The scariest day of the year is upon us, but since our episode goes live 6 days before... let us all wallow in the traditional forms of the spooky, creepy and disturbing.
We first witness first-hand the selection process by which gamers, who have committed unpardonable sins, are sent to the various levels of hell. (01:00)
Shortly thereafter, T.C. Petty III. brings us the scariest Deep Design segment yet, in which he talks about the utter failure of board games to create fear, among other less unsettling thoughts. (31:00)
Even in hell, the guild stays open and we talk about what you think about the relevance of gaming conventions, and the necessity of visiting one as a respectable gamer. (46:41)
We also do not hesitate to tell you all about the frightening offers of our sponsor: Yolo-Games. (01:04:00)
Nick Mariner joins us then to also talk about scary games... it's like this is a theme episode or something. (01:21:48)
And finally we review a game, that could not be more appropriate for the season: Secret Hitler. (01:21:48)
The seismic shock that was Spiel 2016 can still be felt throughout the channels of board game media. New games everywhere. Rushed reviews hitting the intratubes faster than Star Wars sequels are getting announced.
We've chosen this opportunity to release the second wave of interviews we recorded in Essen.
In this slice you will find interviews with Horrible Games (01:42), Nuno Bizarro Sentieiro (10:14), Japon Brand (20:28) and the legendary Mike Fitzgerald (34:51).
And if that isn't enough to give you a taste of what being at Spiel is like, may I suggest the written word?
In this brand-new episode our intrepid heroes Ben & Georgios make their way to a magical, far away place called Essen to join the legendary convent known only as Spiel.
There they seek the council of the bearded illusionist Gil Hova, speak to the passionate Fabien of Matagot (19:08), meet the wise man Francesco Nepitello (36:50) before resting at a nearby guild (54:37).
But before dallying for too long they return to speak to the wily trickster god known as Vlaada Chvatil (1:00:57). They also meet with young dreamwalker Chris Darsaklis (1:09:09) and run into the notorious greenseer Friedeman Friese (1:15:08). As the convent nears its end, they first meet with grand old master Bruno Cathala (1:23:11), before sitting down with the keeper of the Stronghold: Stephen Buonocore (1:30:31).
Stay tuned for part two....
It has become something of a commonplace occurence to read about the upsurge in gamers, especially boardgamers. This in turn seems to suggest that the hobby is becoming more and more welcoming to newcomers. But there are still some hurdles that people have to overcome to really dive into the hobby. Some of those hurdles get addressed in this week's topic.
We stop by the guild to talk about your thoughts on socially relevant issues and to what extent they do or do not have a place in boardgames (00:34:34).
Nick drops by to downplay his own gaming fatigue and blame it all on the wide range of games that vie for our attention, and critical appraisal. Is it all a bit much? (01:02:35)
And finally, we strap on our backpacks, swords and 10-foot-poles to valiantly explore the depths and crevices of Vast: The Crystal Caverns. A game so asymmetrical, you could mistake it for a presidential election. (01:14:37)
Designer David Somerville speaks to Ben about Vast: The Crystal Caverns and delves into the game's history, its unique features and its (and his own) future.
Wine, cheese, people... what do those things have in common? That's right, they need to mature before we can fully appreciate them. After a year of toiling heedlessly and often inappropriately, we have turned a corner and matured, like a fine slice of Brie.
That does not only mean we have a sponsor that we are happy to shill for in this episode, we also put on our big boy pants and talk about things that we deem to matter. Namely: politics. In boardgames. Or maybe of boardgames. Either way.. let's talk about the good stuff!
T.C. has once again graced us with his presence and invites us to a new lecture in his "School for Rules Writers Who Can't Write Good and Want to Do Other Stuff Good Too" series at 00:31:15.
We stroll back into the Guild and speak about overproduction. Yours, specifically. Seriously... what is up with all those replies? It's like you want to have your opinions heard and mentioned on the show. (00:46:21)
A few words from our sponsor Yolo-Games await you at 01:08:13.
At 01:12:36 the esteemed Nick Mariner accosts your eardrums in full mono as he sets the record straight on Kickstarter - what it is, what it isn't and how we shouldn't kid ourselves about it.
Finally, this week's review is a live broadcast of The Networks (1:26:06) by Gil Hova of Formal Ferret Games. (For certain definitions of live.)
In this week's magnanimous episode your esteemed hosts review the newest release of Artipia Games/Stronghold Games, aptly named The Pursuit of Happiness (1:17:32).
But before we get there, Nick Mariner invites us to a brief sojourn in the realm of ludological solitude as he pontificates on solo games (1:04:15).
Which you will hear just after our quick stop at the guild (40:48), where we not only get to the latest update on the musical prodigy that is Tension & Release (and mouth harp), but we also address our listeners' (that means you, yes, you reading this right now) insightful contributions to the question of gaming masterpieces.
But do not skip ahead just yet, for you will miss a dazzling lecture on the How of Writing Rules by design luminary T.C. Petty III (28:31). Yes, he of Flowing Hair Championship fame 2004, 2007 and 2012. He also casually threw out games like Xenon Profiteer. But that hair... oh my.. that hair!
And you will get to all that, just after you've listened to the opening topic of this week's episode: the beautification of boardgames. A sign of things to come? And will they herald a new age of playful joy (yes!) or a devolution into childishness (boo!)?
It is finally here! The long delayed, penultimate installment of "How not to be a douche" a.k.a. "Boardgame etiquette" is released and this time Georgios looks at those moments, when something fishy appears to be going on. How to respond? And why? And what should you keep in mind to avoid coming across as a grade-A douche?
These trying and unforgiving questions aren't always easy to answer, but luckily there is this slice to guide your way.
Thanks to the slow-grinding cogs of the European justice system, we managed to get Matthew Dunstan to return to our little show, before the restraining order would take effect and we'd have to cease any attempts at contacting him.
The game that we are "interested" in is "Costa Rica", which "Ben" mercilessly grilled "the" designer on. (Also, can somebody tell "how" those quotation "marks" work? I'm not "sure" I really got the "hang" of it.)
In this episode, Ben & Georgios talk about masterpieces of gaming. The boardgames they pick, and the reasons why. At least partly.
A quick stop at the guild lets us marvel at the interior decorating, before talking about your suggestions on how best to teach games (32:10).
Nick Mariner joins us, once more on the road, to add his voice and experience to guiding players into new games (56:26).
And finally, we review Scythe. It's a boardgame. You see.. this is a boardgame podcast.. where we talk about... ah.. forget it. Ben and I both agree that our individual opinions on the game are more accurate than the other person's. So that's something at least.
As we're heavily invested in the social dimension of gaming, it naturally falls into our purview to address the game beyond the game; the rutting time, the pon'farr, the seduction of the other.
To that end, Ben has sought out the minds behind G33dating, which is leet-speak for G-thirty-three-dating*, to talk a little bit about their website, what it offers and why you might want to have a look at it or tell a friend about it.
Alternatively, you could go to the site, sign up, make friends and tell them about it... although that seems somewhat redundant.
* - obviously a Battlestar Galactica reference... duh!
It is a brand new Monday, so it's time for a new episode.
This time Ben & Georgios talk about teaching. Specifically teaching board games. What to avoid and what to keep in mind. Apparently it's more than just the rules. Who knew?
The incomparable Nick Mariner is in it to win it. And he explains why you should be too. So far no mention of Tiger Blood or "WINNING!" has resurfaced. Let's keep it that way!
A quick stop at the guild gets us talking about your responses to feelings in board games. Or the lack thereof.
Finally, we review The Big Book of Madness. One of the big releases at last year's Spiel in Essen, but Iello's unassuming cooperative game seems to have vanished. Is it a hidden gem or a game that deserves to be forgotten?
In the hustle and bustle of Berlin-Con, Ben managed to sneak away with Klemens Franz for a short interview about his art. Arguably the visual grandmaster behind the face of the modern eurogame, his art style has become inextricably linked with some of the most beloved and prominent eurogames of today.
Listen and find out more about the how and why of Klemens Franz' art style.
As summer is now finally upon us, it is time that this sausage fest of ours indulges in its softer side. Ben & Georgios talk about feelings. Luckily not our own, but those that games elicit (illicitly?) in us.
In a splendiferous return to form and this format, T.C. Petty III. invites us to discover the many-layered history of cards (35:35).
After such an exhaustive and exhausting lesson, what better way to relax and kick back in the freshly relocated and surprisingly suave and stylish new guild (48:08).
We round out this heart-felt (or hardly felt?) episode by taking a closer look at a Japanese design, that just recently found a new English language publisher in Osprey Games. We review The Ravens of Thri Sahashri (01:07:47).
And if you've read this far, why not let your eyes wander around our fancy website, and maybe, just maybe notice that freshly installed "Donate" button. I'm not saying you have to click it. I'm just saying it's there. I'll just turn around and look over there for a while. If somebody were to push that button, I wouldn't really know and I wouldn't ask any questions. It's just something that happens. It's none of my business what a discerning listener such as yourself and a button like that do in the privacy of your own screen.
With the announcement of the Spiel des Jahres winners only a scant few days away, we took it upon ourselves to shed some light on the secretive and obscure machinations going on behind the scenes of the most prominent gaming award out there.
To this end we have invited SdJ juror Martin Klein to join us for a quick chat about the how and why of the Spiel des Jahres award.
As the stars align once more for the rise of something or other, we offer you a themed episode of our podcast. It's a thing we do.
Ben & Georgios talk about their personal journey, nay, evolution as board gamers. Where did we come from as gamers, what got us here... and what might loom on the horizon.
The guild faces some fundamental changes all of its own.
Valiantly going off-script, Nick Mariner ruminates freely about what this hobby means in the grand scheme of things. Which are fairly grand, all things considered.
And finally, we review hot new release Guilds of London and in an unexpected twist, Ben & I don't quite agree on its merits.
Ben went out to the distant and exotic shores of.... Denmark to talk to Robin Lees & Steve Mackenzie, the splendiferous minds behind the cognoscenti's new darling in cooperative gaming: Beyond Baker Street.
What if I told you that what you enjoy about games is not the game but the story? What if I told you, that today the stories that games tell is this episode's topic? What if bears did not shit in the woods? Some of these questions may be addressed later.
As loyal listeners of this podcast know we're rarely critical of games or people, but apparently out there in the magical land of love, peace and harmony called the internet, some meanies say mean things about games. Luckily, T.C. Petty III. is here to tell you how to best deal with what they say, other than asking those meanies to be friends with you. Which is clearly the best approach to take.
In this week's guild segment, we look at many and more of your suggestions as to what a gaming award should care about, and what a decent alternative to the Spiel des Jahres might look like.
Following that Nick Mariner makes an impassioned plea for conformity, respecting rules and keeping your head down as he explores the question: just how imporant are rules? And why?
It is July and as is tradition, Ben went out to hack wood for the Perfect Information fireplace. (Trust me, this is a killer joke if you happen to live in the Northern Hemisphere). To let this homeliness not go to waste he invited Tony Boydell over to chat a little bit about the highly anticipated Guilds of London. As well as the tumultuous journey the game took from creation to completion and finally hitting the shelves.
Tony Boydell, a man sure to soon join the ranks of the other illustrious Tonys like Soprano, Montana and Danza. Find out who in the industry he consideres related to Brian Cox!
Or Courtney... he didn't specify.
The Spiel-des-Jahres-nominees are on everyone's mind. Ours as well, at least enough to get Ben & Georgios to talk about that German gaming award that seems to cause deeply-felt ripples in the hobby each year.
In a welcome return, T.C. Petty III. rants about the parallels in analysing literature and analysing games. Which may be bullshit.
We wander into our favourite virtual Inn... the Perfect Information guild and talk about your worst experiences with social deduction games.
In his typically decisive manner, Nick Mariner comments on gender disparity or rather the bru-ha-ha that erupted over a hashtag, and why some of it may in fact be bullshit.
And finally, we review Viceroy. Or rather we review a version of Viceroy, which differs from the actual game of Viceroy, because I utterly fumbled an essential rule of the game. While it does have repercussions for the entire game, it doesn't fundamentally change our opinion of it. It does, oddly enough, give a little more credence to Ben's argument about that favourite bugbear of his - multiplayer solitaire - and in hindsight, I'd be willing to agree with him now.
Don't tell him, though.
Let me right away dispel any rumours about the way this interview came to be. There was no blackmail involved, people did not go missing. They just naturally showed up again after the interview was conducted. It happens every day, thank you very much.
That said, Seth Jaffee was kind enough to sit down with Perfect Information to answer our burning questions in all matters playtest-y and Eminent Domain....-y.
In this long-form interview, Seth Jaffee talks about the essential qualities of a good playtesting session and how designer and players can contribute to it. He also delves into some of the history of Eminent Domain and its expansions. As well as talk about the next Eminent Domain expansion: Oblivion.
In these hectic times we live in, decisions need to be made quickly and decisively. The 2 minute review will help you steer your gaming collection in the right direction.
Let's face it: as gamers we are extraordinarily intullig-... intally-... intellug-... smart.
As such it comes naturally to us, to use our huge brains to cleverly deduce when best to place a meeple next to a cube to score victory points. But recently, there has been a rise in games that flummox and confound our superiour innu-... intoullekt... smartiness.
These games are both social and deductive. Why are they? How are they? And is there a point to it? Ben & Georgios get to the bottom of this.
T.C. Petty III. draws a line in the sand and takes a principled stand on principles and philosophy. On game design. It's game design. Come back. It really is about game design.
Nick Mariner has risen again to bring us his thoughts on the nature of licensed board games (coincidentally, Georgios wrote about Star Wars: Rebellion recently), or mostly the frothy craziness that seems to swirl around IP property. And what licensing does to gaming.
And for our grande finale, we review Dogs of War and don't quite see eye to eye on this game. Much to everybody's surprise.
In a valiant attempt to fight back the allure of the ever-present cult of the new, Ben Maddox reaches back to relive one of gaming's classic games: Diplomacy. Famously touted as "destroying friendships since 1959", it can now be experienced vicariously through Ben's gripping rendition of a game of Diplomacy as seen through the eyes of Austria.
And while you're happily re-discovering the classics, why not have a look at our most recent, written review of Hoax?
Life is full of choices, decisions if you will. It is filledwith questions that we ask ourselves and that we seldom find ananswer to. Questions such as:
What does the perfect game collection consistof? - Ben & Georgios know the answer to this one.
Why should I care about binary decisionmaking?- TC Petty III. has a few words to say on thematter.
Where is the guild section? - It'scomplicated.
Come to think of it... where's Nick Mariner?-Enough with the questions! We weren't expecting the SpanishInquisition! These are the show note for crying out loud!
We also review BurgleBros – and end up digressingoh so slightly on the topic of game distribution. Is the game anygood? The answers await you in this very episode.
The only question you have to ask yourself now is... do you feellucky, punk?
(Note to editor: please make sure we haven't screwed up ourpop culture references this time.)