Boardgames To Go - Season 4 (2008)
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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Mark Johnson's occasional & opinionated podcast about family strategy boardgames
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Episodes
BGTG 77 - Recent Game Rambling
BGTG 78 - Back in the saddle
BGTG 79 - SR & Feedback (Play By Web games)
BGTG 80 - SR & Feedback (Galaxy Trucker & Key Harvest)
BGTG 81 - Games of 2007
BGTG 82 - SR & Feedback (Hamburgum & Streetcar)
BGTG 83 - Re-Introduction with my "New" Top Ten
BGTG 84 - Martin Wallace games (Brass, Tinner's Trail, Byzantium)
BGTG 85 - SR & Feedback (with Rattlesnake, XiangQi, Citadels, Manila, and Tribune)
BGTG 86 - All About Harry's Grand Slam Baseball (with David Gullett)
BGTG 87 - Essen Anticipation 2008
BGTG 88 - Dominion, Arkham Horror, Marrakech, and En Garde
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1. Board Game: Kingsburg [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:243]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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Jan 18, 2008

No, I haven't disappeared again, and this little episode is meant to prove it. I have more to say about other games, my year in review, my new top ten list, and a backlog of feedback to work through. But this is what I could get out right now, and it'll have to do. In it, I talk about some older games I played with my son & other kids (and gamer-dad Davebo) at a recent SoCal Games Day. Then I spend a little more time talking about some new games I've had a chance to try. For a guy that mostly plays recent & old favorites, I was a bit surprised that I had things to say about Kingsburg, Amyitis, Race for the Galaxy, and Cold War: CIA vs KGB.

-Mark
 
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2. Board Game: Duel in the Dark [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:1547]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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Mar 27, 2008

I still need to do a feedback show to go through a backlog, but today I couldn't wait for that. You see, I've had a break in my busy schedule--or at least an attitude adjustment after a recent vacation--and just needed to record a podcast again. I'm playing some more games, catching up on some podcast listening, and wanted to share some thoughts about recent games. This particular show happened to have more talk about a couple wargames: Hammer of the Scots over email with Paul Tevis (of the Have Games, Will Travel podcast), and Duel In The Dark played face-to-face. I know the latter is marketed as more of a Euro game, published by Z-Man, but I think it's at least as much of a wargame, albeit a light one with flashy components. Really, I think it's a good example of a wargame/euro hybrid. Oh, I talk about some other games, too, such as another look at Kingsburg, and my first play of Take It To The Limit.

-Mark
 
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3. Board Game: Mykerinos [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:725]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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Apr 13, 2008

Waaaaay back in show #3 I covered play-by-web boardgaming. I've touched on it since then, and for this show it's "where" my game session took place. That is, on the web, against a variety of friends, playing a variety of games. I spend the most time talking about Mykerinos on Mabiweb, mostly due to the excitement of having a new play-by-web game to try. But I also touch on several more, including new ones at new sites (Des Jeux sur Plateau, Ludoholic), and new ones at old sites (Yucata.de).

Then I round out the show with some feedback from recent and not-so-recent episodes.

I'll be working on another SR & Feedback show next, this one covering games played the normal way (face-to-face!), as well as audio feedback.

-Mark

P.S. In the very beginning of the show I also reflect on the games that debuted the one year I made it to the Gathering of Friends, back in 2004. It's always interesting for me to look back at early impressions to see which games have proved to be keepers. In this instance, I think it was a great year. From that introduction, I still own & play my copies of Ticket To Ride, Hansa, Einfach Genial, San Juan, and St. Petersburg. Goa and Power Grid are two heavier games I don't own (but should own PG!). Sunken City was the notable stinker, but that was clear from the first play (same with Oh Pharaoh and the rest of that small line). Dos Rios is the one I was & still am on the fence about. I guess I have to admit that it's not a keeper. In fact I've never owned it. But it's a good idea, interesting mechanics, and a game I "almost really enjoy."
 
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4. Board Game: Galaxy Trucker [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:114]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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Apr 29, 2008

Finishing up my feedback backlog (my feedbacklog?), here's a show with audio comments from my listeners. Does that include Mr. Reliable for audio feedback, Mark Jackson? Sure does! He's here, along with a couple other guys that offer some good comments or questions related to some earlier episodes of BGTG.

Like all my feedback shows, that part is at the end, preceded by some game discussion. This time it's about two newer releases I've played a bit recently, Galaxy Trucker and Key Harvest. Both are releases from last fall's Essen, but that's where the similarity ends. GT is a realtime construction puzzle game with science fiction theming, while KH is a more deliberate and strategic contest themed around medieval farming. Very Richard Breese.

-Mark
 
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5. Board Game: Schotten Totten [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:373]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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BGTG 81 - Games of 2007
http://www.boardgamestogo.com/2008/05/bgtg-81-may-23-2008-ga...://www.boardgamestogo.com/2008/05/bgtg-81-may-23-2008-games-of-2007.html">http://www.boardgamestogo.com/2008/05/bgtg-81-may-23-2008-ga...;player_title=http://www.boardgamestogo.com/2008/05/bgtg-81-may-23-2008-ga...">
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May 23, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend is pretty late for a 2007 recap show, but here it is anyway. I said I'd follow this show up sometime with another blog entry to have a written summary of my games played, too. I found that I enjoyed re-reading my reports from earlier years . . . and missed not having them for 2005 & 2006.

In a nutshell, I'm still playing 400 games per year, about 180 different titles--the same as it's been since about 2000. The only thing different in my numbers last year is the number of new-to-me games dropped from around 90 to less than 70. It's my little battle against the "cult of the new." :-)

I recap some of the 2007 titles that are definite winners with me, and some losers. Then, there's a whole raft of games I still need to try for the first time! (Collateral damage from that battle I just mentioned.)

-Mark
 
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6. Board Game: Streetcar [Average Rating:6.46 Overall Rank:1813]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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June 17, 2008

Uh...yeah. At the start of this show I say I recorded it back on May 29. Which I did. Then I labeled the file and blog entry June 17, because that's when I edited it. Except that I ran into a technical glitch, and I only just now resolved all of that to get it posted on July 13. Whew!

Anyway, it's here now. Not long after my 2007 recap described some new games I hadn't had the chance to try yet, I got to play Hamburgum. Besides being a notable 2007 release, it was my first experience with the rondel mechanism. Very interesting, and I'd like to try the other rondel games some time.

I was just as excited to play an older game, Streetcar. Actually we played the German original, Linie 1. And this was back from the days when the German original and American reprint looked quite different, not the co-productions like we're so used to nowadays. I've always really enjoyed this game as one of the best connection games out there.

-Mark
 
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7. Board Game: Reef Encounter [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:441]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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Aug 10, 2008

Though I'm too chicken to listen to it, anyone that wants to can go back into my archives to download BGTG #1. In that episode I tried to give an introduction to myself, describing my own likes & dislikes in games. It always helps to know those things about a game reviewer. You get to figure out how my opinions map to yours. Maybe you & I are on the same page, and the games I like are ones you'll probably enjoy. But it can even help if we don't see eye-to-eye, so you'll know when I'm disappointed in a game that it might be something you'd like anyway.

To anchor these preferences of mine, I also talked about my Top Ten games at the time. When I mention En Garde and Entdecker, it helps you understand what else you're going to hear from me on the podcast.

That was 2005, now I felt it was time to do this again. I get to talk about the podcast itself, my likes & dislikes (mostly the same, some changes), and a new top ten list. It doesn't replace my old list, it augments it with some more recent titles.

-Mark
 
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8. Board Game: Tinners' Trail [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:408]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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Aug 15, 2008

Two podcasts in less than a week?! Weird, I know. Not likely to be repeated soon, either. I just figured I might as well jump on the opportunity when I could.

Also, I'd mentioned on this blog a couple weeks before that I was thinking of sharing my (changing) thoughts about Martin Wallace games, based on some recent plays of Brass, Tinner's Trail, and Byzantium. Martin's games are so popular on BGG, yet I've struggled to enjoy many of them. Yet I still struggle because he attempts some of the most interesting game settings & treatments of any designer out there. They just work for some people better than for me (I guess).

I think more highly of Tinner's Trail and Byzantium, though, despite some issues that I still have with their designs. I'm not yet sure what to make of Brass. I've only played it once, and while that felt like enough exposure to draw a conclusion about Tinner's Trail, I find Brass to be much more involved, and it'll take another play or two to form an opinion.

Maybe someday I can tackle other Martin Wallace games I enjoy, like Way Out West and (possibly) Liberte. Who knows? Maybe I'll even try Age of Steam again. :-)

-Mark
 
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9. Board Game: RattleSnake [Average Rating:5.90 Overall Rank:3735]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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Sep 7, 2008

You're in luck. The carcast I recorded earlier about some games played at a recent Games Day was also destroyed accidentally, so I just had to re-record it at home. This way it ends up with better audio quality, and I got to tack on some recent email feedback, too.

These are all games I played at a recent Games Day put on by LA's famous Stephanie. You've heard about her on other podcasts, and heard her directly on Boardgame Babylon. I ought to feature her on one of my own podcasts sometime!

-Mark
 
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10. Board Game: Harry's Grand Slam Baseball Game [Average Rating:6.32 Overall Rank:3484]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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Sep 12, 2008
David G.
United States
Moorpark
California
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As promised, here's another All About show, my first in a long time. The way these shows work, I usually employ a guest, and the two of us talk about one game in great detail. This time, that guest is David Gullett, who you've heard on BGTG before, and the game we're talking about is Harry's Grand Slam Baseball.

Now, HGSB is a rather small, light game to spend more than an hour talking about. That is, until you consider that it's a game we both consider favorites, both rate a 10. How can a game that's so simple & small--its detractors say it's all luck, with no real decisions--interest us so much? That's the sort of stuff we talk about. In the process, many more games are brought up for discussion, such as other light card games (e.g. Mille Bornes) and sports board/card games (e.g. Pizza Box Football).

Actually, I did my best to cover light board & cardgame treatments of all kinds of sports, since those are a particular interest of mine. We cover Pizza Box Football, Pizza Box Baseball, Dirk Nowitzki's Crunchtime Basketball, Gridiron Fantasy Football, Pocket Football, Card Football, En Garde, Scoozie, and Streetsoccer. I should've included Strand-Cup and You Can't Check Me.

Towards the end Dave asks me some questions about why I sound so unethusiastic about games most times on BGTG. That's not my intent, and the conversation may lead me to making some changes in how I talk about games in future episodes, especially how I wrap up a segment.

This is a longer episode, just past 90 minutes. I think you'll like it.

-Mark
 
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11. Board Game: Byzanz [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:2163]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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Oct 22, 2008

As promised, here's my annual episode running through the new Essen games that have caught my eye. There are games I'm pretty sure I want, others I'm pretty sure I don't, and a whole bunch I need to know more about first (hopefully by playing).

Essen opens its doors to everyone tomorrow, and the press-only day has already started. Folks like me will be checking internet sites repeatedly through the weekend to digest scraps of information and opinions about the new titles. Exciting!

-Mark
 
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12. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:57] [Average Rating:7.69 Unranked]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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Nov 20, 2008

This is a session report & feedback show . . . but without the feedback. The reason for that is that I had to record this podcast in the car. I say had to because I spent too much of my at-home podcasting time playing Dominion instead! I started playing this game on brettspielwelt, and then got my own set to play face-to-face games. Hype is a turnoff for me, even buzz makes me suspicious, but in this case I'm enjoying the game just as much as everyone promised. I can't help but experience the game as a former Magic:the Gathering player, and I'm not sure what gamers without a CCG background will make of this. I think it's fantastic, and I try to explain why in this podcast. I think it's an incredible application of German boardgame style & elegance to CCGs.

This episode was originally planned to feature me gushing about games I really enjoyed, but I threw in Arkham Horror because it goes against that grain. Really, this isn't my kind of game, but that doesn't mean I'll never try it (or turn down my friends who want to play it). The last two, Marrakech(aka Suleika) and En Garde are new & old favorites.

-Mark
 
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