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  1. How To Play

    Friday, October 12, 2012

    You damn kids these days with your XBox360s and your smart phones and your technological cocoons from which you pretend to have a social life despite any actual interaction beyond a "Like!" or an amusing meme.  Back in my day, if you wanted to play a game, it had to exist in a physical manifestation!  Oh, those were dark days, back when we were forced to walk uphill, BOTH WAYS, just to have the chance to play a tattered game of Monopoly.  We lived for the days that the Game Wagon would roll into town just for the chance to find a Uno deck with most of the cards still in it.

    And we liked it!  We loved it!

    But now brighter days have returned for table top gaming.  Nerd Messiah, Wil Wheaton, has a YouTube show all about them called TableTop.  BoardGameGeek can point you in about a thousand directions that all lead to great games.  Thanks to this newfangled Internet, people with cool ideas can get their games funded through Kickstarter and send them straight to the people who want them.

    All you have to do is know how to play.  That's where, go figure, the How To Play podcast steps in.

    Relevant Links:
    How To Play Main Site
    Support the Show!
    Episode Archives

    How To Play podcast doesn't throw up any smoke and mirrors when it comes to its premise:  each podcast covers a game's rules and gives a thorough explanation on how to play.  Host Ryan Sturm takes it upon himself to explain a veritable plethora of games to his audience.  A teacher by trade, Sturm's language and method of introducing and explaining each piece of a game are clear, understandable and obviously thought out.  There is a good deal of effort put into How To Play and I think it pays off really well.

    Content RatingClean, and tagged so in iTunes.  It's a bit funny to imagine this show with explicit language though.  "JUST MOVE THE #&$*@ PIECE, IT'S NOT THAT HARD!"

    Average Episode Length:  I don't want to give you the normal median time for How To Play.  It really depends on what kind of game Sturm is describing.  Simple games require less time, while more complicated games take more time.  You can probably judge the intricacy of a game just by checking the episode's time. 

    Drinking Game:  Pick one of the following words, and drink each time it is used:
    • Dice
    • Card
    • Hand
    • Banker
    • Board
      That should get you there pretty quickly.

    How To Play is a podcast of great use to anybody who has ever tried to learn, or teach others how to play a game.  This is a great way to break down what can be daunting instructions (I'm looking at you, Fantasy Flight) and lists of errata into a functioning rule set.  If you have trouble explaining rules, How to Play can help you by either teaching you how to teach others, or you can just play the episodes for your friends while you set the game up.

    On top of that, you also get to learn about strategies for how to win each game.  Uh, you don't have to let your friends listen to that part of the episode if you don't want to. 

    Music:  A little guitar music that I believe is performed by the host.  Very nice!

    Release Schedule:  Monthly, with more episodes if there are expansions to a game that are covered.


    Unintentionally Good Part:  Honestly, I really like the guitar music.  It's calming.

    Unintentionally Bad Part:  If you don't have, or are not interested in a particular game that is covered by an episode, you're not going to listen to it.  Shortens the library of possible episodes considerably for me, but this really isn't a fault of the podcast in the slightest.  I just need to buy more games!

    Unrelated rating:  Three top hats out of three scottie dogs.
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