Are we facing a Recession… in Podcasting?

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a big fan of several boardgaming podcasts.  They were greatly responsible for my “education” into the modern boardgaming scene, and they’re pretty much the only thing that I listen to in the car anymore.  Unfortunately, in the last several months there has been a serious degradation in the number, frequency, and (in some cases) quality of the podcasts that I listen to. 

The first one that “fell” was the great Little Wooden Cubist, Charley Eastman.  I stumbled onto LWC on iTunes the first week it was posted, and I was instantly hooked.  After a big hiatus, Charley unfortunately informed us of a big priority shift in his life on the “last” podcast he aired, and I fear that he has left the podcasting world for good. 

One of my absolute favorite podcasts is the Metagamers, which I think had the most intelligent and informative discussions on the net aimed towards serious, hobby boardgamers.  Similarly to the LWC, Jay Little left the podcast for “real life” issues as well, and while Jim Cote and Mark Haberman still do a great show, Jay was apparently the one that was the driving force for them to record and publish shows, so new podcasts are few and far between.

On the other hand, the cast of Pulp Gamer, in their desperate attempt to become a “network” or “suite” of podcasts, has tragically sold their soul to Mayfair, and now pretty much everything they do comes off like a big commercial for Mayfair-only products.  I still listen, but it’s with a sad longing for the spark that they once had.

I was beginning to get worried about E.R. Burgess and his Boardgame Babylon podcast, but thankfully he seems to be picking up his pace a little as we’ve gotten further into 2008.

For awhile, I was hopeful that the “venerable” Mark Johnson would fully re-energize his Boardgames to Go podcast, but he also continues to only put out new shows very infrequently. 

While it will never quite be the greak GeekSpeak, The Aldie Show is really good when Scott gets around to doing one.

Paul Tevis also recently pulled the plug on his Ennie-winning podcast, Have Games, Will Travel.  It was probably only 1/4-1/3 boardgame content, but I still enjoyed listening to him a lot.  He’ll keep publishing occasional short podcasts on his feed, but the days of the regular, full-length HGWT are over. 

While Stephen and Dave over at The Spiel are still going strong, the show seems to have lost a little something for me.  More than anything, maybe it’s because they seem to be off in their own little corner of the boardgaming world, paying more attention to their own segments than to the greater community.  For instance, instead of pulling out really good older games that could actually be recommendations for people to play or purchase in their “Backshelf Spotlight”, it seems like they’ve turned it into an exercise to find two obscure and not particularly interesting games that are different enough to make an entertaining “connection” for the contest they do every week.  I still listen regularly, but it’s only for the entertainment of listening to them and not to actually pick up any new or interesting boardgaming information.

I’ve been forced to listen to a few RPG podcasts and even some NPR podcasts (This American Life and Wait Wait… Don’tTell Me!) to take up the slack!  I also listen to the d6 Generationand Meeples and Miniatures some, even though they’re mostly focused on miniatures wargames. 

But then again, there are still some really great podcasts out there that manage to mostly satisfy my boardgaming needs: Garrett’s Games and Geekiness, On BoardGames, Into the Gamescape, Board GamesWith ScottThe Dice Tower (even though I think I’m liking Tom’s Musings On podcast more than the core podcast these days), and the really great videocast Obsessed BoardGamers.  But often, I’m left wanting more!  

If I had any extra spare time lying around, I’d actually like to try my hand at a semi-regular podcast.  Particularly, I think that it would be really cool to have a roundtable discussion each week with the guys in the Hypermind Boardgamers about our Game of the Month! as well as any other gaming hits and misses for the month.  From the outside looking in, however, I can’t imagine finding the energy to get something like that started, or how I’d be able to keep it going when I can barely seem to post on this blog as often as I’d like. 

Any thoughts out there about my perception of the boardgame podcasting world?


  1. Howdy,

    Thanks for the mention of the D6 Generation. While we also do quite a bit on miniatures, we spend a good bit of time (roughly every other episode) on Board games. Our last episode (15) features an interview with Fantasy Flight Games’ Corey Konieczka and a detailed review of their new Battlestar Galatica board game.

    Thanks for listening & Happy Gaming,


  2. Chris Norwood

    Hey Russ!  I wrote this as I was still listening through your earliest episodes, so I wasn’t fully up-to-speed on how much boardgame content you actually do cover.  Of course, even with the focus on miniatures, you guys were still entertaining enough to make me a regular listener! 

    Welcome to the site!

  3. Hi Chris, thanks for the kind words. On the reduction in frequency of the episodes, it actually had nothing to do with Jay leaving. Jay was actually the least involved in the production of the podcast. He was obviously a great host, which is why he took that role, but I put the site together, and Jim and I put most of the show notes together and share editing duties. At the same time that Jay left, I got promoted at work, and had FAR less free time. Also, some of the novelty of creating a podcast had worn off for both Jim and I. I’m glad you still enjoy the show. We have definitely lost some pizazz with Jay gone, but I hope that the content makes up for his loss.

  4. Chris Norwood

    Hey, Mark!  Great to have you drop by!

    But if Jay leaving wasn’t the problem, then you just need to get off yer lazy butt and give us more shows!!!

    Just kiddin’.  I know a little about dwindling free time myself these days, what with my new 5-month-old baby girl at home.  Just know that you have fans out here anxiously awaiting as much new content as you’ll give us.

  5. Well, we’re working on a Worker Placement episode right now, and then we’ll probably have the obligatory Essen Preview show. If all goes well, it will actually make it out BEFORE Essen this time. 🙂

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