There is a good and a bad side to having so much content out there. It is great because there are so many places a person can turn to in order to learn about board games and so many discussions out there about this hobby. The downside, though, is that there is no way to possibly consume all of that content each week/month/year.
I ran into an issue about two months ago when I decided to subscribe to a ton of board gaming podcasts. I was ready to leave audiobooks behind and transition to listening to content creators in the hobby. My first experience was one that really stuck with me: Low Player Count. So when I decided to branch out and test many other podcasts, I found myself torn between listening to a new podcast or catching up on a Low Player Count episode in their archives.
The further I branched out, the quicker it became clear that I couldn’t possibly do it. There was no way to keep up with recent episodes, much less any of their backlog episodes of interest. So last week I was determined to cull the subscription list. That meant making some hard decisions about what I want to listen to and what I need out of a podcast. So here are a few of those criteria:
1) Focus on 1-2 player board games is a plus, since that is my primary player count.
2) Focus on heavier, strategic games over lighter games because that is the direction my preferences are heading.
3) Creation of content beyond simply reviewing games – reviews are fine in audio form but I also enjoy the topic-based discussions.
4) Length of podcast episodes are important. I get about an hour or so during each weekday to listen to podcasts, so the 30-90 minute range is ideal for getting through enough episodes each week to keep things from backlogging too much.
That last meant some really solid podcasts, such as Rahdo Talks Through, had to be dropped. If half of my listening time each week is dedicated to his episode, that means I’m losing ground. But maybe I’ll find that there is still a place to reinsert his podcast in there after a few weeks – after all, his is a monthly production rather than weekly.
Here is my list of podcasts that I have decided to keep and a brief reasoning behind their inclusion:
Low Player Count – These three guys are the ones that welcomed me into listening to podcasts. Their discussions are great, and I always appreciate how quickly they seem to get into the main topic. It isn’t a long dissertation about the games they are playing that drags on forever – I do enjoy hearing those things but that isn’t the reason I’m excited about the episode. They have fairly varied tastes in games at times, which makes for an interesting approach to some of the topics they cover and the games that get mentioned. I’ve listened to over a dozen of their previous episodes, and could honestly just listen to their entire series and be perfectly content until I caught up. I have come to especially enjoy the Travis Gets Heavy minisodes, and I hope to meet and play some games with him at some point.
Married With Board Games – Let’s be honest here…sometimes the part of their episodes I enjoy the most are the Game Night Grub spots. I didn’t think that would happen, but I simply enjoy hearing about things like Ritz Crackers for S’Mores. They like Pandemic and Cthulhu a little too much for my tastes, but there is still plenty of great discussion to be found here…and as a married couple, they talk about more than enough games that would also work well for my wife and I.
Tabletop for Two – Another married couple talking games. I have only listened to a few episodes, but I really enjoyed the last one I listened to about Asymmetric games. Those games are kind of my wheelhouse, if I had one right now. Which is part of what appeals to me about deckbuilding, now that I think about it. I’m looking forward to listening to even more of their content, which is great in quality.
Heavy Cardboard – This is a newer one on the list, mainly because I had been hesitant to take the plunge. But I have come to realize that, at heart, I have become a heavy gamer. I’d much rather play one long game during an evening than a bunch of smaller games. That should have been my first sign. I’m really excited about diving into more episodes from them, especially after listening to the recent interview with Clay Ross at Capstone Games.
Board Game Blitz – These three girls are fantastic. I came for the etymology, and have found that I always listen closely when Ambie is talking about the games she plays (although I really enjoy Crystal and Cassadi’s discussions as well!). Much like Travis at Low Player Count, she plays heavier games. Man, I really should have picked up on my Heavy Cardboard need a lot sooner. The signs were all out there. Anyway, these girls are great fun to listen to, they work well together, discuss some important topics, and manage to do all of these things in roughly half an hour. It always amazes me how much gets crammed into such a short span of time.
Board Games Insider – This one is an unique one on the list and I’ve only listened to a single episode so far. Yet it was enough to make me keep them on the list, because I really enjoyed hearing these two talk from that Insider perspective toward the hobby. I have no plans to design or publish games myself, but I am a big fan of both companies and I hope to hear some more interesting insights by following along with this one.
So there you have six podcasts that I am keeping a subscription to. I think six is a good number for each week, and this doesn’t count the new interest I have in Star Wars: Destiny and the podcasts related to that which I am checking into. That may be a future post to discuss those once I’ve had a decent enough sample size to discuss.
So what podcasts do you listen to, and why do you follow them? Do you try and keep up with every episode, or select just the ones of interest as they are posted?