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March 31, 2023 This week, Rowan teams up with Fanbyte's Mike Williams and Kotaku's Luke Plunkett to discuss Terra Nil, a "city builder in reverse" about restoring the natural ecosystem of a devastated planet. We break down what makes this concept so compelling, feelgood, and relaxing, as well as what it could have done differently to fill a more simulationist niche.
March 24, 2023 Len and Ian are joined once again by our official unofficial historical consultant, UNC Chapel Hill's Dr. Bret Devereaux, to discuss a couple of interrelated topics: Snowballing in strategy games and the process of industrialization. We take a wide-ranging trek through games and history that touches on different ways developers have tried to put checks on snowballing, what factors prevented real societies from hitting that exponential growth until the 1800s, and which games portray it best. There's also a lot of chat on our exploits in the recent 1.2 patch for Victoria 3, because of course there would be.
March 11, 2023 We have a packed panel this week as Jon is joined by Fanbyte's Mike Williams and Nerium Strom, Waypoint's Renata Price, and Freehold Games' Brian Bucklew to hop into the cockpit on Phantom Brigade. This is far from the first turn-based mech game we've talked about, so why were there so many people excited to talk about it that we couldn't even include them all on one show? What are our biggest criticisms, and why did we end up digging it regardless?
Phantom Brigade, Gundam, Battletech, other mech stuff
February 25, 2023 Rob and Ian are joined by Kotaku's Luke Plunkett to dig in to Company of Heroes 3. The long-awaited World War II RTS left us with mixed feelings, between a dynamic campaign that just doesn't really work and some of the best battle maps the series has ever seen. So how does it all stack up when the smoke clears? And what about that North Africa operation?
Company of Heroes 3
February 18, 2023 Len, Jon, and Ian kick off what is to be an ongoing series revisiting some big ideas in strategy games that we haven't covered since Ye Olde Podcast Days of Yore. This time around, we're taking a fresh look at religion, which we last gave its own show waaay back in 2009. How have strategy games changed their depiction of spiritual practices in the last decade or so, and how are they still stuck in certain ruts? We also discuss some of our favorite non-standard takes on religion like Frostpunk and Terra Invicta, and share some thoughts on what we'd like to see done differently.
Sid Meier's Civilization, Crusader Kings 3, Victoria 3, Terra Invicta, Frostpunk, Pentiment, Workers and Resources: Soviet Republic, Old World
January 28, 2023 It's a NoCBcast semi-reunion as Len is joined by Lambert (https://www.youtube.com/Lambert2191) and Father Lorris (https://www.chapelcomic.com/) to discuss Anbennar, our favorite Europa Universalis IV total conversion mod. Have you ever wondered how elite elven archers would fare against 18th Century line infantry? What if the Protestant Reformation was kicked off by the literal death of a god? It's epic high fantasy meets the early modern world and we can't recommend it enough.
Europa Universalis IV, Anbennar
January 21, 2023 Len, Rowan, and Mike Gillis take peek ahead at the roster of strategy games that are maybe, probably, or definitely coming out (or coming out of Early Access) in 2023. We also take an aside for some informed speculation on what some suspiciously quiet heavy-hitters like Total War and Civilization might be concocting. Also, who is Hooded Horse and why are they publishing everything we're into now?
Oh boy, a lot of different games
January 6, 2023 Len is joined by PCGamesN's Ian Boudreau, Fanbyte's Mike Williams, and 3MA Janitor Emeritus Mike Gillis to give a thoughtful post-mortem on the year that was 2022. What were the big ideas? What were our favorite games? What disappointed us?
a lot of games
December 23, 2022 Len and Fraser are joined by PC Gamer's Evan Lahti to discuss Marvel's Midnight Suns. This tactical card battle RPG from Firaxis is a big departure from XCOM... or is it? We gush and grumble about our most and least favorite characters, respectively, break down the combat and progression systems, and learn an important lesson about the true meaning of friendship.
Marvel's Midnight Suns, Mass Effect, Into the Breach, XCOM 2
December 16, 2022 Jon and Len are joined by Fanbyte's Mike Williams and freelance writer Gita Jackson to celebrate and discuss the steam release of Dwarf Fortress. We dig greedily and deep into what makes this game so special, the moments we'll always remember, and some of our favorite little guys.
Slaves to Armok: God of Blood Chapter II: Dwarf Fortress
December 3, 2022 Len and Rowan are joined by Brian "Chef Lu Bu" Smawley and Axe of the Blood God's Eric Van Allen to discuss Marvel Snap, the latest free-to-play comic book card battle sensation. We talk about how it sets itself apart from the likes of Magic or Hearthstone, what our favorite cards are, and which deck archetypes make you an objectively bad person if you play them.
November 26, 2022 Len and John are joined once again by UNC Chapel Hill's Dr. Bret Devereaux to finally, at long last, discuss Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord. We have some mixed feelings about it. What did we love and what did we really not? How do the systems and battles stand up to a military historian's eyes? And at the end of the day, is it actually good?
Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord
November 19, 2022 Len is joined this week by a full squad of developers from Creative Assembly to talk about Total War: Warhammer 3's Immortal Empires beta launch, and what may be to come in the near future. DLC Director Richard Aldridge, Lead Designer Sean Macdonald, Lead UI Programmer Mikaela Lidstrom, and designer William Hakestad talk about everything from the challenges of getting this beast working to their personal favorite start positions, while Len only revels a little bit in the fact that she's the only one here allowed to say "Chaos Dwarfs" without being tackled by a PR handler.
Total War: Warhammer 3, Immortal Empires
November 1, 2022 The long-awaited steel and steam macroeconomics simulator from Paradox has finally graced us with its presence, and we've assembled a League of Extraordinary Lady and Gentlemen to discuss it. Len and Jon are joined by Kotaku's Luke Plunkett, PCGamesN's Ian Boudreau, and our good friend from UNC Chapel Hill, Dr. Bret Devereaux to analyze this absolute behemoth of a game from every angle. Hold on tight and keep your arms and legs completely inside the podcast. We're about to leave the station for an epic episode.
Victoria 3, Just Victoria 3
October 29, 2022 Rowan is joined by Firaxis Narrative Lead Cat Manning and freelance writer Ruth Cassidy to discuss Crusader Kings 3, two years on. How do we feel about it after all the patches and DLCs? What's great about it, and what's still not so great? And what would our dream version of this game look like?
Crusader Kings 3