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Mark Johnson's occasional & opinionated podcast about family strategy boardgames.

Mark Johnson's occasional & opinionated podcast about family strategy boardgames.
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Mark Johnson's occasional & opinionated podcast about family strategy boardgames.




Boardgames To Go 192 - Origins Game Fair 2019

Opener: Bukiet (Bloom) Closer: BGG's new look This isn't the first time I've attended the Origins Game Fair, one of the United States' larger national game conventions. But my previous times were once in the 1990s...and once in the 1980s! As far as we're concerned, that's a completely different era. It was before the current wave of boardgames, even before CCGs had their wave. Now in 2019 the event was dominated by our style of boardgaming, with a subset of CCGs, RPGs, and wargaming...


Boardgames To Go 191 - Spiel des Jahres Top 40

I'll be attending Origins Game Fair this year (June 2019) in Columbus. I've been there before, but only in the 80s & 90s, so I'm sure it's substantially different now. I'll be there Thursday-Sunday, including participating on a panel of wargame podcasters/YouTubers/bloggers Sunday morning. That's listed in the program as shown below. I think it's free, and although it's about wargaming you may want to stop by anyway. The topic is the current "golden age" of the hobby, and part of...


Boardgames To Go 190 - Grail Games (with David Harding)

Openers: KeyForge and Lost Cities Rivals Closers: "It's light but and I liked it" / Fillers fill me up; Do gaming statistics add or subtract from your enjoyment? Over the many years on this podcast I've interviewed plenty of gamers, and a few designers. Apparently I'd missed talking to a publisher, however. I first encountered David Harding as an online gamer-friend, whether through, Twitter, or just email. We played some games together and traded messages. Somewhere along...


Boardgames To Go 189 - Welcome to Season 15

I pushed back an interview show I have coming next* in order to open the 15th year(!) of this podcast with a solo episode. In it, I reflect a little on the podcast and (re)tell some stories about it. Then I launch into a LONG list of games I've managed to play at three recent events: EsCon 2019, SoCal Games Day #76, and an extended weekend boardgame cruise with some buddies. In those events I played a mix of old favorites, some new-to-me superfillers like I prefer, a few longer games, and...


Boardgames To Go 188 - Essen 2018 (with Chris Marling)

Openers: • Orbital • Pikoko Chris Marling (hairyarsenal) Game designer, blogger, and real-life journalist Chris Marling joins me once again to talk about Essen. As he did two years ago, he had a new game launching at Spiel, so we get to hear about that. But he's also an enthusiastic game hobbyist like the rest of us, and he also talks about the event itself from that point of view. Chris loves the game fair, and has been going for quite a number of...


Boardgames To Go 187 - Post-BGGcon 2018 (with Ryan Wheeler and Greg Pettit)

No Openers or Closers this time, as we have so many games from the event to discuss! Games discussed: Spring Meadow, Bärenpark, Gingerbread House, Trade on the Tigris, Age of Civilization, PitchCar, Weird Things Humans Search For, The Brady Bunch Party Game, Onitama, Sakura, Indigo, Blue Lagoon, The Arabian Pots, LYNGK, Yellow & Yangtze, Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra, Treasure Island, Northern Pacific, Micropolis, Voodoo Prince, Ticket to Ride: New York, Pantone: The Game, Tower of...


Boardgames To Go 186 - Kniziathon (with Doug Adams)

Openers: Root and Krass Kariert Closers: Playing boardgames solo; Stephen Glenn's tweet about Phase 1 & 2 in our hobby: [/floatright] Doug Adams (dougadamsau) Doug and I have "known" each other via the internet for over twenty years. He, Joe Huber, and I were the three that started emailing each other to form the Desert Island Gamers (DIGers) mailing list that was a main source of boardgaming information before sites like BGG were around. Heck, we...


Boardgames To Go 185 - Essen Anticipation 2018

Opener: Reef Closers: Games with Heidelberg, such as Thurn & Taxis, Web of Power, or Wallenstein (what did I forget?) The famous Spiel game fair in Essen, Germany starts later this week. I won't be there, but that's nothing new. Like most of us, I window-shop this gathering from afar, and participate vicariously via blogs, videos, and (maybe most of all) getting excited for its arrival. Just over a week ago I commented on...


Boardgames To Go 184 - Conventions for Boardgame Players & Designers

Openers: Ethnos and Ganz Schön Clever (app) Game designer David Thompson joins me to talk about most of the big game conventions in our hobby, and what they mean when you're testing or pitching designs. Of course, most of us will encounter those conventions as a player, and David talks about that experience, too. We talk about Essen (Spiel), UK Games Expo, Nuremberg, Origins, and Gencon. Have you been to any of these? Some may be on the other side of...


Boardgames To Go 183 - Spiel des Jahres 2018

Opener: Nothing specific, since I discuss so many titles during the episode Closer: Check out the Gravity Assist podcast that includes an interview with the project scientist for "my" spacecraft heading for Mars right now. Perhaps foolishly, I'm posting my thoughts about the Spiel des Jahres nominees just a few hours before the actual winner in announced in Germany. Well, no matter. You may have already heard some of my thoughts about these games (as well as the Kennerspiel...


Boardgames To Go 182 - Downsizing a Collection

David G. (davebo) Greg Wilzbach (gawilz) Mike Mayer (Mike Mayer) You haven't heard from me lately (unless you subscribe to my wargames podcast), but I'm still here, still gaming. However, there HAS been a transformation in my engagement with the hobby. For the past half-year I've firmly been in the mode of downsizing my collection. Why, and why now? Well, that's some of what this podcast is about. I'm joined by three of my local gaming...


Boardgames To Go 181 - Brewery Roundtable BGGcon 2017

Bigger & better than a couple years ago, a bunch of my BGGcon buddies joined me around the microphone at an outdoor brewery table. We'd been to the Hard 8 bbq place frequented by gamers, then headed over to the Grapevine Craft Brewery. There we relaxed with a few beers and recorded some thoughts about games we'd been playing. (We even played a few games of Insider.) You'll hear Zak, Brian, Steve #1, Steve #2, Marcin, DaveO, Eryn, Travis, Greg, Rick, Ryan, and me talk about Magic...


Boardgames To Go 180 - Post-BGGcon 2017 (with Greg Pettit)

Opener: Welcome to Season 14 of my podcast! (Also family gathering gaming with Take Your Pick, Raj, and Codenames) Closers: Pimping out Wits & Wagers with the Vegas Mat; "Mansplaining" boardgames Geeklist: Post-BGGcon 2017 Back in November I returned to BGGcon, played a ton of games, and recorded TWO podcasts. Then the holidays, work, and family events took over. Now I'm finally getting the first one out, and I won't make you wait as long for the next one, either. This is a...


Boardgames To Go 179 - Essen Anticipation 2017

Opener: Startups Closers: Wargames To Go (French & Indian War) Geeklist: Essen Anticipation 2017 It's mid-October, which means it's time for my annual "Essen Anticipation" episode. I may have missed a year or two along the way, but mostly I've been doing these since I started the podcast in 2005. Along the way I think I've learned more about my own preferences, and have gotten better at homing in on just those games that will end up being some...


Boardgames To Go 178 - One Year After the One Year Purge (with Greg Pettit)

Openers: Innovation Deluxe and Ethnos Closers: Can a designer be their own developer? and How to leave feedback for this podcast. One Year Purge (blog) Regular guest of the podcast, Greg Pettit, set out to reduce his collection size. Just about all boardgamers can relate--running out of storage space, and not getting your old favorites to the table. Unlike most of us, though, he put this downsizing under a microscope, writing about it each month for a blog/geeklists that...


Boardgames To Go 177 - Spiel des Jahres 2017

Opener: Pack O Game (especially BOO and DIG from Set #2) Closer: Tabletopia As you might have seen, I was lucky enough to participate in a few recent episodes of Game Night! when the gang discussed the recent game awards: Spiel des Jahres, Kinderspiel des Jahres, and Kennerspiel des Jahres. Although I was able to share some of my opinions & experiences with the games on those videos, I have more to say on my own podcast...and here it is. Kennerspiel des...


Boardgames To Go 176 - Nos Amis à Paris (with Melissa, Olivier, and Candy)

Opener: Aton I'm back in California now, since my work in France is done. All told, we were there about nine months. That's a little shorter than the year originally planned, but clearly we enjoyed a wonderful experience. I was there for my job, and the job changed a bit (for the better), which is why we came home "early." All of that time was spent in Paris. It was the move to Toulouse that didn't happen. As my wife Candy says, we'll just have to go there on vacation some day. Before...


BGTG 175 - Curious about Wargames? (with Dave O'Connor)

Opener: A light wargame! Miracle on the Loire: Joan of Arc My buddy DaveO has been on the podcast before, talking about euro gaming at Essen, or if any games are good for five players. Like most of us, he's played an overwhelming number of strategy boardgames over the years. The didn't include wargames, though he was kind of curious about them. In 2016 he was "tricked" into going to GMT Games' Warehouse at the Weekend, and found himself first horrified by and later part of the...


Boardgames To Go 174 - Vive la France!

Opener: Paris Connection A quick, solo show to catch up on some things. If you've been following my (sort of) weekly session report geeklists, or on social media (twitter, facebook), you'll know that I've been boardgaming with a group I created for Monday nights in Paris. It focuses on light/short games, and has an ulterior motive--it's a good outing for couples. My mostly non-gamer wife even goes with me to these! We're having a good time, and meeting good people. Besides that, I...


Boardgames To Go 173 - Post-Essen 2016 (with Chris Marling & David Thompson)

David Thompson (Skirmish_Tactics) Chris Marling (hairyarsenal) Opener: Mansions of Madness (2nd edition), TIME Stories, Terraforming Mars, Great Western Trail This is really a double-episode. In the second half we talk about more Essen titles, and the experience of my two guests who attended from England. However, these aren't just any two guests--they are collaborative game designers. Their big release at Essen 2016 was Armageddon, and they...