Boardgames To GoAuthor: Mark Johnson
21 Nov 2017

Boardgames To Go

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Mark Johnson's occasional & opinionated podcast about family strategy boardgames

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    Boardgames To Go 179 - Essen Anticipation 2017

    Opener: Startups

    Closers: Wargames To Go (French & Indian War)

    It's mid-October, which means it's time for my annual "Essen Anticipation" episode. I may have missed a year or two along the way, but mostly I've been doing these since I started the podcast in 2005. Along the way I think I've learned more about my own preferences, and have gotten better at homing in on just those games that will end up being some of my favorites or keepers for the year. But I'm not THAT good. I still get excited and list a lot more games than will end up being my hits of the year. Even more than I will get a chance to play soon. That's ok--this is part of the fun of the hobby, at least for me: getting excited about new games, new ideas, new (and old!) designers/publishers.


  • Posted on 23 Oct 2017

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    Boardgames To Go 178 - One Year After the One Year Purge (with Greg Pettit)

    Openers: Innovation Deluxe and Ethnos

    Closers: Can a designer be their own developer? and How to leave feedback for this podcast.

    Regular guest of the podcast, Greg Pettit, set out to reduce his collection size. Just about all boardgamers can relate--running out of storage space, and not getting your old favorites to the table. Unlike most of us, though, he put this downsizing under a microscope, writing about it each month for a blog/geeklists that tracked his progress. More than that, they contemplated the progress. In this way, did he "murder his hope," or did he refocus on the joy this hobby can bring? That's what we talk about.


  • Posted on 01 Oct 2017

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    Boardgames To Go 177 - Spiel des Jahres 2017

    Opener: Pack O Game (especially BOO and DIG from Set #2)

    Closer: Tabletopia

    As you might have seen, I was lucky enough to participate in a few recent episodes of Game Night! when the gang discussed the recent game awards: Spiel des Jahres, Kinderspiel des Jahres, and Kennerspiel des Jahres. Although I was able to share some of my opinions & experiences with the games on those videos, I have more to say on my own podcast...and here it is.

    Kennerspiel des Jahres
    Raiders of the North Sea nominee
    Exit: The Game winner!
    Terraforming Mars nominee (and my favorite)

    Kinderspiel des Jahres
    Captain Silver nominee
    Ice Cool winner!
    The Mysterious Forest nominee (and my favorite)

    Spiel des Jahres
    Magic Maze nominee
    The Quest for El Dorado nominee
    Kingdomino winner! (and my favorite)


  • Posted on 14 Aug 2017

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    Boardgames To Go 176 - Nos Amis à Paris (with Melissa, Olivier, and Candy)

    Opener: Aton

    I'm back in California now, since my work in France is done. All told, we were there about nine months. That's a little shorter than the year originally planned, but clearly we enjoyed a wonderful experience. I was there for my job, and the job changed a bit (for the better), which is why we came home "early." All of that time was spent in Paris. It was the move to Toulouse that didn't happen. As my wife Candy says, we'll just have to go there on vacation some day.

    Before we left France, however, we recorded a podcast with our good friends Melissa & Olivier. They were the first people who responded to my invitation for a Light/Short group. Not only did they become our most reliable boardgamers in the group, they also became our best friends in France. It was difficult to say goodbye, but I'm confident we'll see them again. As you'll hear, they're new to the hobby, very enthusiastic, and are starting to attend big events in the hobby. They'll return to the UK Games Expo at the end of this week, may go to Essen later, and will no doubt start attending the game events in France. If their careers bring them back to New York, then I expect we'll see them at the American game events, too.

    I enjoy hearing how my friends got into the hobby, and this interview has the added benefit of Olivier's international perspective. Anyone who wishes their spouse played more boardgames will be green with envy when you hear how these two enjoy the hobby together. Wow!

    Other mentions:
    New York 1901 with its artwork like bande dessinée
    Notre Dame
    Risk (which originated as the French game, La Conquête du Monde)
    Ticket to Ride: USA, Europe, and UK
    Paris Connection
    TransEuropa (Polish edition)
    First Class: All Aboard the Orient Express!

    French game groups & meeting places:
    English Speaking Boardgamers of Paris
    Cafe Meisia
    Anticafé Beaubourg
    Joueurs Anonymes

    Say hi to Melissa & Olivier if you see them at the UK Games Expo

    Closer: Our international hobby


  • Posted on 30 May 2017

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    BGTG 175 - Curious about Wargames? (with Dave O'Connor)

    Opener: A light wargame! Miracle on the Loire: Joan of Arc


    My buddy DaveO has been on the podcast before, talking about euro gaming at Essen, or if any games are good for five players. Like most of us, he's played an overwhelming number of strategy boardgames over the years. The didn't include wargames, though he was kind of curious about them. In 2016 he was "tricked" into going to GMT Games' Warehouse at the Weekend, and found himself first horrified by and later part of the wargaming going on there. This makes him a good ambassador to regular boardgamers who don't think in terms of hexagons, Combat Results Tables, and lines of supply. He still remembers watching "pipe-smoking history professors" stick their noses in rulebooks while little happened on their gameboards, an activity that didn't look fun at all. That's not exactly the kind of wargaming he's doing now, but DaveO definitely HAS become a wargamer. Are you wondering what all the fuss is about Falling Sky, Churchill, or W1815?

    Whether you are looking to dive into the deep end of wargaming, or just want to see what a smaller/shorter wargame can be like, I hope this conversation between DaveO and I can give you some answers. Definitely also look at Jim Cote's excellent blog post, Wargames: Barriers to Entry. I agree with all but two points of it. Which two points? Let's discuss in the comments.

    Closer: Heading back to California

  • Posted on 17 Mar 2017


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