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March 25, 2020 This week we are going all the way back to 1994 to discuss Master of Magic. MoM, though not quite as popular as its bovine counterpart, was a very forward-thinking game. It offered many levels of customization not yet seen in gaming and inspired classic modern series like Dominions and Age of Wonders. Listen in as Rowan Kaiser, Jon Bolding, and Troy "Do you like what I've done with my hobbit hole?" Goodfellow discuss Master of Magic, sci-fi vs fantasy, and why generic magic isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Master of Magic, Elemental, Dominions, Age of Wonders
March 2, 2020 Not every novel must be Inifinite Jest, not every RTS game must be Starcraft 2. Sure, sometimes you need to hold your copy of Starcraft 2 with the cover facing out so people at the coffee shop KNOW you're playing Starcraft 2, but sometimes you just want to play a quick game of something and get out. This week, Rob and Cameron Kunzelman discuss three RTS games the can be played in less time than it takes to listen to this episode. So once you are done loudly asking if the barista has a second bookmark you can borrow for the footnotes, take a listen to our discussion on Circle Empires, Escape Dead Earth, and Death Crown.
Circle Empires, Escape Dead Earth, Death Crown
February 13, 2020 Rob, Brian "Chef Lu Bu" Smawley, Rowan, and T.J. discuss the Mandate of Heaven expansion for Total War: Three Kingdoms. Brian has been radicalized the populist vision of the Yellow Turbans and feels like only Zhang Jue has put in the work to lead China to a glorious new age. Rob and T.J., meanwhile, feel that incremental reform is the way to go. Rowan is out for themselves, but is also starting to wonder if that old Total War campaign inertia might not be settling in.
Total War: Three Kingdoms, Mandate of Heaven
January 20, 2020 Rob, T.J., Rowan, and Fraser gather to consider the last ten years in strategy games. There is a stark division about what happened to the RTS, as well as how the concept of a game being "finished" mostly disappeared. Then Rob tries to wrap up the show and it goes for another hour as everyone tries to choose their favorite genre game from the last ten years.
January 9, 2020 Rowan, T.J., Jon, and Rob look back at 2019 and the games that most delighted or dismayed them.
Games of 2019
December 29, 2019 It's Christmas at the Plantagenets as Rob and Troy watch the superb Lion in Winter and the less superb Becket. What do these movies have to say about history and politics, and is any of it related to historical fact? How good is Hepburn? What is O'Toole doing across these two films?
The Lion in Winter, Becket
December 20, 2019 Jon and Rob welcome back Paul Dean to discuss Julian Gollop's and Snapshot Games' Phoenix Point, which tries to blend some of the old-school systemic realism of the original X-COM games with the ease of play of newer tactics games. It's all going well until the gang realize the AI plays like a zombie... and this isn't a zombie game.
December 12, 2019 Rob and Troy are joined by Kotaku's Luke Plunkett to discuss Unity of Command 2, the long-awaited sequel to on of Three Moves Ahead's favorite wargames. How does the new setting change the game, and what's with all these new buttons?
Unity of Command 2
December 2, 2019 T.J. and Fraser are joined by Bruno Dias (@NotBrunoAgain) to talk about Planet Zoo, Frontier's spiritual successor to zoo tycoon. Animals are great, but is managing everything around keeping them happy? Why are there 30-50 feral hogs on my trade screen? Zoo-ne in to find out!
November 22, 2019 Troy, Jon, and Rob have been to The Nam and deep in "The Shit" this week as they play Serious Sim's narrative wargame, Radio Commander. To what extent is Radio Commander an actual wargame versus a cleverly disguised RTS choose-your-own-adventure? Does the distinction matter? What are the game's politics, and how do they affect Radio Commander's portrayal of contemporary politics? Most confoundingly, the crew wrestle with whether this is a good game that people should play, or merely an interesting experiment.
November 5, 2019 Rob and Troy play the new, 3D Close Combat: The Bloody First and see how it measures up to the series' history.
Close Combat: The Bloody First
October 11, 2019 Rob, Rowan, and Sean welcome Jeff Green to discuss what might be the greatest year in gaming. Looking down the release slate for that year, it was obviously stacked with brilliant games like Alpha Centauri, Freespace 2, and Jagged Alliance 2 (to name just a few). But did people know it was special at the time? And did anyone realize how fleeting that moment would prove to be, just before Microsoft entered the console wars and began to bridge the gap between console and PC?
September 25, 2019 Rob, TJ, Ian Boudreau, and US Gamer editor Mike Williams discuss the very pleasant surprise that is Age of Wonders: Planetfall. From initial skepticism over the fantasy series' pivot to science fiction, the gang are slowly won over by Planetfall's novel solutions to expansion and city management, diplomacy with minor factions, and glorious tactical combat.
Age of Wonders: Planetfall
September 13, 2019 Nicole Clark joins Rowan and Rob to talk about Klei's Oxygen Not Included and its punishing model of offworld colonizaiton.Learn how everything that can go wrong does go wrong, and how well the game communicates excruciating detail about why your colony is dying.
Oxygen Not Included
August 29, 2019 Rowan, Fraser, and Rob are joined by Kotaku's Gita Jackson to discuss their tenure as teachers at Garreg Mach Monastery. The gang talk about the really thougthful politics and characterizations that define Fire Emblem: Three Houses. Aside from that, is it a good tactics game? And finally, the gang gets into some serious spoilers about the game's shocking reveal midway through.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses, XCOM, Persona