This is a geeklist about the How to Play Podcast. This geeklist was created by Ryan Sturm with updating and editing provided by Mike Paivinen.
What is How to Play?
How to Play is an audio podcast all about teaching and learning games
Each episode contains a FULL rules explanation organized in the best way I know how to explain the game to you as if you were sitting across the table from me.
It is my hope that people use this show to -learn about new games -learn how to correctly play games easily and in an entertaining way -learn how to teach games effectively
At the end of each show I also include a "musings" section in which I generally ramble a bit about an interesting topic related to the game at hand; game history, game design, theme in games, competition in games etc.
I especially think this show can be useful to those newer to the hobby who seek to learn some of the "Classic" Eurogames. Or for those of you who end up being the explainer in your game group and want to learn to get better at explaining complex games.
The purposes of this list are to help get the word out about the show as well as to keep a running resource of the games that are available from this show.
The entries on this list show the different games that available from the How to Play Podcast and the entry for each simply gives you a little history of the Podcast from its beginning to now.
If you like the show give the list a thumb to show your support
How do you get the show?
If you would like to get the show you can get it in one of two ways;
How to Play assigns each game a complexity rating in one of four familiar categories
This game is easy enough to be enjoyed by all. The game is simple, relatively short and easy to teach.
This game is suitable for gamers or nongamers. It is moderately complex, it may have a longer playtime and may have unusual mechanics unfamiliar to nongamers. These games are suitable for anyone to learn and enjoy given they are willing to put forth a little effort in learning the game.
These games cross the realm into "gamer's games." They typically can last over two hours and require a significant amount of mental effort to learn. Though the games are manageable enough to play strategically in one play.
Double Black Diamond:
These are some of the most complex games out there. They are complex enough to require more than one play in order to play following all of the rules correctly or to play with any concept of the basic strategies of the game. These games are only for "gamers" who are interested in playing the game multiple times to reach full understanding of the game.
Check out our How to Play Teaching Guides!
or in black and white...
Ever open up a game you've havent played for a while and feel too rusty on the rules to teach it? Or need help teaching a game you dont know too well? How to Play teaching guides are here to help
Every game with a full explanation has it's own Teaching Guide! (with the exception of Tichu and the Abstract games) Check the listing on this list for the link or the link from their game page under files.
We will start things off with a nice light gateway game, here is my episode explaining the game Ticket to Ride.
This was my first attempt at doing the show, I knew I wanted something short, so I could figure out the format and exactly what I was doing, so I started the quintessential gateway game. 15 minutes of show, hours of effort taught me what I was in for.
Here I thought I could just wing it, yeah not so much, scripts are definitely a good thing
The one I've been waiting for months to record, my favorite game, Age of Steam.
Then I could not wait any more to do my favorite game of all time Age of Steam. This episode saw the development of a lot of components that would stick with How to Play in future episodes including starting to use fictional characters for examples, musings about the game at hand and occasional short humor bits.
This was also the end of the initial set of episodes. Not wanting to launch the show with just one measly episode of ticket to ride I waited to complete four episodes before releasing it to the wild so as to have more wider appeal.
I started working on episodes in the summer of 2009 and finally was ready for launch in October. I uploaded the show and saw what would happen.
Episode #4w: How to Win Age of Steam with Ted Alspach
Released: July 29th, 2011
Original Show Notes:
In this episode I get a chance to discuss strategy for my favorite game, Age of Steam with a very special guest, Ted Alspach. Ted is the designer of many games and notably over forty maps for the game Age of Steam which definitely qualifies him as an authority on all things Age of Steam. In Part 1 of this conversation we talk generally about advice for playing Age of Steam well on any Age of Steam map. Look forward to Part 2 soon in which we discuss some of our favorite Age of Steam maps.
Episode #4x: Age of Steam Expansion Maps with Ted Alspach
Released: August 1st, 2011
Original Show Notes:
In Part 2 of my conversation with Ted Alspach, we talk about some of our favorite maps for Age of Steam -- exploring our favorite maps for different numbers of players, different skill levels and previewing some of Ted's upcoming Age of Steam Maps.
The masses asked for it and the call has been answered. (when masses = 5) Tigris and Euphrates. This one was a bear to figure out the best way to organize the explanation but I am happy with how it turned out. I hope you enjoy it.
Initial downloads were slow but picked up day by day and the show started to take off it became clear through downloads and other feedback that there was an interest in the show but especially for heavier more complex games such as Tigris and Euphrates.
I upped the goofiness a bit in this show, but spent a lot of time breaking down and organizing this one and to date I think that this is the show I am most happy with.
By popular demand show #6 covers Stone Age, an excellent "next step" worker placement game. In this episode I blather a bit about worker placement, teach Stone Age and conduct an interview with actual caveman, Mr. Booga.
Wanting something a little lighter after Tigris I covered this worker placement game. I may have had a bit too much fun with the "comedy" at the front of this one, I thought it was funny at least
I also really enjoyed playing around with the different music interludes with this one, having just heard the acoustic version of Outkast's "Hey Ya" I was obsessed with it and somehow found a way to work it into the show. One of the reasons I have really enjoyed doing the show is finding a purpose for learning fingerstyle guitar.
Today I discuss the granddaddy game that is Puerto Rico.
Ive broken it up into 4 clean sections for your listening enjoyment; Hook (intro) 2:21, Meat (full rules explanation) 3:25, Hamster (Beginning Strategy Tips) 32:22, Footnotes and Musings 37:25.
Those just wanting the explanation or using the episode for teaching purposes can listen to just the first 3 parts, those familiar with the game can feel free to skip to parts 3 and/or 4.
In musings for Puerto Rico I discuss Puerto Rico's impact on Eurogames, what BGG ratings really mean, historical sanitation in games and childish game behavior!
Having tackled the New #1 I figured it was time for the Old #1 Puerto Rico. This game I think really requires players to have some idea of common basic strategies going into the game and hopefully this episode can help those new to this game.
In this show I cover the game I play the most, crayon rails. Huh? never heard of it? Well you better give this one a listen as the crayon rails system is an unappreciated gem. Plus the show has gone upscale with fancy sound equipment and software, boy I hope you can tell the difference
In the musings for this game I discuss tips to get the most enjoyment from the crayon rails series, an overview of many of the available maps for the series and suggestions for extra equipment with which to play this game.
From there I decided to do an episode I really wanted to do for a while. I love the crayon rails series having discovered it recently and being an older game I feel that it doesn't get the love it deserves.
Well what can I say it wasn't a very popular episode, but it should be cause the crayon rails games are grrrreeeattt!
This episode also marked the audio upgrade I finally splurged and bought a decent microphone, hopefully you should tell a difference between episodes 7 and 8
Actually I think Episode B was in between those two that was the first with the new mic. Episode B was a "special" episode called "How to Choose the Right Game" in which I gave game recommendations for different game situations.
In this show you get a 5 for 1 deal. I take a break from the big heavy games and take a look at some great abstract games. I will explain how to play: Take it Easy, Uptown, Blokus, Hive and YINSH, in that order. I finish the episode with some thoughts on abstract vs. thematic games.
I was getting a little worn out so I decided to do something easier, how about a couple of abstracts?
Well a couple ended up as 5; hive, blokus, uptown, yinsh and take it easy.
It was fun to do something different but I dont think it was very well recieved, it didnt get very many downloads, I think people would rather see the heavy complex thinky stuff.
Somehow this "short" episode ended up almost an hour.
Today by listener request our show is on Reef Encounter. A tough to explain game but I do my best. In today's musings I discuss the concept of schemas and talk a bit about online gaming.
I did a month long poll with about 10 different games at the guild and this one was the big winner.
I thought it was an excellent choice as I think the rulebook for this one is just plain awful. This game has so much going on that I tried to focus on getting you to understand the basic concept and work down from there.
Here it is. The 18xx episode. 18xx; The granddaddy of train games, a legendary game design, and an unforgettable experience. This episode will teach you how to play the great game 1830, which rumours say is due to be reprinted this year. If you cant find 1830, there are plenty of other great variations of this system out there which are discussed in the show.
Though the length of the show may be intimidating, dont be afraid, the major rules explanation is just about 1 hour. And for ease of digestion, I have cut the meat into six easily comprehensible chunks. Including not only the rules but some basic strategy to get you started.
I hope you will give this episode a chance and think about giving 18xx a try. This episode was an immense chore but it was a labor of love and a testament to a beautiful game design.
Because I thought Brass wasn't hard enough This episode's goal is to prepare you for your first game of 18xx. To not only understand the basic rules but some starting strategy.
Citadels the game of outguessing your opponents, its ten years old this year and still going strong. This was one of very first requests and I am finally fufilling that request. Sorry about more Princess Bride references but it just kind of fit, no more Vizzini and Inigo I promise.
In this episode's musings I talk about the included expansion to the game, the games wide polarity of opinion and wide range of players, with a focus on playing Citadels with just two.
I hope you enjoy it!
This game was one of our first requests so I was happy to grant it just a few short months later.
After an editing battle Episode #15: Caylus is finally finished.
My love for this game caused the length for this to get out of hand because I had a lot I wanted to talk about!
I start the episode with a segment trying to restore Caylus’ damaged reputation and explain why I think it is such a great game.
I include a lot of beginning strategy throughout the explanation and provide some strategic path guides in the hamster. In the vegetables I give you some seed ideas on basic strategy for favors.
In the musings I talk about a variety of Caylus-related topics, including a beginners guide to get started playing online at the great real time board game site BSW, at which Caylus is one of the many fantastic games.
But the big announcement in this episode is the launching of the "Caylubration:" International Caylus Celebration Day. June 6th 2010. A holiday that I just made up. The idea of the Caylubration is to spread the gaming goodness that is Caylus.
It is also a challenge to see how many people we can get to play Caylus at the same time. Sign the online pledge to pledge to play at least one game of Caylus online or in person, that day, or at least that week. I will be giving away a geekgold prize of 20 Geekgold! to one random lucky participant.
Let see how many we can get, can we get, 10? 100? Catch Caylus fever, join the Caylubration. Sign the pledge from the link on the How to Play guild at Board Game Geek or from the forums of the Caylus game page.
Time to do one of my favorite games, that is unappreciated by many, I started this episode with one of my favorite segments, "Lies people have told you about Caylus."
I also put together a CAYLUBRATION in which over a hundred people participated in celebrating this great game, maybe we will do it again next summer.
This is the first of a potential series of episodes moving beyond learning a game to Advanced Strategy. This podcast is intended for experienced players of the game looking to take their play to the next level.
This episode was released in preparation for Caylubration 2 in May 2011, an annual event to promote the playing of Caylus
Today I cover Reiner Knizia's excellent auction game, Medici. How to Play is also graced with our first actual real life Guest Stars, Scott Nicholson and Donald Dennis from "On Board Games" oh and the ubiquitous "Derek from Canada" I'm not quite sure what ubiquitous means but I like the way it sounds. In the musings segment we muse together on the Auction Game Genre. Enjoy!
Our first guest stars!
Having the opportunity to play games with Scott Nicholson and Donald Dennis we were able to do a bit of recording together and the results are at the end of this episode. Thanks Scott and Donald!
This time around I cover Uwe Rosenberg's other game, Le Havre. This is quickly becoming one of my favorite games. The mechanics of the game are simple but navigating the strategy can be quite challenging, hopefully listening to this show can give you a leg up on your first few plays of this great game or on how to teach this game. In the musings for this game I muse on Honesty and compare Le Havre to some similar games.
One of my new favorites gets some love.
The game that is even better than Agricola, my wife even agrees, she actually likes this one, horray! If only we had more time for games.
Today we cover a fabulous gateway game, Alhambra. This is a great midweight game to bring out with family or friends. As such in the musings I discuss the topic of attempting to turn your family or friends into gamers, can it be done and how? I also go over the other games in the Alhambra line and revisit my occasional tendencies towards silliness. I hope you enjoy.
One of my favorite lighter games.
A great gateway game and at the end I have a lengthy discussion with myself about realistic expectations and words of advice for introducing games to nongamers.
From a close vote at the guild today's chosen episode is Shadows over Camelot.
Gasp! A cooperative thematic experience game, not your typical HTP material! I talk about making this experience a great one. I also discussing using the Teach as You Go technique. A technique that works well with this game particularly and have a short discussion on other similar cooperative games.
The winner of a listener request poll.
Our first cooperative games, and we talk a bit about cooperative games and this brought up by listener Chuck Waterman about prepping your game students in what to expect from a game experience.
It also prompting me to put out an intro on painting miniatures which turned out to be a reasonable popular episode and got some people into the hobby.
Come explore Magic Realm, THE MOST COMPLICATED BOARD GAME OF ALL TIME.
This 1978 classic adventure fantasy game has long been deemed unapproachable by most, hopefully this episode can change that.
In this episode I will give you a basic walkthrough of playing the most basic version of the game. And the best part is you can play along with me using the Robin Warren's fantastic computer verion of the game RealmSpeak. (available at www.realmspeak.dewkid.com)
I will help you through the basics of your first few games, teaching you the goals of the game, the basic steps of a turn and the combat system. In no time you will be able to dive in deeper with the other 15 characters, exploring the magic system, hiring the native populations and more.
Enjoy exploring the Magic Realm.
The product of a summer of trying to learn the game.
For this one you dont even need to get the hard copy of the game! (Its hard to find) you can play on computer with RealmSpeak, I give you everything you need to get started.
This one wasnt for everybody, but some really enjoyed it.
It's great to be back. This one has been asked for multiple times, and it happens to be one of my favorite games, Colosseum. We get back to business with a good old fashioned Euro Game. In this episode I will explain to you how to put on the greatest spectacle Rome has ever seen. In the musings I will share a story about outside relationships being brought into games and compare Colosseum to Princes of Florence.
If you enjoy the episode please check out our new Teaching Guides. Teaching guides!
We get back to business with a good old fashioned Euro Game. In this episode I will explain to you how to put on the greatest spectacle Rome has ever seen. In the musings I will share a story about outside relationships being brought into games and compare Colosseum to Princes of Florence.
Ready for some time travelin' fun? This game is underappreciated, most people dont like it or haven't played it because they tried to read the rules and their brain began to melt. How to Play to the Rescue! Let me decipher this clever time traveling tile placement game to you. This game offers a really fun implementation of the theme of time travel within a strategy game, give it a shot. In this episode's musings I discuss bad rulebooks and my 3 pet peeves of such rulebooks.
I'm back. This time I cover a favorite from 2007, Stefan Feld's Notre Dame. If you have yet to play this one you are missing out on a gem, quick to pick up, moderate play time, but with a ton of strategy and tension. Great Fun! In the musings I discuss a new found disease in the gamer community and as a bonus give you an overview of some of my favorites of Stefan Feld's other games.
Try out the latest evolution in worker placement games, Dominant Species. This is my favorite game of 2010, and in my top ten games of all time. It contains all the things I love in my games, difficult decisions, an integrated theme and a great game experience. Learn to play it from this episode.
It’s a request episode, Hansa Teutonica. This is one of the best games to come out in the last couple of years. So download this and learn it today. Expect your typical amount of "How to Play" goofiness, also stay tuned for some exciting news regarding this podcast and more podcasting goodness! . Thanks to Mike Amos for donating this game to make this episode possible.