We’ve just published the 300th episode of Three Moves Ahead. Rob Zacny, Bruce Geryk, Tom Chick and I take a look at a cool little Vietnam war themed game. It’s not your typical wargame; it heavily abstracts the important political stuff that you need to pay attention to, and the map is random. You are not pushing counters. Anyway, we liked it. (Tom and Bruce loved it.)
But I’m not here to talk about Vietnam ’65. I’m here to talk a bit about the podcast and how it has grown and changed.
We don’t publicly release precise numbers, but to give you an idea of how big the show has grown from its start, the earliest shows have total lifetime downloads that new shows more than double on release day. Our top show in March has five times the downloads of our oldest podcasts that have been available for six years now – that March episode will continue to be downloaded for many more months.
Rob and Sean Sands talking about Europa Univeraslis IV in 2015 is now our third most downloaded show ever. It came out in January.
So, I can confidently say that our audience has never been larger, our preparation has never been better, and our growth seems to be steady after a real explosion in the 2013-2014 period. And, no, we still don’t make any money doing it, though Idle Thumbs paying for our hosting and our forum is a huge thing.
300 shows is a lot, and I probably never expected it to go on this long. Rob has now been lead chair twice as long as I ever was (I ceded the seat to him in Episode 100) and under his direction we’ve had a lot of great panelist and discussions.
A bit of history here. When I started 3MA in 2009, I invited two friends that had similar interests (Bruce and Tom) and an experienced podcaster that I greatly respected (Julian Murdoch). We were the starting panel, and Tom was good enough to let me use the forum at Quarter to Three to promote the show while we were getting things sorted. We eventually stopped doing that, but it gave us an audience foundation to work with. We invited Rob on some time in 2010 because scheduling issues meant we needed another body on the show, stat, and though he wasn’t someone I would have even called an acquaintance at that point (just a young writer I really, really liked), we grabbed him and he was excellent. That gave Tom some freedom to leave the show and start his own game podcast, yada yada yada. Anyway, the point is, the way the show looks now is very different from how it was conceived.
If you look at those early shows, for example, we did more thematic stuff. It’s been long enough that we might want to revisit those themes. Now that Steam makes it so much easier to get codes for almost every major PC strategy game, though, we can focus on games like, say Grey Goo, which has also been an oddly popular show.
So a few things I have learned in creating and advising on Three Moves Ahead. The caveat, of course, is that Rob really runs things, but I still have ideas. Warning – this is a long post with no pictures. [Read more →]