Before you dive into this week's interview with Ben and more guys from the Chrysalis Youth Empowerment Network - Uganda, give this uplifting video a go. It will not only introduce you to the people you'll hear talk, but will also show you a budding board gaming scene getting started in Uganda.
Because that is who Ben is talking to this week.
Not only a relic of a bygone era when being pretty and moving your hips to the beat was enough to get you a publisher-sponsored vacation in Ibiza... it is also something we take. Often. But we all started somewhere. And it is those elusive first steps that are the topic of this installment of the Perfect Information podcast.
What is it about those games that we look back at as our first steps into the hobby? Are they truly a gateway into being infinitely cooler than the rest of Goosebumps reading club.
We return to the guild to talk about what you think qualifies a game as being "played out". Everything else is perfectly normal. There is nothing unusual happening. May you rest in a deep and dreamless slumber.
And finally, Ben and I sit down to argue the pros and cons of 13 Days. And you will happy to know that not one of us slips into a bad Bostonian accent in an attempt to beat Kevin Costner at his own game.
The world is a confusing and terrifying place. But have no fear, for your gracious hosts of the Perfect Information podcast are here to take you by the hand and guide you through the maze that is the Spiel des Jahres nominations of 2017.
and for the Kennerspiel
Hear what two of the most us-like podcasters of the world think and say about this year's creme de la creme.
Mortality. It is not - as it turns out - an old-fashioned word for taking far too long to finish a thought or sentence for that matter. It is in fact the realisation that lifetimes are finite. Maybe even those of board games. What does that mean exactly? We probably won't answer it in this podcast.. but we do talk about games and how long they stay with you. Or at least in your collection.
38:01 - The reliable visit to the guild has to be postponed for a quick sojourn at Ben's place. Wherein we list all your replies to our guild question: Can gaming bring us together?. Maybe not all replies, though, because we take a rather sudden and wide-ranging detour towards... eh... just listen.. it's definitely something.
1:04:32 - The Boardgame Professor has been let loose once more and delights us all with his invaluable insight into The Manhattan Project. Naturally, he also has a few things to say about what the game says about the things that it inadvertedly says something about: FX.
1:21:02 - We didn't lock ourselves in our studio, you locked yourself in your studio! But while we're here, we review Exit - The Game. (And if you're wondering which game I've so expertly mangled the name of... it was: Escape The Room: Mystery at the Stargazer Manor.)
Math. It's a difficult subject. For most of us. But there is one thing that seems to come naturally to us these days: division.
Ben argues that even among board gamers there are divisive issues, that pitch us against each other. What are they? Do they have us in their thrall? Or can we reach out and overcome them?
TC Petty III (48:01) jumps in to remind us, not only is he still around, but he also has some choice words to say about reaching out to new gamers by being an ambassador for games.
The guild sees us temporarily relocated into the wing of local hospital (1:00:20) where the results of Ben's elective surgery bring about... "interesting".... ideas.
And finally (1:27:20) we tackle a long-overdue big box game from our Essen 2016 heap (remember that one?): Unicornus Knights.
Come in and join us in these hallowed halls of higher learning, that we have called Perfect University.
This week it's the topic that is on everyone's mind or at least everyone's table following International Tabletop Day: winning.
In particular how we do or rather don't want to talk about it. Why is that? And what does it say about us?
Not content to be shackled to the here and now, we boldly let our imaginations run free as to what the future of board gaming may look like. (Most likely no flying cars.)
And then? We talk about our sponsor: spielpro.com (38:48)
And then? It is a very quick stop near the guild, as Ben visits the only place that could help him with his Tory problem. No, not the firing squad... but the hospital! (39:29), where we talk about the factors that determine the size of your collection.
And then? Nick Mariner has things to say. Unscripted. It is 37,8% less insipid than what we have said about Barcelona - The Rose of Fire. (01:03:06)
And then? We don't review a game. We do something else. We talk. Or rather Ben does. With somebody else. It is really as mindblowing and revolutionary as it sounds. Hold on to your seats so as to not get sucked through a PORTAL of gaming INSIDER knowledge! (Get it? Get it? Get it? No... well, then just listen... at 01:14:43)
And then? It is time for the outro. Wherein we speak about how you can reach out to us. (01:40:46)
Nothing.... it's just a podcast. Sheesh.
Did you know that there is website where gamers like you can pledge money to a board game before it gets made, so it can collect the funds necessary to kickstart its production? I believe it's called "Pledge-Monies-For-Gamies".com
One of those games there is called The City of Kings and Ben took it upon himself to hunt down poor, beleaguered designer Frank West to bombard him with questions about his soon-to-come-into-existence game.
Get the inside info on this cooperative fantasy adventure right here.
In this week's episode we are going to talk about things that actually matter to gamers. Firstly size! How big is your gaming collection? How big should it be? What is the right way to determine sizes?
T.C. Petty III returns to talk about that other thing that matters in board games: fairness. How does it matter? Why? And what should we do about it? (38:21)
At 52:52 we talk about some more things that matter, namely our sponsor: spielpro.com
We then turn our gaze towards the urgent matters of the guild, some unfotunate infections and of course your urgent responses to the question of what keeps people out of the hobby? (53:40)
Our sponsor vengeful-games.dk reminds us not only that games can be bought, but we also give recommendations on what to spend your hard-earned Euros or Kronen on. (01:13:20)
And finally we wonder, what is the matter with Roll Player (01:15:20)? Is it good? Is it bad? Do you really want to know? Do we even know where we stand? What are all these questions doing here? Am I getting paid by word count?
The long-awaited sequel to the medium-bending, limits-shattering and sense-defying entry that was our first Appurtenance Archive is finally upon us. Or rather upon you, PIPL.
We have once more gathered all our mental faculties to bring you the most hard-hitting piece of review journalism ever to grace the podcast format. Today we review a calendar!
But not just any calendar, but the German sensation sure to sweep the nation (so long as that nation is Germany)... Frosted Games' Brettspielkalender.
Is it truly as rectangular as the legends say?
Are the dates actually sorted by ascending number?
And which games have been selected to grace the pages of each month?
Listen, and ye shall be enlightened
There are two unassailable truths about existence: first: there is an unbridgable gap between knowing the self and knowing others; and second: I definitely left my keys right here and now they're gone.
While we can never fully grasp the implications of the latter, the first is reasonably easy to deal with. In our case we are going to look at board games (this being a board game podcast it seemed somewhat appropriate) and talk about the discrepancy between perception and reality. In other words, what do non-gamers see in this hobby as opposed to us.
A few words for our sponsor: Spielpro.com (39:33)
Our stay at the guild is short, yet fruitful as we talk about unsalvagable rules and mechanics according to the most discerning listenership in all of boardgaming, and the one that is far too clever to be taken in by cheap flattery. (41:20)
A few words from our new sponsor: Vengeful Games (01:06:21)
The board game professor (commonly known as Nick Mariner) has come to bury Mombasa, not to praise it. Or at the very least talk about the good and the bad of it. (01:08:40)
This episode's review (01:22:18) looks at a game that sets out to tackle questions of ethics, morality and metaphysics... by way of killing a bunch of things for fun and profit. We talk about one of the many recently released Eric Lang games: The Others.
We always hear of and about Asmodee doing one thing or another. Merging, investing, publishing... and setting new sales policies.
Ben set out to talk to the owner of a gaming store to hear their side of things. Especially as far as sales policies and their effect on brick & mortar stores is concerned.
This is an interview with Marko Miladinovich, owner of Markorama Games.
Something's rotten in the state of Denmark... allegedly... we can't find any evidence for it really, except for some dusty old folios in Ye Olde English Library... but what Ben did find during his northern adventures were 30 minutes with Danish designer Asger Granerud.
Also... learn about his sordid past with GW.
Over the course of gaming history some ideas have been banished into the wilderness, to be forgotten... or at the very least ridiculed and dismissed as superstitions of an older, less civilized time.
But not everything old is bad. (Although, admittedly it might as well be.) There are some things worth rescuing. And if not that, we can at least recognise that certain practices served a purpose then and may still serve a purpose now. What am I babbling about?... well this week's topic of course: the ostracized rules mechanisms of yesteryear.
A few words for our sponsor: spielpro.com (35:17)
In our guild we look at your guidance as to whether evangelising the hobby is a good or bad thing, and whether we even should. (36:25)
And finally we review Barcelona: The Rose of Fire (01:05:05). A beautiful game of property expansion, people coming to a city to make a future for themselves and something about the growing threat of anarchy breaking out. I'm not telling if it's at the table or in the game... and which one of those two may be preferable.
Games are full of decisions. Some are trivial like picking a colour to play. Some are less so. But why? And how?
Decrying a game for its lack of meaningful decisions is easy, but how do we recognise when a decision is actually meaningful? What is the metric?
As it turns out, there are four metrics... and they lie at the heart of this lecture at Perfect University.
We've spared no expense to get some of our biggest and most famous fans onto this podcast simply to remind you to nominate us for the Golden Geek Awards.
After that bit of shameful self-promotion, we dive into our topic... ominously (or confusingly) named: The Board Game Encyclical. All about the unique cultural traits and dynamics of this hobby, and maybe what to do about them?
The great TC Petty III. once more spews wisdom, hard-earned experience and at least one naughty word in Deep Design (38:56) all about The Hook. Which contrary to common belief is not the porn name of anybody on the show... any longer... but that magic quality of a game that makes it click. Shouldn't it then be called the Switch? (Although that IS the porn name, one of us currently uses... so... moving on.)
Some words for our sponsor Yolo-Games.com (52:01)
A quick stop at the guild (54:23) allows us to talk about your cures for gaming burnout. Also the long-awaited update on the potent aphrodisiac that is baked potato & beans.
A few more words for our sponsor Spielpro.com (1:13:30)
Comrade Nick introduces you all to Marxism by way of talking about the socio-political commentary buried within Euphoria: Build A Better Dystopia. All this is of course done in the name of higher learning as he is The Boardgame Professor. (1:15:35)
And finally we review a successfully concluded Kickstarter: Perdition's Mouth - Abyssal Rift. A grim, dark and bloody dungeoncrawler that is fully cooperative and comes with more darkness than Charlie Murphy. (1:29:35)
Always the deep and ponderous thinker, Ben welcomes you on his mind's journey as to the question why we want theme, and what we get out of wildly fantastical game settings.
February has to start on a somewhat dour note as we tackle the big question of how to keep going, when you feel burned out.
A few words for our sponsor: Spielpro.com (36:50)
This week's stay at the guild is shaped by the vibrant and exciting discussions happening on our forums. Particularly your replies to our question of conflict in gaming. (38:10)
A few more words for our sponsor: Yolo-Games.com (1:01:00)
And finally, we review When I Dream by Chris Darsaklis. A small, gimmicky-seeming party game that is much more satisfying than it seems at first. Not least of all because you get to wear a naughty blindfold. Though, possibly not for the reasons you might assume (01:03:51)
In unrelated news, we can neither confirm nor deny that the absence of our regular contributors Nick Mariner and TC Petty III. in this episode has to do with their involvement in a top secret counter-counter-counter espionage mission to get two infamous political leaders, code-named "Man Boobies" and "Puppet", to play Munchkin until they utterly despise each other.
Negotiation is a skill. In some cases it is even an art. Negotiation in board games on the other hand is something of an unanswered question mark. Today's lecture will touch upon how board games incorporate negotiation and how to recognise it.
(There is also mention of the best negotiation game currently on the market. And it's probably not the one you're thinking of right now.)
We are leaping headfirst into the unknown... like that Assassin's Creed guy Fassbender... and boldly throw out episode 34 of this fancy podcast. This time Ben & I talk about conflict in board games. Inevitable and ubiquitous as it may seem, there is still something about being at cross purposes that is cause for friction and unease. So why not bring it out into the open?
Then T.C. Petty III voices his unique take on dominance in Deep Design, touching on the Prisoner's Dilemma and how to deal with dominant strategies (35:35).
A short commercial break for our sponsor yolo-games.com (47:47).
We then return to the guild (48:44) and it has been quite busy in our absence. Ben asked if professionalism in board games is a good or bad thing, and the replies have been as enlightening as ever.
Another short commercial break for our sponsor Spielpro.com (1:09:07).
The ever eloquent Nick Mariner speaks as The Boardgame Professor and delights, excites and educumirificates for your and all our betterment (1:10:42). And more importantly draws his blinding analytical gaze to Penny Press.
And finally we review Kreo (or Kreus) by Cooi Mini or Not & Sweet Games. A cooperative card game that may run the risk of being overlooked in the oncoming deluge of heavy hitters. Does it deserve a closer look? We know and we aren't telling!
Alright... maybe we are telling.
In this week's slice, Ben makes with the speaky-speaky using the wordsy-smordsy and asks himself: what is the point of gaming?
The new year brings minute differences... so let's not dwell on what has been but instead on what awaits you, dear listener, in this fancy new episode.
We open up on a spirited (if most likely alarmingly ignorant) discussion on the amateurist nature of the board gaming industry. Does it exist? Is it good? Is it bad? What is a sentence construction?
We remind you of our sponsor spiel-pro.com and all the great things they offer.
Our sojourn at the guild is tragically cut short.
Then we offer a few words for our sponsor yolo-games.com.
Nick Mariner, he of laconic intonation, unveils his new segment "The Boardgame Professor" in which he fixes his edumucationalary gaze on "Lewis & Clark".
Our review game is the drinking extravaganza Raise Your Goblets.
For ease of consumption Georgios' short message is now also available as its own entry on the feed.