Remember when I said there’s a podcast for almost every topic under the sun? This week, I’d like to talk about my latest hobby — tabletop gaming — and the (surprisingly) many podcasts that have helped make the plunge so much more enjoyable. Here’s four:
The Secret Cabal
The five “founders” (Jamie, Tony, Chris, Steve and Brian) who run The Secret Cabal, and have been friends for more than two decades, are some of the most passionate people in the board game universe. And while a lot of their episodes are ridiculously long (some of them go well past the three-hour mark), what pulls you in as a listener is their infectious energy, irreverent style and real interest in the topic at hand. The painstakingly-produced, bi-weekly podcast that began in 2011 has almost 150 episodes in its roster, and newcomers can begin from almost anywhere and be swept right into all the banter.
The Dice Tower
The biggest podcast on all things tabletop gaming, The Dice Tower is the best option if you’re looking for a tonne of different contributors; the sheer breadth of topics and angles they cover in each episode is amazing. Hosted by Eric Summerer and Tom Vasel, the podcast is especially great for tabletop newbies, because they consistently put out great Top 10 lists that will help newcomers get into the scene. The podcast also includes a number of fun segments: For example, in the Tale of Board Gaming Horror, the hosts tell entertaining stories about the various times something went completely wrong with a board game they were playing.
The Adventure Zone
If you’re bored of reviews and long conversations about gameplay, design and rules, let me introduce you to my latest obsession, The Adventure Zone. And if you are into adventure stories with a comic touch, this podcast is especially for you. Hosted by podcasting veterans the McElroy brothers (Griffin, Travis and Justin), along with their father Clint, The Adventure Zone follows the foursome as they venture into the immersive world of Dungeons and Dragons for the first time (except for Dungeon Master Griffin, who has played once, which is not saying much). And if on paper the idea of listening to four guys playing an RPG game every week over Skype sounds boring, it only takes one listen to find out what the show is really about: great storytelling. The podcast nicely treads the sweet spot between not taking itself too seriously and honestly getting into the skin of the many adventures they take on. If you’re a newcomer, I’d recommend starting with episode one and then finding an arc of episodes that you think might be interesting. Some of the arcs you might want to pick are: Murder on the Rockport Limited, Petals to the Metal and The Eleventh Hour.
Blue Peg, Pink Peg
One of the more inclusive podcasts on tabletop gaming or gaming in general, Blue Peg, Pink Peg is perfect for people who spend a lot of time gaming with family members and for those who are looking for a female voice on the panel. Their tagline reads: “A bi-weekly podcast that discuss boardgaming, relationships and the interaction between the two.” The podcast started out as a discussion between two married couples. The hosts are extremely relatable and the banter is continuously fresh and engaging, making the podcast an easy and addictive listen.