Friday 15 July 2011

Wargaming Podcast Blues

I've been getting into the world of podcasting recently and I thought I would share some of my thoughts on the subject. I often use an iPod to listen to music while I paint but some time ago I decided I'd try listening to podcasts instead. My favorites are some of the most popular Wargaming podcasts out there and they deserve the praise heaped upon them. These include the truly excellent WWPD News from the Front and Radio Free Battlefront. Other great podcasts that I listen to on a semi regular basis are The D6 Generation, Contact with the Enemy and View from the Veranda by Meeples and Miniatures.

While I accept I'm a newbie to this particular medium (a late arrival at the party you might say) I have developed some clear views about what I want from a Podcast and, more importantly, what I don't want.

First off let me start by saying that just because I don't listen to a particular podcast doesn't mean I dislike the content. My choice of listening is largely determined by the time I have available to listen to a show and by the level of attention required to follow it. I wouldn't listen to a detailed in-depth rules discussion while driving the car for instance because frankly I'd rather concentrate on the road (avoiding the reckless maneuvers pulled by HGV drivers in particular) than following the conversation. And a four hour podcast would take me a week to finish if I were just listening to it in my lunch breaks.

My personal preference (and this is my preference and I understand its not everyone else's) is for shorter programmes or podcasts that offer their shows broken down into bite-sized segments. However I understand that from a production point of view this probably means a lot more work and not all shows have this facility. I think this is a pity because there's probably loads of great content out there that I'd enjoy listening to, if only it wasn't buried in the middle of a 90 minute programme.

Right, now I'm going to put my "grumpy old git" hat on and say that one option I favour for reducing the length of podcasts would be to weed out all the pointless waffle that tends to get included. I get enough rowdy, meandering, directionless gossip from my own gaming group without listening to a bunch of guys telling in-jokes, talking over each other and generally making lots of 'noise'. Sometimes it can be entertaining to listen to other gamer's shooting-the-breeze but its not what I would call Premium Content.

I reckon that's put the 'cat amongst the pigeons' so its time for me to step back and reap the whirlwind! What do you like/dislike about podcasts? And what are your favorite shows, because there seem to be loads of new ones popping up all the time?


  1. I really like listening to podcasts while painting, great stuff.

  2. I like 'two half squads' from what I've heard of them. If you like Advanced Squad Leader, it's the thing to listen to, and they are smart and witty guys worth listening to just for their own sake. I don't much listen to it or any others, sadly, because of the time factor. While for some, audio space is something they can fill in for ages each day that is not an option for me (sadly) so it's not something I can get into.

    I agree with your comment about splitting shows into segments (something that radio podcasts seem to be increasingly doing) because that will open up the accessibility of all the gems caught in this medium.

  3. Some of my favorite podcasts have themes that relate to gaming, but not gaming specific, like The Tolkien Professor, The History of Rome, Hardcore History, Norman Centuries, Byzantine Emperors.. some good stuff there.

    I paint & create all day, so I listen to a lot of podcasts. Some of the gaming ones can get a bit 'inside group' for their local area,or abit off topic, but often it is still amusing. There are exceptions though, a couple years ago I gave up on one because the two guys sounded like eight-graders trying to show how cool they are by talking about how much & often they drink. I have nothing against alcohol, but if drinking is your hobby for its own sake that is pretty sad, and it was painful listening to grown men thump their chest and proclaim how cool they are because of it. Another I gave up on because one of the hosts kept telling the same unfunny anti-French jokes. Yeah, they surrendered to the Germans early in the war, just like a lot of other countries that were under-powered and vulnerable to the land invasions. And many fought on as partisans. A little silly jokes can be amusing, but to hammer away at the same ethnocentric unfunny jokes seems to point at a need to make one feel better about himself by some abstract notion of nationalism which isn't deserved or personally earned. Continually annoyed I dropped that podcast too, despite the fact i was interested in the game.

    There, didn't want you feeling alone in your grumpy old git hat, so I joined you ;)

  4. I quite agree with with you on length and meandering content. I love the concept of gaming podcasts, but (and I admit I've listened to very few), in practice, they were simply too long, too meandering, and the item (or items) I most wanted to hear was (were) buried somewhere in the middle. So after a few tries I gave up on them. Now if someone heeded your advice in making them shorter and cutting out the waffle, I'd certainly give them a try again.

  5. Have never listened to a wargaming podcast, what do you recommend to start?

  6. Hmmm, I think a decent podcast should be 2 hours or less, but no shorter than 45 mins. Anything shorter is over before you even start and doesn't have enough meat and anything longer you get lost in garble.

    I don't mind the "waffling" as long as it doesn't take up the majority of the podcast. Wooden and scripted podcasts are just too plain and I get lost in the jumble. I particularly like the WWPD one because the guy's personalities all mesh well together. It's hard to pander to everyones desires, but I can't find any faults with WWPD at all. I love their stuff.

    I will say I do like ranting, for one I don't want to listen to a fanboy podcast. I want someone to be as honest as possible about how they feel about the game they play or miniatures they use. I've listened to some 40K podcast that I had to shut off because it was just blathering fanboy love.

    I am a self admitted Fanboy for Flames of War but It's not the only WW2 game I'm willing to play, I'd play other WW2 games and especially at conventions. That being said I won't say the game is the best in the world. Some podcasts seem to just gush about how awesome the game system they play is the best out there.

    I like D6 Generation, except it's WAY too long.

    I like Radio Free Battlefront(although has been hard to hear in the past and is more of a marketing tool(for obvious reasons). I do however like the insider info they release. Although sadly their hasn't been a new Podcast from Battlefront since June 1st. They maybe switching to videos with Battlefront TV and wiping out their podcasts.

    I'm pretty sure I've tried to listen too Meeples and Miniatures, but being an American I get lost trying to understand the accents and it's too hard for me to understand whats going on.

    Well, thats about my opinion... :-P

  7. I like Meeples and have no problems understanding it. I'm in the US. I like British casts because they sound cooler. Like Master Piece Theater. :-). I gave up on most casts because of the rambling. I recently tried to listen to one discuss Epic: A but it rambled so badly for too long for all the reasons you mention. Would be nice to hear some good suggestions.

  8. Pod cast, I can just manage to press the keyboard to answer your post. Far too technological for me, me thinks!

  9. I listen to a few Podcasts too although not hardcore wargamming ones. I like the D6 Generation but they really need to edit and cut at least 1 hour. On top of that their advertising realy start to get on my nerves, still they come up with good stuff ( I liked the interview of the guy from Wyrd on the last one).
    Regarding general lenght I don't have any preference but some Podcast only update once a month so I guess you'd expect a bit more than 30mns. I listen to some sport/news Podcasts too and there is less "waffling" usually as they are more "professionnal" and sponsored.

  10. I have tried podcasts (mainly professional related and a few on history), but I reckon my lack of ability to maintain concentration and ususlly I end up losing the thread, specially with the longest ones. In addtion, non-English speakers like me have sometimes trouble to fully understand the content, frequently because of the accent, but also if too many popular expressions (slang?) are used in the emission.

  11. View from the Verandah works for me, because the two waffling on is more interesting than just one of them. But there is so much content now to listen to from places like the BBC and other radio stations that I won't listen to 4 hours of waffling


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