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Boardgames To Go - Season 2 (2006)
Mark Johnson
France
Paris
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The second season still had a lot of episodes (though not quite at the pace of the initial season). I was happy doing more of the same, and avoiding the podfade. An important episode was "Dialing it Back," where I realized my podcast wasn't going to be a "show." Instead, I've tried to follow more of a personal "audioblog" model.




Mark Johnson's occasional & opinionated podcast about family strategy boardgames
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Episodes
BGTG 46 - SR: Lots of games, and Feedback
BGTG 47 - Behind the Scenes at BGTG
BGTG 48 - Retrospective on 2005
BGTG 49 - Five & Dime Lists (with Mark JACKson)
BGTG 50 - A Look Back at Essen (with Mike Siggins)
BGTG 51 - SR: Jenseits von Theben, Vegas Showdown, Bolide, Zahltag, and Feedback
BGTG 52 - SR: Vinci, Wallenstein, Hansa, and Tikal (all play-by-web) and Feedback
BGTG 53 - All About La Città (with Jonathan Degann)
BGTG 54 - New Gamer and Gamer Dads (with David Gullett)
BGTG 55 - "Dark Johnson" Interview (with David Arnott)
BGTG 56 - All About Vinci (with David Arnott)
BGTG 57 - Ordering Overseas
BGTG 58 - SR: Ticket to Ride: Märklin, Buy Low Sell High, Dschunke and Feedback
BGTG 59 - SR: Settlers of the Stone Age, Wyatt Earp, Safeknacker, Modern Art, Pirate's Cove (and Feedback)
BGTG 60 - David Arnott Leftovers about Medici, Elasund (and Hacienda)
BGTG 61 - Friendly, Local Game Stores
BGTG 62 - Dialing it Back
BGTG 63 - Pre-Essen Show
BGTG 64 - SR & Feedback show (Thurn und Taxis, Gene Pool, Wallamoppi)
BGTG 65 - Post-Essen Show (with Mike Siggins)
BGTG 66 - Thanksgiving Leftovers (Qwirkle, Winner's Circle, Harry's Grand Slam Baseball, Hyle7, Make Five) & Feedback
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1. Board Game: Mäuse-Rallye [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:7079]
Mark Johnson
France
Paris
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January 2, 2006

Yea! I finally got to record a new podcast! I needed to do a fair bit of catching up, which meant the podcast got to be pretty long. With that in mind I split it into two parts. This is the first part, about an hour of me catching up for lost time and talking about some games I've been playing recently. The second part, which I'll post next, is the feedback segment.





Here's part two of this episode, just the feedback portion. Keep 'em coming! :-) It's good to be back.

-Mark


Links
Gone Gaming's Board Game Internet Awards
Board Games with Scott (videoblog)
Entdecker (New & OLD!)
Tigris & Euphrates
Mäuse-Rallye
Diamant
Star Munchkin, Munchkin Fu
Havoc: The Hundred Years War
Rheinlander
Aqua Romana
Scoozie
Go West
Attika
Cloud 9
Drunter & Drüber
Naturelich Games
 
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2. Board Game: Behind the Veil [Average Rating:6.10 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.10 Unranked]
Mark Johnson
France
Paris
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Jan 8, 2006

This is more or less an update of the "intro to podcasting" show I did way back in May, 2005. It's especially intended for people who might start up their own boardgame podcast--whether they were thinking about it already or not! It might also be of some interest to general listeners of the show, who are curious how a podcast like this comes together. There's not much to it, really.

-Mark


Links
Libsyn.com (podcast host)
Blogger.com (blog software, and could be host)
Feedburner (feed manager)
iTunes
Public domain music loops
Garageband.com (more music, use appropriately with attribution)
Creative Commons
Audacity (recording/editing software)
Skype
 
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3. Board Game: Attacktix Battle Figure Game: Star Wars [Average Rating:6.16 Overall Rank:4895]
Mark Johnson
France
Paris
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Jan 14, 2006

For a long time I've posted a retrospective on my past year in the hobby, first to rec.games.board, then spielfrieks, then my blog. This year, of course, I've shifted it over to a podcast episode. That's the first big shift. The other comes from not having kept track of my game stats last year. And yet . . . I still have things to say.


-Mark


Links
Hits: Attacktix, Diamant, Elasund, Fjords, Mission Red Planet, Pingvinas, Tempus
Misses: Doom, Go West, Mall of Horror, Shear Panic
Games Unknown: too many to list!
Consistently good: Medici, Entdecker, Euphrat & Tigris, Bohnanza, En Garde, For Sale, , Settlers, Carcassonne, Web of Power, Vinci
 
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4. Board Game: Nickel & Dime Pool [Average Rating:5.83 Unranked]
Mark Johnson
France
Paris
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Jan 21, 2006
Mark Jackson
United States
Goodlettsville
Tennessee
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Though it's happening less often nowadays, in the past people have confused Mark Jackson and myself. Though that's mostly due to the similarity in our names, we have some similar tastes in games (e.g. original Entdecker), we've crossed paths a few times, and since Jackson moved here in 2003 we're both Californians. California is a big state, though, and we're not so close that we see each other at Games Days and whatnot. Luckily, last weekend Mark came down to visit the SCBers and play some games. We recorded this podcast while he was here, and his annual Five & Dime list project was the main topic. As you'll hear, Mark has done a variety of projects where he synthesizes data and opinions from a variety of hobbyists online. The Five & Dime lists are an annual tally of the games folks have played at least five or ten times. And this is the one project he's working on that anyone can participate in.

This was also a good opportunity to talk about replayability and longevity in boardgames. It was Matt Sab who'd asked the question, and started a similar discussion on spielfrieks. (Sorry I forgot your name on the air, Matt!)

-Mark

P.S. Rats, I forgot to have Candy take a photo of the two of us.


Links
Game Central Station
The Apples Project
The One Hundred
Five & Dime (at Game Central Station, and later at Opinionated Gamers)
The Tao of Gaming (Brian Bankler's blog)
Shannon Appelcline's Year in Review: 2005 blog entry at Gone Gaming
 
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5. Board Game: Princes of the Renaissance [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:490]
Mark Johnson
France
Paris
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Jan 24, 2006

My fiftieth podcast! Wow, I really wasn't sure I'd ever make it this far when I started last March. The show has morphed a bit over time, mostly in response to some limitatation I want to address or opportunity I want to seize. The feedback has been pretty great the entire time, so I trust that I'm on the right track. In other words, I'm happy that my listeners appreciate the kind of shows I personally want to do!
Mike Siggins
England
Eastbourne
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For this show, I thought it would be interesting to take a look back at two past Essens. To do this, I again enlisted the help of gaming luminary Mike Siggins. Mike went to lots of earlier Essens--it was his trip reports that we all read back then to find out about new games and the show in general. After a lengthy hiatus he again returned to Essen last year, and you may remember that I got to go myself in 2003. That gives us two past shows to talk about from firsthand experience. In addition to that, we also use the Fairplay Scout data to frame the discussion, using those lists to reconsider which games were considered the hits and misses of those past Essens. (I thought we might also talk a little more about longevity in modern boardgames, but we ran out of time.)

Naturally, we talk about a lot of different game titles in this show. Rather than list them all in the shownotes, I'm instead including links to two different files you may want to download, print out, and refer to during the podcast. One is the same reformatted list of the Fairplay Scout ratings for Essen 2005, just last year. The other is an Excel spreadsheet with the Fairplay Scout ratings for 2003 . . . as well as some more data. I transmogrified the 1=good/6=bad rating system from Fairplay to the familiar 10-point scale, then included the Boardgamegeek ratings for the same games. Now that a couple years have passed, how do these "settled in" (?) ratings on BGG compare to the initial reaction at the Fairplay booth? What does that tell us about Essen enthusiasm in general?

-Mark

P.S. This show came out just a bit longer than fits on a single audio CD, but not so long as to make splitting up into two parts (A & B as I've done before) very logical. How much of an inconvenience is it for everyone? Rather than cutting out a good 10 minutes of content, I decided to put this show up as-is for the main link and podcast feed. For those of you who really need the show split, here I've done a quick & dirty job of it for you (part 1, part 2).


Links
Essen 2003, A Look Back (spreadsheet)
Essen 2005, Fairplay Scouting Report (PDF file)
 
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6. Board Game: Jenseits von Theben [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:1609]
Mark Johnson
France
Paris
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Feb 13, 2006

This episode became my white whale. It was a struggle to get it recorded, edited, partially scrapped & re-recorded, and finally posted. Towards the end, I have to admit that I just gave up a little bit, posting it even though I'm still not happy with the audio quality. Also, I think I ramble on just a bit too much, though at least the second take was better than the first! The audio issues come from using a slightly different setup, one I'd hoped would give me a little more flexibility in where & when I record the shows (i.e., it's more portable). It worked ok, and could probably be improved further, though I'm not sure it solves my fundamental problem of not enough time to spend on the podcast!

Ah well, at least it's posted now. Maybe I can turn around a (shorter) 52nd show quicker, getting in some more audio feedback that I couldn't squeeze into this episode.

In the news section I mention how you need to read this blog/website to learn how to join me for games of Torres, Alhambra, Fearsome Floors, and perhaps Droles des Zebres on the play-by-web site Boîte à Jeux. That site doesn't use passwords, but I can still restrict a game to BGTGers by inviting specific users to join my games. To do that, I need your BAJ usernames. Email them to me, or--better yet--post them in comments to this message.

Towards the end of the feedback section I ask the audience for some idea for game accessories that make good gifts for the gamer who has everything. Got some ideas?

-Mark

P.S. Samarit, I later figured out that Togo is in west Africa, not the South Pacific. Sorry about that! At least I know where Bavaria is . . .


Links
My Interview by an Optimist (that's Tom Vasel, of course!)
Vegas Showdown
Bolide (and the old skool graph paper racing game that might even be better [and another])
Zahltag
Joe Huber's German Game Author article about Franz-Benno Delonge
 
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7. Board Game: Vinci [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:495]
Mark Johnson
France
Paris
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Feb 26, 2006

Back to another Session Report & Feedback show, and back to my usual recording setup. This show focuses almost exclusively on play-by-web games, sharing some news about them, and talking about a few of the titles I played recently. Plus the feedback, of course.

As I hoped, this proved to be a notably shorter show. Anything less than an hour is notable for me, now! Gives you more time to listen to all of those other boardgame podcasts.

I always forget something in every show, and in this one I forgot to recommend the mailing list (i.e. Yahoo Group) for play-by-web boardgamers. It's called spiel-by-web, but isn't directly associated with Mikael Sheikh's site of the same name. It hasn't been a very active mailing list for some time, but I think would still be probably the best place for a community of players to congregate.

-Mark


Links
Vassal
ekted's rundown of play-by-web sites on his Gamer's Mind blog
spiel-by-web mailing list (Yahoo Group)
BGG Geeklist of play-by-web games
YouPlay.it - Blue Max, King Me!, Cartagena
Ludagora - Through the Desert, Vinci, Medina, Hare & Tortoise, others
MabiWeb - Hansa, Richelieu (In development: Samurai, Shadow of the Emperor)
Spiel by Web - Amun-Re, Bus, Hoity Toity, Reef Enc,Tikal, Wally (In test: La Citta, Santiago) (In development: Caylus, El Grande, Hacienda)
Boîte à Jeux - Alhambra, Fearsome Floors, Torres, Gipf, Dvonn, Droles des Zebres, Shazamm, others (In development: Medici, Dungeon Twister, Zertz, Yinsh, others)
Yucata.de - Hazienda, Rosenkonig, Kahuna, Yucata, Chinagold, others
Koplow Dice Tray (part of an interesting BGG entry for Misc Game Accessory)
Plano 3705 tackle boxes
 
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8. Board Game: La Città [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:469]
Mark Johnson
France
Paris
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Mar 6, 2006
Jonathan Degann
United States
Tarzana
United States
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Finally! Another All About show, which are the sort that everyone seems to love best. This one was recorded with Jonathan Degann, who you may know from his opinions on mailing lists, his Game Theory 101 articles on The Games Journal, or most recently his own blog. Jonathan is someone I played with regularly for some time, when I was with the Left Coast Gamers. Then a few years ago I helped get the Santa Clarita Boardgamers going in my own town, though I still see Jonathan at SoCal Games Days and some other opportunities.

As I've done in the past, the show was long and interesting enough to split it into two parts. The first is talking with Jonathan about his background in the hobby and those writings of his. Then in the second part we get into the actual game discussion.

By the way, have you noticed my voice all over some other boardgame podcasts? I'm becoming an audio spammer! No, I just got in the swing of recording a response or question after listening to a podcast. I didn't think they'd all use them at once!





Here's part two of the podcast, the one where Jonathan and I get into La Città in detail. By the way, be sure to check out Eric Burgess' podcast Boardgame Babylon, which also features periodic episodes where he covers a single game in depth. In fact, he calls them his In Depth features. He's already done Caylus as a solo show, and recently did Ra with a second person.

La Città is one of the heavier or lengthier games I enjoy, and as such it's sort of a crossover hit between Jonathan and I. Though a little hard to track down now in English, it's supposed to be available for play-by-web on Spielbyweb.com before too long, and the original German edition is still for sale from overseas mail order houses like Adam Spielt, Playme.de, and so on. (Which reminds me . . . is there still any interest in a show about placing overseas orders? I learned to do that with Jonathan, as it were.)

After recording the podcast, I re-discovered a website that looks to be a personal site of the designer, Gerd Fenchel. It's got some very interesting material about the history of the game, including photographs, starting from a 6-hour prototype in 1992 that was set on Alpha Centauri! Later it was rethemed to ancient Greece before settling on Italian city-states in the renaissance. The designer credits the development team of TM Spiele (affiliated with Kosmos and including Klaus Teuber, as I understand) with tightening and shortening the game up. That development process is something I'm very curious about and am looking for opportunites to explore in a later podcast.

I'm trying to get the sense of what's being said on the web page by piping through an online translator . . . with all of the inaccuracies in language that method produces. I wonder if we could get someone to produce an english language translation of those pages? Oh, be sure to check out the photo-journal of this famous cities in Tuscany (the link called "Reise").

-Mark


Links
Earliest games: Clue, Life
3M titles: High Bid, Stocks & Bonds, Acquire
The dark years: Strategy & Tactics, Panzergruppe Guderian, Smoker's Wild
Getting better?: Guerilla, Blackbeard
The Game Cabinet
A whole new world: Incognito, Modern Art, Elfenroads, El Grande, Settlers of Catan, Serenissima
Game Theory 101 articles on The Games Journal: Story Arc, The Bomb, Agonizing Decisions, Nervous Systems
A Fine Disregard, by Kirk Varnedoe (critical analysis and appreciation of modern art)
Jonathan's blog: Journal of Boardgame Design
La Città
Designer Gerd Fenchel's home page
The Google-translated page about the history of the game's development
 
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9. Board Game: Don't Wake Daddy [Average Rating:4.34 Overall Rank:13289]
Mark Johnson
France
Paris
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Apr 1, 2006

[A technical complication meant this show took the longest to pull together, but I'm pleased to say it worked completely. If you want to read the audio editing story, check out the boardgamepodcasters mailing list. -Mark]
David G.
United States
Moorpark
California
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This is a combination show, an interview with David Gullett that's about being a boardgame newbie, as well as about playing games with your kids. It's in the latter context that I met him when we pre-arranged some games for us to play with our kids at a SoCal Games Day. The last time he came over to my place with his boys to play some more family games, we took some time to record this podcast. The first third or so is about being that latecomer to this hobby, discovering it through a websearch in 2005 that led him to Boardgamegeek.com. Then we get to talking about playing games with our kids. Finally, we get the kids themselves on the air.

This is a subject I'm finding myself increasingly interested in, bolstered by the success I'm starting to have with my own family. Remember the dialing-it-back, family-focussed plan for my hobby in 2006? I think it's working. That's a future show in itself. David is having even more success earlier with his family, and you'll hear why. He's a very fun character who's making good decisions as a parent. He makes me wish I could turn the clock back and do the same with my family four years ago!

This show didn't have the same sort of outlined script I usually use. David's other hobby is amateur improv comedy, so the lack of an outline presented no problem for him. I'm not as quick on my feet, and upon listening to the show I think I jump around a bit more, interrupt myself and fail to finish my sentences sometimes! Hopefully you can get the gist of what I'm saying when I try to relate German children's games to movies like Spy Kids. Honestly, it makes sense to me but maybe I didn't finish the explanation in the podcast!

David is the first one to claim the title of Guest Host on BGTG for the part of this show when I sign off and he interviews his kid & mine at the same time. A podcast original! (For boardgame podcasts, anyway!)

The show was originally recorded way back on March 4, but it took me this long to get it out. If you make all the way to the end, I think you'll agree this publication date is appropriate.

-Mark

P.S. A fun little gaffe when David mentions The Dice Tower as competition to BGTG, and I say "I don't consider them competition." What I meant to say was that I don't consider podcasting a competition, of course!


Links
Davebo's many family-focussed Geeklists
True Colors (the game that led him to BGG!)
Games for the lunch hour: San Juan, Attika, Jambo, Lost Cities
Too geeky for work: Colossal Arena, Dungeon Twister, Memoir '44, Heroscape
Games we played with the kids: Diamant, Loco
German family games: Midnight Party, Gulo Gulo, Igloo Pop
American family games: Clue, Sorry, Careers, Life, Smarty Party Jr., Apples to Apples Jr.
Jake's favorites: Heroscape, Puerto Rico, Bang!
 
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10. Board Game: Dark Emperor [Average Rating:5.52 Overall Rank:11035]
Mark Johnson
France
Paris
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Apr 4, 2006
David Arnott
United States
Tarzana
California
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Dave Arnott sprung this show on me, turning the tables on the interviewer. His plan was to expose me for the sinister, heartless gamer that I really am. Of course, the plan backfired and I come out smelling like a rose.


No, he just asks some fun questions about my changing tastes and even behaviors in this hobby, touching on subjects like game themes, new games vs old, and short games vs long. It was a fun conversation, one that made for a nice, little show. There was also some good discussion about Elasund in particular but I clipped that part out, to be part of a David Arnott Leftovers show along with some further talk about Medici.

-Mark

P.S. It's not my birthday quite yet, but very soon. Lordy, lordy, look who's . . .
 
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11. Board Game: Vinci [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:495]
Mark Johnson
France
Paris
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Apr 15, 2006

I was on vacation last week. No, not at the Gathering of Friends, I was in Hawaii with my family. I thought I might catch up on a little podcasting backlog or at least spruce up the web page. Instead, I ended up doing what I should've planned on all along--relaxing! That's why this show recorded at the end of March is just being posted now.

But here it is, the All About Vinci show. I announced this ahead of time with the thought that people could play the game, review the rules, etc. This is a longer show--as all of the All Abouts turn out to be--and I figure that level of discussion makes the most sense when the listener is already familiar with the game. And if that's the case, then maybe we don't need to go over the rules in such depth? I ask that question in the opening of this podcast, something I'd like to hear back about.

By the way, if you want to skip past the rules, just scan your CD or MP3 player forward to about 30:45 after you get through my intro. You'll miss a little commentary & analysis that squeezes its way in amongst the rules overview, but not too much.

Anyway, that's Dave and I recording the podcast in the photo, of course. I'm on the right, and we're using the simple headsets + audio splitter setup that costs less than $50. (Ok, you need to have a computer already, but the recording software is also free.) We're at an upstairs table during SoCal Games Day 25, at the Burbank Moose Lodge. Really!

-Mark
 
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12. Board Game: Ab die Post! [Average Rating:6.40 Unranked]
Mark Johnson
France
Paris
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Apr 30, 2006

Here's a shorter show that I've wanted to do for a while, talking about how I've ordered games from overseas. Up until just recently that always meant Germany--albeit from a few different webshops--but last week I placed an order through a Dutch website, too. I organize most of these group buys for the Santa Clarita Boardgamers, and there's something to learn from it. The websites are getting more and more English content, but there are times you still need to keep an online translator open in another browser window. I found it intimidating at first, but now it's pretty easy.

However, now we don't order overseas so often. A poor currency exchange rate between the US$ and Euro, combined with greater domestic inventory of timely English-language editions of German games (often at discounted prices and cheap-or-free shipping) means the overseas order is more specialized. While there's no longer much reason to buy new games from the major publishers overseas, there are still some closeouts, OOPs, or untranslated games from smaller publishers that are most economically ordered from Europe.

Something I neglected to point out in the podcast is that the closeout pricelist for these European stores changes throughout the year, especially shortly after Essen. During my one trip there in 2003 I struggled to make room in my suitcase for an 11 Euro copy of Giganten. There were lots of those available at the fair. Then when I got home I watched multiple online vendors put the same game on their discount list, at about the same price. So I could've nabbed my "Essen special" just by shopping the lists from home! This opportunity doesn't always happen, but it's worth keeping your eye out for it.

One other thing about the VAT discount. Most shops give you the discount during the ordering or payment process. It might not be until the very end, though. Also, the Dutch store I've just used gave me back the VAT discount as a PayPal refund after I'd placed the full-price order (something they clearly explained upfront). And there was one time that a AllGames4You forgot to give me the discount at all, but they made good on it after an email exchange.

-Mark
 
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13. Board Game: Ticket to Ride: Märklin [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:192] [Average Rating:7.41 Unranked]
Mark Johnson
France
Paris
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May 17, 2006

See? I told you I'd get a show out this week. Just had to ignore my family to get it done. (I'm kidding.) Don't know if I will, but I think I should try to knock out a couple more semi-smaller shows featuring session reports and some feedback. We'll see. This one starts with a smattering of news items and whatnot before I get into the discussion of specific games. Stuff like mentioning some new boardgame podcasts that are out there, new play-by-web options, and so on.

-Mark


Links
Boardgames with Scott
Geeknights
Hacienda on Yucata.de
Ticket to Ride:Märklin
Buy Low Sell High (and Palmyra)
Dschunke
History According to Bob podcast (looks like the 30YW material relevant to Wallenstein has already scrolled off the archives. Well, subscribe to this podcast to make sure you don't miss more good material! Or wait for Bob to release Set C of his CD's.)
 
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14. Board Game: The Settlers of the Stone Age [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:1236]
Mark Johnson
France
Paris
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Jun 2, 2006

Once again, I hope people are reading the blog as well as listening to the podcast. Because I often think of things I missed after the podcast is finished. (It's not just me--the host for the highly recommended BBC Radio 4 program In Our Time does the same thing via post-show emails.)

I really want to talk about the family gaming (and other non-gamer gaming) I've been doing lately, but that show takes a little more prep. Hopefully next week. Also, I haven't forgotten that I still owe everyone more explanation about my lack of enthusiasm for Hacienda and Elasund. What can I say? The SdJ jury agrees with me! :-) Ok, cheap shot. I'll still share this as part of that "Dave Arnott leftovers" show.

By the way, I've all but given up on playing Vassal anytime soon. Now I've actually got two people who have volunteered to help me (or learn with me). And I still want to do that. However, it's going to only be a little bit at a time. (Because if I had more time than that to poke around on the computer regarding boardgames, I'd be recording more podcasts!!) For the moment I've let my play-by-web games wind down to completion, taking a break from starting other ones up. But I'll definitely get back into those again, especially when a new game is added to the lineup.

Oh, and you've got to read this butchered english translation of the rules to Safeknacker. Clearly, this is a machine-translation with minimal touching up for idioms. It begins...
Quote:
Hey, let us gather hot cash! We have a beautiful society of evil boys here: safecrackers by occupation. Five worthy families contend in the not quite voluntary teamwork.

And the ending is just as good!
Quote:
...The game ends as soon as all safes are cracked. Now cash is counted the carried off. The winner, with the most hot cash in their pocket, is more or less enviously celebrated. However only briefly, because immediately Schimunsky comes and snatches you anyway. Then in the clink - fraternally unites - could they dare a game-ette again...

I don't mean to tease. I'm just tickled to see this, having struggled with a few translations myself. After you type all that German in, pipe it through babelfish or something, you're just happy to get something out the other side that lets you play the game. You've got no energy left to deal with this.

-Mark


Links
Geeklist on past DSP winners
Settlers of the Stone Age
Wyatt Earp
Die Safeknacker (and Seeräuber)
Modern Art
Pirate's Cove
 
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15. Board Game: Elasund: The First City [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:1007]
Mark Johnson
France
Paris
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Jun 14, 2006
David Arnott
United States
Tarzana
California
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During the All About Vinci show, my guest Dave Arnott thought to bring up something we'd failed to cover during our previous All About show, covering Medici almost a year ago. Rather than include that in the Vinci show, I clipped that part out to be used later. Something similar happened when Dave turned the tables on me for the "Dark Johnson" interview, when we got into some discussion about Elasund. Though it didn't really fit with that interview, it was too good to throw away.

So that's what this show is--a mash-up of these other segments, interspersed with some more recent commentary by yours truly. Then I felt it was finally time to back up the parting shot I took at Hacienda some time ago. At least one podcast listener has been waiting for me to back up those comments. We'll see how I did.

-Mark


Links
Medici
Elasund
Hacienda
Yucata.de
Mike Siggins' Gamers Notebook column at Funagain
 
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16. Board Game: Pop-Up Store Game [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Mark Johnson
France
Paris
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Aug 2, 2006

Whew! Finally a new show. Like the last time I (unintentionally) took a little time off from the podcast, it was a little hard to get back into the swing of things. Last time I thought a simpler Session Report and Feedback show was the way to get back into the podcasting groove, but this time I wanted to try a theme show. That's because I'd been hearing the excellent series hosted by Eric Burgess on his Boardgame Babylon podcast, one he calls the "Demise & Rise of the FLGS."

You'll hear from this episode of BGTG that I don't share the same feelings about game stores. Not that I have anything against them, it's just that I don't find that they provide much of a service that I need. At least, not today. It was different when I was in high school, when the only way to even discover new games--let alone buy them--was to go to a game store. But that was a long time ago, and the business side of the hobby has changed. Sure seems that way to me, anyway.

-Mark
 
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17. Board Game: Scene It? Friends [Average Rating:5.52 Overall Rank:11837]
Mark Johnson
France
Paris
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Sep 18, 2006

Okay.

That was a long break, wasn't it? Too long? I think so. In other words, I haven't quit the podcast. I want to do more... I will do more. But in this episode I explain how a combination of internal choices & external pressures has led to this major slowdown of Boardgames To Go.

To be honest, I think I sound a little rusty in this one. But it'll come back to me. I'm looking forward to talking about some games again. I think I may even go back and salvage some of that earlier show I recorded (but never posted) in August.

What I should do--as a comment on this blog pointed out--is just post to the blog every once in a while. Not only does this let my listeners know I'm still out here, still ok (thanks for caring!), I could even include an opinion or two.

Anyway, I'm happy to finally get this show uploaded. I hope it makes some sense.

-Mark

P.S. I didn't take the extra time to include a list of linked game titles as my shownotes. Are these missed by anybody?
 
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18. Board Game: On the Underground [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:822]
Mark Johnson
France
Paris
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Oct 15, 2006

Just like last year, I can't help sharing some of my excitement about the Essen game fair happening this week . . . even though I won't be going. I was lucky enough to be there in 2003, something that may never happen again. But you don't have to GO to Essen to be excited about all of the new game releases. Some of them have already been available for purchase from vendors, but most are making their debut this week. You can place an overseas order next week, wait a bit longer for various game importers to carry the titles. Or maybe you're lucky enough to know someone that's going in-person, someone with a little extra luggage space to pick up a few titles for you and bring them back.

Whatever your options, there's plenty to get excited about. As busy as I've been, I still make some time to scan the incredible Convention Preview page for Essen at BoardgameNews.com. It's so big, it has to be split into TWO pages. Don't kill a forest by printing it out, especially when it gets updated so frequently. Maybe the updates have finally stopped, but that's only because Rick himself is on an airplane, heading to Germany to report on the show in-person. Go back to BoardgameNews.com to catch his updates, including photos. This time he's hoping to post some videos, too, which would be fantastic.

-Mark
 
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19. Board Game: Gene Pool [Average Rating:6.47 Overall Rank:4327]
Mark Johnson
France
Paris
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Oct 23, 2006

I'm starting to catch up with some older feedback as I begin to do more Session Report shows again. I had a bit of a cold while recording this one, but I hope it still sounds ok. And I sure hope I edited out all the times I coughed!

Something I forgot to mention was the information Gene Pool's designer posted about self-publishing his game. It's on the Board Game Designers Forum.

-Mark
 
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20. Board Game: Khronos [Average Rating:6.39 Overall Rank:1745]
Mark Johnson
France
Paris
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Mike Siggins
England
Eastbourne
SUSSEX
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Oct 27, 2006

As promised, here's the post-Essen followup show. A few weeks ago I talked about the games I was interested in hearing more about at Essen. Now here's Mike Siggins, coming on the podcast to give BGTG listeners some firsthand accounts of his time at the fair, and impressions of some games. Be sure to also read Mike's column (the "Gamer's Notebook") at Funagain on the same subject.

-Mark
 
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21. Board Game: Qwirkle [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:591]
Mark Johnson
France
Paris
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Dec 8, 2006

Whew! The show is now posted. You know that getting a podcast out during this part of the year is tricky for me (aren't we all busy with the holidays?), and with the backlog of material it has turned out to be a biggie. Good news, I hope. The last time I had a show larger than one audio CD, almost no one downloaded the split file--everyone downloaded the big sucker like usual. So either you've got MP3 players, listen on your computers, or manage your own splits as needed. Yea!

This show is mostly a compilation of older material that hadn't been broadcast yet for one reason or another. There's a session report and some general discussion from last August, and a backlog of audio feedback--half of it from Mark Jackson. (Remember, he's the preacher, I'm the rocket scientist . . . kind of.)

But I couldn't just splice in that feedback without responding to it, and I wanted to fill you in on some recent events, too. Mostly, that means when my folks came down for Thanksgiving. Did we all play games? Yeah, kind of, but not what you'd expect. And then I had the happy surprise of a thank-you gift for this podcast that turned out to be a fun game for the family, one I wanted to mention right away.

So, anyway, there you have it. All 85 minutes of it. Enjoy!

-Mark

P.S. Once again the good folks over at the Gone Gaming blog are calling attention to the best internet resources for our hobby. They call it the Board Game Internet Awards, and this is the second year they've done this. Sure, everyone knows to go to Boardgamegeek and Boardgamenews for news & information. But which are the best blogs, game club sites, even podcasts? Not only that, but they'll single out the best individual game reviews, session reports, and humorous articles. I'm very proud to be nominated again, and really appreciate the spotlight they're shining on quality online material, all of it by enthusiastic hobbyists.

P.P.S. I don't do full-blown shownotes with links to everything anymore, but in this recording I specifically mentioned a link to the Interview with an Optimist that Tom Vasel did with HSGB designer Harry Obst.
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