Throughout the convention I will be taking photographs, recording audio, and updating this liveblog with my experiences.
Checked in 51 minutes ago. After I checked in, despite being told earlier the hotel wouldn’t allow it before 3pm, I ran into Ben Gerber and his wonderful wife in the lobby.
My room is AMAZING! King size bed, couch, lots of space. Check out the below picture of the room and the view from my balcony. Did I forget to mention that? Yeah, I have an inside balcony looking over the pool. If only I brought my swim trunks with me. Oh well, this is a GAMING convention, not a swimming one.
Time to head down to the con, check in there, get my nifty badges, and take photos of the games.
Questions for the panel:
1) What are some good resources for learning how to use a mixer to podcast?
-I recently purchased a Behringer XENYX 802 to use with my Zoom H2 digital recorder and an ATR-2100 mic. I get some weird audio distortion when everything is connected.
2) What do you recommend as the best way to live-podcast the easiest? Aka live podcast for an audio n00b. Recommended gear? Things to do or not do.
3) Another gear question. Recommended entry level headphones?
4) Your most valued podcasting gear?
5) How do you evaluate when a podcast is ready to approach sponsors? What considerations need to be had?
Dice Tower uses 2-3 hours to edit the contributor content for when they record the show. They use a GoogleDoc to have a brief description for a top 10 etc.
3-4 hours to record an episode. They record 2 shows at a time. It takes 3 hours to edit each episode. Eric multi-tracks the recording, they record separately.
“And sometimes what I say is interesting.”-Eric
Tom then does 2 more hours doing prep, levelating, posting, PR, music, then another hour sending stuff out tot eh contributors etc.
Each episode takes 6-8 hours from soup to nuts.
Don’t do too much editing, then it becomes too obvious. They script what to say. Tom uses a few written words and can run with it based on his teaching and preaching experiences.
Ben Gerber uses G+ hangouts because you can see the other people. Makes it easier to pick up on the visual cues. Then the video is auto-uploaded to Youtube, you then download it and put it into Audacity.
Blix used Skype and each person recorded their own in. Tri Tac has 5 members. One person gets all 5 tracks and put them into Audacity and edit there. You can make a break in Audacity.
Blix has spent as much as 6 hours editing the 5 tracks. Uses ifreeskype recorder. LOOK THIS UP.
Don’t record into a single track if you can avoid it.
Editing is the number one hurdle to podcasting.
Interviews are tough because you need to edit for content too, if the guest talks too long.
Tom said content is key. If you wouldn’t listen to your own show don’t do it. If its boring then don’t do the podcast.
Try to listen to the episode a few weeks after. You can leave behind the editing process and enjoy it as a listener.
Tom suggests retaining a focus. Pick an interest and focus on it. Don’t narrow too much but you need to have a happy medium.
TriTac podcast talks about games in general but it always be brought back to TriTac games products. If it doesn’t come back it isn’t worthwhile.
You can become an expert on your subject. Pick an area that nobody else is doing and take that niche.
Ben’s focus is a format focus and not content.
A multi-host show needs to have at least one person guiding back to the subject.
Be sure to engage the audience. Can do an entire show with listener questions. Name the person by name, bring attention to the listeners. Highlight what they do and put a spotlight on them
Pick a style/shtick and listeners will enjoy the uniqueness.
Think carefully about your show name.
Record a few episodes and make your 4th episode the one you air first. That will give you time to get used to recording and editing. It helps you to “find your voice.”
Record a few episodes to have a buffer that can be used when you can’t record.
Tom said to keep at it. The number may be low but stick with it. The Dice Tower news show had under 100 downloads on the first day. They kept with it and it got up to 1,300 and thinks it’ll be up to 5,000 by the end of the year.
TriTac has thousands of listeners but little feedback. On the plus side there’s no negative feedback.
When getting criticism be sure to consider if it is valid. But, don’t change without reason. Internet criticism and real criticism is not the same all the time. The faceless mob is “both an expert and faceless” -Ben Gerber.
Slowing your vocal pattern and speed is helpful. That makes it easier for people to listen to.
Most people don’t like the sound of their voice but don’t worry about the sound of your voice inasmuch as focusing on your content and giving your best.
Be expressive. Talk to the mic like its a person.
-Don’t forget how much time it takes to edit. Nothing wrong with light editing, you can get a natural flow to the show. Some editing has to be done.
-Don’t start a podcast to get rich or famous. Do it because it is something you love and are willing to talk about it how over often you want. Do it because you love doing it.
-You are not working for a news network, don’t worry about expose. Be friends with the other podcasters and industry. Just tell the truth but have fun doing it. Don’t hole up in the corner and fight the world. It’s not fun,
-Know your voice and what makes you different from the rest of the people out there. You may need a partner if you don’t want to edit or need a little assessment.
I’m the first in the room for the Pod Casting 1.0 panel. Guess I’m an eager beaver. It’ll be exciting to hear what the experts have to say about podcasting.
Hopefully I can learn how to fix my mixer issue and a good way to easily get into live podcasting.
The rulebook for Battleground is pretty thick at 61 pages. Need to devote some quality time to studying it. My first impression is that this could be a blast to play and definitely worth introducing to the rotation with my historical gamers.
Chad Ellis, owner of Your Move Games, explained their game Battleground to me. The premise is very cool. It is a minis game but with cards.
He said the purpose is to make minis gaming as accessible as possible. It removes some of the hurdles that may prevent people from getting into minis gaming. There’s virtually no setup, you don’t need to paint/assemble any models, and you have accessible movement without the need for other aids such as measuring tape or rulers.
Your Move Games is expanding the core mechanic into historicals with the Second Punic War. Boxes sell for and include a Carthaginian army along with a Roman one.
Players get all of the cards necessary to build their entire army along with command cards. Command cards impact the game in different ways.
For example, the Accuracy card says:
“Play during an attack, before you roll to hit. Your unit gets +0 Offense +2/+0 this attack.”
The cards, in text and layout, remind me of Magic: The Gathering. The aforementioned Accuracy cards grants +2 offense.
The artwork is nice color 3D renderings. Text is crisp, easy to read, and nicely worded. The cards have a nice glossy finish making them easier to handle.
Listeners to Wargaming Recon know that I consider myself a subpar painter and anyone who knows me personally knows how long it takes me to paint anything. A game like this makes it easier to wargame.
The movement mechanic is sweet in that, like Maurice, it uses base size. In Battleground, the base size is the card. Distance is measured in terms of short or long card edge.
This is a longer live-blog update but I’d be remiss if I didn’t comment on the command and control aspect of the game.
Players use erasable markers, of the kind used in many a D&D game, to write on their unit card. A code is written to signify the overall aim of the unit.
For example, writing an H means the unit will be holding its specific objective. “The unit does not move. DUring combat it will shoot the nearest enemy if possible.”
A C means the unit will move its maximum movement towards the nearest enemy. A R signifies a range attack. A number can be appended to any of these codes to signify a given objective such as R2 meaning to conduct a ranged attack on your opponent’s unit that you wrote R2 on.
“You really need a [benevolent] dictator…who will listen to the other people on the board…and has the final decision.” in order for a con to last more than a few years.
Two months prior to the con you have no life. You are constantly working on all the details for the con. Most volunteers are on site only.
Having enough staff, not just volunteers, is key.
Sometimes it will be necessary to get rid of staff but also people have off years. So, don’t get rid of someone just from an off year. In-fighting amongst the staff and directors can make it tricky.
Visiting other cons and volunteering at them is a great way to learn what works, what doesn’t, and to network. This is key when planning your own con.
Running a con isn’t free. “All that stuff is dollars.”-Dr. Nick.
Everything from reserving spaces, printing materials (badges etc).
Be careful with the dates you pick. Take care to see what other events are happening around the dates on the calendar.
The state, local, and town chambers of commerce have people who specialize in cons and the hotel facilities around.
Be careful with contracts with hotels. The hotels will double-book you and find all sorts of loopholes. Standard clause says they can rearrange rooms without notification and move a con around.
He has been involved with running a con for 18 years. Angelia has been with TC for 10 years and is the Promo Director now.
Kelly was with OGC since 2004, “head executioner, former registration goddess.”
Nick Palmer aka Dr. Nick helped to run Carnage for 5 years and now runs his own gaming company.
“Payments are the only thing certain to last the life of the con.”-Teabag wisdom.
Ben Gerber asked “what is the one thing that you have done and will never do again.”
Dr. Nick said “Take on too many responsibilities and not delegate enough.”
Time to learn how to run a convention.
Nick Palmer, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Angelia Parenteau, and Bob Russ. This’ll be interesting. Glad I got a couple hours of sleep last night.
While playing Tugboat I was musing over the live Dice Tower recording. I couldn’t see any mics near Eric and Tom’s mouths. In retrospection it looked like they were using a Zoom H1 (or something like that) to record both of them.
In my limited experience trying to use a Zoom H2 like that, it has ended in failure every time. I’m surprised that they didn’t each have a mic like a Heil PR-90 or some other type of XLR mic.
It helps if I link to the cool people I’m hanging out with.
So, be sure to visit Sages of RPG.
Just finished playing a promo game of Tugboat, designed by Wayne Moulton Jr. of Sages of the RPG. Last year I played an earlier version and loved it.
Wayne made some tweaks such as the introduction of a few more player interaction cards. There is a sea monster and pirate card along with franken-ship that alter the game. The first two negatively impact your opponents. The franken-ship allows you to use it as any number and any color card needed.
Gameplay is straightforward. You play or discard 1 card, from your hand of 4, each turn, and then draw another. You can have no more than 3 tugboat cards in front of you. You need to turn in either 3 of the same color tugboat (as one of the three container ships in the center of the board) or three tugboats with numbers that equal the number on one of the container ships.
The first player to collect 3 container ships wins.
I love the new cards that Wayne introduced. A few minor alterations to be made to the game but overall it is solid. This is one game I’m looking forward to and would be willing to pay up to for.
It is surprising to see how often Tom says uhh and Eric doesn’t use many, if any, verbal placeholders.
There’s a new contest. Several games will be listed, listeners need to reveal the common thread. The first person to post that onto the BoardGameGeek forum will receive 30 geek gold on the forum.
They saved the recording to switch to top 10 games before going back to questions from the audience.
It is great to see Eric Summerer get into character for the live recording. His entire body changes along with his voice to discuss the game Saboteur. His arms and hands move around. His focus shifts to the mic as if it is a person he is speaking to. Incredible!
Edo is another game Tom discussed. ”You’re not going to score a lot of points in this game…You get most of the points by building houses.”
You pick 3 actions each turn. ”You can buy more of the tiles, you can get resources and stuff. It is an interesting game but…it is more brutal than Age of Steam.”
I’m feeling very existential. I’m live-blogging a live podcast recording of The Dice Tower, which I will then record for my own podcasts later tonight. Yo dawg I heard you liked….
PI by Martin Wallace is a deduction game like Clue. Tom liked it but thought the board was distracting, it is sooooo orange. His game group hated it. ”It was interesting and fun just trying to guess and narrow down…would I own it? No, its not differentiated enough from other deduction games.”
Eric Summerer tried Dweebies with his kids. ”It is a card-laying game. Each Dweebie has different job, astronaut and surfer etc. If you get identical Dweebies on two ends of a line you capture the line. It is very simple but the illustrations sell it.”
In other words, don’t play Hirelings the Ascent.
Tom is ripping into this game. ”Bad game decision…is when any game causes a player to lose a turn.”
An audience member asked the Dice Tower what they have for storage of random cool stuff. Tom has a draw of wooden cubes, one of cool d6, one of d6, one of wooden meeples from bad games, a plastic drawer of plastic soldier, one for plastic chips, one for blank cards from games and ticket to ride cards, one full of lost bits, and two others full of other types of dice, one for super glue, rubber bands, and so forth. He downsized.
They are video recording the live cast and have quite a setup of mics, which are actually far away from their mouths. Interestingly enough, Tom doesn’t wear headphones during recording. One staff member is recording audience members with a digital recorder.
They finished recording episode 290, and are doing a second recording for 291. Not a bad crowd, 24 people in the audience.