Soren Johnson returns to talk spies, espionage, and covert action with Rob and Julian. They then subject espionage mechanics to forty minutes of interrogation, torture, and unkind words. Then they remember the one game they've played that has spies and espionage that they don't hate. Suspiciously, Rob's microphone fails midway through the show. Happenstance or sabotage from an enemy agent?

Direct download: ThreeMovesAhead179.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:25pm EST

Sixth Beatle Soren Johnson returns along with new guest, Cliff Harris from Positech - designer of Gratuitous Space Battles and the new Gratuitous Tank Battles. This week, how does the idea of unit customization fit with general design principles? At what point is this mechanic an intrusion into good 4x game design? Where do designer and player expectations collide?

Direct download: ThreeMovesAhead178.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:16pm EST

With everyone very busy and very tired, a shorter and smaller show than usual this week. Troy welcomes Pokemon trainer and DS guru Nadia Oxford to the show to talk about the weird mixture of Pokemon and Nobunaga's Ambition in Pokemon Conquest. How does it differ from other Pokemon games? Do the strategic and tactical levels work? As the 3DS slowly pushes the original out of the way, what is legacy of the DS as a strategy platform?

Direct download: ThreeMovesAhead177.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00am EST

Cory Banks joins Julian, Troy, and Rob to talk about fiction and world-building in strategy games. They talk a lot about Endless Space and whether or not its fiction is undercooked, and how it affects the rest of the game. Does having an interesting world make for a better strategy game? Is Civilization just abstracting human history, or is it doing world-building of its own? The gang considers Alpha Centauri, and what its fiction added to the game, and what the poor fiction of Rise of Legends and Kohan took away. Julian explains why Warhammer's fiction works so brilliantly.

Direct download: ThreeMovesAhead176.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:44am EST

Popcap's Jeff Green joins returning guest David Heron, Troy, and Rob for a discussion of the Civilization V expansion Gods and Kings. Together, they discuss why Civ V was so controversial, how G&K changes it, and whether its major changes seem quite as meaningful now that they've put some time into it. Be sure to listen to the episode for details on a little contest to give away some spare Sins: Rebellion keys. Which we should have done last week, but we forgot. Because we're disgraceful. But still pretty great.

Direct download: ThreeMovesAhead175.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:57pm EST