Flash of Steel header image 2

Three Moves Ahead Episode 161 – Safety in Numbers

March 23rd, 2012 by Rob Zacny · 16 Comments · Podcast, Three Moves Ahead


As is appropriate for a week where you join a group of podcasting super-friends, the regular panel of Bruce, Troy, Rob, and Julian gets together to discuss co-op gaming. They share old war stories, co-op and learning, what they want from co-op, and how co-op games employ adversarial and story elements. Julian tells a story about collaborative board gaming, Bruce strangles him.

Listen here.

RSS here.
Subscribe on iTunes.

Toronto Meetup Information
Email questions about the Idle Thumbs partnership to troy.goodfellow@gmail.com or zacnyr@gmail.com


16 Comments so far ↓

  • rhamorim

    I thought this podcast episode would be about Crusader Kings 2…?

    Regardless, co-op is also a very good topic. Listening to it now.

  • Troy Goodfellow

    We had to punt on CK2 because of changes in the panel. A show is coming up on that topic, but sometimes we have to call an audible.

  • MikeO

    Regarding Mage Knight vs Magic Realm, Mage Knight is a good game, and does have some things in common with Magic Realm, but it’s a much simpler game, and it is set in a sort of generic world. The thing I always found most remarkable about Magic Realm is how complete the world is. Every character and every monster seem to belong. I’ve rarely played a boardgame with so much personality.

    I received MR for Christmas the year it was released, and I too, played the crap out of it. I currently own two copies. But I honestly doubt I will ever play it again – it’s a lot of work to set up and play, more than I’m willing to endure for most games these days. Still, one never knows….it still has my favorite combat system from any fantasy boardgame I’ve ever played.

  • Nicklas Hjalmarsson

    “We had to punt on CK2 because of changes in the panel.”

    Sorry but I don’t get what punt means (not english native)?
    Will there be an eposide about CK2 in the future os is it cancelled alltogether?

    “A show is coming up on that topic,”

    A show coming up on the topic of CK2 or on the topic that you change the panel with the recent news about idle thumbs.
    I hope that you will still cover paradox stuff even in the new regime, CK2 being their flagship in recent years I think it deserves a show.

  • Habbaku

    I greatly enjoyed this episode when the show got around to discussing double-blind wargames (Risk 2210, in this instance). Of course, I also agree with Bruce’s indignation that the efforts were ‘wasted’ on that game rather than something better! :P

    One of the better systems for representing the system described that I have seen is Le Vol de l’Aigle (Flight of the Eagle), which represents several Napoleonic campaigns through the mechanism of an umpire shepherding two opposing teams. I heartily recommend looking into that if there is further interest in that sort of limited-information wargame.

  • Troy Goodfellow


    There will be a CK2 show.

  • Chris Hinton

    You guys did an AI War show and it didn’t even get a mention! For me, it’s the best co-op rts even being as difficult as it is.

  • Juho Snellman

    You asked for a non-adversarial co-ops that manage to keep the players separated. Space Alert is one example. It avoids the usual decision making by committee by introducing time pressure.

    The usual co-op “dictator” pattern won’t work, since there’s no way you could give all the relevant information to a single player quickly and reliably enough. Everyone discussing everything to death won’t work either, you’re dead before anything gets decided. Instead some kind of overlapping subcommittees of handling various issues will emerge based on people’s cards / projected locations. There’s the subgroup of energy management, another of red zone weaponry, yet another in charge of taking care of internal threats, etc. So you get this fascinating emergent synchronization of the whole group’s actions without there having been any ultimate authority deciding on it. The decisions look trivial, and indeed would’ve been trivial if one player with all the time in the world had been making them. But neither of those two conditions hold.

    When every piece of the plan works, it’s a pleasure to watch the replay. And when something fails (“What! Weren’t you supposed to be recharging the blue zone reactor on this turn?”) without there being enough slack in the plan, the results are generally just hilarious.

  • Vinraith

    I can only agree with Chris Hinton above, AI War is easily the best co-op strategy experience I’ve ever had. It’s also a massively different game than it was when 3MA looked at it way back in ’09, a revisit really is in order!

  • Ghost Bear

    I second a revisiting of ai war. Preferably with the cast actually playing a coop game before hand.

  • Bred

    As for double blind wargames, don’t forget the grand daddy of them all, kriegsspiel!

  • Anders

    Any chance you guys can get a talk with the guys behind Grimrock?

    Would be a VERY interesting podcast. Amazing that someone is taking a chance on a Dungeon Crawler.
    In my opinion Dungeon Crawlers are without a doubt strategy games with rpg elements.

  • Rob C

    Just listened to the show while mowing the lawn. You guys have such fun together. Even when the topic is something that doesn’t currently interest me (multiplayer), you guys make it entertaining.

  • Rob C

    I wish we could edit comments here…
    I used to love doing multiplayer Age of Empires at work. Since then I have moved several times and never made any gaming friends. After doing some minor online gaming over XBox Live I just couldn’t ever get into playing with strangers, nor do I fire up my Xbox 360 much anymore.

    I was late to the Grimrock party, but they have a great blog documenting its development. Here is where it all began: http://www.grimrock.net/2011/06/

    I second Anders motion. Almost Human Games would make for an interesting show.

  • Jeff

    Yes, an AI War revisitation please! Thirded?

  • Josh

    So far behind on the podcast – shamefully so. I’ve owned Betrayal at House on the Hill for awhile now and am of mixed feelings about it.

    The theme of recreating bad horror movies is fantastic, and one that is pretty welcoming to people new to boardgaming. The problem I mostly have with it is that the mechanics are slightly clunky, and what really should be a fast paced lightweight game instead gets bogged down in a multi-phase game (Phase 1- discovery/exploration Phase 2 – Traitor) with slightly wonky mechanics and stat tracking. I think ideally, I want the game to max out around 45-60 minutes, and instead it seems to have a tendency to drag on just a bit past its welcome.

    That’s not to say people don’t enjoy it (my wife for instance is a big fan), and I did take it with me recently on vacation and introduced it to some other boardgame types, who also enjoyed it. Though that does prompt the caveat that I did try it once as a gateway/introduction game to some non boardgame people and that was a pretty spectacular failure (it just dragged on way too long).

    So a decent, but not great game, made better with good friends and maybe a beer or two.