Even More Gaming Podcasts
Great Gaming Podcasts 2: Electric Boogaloo
After the list of gaming podcasts that follows I have also included a couple new video podcast, or "vidcasts", that are also good places for gamers to get some entertainment or information for their games. They have a larger footprint (size wise), won't play on all players (as they are videos), and generally come out less often (as they take a lot more work to make), but they are every bit as much worth checking out as their audio brothers.
Before I get into any of that, however, there is a big thing I want to talk about that has changed since last time I did this. The House of the Harping Monkey has gone through some major changes, but is still very worth listening to. Mick Bradley, the main drive behind the shows over there, has closed down what were the two main shows of house. Both the Round Table and Misfit Brew are gone now, which is sad, but the Actual Play podcast, The Rolemonkeys, is still going strong and has even spawned an occasional extra discussion show called Rolemonkeys After Dark. He has also hinted at a new show and site coming soon next year, but no clear details as to what it will be like have been released, other than it will include discussions of gaming theories and ideas.
The Game Master Show: There are several shows out there that portray "actual play" of games, basically recording the play at the table and sharing it with us as a podcast. This show does that, but goes one step further. All the players in the games are also all (or at least almost all) experienced Game Masters as well, so they do an entire show after each "adventure" is over to discuss what went well and what didn't. They basically critique how the game and the game master did in the play sessions, in order to help them improve and tell all of us what we could do to make out games better as well. Whenever possible, they also try to get the creators of the game on the show to give their opinions of how it went too.
They also have the occasional extra show, interviews and other discussions, but these are not the crux of the show. Their community is relatively active and has a lot of good discussions, so it's worth checking out in addition to the show. Be warned, though, if you are not a fan of "indie games" or other non-mainstream games you may not like a lot of the shows because these are the majority of what they are covering (at least so far). You still might get a lot of good ideas and information from it, so at least check it out.
Rating: I would suggest this one is checked out, both show and forums, by anyone who likes to learn by "doing" as opposed to simply reading reviews.
Master Plan: Ryan Macklin is the host of this great show about creating RPGs, design, and all aspects of getting something from a tickle in your brain to sold on the gaming market. He does this through discussion shows, interviews with game makers, examples of his own creations, and more. Most of his shows involve some kind of guest, usually a game maker or other person involved in the gaming world somehow, and ends with his classic catch phrase, "So, what is your master plan?"
Ryan is a great interviewer and a highly creative person in his own right, so this show has a lot of energy and drive behind it. As seems to be the main focus on a lot of these shows these days, this one also mostly focuses on the new "Indie games" and "Story Games" markets as opposed to the more mainstream RPG markets, but that doesn't make it any less interesting and fun to listen to.
Rating: If you have any inkling to create games or even create modifications to existing games, this show is a great way to learn and understand techniques that work and even some of what doesn't.
Have Games Will Travel: This is a great, although somewhat irregular, magazine style show that covers all sorts of games and topics. Mostly focusing on talking about certain games, sometimes in great detail, and giving us all a great idea about how these games work and if we might enjoy them or not. They do a good job of not being too biased towards certain styles or genres, which allows them to cover an even wider array of games. With multiple hosts you also get a good mix of opinions and discussion.
The show also has a sort of spin off show for discussing topics not related to specific games they are looking at, although it is highly irregular on its release schedule. These are called "For a Few Games More" and are mostly covering game related topics, like dealing with real life intruding on gaming or the use of social mechanics in games. Overall the show is very informative, although sometimes the topics and games covered just don't strike my fancy.
Rating: Although some topics may not be to your preference, the show is strong and worth listening to nearly all the time.
The Bear's Grove: Sam Chup, the highly likable host of this show, calls it "Adult Level Discussion of Roleplaying as a Storytelling Art" and I can't think of a better way to describe it. It's a smart and well done, but simple show that talks about RPG from the viewpoint of storytelling. The only problem has been a rather empty schedule for the last several months, although he promised more will be coming once the new year begins. I, for one, am greatly looking forward for more.
Rating: A little more laid back and slow paced than many of the shows, but with a good level of intelligent talk about interesting subjects.
Gamer Traveler: Longtime participant of many gaming communities, as well as owner of Highmoon Media, and even guest appearances on other podcasts (including a series of gamer traveler shorts on The Dragon's Landing), Daniel Perez hosts this show about using real locations as inspiration for gaming. He talks in depth about many real-world and even historical locations, giving many examples of how they can be used or altered for games of all kinds, and even does "Soundseeing Tours" of certain places to give us all a better feel for them. Although I find the gaming content of these shows to be limited, the travel and history parts are still interesting if you care about travel or the locations he goes to at all.
Rating: Not the greatest game related show, but the travel log aspect more than makes up for it on the entertainment aspect.
2D6 Feet in a Random Direction: This is another good grab-bag style magazine show about gaming. They cover all sorts of opinions, industry news, reviews, interviews, and about anything they can think of to cover. They are into their second season of shows and seem to be getting strong as they go. This one keeps moving up in my rankings of quality and may soon be among the can't miss shows. You can jump right in and start with the current shows and not feel like you missed anything, so you should do that.
Rating: Great show that just keeps getting stronger. Anyone who wants a good mix of gaming coverage should check it out.
Carpe GM: To start off, I just want to say that it is sad to say that since I started to compile this list a few months ago this podcast decided to end its run. This is sad, because it was a well-done show about what it means to be a GM and other aspects of gaming. The show had some great interviews and discussion of Gen-Con and more. I thought the show was really starting to get its stride and feel when the announcement came that it was over, but the backlog is still there so you can check it out.
Rating: Over but worth checking out between episodes of the active shows.
Fantasy Cartography with Adobe Photoshop: This is a great Video Podcast that teaches techniques, both simple and complex, for making good looking fantasy maps using Adobe Photoshop. He is also doing some books and even some great pay extras with tons of downloads and useful information. The main vidcast is free and well worth your time to check out, if you have any interest in map making at all.
Rating: Anyone who wants to make a map for your game look good should check this out.
Killer Breakfast: This one is just for pure entertainment value, as it has no real useful gaming content. This is a tradition started and run by Tracy and Laura Hickman, of Dragonlance fame, where they kill as many characters as they can in this big convention presentation. It is humor to the n-th degree, as both the hosts and the players run joke and laugh after laugh. It is well worth watching as long as they keep running it.
Rating: If you want to laugh at gamers having fun at a constantly changing table, check this out.
There are still way more of these out there, but I have not listened to them all (yet). This is a great collection of ones I have checked out since I did the last one, or ones that have improved and are worth mentioning now that I am doing this again. I am sure this isn't going to be the last list of these I ever do, but it should hold you all over until my next update months from now. I may even discuss more changes to show line-ups that I have talked about before, or even shows that have moved up or down in quality since I last talked about them
I would also check out the communities surrounding some of these and previously mentioned shows. Many of them are well worth the time to get involved in the discussion and fun. I am most active on the Midnight's Lair, Fear The Boot, The Game Master Show, and most recently The House of the Harping Monkey... and of course here at my own site, but I have no podcast connected to it (yet).
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