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Subject: Is there interest in a podcast about wargame/political/euro hybrids? rss

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David Thompson
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Greetings all,

I'm an absolute sucker for wargame/political/euro mashups, especially those that play in 90ish minutes or less. Games like the Birth of America series, Quartmaster General series, 13 Days, Days of Ire, etc.

When I look around for podcasts that feature these games, well there just aren't that many. Mark Johnson has talked about them on Boardgames to Go and Wargames to Go. They've been mentioned on Low Player Count, etc. But there just doesn't seem to be a podcast that focuses specifically on these types of games.

Now I've never put together a podcast before. I think I'd enjoy it, but honestly I don't know. It's something I'd seriously have to consider before jumping into it. But I think if I did have a podcast, this is what I'd like to focus on. So, first off, I just wanted to gauge a general interest level.

Second, I was thinking about format. I think what I'd really like is to have a podcast that runs about 30 minutes, with each episode specifically focused on one game and the theme of the game. Ideally, I could feature a guest that would either discuss the game design or the history of the subject matter (or both). I would also like to discuss the general design challenges for working with historical subject matter and trying to align it to euro game design principles and mechanics.

So a few questions:

- Are there podcasts that already feature these games more heavily than I think and I just don't know about them?

- Would you be interested in a podcast like this?

- What thoughts or suggestions do you have on format?
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Mark Johnson
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Let me know when I can subscribe, David.
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Andrew B
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Those are all games that I really enjoy, so I think it's a great idea.

While I really enjoy the idea of focusing on shorter games, 90ish minutes or less, I believe that there is a risk that you'll run out of games that fit the bill quite quickly.

My second suggestion would be to just call them political games. Yes, you are technically correct, but when dealing with politics economics and military usually bleed in anyway. You can clarify that they don't necessarily need to be all about politics as long as they either include or revolve around politics. It makes it all seem less convoluted if you just call them political games, I believe.

If you need a somewhat irregular co-host or recurring guest I'd be willing to give it a shot.

I would also suggest that you steal ideas from other podcasts. Mark's book suggestions I find highly relevant and they lend credence to the conversation as a whole.

Best of luck on your noble endeavor!
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Rich Shipley
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You had me until the 90-minute criteria. I like the games I've played of the ones you listed, but also longer ones like Mare Nostrum: Empires, Serenissima (first edition), Valley of the Mammoths, and even Civilization.

So the focus might be a bit narrow for my taste, but it could be interesting.
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Mark Johnson
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I think the narrowness of focus is a feature, not a bug. Constraints tend to make for a better end result. Besides, if that runs its course after a year of episodes, you'll have a bunch of people begging you to keep going and suggesting ways to do so.
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Not so much a suggestion about format but a suggestion about presentation. If you do a really long podcast, please put a list in the description that tells listeners more or less what the topic is at different points of the podcast. Looking at a 2-hour (or more) podcast with absolutely no sense of what is discussed when is really off-putting and usually a reason for me not to download.
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Chris Laudermilk
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Trying to do a war game-focused podcast and limiting to games that play in 90 minutes or less will limit subject matter a LOT. Now, keeping the podcast to 90 minutes or less will increase my interest.

I know there is 2 Half Squads specifically focused on ASL and Advance Before Combat that is war game focused. Neither clicked with me though.

So, yes, I would be interested.
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Kurtis Swekla
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Neat idea. I would take a listen to at least the first couple episodes to see if the content was interesting.

If you expanded to euro/political games then you couldn’t do without the best of all of those, Die Macher but the timeline of 90 minutes doesn’t work for that one.
For the wargame/political/euro mashup if you extended the timeline then you could add in the COIN series, Labyrinth: The War on Terror, 2001 – ? and the Churchill and Pericles: The Peloponnesian Wars games among many others.
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Kurtis Swekla
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great suggestion! I hate podcasts longer than 30 minutes for this exact reason. I don't want to listen to 60 minutes of rambling nonsense that I don't care about (same reason I dislike some wargame reviews) when I only care about 20 or so minutes on a particular game or aspect.
Plus my commute is 30 minutes so perfect timing to listen to 1 30 minute podcast.


adm1 wrote:
Not so much a suggestion about format but a suggestion about presentation. If you do a really long podcast, please put a list in the description that tells listeners more or less what the topic is at different points of the podcast. Looking at a 2-hour (or more) podcast with absolutely no sense of what is discussed when is really off-putting and usually a reason for me not to download.


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Andrew Kluck
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How many wargame/political/euro hybrids are there?
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Rich Shipley
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Sitnam wrote:
How many wargame/political/euro hybrids are there?


It depends on how you count them, but I think there are quite a few.

I'd count a bunch of Martin Wallace's games among them.
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David Thompson
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Wow. Thanks for the interest all. It's a relief to see that there is at least some interest in this idea.

Let me respond to a few specific things and then chat about some generalities:

MarkEJohnson wrote:
Let me know when I can subscribe, David.


It would be more than that, Mark. I think I'd have to hit you up for a lot of guidance and mentorship!

A lot of the replies seem to focus on my comment about my preference for the 90ish minute mark. That's a general guidelines for me, but it's not a hard and fast rule. However, I'm not a fan of games that go much longer than three hours. So I guess it would be more accurate for me to say that my preference is 90 minutes or less, but I'm open to anything up to three hours.

Andrew raised a good point, in as much as I guess I would need to convey to potential listeners the kinds of games I'm talking about. The key tenet would be the Euro-influence mechanisms of the games. After that, they could tend towards politics (13 days) or military (Birth of America), or - better yet - both.

Andrew also suggested following along Mark's path (always a good idea, as Mark's podcasts are my two favorites), to include book recommendations. I think that's a great idea. I would probably also include other relevant media/references when possible.

As for the length, I really would want to keep it at the 30ish minute mark. That's mostly for me in an attempt to make the effort something sustainable. I don't think I could pull off more than that on a consistent basis without getting burned out.

As for the games out there that I love and that would fit this category (in my opinion), there are lots. Many of them have been mentioned already, but I'll list the ones that come to mind for me (stuff sitting on my shelf that gets lots of play):

13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis
1754: Conquest – The French and Indian War
1775: Rebellion
1812: The Invasion of Canada
A Few Acres of Snow
Churchill
Days of Ire: Budapest 1956
Friedrich
Hands in the Sea
Labyrinth: The War on Terror, 2001 – ? (and the COIN series)
Mare Nostrum: Empires
Maria
Quartermaster General
Quartermaster General: Victory or Death – The Peloponnesian War
Quartermaster General: 1914
Twilight Struggle
Wir sind das Volk!

So to dig a little deeper with my thoughts on how I'd like to proceed...

This probably isn't something I'd start for another year or so. I'd want time to work through the details, plan out episodes, etc. And I'd probably wait until I move back to America from the UK and have a little more free time.

The episodes would likely be about 30 minutes long, as I mentioned before.

I'd probably have a "starter" like Mark, where I'd probably very briefly discuss a new(ish) game and give very high level thoughts on it.

Then I'd transition to the episode's focus, which would be a single game and its thematic focus. I'd begin with a primer on the issue, and then go into the heart of the episode, which would be a more in-depth look at the game and how its design relates to the subject matter. As I mentioned before, my preference would be to have the designer or a gamer that is familiar with the game and history on to discuss it (and thanks btw, Andrew, for the offer to participate. If I do decide to make this a reality I would very likely take you up on the offer).

And, as also mentioned previously, I'd probably briefly mention other references (books, movies, resources, etc) that could help put the game in context.

I'd also only do one episode a month, so the fact that there isn't an endless supply of these types of games wouldn't be a big deal.

Hopefully that provides a little better insight into what I'm considering. Thanks again for all the helpful feedback.
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Alexander Künzle
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Definitely interested. And if you need a German and/or an actual (semiprofessional) politician on the panel leave me a message.
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David Thompson
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derblaueClaus wrote:
Definitely interested. And if you need a German and/or an actual (semiprofessional) politician on the panel leave me a message.


I like the sound of that!
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Doug Adams
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Skirmish_Tactics wrote:


I'm an absolute sucker for wargame/political/euro mashups, especially those that play in 90ish minutes or less. Games like the Birth of America series, Quartmaster General series, 13 Days, Days of Ire, etc.


If you could first move to Australia, that would be great. Been playing and enjoying 1775 and Quartermaster General a bit lately. I actually had a copy of 13 Days in my hands yesterday, wondering what it was like. The same designer came out with Flamme Rouge, which I really liked.

I have to catch up with the latest podcast from Mark (the SCW one, and a BGTG too) - I don't quite get what he means by the "starter" and "ender". Is is simply something to talk about? Seems to break up the natural flow of the podcast to me.

I look forwards to your podcast
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Gabriel Perez
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I would listen to this podcast.

You might want to get a cohost so the length would not feel so overwhelming. I prefer 60-90 min show.
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David Thompson
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dougadamsau wrote:
Skirmish_Tactics wrote:


I'm an absolute sucker for wargame/political/euro mashups, especially those that play in 90ish minutes or less. Games like the Birth of America series, Quartmaster General series, 13 Days, Days of Ire, etc.


If you could first move to Australia, that would be great. Been playing and enjoying 1775 and Quartermaster General a bit lately. I actually had a copy of 13 Days in my hands yesterday, wondering what it was like. The same designer came out with Flamme Rouge, which I really liked.

I have to catch up with the latest podcast from Mark (the SCW one, and a BGTG too) - I don't quite get what he means by the "starter" and "ender". Is is simply something to talk about? Seems to break up the natural flow of the podcast to me.

I look forwards to your podcast


For the starter, I think he just likes to start with a single game he's played lately. For the closer, it can be anything. Sometimes linked to the podcast, and sometimes not. I was on a recent episode and he gave me pretty much free rein.
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David Thompson
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Phasmtis wrote:
I would listen to this podcast.

You might want to get a cohost so the length would not feel so overwhelming. I prefer 60-90 min show.


Gabriel, that's an interesting idea. I would consider it if I could find someone who was interested in the same types of games and wanted to make a go of the idea.
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Its a great subset of games! If nothing else you might inspire more of them.

I dont listen to amatuer podcasts. Reason: I dont appreciate 2 minutes of introductions, or banter about who is adjusting cups/mics/seats et al. Not that levity and humor arent welcone. And maybe im not the target audience, but keeping it under 30 min would probably be worthwhile. If they dont like games over 90 min I cant imagine they like podcasts over 15 min.
 
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Skirmish_Tactics wrote:
For the starter, I think he just likes to start with a single game he's played lately. For the closer, it can be anything. Sometimes linked to the podcast, and sometimes not. I was on a recent episode and he gave me pretty much free rein.


That may be what I was thinking of. The episode about Essen, and the "closer" was talking about rogue '1' ratings on BGG.
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burritosupreme wrote:
I'd count Diplomacy in this subset.

Also, for the scifi fans, the Babylon 5 CCG (in fact, imo, that one is the definitive science fiction politics/wargame out there).


I'll have to check that out. I haven't played it before. But I do have to say that I'm thinking more of historical games for the podcast (though I do enjoy scifi games too).
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AHShole wrote:
Its a great subset of games! If nothing else you might inspire more of them.

I dont listen to amatuer podcasts. Reason: I dont appreciate 2 minutes of introductions, or banter about who is adjusting cups/mics/seats et al. Not that levity and humor arent welcone. And maybe im not the target audience, but keeping it under 30 min would probably be worthwhile. If they dont like games over 90 min I cant imagine they like podcasts over 15 min.


Yea, I think you nailed one of my biggest points of hesitation. I don't think I'd want to do this unless I was comfortable with the quality (especially audio) of the podcast.
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dougadamsau wrote:
Skirmish_Tactics wrote:
For the starter, I think he just likes to start with a single game he's played lately. For the closer, it can be anything. Sometimes linked to the podcast, and sometimes not. I was on a recent episode and he gave me pretty much free rein.


That may be what I was thinking of. The episode about Essen, and the "closer" was talking about rogue '1' ratings on BGG.


Haha...oops, the 1 ratings rant was me. blush
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Skirmish_Tactics wrote:
dougadamsau wrote:
Skirmish_Tactics wrote:
For the starter, I think he just likes to start with a single game he's played lately. For the closer, it can be anything. Sometimes linked to the podcast, and sometimes not. I was on a recent episode and he gave me pretty much free rein.


That may be what I was thinking of. The episode about Essen, and the "closer" was talking about rogue '1' ratings on BGG.


Haha...oops, the 1 ratings rant was me. blush


No need to blush It gave me 30 minutes entertainment admiring this guys work at rating games a 1. He's put a lot into it.
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That's right where my current sweet spot for gaming is, so I'd very much be interested.
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