GWJ Conference Call Episode 300

Conference Call

Summoner Wars iOS, Hot Mechanical Keyboards, FTL, Endless Space, We Look Back on 300 Episodes, Your Emails and more!

This week Julian, Cory, Elysium, Shawn and Hedgewizard look back on 300 episodes!

To contact us, email [email protected]! Send us your thoughts on the show, pressing issues you want to talk about or whatever else is on your mind. You can even send a 30 second audio question or comment (MP3 format please) if you're so inclined.

Sponsor

Tech Thing Daily
Game Thing Daily
Good Old Games
Tweaked Audio (Use discount code GWJ)

Audible

  • Subscribe with iTunes
  • Subscribe with RSS
  • Subscribe with Yahoo!
Download the official apps
  • Download the GWJ Conference Call app for Android
  • Download the GWJ Conference Call app for Android

Show credits

Music credits: 

Escapist Radio Theme - Ian "Podunk" Dorsch - http://www.willowtreeaudio.com/ - 25:30

Podunk Stomp - Ian "Podunk" Dorsch - http://www.willowtreeaudio.com/ - 52:18

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

Comments

shoptroll wrote:
kyrieee wrote:

Do you have Cherry MX Blues?

Is there any sort of resource that explains the differences between the different cherries? Tech Report loves to talk about which ones are in which keyboard, but as someone who doesn't know keyboards that much it goes *whoosh* over my head.

Here you go
http://www.overclock.net/t/491752/me...

mateo wrote:

Congrats on 300 Gents!

If you really want to make Elysium feel old...remind him of GWJ Radio!

I found GWJ Radio first. From what I can remember that was quite a raw podcast :). Then I found GWJ CC which made me happy. Not sure how many podcasts had been done for the show when I started listening.

Those were great days in my podcast listening career when I'd find a great show and there'd be a huge backlog for me to work my way through.

Gratz on 300.

Glad the review was useful, Hedgewizard. Here's a link for anyone interested in reading up on it.

http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2012/0...

kazooka wrote:
Elysium wrote:

I am literally at the ready to type more info about it. Just ask! Don't be afraid, go ahead.

In the meantime, I'm just going to press some sexy, sexy keys ...

..dakfhk2^%cumjdyahnvkskfi@u87!!

:shock:

You'd think he'd be more careful with a $119 keyboard.

I listened to a couple of CC's in 2010 when I started a job of mine, but it just wasn't the right time or context I think. I've been listening to a few podcasts lately, but none of them compare to the Conference Call. It's more than just listening to a bunch of friends talk, it's also getting something a bit enlightening about it. I know that may sound silly, but I frequently feel that I get a perspective rarely heard when I listen to the Conference Call.

If anything, though, it really makes me want to get out there and meet more GWJers at these Slap and Tickles, but they are always such an investment for me to get to. I'd love to hit up PenguinCon, but it's a month after I'll already be taking time off for Escapist Expo so I have no idea if I'll be able to get that sort of time off from work (P.S. I still have space in my hotel room for anyone interested in going to Escapist Expo >.> ).

Lastly, thanks for discussing Catan Jr. If I hadn't already gotten my niece a bunch of Homestar Runner and Strongbad DVDs for her birthday I'd probably grab her that, but I'll try to keep it in mind when Christmas starts rolling around.

I'm trying to remember when I started listening to the Conference Call. It seems crazy that I've been on the forum for almost three years now, and I'd been listening to the podcast for a while before creating my forum account.

I must have been subscribed for over 200 episodes, because I remember when Age of Conan was The Big New Thing for a few weeks, and that was... wow. Time flies when you're talking about games!

In his defense, I own the same keyboard. It's fantastic.

It does not, however, perform activities other than keyboarding. Perhaps that's something Sean should refrain from discussing in public.

Gratz on the 300. Been listening on and off since the mid-50s, sometimes I just don't get a chance to listen, but I miss it when I don't.

I must find the PAX episode, sounds like it was epic.

I hope Mike Zenke's handler allows him to slip his muzzle and join you guys on the Conference Call when Guild Wars 2 comes out. I'm sure he'll be involved in the discussion in the relevant threads, but I love his enthusiasm when he speaks about things.

FTL: "It's kind of like Homeworld *white noise*"

IMAGE(http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll120/MrDeVil_909/2z5k.jpg)

Hope you guys have at least another 300 more in ya.

TheWanderer wrote:

Glad the review was useful, Hedgewizard. Here's a link for anyone interested in reading up on it.

http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2012/0...

It's a great review. Got the game for my nephews 6th birthday after reading this, and can't wait to play it with them.

Congrats on the big 300, casters. I loved that you had Hedgewizard on for this cast. I thought he did a great job articulating what makes you all stand out as a premier podcasting group (IMHO).

ranalin wrote:

Hope you guys have at least another 300 more in ya.

Indeed. Congratulations!

ccesarano wrote:

I listened to a couple of CC's in 2010 when I started a job of mine, but it just wasn't the right time or context I think. I've been listening to a few podcasts lately, but none of them compare to the Conference Call. It's more than just listening to a bunch of friends talk, it's also getting something a bit enlightening about it. I know that may sound silly, but I frequently feel that I get a perspective rarely heard when I listen to the Conference Call.

I really don't remember how I found the conf. call, but I think if I had found this show a few years ago I probably wouldn't have cared for it. As I've grown older I've found I much more prefer this "fly-on-the-wall" natural conversation vs. a more regimented and segmented show. I also like that the show features everything from the indie to the mainstream, from the physical to the digital and that makes for some very well-rounded and constantly interesting discussion (pretentious artsy and board game haters can and should just hit the fast forward button). Plus, the warmth and humanity that's brought to the table with the talk about playing games with families really gives me something to look forward to once I decide to start a family.

Oh, and it goes without saying, but I really appreciate the amount of obvious effort that goes into the production of the podcast. It really is the "secret sauce" that makes a great show even better.

----

Actual thoughts on the 'cast:

1998 week was amazing. Definitely one of my favorite memories for the site and conf. call.

As mentioned earlier, I'm vaguely interested in mechanical keyboards based mostly on the hype they get from the tech bloggers. However, are there any that are wireless? My PC is connected to my TV and I prefer to be able to use my keyboard+mouse from the couch on occasion.

I believe the Summoner Wars thread concluded that the iOS app is missing any factions that were added for the Master Set or later. So $8 doesn't get you everything, but it still gets you a lot of stuff. And it's cheaper than the printed version so it's a great way to sample the game if you're considering a physical copy.

Maxis still exists as a company, but during last year's re-organization they were also promoted to a sub-label under EA much like BioWare and is supposed to function as one of their casual focused labels.

As for indies I'd like to see make a big budget game: Team Meat and Introversion come readily to mind. The only caveat I have is that I'd much rather the funding come from the sales of an earlier break-out hit (like PopCap had with Bejeweled) rather than publisher/investor funding. I just can't expect a AAA publisher like Activision or EA to hamstring any awesomeness that might come out such a project. Plus, if the project sells a ton then the natural reaction is for the publisher to milk the cow for all its worth. For example, when The Sims exploded into a huge hit, Maxis canned 3 titles (Simsville, SimMars and SimCastle) in order to focus on expansion packs (as requested by EA) while other teams went to work on SimCity 4 and Spore.

I'm pretty sure a developer like Jonathan Blow would hate to be shackled to something like Braid sequels for the rest of their career.

shoptroll wrote:

I believe the Summoner Wars thread concluded that the iOS app is missing any factions that were added for the Master Set or later. So $8 doesn't get you everything, but it still gets you a lot of stuff. And it's cheaper than the printed version so it's a great way to sample the game if you're considering a physical copy.

For what it's worth, here are all of the factions in the game, along with their win/loss ratios (up to yesterday, anyway):

Tundra Orcs: 62.45% (1282/771)
Guild Dwarves: 59.51% (1120/762)
Cave Goblins: 52.54% (630/569)
Phoenix Elves: 49.48% (1135/1159)
Jungle Elves: 47.47% (797/882)
Vanguards: 43.48% (627/815)
Fallen Kingdom: 41.37% (805/1141)
Cloaks: 40.69% (649/946)

I've emphasized the Phoenix Elves because they're the default faction that you get with the iOS game. The available stats are just flat faction totals; there's no further breakdown on how many those games included custom decks, reinforcements or mercenaries.

I don't want to belabor the point too much, since it was already discussed in the Summoner Wars thread, but I find the business model for the iOS game to be a bit frustrating as a new SW player. You don't get those stats above when you're deciding what faction to buy through IAP, the decks are broken up into core decks and reinforcements (which cost additional money and further segment the player base), and the $8 bundle that gets you everything is over 50% more than the usual price for iOS board game ports (~$5).

I really dig the actual game that's in there, but all of that above, in addition to the usual grab-bag of crashes and UI quirks/bugs that come with any Playdek iOS release, makes it hard for me to really endorse the iOS release wholeheartedly. More than anything, I just want to buy the board game and play it now. (And maybe that's the idea. ;))

OzymandiasAV wrote:
shoptroll wrote:

I believe the Summoner Wars thread concluded that the iOS app is missing any factions that were added for the Master Set or later. So $8 doesn't get you everything, but it still gets you a lot of stuff. And it's cheaper than the printed version so it's a great way to sample the game if you're considering a physical copy.

For what it's worth, here are all of the factions in the game, along with their win/loss ratios (up to yesterday, anyway):

Tundra Orcs: 62.45% (1282/771)
Guild Dwarves: 59.51% (1120/762)
Cave Goblins: 52.54% (630/569)
Phoenix Elves: 49.48% (1135/1159)
Jungle Elves: 47.47% (797/882)
Vanguards: 43.48% (627/815)
Fallen Kingdom: 41.37% (805/1141)
Cloaks: 40.69% (649/946)

I've emphasized the Phoenix Elves because they're the default faction that you get with the iOS game. The available stats are just flat faction totals; there's no further breakdown on how many those games included custom decks, reinforcements or mercenaries.

I don't want to belabor the point too much, since it was already discussed in the Summoner Wars thread, but I find the business model for the iOS game to be a bit frustrating as a new SW player. You don't get those stats above when you're deciding what faction to buy through IAP, the decks are broken up into core decks and reinforcements (which cost additional money and further segment the player base), and the $8 bundle that gets you everything is over 50% more than the usual price for iOS board game ports (~$5).

I really dig the actual game that's in there, but all of that above, in addition to the usual grab-bag of crashes and UI quirks/bugs that come with any Playdek iOS release, makes it hard for me to really endorse the iOS release wholeheartedly. More than anything, I just want to buy the board game and play it now. (And maybe that's the idea. ;))

Wait, so you're saying the game isn't worth it because the additional decks you can buy don't win as much? I respect you as a person, Ozy, but that's a ridiculous point to make.

I paid $8 and got a fun game. Want to see if you'll have fun too? Download the app for free and play with what's available in single player. Analyzing the value of the game based on whether the additional decks will win as much is ... I don't even know. Some kind of craziness I can't even put a word toward. I really don't understand.

For the record, I completely understand Elysium's point about having more fun typing e-mails. When I got my Saitek Eclipse (not mechanical, I realize, but I still love it), I had to write my senior paper not long afterwards. I enjoyed just the act of typing the paper to a slightly disturbing degree.

nemebean wrote:

For the record, I completely understand Elysium's point about having more fun typing e-mails. When I got my Saitek Eclipse (not mechanical, I realize, but I still love it), I had to write my senior paper not long afterwards. I enjoyed just the act of typing the paper to a slightly disturbing degree. ;-)

But did it ding and slide when you hit a carriage return?

Demiurge wrote:

Wait, so you're saying the game isn't worth it because the additional decks you can buy don't win as much?

No, that's not exactly what I'm saying. Let me expound a bit further.

What I'm saying is that an uninitiated SW player -- somebody that's never tried the board game before -- that's looking to try multiplayer for the game is looking at either:

- $8 to get everything upfront, which is certainly nice compared to the actual board game version, but considerably pricier than other iOS board game ports.

- dropping a buck on a core deck to try that could potentially lead to them getting throttled, which will either scare them off from the game, or "encourage" them to roll the dice with other decks or buy the reinforcements/mercenaries sets to try and bolster their deck.

For these new players, those two paths (and the last one in particular) veers dangerously close to a pay-to-win sort of F2P marketplace. Plus, if you go down the latter path, you're actually looking at more than $8 in the long run if you decide to get everything after all, since the Everything Bundle price doesn't reduce after other component purchases.

However, that's only a concern for new players. For everybody else, I look at a number of other problems -- no messaging/chat, various application crashes, game logic bugs where I'm locked into firing a particular skill (or unable to distinguish between regular attacks and a special skill), cramped iPhone UI (relevant to me, maybe not to others) -- and I hesitate.

To be more clear than I was in my previous post, I think the actual core gameplay is really, really good. If $8 is nothing to you and/or you're already familiar with the board game, then there's probably no argument at all - in all likelihood, you've already bought the Everything Bundle and entered the fray. I fall into neither one of those categories, though, and I think it's worth calling out those concerns for other people who may be in a similar situation.

Demiurge wrote:

Wait, so you're saying the game isn't worth it because the additional decks you can buy don't win as much? I respect you as a person, Ozy, but that's a ridiculous point to make.

I paid $8 and got a fun game. Want to see if you'll have fun too? Download the app for free and play with what's available in single player. Analyzing the value of the game based on whether the additional decks will win as much is ... I don't even know. Some kind of craziness I can't even put a word toward. I really don't understand.

I've seen this type of justification on Kingdom of Loathing items. Some people won't buy new items if it doesn't contribute overall to finishing the game faster or mitigating RNG screw. To hell with having a new toy to play with!

HedgeWizard wrote:
nemebean wrote:

For the record, I completely understand Elysium's point about having more fun typing e-mails. When I got my Saitek Eclipse (not mechanical, I realize, but I still love it), I had to write my senior paper not long afterwards. I enjoyed just the act of typing the paper to a slightly disturbing degree. ;-)

But did it ding and slide when you hit a carriage return?

More importantly, what kind of alcohol makes you feel classy with a mechanical keyboard?

Congratulations to GWJ on 300 episodes. You guys are amazing. Your show and Giant Bombcast are the only gaming podcasts I listen to on a regular basis. And I wanted to comment on what was said about the difference between the two. I thought it was dead on that both are great podcasts, but Giant Bomb is clearly putting on a show (which is a good thing too), but GWJ is really what it sounds like when a bunch of friends get together and talk about video games. Really great to listen to. Keep up the great work!

I think I found the podcast through GFW radio.
It might've been when they all left and came on as guests.

Now that I got to listen to the whole Podcast:

In regards to the last question, I'm surprised no one brought up Double Fine. That's pretty much what they've been doing since Brutal Legend, and it has worked pretty well for them. They haven't had to go the full Fez or Limbo or whatnot route, still making rather "modern" games but with a more free and creative bent and smaller sizes.

In terms of the reverse, of indie studios going big, I'd like to see what Zeboyd games can do with more than just two guys, and I'm curious about Behemoth expanding to bigger projects as well. Sometimes I don't want a pretentious game, I just want something classically fun.

ccesarano wrote:

In regards to the last question, I'm surprised no one brought up Double Fine. That's pretty much what they've been doing since Brutal Legend, and it has worked pretty well for them. They haven't had to go the full Fez or Limbo or whatnot route, still making rather "modern" games but with a more free and creative bent and smaller sizes.

Except they're still beholden to the publishers for funding which means there's certain projects they can't do. Which is why they tried Kickstarter to fund an adventure game as none of the usual suspects were interested.

Maybe what we need are some more small to medium sized publishers? Atlus, XSeed, and Paradox all have their respective niches, but I'm hard pressed to think of any other publishers of the same size.

As a proud owner of a Filco Majestouch (with Cherry MX Brown switches, no less), I have drunk the mechanical keyboard kool-aid and I can tell you it's absolutely delicious.

Congradjamuhlations!

Still my favorite crew of them all to listen to. Unjaded, well-spoken, with access to insiders but not insider-y.

After spending 3 years perusing the site from the shadows, I finally thought it was time to post a comment. Why not, right? Episode 300 seems like a historic enough moment to finally contribute to the conversation. My yelling, in the car, at the GWJ hosts for not mentioning a favorite game has nothing to do with this.

Towards the end of the show, an email was read in regards to "newer" simulation/city building type game referrals. In the ensuing discussion, I was surprised that no one mentioned The Movies. This game was/is fantastic! Just like with the original Roller Coaster Tycoon (not the abomination that is RCT3), I found myself spending hours engrossed in The Movies. I'm unsure if this game is just underrated or what, but I wanted to throw in my suggestion.

Concave wrote:

As a proud owner of a Filco Majestouch (with Cherry MX Brown switches, no less), I have drunk the mechanical keyboard kool-aid and I can tell you it's absolutely delicious.

Yeah, I have two Leopold boards, one with brown switches and one with red.

Once you go mechanical you don't go back

I'd like to chime in and say that this is the first GWJ podcast I've listened to, and I enjoyed it. I listened to it today with my girlfriend on a hour-drive-each-way trip, and we had good time. The mechanical keyboard bits drew quite a few giggles.

Puce Moose wrote:

I'd like to chime in and say that this is the first GWJ podcast I've listened to, and I enjoyed it. I listened to it today with my girlfriend on a hour-drive-each-way trip, and we had good time. The mechanical keyboard bits drew quite a few giggles.

Wait. For almost 7 years you've been coming here and you haven't heard the podcast before? Wow!

HedgeWizard wrote:
Puce Moose wrote:

I'd like to chime in and say that this is the first GWJ podcast I've listened to, and I enjoyed it. I listened to it today with my girlfriend on a hour-drive-each-way trip, and we had good time. The mechanical keyboard bits drew quite a few giggles.

Wait. For almost 7 years you've been coming here and you haven't heard the podcast before? Wow!

Audio's cool and all, but I think we all know that GWJ's writing is what really makes this place awesome.

wordsmythe wrote:
HedgeWizard wrote:
Puce Moose wrote:

I'd like to chime in and say that this is the first GWJ podcast I've listened to, and I enjoyed it. I listened to it today with my girlfriend on a hour-drive-each-way trip, and we had good time. The mechanical keyboard bits drew quite a few giggles.

Wait. For almost 7 years you've been coming here and you haven't heard the podcast before? Wow!

Audio's cool and all, but I think we all know that GWJ's writing is what really makes this place awesome. ;)

58 posts is all it took for someone to note that. And it was the editor. Sheesh.

Oh, as an added point RE: Brass, there Is an iPad version of 'Age of Industry' in the works (from the same guys who did Le Havre). Age of Industry is kind of a retheme of Brass, slightly more approachable, a little less cutthroat (that's both good or bad depending on your perspective). Can't wait for that to appear.