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November 12, 2016 Troy "I hate that jerk-ass Montezuma" Goodfellow is joined by Rowan Kaiser, Fraser Brown, and David V. Heron to talk about one of the biggest strategy games of the year: Civilization VI. A new Civilization game is always a cause for celebration. But what has changed? What has remained? Is it a revolution or an evolution? In this case, it turns out to be more of the latter. It's a fun game, it has some great ideas, but at its core it remains the same Civilization game it has been for decades. But... is that a bad thing?
November 7, 2016 This week Rob and Fraser welcome special guest Jeff Spock, Narrative Director at Amplitude Studios. The Endless Series has garnered a large amount of praise with its impressive debut in Endless Space, the unique gameplay in Dungeons of the Endless, and the master class of 4X gaming in Endless Legend. Jeff goes over the challenges of writing for 4X and strategy games and how the universe has changed from Endless Space to Endless Legend. Endless Legend has changed quite a bit since launch and Jeff explains how the series has evolved and where it might go in Endless Space 2. This topic was chosen in a poll by our Patreon backers.
Endless Space, Dungeons of the Endless, Endless Legend, Endless Space 2
October 20, 2016 This week, Michael and Troy "Benevolent Dictator for Life" Goodfellow welcome Chris Park of Arcen Games back to the show. Arcen has recently posted their Kickstarter for AI War 2, followup to the original cult hit from 2009. Featuring asymmetric gameplay and unique strategy, AI War: Fleet Command was the first game to highlight Park's unique vision for gaming. Chris talks about the challenges Arcen has faced, the evolving game market, and what it means to make games with integrity. Also, be sure to stick around after the show for some brief announcements from the gang.
AI War 2, AI War: Fleet Command, A Valley Without Wind, Shattered Haven, In Case of Emergency, Release Raptor, Stars Beyond Reach
October 2, 2016 Three Moves Ahead is serious business. We spend weeks - sometimes months - planning stimulating topics and tantalizing shows. But this week it's time to unwind. It's time to pour some scotch, dim the lights, and talk about whatever's on our minds. For the first time ever, the Three Moves Ahead team is all on the show at the same time: Rob, Bruce, Michael, and Troy "I keep bookstores in business because I don't trust technology and hate trees" Goodfellow. Also, be sure to stick around after the show and get a glimpse of professionalism at its finest.
Scythe, Dominions 4, Board games
September 24, 2016 Bruce welcomes award-winning game designer Dean Essig of The Gamers to talk about his long history of designing wargames. Dean's experience in the military and attention to detail have helped him create long-lasting series that model combat on several different levels. Dean and Bruce discuss the process of playtesting, the challenges of tactical, battalion, and operational level games, double-blind gaming, and why Illinois is such a great state.
Tactical Combat Series, Operational Combat Series, Standard Combat Series
September 16, 2016 WARNING: The Banner Saga 2 is a story-driven game. Certain plot points will be talked about. Major plot points from the first game are discussed. Such is life in a podcast where the point is to talk about what happens in video games. This week Rob Zacny and Fraser Brown talk about Banner Saga 2, the sequel to the Kickstarter darling that made a splash with its gorgeous graphics and brutal gameplay. The decisions are harder, the battles are more interesting, and lots of people still die.
The Banner Saga 2
September 9, 2016 This month's patron-selected game is 1997's Dark Reign: The Future of War. It wasn't the prettiest game, or even the best game. But it was an RTS that existed in the glorious sepia-tinted days when the genre could do no wrong and even the more hamfisted attempts were at least competent given the sliding scale of the time. Rob, David Heron, and Troy "These RTS games make my rheumatism flare up" Goodfellow talk about Dark Reign, the 90's, and KMFDM somehow.
Dark Reign: The Future of War, and every other damn RTS that ever existed
August 31, 2016 Rob, David Heron, and Troy "It's dignity, gah - don't you even know dignity when you see it?" Goodfellow get together to talk about strategy games that don't take 100 hours to play. Whether you're burned out on the sprawling grand strategy games that take up more time than most community college degrees or you just don't have enough time left in the day after pursuing your community college degree, shorter games can be better. But why aren't there a lot of compact, quick-to-play strategy games? Why does the general gaming public hate the ones that do exist? Our panel tries to crack the case of the easily digestible strategy game and ultimately leaves slightly depressed.
Kingdom, Offworld Trading Company, Invisible Inc., Valkyria Chronicles, Heroes of the Storm, Game of War and stuff, Hearts of Iron IV, Battle of the Bulge, Tharsis, Hero Academy, Hero's Charge, Atlantic Fleet, Heroes of Might and Magic, Horse and Musket, Masters of Orion, Sid Meier's Starships, Atom Zombie Smasher, Flotilla, Civilization V, Unity of Command
August 12, 2016 Bruce is joined by game designer Mitch Land to talk about the Next War series of games and modern warfare. Modeling modern warfare is its own challenge as designers attempt to get the most accurate data possible and then abstract it to a playable game. Mitch talks about modeling and performance data, why aircraft carriers are important, and the processing of printing and publishing a game.
Silver Bayonet, Next War: Poland, Crisis Korea, The Next War, Mrs. Thatcher's War, Next War: Korea, Next War: Taiwan
August 5, 2016 Rowan Kaiser, Gita Jackson, and Jonathan Bolding join Troy "Why do I always have to clean the airlock" Goodfellow to talk about Rimworld. Rimworld joins a prestigious line of games in the relatively new genre of "It's like Dwarf Fortress, BUT - " by adding its own sci-fi survival twist. While still in Early Access, Rimworld has recently made its way to Steam to bring its procedurally-generated madness to the masses.
Rimworld, Dwarf Fortress
August 1, 2016 Certain sins are unforgivable. Poor interface, an over-abundance of tooltips, and apparently ship designers. Let's get one thing straight: I - Michael, who writes these notes every week - like ship designers. I liked Gratuitous Space Battles, I like them GalCiv, I like them any way I can get them. So while I've never been on the show to defend my case on this particular topic, I'm writing the notes. Do I get to editorialize? Sure I do. Who's going to stop me? Troy? Ship designers are always a delight. If you don't like them, then this week you can listen to Rob, T.J. Hafer, and Rowan Kaiser go through their lists of strategy game pet peeves.
Gratuitous Tank Battles, Stellaris, Crusader Kings 2, Total Annihilation, and many more
July 11, 2016 Rob, Fraser, and Troy "I'm tired of swabbing the poop deck" Goodfellow get together to revisit Sid Meier's Pirates! We all know who Sid Meier is, and we all what pirates are. So let's just cut to what you're here for: Troy "I'm wanted on three continents for my ample booty" Goodfellow, Troy "My parrot crapped on my shoulder" Goodfellow, Troy "Ramming broadsides is my specialty" Goodfellow, Troy "How do I make a sandwich with two hooks" Goodfellow, Troy "I've got barnacles but I can't say where" Goodfellow, Troy "Stop calling me 'Shark Bait'" Goodfellow
Sid Meier's Pirates!, Assassin's Creed: Black Flag
July 5, 2016 Rob Zacny, Rowan Kaiser, and TJ Hafer range the hills of Gettysburg and traverse the Pacific in a show that talks about games that alter the course of history. Hearts of Iron IV inspired this discussion about how we can change the outcome of historical events to something even more plausible than reality.
Hearts of Iron IV, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Europsa Universalis IV, Sid Meier's Gettysburg!, Ultimate General: Gettysburg, Sid Meier's Antietem!, Gary Grigsby's War in the East, STAVKA OKH Decisive Campaigns: Barbarossa, Total War: Attila, Battles of Napolean, Crusader Kings II
June 24, 2016 Bruce welcomes back game designer Mark Herman to talk about games covering the Pacific War in World War II. Mark's expertise comes in the form of his two Pacific games, Pacific War (1985) and Empire of the Sun (2005). Bruce and Mark cover a wide variety of board games, diving into what makes or breaks a strategic game in this theater.
Pearl Harbor (GDW), War in the Pacific (SPI), Victory in the Pacific (Avalon Hill), Pacific War (Victory Games), Empire of the Rising Sun (Avalon Hill), East Wind, Rain (Task Force Games), Fire in the Sky (Multi-Man Publishing), Empire of the Sun (GMT Games), War of the Suns (Multi-Man Publishing), Axis Empires: Dai Senso! (Decision Games)
June 17, 2016 Rob is joined by Bruce, Jonathan Bolding, and Fraser Brown to discuss the latest in Paradox Interactive's stable of historical games, Hearts of Iron IV. This latest entry in the series returns us to World War II, except it's not always World War II, but that's kind of the point, except when it's not. Despite a few glaring oversights in documentation, the panel has plenty of good things to say about the joy of being "historish". Tune in to find out: is the whole game great, or just Parts of Iron?
Hearts of Iron IV