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

Sunday, August 30, 2009

BGTG 96 - Translations, Editions, and Revisions (with David Gullett)

Let me clear about this--most of the explanation for the delay in this podcast (recorded almost two months ago) is simply that I never got around to finishing & posting it. Part of that is because the show is longer than usual--longer than fits on a CD--and I thought I wanted to edit it down considerably. But as you know if you're a longtime listener, I don't really do that kind of editing. I don't do much editing at all, truthfully. (Feedback welcome on that, by the way.) After I gave up the idea of editing out so much content, I figured I'd just post the show in two parts, spaced about a week apart. Now that it's taken me another few weeks to even do that much, I'm giving up, deciding to post the whole thing. I don't think hardly anybody burns these onto CDs in 2009 anyway, and some gaming podcasts are even longer. So this is part procrastination/laziness, part experiment. Let me know what you think. Whew!

This is a topic of interest to the truly geeky, the ones that care a little too much about their games. That's me, and it's probably you, too. (After all, you're reading a boardgame blog, listening to a boardgame podcast! You've got it bad . . . ) You won't be in this hobby very long before you encounter some opinions, including your own, about which version of a game is best. The original? The one where they changed the artwork & components? Or the one where they redeveloped the game into something just a little different? Small World is the game that triggered me to record this episode. I'm a huge fan of Vinci, which was Small World's differently-themed predecessor.

Do I like Small World? Yes.

Do I prefer it to Vinci? No way.

Why not? Because of the theme. Vinci has a historic theme and map, while Small World has a fantasy theme and map. You know my preferences. I've heard some say that Vinci has no theme, but I don't understand that at all. Clearly we have very different ideas of what constitutes a game theme. (That's another podcast I'd like to tackle some day.) Of the several design modifications in the latter game, I prefer the original, but they're not a big deal. It's the theme that is driving my opinion, more than anything.

Which do I recommend? Well, it depends on the gamer, but I have to admit that most will probably prefer Small World. Certainly you can easily buy Small World, while Vinci is now, sadly, Out-Of-Print (OOP).
We talk about a lot more than Small World as I tried to generalize what's going on here. All those versions of Settlers, Cosmic Encounter, Medici, and even Careers make it in to the discussion.