The Ascent of Board Games

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

December 2nd, 2019    

Episode 17 - Solitaire Games

As the holidays draw near, it's time for a smaller and more intimate podcast crew (also because Mike and Jayson were both traveling). Sandi returns to help us discuss solitaire games, for those times when you are just sick of dealing with people.

    • We discover two engravings from the late 17th century that show the first evidence of a formal solitaire game. It's even older than Cracker Barrel!
    • The mere mention of Vlaada Chvatil's name renders us briefly incapable of saying words.
    • Sandi asks what Charles Darwin has to do with Robinson Crusoe. (Answer: islands, we think)
    • In return, we ask Sandi about the worst game Frank has ever made her play.

As always, we appreciate your listening and wold love to hear your comments on any or all of these sources, 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 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 29th, 2019    

Black Friday Bonus Episode

Surprise! We're back with another random bonus episode, this one in honor of Black Friday (which, at least in the United States, is the day on which shoppers go out of their minds, retailers take out massive ads promoting tiny discounts, and the Christmas shopping season officially begins). In case you're doing any shopping, we wanted to suggest some games for the non-gamers in your life, to help you bring them into the fold. So in this episode we take a brief run through all of our previous episodes, and talk about what games in each category might be good choices for exposing new gamers to that kind of game. Then we round the whole thing out with some suggestions that don't quite fit into any of the episodes we've recorded so far.

Along the way:

  • Joe uses the words milieu and zeitgeist - both correctly, thank you very much - in the space of 20 seconds
  • Jayson introduces a game that's "functionally Yahtzee, but with violence"
  • Frank tells us about a game whose rules promote better living through chemistry
  • Mike gives us an unsolicited promo for After School Dice Club
  • We mention Target and Barnes & Noble so many times that they should really start sponsoring the show (call us!)

As always, we'd love it if you'd give us a review on iTunes - it's one of the very best ways for us to find new listeners.

If you have an opinion you'd like to share with us - and we know you do - please drop us a line via any (or all!) of the following methods:

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

And in the spirit of Thanksgiving, THANK YOU ALL for listening!

October 31st, 2019    

Episode 16 - Halloween Special

Boo! Episode 16 is here a day early, because Halloween! To celebrate our favorite holiday, we play The Gothic Game, an extremely random game of murder and mayhem set in the Otranto Castle and Spa (try the deep-exfoliating moat!). It's a wild ride featuring dangerous snakes, bad prunes, Frank's wife Sandi, and a last-minute twist that determines the ultimate winner!

Gothic_Game.jpeg

Because the game was relatively short (and also, let's be honest, maybe not the most exciting thing to listen to), we also included a discussion of some of our favorite creepy, crawly Halloweeny games, including several from Sandi's amazing collection of 1970s occult kids' games. Things mentioned this episode that you might want to check out on the interwebs:

As always, we appreciate your listening and wold love to hear your comments on any or all of these sources, 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 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 2nd, 2019    

Episode 15 - Adventure Games (complete episode)

It's Episode 15, Adventure Games, now complete in one file. It turns out that there wasn't quite as much material left for Part 2 as I thought, and also that I accidentally uploaded Part 1 as an unnecessarily large stereo file, so it seemed best to just replace the whole thing. Apologies to those of you who have already downloaded and listened to Part 1; you can skip to 1:03:39 to pick up with the new material.

This month:

  • Frank and Brian tell the younglings about the Dark Times.
  • We discuss the glories of 1970s string art. Yes, this was really a thing.
  • Frank wills a game into existence retroactively.
  • We introduce you to The Gothic Game, a charming little murderfest that has a new edition coming out soon, and also had a musical written for it once, which...well...how very.
  • We talk about Kingdom Death: Monster a lot.

NOTE: This episode is somewhat more NSFW than usual, because...well, because we talk about Kingdom Death: Monster a lot. And Dungeon Degenerates. And, er, Wikipedia

Intro and outro music is "Evening Melodrama" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com), licensed under 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 1st, 2019    

Episode 14 - Press and/or Push Your Luck

We're continuing our second year of podcasting - can we keep this up, or are we just pushing (or is it pressing?) our luck? Either way, we don't plan on stopping, so here's an episode of us discussing games in which you have to press and/or push your luck. In this episode:

  • We learn that the podcast feeds off of Brian's pain.
  • We introduce you to Feats and Fables, the D&D actual-play podcast that Joe and Mike are part of.
  • We discover that John Scarne (great card magician, author, and Paul Newman's stunt hands in The Sting) also designed some pretty interesting card games - and one really simple dice game.
  • We talk about Roll Or Don't, a nice online implementation of the classic game Can't Stop
  • We learn about Dread (shown here), a tabletop RPG with a boardgame inside!

Thank you for listening! As always, reviews on iTunes are a huge help for us, especially if there's a text review along with the rating. We'd love to get your opinions on our future episodes poll. And if you'd like to interact with us, you can do so at any or all of the following:

Intro and outro music is "Evening Melodrama" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com), licensed under 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 12th, 2019    

Here Be Spoilers (Parts 1 and 2)

Here are links to the complete set of spoiler files for our Legacy episode, for those who have played these games (or never plan to do so) and want to hear more.

Note that these files are NOT part of the regular podcast feed - otherwise listeners might inadvertently listen to something they don't want to be spoiled on. These links will take you directly to the mp3 files for each game, which you can play on your listening device of choice. Each file is around 4-7 minutes long each except for the Gloomhaven one, which is about 12 minutes (turns out we really like talking about that game - who knew?). Hopefully those of you who listen will find something entertaining or useful in them!

Thanks for listening!

August 1st, 2019    

Episode 13 - Legacy Games

It's our anniversary - we've been doing this podcast thing for a whole year! To celebrate, we're doing an episode on legacy games, and as a special treat for you (and for us!), we are joined by a very special guest - Rob Daviau, the man behind the legacy game craze (and a lot of other great games besides)! In this episode:

  • Rob tells us about the original inspirations behind Risk Legacy, the person who knew that Pandemic Legacy would be a trilogy before Season 1 was even published, and the brand new Machi Koro Legacy, available right now at Gen Con!
  • We talk about some of Rob's non-Legacy games too, such as the forthcoming Return to Dark Tower!
  • Joe offers such thoughtful gaming insights as "If you lose, you don't win" and "At the end, there's one winner, and that person wins."
  • We learn how to play Six Degrees of Frank Branham.
  • We discover that, thanks to Joe, we've been playing legacy games all along.

Legacy games are susceptible to spoilers, but this is a spoiler-free episode. You can find some additional short files with spoiler content for various games here, but the main episode is safe for all (except for the occasional grownup word).

Also, there are some new options on the future episodes poll - please let us know what you'd like to hear us talk about!

Thank you for listening! As always, reviews on iTunes are a huge help for us, especially if there's a text review along with the rating. And if you'd like to interact with us, you can do so at any or all of the following:

Intro and outro music is "Evening Melodrama" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com), licensed under 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 2nd, 2019    

Episode 12 - Hidden Teams

Hello again, listeners! In Episode 12, we're talking about Hidden Teams games, sometimes referred to as Social Deduction games. Are you a werewolf, a cylon, a terrorist, a bad cop, The Thing From Another World, and/or Hitler? Doesn't matter to us, we're just glad you're listening. (Except for Hitler. That guy was really a jerk.) Join us as:

Thank you for listening! As always, reviews on iTunes are a huge help for us, especially if there's a text review along with the rating. And if you'd like to interact with us, you can do so at any or all of the following:

Intro and outro music is "Evening Melodrama" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com), licensed under 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 2nd, 2019    

Episode 11 - 4x Games

Okay, now I'm awake enough to write some proper show notes. Episode 11 is all about "4X" games - games in which you Explore, Expand, Exploit, and Exterminate on your way to victory. The term originated in the world of computer games, but there are enough similarities - and enough interest on our poll (which you should totally go fill out if you haven't already) that we decided to do an episode on the subject. Join us as Mike experiences a temporal crisis, Brian totally fails to make the podcast more family-friendly, and Joe recaps the biggest rule-reading failure ever.

A few relevant pictures:

Thank you for listening! As always, reviews on iTunes are a huge help for us, especially if there's a text review along with the rating. And if you'd like to interact with us, you can do so at any or all of the following:

Intro and outro music is "Evening Melodrama" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com), licensed under 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 2nd, 2019    

Episode 10 - Deduction Games

It's time for Episode 10 of The Ascent of Board Games! But what could our latest topic be? Well, here are a few clues so you can deduce what the episode is about...

  • Steve Allen discussing his years on What's My Line?...
  • ...and a clip from the show in which he encounters his long-time nemesis
  • A great overview (with puzzles!) of the legendary Martin Gardner's column in Scientific American
  • A board game cover that is definitely a product of its time
  • A set of files to help you investigate the mysterious terrorist group called Black Vienna
  • And a game board that hurts Jayson's brain

As always, thank you for listening. If you enjoy what we're doing, we'd also really appreciate a review on iTunes - they are a great way for the show to grow!

If you have an opinion you'd like to share with us - and we suspect you do - please drop us a line via any (or all!) of the following methods:

Intro and outro music is "Evening Melodrama" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com), licensed under 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!

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