Podcasts

A list of “good podcasts about boardgames and the industry” would not only be immense, but something I’m not remotely qualified to assemble. This is simply a handful I’ve enjoyed and kept up with regularly sometime over the past years – in many cases because I know someone involved in them, though that by itself doesn’t always get me listening regularly.

(Also check out any of the podcasts I’ve done interviews on!)

AkimboBeing a creator. Changing the world. A zillion fascinating takes, and tidbits of history. If I could only recommend a single podcast, this would be the one, despite the fact that it’s not even about boardgames. Seth Godin is an entrepreneur and marketer, but the podcast is about much, much more than that. You’ll learn some fascinating things if you listen to this for a while. Individual episodes can be hit-or-miss, and I don’t always agree with his takes – but they’re always thought-provoking. Each episode is short, usually about 20 minutes, so the list of back episodes isn’t as huge as it might seem, and there’s some great stuff in there. Not just for designers, for anyone.
Breaking Into Board GamesWorking in the board game industry, and how to get into it. Hosted by a board game designer, a developer, and a publisher. Mostly consists of interviews with people in the board game industry, talking about what they do and how they got to where they are today; though some episodes are topic dives or con recaps. If you want to listen from the beginning (and there’s a lot of great info in older episodes), the last 20ish minutes of each show is “Two Truths and a Lie” with their guests, which, while entertaining, can be skipped if you’re short on time.
LudologyA thoughtful study of games in general. Game design, game history, game players, and how games fit into the broader culture – basically works from the premise that board games are a cultural artifact worthy of conversation, exploration, and examination. Does not do reviews of specific games! The main episodes roughly alternate between topic discussions and interviews, but there’s also shorter “biography of a board game” history-tidbits and “GameTek Classic” short-takes. Has an immense number of back episodes; I cherry-picked like 10% of them which interested me most then started listening at the current day.
NerdlabTopics on game design. Generally, this is Marvin (the host) talking about a mechanic or other game design topic, or doing an interview with someone about their games and/or a mechanic or other game design topic. He doesn’t present himself as an expert dispensing advice from on high, but as someone who’s exploring becoming a game designer himself. If you’re a game designer or want to be one, definitely take the time to go and listen to episode 22; which is a little unusual – Marvin asked a whole bunch of professionals “What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started your journey as a game designer?”, and the answers are a wonderfully condensed crash-course in some vital lessons.
So Very Wrong About GamesReviews and criticism of specific games. This is the podcast I listen to to hear about (some) new releases and get reviews / summaries of (some) new games – partly because I know one of the hosts, but more because the quality of critique is generally very high. The hosts are willing to take strong stances, are fairly self-aware in their preferences, have editorial / journalistic standards, and even when I don’t agree with them I feel like I’ve learned things about the game.
The Kindred SpiritAll manner of things Spirit Island. The reasons I listen to this are probably not the same as the reasons most people listen to this. But if you like Spirit Island discussion, check this out.