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Idly Moving Ahead

March 20th, 2012 by Troy Goodfellow · 23 Comments · Three Moves Ahead

So this is big news for the podcast. We get attached to Idle Thumbs, a great and popular (though very different) show that will soon conclude an amazingly successful Kickstarter. Three Moves Ahead moves into even more unknown territory.

And I am personally very excited.

I’ve said time and time again that 3MA is the best thing I have ever done professionally. From its smallish initial audience to its now almost 30k downloads monthly, I have never failed to be entertained, illuminated or infuriated by my friends and peers on the panel. That I get to share this with you guys – an audience whose comments are on point and sane 98% of the time – is amazing.

This will be the biggest change in 3MA since I gave the reins to Rob Zacny over a year ago, and that’s a decision I’ve never regretted. The show changed some under his direction, but I never felt it deviated from its mission to talk about what makes strategy games different, malleable, special and approachable. I get emails all the time from listeners who say that they only picked up X HARDCORE GAME because we recommended it or made our disagreements interesting.

As I said in the mini-podcast, we will try to make the transition to the Idle Thumbs network as seamless as possible. Chris Remo, Jake Rodkin and Sean Vanaman are as anxious to make this work as we are, and, let’s be frank, they don’t need us.

They want us. They want you. They want all the help Rob and Bruce and Julian and I have gotten over the last three years. We have built something special and they will do nothing to stand in the way of that.

I could do a long list of thanks here, but I would leave someone out. If you’ve been on the show, thank you. If you’ve listened to me or Rob flail for a topic two or three nights before we needed one, thank you. If you’ve listened to a single show and thought “Hey, they’re not idiots!” then thank you. If I’ve spoken to you about this opportunity and shared your excitement or, even better, you’ve reminded me of questions to ask, thank you.

This is the beginning of a new stage and there will be growing pains. But I trust you guys and gals to help us stay on course. 3MA will always be about strategy gaming (except for the once or twice a year it isn’t). Bruce Geryk and Julian Murdoch are as much a part of this show as Rise of Nations references. Tom Chick, a founding panelist, will always have a place of honor.

But ultimately, the podcast is about all of us celebrating and sharing why strategy games are interesting, even in their failures.

If you do have any questions or concerns, I encourage you to email Rob or myself for next week’s WTF ARE YOU DOING? episode of Three Moves Ahead. This is an exciting time and the bunch of us are learning together and there will be screw ups. My first duty in podcasting is to the truth, and my next is to my audience. So ask whatever you like and I hope we have time to get through everything.


23 Comments so far ↓

  • Rob C

    It sounds like you are excited about this change, so congratulations! I have never heard of Idle Thumbs, so as far as I’m concerned they are fortunate to work with the TMA people. If you are convinced it is good to be part of Idle Thumbs, then I’m sure it is. Good work!

  • laler

    I’ve tried listening to Idle Thumbs a few months ago…every episode was a bunch of, generally, lazy jackasses, quickly covering the thousand console games they played since last week, and never really having a topic, or arriving at any interesting discussion. Actually, now that i think about it, TMA is the ONLY gaming podcast i know that actually have intelligent discussions at all. Hope you wont lose it all by joing these losers.

  • Delerat

    This news was such a surprise to me, but it seems so right now that I think about it. Both 3MA and Idle Thumbs have very unique styles of how they podcast.

    3MA obviously goes deep into strategy games and actually seems to understand them while other podcasts gloss over the actual content of these games.

    Idle Thumbs seems like the normal 3-4 guys goofing around and just talking about games, but then they catch you off guard when they start discussing design decisions and it becomes obvious that these guys know a hell of a lot about games and game design.

    Anyways, that was a long way of saying that I’m excited to see this pairing, and I have to wonder what other sites might get pulled in. It would be neat to see something like Whiskey Media form here.

  • Donk

    Sweet, two of my top casts.

  • Peter S (Mind Elemental)

    Like Rob C, I’m not familiar with Idle Thumbs, but congrats on the move – look forward to listening to the future episodes.

  • Andrew Doull

    Idle Thumbs is a podcast about video games.


  • kjchiu

    laler: Chris Remo works at Irrational Games, Jake Rodkin and Sean Vanaman work at Telltale Games. It’s fine that the original Idle Thumbs podcast doesn’t appeal to you, but drop the ad hominem attacks. Strategy gaming already has a reputation for catering to elitists, any attempt to dispel that myth and bring the genre to a wider audience should be applauded.

  • eznark

    Congratulations, guys. Idle Thumbs is a great fit. While they do get slap-happy and goofy at times, they also provide the most intelligent discussion of games and game narrative in the broad sense. They cover everything from tiny indie games to AAA shooters. It’s a great show and I think the niche that TMA covers is an excellent addition.

    I’m super interested to see where the network expands, though. The only other gaming podcasts I can think of that would fit are RPS (which seems to no longer exist) and A Life Well Wasted…which hasn’t published in years.

    The Thumbs guys are also planning a book podcast. Hopefully they’ll do some non-fiction, war strategy stuff and you guys can participate in that as well!

  • Eric

    Laler is just a blind hater. Idle thumbs is like a roller coaster of a podcast. Sometimes you get ridiculous talk about severed hand props from Jurassic Park, sometimes you get in-depth discussion about game design past and present.

  • garion333

    Oh man, I do so love Idle Thumbs. I’ve been listening to TMA since its inception and I’ll keep doing this, but the added exposure between to two fanbases should be interesting. Idle Thumbs isn’t for everyone (in fact, I hated it at first) and neither is TMA, but I see a lot of crossover between the two.

    Despite what laler says, IT covers a ton of pc games and gets pretty deep into things. But, yeah, the rest of the time is self referential humor and all around stupidity. It’s great.

  • deForrestation

    Congratulations Troy and Rob! This is fantastic news, and like others have said, the whole crew will be a great fit with the Thumbs regulars!

  • Vinraith

    To be honest, my first thought is that a larger, more mainstream audience is likely to move the podcast in a bad direction. I don’t think you guys would consciously do that, mind you, but I do believe that the audience drives the content and ultimately a different audience will mean a different podcast.

    I hope I’m wrong, obviously, and I’ll keep listening for the foreseeable future. You guys have more than earned the benefit of the doubt, after all.

  • Otis

    Very exciting news, 3MA and Idle Thumbs are two of my favorite podcasts. Congrats and best of luck with the transition!

  • Corto

    I am really excited and thrilled by this move. These are my favorite video games related podcasts and though they have very different in their themes and dynamics they share one very important thing: they are always entertaining. Hope there will be some cross guesting in some special episodes of both shows. And finally, thank you Troy and Rob for all your work creating and moderating this podcast and to all the rest of the panel of contributors for all their time they take from their lives to bring us this great show. Keep the good work!

  • Bred

    Congratulations! I know nothing of this so called Idle Thumbs but it sounds like good things will come from this Unholy Alliance.

  • Michael A.

    I’m not really a podcast person, so Idle who? But 3MA is the only podcast I have ever found worth following on a regular. It has been fascinating watching this grow from its humble beginnings to its current popularity – here’s hoping it continues to develop while staying true to its roots.

    Congrats to the entire team.

  • Jon

    Idle thumbs is my favorite gaming podcast, seeing you guys team up is a dream come true.

    If you want to catch up with Idle Thumbs, I recommend this 6 hour compilation: http://www.thisyearcollection.org/2011/10/18-idle-thumbs.html

  • Stormwaltz

    I’ve never heard of Idle Thumbs, and it doesn’t sound interesting to me.

    So long as TMA keeps showing up in my iTunes every Thursday and continues to intelligently cover strategy and war games, I don’t care.

  • Manresa

    Great, great news. Congratulations Troy & Rob (& Bruce & Julian & Tom & summer intern Soren).

    For those of you worried about some corporate takeover, don’t be. Idle Thumbs is just a small group of guys who like games and cast pods. They also have a tremendous acumen for web technology, design, and community building. This should open up a wealth of opportunities for continuing discussions spawned by the podcast, and possibly bringing people together to play games.

    One thing: is Chris Remo going to write a TMA theme song?

  • MikeO

    I don’t know anything about Idle Thumbs, but congratulations, and I hope it won’t bring any major changes to the show. I really think for the last year or so the show has really been humming.

    And I just received Bomber Command in the mail (almost had forgotten I had preordered it), so I listened to the great Lee Brimmicombe-Wood episode again. I hope if Bruce can get the time to play this one, you can have him on as a guest again. I’m going to do my best to try the game out myself relatively soon.

  • Bruce

    Mike, there will be a Bomber Command podcast with Lee. Don’t know when, and it may be a while because I need to find the time (and an opponent) to play the game first, but it will happen. My copy arrived yesterday as well.

  • Procyon Lotor

    As long as 3MA continues, I Am In Favor Of It.

  • Gunner

    Very cool news. I’m particularly excited about a TMA website/forum.