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

Monday, October 31, 2005

BGTG 41 - Oct. 31, 2005 - SR: Hansa, Roller Coaster Tycoon (plus Feedback)

A bit of a delay last week, with family visiting and a conference. Just time enough to squeeze in one more show before BGG.con, which is in three days! This session report show enabled me to work through my backlog of feedback, positioned at the end of the show as always.

Hansa is a game that might not be for everyone, but I still think is somewhat overlooked. (Was it really released in 2004? I would've sworn it was 2003. Oh, I forgot to mention the freebie "expansion" of the extra victory point bonus card. I can't recall if we actually played it last year and thought it unnecessary . . . or if we just figured that out by reading it. At best, it's harmless. (At worst, it might fiddle with some balance and flow of the original game.)

Rollercoaster Tycoon has that mass market stigma working against it when it comes to serious gamers, but I think it's a pretty fair game in its own right. Not amazing, but worth a look. Worth an immediate purchase if you've got kids around. I do, and one of them joined me on part of this podcast. Not only that, but Molly also contributed her own BGTG logo, which you see here. :-)


P.S. Yes, later I remembered that the elections for Venetian Doge aren't the same as for the Pope. Sheesh.

(including their German-language boardgame podcast)
Hansa (and Wikipedia's entry on the Hanseatic League)
Jonathan Degann's article on "The Bomb" in The Games Journal archives
Die Hanse (even prettier, but as problemmatic as Siggins said way back when)
Roller Coaster Tycoon
Modern Art
Beyond the Storm (New Orleans RPG sourcebook/Hurricane Katrina Relief fundraiser)
Caylus (I missed the hype!)
Skype me!
Online background on Santiago, Puerto Rico, Princes of Florence, Tikal
Robo Rally podcast (sort of a proto All About show)
Bob Scherer-Hoock's article on The Evolution of German Games 1980-1997
Alan R. Moon's Geeklist about his days at Avalon Hill
Napoleon, Napolean at Waterloo (inc. Hexwar), Victory at Waterloo
Have Games, Will Travel podcast
Podcast interview software: Skype, Total Recorder, Audacity
Series 120 games by GDW
Sac Noir/Bandu, Hamsterrolle, Kapitän Wackelpudding, Villa Paletti, Bamboleo, Saturn

Friday, October 21, 2005

Oops (again)

The last podcast that went out had an unedited bit of messiness in it. Not a big deal, just a garbled description, gap while my thoughts cleared, then a fresh attempt. In reality, this happens in every episode of BGTG--I'm just usually sharp enough to edit those out later (that's also what the gap is for--spotting the edit points in the audio track). Well, I missed this one, and this morning listener Dale Murchie pointed it out to me. It's now fixed, in case you want to re-download the cleaned-up show.

Thanks to Dale for the help. If anyone else ever hears a glitch in the podcast, please let me know ASAP and I'll do what I can to fix it.


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

BGTG 40 - Oct. 16, 2005 - SR: Air Baron & Around the World in 80 Days (plus Feedback)

At last! A session report show! And these days, what's even more important to me than the session report about a couple games is the feedback section. I'm so pleased to get as much feedback as I do, and it's great fun to read & reply to it. Per my new format, all of the feedback is pushed to the end of the podcast, so those of you that only want to hear about games get to listen to the session report up front, skipping the rest.

So, what do you think about the picture. Is Ryan right? Do I really look like the David & Goliath #6 card? :-)


Air Baron
Around the World in 80 Days
Tim Koffley's audio review of AWTi80D
Series 120 wargames
Denise's description of the Houston Social and Family Gamesters (page down)
International Board Gaming League

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


I included a link to a file in my last blog entry, and it automatically went out like a podcast. It's not, of course, it's just the reformatted PDF file of Fairplay magazines Essen 2005 scouting report.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Fairplay scout results from Essen 2005

Fairplay magazine's scout reports are tabulated from Essen 2005. Go over to the magazine's site to see the original data, and to also look at past years' results. Here I've reformatted their data into my own color-coded, sorted PDF file. I set the cutoff point at 20 votes total, then made separations into top, 2nd tier, middle of the pack, lower-middle, and bottom-dwelling games.


Monday, October 10, 2005

BGTG 39 - Oct. 9, 2005 - Essen Anticipation

No, I'm not going to Essen this year. But I managed to go once, back in 2003, and not going never stopped me from getting excited about the event. In this podcast I talk about what observed myself when I got to attend, explain why I (normally) don't get worked up for limited edition games, and share the names of some new titles I'm anticipating.

By the way, there's now one more way to submit feedback to this show. Use my Skype voicemail! The account name is BoardgamesToGo (of course!). Skype + Total Recorder is how I managed the good audio quality for the previous long-distance podcast with Mike Siggins. I thought it worked very well.

As mentioned in the podcast, I came up with a solution for migrating all of my previous text blog material over to this site. It stretches back about three years, going through three different blog hosts. It's more material than I could have guessed (169 pages!), all collected into a 2 MB downloadable PDF.

Oh! I forgot to mention that Fairplay also announces the Card Game of the Year at Essen, which is a lesser-known award (the á la carte Kartenspielpreis) that always interests me. It's a point-based voting system, open to the public (I think--maybe it's just their subscribers), and the final tallies are shared. You can find some decent unknown card games by looking a little past the top vote-getter.


The Gamewire at's excellent Essen guide
My Essen article at The Games Journal
Fairplay Magazine's Essen Scouts (results from 2004)
My Fairplay Scout-BGG rating comparisons (pp. 28-37 of my BGTG Blog Archive)

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

BGTG 38B - Oct 4, 2005 - Euro/Wargame Hybrids (with Mike Siggins)

Mike suggested his own topic for this podcast: the elusive hybrid game that combines elements of Euro games (short play, elegant mechanics, nice bits) and wargames (real history, maybe nice maps). To a large degree, the games we want to talk about don't yet exist. But several attempts have been made to varying degrees of success, and that's what we discuss. Mike also speculates about the growth of our hobby in this area.


War of the Ring
Struggle of Empires
Battle Cry / Memoir '44
Lightning Midway / Lightning D-Day

BGTG 38A - Oct 4, 2005 - Euro/Wargame Hybrids (with Mike Siggins)

Listener, Siggins.
Siggins, Listener.

The oldtimers in this hobby will recognize the name instantly, as well as my play on Ken Tidwell's introduction of Mike Siggins to his new readers on the Internet. Mike was one of the earliest writers and savvy reviewers of the new crop of German boardgames. Starting in the late 1980s(!) with other mags, he's most notable for his decade-long, near-solo effort producing Sumo magazine, the oddly named premiere journal on our hobby. When Ken Tidwell struck a deal to put Mike's magazine contents and rules translations on the web, The Game Cabinet became the go-to Internet location for boardgamers. It also gave many more people access to Siggins reviews and commentary.

After nearly disappearing for a few years, I'm pleased to see that Mike is back on the scene, posting frequently to Boardgamegeek and the wargame-centric Perfidious Albion discussion board. Charles Vasey's PA was originally a print mag similar to Sumo, but predating(?) it--now it's the mag plus a online community of too-smart-for-their-own-good wargamers. I meant that as a compliment.

In this first half of another two-part podcast, we talk mostly about Sumo, but also Mike's own history within the hobby.


The Game Cabinet
Sophisticated Games