If you chat with me about strategy or board games, I have mentioned <em>Bronze</em> to you. Alex Kutsenok is the lead designer of Bronze and he sits down with me and Julian to talk about the development and inspirations for this deep but easy to learn computer/board/strategy game. Prepare for a love fest.

I also give shout outs to all the people who helped make Three Moves Ahead in the past year.

Direct download: ThreeMovesAhead097.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:08am EDT

On the night before the day before Christmas, Troy and Rob and Julian sit down to talk about Jon Shafer leaving Firaxis, mega patches for turn based games Civ 5 and Elemental and then we wrap up with seasonal reflections including New Year's resolutions for the podcast.

Direct download: ThreeMovesAhead096.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:56am EDT

In response to a listener/reader question, Troy and Rob talk about end games that work and end games that don't. What do we mean by the "end game"? What role do strictly defined victory conditions play in making an end game appealing? Can you avoid the late game drag?

Apologies for the duet show. That time of the year.

Direct download: ThreeMovesAhead095.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:50pm EDT

We were on a good run and it couldn't last forever. A pleasant light little seasonal chat about how to cope with the gaming constraints of visiting our families went off the rails when we realized that that topic would only last us about forty minutes.

I made the mistake of pushing us forward and then things got a little weird and stupid.

I cut that bit - saving it for an outtakes show where it belongs; trust me you do not want to hear how unfocused it got until you are in the mood for it. Note to self: If you run out of things to say after 30 minutes, it is OK to stop there.

Shorter than usual, but we talk about how board games can bring families together, what games keep us sane on our own when we retreat to a quiet corner.

Direct download: ThreeMovesAhead094.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:47pm EDT

GWJ's Lara Crigger and JTS's Todd Brakke join Troy and special guest Soren Johnson in a wide ranging talk about how how theme and mechanics work together or fight each other. What is <em>Left for Dead</em> really about? Why are themes so important to Lara? How do mechanics translate meaning? Why is Civilization so ahistorical? Do only game designers care about this stuff?

Lara loses her train of thought for the first time ever, Todd makes some sense and Soren is his usual impressive self. And more on X-Com.


Theme is Not Meaning Part 1, Part 2

Redistricting Game

Soren's GDC talk as summarized by Destructoid

Direct download: ThreeMovesAhead093.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:43am EDT

PCGamer's Dan Stapleton joins Troy, Rob and Bruce to talk about what made 1994's <em>X-Com</em> one of the best strategy/tactics games ever made. Tension, atmosphere, UI, level blending, real time v turn baed and indie efforts to bring the magic back.

<a href="http://www.mobygames.com/game/x-com-ufo-defense/cover-art/gameCoverId,63595/">Hideous UK Box Art</a>
<a href="http://www.xenonauts.com/">Xenonauts</a>
<a href="http://ufotts.ninex.info/">UFO: The Two Sides</a>
<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/2010/07/13/new-x-com-revival-is-playable-and-awesome/">Dan vs Evan in The Two Sides</a>
<a href="http://pc.ign.com/articles/084/084420p1.html">Tom Chick on X-Com</a>

Direct download: ThreeMovesAhead092.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:20pm EDT

Troy almost fires Rob and Julian on this episode as a conversation about licensed strategy games. Bruce Geryk holds forth on why War of the Rings is like Stratomatic Baseball, Julian sings of Starfleet Battles and Rob talks about his experiences in another board game. What makes a license succeed or fail? Can either Star Wars or Star Trek really work as a licensed strategy game? Martin vs Erikson - who wins? Is Troy the only person who likes Babylon 5?

It is a loud and fun show. Listen to it.

Also, info on the upcoming 3MA/FOS meetup.


<a href="http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/9609/war-of-the-ring">War of the Ring</a>
<a href="http://princeofcairo.livejournal.com/45080.html">War of the Ring article (Bruce is the final two comments)</a>
<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Fleet_Battles">Starfleet Battles</a>

Direct download: ThreeMovesAhead091.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:47am EDT

News that <a href="http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2010/11/02/genetic-algorithms-find-build-order-from-hell/">a genetic algorithm has cracked the Starcraft code</a> prompts Troy to ask the panel about the place of build orders and in-stone strategies in the genre. Julian talks about chess and <a href="http://fidgit.com/archives/2010/11/forgetin_hoard_its_good_to_be.php">Hoard</a>, Rob talks about the beauty of a game that opens up and Troy sucks at everything.

Also news on the upcoming DC area fall meetup. November 20th, btw.

Direct download: ThreeMovesAhead090.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:56pm EDT

No one was in much of a mood to talk about anything this week, but we did it anyway and it was almost topical. Gameshark's Bill Abner joins Troy and Rob for a rambling chat about election games they've played, election games they haven't played and whether the dream election game they imagine is even possible.

Bill also gets mysterious messages from a lost soldier.

Direct download: ThreeMovesAhead089.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:15pm EDT

Bruce Geryk returns to the show to give special guest <a href="http://brainygamer.com">Michael Abbot</a> a hard time in a discussion that is intended to focus on the ethical and moral dimension of wargames and wargaming, but ranges all over the place, including a sidetrack into why people get into wargames to begin with. Rob Zacny tries to keep things on topic and Julian Murdoch explains why Defcon makes him cry and his daughter says the smartest thing in the hour.

Direct download: ThreeMovesAhead088.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:27pm EDT