodes with my friends, solo session report episodes, All About episodes, Essen anticipation, occasional “big topics.” No designer/publisher interviews, countdown lists, contests, or ads. Not much feedback in the beginning--I was more used to just recording what I wanted to and broadcasting it out there.


Mark Johnson's occasional & opinionated podcast about family strategy boardgames
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Episodes
BGTG 1 - First podcast!
BGTG 2 - Podcast purpose
BGTG 3 - Play-By-Web Games
BGTG 4 - Game Of The Month
BGTG 5 - Family boardgaming
BGTG 6 - Session Report (Settlers, Dancing Dice, Basari, Ra, San Marco, Xe Queo!, Ingenious, Star Wars Ep. 2 Card Game, Kapitan Wackelpudding)
BGTG 7 - Conventions, part 1
BGTG 8 - Listening to podcasts, and recording them!
BGTG 9 - Session Report: Crokinole, Schrille Stille, Star Wars Attack of the Clones, Puerto Rico, Traumfabrik
BGTG 10 - Conventions, part 2
BGTG 11 - Game awards
BGTG 12 - Intro to Strategy Boardgames
BGTG 13 - Session Report: Struggle of Empires, Alhambra, Flowerpower
BGTG 14 - Mark's Boardgaming Biography
BGTG 15 - Session Report: Tonga Bonga, David & Goliath, Oltremare, Tichu, Oceania
BGTG 16 - Session Report: Tonga Bonga, Crokinole, Fairy Tale
BGTG 17 - RoboRally (with Mike Mayer)
BGTG 18 - My son's take on board & video games
BGTG 19 - My daughter's take on boardgames
BGTG 20 - Boardgames & the Internet
BGTG 21 - Session Report: Grand Canyon, Victory & Honor, Tonga Bonga, Pylos
BGTG 22 - Boardgame Resolutions
BGTG 23 - All About Entdecker
BGTG 24 - SR: Smarty Party Jr., Attacktix, Geschenkt, Oceania
BGTG 25 - Two-player games SR: Jambo, Starship Catan, Richelieu, Flowerpower
BGTG 26 - SoCal Games Day 22 (with Sam)
BGTG 27 - Microgames
BGTG 28 - SR: Gygés, Geschenkt, M, Raceway 57, Tower of Babel, Exxtra, Medici
BGTG 29 - SR: Way Out West, TransEuropa
BGTG 30 -The Wife Show
BGTG 31 - Game Presentation (with Greg Wilzbach)
BGTG 32 - All About Medici (with Dave Arnott)
BGTG 33 - SR: Torres online, Fjords, Carcassonne: Princess & Dragon
BGTG 34 - Local game groups (with Ryan Wheeler)
BGTG 35 - SR: Kablamo, Bootleggers, Indus
BGTG 36 - All About Verräter (with Greg Aleknevicus)
BGTG 37 - Mark's Wargaming Credentials
BGTG 38 - Euro/Wargame Hybrids (with Mike Siggins)
BGTG 39 - Essen Anticipation
BGTG 40 - SR: Air Baron & Around the World in 80 Days (plus Feedback)
BGTG 41 - SR: Hansa, Roller Coaster Tycoon (plus Feedback)
BGTG 42 - Boardgamegeek.Con (with Aldie and Derk)
BGTG 43 - All About Euphrat & Tigris (with Greg Pettit)
BGTG 44 - My own BGG.con impressions
BGTG 45 - My days with Steve Jackson Games
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1. Board Game: Doom: The Boardgame [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:723]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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That's a Palm Pilot on the left, and a pink iPod mini on the right. Yes, I've been doing BGTG that long!
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March 3, 2005

This first one is a little rough, both because I was working with a poor microphone and mistakenly thought I should keep my voice relatively flat. But at least it's a start! At the end I wrap up with an audio session report from the Santa Clarita Boardgamers (Garden Gnome Society, Rumis, and Doom:The Boardgame).

-Mark
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2. Board Game: San Marco [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:463]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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March 29, 2005

Second try, and this time I've got a slightly better microphone and less monotone voice. I talk about why I'm doing a podcast at all, why I hope there will be more boardgaming podcasts soon, and a session report for games played with my old group, the Left Coast Gamers (Evergreen, What Were You Thinking?, Durch die Wüste, and San Marco.)

-Mark
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3. Board Game: Bus [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:1774]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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April 2, 2005

In the third show I describe a variety of online boardgames I like to play, using the play-by-web (or email) format, as opposed to a realtime format like Brettspielwelt or the Days of Wonder site. I also rifle through a session report of the Santa Clarita Boardgamers (Karawane, Rome: Circus Maximus, El Grande, Kraut & Rüben).

-Mark

Links
Boardgamegeek [English] (Euphrat & Tigris, Auf Heller und Pfennig/Kingdoms) - no longer operational
Ludagora [French] (Medina, Hare & Tortoise, Through the Desert, Vinci, others)
You Play It [English] (Cartagena, King Me!, Blue Max, others)
SpielByWeb [English] (Bus, Wallenstein)
Yucata [English/German] (Yucata, Kahuna, Rosenkönig, Chinagold, Capt'n W. Kidd, others)
Boiteajeux [French] (Alhambra, Finstere Flure, Droles des Zebres, Wooly Bully, Gipf, Dvonn, others)
Little Golem [English] (Streetsoccer, Dvonn, Go, Chess, others)
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4. Board Game: Mu & more [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:733]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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April 16, 2005

Ok, with four of these shows "in the can," it's time to go live with this podcast/blog. Right after I upload this show I'll spread the word online and we'll see what happens. Naturally I hope people like it, but I'd certainly understand some...ahem...constructive criticism. (Especially after I suggested some Tough Love for Geek Speak once.) Fair's fair.

As I mention near the end of this show, I don't have any good music to intro and "out-tro" this podcast. As cliche as that is, I think it's a nice touch, one I should work on. Any suggestions?

For this show I dispensed with the rudimentary format I'd sort of followed previously. In particular, I felt the need to include a full audio session report at the end of each show wasn't working. Better to spend more time on the general topic up front, and fold in some recent gaming experiences as it relates.

This show is all about Games of the Month. After describing the idea, I run down a list of all the GotMs we've tried in the Santa Clarita Boardgamers: Medici, Princes of Florence, Carcassonne, Verräter, Settlers, Industrial Waste, Formula De, Vinci, Frank's Zoo, Thru the Desert, Finstere Flure, Amun-Re, Euphrat & Tigris, New England, Nur Peanuts, Hansa, St. Petersburg, Anno 1503, Goa, and El Grande.

The last part of the show is spent talking about El Grande a little more, including some comparisons to Vinci (believe it or not).

All told, this show clocks in a little longer yet, now breaking the 30-minute mark by a few. Comments on that are appreciated, too.

-Mark


Links
My Game of the Month article at The Games Journal
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5. Board Game: Scrabble [Average Rating:6.31 Overall Rank:1393]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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That's a Palm Pilot on the left, and a pink iPod mini on the right. Yes, I've been doing BGTG that long!
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April 22, 2005

This show is all about playing boardgames with your family. Well, with my family. A family who isn't as blown away by strategy boardgames as I am, they still humor me from time to time. They even enjoy some games now and then. The small audio session report tacked on the end is mostly about a mega Carcassonne game I played before El Grande last week.

On the technical front, I changed some of my recording settings that should clear up the problem some reported when burning the previous shows to CD. Let me know if that's true. After experimenting with some different MP3 bitrates, I still went with a moderate one that keeps my file size down. The audio quality would go up a little bit if I went for a higher bitrate, but the file size easily doubles. I could do that--should I?

Also, the show's length increased again. That's not a problem for me if it's not a problem for my listeners. There's got to be some upper limit, though, and I'd guess that I'm getting close. I think I'd like to show come in closer to a half hour. Maybe I can get there with practice, including choosing my topics with that in mind. I'd also expect for there to be longer and shorter shows (as the subject requires), there being no time requirement when podcasting.

Even though I've said I prefer email feedback, it occurred to me later that using the comment form here on the web might create more of a "listener community." Email still works fine, but feel free to use the comment forms, too. Especially if you have something to say that others may resonate with.

Games mentioned on the show: Scrabble, Fluster, Get the Goods, Bohnanza, Candyland, Mall Madness, Star Munchkin, Queen's Gambit, Epic Duels, Clash of the Lightsabers, Star Wars - Attack of the Clones Card Game, Assault on Hoth, Battle for Endor, Drunter & Drüber, Big City, Battleball, Raj, Würmeln, Kapitän Wackelpudding, Hick Hack in Gackelwack, Mäuse-Rallye, Apples to Apples Jr., Cluzzle, Quarto, Zenix, Pylos, Blokus, Rumis, Tohuwabohu, Schicki Micki, Emerald, Through the Desert, Sisimizi, Zapp Zerapp, Flowerpower, Tally Ho!, Die Fugger, Ticket to Ride, Settlers of Catan, and Coloretto.

(I know I missed a few, but that should cover most of them!)

-Mark


Links
Shannon Appelcline's review of Carcassonne:The Computer Game
 
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6. Board Game: Dancing Dice [Average Rating:5.74 Overall Rank:6892]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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May 2, 2005

Oof, that's a long title for this post. But I wanted that top line to tell people what's in this podcast, so that can see it in their RSS reader or podcast aggregator. This entire show is an audio session report. As you'll hear in the podcast, I received some good suggestions that I could kill two birds with one stone by keeping the session reports, just separating them out into their own show. That way they aren't shoehorned into the end of another show, the people that aren't into these things can easily skip them, and it helps keep the shows right around 30 minutes. (The last show was a little too long.)

The way I think of them, these audio session report podcasts will be inserted as-available into the schedule of other, themed shows like the ones I've been doing. So in my previous podcast I said the next one would be about game conventions. That's still true--my next themed show will be about that. The audio session report just pops in when I record it (i.e., today).

-Mark


Links
Settlers of Catan
Dancing Dice
Basari
Ra
San Marco
Xe Queo!
Ingenious
Star Wars Episode 2 Card Game
Kapitän Wackelpudding
 
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7. Board Game: Cronberg [Average Rating:6.01 Overall Rank:4387]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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That's a Palm Pilot on the left, and a pink iPod mini on the right. Yes, I've been doing BGTG that long!
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May 10, 2005

Finally did the show about conventions, and I didn't even finish what I wanted to say. But I limited myself to a half-hour, just the same. I'll wrap up in a future show, though that will probably not be my next show. In this one I start at the top, discussing my one day at Essen 2003, other experiences with Origins and Gencon (well, at least Gencon SoCal), talk up some more-than-regional cons like Kublacon and BGG.con, and...um...sort of dump on local cons like our Strategicons. I guess they're for somebody, they just aren't for me. In that future show I'll get to Slug-A-Thon, Games Days, and the invitationals (GoF, Gulf Games).

-Mark


Links
My Essen 2003 article at The Games Journal
Ward Batty's traveler's guide to Essen
Origins
Gencon
Kublacon (San Francisco, May)
BGG.con (Dallas, November)
Strategicon (Southern California, various)
 
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8. Board Game: POD [Average Rating:8.00 Unranked]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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That's a Palm Pilot on the left, and a pink iPod mini on the right. Yes, I've been doing BGTG that long!
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May 12, 2005

June 11, 2005 update: I've switched over to 32kbps MP3 exporting out of Audacity, rather than the 48 I was originally using. For speech the difference in audio quality ought to be barely detectable, while the filesize savings are nothing to sneeze at (around 25%).

This particular podcast has nothing to do with boardgames! It's a special show about podcasting itself. The first third of the program are instructions for how to automatically download the podcasts via podcatching software like iPodder, or at least a recommendation that you use an RSS reader to keep up with my site.

In the remainder of the show I describe how I go about recording, hosting, and linking Boardgames To Go. I hope it comes across how simple it is--how anyone with something to say could be doing the same thing. Particularly if you've been thinking about podcasting, but been intimidated by the expense and complexity of fancy microphones, mixing boards, and so on...you NEED to listen to this show. Don't let the fact that I'm an engineer fool you--I'm a mechanical engineer, not a computer geek. I work in a world of gears and bearings (or else budgets and staffing plans!). If I can make this work, I bet just about anyone can.

Something I forgot to point out in the podcast itself was how much of what I describe is multi-platform, or platform-independent. The software is available for Mac and Linux, as well as Windows, and much of the rest of what you do happens on the web itself.

-Mark


Links
Bloglines (web-based RSS reader)
iPodder (podcatching software, for Windows/Mac/Linux)
Michael Geohegan's Intro for Podcast Listeners
Audacity (recording software)
Liberated Syndication (hosting service)
Blogger (blogging service)
How to use Blogger and Feedburner to make a podcast feed
AudioShell (id3 tagging software)
Michael Geoghegan's excellent Podcast about the Podcast
Looperman (royalty-free music samples)
 
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9. Board Game: Crokinole [Average Rating:7.81 Overall Rank:64]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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That's a Palm Pilot on the left, and a pink iPod mini on the right. Yes, I've been doing BGTG that long!
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May 14, 2005

This audio session report mostly talks about the games I played at two recent Santa Clarita Boardgamer sessions. What do people listen for in an audio session report, anyway? I don't spend any time explaining the mechanics of the games. That's not a good use of anyone's time, especially my own. You can follow the links below to learn all you'll want about rules & mechanics.

I'm primarily telling stories about what happened when we played the games, sprinkled with some opinions about them. I'd love to expand the opinions into something with more analysis, more depth. But frankly, if I do that it'll be one of the other, themed Boardgames To Go episodes, not wrapped inside an audio session report. (In fact, I've been thinking more about that lately, how I got some good response for the show where I talked about El Grande a bit. I'd like to do more of those, if I'm up to it.)

If the people who like these audio session reports are happy with their rambling nature, then I guess everything's working fine. Currently, they're pretty easy to knock out.

-Mark


Links
Pueblo
Rumis
Crokinole
Schrille Stille
Star Wars Attack of the Clones
Puerto Rico
Traumfabrik
Xe Queo!
 
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10. Board Game: Convention! [Average Rating:5.50 Unranked]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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May 16, 2005

Finishing up the earlier theme show about conventions, this time covering invitational events like The Gathering of Friends and Gulf Games, then wrapping up with some of the smallest but best events, public Games Days.

At the end I mention the next theme show will be about the various game awards, and I'm asking for feedback/input about that topic in particular.

-Mark


Links
(No website for private events like the Gathering and Gulf Games, sorry!)
One and another entry from my old weblog about my trip to The Gathering in 2003
SoCal Games Day
Bay Area Games Day
My article in The Games Journal about planning SoCal Games Day
Slug-A-Thon must be dead now--it's got no website. Too bad.
 
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11. Board Game: Hollywood Awards [Average Rating:5.17 Unranked]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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May 22, 2005

A theme show I'd mentioned earlier, focusing on the ideas behind game awards. I was consciously trying to avoid just making this a rundown of the various awards, trying to get a little behind the purpose and motivation for game awards. Was I successful? Partially, I think.

-Mark


Links
Brett & Board's Awards page
International Gamers Awards
Deutscher Spiel Preis form (and Mik's explanation for English-speakers)
Origins Awards
Meeples' Choice Museum
Stven Carlberg's BGG forum post about game awards
 
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12. Board Game: Strategy [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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May 28, 2005

This show may not be as interesting to listeners who have been enjoying this hobby for a while. But as I mentioned in a previous show, I think it's important that this podcast have one show intended for newcomers. Though there are at least a couple more boardgame podcasts out there, mine is still the one that pops up when someone does a podcast search specifically for boardgames (only because it's in my title).

So, for all you newcomers, have a listen to this particular episode. I get to spend some time talking about what these sort of games are (and what they aren't), good suggestions for your first purchases, where to find the games, and how to find other players.

-Mark


Game suggestions (Designer/Publisher)
Settlers of Catan (Klaus Teuber/Mayfair Games)
Carcassonne (Klaus-Jürgen Wrede/Rio Grande Games)
Bohnanza (Uwe Rosenberg/Rio Grande Games)
Ticket to Ride (Alan R. Moon/Days of Wonder)
Through the Desert (Reiner Knizia/Fantasy Flight Games)
Lost Cities (Reiner Knizia/Rio Grande Games)

Links
A good intro to "German" games
'German' Game FAQ (from rec.games.board)
Boardgamegeek.com (the hobby's central website)
 
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13. Board Game: Struggle of Empires [Average Rating:7.51 Overall Rank:277]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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May 30 2005

I had a few technical challenges with this show--hopefully none of them come through in the recording. (I did the intro on my little Treo phone/PDA thingie, then pasted it into my normal Audacity recording software. I hadn't noticed that this fiddled with my normal sampling rate, which affects some CD burners. I think I fixed it, though.) By all means, let me know if something is amiss.

Note the updated sidebar, with a new poll about the IGAs and results from the previous poll. I think the latter are skewed somewhat--folks who rely on iPodder or similar software may not visit this site on the web as often, so miss out on the polling. Not that it matters greatly. I'm guessing that I've got about a 50-50 split between listeners who use podcatching software and those who prefer to download direct from this website. (The latter may appreciate my new mp3 graphics, making the downloadable shows easier to spot.)

In this show I mostly ramble on about Struggle of Empires, plus the other two games I got to play with family members. I also get to open with some feedback from Rick Thornquist about my IGA comments last time. Always love the feedback...


Oh! At the very end I get to announce that I'm going to BGG.con! I'll be looking forward to it all summer. Haven't cashed in the frequent flier miles yet, or made a hotel reservation, but I sent off my pre-reg forms & check. I'll be meeting a few friends I already know there, but will also attempt to meet some new people. We'll see how I do compared to my previous experience at the Gathering!

-Mark


Links
Struggle of Empires
Alhambra
Flowerpower
 
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14. Board Game: Who Am I? The Biography Game [Average Rating:4.79 Unranked]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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June 4, 2005

A show all about me. I hope this is still of interest to everyone--I figure it's important to know where your writer/podcaster is coming from. Once you're calibrated on who I am, you can interpret my reactions to different games a bit better. I start at the games I played as a kid, but then move through the microgames and roleplaying games that dominated high school and college. The boardgaming we now enjoy didn't come around until the late 90's, and it was Magic: The Gathering that showed the way--I'm not one of those guys that played Acquire and Civilization back in the old days. (In fact, I forgot to tell the story of how Acquire completely bombed with my roleplaying games--and me--when we tried it. So did Cosmic Encounter.)

I've been involved with three boardgame groups over the past near-decade, and I spend a little time discussing how they all started. First the Tri-Valley Boardgamers, then the Left Coast Gamers, and now the Santa Clarita Boardgamers.

I didn't wrap up the show with a teaser for what the next theme show will be. I haven't quite decided. Figure I ought to post those ideas here on the blog like I've been threatening to see what piques interest.

-Mark


Links
Ogre
Magic: The Gathering
Air Baron
Settlers of Catan
Streetcar
Microgame mailing list, website
My GURPS books (Super Scum, Supertemps, others)
Michael Dean's Fine Games
Tri-Valley Boardgamers (then and now)
 
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15. Board Game: Tonga Bonga [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:2913]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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June 5, 2005

A nice, big session report. Last week's session wasn't any longer than the previous one, but instead of playing one big game (Struggle of Empires), this time we played several shorter games. These are always my favorite game nights, though I can handle a longer game once in a while.

I also was able to open with several listener comments, which was fun. Keep 'em coming.

-Mark


Links
Tonga Bonga
David & Goliath
Oltremare
Tichu
Oceania
 
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16. Board Game: Fairy Tale [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:669]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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June 11, 2005

Last week I joked that Tonga Bonga would be our Game of the Month. Here we were, playing it again--by request! Maybe it's meant to be. This time was different in that it was a 3-player game, and I won big instead of losing big. Then I got to try Ryan & Erin's new Crokinole board. It's not theirs, really--they bought it as a graduation gift for Erin's cousin. This board is from Crokinole World, namely Stan and Carl Hilinski. I purchased one of their boards a year ago for my brother, but I've yet to see it myself. In fact, I'd never seen or played on a Hilinski board in person. Now I can confidently say that they're of great quality.

My last game was Fairy Tale, a "German" game from Japan that mixes CCG-style card booster drafting with a straightforward scoring system and comfortable theme. The rest of the group went on to play Princes of Florence, but I knocked off early. Still have a couple comments about that game, though.

I started this show by reading from quite a lot of feedback. I'm still reading on the podcast just about everything that's emailed to me about it. That will probably taper off someday, but for now I'm having fun with it. Keep those cards & letters coming. :-)

-Mark


Links
Tonga Bonga
Crokinole
Fairy Tale
Princes of Florence
Crokinole World
Chris Brooks' boardgame blog
 
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17. Board Game: RoboRally [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:298]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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June 11, 2005

You asked for a second voice on Boardgames To Go? You got it!

Ok, only some of you asked for a second voice. And ok, I won't have someone like Mike Mayer joining me on the podcast regularly. In fact, right now I think I'll still do the majority of the shows solo. But now that I've figured out how to patch in a remote collaborator for the show, I will do more of this in the future. I want to get Mike back on the show, and I've got some other friends to include, too.
Mike Mayer
United States
Arcadia
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After getting a little of Mike's own background, we launched into an unannounced theme show about a single game: Robo Rally. Mike is someone that really enjoys the game, while I just think it's ok. We do our best to talk about that, and include the little bits we know about the upcoming new release (hint: we're no Rick Thornquist of the Gamewire...we don't know any more than anyone else). Most of all, we had fun.

-Mark


Links
Robo Rally
Mike Mayer's profile on Boardgamegeek
Wilmington Board Games
Robo Rally Editor
 
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18. Board Game: Robot Sam the Answer Man [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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June 11, 2005

Here's another show where I have someone else recording with me. Only this time it's my son Sam, and he's plugged in locally to the same laptop. (Technical aside: this was incredibly easy, just patching in a second microphone/headset using a five-dollar audio jack splitter! I need to do more of this with local friends.) Besides hearing from the horse's mouth about a 5th/6th grader's attitudes about board & video games, I wanted to contrast the two Star Wars battles we played against each other. First it was Battlefront on his Xbox system, and later we played Queen's Gambit, a boardgame.

Sam does his best to explain why he likes some games more than others, and I think I manage to miss his point. Considering I'm his father, eager to get him to play more board and card games with me, I could use a little help here!

Sam told me later that he really enjoyed doing this, and wants to do some more over the summer. I'll be sure to label those shows clearly, so grumpy gamers with no use for kids can skip them if desired.

I'll add that Sam is especially hoping for some feedback on this show, so now's the time for it. Thanks!

-Mark


Links
Queen's Gambit
Epic Duels
Clash of the Lightsabers
Attack of the Clones card game
Battlefront (videogame for Xbox/PC/PS2)
Chess
St. Petersburg
Bohnanza
Star Munchkin
Ingenious
Through the Desert
Sisimizi
Drunter und Drüber
Kapitän Wackelpudding
Ticket to Ride
 
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19. Board Game: Molly Maulwurf [Average Rating:4.50 Unranked]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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June 14, 2005

Anyone who's a parent of multiple kids knows this rule: be fair to all of them. So after Sam got a chance to be on my podcast, talking about the games he likes, I knew that Molly deserved a turn. Actually, she had wanted to do it first! Molly just finished third grade, and was my little boardgame player even before her older brother. Although she plays the occasional video game, she's not into them very much, and doesn't talk about them on the podcast. I do my best to steer the conversation toward some games we didn't mention on the earlier kid show--not hard because Molly honestly prefers some different games. Although she didn't specifically ask for it, I bet Molly would enjoy feedback just as much as Sam has (thanks for that!). There must be some parents of young girls out there that can relate!

Molly pointed out later that we forgot to talk about domino games like chickenfoot, but that can be in a future show.

-Mark


Links
Candyland
Mall Madness
Roller Coaster Tycoon
Cluzzle
Pylos
Apples to Apples, Jr.
Cadoo
Flowerpower
Fish Eat Fish
War, Go Fish (worth following the links to www.pagat.com)
Through the Desert (panned again!)
 
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20. Board Game: Online: Internet Card Game [Average Rating:4.81 Overall Rank:13185]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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June 24, 2005

After a trio of shows sharing the microphone with someone else, I’m back to doing my solo show. That will still be what I do most of the time, I think. It’s back to a theme show, too, focusing on the history of Internet communication on our hobby. Mailing lists, newsgroups, websites, that sort of thing. I didn’t really get to all of the websites I wanted to cover—guess I’ll have to have a part 2 show on that subject sometime later.

Once again I read a variety of feedback to head up the show. Too much? I enjoy reading all of it, but feedback definitely adds some to the length of the show. The craziest thing is that I forgot to include my first audio feedback comment! Rats, I’ll have to include that next time. I’d still enjoy receiving more of those, and that should be even easier now that I’ve set up a voicemail comment line: 1-206-888-BGTG (1-206-888-2484).

My learning curve for podcasting continues: I’ve heard a good technique on other podcasts to announce the show number and title right at the start, before I even go into the intro music. That lets you scan through the shows just by listening to the opening seconds. I’ll do that from now on.

-Mark


Links
rec.games.board newsgroup
Spielfrieks mailing list
Boardgamegeek.com
 
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21. Board Game: Canyon [Average Rating:6.25 Overall Rank:2849]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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June 27, 2005

I wonder how long it will be until I feel like I know what I'm doing?! Seems like every podcast I learn a little something new. This time it's as simple as making the podcast and blog post title with the games listed NOT in the order we played them. Otherwise, Tonga Bonga leads every audio SR this month, and at first glance it looks like I'm podcasting about the same thing. In a way, I guess I am. But now you know why my show titles may not list the games in the order played--just an order that might catch your eye.

This entire podcast (except the canned intro/outro music) was recorded on a portable device, my Treo running Personal Audio Recorder. I tried that once before, but this time I had the recording settings adjusted correctly. I think it worked much better. You can hear some background noise (cars, skateboarders, even crickets and wind near the end), which is only natural considering I recorded this while at a park! Sam was inside the rec center for his karate class while Molly and I were outside. I recorded the podcast, and she played at the playground. Life in the 21st century...

I even remembered to paste in and answer the audio feedback question submitted by "William in Japan." (Sorry I didn't remember your name during the podcast!) Later I realized I didn't even answer William's question entirely appropriately--his example of a light miniatures game does use discrete movement on a mapboard, not the traditional freeform movement of minis. (I think that's right, anyway--his example was Blood Bowl.) So, more like Memoir '44/Battle Cry as miniatures games go. Well, the answer still works--I haven't played those and don't have much desire. But thanks for the feedback.

Speaking of feedback, I'm going to try reading/replying to only a few select comments on a subsequent podcast. The rest of them I'll answer via email or the comment forms on this website, as appropriate. As much as I enjoy reading the feedback, I think it went a bit too long the last couple times. This should be a good middle ground.

-Mark


Links
Pylos
Tonga Bonga
Canyon
Grand Canyon
Victory & Honor
 
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22. Board Game: Dampfross [Average Rating:6.31 Overall Rank:2810]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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June 28, 2005

A quick little show, the shortest I've done in a while. Mostly I just struck while the iron was hot, but with a surge in subscribers due to podcast support in iTunes, it's proven to be timely. Welcome new listeners! As I say in the little audio aside, I encourage the new folks to check out the permanently linked shows at the top of the right sidebar: intro shows about podcasting and also strategy boardgames.

This is also the first time I pasted a photo in here. That's me in the center of the photo, during a game of Oltremare. Normally I smile . . . I must be deep in concentration. :-) Those are some of the Santa Clarita Boardgamers around me: Greg Wizbach (my logo designer!) on the right , Erin Wheeler across from him, and our other Ryan (not Erin's husband!) in the foreground.

-Mark


Links
My 2004 Year-end report, with Gaming "Resolutions"
Peter Sarrett's Review Manifesto
My Boulder Game Notes reviews of Wildlife and Die Fugger (scroll down)
My tag-team reviews with Kevin Whitmore at The Games Journal (for Carcassonne:Hunters & Gatherers and Hellas)
Dampfross
Jockey
 
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23. Board Game: Entdecker [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:1777]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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June 30, 2005

I've been wanting to do this for a while, talk for an entire show about one game. And now I've done it, about one of my very favorite games Entdecker. I suppose this kind of show is really something of an audio game review, though I didn't plan it that way when I started talking. Entdecker is a game that's been published in two separate versions, has a well-known variant, another I prefer, and most recently its little brother Oceania showed up. I get to talk about all of them. In fact, I like all of them (well, I'm cool on New Entdecker--but I like several of its ideas).

The show ended up a bit longer than expected, at around 45 minutes with no time spent reading feedback. But hey, that only balances the previous smaller show.

-Mark


Links
Entdecker
New Entdecker
Oceania
The "Manu variant" for Entdecker
My own Old-New Entdecker hybrid
Steffan O'Sullivan's tips for playing Old with the New
 
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24. Board Game: Smarty Party! Expansion Set Junior [Average Rating:6.19 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.19 Unranked]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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July 5, 2005

Once again I included my son Sam on the podcast. This show is an audio session report for some games played with family over the 4th of July holiday weekend. So it's got some angst about getting family to play the sort of games I like, trying to pick things they like, and then worrying about how well they went over.

Be sure to vote on the new logos using the webpoll in my right sidebar. Thanks!

-Mark


Links
Smarty Party Jr.
Geschenkt
Oceania
Attacktix
 
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25. Board Game: Jambo [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:445] [Average Rating:7.06 Unranked]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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July 9, 2005

This show was something of a hybrid, an audio session report that had an overall theme: 2-player games. That's because the most recent Santa Clarita Boardgamer session just had two players! Myself and BGTG logo designer Greg Wilzbach. We got in some good ones, and once again it made me think that we ought to play these more even on nights when we've got more turnout.



Speaking of those logos, the polling is going to wind down soon. The iPod/Meeple-blasting-off logo is going to have to make up a lot of ground to overtake the pawn-on-wheels logo. Voting results are now approaching 65%-35% . . . but only a modest subset of my listeners have actually voted so far.

-Mark


Links
Jambo
Starship Catan
Richelieu
Lost Cities
Flowerpower
 
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