Archive for January, 2011

January 29, 2011

R.I.P. Iron Agenda (late to the table edition)

by Nate Birkholz

Nearly a year ago, I started to become interested in Warmachine (I didn’t even know Hordes existed, then). I had heard the D6 Generation podcast review of Warmachine Mk II, and it jogged past memories of the “new miniatures game” I had heard about years before, something people swore would actually survive trying to shove aside some of the crushing weight of the GW leviathan. I really liked what I heard from the D6G. The core mechanics sounded solid and fun, the smaller army sizes were attractive, it was apparent to me (as a maker of video games) that they had incorporated some solid game design philosophies from video games, and I especially liked the goals that Privateer had set themselves for what they were trying to accomplish with the Mark II revamp of the game.

Now, my response to anything is to research it into quivering submission, so I started to read everything I could find, beg, borrow, steal, or pry from the jaws of the Internet. Since I got my iPhone, I have really started to listen to a lot of podcasts, and the D6 Generation referred to “other podcasts” that were commenting on Mark II. The first that came up in iTunes was The Iron Agenda.

Looking through dozens of entries, I was trying to find a good place to start. Naturally I gravitated toward the “New Player Talk” episode, but I had borrowed a copy of Forces of Warmachine: Retribution of Scyrah from a coworker, so I made sure to grab the podcast where they went through that book. While the New Player episode was good, the Retribution episode was even better, at least with the context provided by the New Player episode. The lads did an incredible job of teaching listeners how to understand what a model does and how to interpret a stat line. I listened to those podcasts several times and started listening every week, and I pretty much learned two thirds of what I needed to know to start playing the game.

Over recent months, the podcast had felt a little thin, however. Once Tim didn’t have time to record any more, the group lost a little extra spark. Tim has a sardonic edge to him–and maybe a little more gravitas–providing counterbalance to the general tomfoolery that could occasionally take over, and he was good at bringing the group back on topic. Dave and Jason are hilarious and obviously know how to play and how to evangelize the game, but also seemed to be flagging in their enthusiasm for the podcast. Josh was a willing participant in some of the silliness, but also has an obviously superior grasp of tactics and could suddenly cut in with a really sharp observation, and really seemed to lead the charge more and more. Once Josh announced he was moving to Arizona, I figured the days were numbered. Sadly I was correct.

So I realize this is many days and a fat stack of cash both late and short, but thanks, Iron Agenda for being awesome. Thanks for the Blog Network, too, which really is a great way to bring the community together. Thanks for the tactical advice and the laughs and the absurd yet often accurate speculation.

And dammit, Josh owes us a mini episode where he goes through the Circle book: that was crappy timing on the move day, I had been waiting to get his take for months since he plays Circle.

So where do we go now for our audio fix? There are some podcasts remaining:

  1. Lost Hemisphere Radio. My favorite podcast for Warmachine and Hordes. Generally positive yet prone to real opinion, hosts who have fun and believe in what they are doing and saying, and of course, drinking games and ferret signals help make this top of my list. Plus, the hosts are like 50% of my readership so I have to list them first.
  2. Boosted Damage. I wish they didn’t keep the audio mix so quiet (hard to hear in the car), but the hosts of this opinionated podcast actually explain and back up their opinions and I like the insight into the gaming scene in Britain. John and Jon tend to dominate the conversation, but Chris and Conrad are far more than Greek chorus and the podcast would really be lost without their patient good cheer. And the Cryx hate makes me want to play Cryx, so thanks, Snape, for the motivation to be evil and broken.
  3. Guts N Gears. An independent podcast that sometimes comes off as essentially a house organ of Privateer Press. Relentless positivity and the cheeriest hosts in hostendom make for a pleasant experience, if you can manage to actually hear the podcast. Seriously, what is it with British gaming podcasts? You’re on the other side of the globe, speak up so I can hear you. Anyway, the frequent interviews with Privateer Staff are great and Sam and Andres and Vish are infectiously enthusiastic.
  4. Focus and Fury. Are you a strange mix of dork and bro? Are your knuckles scuffed from dragging on the ground? Do you get your kicks below the waistline, sunshine? You are probably still too classy for this podcast. Unfortunately, they also do get around to tactics in a useful way (whenever they manage to actually record), but I refuse to admit I laugh at the absurdity. And I miss the gaming scene in Minneapolis so it’s nice to hear it’s still very active.