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

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

BGTG 107 - Handcrafted Games (with Lincoln Damerst and Greg Wilzbach)

I grabbed two of my artistically talented friends (Greg did my podcast logo!) and put them on the microphone to talk about their hobby-within-a-hobby: handcrafted games. These guys have both taken a known, existing boardgame or two and hand made their own copies. It might have been to create something that's hard to get, or it might have been to make a personalized, deluxe version of a favorite game. In any case, it's a labor of love, takes time & money, and takes some real craftmanship & technique. I found their stories fascinating, as much because they're so beyond anything I could accomplish myself.

Lincoln Damerst (heccubus on BGG) starts by talking about his copy of the old Parker Brothers proto-eurogame, Survive! In fact, he posted a good description and photos of the process. Greg Wilzbach (gawilz on BGG) talks about his copy of Spekulation, which Lincoln also did! Though he didn't finish the goal (and never posted images of his efforts), Greg also talks about making his own deluxe versions of Wiz-War and Up Front.

The game I tried to pimp out was Kings & Castles, but I'm not finished. It won't end up looking like the fancy games Greg & Lincoln are doing. I'm just trying to replace the boring cardboard counters with colored wooden discs, hand-inked with simple icons.

Want to see that metal version of Big Boss that Lincoln mentioned? Here it is. Whoa...

I talked about in my previous podcast, and here it was mentioned again. That's for images printed on things (cards, throw pillows, watch faces, you name it). For 3D objects made to custom designs, Lincoln mentioned Custom dice are just the tip of the iceberg. You could make custom icebergs!

Merchants of Venus is a handcrafted title these guys haven't done--but admire someone else's work. And someone else's. Maybe there's more of this stuff going on than I realized!

Lincoln's wife Nikki Pontius made a very clever graphic overhaul of W├╝rfel Bingo into something that's improved for its theme: Waffle Bingo! I couldn't find any photos online yet, but I'm bugging Lincoln & Nikki to post some, because you really need to see it. Update: now posted!

Be sure to check out Harbor Freight for your laminator and lamination needs!

Thanks to Lincoln & Greg for joining me on this show. It was like I was a member of an audience, just hearing these guys tell great stories.


P.S. Sorry about the occasional nose-whistle going on. Not sure who that was, but I'm afraid it was me. :-/

Thursday, August 19, 2010

BGTG now (also) on BGG

Got those acronyms? Now Boardgames To Go has its own existence on Boardgamegeek. This is in addition to this blog & website, which I intend to always be the podcast's true home. However, for some it may be convenient to keep up with the podcast from BGG, along with their other favorite boardgame podcasts. Like so many features that Aldie adds to that amazing site, its full potential isn't yet obvious. I remember thinking there was no point to Geek Gold, and not much more point to Geeklists.

I was proven wrong. :-)

I'm not sure what's going to happen on BGTG's page over at BGG. For now it automatically takes the same RSS feed that lets you subscribe to shows on iTunes, or keep up with my posts in a blogreader. The way BGG works, though, its users will figure out. It's community-driven content. If you're a fan of the podcast, you can help out by adding links, ideas, and information in the appropriate sections. Thanks.


P.S. This might mean the end of the newly-formed BGTG guild over on BGG. I'm not sure yet.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

BGTG 106 - SR & Feedback (Super Slapshot, Age of Industry)

At long last, another episode, and a long-winded one at that! These session report & feedback shows are supposed to be easier episodes for me to bang out--I need to remember that! Doing them more often will work through the response backlog and make them easier & shorter. We'll see how well I do at remembering that... :-)

In addition to a lot of great comments about past shows, I talk about two games I've played recently (two games which couldn't be more different). The first is an old "beer & pretzels" card game themed around ice hockey, Slapshot, only I was playing a geek retheming by fan Kwanchai Moriya called Super Slapshot, using a deck of cards made with Artscow. The other title is a brand new game, Martin Wallace's deep game of the spread of the industrial revolution, Age of Industry. This is a reworking of the earlier title--and huge favorite of mine--Brass.

How do I feel about AoI compared to Brass? You'll have to listen to the show for a full discussion. In a nutshell, though, I felt AoI didn't offer enough of an alternative (especially a quicker, easier alternative) to prefer it over the intense history that takes place in Brass. In fact, it was the trigger to finally make me order my own copy of Brass. I really hope the online or iPhone implementation rumors for AoI prove true, because I would love to explore it as deeply as those formats would allow.