Over 200 episodes in, I started listening to the Warmachine and Hordes battlereport podcast Chain Attack. With my limited knowledge of Warmachine, it’s been a great way to get to know more about the game, hear some games played, hear some of their thoughts from seeing things actually play out. Because some things work very differently on paper than they do in practice!
The other thing that came from me coming upon a podcast so far into its run – with 200 episodes available on iTunes for free – with limited information or interest is that I have been picking and choosing what to listen to. Starting from things I knew better, and moving to things I don’t. Meaning I’m bouncing around through time, from recent to years ago. And that’s where I actually got a lot of appreciation for this podcast.
Because with years of doing it, they still match their original format pretty well (with some added regular features). They had a clear vision for doing something that they could do week-upon-week for years. As a blogger, I really strongly recognize the value in that, and can appreciate what it took to get from there to here.
Their general episode has two people who played a game, going through a slow crawl of playing every Warcaster or Warlock in the game – they’re into their second round of that now, at higher points. Then one or two other folks also watched the game and took notes, and they proceed to talk through the armies, then the game as a whole. Then, since they’re working through all the leaders in the game, they go through each that was played and rate them on the same categories. They have this down to a one-hour-podcast of science.
However, it’s as I’ve chosen to listen to some of their non-standard podcasts that I’ve really started to like Chain Attack and appreciate it and its creators.
For one thing, they’ve created a number of podcasts for folks getting into the hobby. For instance, a four-part series for beginner players. I listened to it a little less beginner, so I felt like I knew most of it for the first three. The fourth, however, was fantastic – it was a discussion of how to get a Warmachine community going in your area. Because after all, what good is buying and building and painting these models, and dreaming up army lists, if they can’t also hit the table and play a game? We’re up to about 6 or 7 interested players now in our town, all starting to collect, and so this podcast was really valuable to listen to. If you’re interested in the hobby, this four-part series from Chain Attack would be a great starting place, potentially before ever spending a cent on the game.
Most recently I’ve listened to some of their non-Warmachine podcasts, their occasional ask-us-anything sorts of shows where fans have asked them other questions. And this too was great, especially after having come to appreciate the show already.
For one thing, there’s a whole lot about their lives that they successfully kept out of their show, at least in general. Things I had missed until they were talking personal. Like one of the hosts being gay. Like several of them being Mormon. Things that don’t really matter for either wargaming or podcasting, but which add some dimensions to the salty, salty discussions.
I heard things to relate to – like being married with kids, and figuring out how to fit in games. Like creating a podcast and fitting in the schedule to both play games and then talk about them (much like doing things then writing about them here for Comparative Geeks, except their editing time must be more!). So some challenges I know and some challenges that I’m really only just beginning – was listening for some tips!
And then, with renewed respect and interest, I was listening even more intently as they talked about things like favorite board games or books. Smiled sagely as they recommended things like the new Dredd. Added things to wish lists.
I’m definitely not saying this is a podcast for everyone, but I can say it’s one that a lot of work and time has gone into, and is a solid example of what podcasting can be. It has a super specific community it’s tailored for, and its hosts are just people – just gamers and geeks. Who made a decision to devote a whole lot of their time to it. I can respect that.
Oh, yeah, and learn a thing or two about Warmachine! The number one thing I feel like I’ve learned: there will be mistakes and forgotten rules in basically every game, and to not freak out about this fact but instead work on minimizing it – your own forgotten rules or options will lose you games, and remembered ones can help you win games!