If I’m doing chores or driving, there’s an almost 100% chance I’m listening to some sort of gaming podcast, or even watching YouTube videos about my illustrious hobby/debilitating addiction. I thought I’d share some of my favorites here with you. Continue past the fold to see some of my favorite media outlets, and why I think they’re special.
The Dice Tower is a monolithic board game media empire. Apparently that’s a thing. I spend most of my time listening to the flagship Dice Tower podcast put out every week by the delightful Tom Vasel and Eric Summerer, but there’s much more to the outlet than that. Their YouTube channel has literally hundreds of reviews of boardgames by Mr. Vasel himself and tons of other affiliated reviewers. The reviewers span from hardcore wargamers and eurogamers to focusing on party and family games, and they’re wonderfully transparent about their tastes, so you can figure out how useful a review will be to you personally. There’s also a ton of entertaining Top Ten Lists naming board games related to just about any topic you could imagine. I also want to give a shout-out to the Dice Tower Showdown, a side podcast in which Tom referees a debate between passionate fans debating their favorite tabletop gaming topics.
Extra Credits is a YouTube channel that offers a wide variety of video and computer gaming related clips. Their main series is a topical exploration of different facets of game design, the gaming market and the hobby. They handle a wide variety of topics, and you can learn a lot about critical game design from their show. They also have shows that discuss a particular element of a game in-depth, analyzing its design, and recommending new and interesting games. Their productions are top notch and always fascinating.
Shut Up & Sit Down is a board-game news and review blog that also hosts a podcast sporadically. The main contributors are the absolutely genius Paul Dean and Quintin ‘Quinns’ Smith. Their current blog offers hilarious and reviews and news posts, but if you get into their writing style, you should definitely check out their old Vimeo profile where they filmed entire half hour episodes with great sketches and plots. Beware Reference Pear.
The Crate & Crowbar is a podcast focusing on PC gaming. The hosts are all experienced vets from the games journalism circuit, and they’re all really good at breaking down game design. I particularly enjoy listening to Tom Francis, the designer of Gunpoint and lots of other exciting new things. Incidentally, Tom Francis also maintains his own fantastic blog.
Daft Souls is a gaming podcast with revolving hosts that occasionally feature Paul and Quinns from Shut Up & Sit Down, along with a host of other entertaining, well… hosts. They tend to talk about a wider variety of video games than some of the other podcasts here, occasionally mentioning board games, and touching on games from all sorts of platforms and eras. It’s obvious that everyone on the show have a deep love for their hobby, and are more than eloquent in discussing it. Don’t go in expecting much in the way of news, but you’ll probably learn about some great older titles that might have passed you by.
Ludology is a topic-based analytical show hosted by Geoff Engelstein and Ryan Sturm. Every episode, Geoff and Ryan tackle an aspect of game design or play. The game frequently touches on related sciences and topics, from economics and psychology to quantum mechanics. If you’re looking for a little more in depth analysis of how game design affects players decision or how to understand how to make an effective design, Ludology is definitely one of the best places to start.
Three Moves Ahead is another topic-based show, and part of the Idle Thumbs network (Idle Thumbs itself also being very, very worthy of your time). The show has been going on for some time, and is especially relevant to war- and other strategy-gamers. The hosts are obvious grognards, veterans of the war and strategy genres, and have a wealth of analytical insights. Again, the episodes are topic based, so you can go back early in the archives and scour them for episodes that sound interesting to you. This is a great podcast to discover new, obscure games and get some ideas of whether or not they’re for you.
Errant Signal is games criticism YouTube channel. While there’s not as much content here as some of the other media outlets above, it’s all of a fantastic quality. There’s a good mix of topic based essays and criticism focused on specific games here, so I enjoy browsing the videos for games I’ve played to see someone cast a more critical eye over it. Errant Signal’s video on Criticism and Curation in particular is an inspiration for this very blog.
All these shows are well worth a watch or listen. If you have any opinions on the shows I’ve listed here, or anything you think I’ve overlooked, please fire off a comment and let me know!