Category: Leisure:Games

A monthly podcast dedicated to the history, evolution, present state, and future potential of our favorite board games.

December 1, 2021

Episode 40 - Spatial Arrangement Games

Happy winter holiday(s) of your choice! If you're having trouble fitting everything you need to do this month into your calendar, listening to our discussion of spatial arrangement games...well, probably won't help, but hopefully it'll at least be entertaining, and might even provide some last-minute gift ideas.

We ask and answer many questions in this episode:

  • How many times (and how many ways) can we say "tetrominos" in one episode? (With "cromulent" coming a close second.)
  • What game does Joe describe as "like you're making a stained glass window of anger and rage"?
  • "Mommy, where do meeples come from?"
  • How do you build a city out of forced labor?
  • Remember when the boxes of the Alea Big Box series of games were considered big?
  • What's the board game equivalent of a Metroidvania? (Whatever it is, Frank threatened to knife us over it.)
  • What does it take to get Frank to say something nice about Asmodee?

And here are some pictures that might help supplement our audio-only descriptions of these games:

All this, plus Mike's dog Samus crashing the ending...more or less literally. Enjoy!

As usual, we'd love to have you visit our website and let us know what kinds of games we should discuss next. You're also more than welcome to comment on the episode page, or our Facebook page, or tag @ascentofgames on Twitter - however you prefer to share your opinions with us. And if you have the time to leave us a review on iTunes, we'd be very grateful indeed!

As always, we appreciate your listening and would love to hear your comments!

Intro and outro music is "Evening Melodrama" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com), licensed under a Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License.

The Ascent of Board Games is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Some rights reserved.

Thank you for listening!

November 2, 2021

Episode 39 - Simultaneous Selection Games

Hi folks! We're back to talk about the cumbersomely-named "simultaneous selection games," which covers everything from Rock-Paper-Scissors (and its ancient antecedents) to Gloomhaven. Your Humble Editor had a pretty rough month, so the audio on this one may likewise be a bit rougher than usual, but hopefully it's not too bad. Thanks for understanding!

Featured in this episode:

  • Mike tries to explain the difference between Rock-Paper-Scissors and Diplomacy, and the rest of us do NOT get it.
  • Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock did NOT originate on The Big Bang Theory, thankyouverymuch.
  • We learn about a very colorful remake of the Star Fleet Battle Manual.
  • We discuss some of the many, many Lost Worlds gamebooks(and related series) that were released in the 1980s. (And that page isn't even an exhaustive list...)
  • Mike introduces a game about which literally everything he remembers is wrong.
  • Joe practices for a future in which he testifies before Congress.

As usual, we'd love to have you visit our website and let us know what kinds of games we should discuss next. You're also more than welcome to comment on the episode page, or our Facebook page, or tag @ascentofgames on Twitter - however you prefer to share your opinions with us. And if you have the time to leave us a review on iTunes, we'd be very grateful indeed!

As always, we appreciate your listening and would love to hear your comments!

Intro and outro music is "Evening Melodrama" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com), licensed under a Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License.

The Ascent of Board Games is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Some rights reserved.

Thank you for listening!

October 1, 2021

Episode 38 - Time Travel Games

For a lot of us, the past year and a half has been kind of a wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey blur. To celebrate (?) that, here's an episode on some games that use time travel as a mechanic, not just a theme. Sadly, Jayson was not able to join us for recording in this particular timeline, but we talk about him anyway. Learn what game Frank thought was so bad, he destroyed it "for the good of the world." Some visuals we mention in our audio show include:

And given that we're enormous nerds, we talk about a lot of time travel stuff other than board games, including:

Whether in the past or the future - or even RIGHT NOW - we'd love to have you visit our website and let us know what episodes we should record next. You're also more than welcome to comment on the episode page, or our Facebook page, or tag @ascentofgames on Twitter - however you prefer to share your opinions with us. And if you have the time - time, get it? - to leave us a review on iTunes, we'd be very grateful indeed!

As always, we appreciate your listening and would love to hear your comments!

Intro and outro music is "Evening Melodrama" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com), licensed under a Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License.

The Ascent of Board Games is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Some rights reserved.

Thank you for listening!

September 1, 2021

Episode 37 - Games You Shouldn‘t Play

Hey, you know how we mostly talk about games we like on this show? Well, here's a change of pace for you! That's right, here's an entire episode on games we think you shouldn't play - either because they're unplayable as written, wracked by production errors, or just really, really bad. Don't give up hope, though - we do have recommendations for better games that we think you should play instead. Listen along as:

  • None of us can remember which of Fast Food Franchise and Food Chain Magnate is which.
  • Mike is very annoyed that he didn't get to play one of the games you should never play.
  • The ritual of Throwing A Die, and its origin in...[checks notes]...boring goat-fondling
  • When the nicest thing you can say about a game company is, "They make really nice bags."
  • Was this Kickstarter a troll, a money-laundering scheme, or just a series of really terrible ideas? The world may never know.

And, of course, we have plenty of other random links and stuff!

We'd love to have you visit our website and let us know what episodes we should record next. You're also more than welcome to comment on the episode page, or our Facebook page, or tag @ascentofgames on Twitter - however you prefer to share your opinions with us. And if you have the time to leave us a review on iTunes, we'd be very grateful indeed!

As always, we appreciate your listening and would love to hear your comments!

Intro and outro music is "Evening Melodrama" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com), licensed under a Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License.

The Ascent of Board Games is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Some rights reserved.

Thank you for listening!

August 1, 2021

Episode 36 - Tech Trees and Skill Trees

Hi! It's us again! (Well, "us" minus Mike but plus Sandi.) This month we're talking about tech trees and skill trees, two similar sets of mechanics that Frank has been a little obsessed with lately. There are lots of 4X games and lots of dungeon-crawling campaign games, plus a few others we snuck in here and there. Plus more opinions, sass, and stories about Sandi's crossbow!

We've added a bunch of new options to our Upcoming Episodes poll at our website, so please swing by and place your votes! Of, of course, you could comment on the episode page, or our Facebook page, or tag @ascentofgames on Twitter - whatever your little social media heart desires. And if it desires to leave us a review on iTunes, our little social media hearts would be very grateful indeed!

By the way, this is the Sidereal Confluence card Joe is describing at around 25:05, and this is the original (and obviously much clearer) version.

As always, we appreciate your listening and would love to hear your comments!

Intro and outro music is "Evening Melodrama" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com), licensed under a Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License.

The Ascent of Board Games is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Some rights reserved.

Thank you for listening!

July 1, 2021

Episode 35 - Worker Placement Games

It's been a long time, but this episode was recorded with us all live in the same room! In other words, we were all WORKING in the same PLACE, which may give you a hint as to the topic of this episode (if you haven't, you know, read the title already). We learned fun things like what game Sandi would rather bleed from the eyes than play, what game makes Joe feel like "a giant, raging jerk the entire game," and that Brian still can't get his co-hosts' names right.

Also, have some non-audio content:

As always, we appreciate your listening and would love to hear your comments on any or all of these items, and especially a review on iTunes if you have the time and inclination!

Intro and outro music is "Evening Melodrama" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com), licensed under a Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License.

The Ascent of Board Games is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Some rights reserved.

Thank you for listening!

June 1, 2021

Episode 34 - Out of the Lockdown

We're playing board games again! In the same physical space as each other! Vaccinations - another win for science! In this episode, we discuss the games that we're most looking forward to playing - on a real physical table in someone's house! Also, we ask timeless questions like:

  • What game does Frank describe as "Wheel of Fortune, the legacy board game"? 
  • What game does Brian describe as "the most Frank Branham game I've ever heard of"?
  • How many different ways can we mispronounce Corey Konieczka's name in one episode?
  • How many different ways can we mispronounce Leder Games in one episode?
  • And who recorded the best rock cover of a Saturday morning cartoon theme song? The Who? The Ramones? Or someone else entirely?

In addition:

  • Mike has achieved a dubious achievement!
  • We take a (mercifully brief) digression into the history of JRPGs.
  • Brian reveals his mean side, which he's never actually hidden.
  • We add another X and create the first 5X game! (Conceptually, at least.)
  • We start a new competition, and Jayson immediately comes up with a way to beat us at it.

As always, we appreciate your listening and would love to hear your comments on any or all of these items, and especially a review on iTunes if you have the time and inclination!

Intro and outro music is "Evening Melodrama" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com), licensed under a Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License.

The Ascent of Board Games is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Some rights reserved.

Thank you for listening!

May 2, 2021

Episode 33 - Two-Player Games

We recorded this back on Valentine's Day, but it's taken us this long to release it, so...well, enjoy some two-player games for Cinco de Mayo, maybe? In this episode:

  • Sandi has a crossbow!
  • Frank tells us about a game that made him bleed. (This is not related to Sandi having a crossbow...yet.)
  • Mike single-handedly revolutionizes the history of agriculture, and thus civilization itself!
  • Brian forgets Frank's name.
  • Jayson points out a very...European ad for Klask.

As always, we appreciate your listening and would love to hear your comments on any or all of these items, and especially a review on iTunes if you have the time and inclination!

Intro and outro music is "Evening Melodrama" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com), licensed under a Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License.

The Ascent of Board Games is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Some rights reserved.

Thank you for listening!

May 2, 2021

Brief delay for Episode 33

With apologies from Your Penitent Editor, Episode 33 (Two Player Games) won't be out until tomorrow, May 2. The reasons are many and not especially interesting, but shouldn't reoccur in the future. Thanks for your patience!

April 2, 2021

Episode 32 - Roll and Write Games

Roll and Write games! Yet another surprisingly contentious topic, but we went ahead anyway. This definitely wasn't planned as an April Fool's episode, but I have to admit we get a little foolish at a couple points here. (Also, apologies for Mike's audio, as he was fighting with an uncooperative dishwasher.)

  • Mike reveals the depth of his Avengers lore when he tells us about Thanos and his "Power Gems of Destiny"
  • Frank makes a joke about Hunger Games Yahtzee, only to discover the existence of Battle Yahtzee: Alien vs Predator
  • We (again) discuss the amazing Sid Sackson's classic A Gamut of Games
  • Joe does math! (Or, rather, makes Wolfram Alpha do math for him)
  • We invoke the wrath of mighty Tetrises - a cruel and angry god indeed
  • We discuss the surprisingly diverse game designs of Hjalmar Hach and Lorenzo Silva
  • Frank doesn't know what's wrong with Brian. (How much time do you have, Frank?)

As always, we appreciate your listening and would love to hear your comments on any or all of these items, and especially a review on iTunes if you have the time and inclination!

Intro and outro music is "Evening Melodrama" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com), licensed under a Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License.

The Ascent of Board Games is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Some rights reserved.

Thank you for listening!