Mark Johnson's occasional & opinionated podcast about family strategy boardgames

Sunday, April 24, 2005

More links

One comment I received more than once was a desire to have some links for the games or sites I mention during a podcast. I've gone back through the past shows and appended some links that should help. If there's something I've missed, be sure to let me know and I'll get it posted.

Family game success

Wouldn't you know, not long after I posted my last show about gaming with my family, I managed to have a new success: 2-player San Marco with my wife. Now, San Marco isn't intended for just two players, but there are a couple variants posted on Boardgamegeek. We tried the one that uses a mostly inert dummy player (some dummy player rules can get too involved--not the case here), and it worked fine. Just be sure to use two initial bridges per player, not one.

Kind of following the discussion in my show about gaming with family, what made the game work was the theme. Candy and I had just watched a travel documentary about Venice, so I was able to play that up. It doesn't hurt that she's taking some Italian classes at the local community college, and could correct me on my pronunciations. :)

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Saturday, April 23, 2005

BGTG - April 22, 2005 (Family boardgaming)

This show is all about playing boardgames with your family. Well, with my family. A family who isn't as blown away by strategy boardgames as I am, they still humor me from time to time. They even enjoy some games now and then. The small audio session report tacked on the end is mostly about a mega Carcassonne game I played before El Grande last week.

On the technical front, I changed some of my recording settings that should clear up the problem some reported when burning the previous shows to CD. Let me know if that's true. After experimenting with some different MP3 bitrates, I still went with a moderate one that keeps my file size down. The audio quality would go up a little bit if I went for a higher bitrate, but the file size easily doubles. I could do that--should I?

Also, the show's length increased again. That's not a problem for me if it's not a problem for my listeners. There's got to be some upper limit, though, and I'd guess that I'm getting close. I think I'd like to show come in closer to a half hour. Maybe I can get there with practice, including choosing my topics with that in mind. I'd also expect for there to be longer and shorter shows (as the subject requires), there being no time requirement when podcasting.

Even though I've said I prefer email feedback, it occurred to me later that using the comment form here on the web might create more of a "listener community." Email still works fine, but feel free to use the comment forms, too. Especially if you have something to say that others may resonate with.

Games mentioned on the show: Scrabble, Fluster, Get the Goods, Bohnanza, Candyland, Mall Madness, Star Munchkin, Queen's Gambit, Epic Duels, Clash of the Lightsabers, Star Wars - Attack of the Clones Card Game, Assault on Hoth, Battle for Endor, Drunter & Drüber, Big City, Battleball, Raj, Würmeln, Kapitän Wackelpudding, Hick Hack in Gackelwack, Mäuse-Rallye, Apples to Apples Jr., Cluzzle, Quarto, Zenix, Pylos, Blokus, Rumis, Tohuwabohu, Schicki Micki, Emerald, Through the Desert, Sizimizi, Zapp Zerapp, Flowerpower, Tally Ho!, Die Fugger, Ticket to Ride, Settlers of Catan, and Coloretto.

(I know I missed a few, but that should cover most of them!)

Other links
Shannon Appelcline's review of Carcassonne:The Computer Game

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Friday, April 22, 2005

Thanks for the feedback (keep it coming!)

Ok, now the podcast has been "live" for a few days, folks have listened to some of the shows, and the feedback is starting to trickle in. Thanks very much. It's generally quite positive, which makes me feel good. But there are also some suggestions for improvements, and a couple instances of technical problems. These are all necessary for me to here if I'm to change anything. While I'm not yet sure myself about any editorial or format changes, I at least want to do what I can so that folks can actually listen to it!

Troubles recording to CDs?
One listener said he can hear my shows fine through his computer, but can't burn them to CD the way he does with Geek Speaks. That may be a problem related to some CD burners and the sampling rate I used. I'll use something more standard for the next show, and we'll see if that fixes things.

Broken links?
One person reported broken links, but others have clearly had no trouble. Then again, this listener also confused me with Mark JACKson. Clearly he hasn't been able to hear the first show yet. :-)

Droning on
Bless his heart, Derk gave my show some constructive criticism. I had this coming. Seriously, I appreciate his comments as much as anyone's, and I know what he means. Whether I can improve remains to be seen.

Session reports or not?
There were a couple calls to bring the audio session reports back. There were more responses in favor of the more focussed talk I had about El Grande in the 4th show. As someone who's always looking for more in-depth content on the net for our hobby, I can understand the latter. I'm just not sure I can deliver. But I ought to try, right? We'll see. I can certainly put the audio session reports back in. If they're at the end of the show, then they only make the download larger--anyone who doesn't care for it can just click the "next track" button on their audio player. I might try that.

How do you do that?
I don't want to spend much time in the podcast talking about how I do it, but there were some questions nonetheless. Especially since I want others to try podcasting, and since I've got a much simpler/cheaper setup than Derk & Aldie use for Geek Speak, I ought to describe it some. I know Michael Geoghegan of Reel Reviews did a couple "Podcasts about the podcast" so only the curious needed to listen (purely movie people could skip it). I might do a mini-show like that.

Future shows
Mike Mayer gave me a shopping list of suggested show topics to go with the handful I'd come up with on my own. I think later I'll post the combined list here and see what folks think.

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Saturday, April 16, 2005

BGTG - April 16, 2005 (Game of the Month)

Ok, with four of these shows "in the can," it's time to go live with this podcast/blog. Right after I upload this show I'll spread the word online and we'll see what happens. Naturally I hope people like it, but I'd certainly understand some . . . ahem . . . constructive criticism. (Especially after I suggested some Tough Love for Geek Speak once.) Fair's fair.

As I mention near the end of this show, I don't have any good music to intro and "out-tro" this podcast. As cliche as that is, I think it's a nice touch, one I should work on. Any suggestions?

For this show I dispensed with the rudimentary format I'd sort of followed previously. In particular, I felt the need to include a full audio session report at the end of each show wasn't working. Better to spend more time on the general topic up front, and fold in some recent gaming experiences as it relates.

This show is all about Games of the Month. After describing the idea, I run down a list of all the GotMs we've tried in the Santa Clarita Boardgamers: Medici, Princes of Florence, Carcassonne, Verräter, Settlers, Industrial Waste, Formula De, Vinci, Frank's Zoo, Thru the Desert, Finstere Flure, Amun-Re, Euphrat & Tigris, New England, Nur Peanuts, Hansa, St. Petersburg, Anno 1503, Goa, and El Grande.

The last part of the show is spent talking about El Grande a little more, including some comparisons to Vinci (believe it or not).

All told, this show clocks in a little longer yet, now breaking the 30-minute mark by a few. Comments on that are appreciated, too.

Other links
My Game of the Month article at The Games Journal

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Saturday, April 02, 2005

BGTG - April 2, 2005 (Play-by-Web Games)

In the third show I describe a variety of online boardgames I like to play, using the play-by-web (or email) format, as opposed to a realtime format like Brettspielwelt or the Days of Wonder site. I also rifle through a session report of the Santa Clarita Boardgamers (Karawane, Rome: Circus Maximus, El Grande, Kraut & Rüben).

Other links
Boardgamegeek [English] (Euphrat & Tigris, Auf Heller und Pfennig/Kingdoms)
Ludagora [French] (Medina, Hare & Tortoise, Through the Desert, Vinci, others)
You Play It [English] (Cartagena, King Me!, Blue Max, others)
SpielByWeb [English] (Bus, Wallenstein)
Yucata [English/German] (Yucata, Kahuna, Rosenkönig, Chinagold, Capt'n W. Kidd, others)
Boiteajeux [French] (Alhambra, Finstere Flure, Droles des Zebres, Wooly Bully, Gipf, Dvonn, others)
Little Golem [English] (Streetsoccer, Dvonn, Go, Chess, others)

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