Tue, 23 December 2014
I'm glad I've received good feedback about all of these BGG.con episodes, because I have TWO more. There's this one with Davebo, a look back on the con after I'd been home for a while (which also serves as a look forward to next year--I hope to return). Then a little later I'll record my traditional post-BGG.con episode with Greg Pettit where we talk about the new Essen titles we played. We kind of did that already in the daily episodes during the con, but we've each had more time to play other titles, refine our opinions, and also look back a year to consider what happened to the 2013 titles.
Direct download: BGTG_155_2014-12-09.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:27pm PDT
Sun, 23 November 2014
Today isn't even really a "day" at BGG.con. Most people sleep in (after late nights), then wake up, check out, and are heading home. That might have been me, too. The thing is, I'm not really a late night/sleep in kind of person. Definitely not the up-til-5am, sleep-til-noon variety. Not even the 2am/9am type of gamer, which was my pattern for most of the week. This time, on the last day, I wanted to try two new things, as a trial run for how I'd try to do more of BGG.con next year, if I'm lucky enough to return.
Direct download: BGTG_154f_2014-11-23.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:26pm PDT
Sat, 22 November 2014
Last full day of BGG.con. Last day at all, really, since tomorrow I check out of the hotel & head to my airport terminal/gate around noon. Apparently the Library will be closed. Though I have a few games of my own on-hand, it may not work out for me to play any games. Might just be saying my goodbyes and having last conversations with friends.
Direct download: BGTG_154e_2014-11-22.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:51pm PDT
Sat, 22 November 2014
Today was a full day where I'd planned almost nothing ahead of time. A full day of gaming, right? Actually, it turned out that I played very FEW games today, but had a whole day of fun nonetheless. We had our little BGTG/WGTG lunch at the hotel, I watched Artemis, went out for Texas BBQ dinner, watched the "World Series," and spent some time relaxing with friends at the hotel bar. Oh, and I also got to play Deus, Doodle City, Port Royal, and almost a game of Isaribi. (Hope to get in a real of game of that last one tomorrow.)
Direct download: BGTG_154d_2014-11-20.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:36am PDT
Thu, 20 November 2014
My first full day at BGG.con, and it was a good one. This was the only day I had several scheduled activities, some wargame-ish titles early in the day (Gunslinger, then Pax Porfiriana), as well as the Virtual Flea Market, a Spiel des Jahres seminar by jury chairman Tom Felber, and finally (for me) a game of Panamax. Greg & I recorded this episode, and I'm about to collapse at 1am. I am not a late-night gamer. Meanwhile, Greg headed back down to the convention for the Werewolf games...
Direct download: BGTG_154c_2014-11-20.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:16pm PDT
Thu, 20 November 2014
A long day, starting with a 4am alarm clock in Santa Clarita, California, ending with a 2am bedtime in Dallas, Texas. I'm here, and taking it in. My roommate is Gregarius, the same Greg Pettit you've heard on the podcast. He's a native Texan (Houston), and has made it to EVERY BGG.con. Besides my roommate, he's also my able guide for this event.
Direct download: BGTG_154b_2014-11-19.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:02am PDT
Tue, 18 November 2014
Just a test recording, really, to see if I can make a passable podcast with just the mobile devices (not a laptop) I'll have with me at BGG.con this week. Today (Tuesday) I'm still at home, but tomorrow I'm on the early flight out of LAX to go to Dallas. I've got a full schedule of events, people, and games to take in during my time there, and I'm very excited about it all. I was at the first BGG.con, but that was 10 years ago, and now the show has grown tenfold.
Direct download: BGTG_154a_2014-11-18.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:13am PDT
Thu, 13 November 2014
At long last, here are the Top Ten! As we count them down in reverse order, we stay true to form--having a few personal grumbles about these amazing titles. At the same time, we're honestly respectful and enthusiastic for all of these games. Several of them are in our personal top ten lists, too.
Direct download: BGTG_153_2014-10-22.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:39pm PDT
Mon, 13 October 2014
I don't even know how long I've been doing this. My window-shopping the Essen lists predates this podcast of nine years. Who else fondly remembers Mik Svellov's Brett'n'Board], Ken Tidwell's Game Cabinet, or all the other places we learned about Essen before, during, and after the fair? Now, of course Eric Martin does an amazing job here at BGG with the annual Essen Preview. It has nearly six hundred items when I finally stopped looking on Friday. Wow!
It took me two passes to get through these lists. For some reason, I found a LOT more games that interest me this year. Is that because there are more of the shorter, family strategy games that I like? That might be true. Not that there were a lot of the 45-minute "superfillers," but I think there were more filler/microgames at the low end--under 20 euros, under 30 minutes. The ones that are still Love Letter derivatives about bluffing & hidden identity don't interest me, but there several others. As before, we see more and more offerings from other countries, especially Japan, Korea, and Poland.
My first pass through that megalist came up with 30 I was really excited/curious about, and another 50 that had something that sparked my interest. Though that's 80 games (waaaay too many to discuss on the podcast), that's culling out more than 80% of the titles in the full preview. Then I squeezed it down to ten I put in my companion geeklist, and discuss on this episode, plus several other titles that work their way into the discussion. Wow!
Also, I can't resist some meta-analysis of the entire list, and how well my previous years' anticipation lists matched what became my keepers from those years.
Finally, this episode anticipates something else, too--my return to BGG.con! I'm so excited about this. I went to the first BGG.con a decade ago, but it's grown & changed quite a bit since that time. I'm coming up to speed with what to expect, doing some planning, but not TOO much. Hopefully I'll meet some listeners and play some games with them when I'm there next month.
Direct download: BGTG_152_2014-10-13.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:58pm PDT
Thu, 18 September 2014
"Mark hates games."
Is that true? No, but it's a comment I've heard secondhand more than once! Brian Murray is a great gamer I've met at SoCal Games Days, and through our shared friend Davebo. He's the one who hears me critique a game, or just be completely lukewarm on it, or pick it apart, and thinks that I just don't know how to relax and have a good time with boardgames. Or something like that. I'm probably putting words (the wrong words) in his mouth, but that quote above is 100% from Brian.
So it was time to have him on the podcast. Then his words can come out of his own mouth, and you all can decide what you think about it!
(We recorded this at Dave's house, sitting in his living room during a Sunday in July. Partway through the recording a raven squawks outside, and keeps going for a while. But he eventually stops. Nevermore! Perhaps a more serious concern about the audio is that all three of our voices sound pretty similar. Good luck with that.)
I've never been a Cult of the New guy, but Brian clearly is. Or, as he clarifies, he's a Cult of the New-to-Me guy. Lots of boardgamers are that way. Maybe that's you, too. Not me. I'd much rather play an old favorite. Despite that, I still play a lot of new games. And no matter what Brian says, I love some of them. Lots more are perfectly fine, just ok, but nothing more. I'd probably rate them a 6 on BGG and have no need to play them again. Brian is more likely to enjoy the experience of playing a new game just for its own sake. The excitement of seeing something new, how it's produced, the way it plays, new rules, and all the rest.
The conversation inevitably crosses over into Kickstarter. You can imagine why. If you're excited by the newness of a game, then Kickstarter is heaven. There are so many new games there! But if you're like me, and prefer to wait until a consensus emerges through the community (& marketplace) about the tiny subset of "keeper" games, then Kickstarter doesn't really offer much. Honestly, I'm looking forward to the first "modern classic" that comes out of Kickstarter that even I need to own. It just hasn't happened yet. Call me up in 2016.
Direct download: BGTG_151_2014-07-06.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:51pm PDT
Wed, 3 September 2014
Here are #11-20 on the list, counted down in reverse order as we discuss them on the podcast. I thought we'd have nothing but praise for all of these highly-ranked games...but perhaps I should've known that that the three of us would take turns expressing reservations about even these amazing games. (It's going to make my upcoming "Mark Hates Games" episode all the more relevant.) ;)
In my poll associated with the last installment of 100 Great Games, I asked about the theming--or lack thereof--in Knizia's landmark cooperative game, [thing=823][/thing]. The smallest portion felt this was a mechanical, pasted-on theme kind of game. Instead, most felt that the theme does come through from the cooperative gameplay (mechanisms), while several more credited the amazing artwork for evoking the theme.
This time I'm returning to Knizia for the poll. It just worked out that way. We discussed Medici in a previous episode (and I recently played the unfortunately-ugly latest edition), and now Ra has come up. We used to ask ourselves which of Knizia's "auction trilogy" was our favorite (these plus Modern Art). That's what I'm asking here, only Mark Jackson suggested I widen it to include several more of Knizia's excellent auction-based games (including Mark's favorite, as you can hear in the episode). Did I forget to include your favorite? Tell me so in a comment, below.
Direct download: BGTG_150_2014-08-26.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:53pm PDT
Tue, 26 August 2014
Microgames are hot right now. It all "started" with Love Letter, when it burst onto the scene at Essen two years ago. Here was an game that was so inexpensive as to be an impulse-buy, so small it could fit in your pocket, so simple it was easy to teach anyone, and so quick it invited games whenever you had some spare time & friends onhand, like at a restaurant. Suddenly the game was everywhere, re-themes were ubiquitous, and other small games inevitably followed.
Direct download: BGTG_149_2014-08-17.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:09pm PDT
Fri, 15 August 2014
Here are #21-30 on the list, counted down in reverse order as we discuss them on the podcast.
Direct download: BGTG_148_2014-08-04.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:29pm PDT
Tue, 8 July 2014
It's a little crazy to finally publish this long-delayed episode, but I'm doing it nonetheless. A look back at 2013 is kind of ridiculous in July of 2014, but I think it's interesting nonetheless because we also talk about broader topics like gaming statistics (personal & community), gaming trends, and looks forward into the "new" year (that's now half-over!).
Direct download: BGTG_147_2014-03-20.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:59pm PDT
Thu, 1 May 2014
Remember when I used to do "Session Report & Feedback" episodes? Me neither. These are when I'd just talk about some games I've played recently (not part of a meta topic, just a session report), and tack a segment on the end where I read & respond to some listener feedback. In theory these should be a show that's easy for me bang out every once in a while. They also have the [i]potential[/i] of being shorter episodes.
At any rate, this time I stitched together some accounts of recent card games I've had on the table. The coincidence of a couple euro card games on the table recently sparked an idea for a future game group session that focuses on traditional card games. We haven't done that yet, but we're excited to try some titles like Euchre, Spades, 1000 (the marriage game), Cribbage, Pinochle, and so on. (I've also just joined an Up & Down the River card game group at lunch.)
But that's for later. In this episode I'm still talking about modern, euro card games with their unique decks, rules, and mechanisms...
Direct download: BGTG_146_2014-03-29.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:14pm PDT
Thu, 30 January 2014
Stephen Glenn and Mark Jackson rejoin me (Mark JOHNson) to continue this series. In 2012, these two guys polled a number of experienced gamers (a few designers, many reviewers, all enthusiasts) for their top games, consolidated their answers, and asked to come on my podcast to count down the results. I was pleased to be part of the poll, and doubly pleased to have them on Boardgames To Go. I really like how Stephen describes this:
"a fun list to discuss over coffee & pie."
The poll was for our favorite games, not necessarily the best games. We even got to submit a top fifteen, which took the usual tough request for a top ten and gave us more breathing room for five more titles. I know in my case, it made it easier to add some very recent games to my longstanding favorites. On each podcast we're counting down a bunch of titles until we get to a final show with the Top Ten. I'll be interspersing 100 Great Games countdown episodes with my other podcast episodes.
Here are #31-40 on the list, counted down in reverse order as we discuss them on the podcast.
This show was especially fun because BGG had gone down for maintenance when we did our recording! That meant that we had to go on our own knowledge and memories of the games' designers, publishers, and years, in addition to usual opinions about how they play. Fortunately, we're getting so high up in the list now that the games are very notable. I think we did pretty well without our normal reference material...but you tell me!
Note: we had a little audio problem with Mark Jackson halfway through the podcast, but stick with us! I edited around it as best I could, and it gets better after the Ave Caesar/Ausgebremst/Q-Jet discussion.
Direct download: BGTG_145_2013_12_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:44pm PDT
Sun, 12 January 2014
Have you ever played Bunco? I'm now in a couples Bunco group, a new thing for me. It goes without saying that this is not the kind of gaming group I normally have, and talk about on the show. These are not hobby gamers. They aren't even party gamers. They're just regular folks, all empty nest-ers (or close to it, like me), who get together to talk, have dinner & drinks. That we play a game or two at the end of the night for a few bucks' stakes is purely a social activity, absolutely not intended to be competitive. After Bunco kind of wore off, the group switched to LCR. Yikes!
Direct download: BGTG_144_2013-09-24.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:03pm PDT