Soren Johnson quits in a huff and leaves podcasting so he can try his hand at making games. But first, Soren, Rob, Julian, and Troy talk about franchises and how they develop, or don't. Rob tries to make the case for considering Paradox-developed games as a single franchise, but Troy explains why that doesn't work. Soren talks about the Civilization series, and why it has evolved the way it has. The panel considers franchise exploitation, and the Blizzard model.

Direct download: ThreeMovesAhead136.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:50am EST

Computer and boardgame designer Paul Sottosanti joins up Soren, Julian, and Rob to discuss how board games are evolving, and how their design philosophies differ from computer games. Is the popular success of games like Catan something that will lead to wider acceptance of board games in general? Why do Julian and Paul love drafting mechanics so much? How does the transparency of board games change our relationship to them in comparison to computer games?

Direct download: ThreeMovesAhead135.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:27am EST

Zynga's Brian Reynolds makes Planetfall on Three Moves Ahead and, along with Soren, Troy, and Rob, founds a discussion of Alpha Centauri. He explains what went wrong with the "Civ in space" idea, and the role of the game's fiction. He and Soren talk about how Alpha Centauri changed the Civilization series, and take a look at some of its strange features, like the design workshop and climate change. Brian reveals he used the cast album of Les Miserables for inspiration as he wrote for the game, and Troy immediately proposes marriage.

Direct download: ThreeMovesAhead134.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:40pm EST

Tropico 4 gets Rob, Troy, and Julian talking about city-builders and their quirks. Why are their politics so artificial? Troy notices that videogames say the business of cities is business, but at least they give strategy gamers something to look at. Soren joins midway through, because he can't stay away, and Julian wonders where the genre should go.

Rob's Tropico 4 Wot I Think

Direct download: ThreeMovesAhead133.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:33pm EST

Soren Johnson and Tom Chick join Rob for a discussion of Age of Empires Online. Tom opens by short-listing the game for "worst RTS ever made" and it's rough-sailing from there. Soren marvels at the disastrous interface, while Rob wants to napalm those cutesy Smurf villages. Then the panel talks about how AoEO could be redeemed, and finds there are some simple changes that could make AoEO a very good game.

Tom's GameSpy review

Rob's GamePro impressions and additional notes

Direct download: ThreeMovesAhead132.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:07am EST