February 12, 2010

2009 Podcast roundup

Let me start by saying that I am huge fan of podcasts. After 'discovering' them a couple of years ago while searching for new ways to fill my four hours of daily commuting to and from work, I quickly realised that there is a multitude of people who on regular basis produce very high quality productions about almost every possible topic that is of interest to me, including history and gaming.

Meeples and Incoming

Now, please notice that I write 'history and gaming' and not 'historical wargaming'. That's because to my best knowledge, in year 2009 there were really only two podcasts about tabletop wargaming that achieved my rather high demands on quality of content and production, regular release schedule and high focus on historical wargaming. 'Meeples&Miniatures' is one of those podcasts - long-lived production of Neil Shuck that deals with all possible aspects of gaming, but largely dedicated specifically to historical wargaming.  In my opinion, if you have time to listen only to a single podcast dedicated to this hobby, then 'Meeples&Miniatures' should be your choice.

'Incoming' is the other podcast focused specifically on wargaming. It is yet another production of Neil Shuck, but with completely different concept than ‘Meeples&Miniatures’. The idea of 'Incoming' is simply brilliant - a short video presentation of all miniatures that were released during a week. Short, sweet and to the point. ‘Incoming’ became quickly one of the podcasts that I eagerly await every week. Or I should say 'two' podcasts, since Mr. Shuck now makes two versions of 'Incoming' - one for historical miniatures and one for fantasy/sci-fi.

Gaming section

Unfortunately, Neil Shuck’s productions are the start and the end of my wargaming podcast shortlist for 2009. The rest of the podcasts that in my opinion are relevant to the hobby and which I follow are distinctly split into either gaming or history categories.

‘The Dice Tower’ is my prime choice for news and reviews about all things called board games. Tabletop gaming and historical wargames are hardly ever touched by the host of this excellent show, but hey… if you’re a gamer, then you’ll play anything at least once.

‘The 2 Half-Squads’ is a recent find of mine and definitely an acquired taste – after all, for most people a podcast exclusive focus on good, old Advanced Squad Leader may sound like a strange idea of entertainment. But love it or hate it, ASL is still the ultimate squad level board game and hosts of this podcast sure know a lot about it and like to talk about it. Not that it’s a bad thing, if you’re into this game, they go through a lot of interesting material.

Historical section

I may be wrong, but in my experience, people in historical wargaming hobby are almost always history buffs. This section is for you guys.

‘In Our Time’ is actually a radio program produced by BBC, but thankfully some smart person decided that it would be a good idea to share all the good stuff with the ‘colonies’ and turned it into a podcast. The program covers a lot of historical topics and participants are always scholars of highest caliber.

‘The History of Rome Podcast’ is a baby of one man, Mike Duncan and may initially sound like a silly idea. After all, who has the time or energy to listen some guy babbling about stuff that we all know about anyway? Don’t be fooled though, this podcast is done with heart and soul and you will be quickly engrossed in the story told by Mr. Duncan.

Another one man show podcast that I was initially rather skeptical about but quickly won me over, is ‘Hardcore History’ by Dan Carlin. As title indicates, content of this podcast is not to be taken lightly, although not because of advanced topics or difficult material. Taking in content of Mr. Carlin’s production is easy enough, but the thing is that he makes you really think about stuff he’s talking about. His series about World War II in the east, called ‘Ghosts of Eastern Front’, is truly haunting, while shows about struggle between Carthage and Rome really try to make you understand what warfare during that time was about.

My last selection for this round is ‘Ancient Warfare Podcast’, companion to rather recently started magazine ‘Ancient Warfare’. Each podcast is closely related to, and usually deals with main theme of latest issue of the magazine. There’s a lot of good discussions about different aspects of warfare during that period and let’s be honest, if you’re into ancient warfare, can you ever get enough of the stuff?

That’s it for this time – if you think that podcasts are something you could be interested in, click on the links and check them out.

One final word - I would like to take opportunity here and really thank all of the people I mention above, especially you who publish all this wonderful material all on your own. You guys spend your time, money and a lot of effort for the benefit of complete strangers and I’m very grateful for your work. Keep up the good work!

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