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

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

BGTG - May 30, 2005 (SR: Struggle of Empires, Alhambra, Flowerpower)

I had a few technical challenges with this show--hopefully none of them come through in the recording. (I did the intro on my little Treo phone/PDA thingie, then pasted it into my normal Audacity recording software. I hadn't noticed that this fiddled with my normal sampling rate, which affects some CD burners. I think I fixed it, though.) By all means, let me know if something is amiss.

Note the updated sidebar, with a new poll about the IGAs and results from the previous poll. I think the latter are skewed somewhat--folks who rely on iPodder or similar software may not visit this site on the web as often, so miss out on the polling. Not that it matters greatly. I'm guessing that I've got about a 50-50 split between listeners who use podcatching software and those who prefer to download direct from this website. (The latter may appreciate my new mp3 graphics, making the downloadable shows easier to spot.)

In this show I mostly ramble on about Struggle of Empires, plus the other two games I got to play with family members. I also get to open with some feedback from Rick Thornquist about my IGA comments last time. Always love the feedback... :-)

Oh! At the very end I get to announce that I'm going to BGG.con! I'll be looking forward to it all summer. Haven't cashed in the frequent flier miles yet, or made a hotel reservation, but I sent off my pre-reg forms & check. I'll be meeting a few friends I already know there, but will also attempt to meet some new people. We'll see how I do compared to my previous experience at the Gathering!

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Struggle of Empires


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The first part of your show is clearly different, and lesser quality sound than the usual setup. You can tell it's on a phone. BUT, it's not too bad - might make an interesting bit from time to time.

I missed at first that you used your Treo (TREE-O). You call it your phone, but I think of it more as a Palm. Of course, it's both :)

5:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

also, there is no historical info in the rulebook. In fact, I, too, was looking for that background information - I wish they had included it in the rulebook. Maybe the Eagle version will add more? Doubtful...

5:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and yet ANOTHER comment from me (all snoozefest - i just don't want to bother creating an ID here ...).

We just played our first game of SoE May 28. It was a full 7-player game, and took about 6 hours after rules explanation. 1 person had played, I had played a few turns alone (and had a good understanding of the rules), but everyone else was completely new. I agree that it was way too long; I think that will get better with experience, and especially if we play with fewer players ... 4 or 5 would likely be good.

I also agree with your other comments about the game - this feels like a euro wargame (what I would have imagined Wallenstein might play like, having never played that game). That is, it has the simple rules, limited choices coupled with a large variety of options (in the tiles), tight resources, interesting twist (alliance formations/changes), and scoring mechanisms of a euro/German/TGOO/whatever game, but it also feels like a territory-control war game. It's Age of Steam + Go + Risk. It may be a bit to wargamey for my own tastes, but I loved my one play of Age of Steam, and would like to try this again with fewer players.


(try that ':snooze:' next time you post on BGG)

6:04 PM  
Blogger Mark Johnson said...

Oh, right...TREE-O. It says so right on the phone/PDA. Later I discovered I wasn't even using the maximum sound quality on my Treo sound recording software, so I'll have to try that again later.

9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You inspired me! I recorded a rules explanation for Struggle (and later, a "live" session report for San Juan). Unfortunately, I have no where to put them! I had planned on uploading the rules to BGG, but I can't seem to get that to work. And the SJ thing doesn't fit any of the criteria for files on BGG (player aid, variant, translation, something and something). Want 'em?

snooze festival at gmail dot com
(all together sans spaces, of course)

4:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Mark, I have really enjoyed listening to your podcasts over the last few days but I did notice that this show sounded different (not just the beginning). I don't know if you are using a different microphone but if you listen to it side by side with your May 14th report it definitely sounds umm...'muddier'.

10:11 AM  
Blogger Mark Johnson said...

Without getting too technical (and confusing myself...), the sound quality on this show may have been compromised because I had to use software tricks to get the 8 kHz sample rate for my Treo-based intro (which "fooled" Audacity-well, me--into recording the rest of my show at 8 kHz sampling) to mesh with my normal 22 kHz intro/outro music.

For the next show I'm going to again try a little Treo-based segment, but now I know how to set its own recording parameters to sync up with my normal laptop/Audacity-based rig.

1:56 PM  

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