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.)
With the courage and pugnaciousness for which they are known, Ben & Georgios boldly break new ground by putting the one thing to the test, that everybody in the hobby likes to get their grubby little hands on.
That's right... we're reviewing the heck out of some dice.
They are pointy. They are metal. And we roll them.
Find out just how much mileage we get out of things you can't see in our ongoing coverage of gaming paraphinelia in The Appurtenance Archive (copyright pending).
In this week's episode we say goodbye to a sizeable portion of our listenership, as we not only bungle our recording quality, but also dive headfirst into topics only tangentially related to board games. You have been warned.
We start off, wondering aloud whether board games should be family-friendly or not. And while you might suspect what our answer is, you'll probably be surprised by the way we get there.
T.C. valiantly jumps in to bury immersion, not to praise it... for immersion is a honourable man.
We stop by the guild to skim the suggestions of most under-appreciated games, before sitting down and arguing facetiously about the etiquette rule #8.
Nick Mariner chimes in with his best impression of an Ouroboros by returning to Mariner's Law in response to a piece written by one of our hosts, which was written in response to a re-post of Mariner's Law... argh... my nose is bleeding...
Finally, after teasing it in last week's slice, we get around to proclaiming our views on Bottom of the 9th - spoiler alert: we did NOT hate it.
In today's slightly shorter episode - or significantly enlarged Slice of Perfection - Chris Kirkman of Dice Hate Me games, sits down to talk about being a game developer. Along the way he drops some juicy tidbits about games he developed in the past, and gives us a glimpse of things awaiting us in the future.
Among the highlights: the world's first elevator pitch delivered during what appears to have been an elevator going straight through Arkham's portals into the Other Worlds.
Sadly, the Kickstarter mentioned in the interview has already concluded, but here's the link for you to be mad about.
Due to unforseen outside circumstances, we will not have an episode ready for you this week.
We'll return to our regular schedule next monday and hope you all have yourself some great gaming with friends & family until then.
The Easter bunny isn't the only one busy hiding things from other people. It turns out most gamers tend to hide stuff as well, namely their strategies during play. And much like the Easter bunny needs to not overdo it with the hiding - unless you're looking forward to trying to find that forgotten egg by way of smell weeks later - gamers should be careful not to go too far when it comes to hiding, masking or otherwise obscuring their strategy.
In this week's etiquette slice, Georgios talks about the pitfalls of acting like you're not enjoying yourself.
In this week's episode we visit the fine folks at What's Your Game? for an in-depth interview about the ups and downs of being a publisher.
We also review a slightly older release: Asgard and wonder if the lack of hype and buzz is deserved.
TC Petty III and Nick Mariner contribute their insights to this episode in what can only be described as a fantasmagoria of opinions.
Some truths, you have to come by the hard way as Ben Maddox reveals in this installment of the Maddox Diaries. Find out what keeps David Lynch awake every night.
It's our very first episode after the February bandwidth drought. Not content to blab on about games and game designs, Ben & Georgios tackle the intricacate challenges of forging a stable and regular gaming group out of the morass of people and their spurious opinions about meeples.
T.C. Petty III. once again graces us with his presence and lectures. And lectures. And lectures some more. About minorities or extremists or some such.
Our time at the guild is spent pondering the meaning of art in boardgames to you and me and everyone we know. Or has posted to our guild forums, at least.
We also deal with the fallout of last week's etiquette section and why you should play towards a game's end.
The industrious Nick Mariner uses this week’s episode to wine, dine and opine on matters of hermaphroditic victories... by which we mean draws and whether you should have any. Again draws.
It's not easy being a grown-up. Not only are you supposed to take responsibility for your actions, you also need to balance your self-interest with that of the groups you are part of. Luckily, board gaming provides a respite from those heavy chains of considerate behaviour. Or does it?
Habitual rules stickler and party downer Georgios reminds us again, that no... it's not. You are in fact expected to share your fun.
Luckily, Ben chimes in as a mood stabilizer with a mind-shattering rendition of that one R. Kelly song.
Through the use of our wide net of associates, industry contacts and government spies we managed to finagle a preview copy of one of this year's most talked about board games: Fog of Love.
With no promise of such prosaic rewards as money or respect, we stride forward into our very first (and possibly only) Kickstarter preview by tackling the age-old question: To back or not to back?
In an unprecedented feat of intellectual laziness the Perfect Information team rests on its laurels by faluting highly and faffing around about art. That is ART! in boardgames. What's the point? Why should we bother? And is the government wasting your tax money on it?
In this week's etiquette section Ben & Georgios calmly and rationally discuss the need for lawyers. And should they, in fact all be killed as some dead balding Englishman once wrote?
All that rumbling and bumbling aside, a return to the Inn of the Guild of the Perfect Information Podcast sees us fondly discussing our listener's opinion on all matters enlightenment.
Esteemed orator Nicholas Marineum spews forth in his affable and barely pugnacious manner about... huh... art as well. What do you know? (And if you would like to know more about the growing rift between us, why not read this dashing and not at all superfluous rejection of Mariner's Law here!)
And finally, your esteemed moderators set sail for the distant land of Nippon to be as helpful to the growing industry in a foreign land as only a bunch of gamers can be.
We play games according to rules. But in the heat of battle... or just the moment, we might lose sight of the finer points of said rules. It's only sensible to have somebody at the table to pay attention to our play's fidelity.
Georgios argues that there is a reason why you might not want to jump into the fray every time you are at a disadvantage because of a rules error. This is etiquette rule #6.
This week's episode sees a breakdown of the natural order and drops T.C. Petty III. into our topic section. In honour of the momentous Kickstarter (Club Zen & Don't Get Eated) he will spill beans, drinks or simply all over this podcast and reveal all you need to know about those games.
We'll clean up the mess afterwards and hope you enjoy our foray into etiquette again, as Ben & Georgios argue about when a game actually ends, before turning into the guild and have a look at what publishers owe us according to you, dear listeners.
Nick Mariner cynically courts controversy and talks about games that choose culturally sensitive themes. And finally, we sip our espressi as we talk about VivaJava: The Coffee Game: The Dice Game.
In this week's Small Slice, Ben Maddox tackles one of the most fundamental questions about boardgames: why do we inflict eurogames on ourselves? The answer might not surprise you.