Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Good Wargaming Blogs

I seem to struggle in finding good gaming blogs and podcasts for some reason. Many who followed Gathering of Engineers will recall my first critical assessment of gaming podcasts, when I made some comments about The Dice Tower and we all know how that turned out!

As we seem to be in what I'll call the Late part of the Gilded Age of Eurogaming (where some very good stuff comes out, but our tastes have developed to the point where we aren't as interested in most of it), I find myself largely uninterested in new Euros, and starting to get that way about multiplayer strategy games (MSGs). The field that I continue to be interested in is board wargames, and while I will always enjoy and promote playing Euros and MSGs (an unfortunate acronym, it sounds like I play a game, get a headache, and am hungry an hour later, although that *does* happen), it's wargames where I seem to be directing most of my gaming energy these days, whether it's our WBC-West nanocon, solo gaming (see my new "What I've Played" gadget on the sidebar), or my increasing interest in monster games.

There are a few blogs that I subscribe to, but most are written by people in my own local gaming group. Searching through the various wargaming blogs, most seem to involve miniatures, and I've been there done that. For me, it's not about the toy soldiers but about the system and the insights it gives into a historical situation. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to disrespect miniatures players or their hobby by any stretch. It's just not for me, as I'm not that interested in painting the uniforms, much less getting into arguments about whether the epaulets are striped correctly. I do understand that there's a huge appeal in seeing the battlefield and the realism it lends, but then again so do reenactment groups, and I have no interest in that either. Besides, board wargaming is a time- and money-intensive hobby as it is, and I have nowhere to store terrain.

Podcasts are another issue. The most popular of the board wargaming podcasts, Point 2 Point, leaves me completely cold. I'm sure they are very nice people who love their mothers and you can count on in a crisis, but Jason simply shouldn't be conducting interviews. When it's free and the people putting out the podcast put so much work into it (and I understand just how much work goes into it, believe me), I suppose I shouldn't complain, but the truth is that when you put yourself out there for public consumption you are, in effect, putting yourself out for criticism and need to be able to take it like a wargamer. The more recent wargaming podcasts are, I suppose, interesting to a certain degree, but a good podcast requires interesting personalities as well as interesting content, and so far I have yet to find both. I was hoping the Messy Game Room would fill the void, as the guys running that are total characters, but I found their understanding of boardgaming in general to be a little too weak for my tastes.

Which is strange, as the best (IMO) World of Warcraft podcast, "The Instance," is fantastic. It's well put together, the personalities are interesting, the content is interesting, they have perhaps the best crew of guest hosts ever (including Curt Schilling!), and useful information. Occasional swearing aside, this program could be on commercial radio, and in fact from the few things I *very* rarely hear on radio, it may be better in most cases. Of course, WoW has 10 million fans worldwide, while board wargaming has perhaps ten to twenty thousand, so you'd expect that someone would rise to the challenge with a large population.

So what I'm asking for here is a set of blogs and/or podcasts concentrating on board wargaming (although they can also focus on euros or MSGs) that are interesting, topical, and fun. Heck, I'll try anything once. However, I'll only give podcasts three episodes to engage me, mostly because the amount of time I spend listening to podcasts seems to be limited mostly to the car these days, and there's not a lot I need to drive to. Blogs I can give much more time to.

Thanks for your suggestions.


Luke Sineath said...

Chris Farrell's blogs have been good but he rarely posts anymore.

Map and Counters is great but is mostly just reviews of old SPI games. Your blog is the best wargaming blog out there I think. I read a couple of them but none are as meaty nor insightful.

I agree with your assessment of P2P--the episodes are far too long and lack structure. It feels more like I'm listening in on an extended conversation than being informed. The best wargaming podcast I've heard is The Two Half Squads--ASL only though!

Yehuda said...

I've got a few on the sidebar of my blog, I think.

I assume you've googled "war game blog" and looked for war game tags on technorati and so on?

Dug said...

Really, all I've done lately is either do a Google search or look on the Apple Music Store site (for podcasts).

Wow, Luke, that is some high praise. I try to provide more than just session recaps (which I find to be kind of dull, in general - Two Sides is an exception), partly because I can't be bothered with photos!

ASL only would be great were I playing ASL, which is possible but unlikely in the near term.

Yehuda, I'll check out your site. I know of you through KC and Sunriver Games (among other ways), but didn't know you were a reader. As I've said before, I'm always mildly surprised to find that anyone reads my blog at all.

I've never even heard of technorati, will check it out posthaste.

Thanks, and keep the recommendations coming!

Laurent said...

I agree 100% on the "The Instance" podcast. Great if you play Wow.
In case you do not know, Scoot has a new podcast named AppSlappy about iPod Touch and iPhone applications. Check it on iTunes or at http://AppSlappy

Eric said...

It's probably not what you were first thinking of, but I've been liking War and Game. It covers more of the historical side, but it's usually a decent, quickish read.