Boardgames To Go - Season 3 (2007)
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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My first (unintentional) hiatus, a 6-month gap without any episodes. By this time more podcasters such as Doug Garrett were actively producing their own shows, and with that encouragement I got back into it. I think a notable episode of this season was the Decade+1 podcast, which reflects my ongoing interest in a long view of the hobby.




Mark Johnson's occasional & opinionated podcast about family strategy boardgames
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Episodes
BGTG 67 - Pretty, Wooden Abstracts
BGTG 68 - Looking Back at 2006, Forward into 2007
BGTG 69 - Adlung Spiele Games
BGTG 70 - Light Wargames
BGTG 71 - SR & Feedback (Settlers Dice, Canal Mania, Dschungelschatz)
BGTG 72 - Where are all the kids?
BGTG 73 - Pre-Essen 2007
BGTG 74 - Post-Essen 2007 (with Mike Siggins)
BGTG 75 - Decade+1 Retrospective (with Dave Arnott)
BGTG 76 - Summertime Games
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1. Board Game: Pylos [Average Rating:6.31 Overall Rank:2325]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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Jan 1, 2007

I've surprised myself by becoming more and more interested in abstract games over the years. However, as I discuss in this show, that's due to discovering a wide range of abstracts that don't make my head hurt. You see, I've never been a fan of chess, go, logic puzzles, or anything else that requires such hard thinking. It's just not fun for me. Even then, it's not the analysis that I find as bothersome as the need to look multiple moves ahead. In this podcast, I talk about some abstracts that are considerably lighter than those, either through a smaller strategic "game space," imperfect information, or multiple players.

-Mark


Links
Coffee Table Games
Furniture Games
BGG content tagged "Games as Art"
publisher Gigamic
 
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2. Board Game: Thurn and Taxis [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:322]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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Feb 12, 2007

A quick show with my thoughts on boardgaming over the past year, and what I anticipate for 2007. These retrospectives are a little harder to do without stats . . . but then what would stats tell me, anyway? For me, the real point is to talk about games that have become new favorites, especially ones I think will be keepers for the long haul. To be honest, I'm not sure how many of even the "hits" will keep getting played over the next five years, but I think Thurn & Taxis is a safe bet.

As for my look forward, I wonder my desire to physically produce a game of some kind--either my own prototype or an existing game component upgrade--makes sense to other people. Some of my local game friends have done this. For some it's a matter of art production (I think), of trying their hand at game graphics. That's not exactly my thing (i.e. I'm no good at it). Instead, what I hope to get out of it is an education in the struggles & successes with a game's functionality.

-Mark

P.S. According to my new stats on BGG, in the first six weeks of the year I've played 39 games a total of 61 times. If I keep that pace, I'll end up with over 500 total plays. Yep, I thinking my family focus is actually leading me to playing MORE games than ever before. Sure, there are those Pass the Pigs games with my daughter, but also Thurn & Taxis with my wife. And you know what? I had a great time playing Pass the Pigs with her! :-)
 
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3. Board Game: Die Fugger [Average Rating:6.46 Overall Rank:2504]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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Mar 21, 2007

Here's a solo show focusing on a particular publisher, Adlung Spiele. These are the guys (or maybe just one guy with some freelance authors & illustrators) that produce one of my favorites, Verräter, and other small card games. Most of them are only small in format, though--a single deck of cards in a tuckbox. Many of their games play much larger than they appear, feeling like more of a boardgame in a cardgame box. Verräter is certainly one of those--in fact it's the game that put Adlung on the map for having such titles, even though they'd been around a few years earlier. Although I covered Verräter in great detail on one of my earliest All About shows, the audio quality was limited by working with landline telephones, and I was never sure everyone got to hear what my guest Greg Aleknevicus and I had to say about the game. This was my chance to catch up a little. Though I don't go into nearly the same level of depth about the game, I do use it to start the show, then proceed to also discuss its thematic sequel Meuterer, as well as other notables like Vom Kap bis Kairo, Die Fugger, Canal Grande, and others.

Something I forgot to mention in the show is how Adlung has a franchise in their collection of card games, the Team Work series. I've never played them, as they're a party game and those are often difficult due to the language barrier. However, they sound very much like a more convenient, and probably easier version of Wat'n'Dat, a German party game I do happen to own. In all of these, it starts with the familar format of a cluegiver trying to get their partner to guess the correct word, often helped by knowing the category. Only here the cluegiver is a partnership, and these partners have to alternate words in the clue they give. No, they aren't allowed to converse privately beforehand. Hilarity ensues. Actually, the comments I've read online suggest it doesn't work as well as you'd like. That would match my experience with Wat'n'Dat, where you depict the answer by alternating placement of wooden sticks and glass beads with your partner. Trouble is, too often you're on a completely different page with the partner, leading to confusion. Worst of all is how that is no fun for the guessing players, who have a botched clue to try to untangle.

-Mark
 
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4. Board Game: We the People [Average Rating:7.33 Overall Rank:930]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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Sep 9, 2007

Sorry it's been so long! Doug Garrett smoked me out recently, interviewing me for his podcast, and giving me the little encouragement/kick to get podcasting again. I've got at least two more podcasts recorded from some time ago, but I wanted to record a fresh one tonight to lead-in with an explanation of where I've been for half a year.

As it happens, besides playing all of my usual eurogames and more games with my kids, I also managed to play several light wargames in the past month. That's worth a podcast. In this one I talk about We The People, Axis & Allies: Bulge, Quebec 1759, and Lightning: D-Day. In those four I get to talk about the original CDG (card-driven game, like Twilight Struggle), a plastic figure + hexmap semi-traditional wargame, the original block wargame (like Hammer of the Scots), and a very quick, almost euro-ized card game about a WW2 battle.

-Mark
 
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5. Board Game: Canal Mania [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:1237]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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Sep 19, 2007

A chance to talk about some games I've played recently: one light game, one gamer game, and one kid game. I also talk about ordering overseas using Amazon.de, a new experience for me. Plus some recent feedback.

-Mark


Links
Settlers of Catan Dice Game
Canal Mania
Dschungelschatz
 
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6. Board Game: Igloo Pop [Average Rating:6.26 Overall Rank:2373]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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Oct 10, 2007
David G.
United States
Moorpark
California
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Here's one of those shows I recorded long ago, this one back in April. I went over to David Gullett's house, and we played some games with our kids. And that was also the subject of the podcast--playing games with kids. Over a year ago I posted an earlier podcast with Davebo about Gamer Dads, meaning the games we play with our own kids. This time, I tried to discuss a slightly different topic--playing games with other peoples' kids. Put another way, how come so few of the people I play games with are parents, and why don't we involve our kids in game parties & events?

The conversation meanders around that point, raising a few points that I'd love to receive some feedback about.

-Mark
 
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7. Board Game: Hamburgum [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:620]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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Oct 15, 2007

I'm just squeezing this show in before the Spiel game fair starts in Essen later this week. If you're like me you've been reading the lists and rumors about new games with great anticipation . . . even though you aren't attending Essen in-person. This year, I took a closer look back at the previous year's Essen buzz before & after the show, confirming that I've only got about three "keepers" from an initial list of perhaps thirty games that caught my eye in some way. And three is a good year!

Does that mean there are only 2-3 that interest me this year? No, it just means that's what I'll have to hang onto in 2008. Right now I'm again interested in well over thirty titles, anxiously awaiting play reports, photos, and even a chance to check them out myself. The process of winnowing down to the few keepers is part of the fun, too.

-Mark
 
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8. Board Game: Origo [Average Rating:6.01 Overall Rank:4783]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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Mike Siggins
England
Bexhill
SUSSEX
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Nov 3, 2007

Once again I'm pleased to bring Mike Siggins' boardgame commentary to podcasting with our annual show recapping his observations about Essen. Mike writes some of these in his column on Funagain.com, called The Gamer's Notebook, and that piece is a good companion to this BGTG episode.

At the end, I also have a brief review on the one Essen title I've managed to play so far, Wolfgang Kramer's Origo. I got to play this one even though I've never seen it in-person, thanks to the wonder of Brettspielwelt's online boardgame portal.

-Mark
 
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9. Board Game: Heimlich & Co. [Average Rating:6.44 Overall Rank:1444]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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Nov 9, 2007
David Arnott
United States
Tarzana
California
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Last year, my buddy Dave Arnott and I talked on the phone about how we'd now been in the hobby for a decade. In that time the hobby was in many ways the same, but the interesting parts were the differences. Now we have Boardgamegeek, do a lot less overseas ordering, and I can't recall the last time I played a game with a separate page of card translations we all had to hand back & forth while playing. Seemed like a good idea for a podcast.

Then my podcast sort of went on hiatus, and so the decade has now become eleven years, or "decade+1." In our retrospective, we talked about a number of changes over the years, trying to talk about the hobby in general, but understandably drifting back to our own local experiences much of the time. We also tried to describe what we know about the hobby before we got into it. The earlier generation (of which my previous guest Mike Siggins was an important part).

This is one of my longest shows ever, but I decided to post the whole thing rather than two parts because some of you may need some boardgame material to listen to while on a long trip to BGG.con next week. Sadly, I won't be there, but Dave Arnott will! Be sure to tell him if you see him what you thought of the podcast.

-Mark
 
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10. Board Game: Mamma Mia! [Average Rating:6.49 Overall Rank:1184] [Average Rating:6.49 Unranked]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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Nov 21, 2007

A quick, little podcast this time, one from my "archives." By that I mean this was one of those shows I recorded last summer, when I wasn't uploading any podcasts. At least one of those recordings was unceremoniously dumped, but this is one I still had lying around. It's another recording made in my car, but I learned from episode 74 that mostly leaving the audio alone is better than trying to get too fancy with the filtering and noise reduction.

I called this episode "Summertime Games" as a catch-all term for the rundown of several games I was playing, mostly with my own family, during this time. No real theme other than that--a pleasant reflection that I really am playing more games with them, and that they're games I enjoy, too. This is a show I could bang out quickly before the Thanksgiving holiday here in the US.

Speaking of Thanksgiving and family gaming, once again I've packed way too many games to bring to grandma's house for the holiday. Only this time I know my own kids may want to play a couple with me, and we're hoping to involve some of the other relatives, too. Plus, I think my selection of games is getting better suited for a family weekend than I used to bring. We'll see. Maybe that can be a future podcast episode, along with some overdue feedback.

-Mark
 
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