Tag Archives: Little Metal Dog

LMDS @ Essen 2012 – The Campaign Starts here

So, it’s that time of year where everyone in gaming is looking towards Essen – and here at The Little Metal Dog Show it’s no different. You’ll have hopefully heard the four episodes put together for last year’s event (if not, they’re all right here) and thought they were at least OK. They were a lot of work but attending Essen was an amazing experience – and I’d really like to do the whole thing all over again for 2012. And that’s where you guys come in.

To get The Little Metal Dog Show to SPIEL 2012 is going to cost a bit, so – after heeding the advice of some supporters – we’re giving the whole crowdfunding thing a go. Albino Dragon managed to pull in over $21,000 to get Ace of Spies into production but thankfully we need an awful lot less than that. The target is $800, which will be enough to get to Germany, sort out OK accommodation and get some decent audio gear to record interviews with. Also: a bit of currywurst, for currywurst is excellent.

Last year I managed to get nearly fifty interviews over the space of the four days and I’m aiming for even more this time around. If you’d like to help out, check out the indiegogo campaign and do what you can – even spreading the word will be massively helpful. For those who can chuck a few dollars in the pot there’s also stuff like badges, stickers and other things, but whatever you can do to help is appreciated.

Right. Enough cap in hand stuff. Here’s a little video saying pretty much the same stuff as above! Let’s see what happens, shall we?

Indiegogo Link: http://www.indiegogo.com/LMDS2012

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Episode 40 – Cadets, Cards and Caves!

It’s been a little while (thanks to being busy with Ace of Spiesdo go and back it!) but it’s time for a brand new episode!

This one brings three interviews straight to your door! First up, Brian and Geoff Engelstein join me to discuss their new project Space Cadets. A co-op game that sounds like it’ll be a barrel of laughs, they’re also planning a live version before Stronghold Games release it for Essen 2012. Max Tempkin from Cards Against Humanity comes up next to talk about the incredible level of success that their game has attained – after reprints aplenty, they’re now planning on producing international editions… but how will they go about it? Finally, Arthur O’Dwyer discusses the perils of taking classic 70s interactive fiction “Adventure” and transforming it into a game for the tabletop: Colossal Cave.

As always, thanks for listening – and now… bring on the links!

This episode’s sponsor: Wrong Chemistry from Mage Company! Check them out on Kickstarter: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gamerati/wrong-chemistry?ref=live

Direct Download of the episode: http://littlemetaldog.podbean.com/mf/web/ymhhwi/LMD_Episode40.mp3

Space Cadets on BGG: http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/123096/space-cadets

The excellent Ludology podcast, as presented by Geoff Engelstein and Ryan Sturm: http://www.ludology.libsyn.com/

Cards Against Humanity site (complete with Print and Play version!): http://cardsagainsthumanity.com/

Colossal Cave on Kickstarter (campaign runs until Sunday May 20th!): http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/765522088/colossal-cave-the-board-game

Arthur’s online version of Adventure can be played here: http://quuxplusone.github.com/Advent/index.html

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Episode 34 – Essen 2011: Day Four

The final episode of The Little Metal Dog Show’s coverage of the 2011 Spiel event brings you another selection of interviews straight from the show floor with designers old and new, all talking about the games that have brought them to Essen. From first time visitors to experienced industry veterans, everything you need to know about some of the most exciting games of the year is here. Grab it from iTunes or download it from here!

The fine people involved in this show are:

Jiří Mikoláš from Jira’s Games, talking about Space Bastards

Anne Cecile from Ludonaute, makers of Shitenno

Bezier Games‘ founder Ted Alspach (and here’s the Kickstarter link for his latest game, Mutant Meeples!)

The legendary Friedemann Friese from 2F Spiele

Kathrin Nos from German boardgame magazine Fairplay

Swan Panasia‘s very own Johannes aka: Joyo!

Konstantinos Kokkinis of Artipia Games (makers of Drum Roll!)

The mighty Stephen Buonocore from Stronghold Games

Though he’s not on this episode (as he ran away halfway through the day!), don’t forget to check out Paco’s excellent podcast and site: G*M*S Magazine – you won’t regret it!

Thanks as always to our podcast sponsors for this episode too: Eagle Games, makers of Pizza Theory (here’s the Kickstarter page) and Plaid Hat GamesDungeon Run.

Next episode will see The Little Metal Dog Show returning to a vague approximation of normality… see you then!

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Urban Space, man – Urban Sprawl review

It always ended up in one of two ways. Sometimes – rarely – I’d end up with the statue of Mario in the middle of my thriving metropolis. Most of the time the whole damn thing would go to the dogs, a horrendous series of disasters culminating in Bowser tearing my work to pieces once again, destroying the fine city I had created. Delete the save file. Start from the beginning again. Roads. Power. Blocks. I’ll get it to work this time.

Sim City on the SNES pretty much destroyed my mid-teens and I loved every second of it. Now, as my focus in recent years has turned to more cardboard based pursuits, I get to do it all over again. This time, however, it’s against other players and not the game itself. All the joy of building and planning a city with the added edge of competition, crushing your enemies before you. Urban Sprawl is here and it is excellent.

Behind the simple conceit and straightforward gameplay lies a wonderful game that demands you pay attention and consider each move you make. While it’s certainly a cerebral affair, Urban Sprawl never feels like it’s punishing you – it’s a heavy game, sure, but it’s a huge amount of fun…

A (relatively) quick runthrough on how to play. The aim of Urban Sprawl is to gain more Prestige than your opponents by constructing and claiming buildings on the map. By paying a certain amount of Action Points – you get a maximum of 6AP per turn – you grab permits and contracts to build. Placing them on the map costs money, signified by numbers dotted around the outside of the map. Add up the numbers on the rows and columns of the site you’re building on, hand over the cash and claim it for your own.

These buildings will (hopefully) get you some income and Prestige points as the game goes on. Some cards trigger a payout phase, worked out by seeing who has the most amount of buildings in a row or column and canny players will use their funds to try and get yet more control of the board. Not everything is rosy though – there are events that can cause a lot trouble for players. Conversely, some can be rather lucrative, gaining you yet more wealth or Prestige.

The board screams functional (a bit like Dominant Species), but everything's there for a reason.

There are other things to consider too. Vocations appear on some contract cards that allow players to take similarly labelled tiles; Education, Transport and the like. These offer some decent bonuses so making sure that you have a hand in at least a few is a good strategy. Also useful are the various Elected Positions, all of which grant you great powers. Most offer bonuses relating to one of the four types of building (Civic, Residential, Industrial or Government) but only the Mayor gets to beautify the town by placing parkland. The fact that the Mayor also gets a lovely bonus at the end of the game relating to parks doesn’t hurt either…

The Elected Positions change hands frequently during the game, so never get too settled! Clever play can ensure that you keep your hands on the role that you want though. As each election is decided in a different fashion when a Building Permits card showing the Election Box symbol pops up from the deck, it is possible to finagle yourself into a position to make sure you claim a certain role. It’s not easy, no… but it is possible.

As the game continues and the town fills up, bigger and better buildings are made available as new decks are brought into play. Starting the game with the Town deck, you swiftly move on to the City cards and finally the Metropolis stack. When the card stating that the Olympics are coming to your creation, the game ends and the winner decided. And that’s it! In a nutshell, get permits and contracts, build stuff, get cash, keep doing it. Simple!

But it’s not simple. Even with only two players, lucrative spaces on the board quickly get taken. With a full complement of four it swiftly becomes a bit nasty (in the best possible way, of course). You have to take so much into consideration; from restrictions on where buildings can be played to making sure you’ve got enough money to actually get them on the table, Urban Sprawl requires decent forward planning as well as your being able to adapt when someone else builds in the exact space you’ve had your eye on for the past couple of turns.

A golden rule is definitely Keep Your Options Open – you’ll need to. Or smash the other players’ buildings down and take over the spaces for yourself. They’re both good options. Perhaps try and combine the two?

The full game in all its glory. Utterly brilliant. (Photo by Chad Jensen)

If you’ve played designer Chad Jensen’s excellent Dominant Species, you’ll see a couple of similarities between that and Urban Sprawl; the wealth of available options, the ever increasing play area… however, they’re very different games. This latest release from GMT feels a little easier to get your head around when compared to Species, but that doesn’t mean that Urban Sprawl is light in comparison. Both games are highly challenging but – dare I say it – the later game feels… a little bit more joyous?

Perhaps it’s all down to those wasted hours with a SNES pad in my hands when I should have been sitting in a park drinking nasty cider, but Urban Sprawl just really appeals to my Inner City Planner. Creating this little town from scratch is all well and good but when you add in the competition element it’s even better. Yes, you’re all working together to make the thing, building off each other’s plays to keep yourself ahead of the rest, but it’s so much fun stomping over someone else’s hard earned expensive construction and replacing it with your own.

Who’d have thought that city development could be so gloriously cutthroat? Certainly not me, but after spotting Urban Sprawl on GMT’s p500 list all those months ago, I’m delighted that Chad Jensen has created such a wonderful game. I have a feeling this one is going to be on an awful lot of people’s Best of 2011 lists come the end of the year.

Urban Sprawl is available from the GMT site for pre-order now and will set you back $50 (though if you’re not quick, that’s going to go up, so get on it). Designed by Chad Jensen and released in 2011, it handles between two and four players in around two-and-a-half to three hours.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some building permit applications to submit…

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Episode 29 – Choose Your Own Podcast

This episode is one of those that makes me feel very lucky indeed. I get to speak with a legend, one of the people who had a major effect on my life as a child, RA Montgomery. As one of the driving forces behind the Choose Your Own Adventure books since the series began way back in the ’70s, the stories that his series put out took me on countless adventures without leaving the comfort of my school’s tiny library. We discuss how the series came to be, the importance of Interactive Fiction as a genre, plans for the future and – most importantly – exactly what was the deal with that secret ending in Inside UFO 54-40?

We also see the return of the fantastic Chris to help out with answering questions (and discuss exactly what he got for his birthday, the lucky bugger). As always, you can catch us both on Twitter (he’s @RallyIV while I’m @idlemichael) or email the show: michael@littlemetaldog.com is the address for your questions next time around.

Oh, and make sure to listen *all* the way to the end. Not that there’s anything there. Oh no.

Behold, this episode’s links:

Direct Download for Episode 29: http://littlemetaldog.podbean.com/mf/web/nwr5m9/LMD_Episode29.mp3

Our sponsor for this episode: Eagle Games present Buy Word and Can’t Stop (both classic Sid Sackson titles!)

The Official Choose Your Own Adventure Site: http://www.cyoa.com/

Mike Ward’s Destiny Quest (as mentioned on the show): http://www.destiny-quest.com/

Information on Kim Newman’s Life’s Lotteryhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life%27s_Lottery








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