Gather 'round, PIPL!
It is the very last release of 2016 and we still have a few things to tick off of our "to do"-list. (Sadly, Ryan Gosling still won't return our calls, so no change on that front.)
Instead we look giddily at the very best games that 2016 had to offer, and then pick the very best of those. Just because lists are a great talking piece at our New Year's eve party, and arguing about our choices just tells you everything you need to know about us as people.
We also drop by the guild and talk about what YOU look forward to in 2017.
And we reveal the winners, and grand winner of our What's Your Game competition. The video of which can be found on our facebook page, and the highlights can be listened to in here.
Finally, if you want to look up our specific best-of-the-year picks, here is a handy list of links:
And with that we say goodbye dumpster fire and hello 2017!
A little Christmas poem to make the festivities just a little bit gamier.
Never one to dabble in self-awareness, the end of the etiquette series makes way for a new series in which spurious insights are laid out with the conviction of a man who has not yet realised he is four drinks past his limit.
Today... trading in board games. And how it inevitably fails.
(Hint: there's a tiny chance it might actually be about something else, though.)
Gather round everybody, the festive season is in full swing and we here at Perfect Information are happy to talk about the ostensibly happiest time of the year.
03:00 - In an attempt to bring together board games and Christmas in as awkward a way as possible, we wonder: how can we make board games embody Christmas values and ideals. Like getting drunk on eggnog and arguing with your racist uncle about everything that went wrong with Cuba.
36:10 - T.C. Petty III swings his stick of knowledge and delivers a stunning lecture on the history of dice in Deep Design.
48:19 - A few words for our sponsor Spielpro.com
50:24 - The long-awaited return to the guild sees us reminisce about your formative gaming memories.
01:09:55 - A few more words for our sponsor Yolo-Games.com
01:11:39 - The rightfully lauded and revered Dr. Nick Mariner lays out his wishlist for Christmas.
01:22:12 - This week's review sees Ben & I tackle the things we're most capable of handling: Crisis.
01:48:40 - Finally, we unveil the Perfect Information Christmas Buying Guide. A not-to-be-missed help to maneuver the notoriously overwhelming and excessive holiday season like a board gamer should.
Once more we return to Ben's cabin in the woods. This time he is joined by a man who's more intricately linked with the American West in board games than John Wayne.
Making a big splash - or rather a tightly wound engine that propelled him forward - with Lewis & Clark, he has a few things to say in the inimitable way that only a French accent can. The development history of Lewis & Clark gets unpacked over a steaming glass of virtual Glühwein and you are more than welcome to join.
In a sudden and unexpected twist of fate we find ourselves in episode 30 of the Perfect Information podcast. But not to worry, after a few meandering words of welcome we dive headfirst into this show's topic: moments that made us fall in love with this hobby (05:10). The answers may surprise you. (But they probably won't.)
TC goes with his gut.. or his head... or maybe he hints at going with his gut because he thought it through first... I am not entirely sure what is happening.. anyway: intuition and counter-intuitive design seems to be a corner stone of this week's Deep Design (38:24), which once again scores highly on the Lakoff-Varoufakis scale for insightfulness.
Our competition is still going strong and is in fact going stronger as we speak. Make sure you get in on this and win some tremendously epic prizes. Courtesy of What's Your Game?'s warehouse. (51:19)
And to calm our nerves after that bit of monkey business, we return to the guild to have words. With thee. (54:30)
A few words for our sponsor Yolo-Games.com (01:17:15)
Fresh off the high of BGG-Con, Nick Mariner talks all about the games he passionately endorses after playing them. He's fancy that way. (01:23:15).
Our review this week is about that small little dice game that could: Mondrian The Dice Game. Some of the most colourful fun you can have with dice. (01:35:42)
And then it is time to say farewell in the verbose and disoriented manner in which we usually leave all the listeners who make it to the end. (02:02:20)
And now we finally draw a curtain on this etiquette series with the final installment of me sitting in a café pontificating about something or other.
Namely: other. And in this case suggesting we should maybe not hold on to mistakes or errors of judgement too much.
It is rule #10 - Be gracious when others make mistakes and accept your own.
About as coherent a note to end on as 2016 would allow.
That sure felt like far longer than just two weeks without an episode..
Anyway, this week we talk about things inexplicably falling out of favour and try to explic them. While this seems to be happening everywhere right now, we try to limit our gaze to games.
Our guild section comes to us from an allegedly alternate future, where things don't seem to have turned out as rosy and uplifting as our present clearly suggests. Fancy that... we talk about forgivable gaming sins. (37:15)
We also have a competition. Yes, a competition! We're giving something away for free. Por nada. رایگان. חינם .Für nüschte. A highly sought-after game from WYG is on the table. How to get it into your hands? Listen to find out! (51:54)
Nick Mariner comments on current events. (56:56)
Spiel is slowly receding from memory, we know. Which is why we bring one last hurrah.. of interviews with some of the illustrious heads (and other body parts) of this very hobby.
Ben interviews 2 Tomatoes, a Spanish game studio with a knack for games with a political undercurrent. But more importantly... TWO TALKING TOMATOES!!! (Also, technically... Lord of the PIGS and Peak Oil)
We also have a nice chat with Polish publisher Board & Dice and their love of beer(-themed games). A topic that is of particular interest to Ben, who usually does not partake of the alcoholic beverage as I understand it.
That interest quickly leads to one of the finest moments of boardgame journalism during the interview with Pini Shekhter. Long-time Perfect Information listener by day, household name of the Israeli gaming scene by night! (As in, I presume that he lives in some kind of household.) A game designer in his own right, he is happy to talk about games. With US! Which is really fortunate, since this is a board game podcast. And we did record this interview in Essen during Spiel.
And finally - though possibly not chronologically - we present an interview with the minds behind one of the most METAL!!1! dungeon crawl experiences on KS in recent memory: Perdition's Mouth. Learn more about the game that is sure to make your mailman curse you and your family until the end of time.
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.