Boardgames To Go - Season 13 (2017)
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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The thirteenth season of boardgame's longest running podcast begins right where the previous one left off. That's what I want--keep it rolling! As the year starts I'm at about the halfway point of my temporary assignment in France, planning to return to good ol' Santa Clarita, California sometime this summer. I'm still exploring the hobby in this different setting, sometimes with French gamers, sometimes American expats, always enjoying the international friendship. If you're at all interested in history, also check out my companion podcast, Wargames To Go, which is really moving quickly as I tie in historic sites I get to visit into my wargaming.

-Mark


Mark Johnson's occasional & opinionated podcast about family strategy boardgames
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Episodes
BGTG 173 - Post-Essen 2016 (with Chris Marling & David Thompson)
BGTG 174 - Vive la France!
BGTG 175 - Curious about Wargames? (with Dave O'Connor)
BGTG 176 - Nos Amis à Paris (with Melissa, Olivier, and Candy)
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1. Board Game: Armageddon [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:3665]
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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BGTG 173 - Post-Essen 2016 (with Chris Marling and David Thompson)

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David Thompson
United Kingdom
Cambridge
Cambridgeshire
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Chris Marling
United Kingdom
Cambridge
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Opener: Mansions of Madness (2nd edition), TIME Stories, Terraforming Mars, Great Western Trail


This is really a double-episode. In the second half we talk about more Essen titles, and the experience of my two guests who attended from England. However, these aren't just any two guests--they are collaborative game designers. Their big release at Essen 2016 was Armageddon, and they tell about the experiences designing, pitching, and launching the game. Along the way there are other stories about the collaborative design process, and how those designer-publisher pitch meetings go behind-the-scenes at Essen. It's a fascinating discussion.


Then I asked them to share just a handful of particular titles they acquired and enjoyed from the event. More good stuff.







Closer: The pitfalls of looking at BGG ratings without context; the Splendor app...and its achievement system; does a game become classic when people forget the rules?


-Mark
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2. Board Game: Paris Connection [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:1128]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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BGTG 174 - Vive la France!

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Opener: Paris Connection


A quick, solo show to catch up on some things. If you've been following my (sort of) weekly session report geeklists, or on social media (twitter, facebook), you'll know that I've been boardgaming with a group I created for Monday nights in Paris. It focuses on light/short games, and has an ulterior motive--it's a good outing for couples. My mostly non-gamer wife even goes with me to these! We're having a good time, and meeting good people. Besides that, I also want to share some of my other observations about being a gamer in France, now that I'm at or past the half-way point of my time over here.

Links
English-Speaking Boardgamers of Paris (Meetup, Facebook)
Okkazeo (French used boardgame marketplace)
TricTrac
Festival International des Jeux-Cannes

Closer: (Finally) figuring out the right kind of games for the players you've got.

-Mark
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3. Board Game: Fading Glory [Average Rating:7.53 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.53 Unranked]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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BGTG 175 - Curious about Wargames? (with Dave O'Connor)

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Opener: A light wargame! Miracle on the Loire: Joan of Arc

Dave OConnor
United States
San Diego
California
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My buddy DaveO has been on the podcast before, talking about euro gaming at Essen, BGGcon, or if any games are good for five players. Like most of us, he's played an overwhelming number of strategy boardgames over the years. The didn't include wargames, though he was kind of curious about them. In 2016 he was "tricked" into going to GMT Games' Warehouse at the Weekend, and found himself first horrified by and later part of the wargaming going on there. This makes him a good ambassador to regular boardgamers who don't think in terms of hexagons, Combat Results Tables, and lines of supply. He still remembers watching "pipe-smoking history professors" stick their noses in rulebooks while little happened on their gameboards, an activity that didn't look fun at all. That's not exactly the kind of wargaming he's doing now, but DaveO definitely HAS become a wargamer. Are you wondering what all the fuss is about Falling Sky, Churchill, or W1815?



Whether you are looking to dive into the deep end of wargaming, or just want to see what a smaller/shorter wargame can be like, I hope this conversation between DaveO and I can give you some answers. Definitely also look at Jim Cote's excellent blog post, Wargames: Barriers to Entry. I agree with all but two points of it. Which two points? Let's discuss in the comments.

Closer: Heading back to California


-Mark
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4. Board Game: Paris Paris [Average Rating:6.21 Overall Rank:2555]
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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BGTG 176 - Nos Amis à Paris (with Melissa, Olivier, and Candy)

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Melissa Dixon
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Opener: Aton

I'm back in California now, since my work in France is done. All told, we were there about nine months. That's a little shorter than the year originally planned, but clearly we enjoyed a wonderful experience. I was there for my job, and the job changed a bit (for the better), which is why we came home "early." All of that time was spent in Paris. It was the move to Toulouse that didn't happen. As my wife Candy says, we'll just have to go there on vacation some day.

Before we left France, however, we recorded a podcast with our good friends Melissa & Olivier. They were the first people who responded to my invitation for a Light/Short group. Not only did they become our most reliable boardgamers in the group, they also became our best friends in France. It was difficult to say goodbye, but I'm confident we'll see them again. As you'll hear, they're new to the hobby, very enthusiastic, and are starting to attend big events in the hobby. They'll return to the UK Games Expo at the end of this week, may go to Essen later, and will no doubt start attending the game events in France. If their careers bring them back to New York, then I expect we'll see them at the American game events, too.

I enjoy hearing how my friends got into the hobby, and this interview has the added benefit of Olivier's international perspective. Anyone who wishes their spouse played more boardgames will be green with envy when you hear how these two enjoy the hobby together. Wow!





Other mentions:
New York 1901 with its artwork like bande dessinée
London
Notre Dame
Risk (which originated as the French game, La Conquête du Monde)
Ticket to Ride: USA, Europe, and UK
Paris Connection
TransEuropa (Polish edition)
First Class: All Aboard the Orient Express!

French game groups & meeting places:
English Speaking Boardgamers of Paris
Cafe Meisia
Anticafé Beaubourg
Joueurs Anonymes

Say hi to Melissa & Olivier if you see them at the UK Games Expo



Closer: Our international hobby


-Mark



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