When I'm not playing board games, I am usually thinking about them. Not too many people around me are quite as obsessed, so listening to board gaming podcasts is a way for me to feel like part of a deeper discussion about the hobby. Podcasts are great for commutes, and they definitely help pass the time in the gym (which I don't visit as often as I should). So I've compiled a list of some of the podcasts I've been enjoying lately.
I will say up front that my biggest complaint about gaming podcasts in general is that the episodes are too long (90 minutes or more). I know that I can just hit pause and continue the episode later, but I like to listen to a variety of podcasts, and it's a major commitment to give 2–3 hours of time to a single show. I prefer to get my gaming news in thirty-minute bursts. But hey, at least there is a lot of cool stuff to listen to!
I'd say that several podcasts are "standards" for people who listen to gaming podcasts. These are the shows that do big live shows at conventions, get name-checked by other podcasters, etc. I get a lot of my gaming news and general impressions about how games will be received from the following bigger-name podcasts:
The Dice Tower
Pretty much the gaming industry standard. Episodes can run pretty long, though (pushing towards 2 hours). Several other podcasts in my list are part of the "Dice Tower Network," so when you're not listening to the Dice Tower, you still kind of are.
The Secret Cabal
I enjoy listening to this one, but with three-hour episodes, it usually feels too long. All the same, great discussion of games from people who really know what they're talking about. The podcast is super high quality. Sometimes the show focuses on specific current games, while others focus on themes (recently: Building and Conquest).
Podcastle (Shut Up & Sit Down)
SU&SD is reliably hilarious, and I always appreciate the guys' takes on the experience of playing games. If you like their site and their videos, you'll like the podcast. The podcast doesn't air as often, but when it does, it runs for about 60–90 min.
On Board Games
This is a podcast for hobbyists that has several rotating hosts, including Stephanie Straw and Erik Dewey. The hosts and guests cover a pretty wide range of topics, including what they've played recently, reviews of current games, and upcoming games. Recently, they've done some interesting stuff with Thornwatch and the story of its development, including interviews with the designers. The show usually runs for about an hour and a half.
Blue Peg, Pink Peg
Blue Peg, Pink Peg focuses on gaming for families and couples. The games they cover are usually still of general interest, and the show features gaming news and mini-reviews. The hosts are obviously very close to each other and it's fun to listen to them banter and talk about shared gaming experiences. I particularly enjoyed their discussion of Kingdom: Death Monster, which helped me develop a much better understanding of whether I wanted the game or not. Episodes can run pretty long (pushing or passing the two-hour mark).
I particularly like listening to Ludology. This podcast is more analytical, and focuses on topics like game history or particular mechanics in board games. Some of the episodes are very short and focused, but even the long ones are only about an hour long. Both the different focus on gaming and the more convenient length make this one a particular favorite for me.
In addition to the "main" podcasts out here, I am fond of several less-discussed podcasts that focus on solo gaming, for obvious reasons. Thankfully, there are heroic podcasters out there to entertain me:
Table for One
This is a very new podcast about solo board gaming, and there are only a handful of episodes, but I like what I'm hearing so far. I also want to give a massive shoutout to this podcast because the episodes are mercifully short—only about 20–30 minutes!
1 Player Podcast
This is a long-running show for solo gamers. If you're solo-curious, it covers pretty much all of the "classic" solo games that you might be curious about. Episodes are a bit longer than an hour apiece. This podcast is also closely tied to the 1 Player Guild on BoardGameGeek. (Yay!) Episodes vary in length, but the earlier ones are under an hour, while the more recent episodes are longer (although they include some interesting interviews).
Low Player Count
Focuses on 1–2 player games. The show goes beyond discussions of specific games and features more general discussions about themes, mechanics, etc. in games for 1–2 players. I especially like the comments on two-player games when I'm trying to lure my boyfriend into a game with me. Episode lengths vary, but usually they don't run too much longer than an hour.
For teachers, I also recommend Games in Schools and Libraries, which focuses on... games in schools and libraries. It's a great listen if you're interested in introducing your students to RPGs or teaching students about game design. New episodes don't pop up too often, but I'm always delighted when they do.
Are there any other gaming podcasts out there that I ought to be paying attention to? Feel free to leave a comment!