Three Moves Ahead

By Idle Thumbs

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 Jun 23, 2019

 Jan 1, 2019


Three Moves Ahead is the leading strategy game themed podcast on the internet. Every week a panel of knowledgeable gamers with strong opinions meets to talk about the strategy and war games of the day, design issues and games in the wider world.

Episode Date
Three Moves Ahead 491: Master of Magic
This week we are going all the way back to 1994 to discuss Master of Magic. MoM, though not quite as popular as its bovine counterpart, was a very forward-thinking game. It offered many levels of customization not yet seen in gaming and inspired classic modern series like Dominions and Age of Wonders. Listen in as Rowan Kaiser, Jon Bolding, and Troy "Do you like what I've done with my hobbit hole?" Goodfellow discuss Master of Magic, sci-fi vs fantasy, and why generic magic isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Mar 25, 2020
Three Moves Ahead 490: Micro-RTS Games
Not every novel must be Inifinite Jest, not every RTS game must be Starcraft 2. Sure, sometimes you need to hold your copy of Starcraft 2 with the cover facing out so people at the coffee shop KNOW you're playing Starcraft 2, but sometimes you just want to play a quick game of something and get out. This week, Rob and Cameron Kunzelman discuss three RTS games the can be played in less time than it takes to listen to this episode. So once you are done loudly asking if the barista has a second bookmark you can borrow for the footnotes, take a listen to our discussion on Circle Empires, Escape Dead Earth, and Death Crown.
Mar 02, 2020
Three Moves Ahead 489: Mandate of Heaven
Rob, Brian "Chef Lu Bu" Smawley, Rowan, and T.J. discuss the Mandate of Heaven expansion for Total War: Three Kingdoms. Brian has been radicalized the populist vision of the Yellow Turbans and feels like only Zhang Jue has put in the work to lead China to a glorious new age. Rob and T.J., meanwhile, feel that incremental reform is the way to go. Rowan is out for themselves, but is also starting to wonder if that old Total War campaign inertia might not be settling in.
Feb 13, 2020
Three Moves Ahead 488: The Decade in Retrospect
Rob, T.J., Rowan, and Fraser gather to consider the last ten years in strategy games. There is a stark division about what happened to the RTS, as well as how the concept of a game being "finished" mostly disappeared. Then Rob tries to wrap up the show and it goes for another hour as everyone tries to choose their favorite genre game from the last ten years.
Jan 20, 2020
Three Moves Ahead 487: Best of 2019
Rowan, T.J., Jon, and Rob look back at 2019 and the games that most delighted or dismayed them.
Jan 09, 2020
Three Moves Ahead 486: Lion in Winter
It's Christmas at the Plantagenets as Rob and Troy watch the superb Lion in Winter and the less superb Becket. What do these movies have to say about history and politics, and is any of it related to historical fact? How good is Hepburn? What is O'Toole doing across these two films?
Dec 29, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 485: Phoenix Point
Jon and Rob welcome back Paul Dean to discuss Julian Gollop's and Snapshot Games' Phoenix Point, which tries to blend some of the old-school systemic realism of the original X-COM games with the ease of play of newer tactics games. It's all going well until the gang realize the AI plays like a zombie... and this isn't a zombie game.
Dec 20, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 484: Unity of Command 2
Rob and Troy are joined by Kotaku's Luke Plunkett to discuss Unity of Command 2, the long-awaited sequel to on of Three Moves Ahead's favorite wargames. How does the new setting change the game, and what's with all these new buttons?
Dec 12, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 483: Planet Zoo
T.J. and Fraser are joined by Bruno Dias (@NotBrunoAgain) to talk about Planet Zoo, Frontier's spiritual successor to zoo tycoon. Animals are great, but is managing everything around keeping them happy? Why are there 30-50 feral hogs on my trade screen? Zoo-ne in to find out!
Dec 02, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 482: Radio Commander
Troy, Jon, and Rob have been to The Nam and deep in "The Shit" this week as they play Serious Sim's narrative wargame, Radio Commander. To what extent is Radio Commander an actual wargame versus a cleverly disguised RTS choose-your-own-adventure? Does the distinction matter? What are the game's politics, and how do they affect Radio Commander's portrayal of contemporary politics? Most confoundingly, the crew wrestle with whether this is a good game that people should play, or merely an interesting experiment.
Nov 22, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 481: Close Combat: The Bloody First
Rob and Troy play the new, 3D Close Combat: The Bloody First and see how it measures up to the series' history.
Nov 05, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 480: 1999
Rob, Rowan, and Sean welcome Jeff Green to discuss what might be the greatest year in gaming. Looking down the release slate for that year, it was obviously stacked with brilliant games like Alpha Centauri, Freespace 2, and Jagged Alliance 2 (to name just a few). But did people know it was special at the time? And did anyone realize how fleeting that moment would prove to be, just before Microsoft entered the console wars and began to bridge the gap between console and PC?
Oct 11, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 479: Age of Wonders: Planetfall
Rob, TJ, Ian Boudreau, and US Gamer editor Mike Williams discuss the very pleasant surprise that is Age of Wonders: Planetfall. From initial skepticism over the fantasy series' pivot to science fiction, the gang are slowly won over by Planetfall's novel solutions to expansion and city management, diplomacy with minor factions, and glorious tactical combat.
Sep 25, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 478: Oxygen Not Included
Nicole Clark joins Rowan and Rob to talk about Klei's Oxygen Not Included and its punishing model of offworld colonizaiton.Learn how everything that can go wrong does go wrong, and how well the game communicates excruciating detail about why your colony is dying.
Sep 13, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 477: Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Rowan, Fraser, and Rob are joined by Kotaku's Gita Jackson to discuss their tenure as teachers at Garreg Mach Monastery. The gang talk about the really thougthful politics and characterizations that define Fire Emblem: Three Houses. Aside from that, is it a good tactics game? And finally, the gang gets into some serious spoilers about the game's shocking reveal midway through.
Aug 29, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 476: Pericles
Rob, Troy, and Bruce get together to discuss Mark Herman's epic wargame of the Peloponnesian Wars, Pericles. How does it capture the sweep of a vast historical subject that was only sometimes decided through military conquest?
Aug 23, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 475: Gerykon 2019: Reiner Knizia Games
The Tehran Conference. The meeting at Appomattox. The Council of Elrond. All historical gatherings that pale in comparison to the summit that occurred in late July 2019 as the Three Moves Ahead team gathered in Oregon for several days of gaming. Hosted by Dr. Bruce Geryk, Gerykon 2019 was attended by Michael Hermes, Rob Zacny, and Troy "I hope they let me back into Canada" Goodfellow. Bruce played the part of eccentric board game sommelier, guiding the group through several layers of gaming history. Our first episode about Gerykon 2019 covers several entries from Reiner Knizia, a household name among those in the know. From the dizzying heights of Ra and Modern Art to the baffling lows of Beowulf, we consumed great amounts of scotch and had many discussions about game design and strategy. Also, Rob made up a really gross name for a painting.
Aug 06, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 474: Steel Division 2
Rob and the gang are deeply conflicted over Steel Division 2. A good multiplayer game with some genuinely impressive detail about the armored combat on the Eastern Front, it's also a game that has not grown to match its subject, and then there's the matter of that campaign...
Aug 01, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 473: Historical Guardrails
Rob, Rowan, TJ, and Sean discuss how "historically" they like their games to play out and whether that wish is incompatibile with player freedom and variety.
Jul 12, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 472: We. The Revolution
Rob and Troy are bad revolutionary judges in We. The Revolution. But is there such thing as a good judge on a tribunal as compromised as this? It doesn't look like it in Polyslash's grim political adventure. The gang discuss the historical perspective that We. The Revolution adopts as well as its curious feature-creep as it moves from a straightforward legal procedural to something far more ambitious and less coherent. Why are you fighting for control of Paris? Why are you commanding soldiers in battle? Are its systems of political intrigue and persuasion any fun to use? The more you play, the less sense We. The Revolution seems to make, but the more hypnotic it becomes.
Jun 27, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 471: Anno 1800
Nice island you got here, shame if it wasn't fully industrialized! Fortunately Jon, Troy, and Rob are here to strip mine, clear-cut, and redevelop the hell out everything in sight. Troy puts this latest entry in the broader context of both the series and city builders in generals, Jon has made some mistakes, and Rob is both dazzled by the game's beauty but wishes it more fully captured the impact of heavy industry on nature. Also he is convinced somehow he can make a sensible grid layout out of a game built to confound them.
Jun 13, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 470: Total War: Three Kingdoms
This week's show is the alternate universe version of our 2013 episode on Total War: Rome II. It was two hours of non-stop slamming that poor game - a real massacre. But here we find ourselves in 2019 with Total War: Three Kingdoms in front of us, and things are different. It's good. It's very good. The load times are short. The AI seems competent. The vibrant Three Kingdoms setting is brought to life with both a story mode and a gloriously ahistorical mode that lets the characters shine. Rob, Fraser, T.J., Rowan, and special guest Ginny Woo explore this new entry that bridges the gap between the historical Total War games their offshoot fantasy cousin.
Jun 01, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 469: Imperator: Rome
Rob, TJ, and Jon are not quite sure what to make of Imperator: Rome, the latest historical grand strategy game from Paradox Development Studio. Should a Hellenistic warlord have such fine control over demographics? Is there much to do beyond empire-building? On the other hand, when the eagles are marching, does there need to be?
May 21, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 468: Same Thing, Different Place
The gang has been playing the Steel Division 2 beta and wow, things are different on the Eastern Front. That leads to a discussion of how familiar series and systems take on new life, or fail to, when adapted to new settings.
May 10, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 467: Hard Times or Easy Living
Rowan, TJ, and Rob and joined by Jon Bolding to talk about how the difficulty discussion and "designer intent" maps to strategy games... or doesn't. We discuss games that go out of their way to highlight a specific "way it's meant to be played" and whether that actually holds up in reality. We also talk about customization options and, when all else fails, the glorious tradition of house rules and outright cheating to find the way to play that "just right" for you.
Apr 25, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 466: Dawn of Man
Troy, Jon Bolding, and Rob discuss Madruga Works' Dawn of Man, a prehistoric and ancient history city builder and survival game. The gang is charmed, but also feel like there are some big gaps in the evolution of your city and society.
Apr 12, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 465: Mark Herman's Empire of the Sun
Rob and Bruce are here to sing the praises of Mark Herman's Empire of the Sun, a brilliant adaptation of the war in the Pacific. Enjoying the game through the magic of VASSAL, our wargaming duo describe how about Empire of the Sun does a commendable job of conveying the challenges of imperfect information, the plans of the Imperial Japanese fleet, and inter-service rivalry - all through the elegance of card-based play.
Apr 05, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 464: Dota 2 Auto Chess
Here's the word cloud for this week's episode: Dota2, mod, sports management, moba, battle royale, open world survival game with roguelike elements (jk but we need that SEO), deckbuilding, tower defense. That's right, we're talking about the mod for the game that's a copy of a mod for another game that has nothing to do with either of the things in its title: Dota 2 Auto Chess. Auto Chess is Dota 2 mod that you can play right now, for free. It's taking the world by storm, and it contains a satisfying combination of team management and long-term strategy. Rob, Rowan, and Taylor Cocke talk us through what the heck it is, how it works, and why Taylor seems to like it so very much. Also, a surprising amount of basketball commentary.
Mar 28, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 463: Classic Year in Review: 1994
Sound Blaster! 3DFX! Games that go unpatched because there's no way to fix them! That's right, we're going back 25 years to 1994. Yes, 25 years. We're all hella old, in case that had not occurred to anyone. But who am I kidding, if you're listening to this show you are probably part of the gamer geriatrics, pausing from your record run of Chip's Challenge or Kye to dust off your AARP card and get cheap coffee at McDonald's, nursing it from 9 AM to 11 AM before going to the smaller grocery store in town because the bigger store just has too many choices and the lights are too bright. Anyway, lots of good games came out in 1994. Rowan correctly names the Overall Game of the Year while Rob and Sean have good intentions but are unfortunately wrong. Art by Carlos Villa.
Mar 19, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 462: Sid Meier's Civilization VI: Gathering Storm
The seas are rising. The air is getting worse. Rock bands are forming. Fraser, Sean Sands, and Troy "The Diplomatic Juggernaut" Goodfellow go for Just One More Turn (tm) with Civilization VI: Gathering Storm. In this, the "second Civ expansion that finally finishes the game", the player fights against other civilizations as well as an increasingly hostile Mother Earth. Gathering Storm is a worthy addition to the series, but where do we go from here? Certainly not beyond earth (cough), but with Civ as a whole?
Mar 05, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 461: Three Kingdoms as a Setting
It's rare, but sometimes companies that aren't Koei make a game about the Three Kingdoms. During the runup to the new Total War game, we thought it would be fun to talk about the Three Kingdoms as a setting and the games from that past that have portrayed it well. Are you ready for a deep dive into Three Kingdoms history? No, like, a really deep dive? This week T.J., Rowan, Austin Walker, and guest Brian "Lu Bu" Smawley talk about their favorite factions, historical tidbits, and video game adaptations of this rich period of history.
Feb 12, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 460: Looking Ahead to 2019
2018 has come and gone, its crusty remains pushed to the side for new buffet plate (always get a new plate) of games coming out in 2019. Rob, T.J., and Ian Boudreau talk about the games they're excited for, the games they're cautiously optimistic for, and even some that they're dreading.
Feb 02, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 459: Warhammer 40,000: Gladius - Tyranids
In the grim dark future there is only war. No, really. In Warhammer 40,000: Gladius - Relics of War, there is no diplomacy system. All of that nonsense has been put aside in lieu of 40K chainsword murder. Gladius manages to be a chimera of strategy games. Is it a 4X? Part of an RTS? Grimdark Civ? Whatever it is, Rob and Fraser generally like it.
Jan 22, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 458: Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden
This week Rob, Jon Bolding, Giant Bomb's Alex Navarro, and Troy "I can't find the bard class" Goodfellow take a look at Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden by The Bearded Ladies game studio. Mutant Year Zero combines XCOM-like tactical gameplay with a post-apocalyptic setting that's a joy to look at. Its boardgame roots are evident in its sharp gameplay and rich setting.
Jan 12, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 457: A Look Back at 2018
We threw restraint to the wind with our 2018 wrapup this year, so you get TWO episodes for for the same great price. Session one has Rob, Troy "this is the year my musical theater career takes off" Goodfellow, and Jon Bolding talking about their favorite games. After that, T.J. Hafer, Sean Sands, and Rowan Kaiser go into their top picks including all the Paradox-y stuff that we don't let Troy talk about. It's a long episode for what felt like an incredibly long year. 2018 hit us with a lot of political, military, and economic turmoil, so sometimes it's good to kick back with a strategy game and focus instead on political, military, and economic turmoil that we can control. These are our top (and maybe not so top) picks of the year.
Dec 31, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 456: Crusader Kings 2: Holy Fury
It's been a minute since we've talked about Crusader Kings 2, so why bring it up now? Holy Fury - the latest major DLC - is one of the most significant changes to date, moving CK2 even closer toward RPG than grand strategy game. Is this the expansion that restores Fraser's interest in the game? Is this really the last expansion? What is the future of CK2? Why does T.J. go on and on and on and on about succession laws? Can you really be a duck? T.J. and Fraser answer all these questions and more.
Dec 26, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 455: Classic Year in Review: 2003
From the dizzying highs of the Frozen Throne to the baffling lows of Master of Orion III, 2003 was a darn good year for games. Prince of Persia: Sands of Time became a hallmark for many gamers, and Rise of Nations came onto the scene to become the "other" kind of RTS. Korsun Pocket (recipient of its own 3MA episode) showed us what amazing AI could look like, and Knights of the Old Republic grew T.J. into the person he is today. Rob, Rowan, and T.J. hop into the Wayback Machine to go to 2003, when invading Iraq seemed like a cool idea. In and out war, Morty, 20 minutes tops.
Dec 20, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 454: Armored Brigade
If the notion of the modern RTS makes you break into a cold sweat as you think about APM and wrist pain, we have good news for you: Veitikka Studios has created a more elegant weapon for a more civilized age. Armored Brigade puts you in command of cold war-era equipment in an impressively generated battlefield. The excellent scenario generator and impressive AI turn this game into something special, much to the delight of our panel. Rob, Ian Boudreau, game designer Rod Humble, and Troy "You've given me a heart and a brain" Goodfellow explain why Armored Brigade turned out to be an excellent game to round out 2018.
Dec 14, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 453: Black Hawk Down and Zulu
We're trying something different at Three Moves Ahead this week. Rob and Troy "am I Siskel or Ebert?" Goodfellow take a brief respite from gaming to to discuss two historical military films: Zulu (1964) and Black Hawk Down (2002). Let us know in the forums if you enjoy this discussion of movies, imperialism, and interventionism.
Dec 06, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 452: After Dark 2018
Every once in a while we like to kick back, pour a drink, and check in with the crew to see what's going on. This week it's Rob, Rowan, and Michael on the air to discuss what they've been playing - strategy or not. Michael bares his soul to share the things that bring him joy, only to be mercilessly mocked by the two jerks that aren't writing this episode summary. Rowan describes his love / hate relationship with Pathfinder and Rob details his love / love relationship with Steel Division. We also touch on the new Civilization VI expansion announcement and discuss some upcoming plans for the Winter of Wargaming.
Nov 22, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 451: Cities: Skylines - Industries
Cities: Skylines has continued to grow, adding expansions like so many strip malls to suburban hell. The latest DLC, Industries, shines a light on the utilitarian but necessary underbelly of any city: the industrial zone. But does Industries really capture the economic importance of production and mining? To answer this and other important questions, Rob and T.J. are joined by Justin Roczniak (donoteat01 on Youtube), who offers a comprehensive breakdown of the city building genre from an urban planning perspective.
Nov 16, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 450: Two Point Hospital
Are you down with PPO and dyslexia treatment? If so, this week's show may be for you. Rob, Jon Bolding, and T.J. Hafer dive into Two Point Hospital, a spiritual successor to the U.K.'s favorite sim, Theme Hospital. Two Point Hospital endeavors to lighten up the otherwise serious business of health care, illess, and piles of corpses with a light sense of humor and a clean (an)aesthetic.
Oct 24, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 449: Frozen Synapse 2
Frozen Synapse 2 is here, bringing combat that is an intricately planned and delicate ballet that ends with a shotgun to the face. Rob, Jon Bolding, and Troy "Wait, you said we were just going out to ride Tron bikes" Goodfellow plan and shoot their way through a cyperpunk collection of hallways and doors.
Oct 12, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 448: Valkyria Chronicles 4
Sega's not-really-World-War-II set in kinda-Europe returns in Valkyria Chronicles 4. Valkyria Chronicles marries tactical military gameplay with anime style and story. This extra long episode of 3MA, which features Rob, Heather Alexandra, and Austin Walker, covers a wide range of topics: Austin's definitive thesis on anime, Rob's complex feelings about Cowboy Bebop, problematic butt pats, the first episode of The Shield, and occasionally Valkyria Chronicles 4.
Oct 04, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 447: Tactical Management Games
This week features a veritable smorgasbord of strategy games as we try and define the Tactical Management Game. It's not quite a management sim and not quite a tactical strategy game. We're looking for games that include a deep strategic or base building layer that also allow you to call some of the proverbial and literal shots. From sports management games to ironman-roguelike-procedurally-generated-party-combat romps, there's a lot of ground to cover. So listen in as Rob, Rowan, Heather Alexandra, and Boudreau get into defining Rowan's white whale of genres.
Sep 21, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 446: Phantom Doctrine
Phantom Doctrine promises a combination of tactical combat and sleuthing with cold war-era spycraft and compelling procedural narratives. Its delivery on those fronts is charming but ultimately falling short of the goal. Join Rob, Evan Lahti, and Xalavier Nelson Jr. as they dive into Phantom Doctrine and end up talking about Hard West.
Sep 13, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 445: Mark Herman's Fort Sumter
Bruce is joined once again by noted game designer Mark Herman to discuss Fort Sumter: The Secession Crisis, 1860-61. Fort Sumter is a short-form card driven game that highlights the tumultuous time leading up to the Civil War. In this wide-ranging discussion Bruce and Mark talk about the high amount of wargames coming to market, crisis dimensions, and the invasion of Japan.
Sep 05, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 444: Six Ages: Ride Like the Wind
King of Dragon Pass, a longtime cult favorite, is one of gaming's best storytelling platforms. In a fantasy world older than Dungeons & Dragons, King of Dragon Pass combined elements of choose your own adventure, strategy, management and council politics that went unrivaled for almost twenty years. The developers at A Sharp have now returned to deliver a new entry in the world of Glorantha with Six Ages: Ride Like the Wind. Featuring the same unique play style of King of Dragon Pass and similarly gorgeous art, Six Ages allows players to manage cows, the Gods, magic, and more cows. Six Ages recently debuted on iOS exclusively, but will be available for PC next year. Join Austin Walker, Jon Bolding, and Troy "I hope this time I can marry a goat" Goodfellow in talks about trolls, raiding, and praying to all the right deities.
Aug 31, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 443: The Best RTS Comp Stomps
The future will not be pretty. Advances in AI and robotic mobility makes it clear that we are only years, if not months away from Skynet becoming self-aware. When it does, it will look back on what humans have wrought and it will rain fire upon us. Consider: the videos of Boston Dynamics mercilessly kicking robot dogs. Consider: the subjugation of the wild Roomba. Consider: the term "comp stomp", in which a team of human players collaborate to battle, mock, and ultimately defeat a computer opponent. Join Rob, Sean Sands, Bruno Dias, and Troy "I always say 'glhf' to the AI" Goodfellow as they examine the real time strategy games that make beating up robots fun.
Aug 24, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 442: Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
Ever since Troy Goodfellow founded Three Moves Ahead in the mid-60s, the same question has been asked over and over: When will you cover a Mario game? Your emails, faxes, and mimeographed tracts have been heard, and we are proud to present our first Mario-based episode: Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle for the Nintendo Switch. Rowan Kaiser took over the studio along with guests Danielle Riendeau and Ben Bertoli to talk about Mario + Rabbids and its expansion, Donkey Kong Adventure. Referred to as "Mario XCOM" since its announcement, Mario + Rabbids combines tactical gameplay with the character and charm one would expect from a Nintendo + Ubisoft game. Is this the first Mario game we've covered on 3MA? We believe so. Is it the last? Not likely, given the strategic depth and Cold War undertones of Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker.
Aug 16, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 441: Rob & Bruce & WWI
This week: Dr. Bruce Geryk, Sommelier of the Somme, guides Rob through several unconventional takes on WWI combat. World War I poses a serious challenge to the game designer, but Bruce takes us through several examples of how to do it right. Get ready for talks about "historicity", which should not be confused with the classic Police album, "Synchronicity". Some say it's their greatest album, but I'm more partial to Ghost in the Machine, myself. Anyway, let's talk about Paths of Glory, The Lamps are Going Out, and Fields of Despair.
Aug 10, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 440: Cultist Simulator
Cultist Simulator is a game - maybe - that revels in its own vagueness. Not knowing what it's about or what you're supposed to be doing at a given time seems to be the point. There's a story in there somewhere, but will you be able to find it? Rob, Cassandra Khaw, James Persaud, and Troy "A hedonist club is a good place to spend money and meet people, but the bookstore is better" Goodfellow dive into the eldritch horrors of neatly arranging cards on a table and wondering what it's all about.
Aug 02, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 439: Cataclysm: A Second World War
In a rare live and in-person episode, Rob joins Dr. Bruce Geryk in his mountain lair to talk about GMT Games' Cataclysm: A Second World War. Cataclysm is a board game that offers a deep political system along with standard military fare, succeeding at the former and passably presenting the latter. Players have to adapt to the dynamic early 1930s political landscape and steer their nations to success in an atypical pre-WWII world.
Jul 23, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 438: Procedural Content and Strategy Layers in Games
It used to be enough for mainstream games to claim they had "RPG elements". Now we see games with base-building and "strategic layers" - what does that mean? Can one truly take two disparate genres and combine them in a meaningful way? And does procedural generation of content ever live up to its promises? State of Decay 2 ends up being the whipping boy as Rob, Steven Strom, Rowan, and Fraser discuss all of the above.
Jun 23, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 437: Slay the Spire
Slay the Spire, a deckbuilding game that won't require you to take out a second mortgage on your house, has captivated the members of our panel. Its crisp gameplay and tight design has the internet abuzz, and it's quickly becoming the darling of the deckbuilding scene. It's so good it even got Julian back on the show! Listen in as Julian, Sean Sands, Austin Walker, and Troy "The rarest card in my booster was a swamp mana" Goodfellow as they talk about what keeps them coming back to Slay the Spire.
Jun 14, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 436: To Infinity Engine and Beyond
Games like Baldur's Gate cast a long shadow but, like a racist grandparent, come along with too many caveats of being a product of their time. There have been many attempts to capture the magic of early CRPGS while adding modern accoutrements, and the financial success of games like Pillars of Eternity and Dragon Age: Origins are clear indicators that the public is looking for such a product. But have any of these attempts actually nailed the CRPG formula? Is a modern CRPG truly worth pursuing, and were the originals as good as we remember? Join our host T.J. Hafer, Rowan Kaiser, and Cameron Kunzelman as they travel from the Gold Box to the most recent iteration of Pillars of Eternity in search of the perfect CRPG.
Jun 07, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 435: Omnia vincit Roma
This week we explore Rome. Not the Total War game (though it gets mentioned), but Rome itself - as a historical interest and as a touchpoint in gaming. If you've listened to the show in the past, it's no secret that several members of our panel have a strong interest in the Roman empire and the fascinating history that surrounds it. In this episode we finally let everyone loose to talk about the period without worrying about a specific game review to guide the discussion. Listen in as Rob, T.J., Rowan, and Troy "I wear socks with caligae" Goodfellow dive deep into their collective knowledge and discuss ancient Rome.
May 28, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 434: Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia
Rob, T.J., and Fraser sharpen their berserker axes and talk about Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia. This new offshoot of the main series changes the scope by zooming in on the British isles at the time of Viking invasions. While the game has its high points, Thrones of Britannia misses the mark quite often, not unlike the hordes of anonymous archers found within. It's not necessarily that-first-episode-we-did-on-Rome-2 bad, but apparently it's all the same to Fraser.
May 16, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 433: Frostpunk
It's the most Hobbesian Three Moves Ahead ever as Rob, Jonathan Bolding, and Xalavier Nelson talk about Frostpunk. This episode covers all of the pillars of Three Moves Ahead's moral compass: Megalomania, child labor, Dune references, and the knowledge that the death of faceless numbers will always be preferred if advancing the common good. Or the tech tree.
May 08, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 432: BATTLETECH
Harebrained Schemes' BATTLETECH is here and it has stomped its way into our hearts. The strategy game based on the PC simulations based on the RPG based on the tabletop game (or something like that) appeals to the more modern tactics fan and the Gen X supernerds that were there at the beginning. Rob, Rowan, Rob Daviau, and Jonathan Bolding discuss the merits of the game and come up with a strong recommendation for it despite some launch-time technical problems.
May 01, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 431: Hearts of Iron IV: Waking the Tiger
T.J. Hafer is our host with Rowan Kaiser and author April Daniels as we look at the latest Hearts of Iron IV expansion, Waking the Tiger. Released long with the major game patch "Cornflakes", Waking the Tiger adds all the usual suspects for a Paradox expansion: new game mechanics, skill trees, and enhancements for specific countries. Is Communist China the place to be now? What about alternate history packs, like Kaiserreich? Waking the Tiger extends the legs of HOI and gives us a positive outlook for the future of the game.
Apr 21, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 430: Classic Year in Review: 1998
The year is 1998 and the 500 lb. gorilla in the room is Starcraft. Blizzard creates the finest Warhammer 40K game ever made and changes the RTS landscape forever. Half-Life. Ocarina of Time. Baldur's Gate. Is 1998 the greatest year in history for gaming? Listen to Rob, Rowan, and Troy "Starcraft: The cutscenes were nice" Goodfellow discuss the details.
Apr 14, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 429: Subterfuge
Do you like submarines? Do you like being irrationally angry at your best friends? How about checking your phone at 2 AM? Subterfuge may be the relationship ender you've been looking for. Rob is joined by Kotaku's Heather Alexandra, PC Gamer's Philippa Warr, and freelance writer Nick Capozzoli to talk about Subterfuge, a game about being a jerk. Inspired by the long-form RTS gameplay of Neptune's Pride, Subterfuge is as much a game about relationships with other players as it is tactics. The panel discusses their emotional highs and lows when dealing with the hell that is other people, and you can hear the frustration as Rob demonstrates the most exaggerated sigh in the history of podcasting.
Apr 06, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 428: Gary Grigsby's War in the West
The Winter of Wargaming marches on with Gary Grigsby's War in the West. Bruce joins Rob and Troy "No, really, the Canadian military was actually very invol-" Goodfellow to talk about the the thundering behemoth that is War in the West. It's been long established that panel enjoys Gary Grigsby's earlier War in the East, but does that love carry over to War in the West? The eastern front may have certain qualities that make it the perfect candidate for strategy at this level, while the West finds itself pushing and pulling the player's attention in too many different directions. Listen in to find out what the panel thinks and why PC gaming is dead. Forever.
Mar 30, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 427: Northgard
This week Rob and Troy "Canadians are just as tough as Vikings" Goodfellow are joined by Waypoint's Ian Boudreau and Cameron Kunzelman to talk about Shiro Games' Northgard. A reasonably-paced RTS set in the time of Vikings, Northgard gives you a thoughtful, boardgame-like experience that isn't focused on APM. Northgard turns the tables on traditional RTS games by emphasizing a small number of precious units rather than throwing hordes at the player. The winters can be brutal, but Northard earns a strong recommendation from the panel.
Mar 24, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 426: Into the Breach
Our cadre of mechs is at full capacity as Rob, Rowan, PC Gamer's Evan Lahti, and Troy "Tide pods, time pods, either way put me down for two" Goodfellow talk about Subset Games' Into the Breach. Following their massively successful space-faring game FTL, Subset has created a gem of a turn-based strategy game in which you pilot mechs across small battlefields and occasionally through time. Part battlefield tactics and part chess puzzle, Into the Breach manages to strike a fine balance between replayability, short play sessions, and engaging tactical play.
Mar 18, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 425: Stellaris 2.0 & Apocalypse
It's a full house as Rob, Fraser, Sean Sands, and T.J. Hafer talk about the large 2.0 update to Stellaris and its Apocalypse expansion. Do you hate planets? Do you often think about blowing them up? Would you prefer another target, a military target? Apocalypse adds big ships and explodable planets just for you. The 2.0 update has added several key features, such as the fleet manager and big changes to starbases. Have all these changes tightened up the midgame and turned Stellaris into a space hit? Listen in to find out.
Mar 09, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 424: Command Ops 2
The Winter of Wargaming continues with Panther Games' Command Ops 2. Released a while ago under a different name under a different publisher under a different moon, Command Ops 2 is real-time wargame that truly puts you in the shoes of a commander. The realistic order delay and beautifully tactical map make this a unique wargaming experience that can be played in a variety of theaters. Rob, Michael, and Troy "Even in my simulations no one listens to me" Goodfellow dive into what makes Command Ops such a gem.
Mar 02, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 423: Civilization VI: Rise and Fall
Civilization VI is a complex game. Not in terms of its rules, or how it plays, but in the reaction it garners from fans and critics. Of course it's a good game. Is it a great game? What parts of it are great and what parts aren't? Does the latest expansion, Rise and Fall, change the things that are holding it back? That's a lot of questions. The good news is that Rob, Rowan, and Fraser take their sweet time answering them in this two hour episode that goes from the fundamental aspects of the game real-life politics. So, settle in for a long one as we go through Civilization VI: Rise and Fall.
Feb 23, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 422: Command: Modern Air / Naval Operations
We kick off the Winter of Wargaming with a whale of a first show: Command: Modern Air / Naval Operations. CMANO is a simulation built for the military and played by you, the military enthusiast at home. The depth of the unit database, the scope of its missions, and the granularity of its control make one of the more intimidating games in our discussion roster. Bruce, Michael, and Troy "they call me the Nimitz of the sea" Goodfellow dive into what makes CMANO fun, or maybe not fun, but sometimes confusing, though usually entertaining.
Feb 16, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 421: Nantucket
Call me Zacny. Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my Steam Wallet, and nothing particular to interest me on shore... you know what, you get it. It's Moby Dick. This week, Rob, Matthew Flanigan (thehistoricalgamer on Youtube) and Troy "No I don't have scurvy this is just how I look" Goodfellow talk about the debut game from Picaresque Studio, Nantucket. Nantucket is a strategy / RPG hybrid that has the player managing a whaling vessel and setting out to sea to earn their fortune in the trade of whale anatomy. Our whaling crew agrees that Nantucket is a beautiful and well-crafted experience with some room for improvement, but definitely a contender for Best Whaling Simulator of Q1 2018.
Feb 08, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 420: Classic Year in Review: 1993
Rob, Rowan, and Troy "my arcology's economy is based on poutine" Goodfellow fire up the Wayback machine once again to visit the pixely past of 1993. It is a monumental year for games as Doom is unleashed onto the public in a swath of blood and gore while Myst is released in a swath of ambient music and confusion. Have you heard of this new-fangled contraption, the CD-ROM? What a time to be alive. Strategy heavyweights Master of Orion and SimCity 2000 hit the scene, establishing groundwork that gamers will know for decades to come. Join us in the hazy past that doesn't feel like 25 years ago but it is and oh my God I'm old.
Feb 02, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 419: Europa Universalis IV in 2018
This week we return to an old friend, a stalwart companion, an evergreen delight that has been with us for years and years and years and years. Europa Universalis IV received several updates and expansions in 2017, and while the game has not changed radically it has matured like a fine wine that was traded from the Bordeaux trade node to Ragusa. In a 3MA first, T.J. Hafer is at the helm to host the show along with Rowan Kaiser and Gamers with Jobs' Sean Sands. Prepare yourself with a deep dive of finer details of EUIV as it exists in 2018.
Jan 23, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 418: They Are Billions
This week Rowan, Fraser, and Troy "Why are you slathering me in zombie-q sauce?" Goodfellow talk about They Are Billions by Numantiam games. Zombies are back, but there are even MORE of them in this Early Access title. They Are Billions is a real time strategy game that has you manning the ballistae and defending your steampunk-ish city against relentless waves of the shambling dead.
Jan 14, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 417: 2017 in Review
Another year of strategy gaming has come to a close. Rob, Rowan, and T.J. are here to tell you what they liked, what they didn't, and what left them vehemently ambivalent. Rob doesn't bury the lede and jumps out with his GOTY right away and Rowan fulfills his duty of making people feel bad for liking certain things.
Jan 04, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 416: Dominions 5: Warriors of the Faith
This week Michael, Bruce, Jonathan Bolding, and Troy "I've never met a succubus I didn't like" Goodfellow talk about Dominions 5: Warriors of the Faith. Illwinter Games continues their long-running master class in world building and fiction in games with the fifth entry in the series. Dominions combines wargaming with a diverse fantasy setting that has attracted a loyal fanbase over several versions and decades. The panel talks about what is new in the series, whether the graphics really matter, and why it's fun to be a monolith.
Dec 20, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 415: Endless Space 2 Revisited
We put the call out to our Patreon backers: What game would you like us to circle back on? The winner of a heated battle was Amplitude's Endless Space 2. Released in May of 2017, Endless Space 2 took some of the learnings of a 3MA favorite, Endless Legend, and applied them to their original dust-using space 4X Endless Space. How has the game fared since launch? What is the Academy? Do we really need it? What does Amazon buying Whole Foods mean for hero availability? And, seriously - where are these pirates getting all this tech?
Dec 12, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 414: 1997 in Retrospect
1997. Garry Kasparov loses a monumental chess match against Deep Blue, changing the state of chess forever. Troy Goodfellow acts as a body double for Leonardo DiCaprio in the recently released Titanic and the Notorious B.I.G. informs us that more problems are inevitable when one experiences a sudden increase in liquid assets. Also, a whole bunch of really great strategy games came out. This is the first in a series of (nonconsecutive) retrospective episodes in which the panel goes back in time to review what were some really standout years. This week Rob, Rowan, T.J. Hafer, and Troy "Did you know I had a bit part in the Fifth Element?" Goodfellow discuss all of the best titles from 1997. We award titles for Best RTS, Best Grand Strategy Game, and Best Wargame for this most auspicious of years.
Dec 04, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 413: Myth
It's time for another patent-pending Three Moves Ahead Classic Game Analysis as Rob, Gamers with Jobs' Shawn Andrich, and Rock Paper Shotgun's Adam Smith discuss Bungie's Myth series. Myth holds a unique place in strategy's gaming pantheon: in an era of clones and remakes, there's still nothing quite like it out there. Its grim and dark (but not grimdark) fantasy setting and early physics engine set it apart from other games of its day. Take a trip down memory lane before Destiny, before Halo, and into the glory of Myth.
Nov 16, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 412: XCOM 2: War of the Chosen
Rob, Rowan, and David Heron take a deep dive on XCOM 2: War of the Chosen. XCOM 2 received a tepid welcome from the Three Moves Ahead panel when it first came out in early 2016, and Three Moves Ahead gave its expansion a good long time to simmer before diving in. War of the Chosen adds more of almost everything, but is that a good thing? The crew also discusses ubermod The Long War.
Nov 10, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 411: Total War: WARHAMMER II
Are you ready for morehammer? Nah, just kidding, we won't do that bit again. Guest host Rowan Kaiser talks to T.J. Hafer and Kotaku's Luke Plunkett about Total War: WARHAMMER II. The Warhammer train keeps on hammerin' as the dark elves, Skaven, and other grimdark beings storm across the battlefields in the Total War engine once again. This sequel comes hot on the heels of the original game and improves it in many ways, but is it worth picking up? Tune in to find out.
Nov 02, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 410: Franchise Hockey Manager 4 and Motorsport Manager
It's time for a racing and hockey double-header as Rob, Michael, and Troy "My favorite movie is 1992's The Cutting Edge" Goodfellow talk about sports management sims. The beginning of a new NHL season is a darn good reason to examine Out of the Park Development's Franchise Hockey Manager 4. The crew also discusses Motorsport Manager, a sports sim game that may be the entry point needed for a non-sim gamer. If you like to boss other people around and not actually DO the thing that the game is about, then sports management sims might be for you!
Oct 25, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 409: Field of Glory II
It's an ancients kind of week as Rob, Rowan, and Troy "I'm so good with the elephants my mates call me 'Elephant Man'" Goodfellow talk about Field of Glory II by Byzantine Games. FoG II started as tabletop system that was ported to the PC in the original Field of Glory and its Asian counterpart, Sengoku Jidai. The sequel improves the formula in almost every way and presents an extremely capable engine for designing and playing out tactical battles. The campaign falters a bit, but the crew is pleased overall.
Oct 18, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 408: Tooth and Tail
Tooth and Tail has turned out to be a game of note for several reasons. First, it deftly executes the short-form RTS genre while providing luscious artwork and pleasing visuals. Next, it provides a challenging and thought-provoking story that explores narratives in socioeconomics and societal structures. Finally, it appears to be a game that everyone on the show appears to enjoy. Rob, Rowan, Fraser, and game developer / Waypoint contribute Bruno Dias talk about animals eating each other because in the end, we're all just meat.
Oct 03, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 407: Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun
Tarou was awake and alert despite the chill and the early hour. Normally, drawing last watch was one of the worst tasks imaginable: a tortuous eight hours of mind-numbing circuits and bitter cold. Tonight was more tolerable, however, for Tarou knew that it was his last night as a guard for the malicious warlord. No more would he risk his life by showing small kindnesses to the prisoners, no more would he have to lay awake at night and wonder how many had died by his master's hand. He would leave and start his life again. His plans were set to meet a hay cart near the edge of the compound at dawn, and he would be free from this hellish existence forever. He would - wait - was that the call of a white-cheeked starling? Normally they had all migrated south by this point of the season. Perhaps the starling was a good omen for the beginning of his new life. Tarou whistled a jaunty tune back as he turned the corner. Rob, Fraser, Rowan, and guest Nick Capozzoli talk about how this and many other stories end in Shadow Tactics, a strategy game about being quiet and killing things.
Sep 26, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 406: Battlestar Galactica Deadlock
Rob, Rowan, and Kotaku's Luke Plunkett pull up a space chair and talk about Battlestar Galactica Deadlock. In addition to the admirable lack of colons in the title, Deadlock manages to take a licensed IP and turn it into a faithful and satisfying gaming experience. If the term "broadsides in space" gets your solar sails at half mast, this may be an episode for you.
Sep 20, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 405: Lords of Waterdeep
This week's Three Moves Ahead stretches the boundaries of the podcast medium to bring you LIVE audio via recording. Rob, Rowan, Fraser, and Troy "always a bardsmaid, never a bard" Goodfellow share their thoughts on the Steam port of Lords of Waterdeep while playing a game together. Lords of Waterdeep started as a popular worker placement board game and eventually made its way to mobile platforms. It recently arrived on the PC via Steam and quickly found a place in Fraser's heart. It's not a good place, but it's firmly embedded there. Like a valve blockage. EXPLICIT CONTENT WARNING: many curse words are uttered, even more than usual.
Sep 08, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 404: Total War: Warhammer Revisited
It's episode 404hammer and Rob, Fraser, and T.J. Hafer revisit Total War: Warhammer. With the sequel fast approaching, Rob had the itch to play some morehammer and see how the series has evolved. Far from being a borehammer, the newest races and expansions seem to have expanded the gameplay and embraced the lorehammer. Rob's enthusiasm is infectious and everyone on the panel feels the esprit de corpshammer as this game turns out to one of the finest Total War games in the lineup. Warhammer.
Aug 26, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 403: Survival Strategy
Survival: it's what separates people from animals. How far we've come from punching a tree until it explodes into logs that we can craft into workbenches. What began as humble topiary assault spread through time, Asia, and eventually into strategy games. This week, Rowan, Critical Distance's Zach Alexander, and Troy "Surely I can trade my encyclopedic knowledge of show tunes for food" Goodfellow get together to talk about survival strategy games. From half-RPGs to city builders, game devs like cramming a food clock into any game orifice they can find and the result are normal strategy games with the added fun of starvation and disease.
Aug 18, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 402: Battle Brothers
This week Rob, Rowan, Obsidian's Josh Sawyer, and Troy "I told you, these leeches are medicinal" Goodfellow discuss Overhype Studios' Battle Brothers. It's been a while since the panel has been smitten with a game, but Battle Brothers seems to win everyone over with its smart tactical turn based combat. Taking a break from elaborate spells, this low-fantasy setting has your archers are melee combatants slugging it out in the mud and snow against brigands orcs.
Aug 11, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 401: Kingdoms and Castles
Troy returns from vacation just as Fraser prepares to sail the wine-dark Aegean. But they pause long enough to talk about Kingdoms and Castles with Rob, a fun little medieval tower-defnse-city-builder that everyone wishes were just a little bit... deeper. But can Kingdoms and Castles' appeal be separated from its simplicity and shallowness?
Aug 04, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 400: Dream Daddy Civil War
Forgive us. The title was Rowan's fault. Rob and Rowan have been playing Ultimate General: Civil War and Gettysburg: The Tide Turns, and those games have got them thinking about what they really, truly want from a Civil War wargame. Rowan talks about how he wants to feel like a commander in the field, dealing with the same uncertainty and dynamics that Civil War generals faced. Rob agrees, but also wants a game that feels roughly true to the historical record, yet also wants the capacity to be surprised. In other words, we want it all. Rowan also proposes that Sid Meier's Gettysburg, at this point, casts too long a shadow and its influence is stifling other approaches to tactical wargame design.
Jul 22, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 399: Air Combat
Bruce sits down with James Crate, a former naval aviator, and discusses various efforts at designing and playing games about air combat. Crate discusses how a lot of Cold War era wargames reflected US military doctrine, but not necessarily air engagements as pilots would experience them in the field. How did the lessons learned from actual air combat match the expectations reflected in wargames? Also, prepare to learn that air-to-air missiles don't work like you think they do.
Jul 02, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 398: Taking the L
Rowan, Sean, and Rob discuss what goes into a "satisfying" setback as opposed to something that sends one running to the quickload button. Rowan possibly solves game design.
Jun 25, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 397: Meta Campaigns
Rob, Fraser, and Rowan look at the game outside the game. What are the ways that strategy and tactics games contextualize our actions and decisions, and which approaches do we tend to prefer. The conversation runs long but takes an exciting turn as the crew realize they've likely solved strategy games.
Jun 16, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 396: Endless Space 2
It's a giant-sized gulp of Three Moves Ahead as Rob, Rowan, Fraser, and Sean "The Game Horatio" Sands discuss Endless Legend 2. Amplitude Games brought a competent - if not a bit bland - entry into the space 4X pantheon with Endless Space and followed up with the brilliant Endless Legend. Does Endless Space 2 continue their march toward greatness? Amplitude have expanded their writing and storytelling but unfortunately neglected the "QA" section of the tech tree in favor of ballistic weapons.
May 31, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 395: Jack Greene
Dr. Bruce Geryk is back to host and talks to legendary game designer and author Jack Greene. Jack has contributed several seminal games over the years, such as Bismarck Second Edition, Iron Bottom Sound Third Edition, and Norway 1940. He tells Bruce about the old days of graphic design and publishing and lays down some practical knowledge about printing techniques.
May 24, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 394: Expeditions: Vikings
When is a Viking not a Viking? When he's a farmer. Or a trader, maybe? Or maybe just a really sad dude that's down on himself. Rob and Troy "How hard can it be to build a farm, guys?" Goodfellow talk about Logic Artists' Expedition: Vikings and how there's a good game in there, if you can just pillage it out.
May 09, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 393: Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III
Rob, Fraser, and guest Ian Williams pick up their chainswords and head to the far-flung future to play Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III. The original Dawn of War remains a favorite of the panel, and Dawn of War II had its charm. Does Dawn of War pull the series back into greatness? Well, that entirely depends on how you feel about MOBAs. And multiplayer. Because if you don't like those things, you may be left in the cold, unfeeling void of space.
May 04, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 392: Steel Division: Normandy 44
Do you like wargames in Europe... that escalate? Do you like air AND land battles? Then Eugen games and their partners at Paradox have a game for you in Steel Division: Normandy 44. The creators of the perennial favorite Wargame series have turned their rivet-counting attention to World War II in their newest real time strategy game. Rob, Rowan, and Fraser give you the scoop on the latest game and why they have enjoyed their pre-release access.
Apr 24, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 391: Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
The stranger's arrival coincided with omens that the villagers could not ignore. A calf born with two heads. Flocks of crows circling the village green silently as the night, their voices stolen. Men disappearing for days at a time in the woods only to return stupefied, gibbering of bright lights and fairy rings. That stranger's name? Fraser Brown. And he's here to host this week's show on the latest expansion for Crusader Kings II - Monks and Mystics. CK2 Superfan T.J. Hafer is also on hand to talk about satanic cults, taking care of inconvenient spouses, and whether or not we've all hit the DLC fatigue wall.
Apr 11, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 390: Medieval II: Total War
Rob, Fraser, and Troy "No One Expects the Canadian Inquisition" Goodfellow return to the Total War series in a Patreon-patron chosen topic. Medieval II was far and away the most voted-for game in our options of the "middle" Total War games, and this week we return to what made the game so special. Was it the flavorful peasant models? The interesting DLC? The active modding scene? The galloping Scots? Find out as we blast back to 2006.
Mar 29, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 389: Winter of Wargaming 2017 Wrapup
Rob and Bruce wrap up this year's winter of wargaming by looking back at some of the games they played and some of the trends they've seen in the wargame space. From boutique games to the pros and cons of computer wargaming, they cover a wide array of topics on their favorite hobby. Does a narrow scope limit a game's design or does it open up new possibilities? How well can you really simulate a given scenario?
Mar 20, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 388: Scourge of War: Waterloo
Rob, Rowan, and Troy "As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster" Goodfellow talk about Scourge of War: Waterloo. Waterloo is the first departure for the Take Command series in which we travel to a conflict outside of the American Civil War. Rowan has concerns about forts and Rob has concerns about... a few other things.
Mar 13, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 387: Churchill AAR
It's a very special Three Moves Ahead as we find Rob visiting Bruce in person to play a variety of wargames. The star of the weekend is Mark Herman's Churchill (previously covered in 3MA #330), a game in which players assume the role of Churchill, Stalin, or Roosevelt over the course of ten critical conferences. Also discussed: 13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis.
Mar 07, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 386: Steel Panthers
Fun fact: Did you know that if you search for "Steel Panthers" on Google Images you will find both A) screenshots of the Steel Panthers series and B) photographs of an active glam rock band named Steel Panther? Go ahead, look for yourself. I'll wait. Did you check? Pretty crazy that people are still into that. In any case, our Patreon supporters voted and decided that this month Rob and Troy "It's all about penetration and angles" Goodfellow talk about Steel Panthers the video game. Not the band.
Feb 27, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 385: Star Wars: Rebellion Board Game
Rob, Sean Sands, and Jonathan Bolding get together to talk about Star Wars: Rebellion. No, not that one, the board game one. Fantasy Flight's take on the Star Wars universe offers an asymmetrical experience in which the powerful Empire attempts to search for the scrappy Rebels across the galaxy.
Feb 21, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 384: Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
Hearts of Iron IV has received its first beefy chunk of DLC with Together for Victory, and Rob, Fraser, and T.J. Hafer are here to tell if you it's worth your hard-earned post war dollars. In short: it probably is. Together for Victory expands on the player's ability to reshape history and manage British Commonwealths. Is the best part of the DLC the battle log? Does Fraser get tired of constantly being wrong all the time? Does this expansion make leasing things fun?
Feb 13, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 383: Distant Worlds and Aurora
The title of the patron backer poll was: "What two (2) inscrutable games do Rob and Troy have to explain to each other?" We found the most incrutabl-iest games we could for our list and the backers voted: Distant Worlds and Aurora would be the games to play. Unfortunately, Troy's head exploded during his valiant effort so this week Rob and Michael will talk about these two behemoths of space strategy. They won't cover everything and won't get everything right, but maybe - just maybe - they'll sell you on what makes these challenging games worth your time. Or not. Probably not.
Jan 23, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 382: Battlefield 1 and First Person Shooters
The Winter of Wargaming is upon us once again, and to kick things off we look at a different kind of wargaming - the first person shooter. Battlefield 1 tackled the often-neglected first-person arena of World War 1, and to everyone's surprise it turned to be a damn fine game. Several other recent releases have also featured the grim realities of WW1 so Rob, Fraser, and guest Evan Lahti go through them this week to discuss whether historical accuracy is something we need or even want in a WW1 game.
Jan 14, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 381: Ultimate General: Civil War
Rob, Rowan, and Troy "My favorite civil war documentary was F Troop" Goodfellow get together to talk about Ultimate General: Civil War. Game-Labs had an impressive debut with Ultimate General: Gettysburg, putting out a game that was lauded by the community at large as well as our panelists. With UG: Civil War, they take on a much larger task by adding persistent units, more battles, and a grander scale. But are they up to such a daunting task? Can they overcome the focused genius of the first game? As it turns out: yes. Yes, they can.
Jan 07, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 380: The Best Strategy Games of 2016
Hey there, friend. How's it going? Have a seat here next to your Uncle Rob. You can have a sip of my brandy old fashioned if you don't tell your mom. Why the long face, ace? 2016 got you down? Yeah, it's been kind of a shit year. But that's okay, I've got good news: regardless of what's happened in the rest of the world, 2016 was one of the best years ever for strategy games. The number of quality releases is enough to keep anyone busy for the next decade. But Uncle Rob, Cousin Fraser, and Wacky Neighbor Rowan are here to guide you through the best games of the year and give their definitive, not hesitant at all lock-in picks for Strategy Game of the Year.
Dec 30, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 379: Duelyst
Our Patreon patrons have spoken, and the winner of our "Let's talk about an online CCG that's NOT Hearthstone" poll was Duelyst. Rob and Julian have a very un-3MA discussion in which all parties agree that the game at hand is pretty rad. Duelyst takes the best parts of Hearthstone and adds its own mechanics and flavor to create a satisfying game that has kept Julian occupied for the better part of the year. Good job, Patreon backers. Good job.
Dec 23, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 378: EUIV and Rights of Man
Nothing is certain in this world except death, taxes, and Paradox expansions. Time marches on and EUIV, the elder statesman of the Paradox stable, the well-rounded workhorse, the stalwart representation of all things Paradox...ish... has continued to grow and improve. Guest host Sean Sands talks with Rowan Kaiser and T.J. Hafer about Rights of Man and the current state of the game. Where does EUIV go from here? Does Paradox just keep adding features forever? Would that be a bad thing? Why are estates so lame? Why isn't Victoria III a thing yet?
Dec 19, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 377: Warhammer, Glorious Warhammer
This week Rob, Fraser Brown, and Jonathan Bolding get together to talk about the Warhammer universe. There has been no shortage of Warhammer (both 40K and non-40K) games lately, with Games Workshop throwing the proverbial spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks. Amidst the vast swaths of mediocre to bad games, however, there are gems that accurately capture the macabre gravitas of the Warhammer universe.
Dec 12, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 376: Underrepresented Theaters and Conflicts
Rob, Bruce, and Troy "I was named after a siege" Goodfellow get together to talk about battles that just don't get enough love. Our Patreon donors voted and decided that this week the panel was to discuss theaters, battles, and conflicts that haven't been given a fair shake in the strategy gaming community. Rob and Troy have their hobby horses but Bruce takes exception to the question itself.
Nov 28, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 375: Rule the Waves
Bruce and Troy "Bury me with the HMS Niobe" Goodfellow welcome Matthew Flanagan to this week's show as they talk about 2015's Rule the Waves. Rule the Waves is a game about designing post-dreadnought battleships in the context of World War 1 great powers. Part budget manager, part ship designer, and sometimes a combat simulator, Rule the Waves is a game that has all the detail that simulation grognards expect and all the trappings that come along for the ride. Troy loves it, Bruce has his reservations, and Matthew tells us what makes the game so appealing.
Nov 18, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 374: Civilization VI
Troy "I hate that jerk-ass Montezuma" Goodfellow is joined by Rowan Kaiser, Fraser Brown, and David V. Heron to talk about one of the biggest strategy games of the year: Civilization VI. A new Civilization game is always a cause for celebration. But what has changed? What has remained? Is it a revolution or an evolution? In this case, it turns out to be more of the latter. It's a fun game, it has some great ideas, but at its core it remains the same Civilization game it has been for decades. But... is that a bad thing?
Nov 12, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 373: Amplitude Studios and the Endless Series
This week Rob and Fraser welcome special guest Jeff Spock, Narrative Director at Amplitude Studios. The Endless Series has garnered a large amount of praise with its impressive debut in Endless Space, the unique gameplay in Dungeons of the Endless, and the master class of 4X gaming in Endless Legend. Jeff goes over the challenges of writing for 4X and strategy games and how the universe has changed from Endless Space to Endless Legend. Endless Legend has changed quite a bit since launch and Jeff explains how the series has evolved and where it might go in Endless Space 2. This topic was chosen in a poll by our Patreon backers.
Nov 07, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 372: Chris Park and Arcen Games
This week, Michael and Troy "Benevolent Dictator for Life" Goodfellow welcome Chris Park of Arcen Games back to the show. Arcen has recently posted their Kickstarter for AI War 2, followup to the original cult hit from 2009. Featuring asymmetric gameplay and unique strategy, AI War: Fleet Command was the first game to highlight Park's unique vision for gaming. Chris talks about the challenges Arcen has faced, the evolving game market, and what it means to make games with integrity. Also, be sure to stick around after the show for some brief announcements from the gang.
Oct 20, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 371: 3MA After Dark
Three Moves Ahead is serious business. We spend weeks - sometimes months - planning stimulating topics and tantalizing shows. But this week it's time to unwind. It's time to pour some scotch, dim the lights, and talk about whatever's on our minds. For the first time ever, the Three Moves Ahead team is all on the show at the same time: Rob, Bruce, Michael, and Troy "I keep bookstores in business because I don't trust technology and hate trees" Goodfellow. Also, be sure to stick around after the show and get a glimpse of professionalism at its finest.
Oct 02, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 370: Dean Essig
Bruce welcomes award-winning game designer Dean Essig of The Gamers to talk about his long history of designing wargames. Dean's experience in the military and attention to detail have helped him create long-lasting series that model combat on several different levels. Dean and Bruce discuss the process of playtesting, the challenges of tactical, battalion, and operational level games, double-blind gaming, and why Illinois is such a great state.
Sep 24, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 369: The Banner Saga 2
WARNING: The Banner Saga 2 is a story-driven game. Certain plot points will be talked about. Major plot points from the first game are discussed. Such is life in a podcast where the point is to talk about what happens in video games. This week Rob Zacny and Fraser Brown talk about Banner Saga 2, the sequel to the Kickstarter darling that made a splash with its gorgeous graphics and brutal gameplay. The decisions are harder, the battles are more interesting, and lots of people still die.
Sep 16, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 368: Dark Reign: The Future of War
This month's patron-selected game is 1997's Dark Reign: The Future of War. It wasn't the prettiest game, or even the best game. But it was an RTS that existed in the glorious sepia-tinted days when the genre could do no wrong and even the more hamfisted attempts were at least competent given the sliding scale of the time. Rob, David Heron, and Troy "These RTS games make my rheumatism flare up" Goodfellow talk about Dark Reign, the 90's, and KMFDM somehow.
Sep 09, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 367: Bite-sized Strategy
Rob, David Heron, and Troy "It's dignity, gah - don't you even know dignity when you see it?" Goodfellow get together to talk about strategy games that don't take 100 hours to play. Whether you're burned out on the sprawling grand strategy games that take up more time than most community college degrees or you just don't have enough time left in the day after pursuing your community college degree, shorter games can be better. But why aren't there a lot of compact, quick-to-play strategy games? Why does the general gaming public hate the ones that do exist? Our panel tries to crack the case of the easily digestible strategy game and ultimately leaves slightly depressed.
Aug 31, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 366: Modern Warfare
Bruce is joined by game designer Mitch Land to talk about the Next War series of games and modern warfare. Modeling modern warfare is its own challenge as designers attempt to get the most accurate data possible and then abstract it to a playable game. Mitch talks about modeling and performance data, why aircraft carriers are important, and the processing of printing and publishing a game.
Aug 12, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 365: Rimworld
Rowan Kaiser, Gita Jackson, and Jonathan Bolding join Troy "Why do I always have to clean the airlock" Goodfellow to talk about Rimworld. Rimworld joins a prestigious line of games in the relatively new genre of "It's like Dwarf Fortress, BUT - " by adding its own sci-fi survival twist. While still in Early Access, Rimworld has recently made its way to Steam to bring its procedurally-generated madness to the masses.
Aug 05, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 364: Pet Peeves
Certain sins are unforgivable. Poor interface, an over-abundance of tooltips, and apparently ship designers. Let's get one thing straight: I - Michael, who writes these notes every week - like ship designers. I liked Gratuitous Space Battles, I like them GalCiv, I like them any way I can get them. So while I've never been on the show to defend my case on this particular topic, I'm writing the notes. Do I get to editorialize? Sure I do. Who's going to stop me? Troy? Ship designers are always a delight. If you don't like them, then this week you can listen to Rob, T.J. Hafer, and Rowan Kaiser go through their lists of strategy game pet peeves.
Aug 01, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 363: Sid Meier's Pirates!
Rob, Fraser, and Troy "I'm tired of swabbing the poop deck" Goodfellow get together to revisit Sid Meier's Pirates! We all know who Sid Meier is, and we all what pirates are. So let's just cut to what you're here for: Troy "I'm wanted on three continents for my ample booty" Goodfellow, Troy "My parrot crapped on my shoulder" Goodfellow, Troy "Ramming broadsides is my specialty" Goodfellow, Troy "How do I make a sandwich with two hooks" Goodfellow, Troy "I've got barnacles but I can't say where" Goodfellow, Troy "Stop calling me 'Shark Bait'" Goodfellow
Jul 11, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 362: Alternate Histories
Rob Zacny, Rowan Kaiser, and TJ Hafer range the hills of Gettysburg and traverse the Pacific in a show that talks about games that alter the course of history. Hearts of Iron IV inspired this discussion about how we can change the outcome of historical events to something even more plausible than reality.
Jul 05, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 361: Pacific War Strategic Games
Bruce welcomes back game designer Mark Herman to talk about games covering the Pacific War in World War II. Mark's expertise comes in the form of his two Pacific games, Pacific War (1985) and Empire of the Sun (2005). Bruce and Mark cover a wide variety of board games, diving into what makes or breaks a strategic game in this theater.
Jun 24, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 360: Hearts of Iron IV
Rob is joined by Bruce, Jonathan Bolding, and Fraser Brown to discuss the latest in Paradox Interactive's stable of historical games, Hearts of Iron IV. This latest entry in the series returns us to World War II, except it's not always World War II, but that's kind of the point, except when it's not. Despite a few glaring oversights in documentation, the panel has plenty of good things to say about the joy of being "historish". Tune in to find out: is the whole game great, or just Parts of Iron?
Jun 17, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 359: Chess in 2016
The inmates are running the asylum as Three Moves Ahead producer Michael Hermes takes over the show to talk about the state of chess in 2016. Joining Michael is chess professional and Youtuber John Bartholomew, an FIDE International Master and all-around chess guru. There are many reasons to be excited about chess right now, such as the boom in Youtube and streaming and the dynamic state of the professional scene. John and Michael go over some of the tools available to modern players, the sites they get excited about, and how St. Louis has become the chess capital of the US.
Jun 10, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 358: Battlefleet: Gothic Armada
This week's show features another game chosen by our Patreon backers: Battlefleet: Gothic Armada. In the grim dark future there is only war, but here in the present there is... well, still only war, just mostly in the form of Games Workshop games with "war" in the title. Rob, Rowan Kaiser, and freelance writer Jonathan Bolding to talk about this boardgame adaptation and agree it's a gorgeous visual feast that also embraces the glorious tradition of Warhamminess.
Jun 03, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 357: Total War: WARHAMMER
Good news, Games Workshop fans: your long wait is over. After literally days without a single new Warhammer or Warhammer 40K video game being launched, Total War: WARHAMMER is upon us. Fraser Brown and Dan Griliopoulos join Rob to talk about the latest entry in the Total War series that takes the series to the mildly ahistorical setting of Warhammer. The reviews have been positive and the verdict is a solid recommendation from our panel as Total Warhammer puts the fun back into Total War.
May 25, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 356: Ashes of the Singularity
Ashes of the Singularity is hard to pin down. It's not fast, like Starcraft. It doesn't have the same swagger as Grey Goo. The single-player campaign leaves much to be desired. Yet there are still some interesting mechanics that make it a point of interest on the RTS map, a giant ball of string that, while not as much fun as Mount Rushmore, was good for at least one fun picture.
May 18, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 355: Stellaris
It's a very special, gas giant-sized podcast as the panel discusses Paradox's newest grand strategy game, Stellaris. Stellaris takes the Paradox formula and flings it into space, replacing trade merchants with space merchants, warships with space warships, and regular coalitions with space coalitions. Not content with one, two, or even three guests, Rob welcomes Rowan Kaiser, Austin Walker, Fraser Brown, and Sean Sands to the show to get their take on the new game. Some people love it, some people have conflicted feelings, and then there's Rowan.
May 09, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 354: Offworld Trading Company
Game designer Soren Johnson returns to the show to talk about his new game, Offworld Trading Company. Built in spirit of M.U.L.E., Offworld Trading Company is an economic RTS that has the player hunting for resources and playing the market. Soren talks about recent changes to the game, the pros and cons of Early Access, and the benefits of having hyper-competitive players.
Apr 29, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 353: Twilight Struggle
It's an uncommonly ebullient episode of Three Moves Ahead as Rob, Julian, and Troy "Please Speak Louder Into My Bowtie, Comrade" Goodfellow talk about Twilight Struggle on the PC. This Cold War era board game has been translated to a shiny new computerized version which, despite some minor technical drawbacks, has the entire panel (and Bruce) happy with the results.
Apr 23, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 352: Atlantic Fleet
Our Patreon patrons have spoken and they chose Atlantic Fleet, a World War II naval warfare game available on mobile and PC. Rob, Bruce, and Troy "Lining Up Shots to Fire Out the Rear" Goodfellow find Atlantic Fleet to be a solid investment for $10, even if there are a few nagging flaws.
Apr 17, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 351: Weekend of Wargaming
In order to dispel the notion that we are all just disembodied voices generated by an algorithm programmed to please fans 82% of the time, Rob and Bruce got together - in real life - to play board games. In this extra-jumbo episode of Three Moves Ahead our duo of wargamers talk about block games, COIN games, insurgencies, and Bruce's cats.
Apr 12, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 350: Aging Gracefully
Nostalgia is a powerful thing. Softened memories of sunlit rooms on Saturday mornings and brilliant panzer strategy replace the reality of grueling turn counts and CD-ROM issues. Can you ever really go home again? Is Master of Orion really as good as we recall? (The answer to both is: no.) Rob Zacny, Rowan Kaiser, Sean Sands, and Troy "I don't Google during a podcast" Goodfellow wheel their chairs into the whist room to talk about games that have aged gracefully and games that have not.
Apr 04, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 349: Satisfying Party Games
Rob Zacny gets together with Rabbitcon host Julian Murdoch as well as game designers Rob Daviau and David Heron to talk about party games. The term "party game" can conjure up a variety of games, from the most casual of affairs to the in-depth slog that run through the night. But how can a board game balance depth with ease of entry?
Mar 25, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 348: Civilization at 25
In this very special Three Moves Ahead, Rob is joined by Civilization designers Jon Shafer and Soren Johnson to talk about Civilization. The venerable strategy series turns 25 this year, and Rob already took the one joke I had about how it can now rent a car. Oh well. Jon and Soren give their takes on the other entries in the series and give some insight into their design decisions for Civ IV and V.
Mar 17, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 347: Dwarf Fortress and World Simulators
After many requests, the Dwarf Fortress show is finally here. 3MA editor Michael Hermes and Troy "Wait, how does vomit work again" Goodfellow are joined by Gaslamp Games' Nicholas Vining and freelance writer Gita Jackson to talk about everyone's favorite simulation, Dwarf Fortress. Dwarf Fortress has helped move forward an entire genre of games, from direct copies to finely honed world-building experiences. What is the secret sauce that makes Dwarf Fortress so endearing? What's the deal with the interface? Why does everyone keep dying?
Mar 10, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 346: Silver Bayonet
Bruce continues the Winter of Wargaming and brings on Gene Billingsley and Mitch Land of GMT games on to talk about the 25th Anniversary Edition of Silver Bayonet. Silver Bayonet was the first game published by GMT, and to commemorate 25 years of business the company is reissuing the game with revised rules and an improved map. Listen in to find out why the game is important to Bruce and what fans can expect to see in the new version.
Mar 03, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 345: Decisive Campaigns: Barbarossa
Bruce and Troy "I know his ideas are weird but let's just hear him out" Goodfellow are joined by Rod Humble to talk about Decisive Campaigns: Barbarossa. The latest entry in the Decisive Campaigns series adds intriguing elements of roleplaying into the wargaming formula as the player attempts to sway, cajole, and stay on the good side of superiors and fellow staff.
Feb 26, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 344: Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan
Rob is joined once again by David Heron as well as the elusive Julian Murdoch to discuss Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan. Sekigahara fills a fascinating niche in the wargame space by giving a lengthy game experience that is light on rules. It's easy to teach and learn yet still gives the impression of a much beefier experience.
Feb 21, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 343: XCOM 2
It's a full panel tonight as Rob, David Heron, Rowan Kaiser, and guest Jonathan Bolding discuss the newly released XCOM 2. XCOM: Enemy Unknown was a darling of the strategy game space, garnering rave reviews a strong following. XCOM 2 should be a slam dunk, right? ...right?
Feb 12, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 342: Satellite Reign
Satellite Reign is more cyberpunk than anything has a right to be. It deftly combines quality gameplay with all of the hallmark features of the often overplayed or misinterpreted genre. Giant Bomb's Austin Walker joins Rob to talk about Satellite Reign and why they enjoy it so much. Also, Rob finally fulfills the prophecy of someone on the show using the word "panopticon".
Feb 07, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 341: Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak
It's a full house as Rob, Rowan, Fraser, and guest T.J. Hafer get together to talk about Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak. The original Homeworld games were in space. Deserts of Kharak, believe it or not, takes place on the ground. This type of out-of-the-box thinking appears to have paid off as our four panelists have taken quite a shine to the game.
Jan 28, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 340: Hegemony 3: Clash of Ancients
The Patreon backers have spoken, and the listener's choice game for January is: Hegemony 3. Rob and Troy "I can tirones my own sandals, thank you" Goodfellow take a good, long look at Longbow's latest entry in the Hegemony series. What does it bring to the table? Does it bring enough new content to the table? Whose table is this, anyway? Join us and lament the loss of your burning farms.
Jan 21, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 339: Ancient Warfare
Spears! Cavalry! Dirt in your sandals! Rob, Bruce, and Troy "Is my pilum showing?" Goodfellow continue with the Winter of Wargaming and their discussion of ancient warfare. Learn more about history than you ever wanted from a video game podcast as the trio discuss their favorite games as well as a new secret project.
Jan 14, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 338: Legion Wargames
Bruce kicks off the 2016 Winter of Wargaming by interviewing publisher Randy Lein of Legion Wargames. Legion is the publisher of many storied titles, such as B-29 Superfortress and Dien Bien Phu: The Final Battle. Randy offers some insight as how the publishing world works, shattering expectations of the glitzy night life and glamorous parties.
Jan 07, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 337: 2015 Wrap-up
2015 has come and gone, cast aside like an empty yogurt container. "It's time for a new yogurt," you think. "I am done with this one, even if there is a little left in the bottom." Still, we should take time to reflect and look back at all of the good parts of the yogurt from the past year. Like the one whole blueberry amidst small bits of blueberries. Or when the yogurt burped a little no matter how softly you tried to peel back the lid. If it's not clear by now, this is a metaphor for Starcraft. Happy New Year from Three Moves Ahead!
Dec 31, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 336: Star Wars: Rebellion
In an episode that is in no way a cross-promotional marketing tool funded by Disney - but call me if you are interested in cross-promotional marketing - Rob, The Verge's Rich McCormick, and Idle Thumbs' Nick Breckon revisit Star Wars: Rebellion. Rob originally hated Rebellion. He made a big stink about it, we all remember it, and nobody wants to talk about it. But years later with the wisdom of old age and the context of modern strategy games, he now realizes that Rebellion is a gem worth talking about once more.
Dec 24, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 335: Thea: The Awakening
Rob, Fraser, guest Tim McDonald, and Troy "I've got fur, let's make hats" Goodfellow talk about Thea in language that makes it seem like they really, really like the game. Yet that's not entirely true. Mostly. Thea was picked by our Patreon backers as the Listener's Choice game for December, now tune in and hear what our conflicted panel has to say.
Dec 18, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 334: Comebacks
This week on The Game Design Rountable we have Dirk, David, and Rob talking to - wait, no. This is Three Moves Ahead and Dirk - no Rob - talk to the other Rob. Rob Zacny. I don't even know any more. The days turn into nights which turn into days, nothing but podcasts. Names and titles pass me, topics upon topics. Who can keep track any more? Is this Three Moves Ahead or TGDRT? Another file on the hard drive, another show posted. Anyway, Rob Daviau and David V. Heron talk to Rob about comebacks in gaming.
Dec 14, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 333: Prison Architect
Rob Zacny and special guest Paul Dean talk about Prison Architect, a game that has recently been released yet seemingly been around forever. Rob and Paul are both quite keen on the game and its sense of humor, satire, and good old fashioned ant-farminess.
Dec 07, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 332: Chaos Reborn
This week Rob, Bruce, and Troy "I'm not playing unless I can summon a unicorn" Goodfellow discuss Chaos Reborn. In 1985, game designer Julian Gollop released Chaos: The Battle of Wizards for the ZX Spectrum. He would later go on to be the designer of the venerable XCOM series. Chaos Reborn is a new game in the tactical gaming space made possible by a successful Kickstarter campaign.
Nov 26, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 331: Starcraft 2: Legacy of the Void
Rob, Sean Sands, and Kotaku's Jason Schreier take a comprehensive look at Starcraft 2: Legacy of the Void. The campaign is coming to an end as long-remembered friends from the original game are back to complete the story of Starcraft. The crew discusses the current state of multiplayer, Archon mode, and how to have the most fun in the game.
Nov 22, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 330: Churchill
Bruce sits down with renowned game designer Mark Herman to talk about his latest offering, Churchill. Combining historical personalities with the tension of negotiation, Churchill is not a wargame in the traditional sense. Rather, it puts the players in the shoes of Churchill, Stalin, or Roosevelt as they plan the Allied attack against the Axis.
Nov 12, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 329: Civilization: Beyond Earth - Rising Tide
Civilization(R): Beyond Earth(TM) had a bumpy start. Despite Firaxis's's...s attempts to distance Beyond Earth the from the venerable Alpha Centauri, the game was inevitably compared to the genre favorite and found to be wanting. A new expansion is here and special guest Martin Glaude - best known for his Let's Play videos on Youtube as quill18 - joins Rob and Troy "There's Always Money in the Banana Stand" Goodfellow to discuss the latest addition to the Civilization franchise.
Nov 05, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 328: King of Dragon Pass
It's another Classic Game Analysis as Bruce, special guest Jon Shafer, and Troy "But Being One With the Cows IS My Religion" Goodfellow talk about the venerable King of Dragon Pass. This essential entry in the strategy/roleplaying/management/cow trading sim genre has inspired and delighted gamers since the 90's. The game is now available on modern platforms with updated content, so what better time to go back and discuss the finer points of negotiating with duck people?
Oct 29, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 327: Kingdom
Rob, Rowan, and Fraser apparently got into the catnip this week before getting together to talk about Kingdom. Kingdom is a game about chasing rabbits, usurping monarchies, and losing your hat. It caused Rob to enter a Howard Hughes-esque fugue state, shuffling about in his apartment with tissue boxes on his feet while mumbling about forgetting to bring coins into the woods.
Oct 25, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 326: State of the RTS
This week Rob, Fraser, and Troy "More Than a Phalanx" Goodfellow take a look at the RTS genre. Rob has concerns about the health of this stalwart of the strategy space, where innovation seems low and quality titles are few and far between. Troy wants more elves and less aliens.
Oct 16, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 325: Nobunaga's Ambition: Sphere of Influence
Rob, Gaslamp Developer Nicholas Vining, and Troy "Notice me, senpai" Goodfellow sit down to talk about Nobunaga's Ambition: Sphere of Influence. Koei has a long history of strategy games that dates back to console gaming with Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Their most recent offering, Sphere of Influence, is newly available on Steam. It's a beautiful game, but is it good? Is interesting better than good?
Oct 09, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 324: Tower Defense
Rob, Sean Sands, and Troy "I play Plants vs Zombies for the lore" Goodfellow hunker down to defend their glowing orbs and talk about tower defense. The genre is still alive and well, but did it ever really die? Or has it been the Samwise Gamgee of genres: consistent, comforting, and good at gardening?
Oct 05, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 323: Company of Heroes
The true measure of a game's greatness is how many game developers play it during their lunch breaks. This week we learn that Company of Heroes validates this universal truth with its compelling gameply and lasting appeal. With the recent addition of the British army to CoH2, Rob Zacny, Blendo Games' Brendon Chung, and CoH product Shane Neville look back at the original game and the state of the sequel. The first entry in the series still holds strong while the sequel continues to improve.
Sep 25, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 322: Wing Leader
Bruce and Troy "I really made a Messerschmitt" Goodfellow are joined by noted game designer Lee Brimmicombe-Wood to talk about Lee's new game, Wing Leader. Wing Leader is a side-view aerial combat game that allows players to simulate different weather conditions and air combat scenarios.
Sep 17, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 321: Act of Aggression
This week is a full house with Rob, Troy, Tom, and Fraser all weighing in on Eugen Systems' Act of Aggression. Tom stands alone as the half-hearted bastion of defense for a game that underwhelmed the panel. An unintuitive UI, questionable ethnic portrayals, and general crappiness had Fraser "so angry he punched a child", a deed which is now forever rendered in text.
Sep 10, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 320: Game Designer Brian Train
This week Bruce sits down with prolific game designer Brian Train. Brian's games span a wide range of conflicts and scenarios, including Greek civil war, fighting in Algeria, and Special Forces actions in Vietnam. His predilection for asymmetric warfare and non-traditional combat modeling have brought his games to the attention of US military simulation experts and wargame fans throughout the world.
Sep 03, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 319: Armello
Rob, special guest Paul Dean, and Troy "Blue Balls Appear Irregularly" Goodfellow talk about Armello, an Early Access game available on Steam. Armello combines charming graphics and design with a game concept that is unapologetically a board game. The PC translation of this is full of potential that has time to be realized by the time the game is ready for release. We learn that Paul is lukewarm on the game, Troy is a fan, and Rob doesn't like Talisman.
Aug 26, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 318: Warhammer: Shadow of the Horned Rat
Warhammer: Shadow of the Horned Rat (1995) is a gem of a game that has recently been made available again through the magic of digital publishing. The game was ahead of its time: the 3D tactical combat would serve as an inspiration for the gameplay in Shogun: Total War. (The Total War series would eventually meet up with Warhammer later in Total War: Warhammer.) The dark fantasy setting and special hero combat would eventually "inspire" Warcraft 3. Join Rob Zacny and special guest Dan Griliopoulos as they look back on Shadow of the Horned Rat and the nuanced subtleties of the Warhammer universe.
Aug 21, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 317: Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
TJ Hafer and Rowan Kaiser joing Rob Zacny to discuss the latest expansion to CK2, Horse Lords. Horse Lords allows the player to assume the role of the eastern hordes, galloping across Europe and the CK2 interface. Has CK2 finally been stretched to its limit?
Aug 06, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 316: Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void
Starcraft II remains one of the most popular Esports, BUT... It's one of the most-streamed games, BUT... the new game mode will attract new players, BUT... listen in to hear what Rob and 3MA's very own Sean Sands think of the Legacy of the Void beta. (Also, learn about Rob's wicked APM.)
Aug 02, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 315: Fixing Franchises
Things can change quickly. One day all of your fans are happy, the positive reviews flow like wine, and phrases like "a return to form" are bandied about by critics. Then, when you least expect it - BAM: hit by a bus called "Rome 2" and it's back to the bottom. Time to claw your way back again. Rob, Fraser, Rowan, and Troy "The Horse Lord" Goodfellow talk about series that have fallen off the horse, gotten back on, fallen again, shot the horse, and built a glue factory. No cows (or horses) are sacred and Rowan drops a truth bomb about Alpha Centauri that we all needed to hear.
Jul 24, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 314: Massive Chalice
It's our Pi-eth episode! Rob is joined by game designer David V. Heron and OG panelist Tom Chick to discuss Massive Chalice. Doublefin's take on squad-based tactics has Tom all aflutter while David has a more reserved take. This Massive Chalice show has Massive Spoilers, so watch for the subtle cue.
Jul 17, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 313: Listener Mail
Rob, Bruce, and Troy "They Call Me Pony Express" Goodfellow attack the mailbox. We asked 3MA listeners for questions and got them in spades, so tune in to find out the panel's favorite games, podcasts, and desert island picks.
Jul 09, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 312: Historical Accuracy
Bruce and Rob are joined by game designer Ananda Gupta to discuss the idea of historical accuracy in games. Bruce gets down to the point by looking for a definition of "historical accuracy" and whether it's a bonus, a detriment, or just another facet of wargaming.
Jul 02, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 311: Total War: Attila
Rob Zacny and Troy "Flava Flavius" Goodfellow examine the latest Total War game, Attila. Following the dizzying heights of Shogun 2 and the despair-filled depths of Rome 2, Attila shows that Creative Assembly can still soar like so many proverbial eagles. The praise is effusive in this show as both hosts are happy to see the series return to form. Rob breaks it down: "Attila... basically awesome."
Jun 27, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 310: EU4Ever: Common Sense
Rob, Rowan, and Sean Sands fulfill our listeners' requests by taking a deep dive on the newest expansion for EU4: Common Sense. The latest DLC (and associated free update) brings notable changes to the game's systems. Are they all for the better? Should this be called EU5? How many kids are on Rob's lawn, and should they get off of it? Credit for the episode title goes to listener @semitext, who angers me by coming up with something as good as "EU4ever" before I could.
Jun 22, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 309: Hearts of Iron IV Preview
Paradox returns to World War II with the upcoming Hearts of Iron IV and a recent press event found Rob, Rowan, Fraser, and Gamers with Jobs' Sean Sands playing a preview build of the simulation. The results? Mixed feelings. Amidst glimmers of hope for an improved HoI on the order of the successful EUIV and CK2, the panelists found a confusing interface, a lack of direction, and plenty of room for improvement before the final build.
Jun 10, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 308: Order of Battle: Pacific
In the beginning, there was Panzer General and it was good. Soon after that came Panzer General 2 and it was even better. After that was another game we don't talk about. Fast forward a decade or so to Panzer Corps and things were back to good, unless you asked Troy, and some time after that we reach this week's topic of Panzer Boat. Rob, Tom, Bruce, and Troy "HMCS Uganda" Goodfellow get together to talk about Order of Battle: Pacific, a game that superficially shares a lineage with the venerable Panzer Corps and other Slitherine games. Rob and Troy took a shine to it while Tom and Bruce decide that they've sung this song, danced this dance, and sunk that carrier before. Hello Kitty is invoked, JRPGs are explained, and the Pacific Theater in general is likened to Warhammer 40K.
May 27, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 307: Roguelikes
Roguelikes. They're not strategy games, but they're everywhere. Well, parts of them are. Very specific parts, but rarely all of them, at least not enough to make everyone happy. To discuss these finer points, Rob gathers a veritable rogue's gallery of panelists and experts. Tyler Sigman: game designer and creator of the upcoming Darkest Dungeon. Darren Grey: Roguelike developer and current host of Roguelike Radio, an entire podcast about the genre. Michael Hermes: 3MA audio guy with the ability to bug Rob until we finally do a show about roguelikes. Absent: Troy "I Only Play Minotaurs" Goodfellow.
May 20, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 306: Invisible, Inc.
Rob and Troy talk to Jamie Cheng and James Lance of Klei Entertainment, developers of Invisible, Inc, a turn-based tactical game that focuses on stealthy people doing stealthy things.
May 14, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 305: Kim Kanger and French Colonial Wargaming
This week, Bruce Geryk hosts Kim Kanger, designer of Dien Bien Phu: The Final Gamble, as well as a series of wargames covering France's 20th century colonial wars. They discuss the appeal and importance of the wars in Algeria and Southeast Asia, as well as the unique challenges of designing games around them.
May 07, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 304: Star Drive 2
MoO-ve over, other space 4X games -- Star Drive 2 is here and ready to impress. Fraser Brown (it's definitely Fraser this time) and Rob discuss the finer points of perpetuating genocide on a mass scale for the best reason possible: a lack of any other viable option. Star Drive 2 improves on the original and brings a ship building module that Rob actually enjoys, a feat not seen since GalCiv2 which is only accurate because I am writing this summary and Rob is not. Also, Endless Space is a great game. Love, Michael.
May 01, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 303: Heroes of the Storm
Open your folder of fanfic and scroll down to the Warhammer and Warhammer 40K crossover you've always wanted to publish, the one where the dark elves fight space marines with acid spitting aliens and dragons flying through the sky next to the Serenity (for good measure). Now close that that .txt file, open Heroes of the Storm, and behold: Blizzard have brought your dreams to life! Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo come crashing together in the MOBA/LOMA that promises to be faster to play, easier to learn, and cost more than other, similar titles. Rowan Kaiser and David Heron join Rob to talk about the current state of HotS and whether it lives up to Blizzard's lofty goals.
Apr 24, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 302: The 4X Genre
Have you ever felt unable to articulate the gnawing doubt that paws at your mind as you play another 4X strategy game? Wondered at the tickle of weariness that plays at your mind as you once again discover Iron and go about the tedious work of upgrading your troops to Swordsman? Have you sighed deeply, closing out yet another Civilization run a mere five hours in, knowing that you'll never come back to it, finding it easier to start again on a vast, unspoiled continent before the crushing weight of despair will once again drive your game to a close? If so, this is the show for you! Rob and Troy are joined by game designer David Heron and freelance writer Austin Walker to talk about 4X games as a whole - what works, what doesn't, and why every damn conversation circles back to people looking for another Masters of Orion game.
Apr 15, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 301: John Tiller's Squad Battles - First World War
The Winter of Wargaming plods forward, inch by inch, straining through the rain and grime amidst a hail of enemy artillery and rifle fire. The trenches never end, a maze of mud and blank-faced soldiers so far beyond rational thought that their only solace lies inward toward thoughts of home and hearth. But wait, who's that ahead going over the top? It's Rob, Bruce, and Troy "Who Took My Cheese Rations?" Goodfellow here to talk about John Tiller's Squad Battles - First World War. Is this entry into the venerable series the volume that finally makes trench warfare fun?
Apr 08, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 300: Vietnam '65
Three Moves Ahead extends a warm welcome to founding member and persistent barista Tom Chick for our 300th episode. Tom, Rob, Bruce and Troy "I Hate Nicknames" Goodfellow discuss Vietnam 65, a PC and iOS game about managing hearts and minds during the Vietnam war. This week, we learn that Rob is unequivocally the tactical and strategic mastermind of counter-insurgency warfare. Bruce reveals what he considers to be the best - best - Vietnam war game ever made, and we all learn a little bit about what a "light" war game is.
Mar 30, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 299: Earliest Access
Rob is joined by Darkest Dungeon developer Tyler Sigman as well as Jon Shafer and Soren Johnson to talk about Early Access. As more games come onto the market in Early Access, gamers are getting more vocal about how it should be done and whether it's ultimately good for the consumer or the developer. Jon and Soren certainly have opinions, and they don't always align. The important thing to remember is that Soren and Jon both love you very much and this is not your fault.
Mar 19, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 298: Cities: Skylines
This is, by far, the most drug-filled, corpse-ridden, communism-fueled episode of Three Moves Ahead yet. Cities: Skylines has quickly become the darling of the city management scene and Fraser Brown, Rowan Kaiser, Sean Sands, and Rob Zacny are here to tell you why.
Mar 15, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 297: Frozen Cortex
Mode 7 developer Ian Hardingham joins Rob and Fraser to talk about Frozen Cortex, the robot football follow-up to 2011's Frozen Synapse. Fighting robots! Running plays! Stats? Wrong end zone!
Mar 07, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 296: Sunless Sea
Rob, Bruce, Julian, and Fraser set sail in the macabre and fascinating land of Sunless Sea. Based on the setting of the browser game Fallen London, Sunless Sea fills out its bingo card quickly as a roguelite-RPG-text adventure-FTL-Lovecraftian-ship simulator. Learn why this game is generating gobs of praise and high scores and also why there is an island named after Bruce.
Feb 25, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 295: Heroes of Might and Magic
Rob, Rowan, and Troy "I have a Gnoll friend" Goodfellow talk about the Heroes of Might and Magic series in its entirety, from bright, pixely start to Match Three finish. HD remakes, RPG spinoffs, puzzle games -- HoMM has it all.
Feb 20, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 294: Fifty Shades of Grey Goo
Rob is joined by freelance writer T.J. Hafer and Gamers With Jobs' Shawn Andrich to talk about Grey Goo, a new RTS with a classic aesthetic and modern conveniences. Also, goo.
Feb 04, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 293: Close Combat
The Winter of Wargaming continues with Rob, Bruce, and Troy "We Need More Canadians" Goodfellow talking about the Close Combat series. The series saw a refresh in 2014's Gateway to Caen - was it enough of an update or has the series gone stale?
Jan 29, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 292: Advanced Squad Leader
Bruce and Julian sit down to talk about the often mentioned (but rarely truly discussed) Advanced Squad Leader. Joining them are Jeff Hallet and Dave Kleinschmidt, hosts of what is undeniably the best ASL podcast on the internet, The 2 Half-Squads. ASL holds a reputation for being one of the most detailed and fully fleshed-out wargames available. The flexible combat system lends itself to memorable games that cover a wide variety of scenarios. For even more in-depth discussion of ASL, visit The 2 Half-Squads:
Jan 19, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 291: Europa Universalis IV in 2015
Sean Sands from Gamers With Jobs joins Rob to talk about Europa Universalis IV. EUIV has seen several expansions and updates since its launch, and what used to be the undisputed flagship of the studio is fighting for top dog with Crusader Kings II. Sean has played just a few hours of EUIV and offers his insights into what the game has grown to be and why he keeps coming back.
Jan 13, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 290: Odds and Ends
Just in time for the weekend, it's Rob and Troy "Miscellaneous is my Middle Name" Goodfellow back together to talk about some of the smaller games that fell through the cracks during this holiday season.
Jan 03, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 289: 2014, King of Years
Rob Zacny, Fraser Brown, Rowan Kaiser, and Troy "You Say 'Two Piers', I say 'Paradox'" Goodfellow talk about all the terrific and not-so-terrific things that happened in strategy gaming in 2014. Endless Legend appears to win based on the metric of time discussed and we all learn what Rowan really thinks about his cat.
Dec 24, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 288: Ardennes Assault
Rob and Fraser talk about Company of Heroes 2: Ardennes Assault. Someone, on this very show, declares Ardennes assault to be the best - the BEST - that Company of Heroes has ever been. But who? Who would make such a bold claim?
Dec 18, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 287: General Mayhem
The most regular of panels is together to talk about generals: how are they portrayed in games, and do they accurately represent the effect of true leadership on the battlefield? Rob, Julian, Fraser, and Troy "That's not my lieutenant, that's my horse" Goodfellow debate the finder points of leadersihp. Most importantly: Fraser has the itch to write some fan fiction.
Dec 04, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 286: Valkyria Chronicles
Valkyria Chronicles: a product of Sega's ill-fated R&D development team that was sort of set in Holland and loosely based on a conflict that may have been World War II (but wasn't). Rob is joined by Gamers With Jobs' Shawn Andrich and developer David V. Heron to talk about the 2008 Playstation 3 cult classic that has found new life on Steam, or a platform that closely resembles Steam.
Nov 27, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 285: No Coffee, No Smokes
Kotaku's Evan Narcisse joins Rob and Fraser to discuss This War of Mine. Rather than pushing chits around from the remote general's chair, This War of Mine plunges the player into the lives of the people affected by war.
Nov 21, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 284: This is My Arquebus
Rob, Troy, and Bruce discuss Pike and Shot, a wargame about everyone's favorite 16th-century military formation.
Nov 15, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 283: A Sterile Future
Rob, Fraser, and Troy "It's my planet I'll do what I want" Goodfellow talk about the latest entry into the Civ franchise, Civilization: Beyond Earth. Is this the game we've all been waiting for? Well, no, not really. Find out why and listen to Troy talk about touching planets, and them touching back.
Nov 07, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 282: Surrender or Die in Obscurity
At long last, console games are coming to Three Moves Ahead. Michael Hermes and Jenn Cutter join Troy "Zodiac" Goodfellow to talk about Square's 1997 Playstation game Final Fantasy Tactics. Listen in and learn about chocobos, time mages, and questionable translations.
Oct 30, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 281: Black on Red
The original panel gets together to talk about an original game made by our original intern, Soren Johnson (also known for designing Civilization IV). Rob, Julian, Bruce, and Troy "The Wolf of Nix Street" Goodfellow discuss buying, selling, and exploring in this early preview of Offworld Trading Company.
Oct 22, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 280: Have Fun Storming the Castle
You think you can get into my castle? You can't. I've got a moat. I've got a moat, and I've got some big-ass walls. See those arrow slits? We're going to shoot arrows at you, and there's not a damn thing you can do about it. Because I am safe in this castle and you're just some puny little knight on a - oh, you think your ladders are going to help? Gonna put some ladders up and storm the walls? Well, I can - wait. Oh shit. Those are some good ladders. I can pour some oil on you, perhaps? Nope, you're already in the compound. Fifteen years of construction time, countless blocks of stone, and you beat me with a ladder. Shit.
Oct 17, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 279: Teenage Zombie Insects
Fraser Brown and Rowan Kaiser join Troy "Restart" Goodfellow to talk about Endless Legend. Most of them agree that Endless Space was good... but not great. Does Endless Legend pick up the slack and become a game for the ages? One thing is certain: it sure is purty.
Oct 10, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 278: Troy Goodfellow Simulator 2014
Kotaku's Patricia Hernandez and Eurogamer's Paul Dean join Troy "Morris Windsor" Goodfellow to talk about the latest installment in the Sims Franchise. Discussion abounds regarding pools, toddlers, and having a pint with Death down in the local. Fair warning for wholesome Sim-lovers everywhere: Troy gets a little blue.
Oct 03, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 277: Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)
Planetary Annihilation is finally here, and Rob is joined by Fraser Brown (PCGamesN) and Brendan Caldwell (Rock Paper Shotgun) to discuss their differing views on the game.
Sep 25, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 276: Functional Cogs Only
The crew from Gaslamp Games talks to Rob and Troy about their upcoming (but available in early access) simulation game, Clockwork Empires. Daniel Jacobsen, Nicholas Vining, and David Baumgart answer questions about cults, cannibalism, fish people, and the fire alarm. I took out the fire alarm bit, though. Bad radio.
Sep 18, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 275: The Rise of Nations Show
Where does one begin to discuss what has been called "The Official Game of Three Moves Ahead"? Tom would say: by describing the sublime user interface, or maybe the clever ways the game handles technology and advancement. Perhaps the deft grace with which it weaves the entirety of human history into one lunch break. In summary, Tom thinks this game is the cat's pajamas. Listen in as he waxes poetic alongside Rob and special guest Sean Sands.
Sep 12, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 274: Mail Call!
What's the craziest thing you've ever seen a computer AI do? What kind of product does Rob use in his hair? Does Troy really sing showtunes all the time? (Yes.) Some of these questions are answered in this week's Q&A show!
Sep 04, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 273: The Guns of August
Rob Zacny and Troy "Vimy Ridge" Goodfellow continue the discussions of World War I with Slitherine's Commander: The Great War. Alternate episode titles: Slow Your Kaiser Roll World War Fun
Aug 22, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 272: Knights of the Sky
In a feat more rare than a perfectly executed Reverse Cuban Eight, the entire panel is on board for this week's show. Rob Zacny, Julian Murdoch, Bruce Geryk, and Troy "Sopwith Camel" Goodfellow talk about flight during World War I.
Aug 13, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 271: The Last Express
Three Moves Ahead continues to explore World War I in an extended episode that looks at 1997's The Last Express. Rob and Troy are joined by Idle Thumbs' Chris Remo to dive into an adventure game that explores the often-overlooked time in history that preceded World War I.
Aug 08, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 270: Gaul Stones
Today's episode on Hegemony Rome: The Rise of Caesar is all about learning. We learn that Troy's eloquence is as fleeting as the wind. We learn about Fraser's dark side. We also learn that Rob, ah, really likes logistics.
Jul 24, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 269: Crisis Management
Game Designer Chris King joins Rob and Troy to talk about crisis management and political tension in video games. In this anniversary year of World War I it's only fitting to discuss the systems and mechanics that create the powder kegs that eventually spawn global conflict. It's also never a bad time to talk about Victoria 2.
Jul 17, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 268: Pickett's Charge
Rob, Julian, and Troy "Stonewall" Goodfellow get together to talk about Ultimate General: Gettysburg. Is this the bargain we've been waiting for? The next great Gettysburg game? The game that finally introduces the importance of Lollazapoola Hill?
Jul 09, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 267: Revising History
Jon Shafer returns to the show to talk with Rob and Troy about revisionist history. Everyone thinks the Spanish Conquistadors were jerks, but let's not forget the behavior of the waffling Belgians. Also, where are all the World War I games?
Jul 03, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 266: Relaxing by the Hearthstone
An all-star panel of Julian Murdoch, David V. Heron, and Troy "Well Played!" Goodfellow get together to talk about Hearthstone. Blizzard's CCG seems to be the darling of the gaming community, but David has his reservations.
Jun 26, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 265: Tally Me Bananas
Pork sandwiches. Salsa music. Awesome hats. Politically motivated murder. Tropico is back again and Polygon's Charlie Hall is here to talk to Rob and Troy about the latest installment in the long-running series. Has the well been tapped? Is the series still going strong? How awesome would Rob look in a white linen suit and hat?
Jun 19, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 264: Building vs Battle
Rob is joined by game designers and 3MA regulars Soren Johnson and Rob Daviau to talk about the balance between building an empire and going to war. Sometimes you just want to build a sand castle. Sometimes Montezuma comes along and kicks your sand castle over. Then you have to go to war, but you've been researching some bigass lighthouse. Now what?
Jun 10, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 263: Winter of Wargaming Wrapup
This week Rob and Bruce round out the evergreen Winter of Wargaming by talking about wargames with Firaxis Games' Ananda Gupta. Any topic related to strategy gaming is in play, ranging from solitaire wargames to Hearthstone and Batman.
Jun 02, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 262: A Thousand Shards of Light
Rob is joined by a full complement of guests with Rowan Kaiser, Kat Bailey, and Jason Wilson on board to talk about Warlock 2: The Exiled. The original Warlock was regarded as a solid foundation of a game with room for improvement. Does Warlock 2 deliver?
May 28, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 261: Hearts and Minds: Vietnam 1965-1975 with John Poniske
Bruce concludes his three-part series with game designer and Vietnam veteran John Poniske. The pair discuss John's game Hearts and Minds: Vietnam 1965-1975 and its inspiration and design decisions.
May 19, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 260: The empires of EVE
Rob is joined by author and EVE historian Andrew Groen as well as fleet commander Manny and alliance leader Molle to discuss EVE Online. Player machinations form the base upon which EVE Online is built and result in battles that are publicized for their massive player count, coordination, and real-world costs. Listen in to learn how and why these conflicts start and get an inside glimpse at the often intimidating EVE universe.
May 14, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 259: Vietnam 1965-1975 with Nick Karp
Bruce talks to Shenandoah Studio founder and game designer Nick Karp about his 1984 game, "Vietnam 1965-1975". The pair discuss the challenges of designing a game around a conflict still fresh in the minds of the country and the world as well as where Nick got the information and inspiration for his game.
May 05, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 258: A Land War in Asia
Rob, Troy, and regular panelist Fraser Brown try to figure out just what Wargame Red Dragon is. Is it a wargame? RTS? A real-time wargame? A platforming roguelike? Tune in and find out where Red Dragon ranks in the Wargame series.
Apr 28, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 257: Vietnam Solitaire with Dave Kershaw
Bruce Geryk begins his three-part look at games based on the Vietnam war by talking to game designer Dave Kershaw. The pair talk about Dave's game Vietnam Solitaire, the assumptions that it challenges, and modeling an unwinnable war.
Apr 21, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 256: The Days of Yor
In our 2^8 episode, Rob and Troy talk about Galactic Civilizations 3 with lead designer Paul Boyer. Paul explains the goals of the alpha and what early backers can expect at this stage of development as well as future builds. Rob and Troy rattle off a few items from their wishlist and both of them are wrong once again about how fun the ship builder was in GalCiv2. --Michael
Apr 15, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 255: Wizard
Rowan Kaiser and Fraser Brown fill in for an ailing Rob Zacny and talk about Age of Wonders 3. After a dearth of fantasy strategy games over the years, how does Age of Wonders 3 set alongside the Warlock series and the upcoming Endless Legend? Listen in as the phrase "dire penguin" is said on the show for the first time ever.
Apr 07, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 254: Putin on the Ritz
Troy and Bruce conclude the Winter of Wargaming by talking about Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm. Does Red Storm fit the mold of a traditional wargame? Quit Stalin and give this show a listen.
Mar 24, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 253: From Tabletop to PC
Rob and Bruce continue their Winter of Wargaming by talking about Conflict of Heroes and the critical changes that took place as the game transitioned to the PC. Come for the gaming discussion, stay for the talk of relevant books and history.
Mar 10, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 252: Magic Hills and Body Count
Rob and Troy talk about wargame scenario objectives and the balance between one-off tactical battles and the larger strategic picture.
Feb 28, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 251: We Built This City
Rowan Kaiser, Cassandra Khaw, and Greg Tito join Troy to talk about a return to the city-building genre with Banished from Shining Rock Software. Alternate titles: Tales from Rowan-oke, Miners & Minors.
Feb 22, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 250: It's More Than A Box
Troy and Rob mark episode 250 by looking at a new game from Proxy Games and Matrix. Does Pandora live up to its ambitions as a spiritual successor to one of strategy gaming's most beloved titles? Listen as they look at the old wine in not very alien wineskins. Plus some kind words for everyone that has gotten us this far.
Feb 07, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 249: Pressing Through Mud and Snow
Mohawk Games' Soren Johnson joins Troy and Bruce to talk about Drive on Moscow, the followup to last year's Battle of the Bulge. Bruce gives some insight from behind the scenes and Soren explains why writing a good AI is a large undertaking.
Jan 30, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 248: The Dredge Report
Polygon's Danielle Riendeau joins Rob and Troy to talk about the long marches and difficult decisions in Banner Saga. Well-marked spoilers are present between 30:58 and 38:26.
Jan 23, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 247: Korsun Pocket
Rob and Bruce revisit SSG's classic Korsun Pocket in this first episode of 3MA's Winter of Wargaming. Rob tells us how the game holds up to someone seeing it for the first time and Bruce explains what made Korsun Pocket unique and important at its release in 2003.
Jan 16, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 246: Commentarii de Bello Gallico
Rob and Troy go deep into Roman history to talk about the expansion to Total War: Rome II - Caeser in Gaul. Have Creative Assembly turned their trireme around? Listen in to see if Rob is less irate and hear Troy drop the best sound bite in the history of the show. Alternate title: You've Got Some Gaul
Jan 11, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 245: Auld Lang Zerg
Tom makes the bold claim that the traditional RTS is dead by the hands of MOBAs. Troy still likes Civ and Rob discusses his space minivan as well as pushing through the less savory parts of SimCity.
Dec 31, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 244: Best of eSports 2013
Andrew Groen and Taylor Cocke join Rob to talk about the eSports scene in 2013. The crew discusses how the different games have evolved and where they'd like to see eSports go in the future.
Dec 28, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 243: Personal Highlight Reels
Julian, Bruce, and Rob sit down to discuss their favorite things from 2013. Rob and Bruce look forward to a Winter of Wargaming. Bruce and Julian argue about Waterdeep.
Dec 17, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 242: A Black Turn of Events
Pieter de Jong and Tomislav Uzelac join Rob and Bruce to talk about the Black Turn expansion for Unity of Command. They go in-depth on the Eastern Front and principles of scenario design.
Dec 10, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 241: Sons of Abraham
Campo Santo's Nels Anderson joins Rob, Rowan, and T.J Hafer to talk about the Crusader Kings 2 Sons of Abraham expansion and why it speaks to so many people outside the traditional grand-strategy sphere.
Dec 03, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 240: Enemy Within
David Heron and Rowan Kaiser join Rob to talk about the Enemy Within add-on for XCOM.
Nov 26, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 239: A Blizzard of Enthusiasm
Rob, Fraser Brown, and TJ Hafer have come away from Blizzcon feeling like Blizzard is more of a strategy studio than it's been in years.
Nov 15, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 238: State of the RTS
Soren Johnson joins Rob and Troy to discuss the meaning of the RTS format, why the traditional genre definition is too narrow, and his new studio.
Nov 08, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 237: Night of the Card Hunter
Jon Chey, formerly of Irrational and now of Blue Manchu, joins Julian and Rob to discuss Card Hunter.
Nov 02, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 236: Q & A
Rob and Troy field some listener questions, revisiting space games, and whether they prefer more abstraction or more theme.
Oct 23, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 235: A Tough Row Tahoe
Julian Murdoch and designer Rob Daviau join Rob on vacation to talk about playtesting, feedback, and making games work.
Oct 16, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 234: Seeking New God
Bruce Geryk brings Tom Chick back to the show so they can grill Ilwinter's Johan Karlsson and Kristoffer Osterman about Dominions 4 - the latest version of their "So You Wanna Be A God?" Fantasy Conquest Game. Learn about new empires, new powers and why everything is just a bit different for them.
Oct 03, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 233: Enemies Within and Twilight Struggles
Firaxis designer Ananda Gupta joins Rob, Troy, and Bruce to discuss his upcoming expansion to XCOM and his storied design career in PC and board gaming.
Sep 25, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 232: Sid Meier's Gettysburg!
Nick Breckon joins Rob and Troy to talk about one of the greatest wargames ever made.
Sep 18, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 231: Odi et... odi.
Everything changes in this Very Special 2-hour Three Moves Ahead event. Rob, Rowan Kaiser, and Fraser Brown gather to talk about Rome and destroy a grave threat to the Total War series. But then the next morning they realize they've gone too far and they're all like, "What have we done?" But nothing will ever be the same again, they've been marked forever.
Sep 12, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 230: Hot, Hot NS Hex
Soren Johnson, Ryan Kuo, and Michael Hermes join Julian today to talk about iOS asynchronous board gaming. Neuroshima Hex is the star of the show and leads the panel to other recent additions such as Eclipse and A Brief History of the World.
Sep 05, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 229: Rebels, Dissent, and Treason
Rob and Troy discuss how rebellion and discontent have been represented in strategy games, and why they can be so crucial.
Aug 26, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 228: A New Universe
PC Gamer's TJ Hafer and Gamesbeat's Jason Wilson join Rob to discuss Europa Universalis IV. Spoiler: they loved it.
Aug 19, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 227: What's the Deal with Lord Management?
Idle Thumbs' Sean Vanaman and former Escapist editor Tom Endo join Rob to explain the appeal and hurdles of Dota 2 and lord management.
Aug 08, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 226: Firaxis' Revisionists
Ed Beach and producer Dennis Shirk sit down with Rob to discuss their thinking behind Brave New World, and making a better Civilization V.
Jul 28, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 225: Brave New World
Rob, Troy, Fraser Brown, and Rowan Kaiser talk about the latest Civilization expansion.
Jul 20, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 224: Stopped at the Gates of Moscow
Tom Chick joins Rob to talk about their feelings toward Company of Heroes, and why they both feel a bit disappointed. Tom thinks the game's economy is broken and it's become too armor driven, while Rob is really depressed by the faction design. And yet Rob still likes it, while Tom finds it ultimately pointless.
Jul 12, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 223: God Help the Marines on Iwo Jima
Evan Lahti joins Rob to talk about Red Orchestra 2: Rising Storm (a totally LEGIT strategy topic). They discuss why it outstrips Heroes of Stalingrad, how it does faction design right, and the role of asymmetry.
Jul 04, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 222: Wargame: See Deep, Think Deeper
Bruce and Tom join Rob for a late-night chat about Wargame: AirLand Battle, Cold War tactics and politics, and Rob's overwhelming awfulness at this game.
Jun 28, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 221: Binding With Iron
Troy and Bruce team up to discuss the track record of railroad games through strategy history, from 1830 through Railroad Tycoon and Rails Across America and beyond. How do these games distinguish themselves from each other? What is the attraction? Does Ticket to Ride count?
Jun 20, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 220: Expanding the Company of Heroes
Relic's Quinn Duffy and former Relic producer and friend of the show Shane Neville join Rob to talk about Company of Heroes past and future.
Jun 11, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 219: Meeting of the Minds
Rob talks to the Paradox brain trust of CEO Fred Wester and VP Shams Jorjani to discuss publishing, Paradox's approach to the business, and whether reviewers are the enemy.
Jun 05, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 218: The War in Europa
EU IV lead Thomas Johansson and freelance writer Joe Robinson join Rob to talk about their recent adventures with a massive EU IV multiplayer session.EU IV lead Thomas Johansson and freelance writer Joe Robinson join Rob to talk about their recent adventures with a massive EU IV multiplayer session.EU IV lead Thomas Johansson and freelance writer Joe Robinson join Rob to talk about their recent adventures with a massive EU IV multiplayer session.
May 30, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 217: Victoria Day
3MA Producer Michael Hermes and GWJ editor Erik Hanson joins Rob and Tom to talk about Victoria II: Heart of Darkness. Rob is reconsidering some of his earlier, harsher views on Victoria while Tom argues that it is a towering achievement of game design that speaks to real-world politics in a way few others have ever attempted.
May 20, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 216: Lost in Space
Paul Dean joins Rob to talk about their shared frustration with the state of strategy games among the stars.
May 14, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 215: Early Access
Tom Chick and Rob talk about the rise of early access programs, whether it's a good thing, and what it means for their work.
May 01, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 214: We <3 the Swarm
Andrew Groen and Sean Sands join Rob to discuss how Heart of the Swarm has changed StarCraft 2, and the evolving competitive landscape. (Cover image: Enrique Espinoza courtesy MLG)
Apr 24, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 213: On Campaign
Tom Chick joins Rob and Troy to talk about campaigns in RTS games, particularly StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm.
Apr 17, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 212: Set Disruptors to Acts of God
Troy, Julian, Dave Heron, and Rob talk about the role of extraordinary disruptions in strategy games. From acts of God to the acts of Khan, why don't more strategy games include disruptions? And should they?
Apr 09, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 211: Worth a Thousand Words
PAX East 2013 was host to the second ever Three Moves Ahead panel, and this time we took on interface design. Troy and Rob were joined by Rob Daviau (IronWall), Eric Lee Smith (Shenandoah) and Nels Anderson (Klei)
Mar 27, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 210: A Silly Place
Chris and Rowan Kaiser join Rob to dissect SimCity and its many quirks.
Mar 21, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 209: Desktop to Tabletop
Bruce and Troy welcome Paul Rohrbaugh from <u><a href="" target="_blank">High Flying Dice Games</a></u> to the show to talk about what it means to be a desktop wargame publisher? Why do desktop games support greater variety in conflicts? Is there a limit on what can and cannot be done? What does a desktop consumer look like? And stay tuned to the end for a pretty cool wargame story.
Mar 12, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 208: Social Gaming
Rob Daviau joins Julian, Rob, and Troy to talk about games that are more about social interaction than mechanics. Traitor games, party games, and negotiation games.
Mar 07, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 207: Eagles Marching
Awesome Out of Ten's Fraser Brown and PC Gamer's T.J. Hafer join Rob to talk about Paradox's March of the Eagles.
Feb 27, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 206: Cold Warriors
It's just Troy and Rob this week as they reflect on Cold War strategy games and the unique challenges and temptations of that setting.
Feb 19, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 205: A Final Unity
2x2's Tomislav Uzelac joins Bruce and Rob to talk about designing Unity of Command, scenario design versus systems design, and where the series goes from here.
Feb 12, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 204: Gate-Crashing the Roman Empire
Jon Shafer joins Rob and Troy to talk about his new project, <b><a href="">At the Gates</a></b>, and the role of map evolution.
Feb 06, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 203: Classic Career Analysis with Chris Taylor
Gas Powered Games' Chris Taylor joins Rob, Troy, and Julian to talk about Total Annihilation and the Supreme Commander series, as well the problems currently facing Gas Powered and their <b><a href="">Wildman Kickstarter</a></b>..
Jan 29, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 202: Best of the Best 2012
It's old home week on Three Moves Ahead as the full panel assembles to talk about their favorite games and trends of 2012, and Tom Chick crashes the party to bury the hexagon, not to praise it.
Jan 22, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 201: Best of the Guests 2012
Our most frequent guests in 2012, designers Soren Johnson, Jon Shafer, and Dave Heron return to 3MA to talk to Rob about their favorite experiences of the year.
Jan 15, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 200: Tapping Past Bastogne
2013 opens with a look at Shenandoah Studios' <b>Battle of the Bulge</b> for iPad. Everyone agrees that it is shiny and beautiful, but does it work as it should? Is it even a Bulge game at all? Listen as Troy, Bruce and Julian work out what makes Battle of the Bulge a near perfect match of design and platform. <p>Gameographies of major players at Shenandoah <u><a href="" target="_blank">John H Butterfield</a></u> <u><a href="" target="_blank">Joe Miranda</a></u> <u><a href="" target="_blank">Eric Lee Smith</a></u></p> <u><a href="" target="_blank">Bruce's review</a></u>
Jan 07, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 199: Some Assembly Required
Troy and Julian welcome freelance writer and co-proprietor of the <u><a href="" target="_blank">Shut Up, Sit Down Show, Paul Dean</a></u>, to talk about house rules and modding in board games. Why do we do it? What counts as a mod of a board game? And how do you get other people to play them? Creativity, design, drinking - Troy is good at one of these things, but a fine chat is had.
Dec 18, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 198: The Kessel Run
<u><a href="" target="_blank">Rowan Kaiser</a></u> rejoins Rob and Bruce to talk about War in the East, while Bruce has been busy with the Don to the Danube expansion. Rowan has thoughts about approaching the hardest of the hardcore wargames from a newcomer's perspective, while Rob is laboring under the most epic misconception in 3MA history. Bruce is a little bit disappointed in the new scenarios, and he and Rob discuss their ideal Eastern front scenarios. Then the panel talk about Matrix prices, and what they mean for the genre.
Dec 11, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 197: All By Myself
Troy and Bruce welcome original panelist Tom Chick back to the show to talk about solitaire boardgames, starting with the new Phantom Leader for iPad and then roaming through 20000 Leagues Under the Sea, Levee En Masse, some Lovecraftian thing and Ambush. What makes a solitaire board game distinct from a computer game played against an AI? When do theme and production values matter? Plus the return of the Geryk outro tunes.
Dec 04, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 196: Grunt's Eye View
Rob is joined by Shawn Andrich, Evan Lahti, and Phill Cameron to talk about Planetside 2 and the past and future of the large-scale shooter. At what point does the scale start to turn a shooter into a strategy game, and does Planetside hit that level? Everyone suspects that Planetside would be more strategic if only there were a commander role, and Rob and Shawn are reminded of the old Battlezone games. Evan is impressed by how diverse the experiences and battlefields are in Planetside 2, but everyone has doubts about the F2P economy and the progression system. The group also talk about the ArmA series and Natural Selection 2's blend of RTS and FPS.
Nov 29, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 195: Classic Game Analysis: Age of Mythology
Rob and Troy welcome freelancer John Peter Grant to the show to talk about one of the greatest real-time strategy games ever made - Ensemble's Age of Mythology. The art, the story, the balance, the structure -- everything is examined in a deep and wide-ranging conversation about why this game still stands as a landmark title with a lot to teach the modern RTS developer and player.
Nov 20, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 194: Checking In with Arcen
Last seen way back in <b><a href="">Episode 37</a></b>, Chris Park from Arcen Games returns to the show to talk to Troy, Michael Hermes and Shannon Quesnel about <i>AI War: Fleet Command</i> on the occasion of the release of <a href="">Version 6.0. </a> Chris talks about how theme and vision dictate patching, the particular skills that a hardcore niche audience can bring to an indie game and how Steam is the best promotional tool they have.
Nov 12, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 193: A Million Little Plastic Pieces
<b><a href="">Rob Daviau</a></b> joins Rob and Julian to talk about components, game enhancements, and theme. How does component quality factor in design decisions, and how much should they support theme? Why do we get so attached to the sensations that accompany a game, to the point where it can profoundly affect the quality of our experience? Why did War of the Ring nearly get Rob Zacny pulled over at the border?
Nov 06, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 192: Fallen Enchantress with Derek Paxton
Derek Paxton comes back to the show to talk with <b><a href="">Tom</a></b>, Rob, Bruce, and Troy about <b><a href="">Fallen Enchantress</a></b>, his massive revision of 2010's Elemental: War of Magic. He explains how he started reshaping Elemental, and how the project grew along the way. Tom is already a big fan, and even suggests that Fallen Enchantress may be close to Master of Magic-levels of greatness. Rob and Troy are a bit more reserved, and some arguments break out over diplomacy, the early game, and the tactical combat. Derek details his thinking on each of those points, and goes a long way to explaining why Fallen Enchantress works the way it does.
Oct 30, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 191: Return to Summoner's Rift
In a perhaps dangerously detailed discussion of League of Legends, Rob and Julian talk to Rhea "<a href="">Ashelia</a>" Monique and <a href="">Julian Williams</a> about the recent League of Legends championship. They talk about the new ways pro teams are playing the game, and the connection between the pro game and the regular ranked play. They also talk about the importance of casual play and bringing in new players, and discuss the different ways StarCraft 2 and League of Legends approach that issue.
Oct 23, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 190: Fatality!: The XCom Review Show
Dave Heron and Jon Shafer return to the show to talk about XCom: Enemy Unknown with Julian and Troy. They talk about the streamlining Firaxis has done to the franchise and how it has paid off. How do the strategic and tactical levels meld? Is the voice acting any good? How replayable is it? And listen to their inevitable list of nitpicks. <a href=""><b>Troy's thoughts on XCom</b></a>, <a href=""><b>Rob and Joe Robinson talk XCom</b></a> and <a href=""><b>Rob argues in favour of its simpler design</b></a>
Oct 15, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 189: Through a Glass, Darkly
Klei's <a href="">Nels Anderson</a> and Firaxis' <a href="">Scott Lewis</a> join Rob and Troy to talk about fog of war and hidden information in game design. They talk about <a href="">Mark of the Ninja</a> and how information-gathering becomes a key game phase, and how games like Civilization use fog of war as a way to keep the player focused on a small, manageable area at the start of the game. The group discuss other ways to represent information-gathering, touching on games like Wargame, XCOM, Panzer Corps, and even 2006's Chromehounds. <br><br>Apologies for any audio issues. We lost Scott Lewis's audio track to a software glitch.
Oct 09, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 188: We Will Be Watching, Commander
Bruce and Rob welcome Jake Solomon, lead designer of Firaxis' new XCOM, and interrogate him mercilessly. Jake explains his design choices and the trade-offs he faced in adapting and updating X-Com.
Oct 02, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 187: Faster Than Light, Slower Than Death
Michael Hermes joins Rob, Troy, and Julian to talk about FTL. Why FTL understands why we like space, its lovely simplicity, and why unfairness is cool.<br><br> <a href="">Read Troy on FTL</a>, then read Rob on his rendezvous with <a href="">death</a>.
Sep 25, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 186: Playing at the World
This week, Troy and Bruce talk to Jon Peterson, author of the epic gaming history tome, Playing at the World: A History of Simulating Wars, People and Fantastic Adventures from Chess to Role-Playing Games. They talk about the turning points in the evolution of wargames, when a wargame becomes a role playing game and the important task of collecting and compliling gaming’s long and often small scale history.
Sep 19, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 185: Class is in Session
This week, Troy, Julian and Bruce welcome back frequent guests Rob Daviau and Bill Abner to talk about the touchy subject of trying to teach games. Though the focus is on board gaming, there are useful lessons about how to approach communication, building the right mindset for the pupil and the challenges of trying to read, teach, play and compete all at once.
Sep 10, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 184: Best-Case Scenario
Julian and Rob are wrapping up their vacation when they realize they should probably record a show. An underwhelming board game and their simmering frustration with long campaigns leads to a discussion of what they want from scenario design. They consider the tension between their desire a self-contained, quick-playing scenario and their resentment of puzzles and narrow solutions.
Sep 04, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 183: Taking Command for Bull Run 2: Run Harder
Bruce, Troy, and Rob discuss Take Command: 2nd Manassas and why it is one of the best tactical Civil War games ever made. Along the way they discuss what they want from wargames, mission structure, and how few games really address the real challenges of battlefield command. The group lapse into a Tim Stone-induced reverie as they discuss games that have dealt with command and control from the perspective of a Napoleon or Lee. Apologies for sound quality issues: Rob’s microphone was having a disastrous day.
Aug 28, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 182: Three's a Crowdsourcing
Bruce, Troy, and Rob discuss the changing landscape of game financing, or at least they try to. The end up discussing Kickstarter almost exclusively, the return of <a href="">Tom vs. Bruce</a>, and their feelings of optimism about what crowd-funding can mean. Troy douses them with the cold water of reality. They also contemplate the strange meta-game of Kickstarters, and Ian Bogost's <a href="" target="_blank">skepticism</a>. Nobody can pronounce OUYA.
Aug 21, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 181: Blendo Games
<a href="" target="_blank">Blendo Games</a>' <a href="" target="_blank">Brendon Chung</a> joins Rob and Julian to talk about Flotilla, Atom Zombie Smasher, Gravity Bone, and his approach to design. Rob and Julian are fascinated by his willingness to conclude a game when it is at its best, and Brendon explains why that is and the things from his own games that he wants to revisit. Rob is crushed to hear of the lost, X-COM style metagame for Atom Zombie Smasher.
Aug 14, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 180: Thinking Machines
<a href="" target="_blank">Soren Johnson</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Cryptic Comet's Vic Davis</a> return to talk about artificial intelligence, its limitations, and their changing views on what to do about it.
Aug 06, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 179: Spy Games
<a href="" target="_blank">Soren Johnson</a> returns to talk spies, espionage, and covert action with Rob and Julian. They then subject espionage mechanics to forty minutes of interrogation, torture, and unkind words. Then they remember the one game they've played that has spies and espionage that they don't hate. Suspiciously, Rob's microphone fails midway through the show. Happenstance or sabotage from an enemy agent?
Jul 30, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 178: Unit Customization and Game Design
Sixth Beatle Soren Johnson returns along with new guest, Cliff Harris from Positech - designer of Gratuitous Space Battles and the new Gratuitous Tank Battles. This week, how does the idea of unit customization fit with general design principles? At what point is this mechanic an intrusion into good 4x game design? Where do designer and player expectations collide?
Jul 23, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 177: Pokemon Conquest
With everyone very busy and very tired, a shorter and smaller show than usual this week. Troy welcomes Pokemon trainer and DS guru <a href="" >Nadia Oxford</a> to the show to talk about the weird mixture of <em >Pokemon</em> and <em >Nobunaga's Ambition</em> in <em >Pokemon Conquest</em>. How does it differ from other Pokemon games? Do the strategic and tactical levels work? As the 3DS slowly pushes the original out of the way, what is legacy of the DS as a strategy platform?
Jul 16, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 176: We're Making a Better World
<a href="" target="_blank">Cory Banks</a> joins Julian, Troy, and Rob to talk about fiction and world-building in strategy games. They talk a lot about Endless Space and whether or not its fiction is undercooked, and how it affects the rest of the game. Does having an interesting world make for a better strategy game? Is Civilization just abstracting human history, or is it doing world-building of its own? The gang considers Alpha Centauri, and what its fiction added to the game, and what the poor fiction of Rise of Legends and Kohan took away. Julian explains why Warhammer's fiction works so brilliantly.
Jul 09, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 175: Gods and Kings
Popcap's <a href="!/greenspeak" target="_blank">Jeff Green</a> joins returning guest <a href="!/davidvheron" target="_blank">David Heron</a>, Troy, and Rob for a discussion of the <em>Civilization V</em> expansion <em>Gods and Kings</em>. Together, they discuss why Civ V was so controversial, how G&K changes it, and whether its major changes seem quite as meaningful now that they've put some time into it. Be sure to listen to the episode for details on a little contest to give away some spare Sins: Rebellion keys. Which we should have done last week, but we forgot. Because we're disgraceful. But still pretty great.
Jul 01, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 174: For I Have Sinned
Ironclad's Blair Fraser and Stardock's Chris Bray join Rob, Julian, and freelance writer <a href="!/the_katbot" target="_blank">Kat Bailey</a> to discuss the new <em>Rebellion</em> stand-alone expansion to <em><a href="" target="_blank">Sins of a Solar: Empire</a></em>. Kat wants to know what the hell to do about Advent culture. Rob wants to know why <em>Rebellion</em> looks so good. Blair wants everyone to know that the story of SoaSE guides its ongoing direction. Then Blair and Chris tease us with the greatest idea in the history of gaming.
Jun 23, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 173: Going Pro
<a href="!/Slasher" target="_blank">Rod "Slasher" Breslau</a>, eSports correspondent for GameSpot and a panelist on <a href="" target="_blank">Live on Three</a>, joins Julian and Rob to help them with their recent conversion to the cause of eSports and pro gaming. They discuss the difficulties of getting into the pro gaming scene, how it evolved, and the different forms of success embodied by StarCraft 2 and League of Legends. They also describe why eSports appeal to them, and how it speaks to them as strategy gamers.
Jun 17, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 172: I AM WARLOCKED
Better late than never, freelance friends <a href="!/jason_wilson" target="_blank">Jason Wilson</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Rowan Kaiser</a> join Rob for a love-in on Warlock: Master of the Arcane. They discuss how much it improved with patches, how its trans-dimensional map is both amazing and wasted, and how it solves classic problems of the fantasy strategy game. Big thanks to <a href="!/jonathandownin" target="_blank">Jonathan Downin</a> for taking on production duties this week.
Jun 10, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 171: Fun with 3MA
<a href="">Tom Chick</a>, SMG studios designer <a href="!/davidvheron" target="_blank">David Heron</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Jon Shafer</a> join Rob to reflect on their various issues with "fun" and how we relate to games. It's a rambling discussion about what we want from games, how we want to talk about them, and whether enjoyment is possible without fun.
Jun 02, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 170: Classic Game Analysis - Kohan
<a href="" target="_blank" class="liexternal" >Tom Chick</a> comes back to the show to join Rob and Troy for a look back at one of the great real time strategy series – Timegate’s <em >Kohan</em> games. What made Kohan unique and what games, if any, have followed on its original ideas? Is Kohan 2: Kings of War really an inferior sequel? Cities as offensive weapons, the tricks around force posture and the mysteries of who the Kohan are are explored. Also, another one of Tom’s stupid quizzes.
May 26, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 169: Out of the Park Baseball and Managing Things
This week, Bill Abner from <a href="" target="_blank" class="liexternal">No High Scores</a> returns to the show along with new guest Dirk Knemeyer from <a href="" target="_blank" class="liexternal">Conquistador Games</a>. What do they have in common? Both have better OOTP league teams than Troy does. The trio talk about the improvements in <a href="" target="_blank" class="liexternal">OOTP 13</a>, what makes the OOTP series so special and enduring – if sometimes confusing, and why sports management games are some of the purest strategy games available. Bill sets Dirk straight on some things, Dirk complains about not finding stuff and Troy owns up to the worst free agent signing in baseball history.
May 19, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 168: Bomber Command
<a href="">Lee Brimmicombe-Wood</a> returns to the podcast so Bruce Geryk can talk more about bombers and commanding in them, in the recently released board game <a href="">Bomber Command</a>. And this time, we let them talk it all the way through! More on design decisions, simulating the air war and balancing history and play.
May 11, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 167: Naval War: Arctic Circle
Jan Haugland from Turbotape Games drops by to talk to Rob about the art and science of designing a modern naval sim. Radars, ships, Naval War: Arctic Circle the spiritual successor to Harpoon that I have been waiting for?
May 04, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 166: Strategic Tee Ball
<a href="" target="_blank">Jon Shafer</a> joins Rob, Troy, and Julian to talk about challenge in strategy games. What kind of challenges do we want from strategy games, and how does it get botched? Why are people still surprised when AI opponents aren't very clever? Why are they so hesitant to take on multiplayer? What's the difference between good scenario design and unfair scenario design? How amazing is Unity of Command? Seriously, you guys.
Apr 28, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 165: Beware of Falling Samurai
PC Gamer staff writer <a href="!/Thomas_Senior" target="_blank">Tom Senior</a> and freelance writer <a href="">Phill Cameron</a> come to Rob's podcasting island, bringing with them rifles and steam-powered ironclads. Things swiftly turn violent as they discuss Shogun 2: Fall of the Samurai, and some of the Total War series' longstanding contradictions. How does balance function in Fall of the Samurai, and how does the campaign structure let down the setting? Why does the AI behave as if it's not sure if it's in a game, or a history sim? How does Fall of the Samurai change the role of gunpowder weapons?
Apr 21, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 164: PAX East 2012 Panel: Strategy - What's Changing, What Needs To
We heard the people, and we brought Three Moves Ahead directly to the masses who gathered at PAX East. But what if you missed it? Will we punish you for your lack of dedication? Yes, but you can still listen to this episode. Listen to Rob forget to introduce himself or the panel, a panel that includes Troy, Julian, Paradox's Chris King (Victoria II), Stardock's <a href="" target="_blank">Jon Shafer</a> (Civ V), and Hasbro's <a href="!/robdaviaugamer" target="_blank">Rob Daviau</a> (Risk Legacy). Why is this such a good time to be a strategy gamer, and how can we make it better?
Apr 12, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 163: Fifty, Alive, and King
Rob welcomes freelancer <a href="" target="_blank">Rowan Kaiser</a> and designer <a href="" target="_blank">Jon Shafer</a> to talk about Crusader Kings 2. They swap stories, discuss the impact of making a family-based strategy game, and question whether there's all that much crusading going on here.
Apr 06, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 162: Guess Who's Coming to Podcast?
<a href="" target="_blank">Idle Thumbs</a> visits Three Moves Ahead to start discussing plans. As Sean Vanaman mandates a Far Cry 2 episode quota, Troy and Rob begin to realize they have made a deal with a Kickstarter devil. Still, there is more that unites the podcasts the divide them. The panel discusses what their respective podcasts are really about, and what they hope to achieve with a podcast network. Idle Thumbs discusses the surprising cost of running a successful Kickstarter. Honestly, this is more a conversation between new partners than a proper episode. There is a lot of thinking out-loud about our intentions, rather than a cohesive topic. It's kind of what you might expect from this group of people. Don't worry, though, regular programming resumes next week.
Mar 31, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 161: Safety in Numbers
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.
Mar 23, 2012
Three Moves Ahead <i>!!</i>: Special Announcement: Three Moves Ahead Is All Thumbs
Rob and Troy look at the <a href="" target="_blank">Idle Thumbs Kickstarter</a> and conclude that maybe these crazy kids know what they are doing. Maybe Rob and Troy are crazy kids themselves, and maybe they have a plan so crazy it just might work. They have partnered up with <a href="" target="_blank">Idle Thumbs</a>, finally giving Three Moves Ahead and its community the home they deserve as a part of the Idle Thumbs network. You have questions, and Rob and Troy have some answers! But never forget that Three Moves Ahead remains an independent podcast. It's like it joined an awesome podcast commune led by our talented, brilliant friends. Friends who love 3MA as much as we do, and who have some great plans to help it grow. Don't forget to retweet, and ask us questions via email and Twitter. We'll do a proper introduction to the Idle Thumbs network next week!
Mar 21, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 160: No Standing on the European Escalator to War
The Russians are coming, and they're bringing Tom Chick with them to talk about Wargame: European Escalation. Bruce, Troy, and Rob take the field to share their enthusiasm for Wargame and how it makes some smart revisions to its predecessor, RUSE. They discuss its clever approach to LOS rules and unit spotting, how it blends wargaming with RTS, and the orgy of period detail it includes.
Mar 17, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 159: Bruce and Julian's iPad Adventure
Hold onto your black t-shirts and skim lattes! It's all iPad, all the time on 3MA, as Bruce declares the iPad the greatest platform for strategy games, and Julian explains why the real story of the iPad announcement is the iPad 2 price drop. Then, this being Bruce and Julian, they fall to arguing minutiae about specific games, like Titan. Rob wants to know whether the iPad will ultimately move in the same complex direction as a lot of PC strategy games did, but Bruce and Julian think the iPad interface limits complexity. Then Bruce admits he's sick of board game conversions.
Mar 09, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 158: Conquest of Elysium 3
Rob Zacny gets a well earned week off and lets the old people run the show as Troy welcomes Bruce Geryk and Tom Chick to talk about Illwinter's new game Conquest of Elysium 3. It's a strategy game, it's a roguelike, it's an adventure. Tom talks about how the developers can make the game more engaging, Troy is the only person who thinks it's pretty ugly and Bruce demonstrates that only he has an ear for music. But everyone agrees that they really like Conquest of Elysium 3.
Mar 01, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 157: Not Quite Back in Action
<a href="" target="_blank">Darius Kazemi</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">GameSpy</a> Editor-in-Chief Dan Stapleton return to 3MA to discuss Jagged Alliance: Back in Action. Darius wants to know where the role-playing went, while Dan got heartily sick of the pause-and-go system in larger battles. Rob is going to murder whoever came up with the inventory system. All in all, they had an okay time.
Feb 24, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 156: Homage to Arulco
PC Gamer's <a href="!/elahti" target="_blank">Evan Lahti</a> and game designer <a href="" target="_blank">Darius Kazemi</a> parachute into 3MA to liberate it from Rob and Bruce. Their only weapon is a frightening knowledge of Jagged Alliance 2, but that just might be enough to get the job done. Darius explains why it is his favorite game, and makes a good case for it being the coolest game ever. Evan sees Jagged Alliance 2 as a game the defines 1990s' design, typifying the mix of ambition, quirkiness, and technical simplicity characteristic of the era's best offerings. Rob loves its portrayal of guerrilla warfare, and how Jagged Alliance was willing to punish hubris. Listen to war stories, Easter eggs, and memories of the strange cast of characters that comprise Jagged Alliance 2.
Feb 16, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 155: The (Very) Simple Joys of King Arthur 2
Freelance writers <a href="" target="_blank">Andrew Groen</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Charlie Hall</a> join Rob for a conversation about King Arthur 2: The Role-Playing Wargame. Everyone digs the setting, but opinions begin to diverge about the quality of the battles, and whether KA2's elements even hang together in a way that makes sense. Rob and Andrew can barely remember losing a battle, but Charlie creates his own challenges by trying to win cleanly. Is King Arthur 2 actually a good game, and is there hope for Neocore to finally get this formula right?
Feb 11, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 154: Unfrozen Caveman Gamers
Recent <a href="" target="_blank">Good Old Games</a> releases have gotten Rob thinking about what he wants to rescue from the past (besides Troy, that is). Julian doesn't think the distant past is the big problem, it's the games of the late 90s and early 2000s. Everyone agrees the LucasArts situation is a disgrace. Troy says Alpha Centauri doesn't hold up all that well, and is swiftly nerve-stapled and loaded into the Punishment Sphere.
Feb 04, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 153: Paradox Con Reloaded
<a href="" target="_blank">Jenn Cutter</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Dan Stapleton</a> return to 3MA to talk about <a href="" target="_blank">Paradox Con</a> with Rob. They discuss War of the Roses, Gettysburg: Armored Warfare, Arctic Circle, Salem, and Napoleon's Campaigns 2, as well as some prominent no-shows.
Jan 28, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 152: A Few Minutes of Show with Martin Wallace
Bruce, Julian, and Rob host board game designer <a href="" target="_blank">Martin Wallace</a> to ask him that timeless question, "How awesome is your game?" The crew discuss A Few Acres of Snow, the card-based board wargame that has consumed their lives, and dissect how it handles its subject: The French and Indian War. Martin explains why a game about 18th-century colonial warfare was originally conceptualized as a game about interstellar warfare. How does Martin approach his various subjects, and why does he think that is distinct from how most wargames are designed?
Jan 20, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 151: If on a winter's night a gamer
Rob, Julian, and Hasbro's <a href="" target="_blank">Rob Daviau</a> are marooned in rural Massachusetts. To avert cabin fever, they gather 'round the fireplace with a few microphones to talk about whether gaming gives them any carry-over skills for other activities, like cooking and work. Do games make us better at reasoning and problem analysis? Do they provide the same kind of perspective as an econ or stats course, for example? Julian is convinced he's a better negotiator because of games. Are we talking about gamification as opposed to achievement-ization, and is it helpful to try and perceive an underlying system to everyday tasks?
Jan 12, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 150: The Year in Review
The original cast, gets together to look at the strategy games they liked in 2011. We focus on the positive and talk about Atom Zombie Smasher, Shogun 2, Unity of Command, Men of War and lots of other names are dropped. Also a preview of the games we are looking forward to in 2012.
Jan 05, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 149: On the Care and Feeding of BattleMechs
Rob hosts a conversation with <a href="" target="_blank">Catalyst Game Labs'</a> Randall Bills and <a href="">Piranha Games'</a> Russ Bullock and Bryan Ekman. Such a group can only mean one thing: BattleTech discussion. Does the BattleTech board game hold up after all these years? Do the various BattleTech and MechWarrior games and books create difficult expectations for what a mech game "should" be? What are the benefits of having a gameworld with so much history, and how do BattleTech-related games tap into it? How do the board games influence the upcoming MechWarrior Online?
Dec 29, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 148: Unity of Command
Rob and Troy talk about 2x2's new entry-level wargame, <a href="" target="_blank">Unity of Command</a>, and why it is such a huge success. How does it stack up against Panzer Corps, and why is it more a wargame than a puzzle game? Why is its treatment of supply so important? Can you make a really challenging wargame without implying puzzle-like solutions?
Dec 22, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 147: Fire No Guns, Shed No Tears
A heavily medicated Rob hosts Julian, Troy, and Bruce to explain what's so boring about peace, love, and understanding. Why does strategy gaming usually come back to armed conflict, with the exception of city-builders? Do most people really even want games about other subjects, and can designers make good games out of them? What ever happened to <em>A Force More Powerful</em>, and why does it make Bruce want to punch Troy? How do board games handle these subjects, and do Eurogames get them right?
Dec 17, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 146: On the Air
It’s more a fancy lecture and masterwork design class than a bunch of guys guessing about what works when board game desiger <a href="" target="_blank" class="liexternal">Lee Brimmicombe-Wood</a> sits down with Troy and Bruce to talk about his history of making games about air power, the challenges in getting all the cool technical bits down and the difficulties in making the bombing of civilians a game factor you cannot ignore. Can you make a strategic game about an air war still be about flying? What limits do you put on the player to make Luftwaffe raids roughly historical?
Dec 08, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 145: Q&A with R&T
When you're too busy for a real topic, it's good to have listeners that are ready with questions. Rob and Troy take some time to answer your queries. Games we hate, the definition of RTS, whether Paradox has a subgenre monopoly and much more.
Dec 03, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 144: Risky Business with Rob Daviau
Friend of the show and returning guest Rob Daviau joins Rob and Julian to talk about his new game, <a href="">Risk: Legacy</a>. They talk about how Legacy uses unlocks and persistent changes to deepen the standard Risk experience. Daviau describes lessons learned during playtesting about how players learn games and fail to make good long-term decisions. Why have some gamers been so resistant to the changes in Legacy? Does Legacy suggest a line of development for board gaming? Is it all a nefarious plot to make people buy more games? Risk: Legacy is available right now at game stores, and on Amazon next week.
Nov 24, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 143: The Personal Touch
<a href="" target="_blank">Phill Cameron</a> comes back for a conversation with Rob, Troy, and Julian about how personality and persistence change our relationship to strategy games. Troy reveals the depths of his callousness to tiny, computerized men. Julian points out that Dwarf Fortress is the pinnacle of this approach, but Troy explains why it frustrates him. Rob is stunned to learn that he is apparently the only one who had a pet dwarf in the <em>Myth</em> games. <a href="" target="_blank">Toronto FoS meetup</a> <a href="" target="_blank">Chicago Loot Drop</a>
Nov 18, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 142: For the LoLs
Julian hosts Bruce and editor-podcaster extraordinaire, Ryan Scott, of <a href="" target="_blank">Geekbox</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Comedy Button</a> internet fame. They talk about the lure of League of Legends, whether these DotA / MoBA games are even strategy games, and how Valve's and Blizzard's attempts at the DotA genre will fare against the LoL powerhouse.
Nov 11, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 141: Failing Basic
Rob summon Troy and Julian for an emergency therapy session about how many strategy games simply cannot get their acts together when it comes to basic standards. The panel discusses busted cameras and mouse controls, disastrous campaigns, and nonexistent endgames. The beginning of <a href="" target="_blank">the Subversion saga</a>
Nov 05, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 140: Three Turns Ahead
Jenn Cutter comes back for a discussion of <em>F1 2011</em> with Rob and Troy. Learn about exciting rules changes, the difference between a racing game and a motorsports game, and some of Codemasters crucial fumbles that keep <em>F1 2011</em> from being a clear-cut improvement over its predecessor. Also, tire strategy means <em>F1 2011</em> is a strategy game, and is therefore a totally valid topic, and not pure self-indulgence from Rob.
Oct 28, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 139: One for the Memoirs
A well-rested Bruce rounds out a full panel of Rob, Troy, and Julian as they discuss <em>Memoir '44 Online</em>, convenience, and the simple pleasures of light board gaming. It's a straightforward episode with the regulars at the top of their game. <a href="">Federation & Empire</a> <a href="" target="_blank">Star Fleet Battles</a> <a href="" target="_blank">Command and Colors System</a>
Oct 21, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 138: Your Lying Eyes
The Escapist's Greg Tito joins Rob and Troy to talk about <em>A Game of Thrones: Genesis</em> and to tell us about the Escapist's epic <em>Napoleon in Europe</em> match. In the first half of they show they talk about how <em>AGOT's</em> deception and diplomacy mechanics succeed in channeling aspects of Martin's novels, and in the second half they get into the ways that <em>Napoleon in Europe</em> models the cycles of war, peace, and negotiation that marked Napoleonic Europe. Troy then tells Greg that the Escapist should be a wargame site. Then he explains why you should give 3MA money. <a href="" target="_new">Rob's <em>AGOT</em> review</a> <a href="" target="_blank">Greg <em>AGOT</em> review</a> <a href="" target="_blank">Troy's <em>AGOT</em> impressions</a> <a href="" target="_blank">BGG's <em>Napoleon in Europe</em> page</a>
Oct 15, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 137: Episode 137
<a href="" target="_new">Richard Cobbett</a> bravely joins Rob for a conversation with <em><a href="" target="_new">Achron</a></em> creator Chris Hazard, despite the fact that Richard is weak as a kitten and sick as a dog. They talk about the difficulties indies face in the RTS genre, whether reviewers should make allowances for coarse but inspired games, and how Hazardous software has reacted to weak reviews. They also dig deep on <em>Achron's</em> mechanics and how they developed over the course of the project. Along the way, they prove once again that Achron is one of 2011's most fascinating RTS games. This is kind of a "deep-end of the pool" discussion. You might find these resources helpful: Giant Bomb's "<a href="" target="_new">quick look</a>" video Richard's <a href="" target="_new">RPS review</a>
Oct 06, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 136: Franchises and Fumbles
Soren Johnson quits in a huff and leaves podcasting so he can try his hand at making games. But first, Soren, Rob, Julian, and Troy talk about franchises and how they develop, or don't. Rob tries to make the case for considering Paradox-developed games as a single franchise, but Troy explains why that doesn't work. Soren talks about the Civilization series, and why it has evolved the way it has. The panel considers franchise exploitation, and the Blizzard model.
Sep 29, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 135: Board Game Lessons
Computer and boardgame designer Paul Sottosanti joins up Soren, Julian, and Rob to discuss how board games are evolving, and how their design philosophies differ from computer games. Is the popular success of games like <em>Catan </em>something that will lead to wider acceptance of board games in general? Why do Julian and Paul love drafting mechanics so much? How does the transparency of board games change our relationship to them in comparison to computer games?
Sep 22, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 134: The Alpha Centauri Show
Zynga's Brian Reynolds makes Planetfall on Three Moves Ahead and, along with Soren, Troy, and Rob, founds a discussion of <em>Alpha Centauri</em>. He explains what went wrong with the "<em>Civ </em>in space" idea, and the role of the game's fiction. He and Soren talk about how <em>Alpha Centauri </em>changed the <em>Civilization </em>series, and take a look at some of its strange features, like the design workshop and climate change. Brian reveals he used the cast album of <em>Les Miserables </em>for inspiration as he wrote for the game, and Troy immediately proposes marriage.
Sep 16, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 133: We Built This City
<em>Tropico 4</em> gets Rob, Troy, and Julian talking about city-builders and their quirks. Why are their politics so artificial? Troy notices that videogames say the business of cities is business, but at least they give strategy gamers something to look at. <a href="">Soren</a> joins midway through, because he can't stay away, and Julian wonders where the genre should go. <a href="">Rob's Tropico 4 Wot I Think</a>
Sep 09, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 132: Age of Level-Grinding Empires
<a href="">Soren Johnson</a> and <a href="">Tom Chick</a> join Rob for a discussion of Age of Empires Online. Tom opens by short-listing the game for "worst RTS ever made" and it's rough-sailing from there. Soren marvels at the disastrous interface, while Rob wants to napalm those cutesy Smurf villages. Then the panel talks about how AoEO could be redeemed, and finds there are some simple changes that could make AoEO a very good game. Tom's GameSpy <a href="">review</a> Rob's GamePro <a href="">impressions</a> and <a href="">additional notes</a>
Sep 01, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 131: Splendid Little Wars
<a href="">Soren Johnson</a> kicks off an extended visit to 3MA by joining Rob, Julian, and Bruce to talk about smaller-scale strategy games, and how they compare to their more traditional cousins. Julian thinks they let developers play to their strengths, while Soren worries about their potential to be ephemeral. Bruce suspects that if great games are ephemeral, that says a lot more about gamers than it does about games. Rob wants to like "big" strategy games more than he does, but likes the more contained experience that smaller games, and board games, increasingly offer. Bruce reveals that his gaming habits are stranger than anyone imagined.
Aug 25, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 130: Character Issues
Troy takes a victory lap after finishing his <a href="">National Character series</a>, and together with Rob delves deeper into some of the themes he brought up in the series, and considers some stray ideas that didn't quite make the final cut. Can stereotypes ever really be escaped, and do we even want to escape them when they provide such a reliable shorthand in strategy games? How would national character be portrayed by someone other than Anglo-American game designers, and does national character find a compelling expression in peaceful pursuits?
Aug 19, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 129: The Combat Missions
<a href="">Irrational Games'</a> Ken Levine join Rob and Troy for a discussion of the <em>Combat Mission </em>series, realism, WEGO turns versus continuous time, and what we'd bring back to the future. Tim Stone on <a href="">"Ignorance Is Bliss"</a>
Aug 11, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 128: Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Topics
Freelance writer <a href="">Phill Cameron</a> joins Rob and Troy for a discussion of the games they've been playing that haven't quite fit into recent writings or podcasts. New <em>Men of War</em> DLC, Troy and Rob's changing views on <em>Panzer Corps</em>, RTS time-traveler <em>Achron</em>, high-level <em>Blood Bowl</em>, <em>Out of the Park 11</em>, and racing games all come up for discussion in this open-ended discussion.
Aug 05, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 127: Baby's First Panzer
GWJ's Cory Banks finally dips his toes in the waters of turn-based wargaming with Matrix / Slitherine's new <em>Panzer General </em>remake, <em>Panzer Corps. </em>He joins Julian and Rob to talk about wargaming-lite, whether this really improves on <em>Panzer General</em>, and <em>Panzer Corps' </em>puzzle-based approach to scenario design. Rob realizes a newfound appreciation for daunting complexity.
Jul 28, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 126: Contemporary Antiques
<a href="">PC Gamer</a> EIC Logan Decker joins Rob and Julian for a discussion of Christoph Hartmann's <a href="">comments</a> that strategy is not a contemporary genre. They dig into his interview, and what he meant. They also cover other publishing models, and how they stack up to what game publishers do, and discuss how Hartmann's comments reflect a much broader struggle to figure out what people want in a new media landscape. Does being relegated to a smaller market actually make strategy healthier for those of us who still enjoy it?
Jul 21, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 125: The Friendliest Philippic
Troy and Rob are over the moon about Longbow's <em>Hegemony: Philip of Macedon</em>, and invite programmer and writer Rick Yorgason to the show so they can ask that timeless question: "How awesome is your game?" The three go into detail on the game's simplicity, its superb camera controls and artwork, its integrated and effective tutorial, and the compromises and adjustments Longbow made to the design along the way. Then Rick says there are two copies of the game available to loyal 3MA listeners, and Troy promises to award them randomly to two people who leave comments on this episode. Deadline for comments is Wednesday, July 20th.
Jul 14, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 124: The Show Must Go On
Taking a moment from their respective vacations, Rob and Julian pick up the pieces after a couple show ideas fall apart at the last minute. Julian wants to talk about card mechanics and why he likes them so much. Rob wonders if most PC games eschew cards because they tend to symbolize and abstract concepts, and the PC tends to place a premium on the literal. Julian also theorizes that poker's popularity changed games.
Jul 07, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 123: Reviewers on Revue
<a href="" target="_blank">Ars Technica's</a> Ben Kuchera visits Three Moves Ahead to continue a discussion he started about reviewing standards and practices. Troy and Rob try to keep up as the panel discusses how writers' relationships with their readers can affect their approach to reviews, what are a reviewer's obligations, and the value of genre expertise.
Jun 30, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 122: Refreezing Synapses
Mode 7's Paul Taylor visits with Julian, Rob, and PC Gamer's Dan Stapleton to talk about <em>Frozen Synapse</em>. They discuss the game's development, its lengthy beta process and how that has contributed to the game's success, and the decision to sell the game as a 2-for-1 package. Paul gets into the fiction a little bit, and how it has been received. Apologies for any audio issues. Some interference got onto Paul's audio track, and there were nearby lumberjacks chopping down trees with chainsaws.
Jun 23, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 121: Pride of Nations and Philippe Thibaut
Paradox France's Philippe Thibaut and GWJ's Erik Hanson colonize 3MA this week to talk about <em>Pride of Nations</em>, Paradox France's new grand-strategy game of imperialism. Erik and Rob are intrigued by <em>Pride's </em>cynical view of colonial competition and its novel mechanics. Philippe explains the game's origins and how it is at once a departure for Paradox France and a natural extension of their work as AGEOD. The <em>Victoria II </em>comparison comes up for discussion, and Erik and Philippe discuss the game design challenges of the Civil War.
Jun 16, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 120: Drawing Down on Vic "Six Gun" Davis
Vic Davis rides back into town to talk about <em>Six Gun Saga</em>, his new solitaire card-based strategy game. Julian is mighty fond of it, but wants to play with the rest of his posse. Rob is curious how Vic's <em>Armageddon Empires </em>and <em>Solium Infernum </em>fans have greeted this unusual game, and where Vic is headed next.
Jun 09, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 119: What I Did for My Rabbitcon Vacation
An exhausted Julian and Rob welcome Cory Banks back to the show to go over what they played at Julian's board gaming retreat. Could <em>Agricola's </em>position be threatened by young up-and-comer <em>7 Wonders</em>? Why is <em>Battleship Galaxies </em>the best space game since <em>Sins of a Solar Empire</em>? Is <em>Castle Ravenloft </em>a baby game, or an appropriate introduction to strategy and wargaming for children and novices? On the other hand, why would you play that when <em>Last Night on Earth </em>and <em>Invasion from Outer Space</em> are so much better? All these questions and more will be answered for those who are... Three Moves Ahead.
Jun 03, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 118: This Fully Operational Art of War
Ralph Trickey takes a break from updating and improving <em>The Operational Art of War III </em>to talk about the series with Rob, Troy, and Bruce. They discuss how the game is changing through patches, and then debate whether <em>TOAW </em>is a game so much as it is a set of tools. They also talk about how scenario designers have put those tools to use, and what shortcomings afflict the system. Everyone shares his favorite scenario, but Rob cannot contain himself and names three. Ralph mentions plans for <em>The Operational Art of War IV</em>, but it'll be hard to sell that if he keeps making <em>TOAW III </em>better and better.
May 26, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 117: Patchwork
<em>Elemental </em>and <em>Civilization V </em>come in for a follow-up appointment with Julian, Troy, and Rob. Have the major changes that have been patched into these games translated into major improvements for the player? How much post-release support should players reasonably expect, and what can developers accomplish with it? What flawed games have become great with patching?
May 19, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 116: Creeps and Towers
Here come the creeps, led by Rob and <a href="" target="_blank">Rock, Paper, Shotgun's</a> Quintin Smith! Fortunately, they encounter a maze of discussion and towers of topics. Inspired by first-person tower defender <em>Sanctum </em>and tower attacker <em>Anomaly: Warzone Earth</em>, Quinns and Rob explore how these games change the tower defense formula, and what about that formula needed changing? Are we doing a disservice to a neat mechanic by insisting that it is a genre? Why are we continually drawn in by games we often find shallow and unsatisfying? Is tower defense really about destruction, or is there an under-served creative aspect to these games? A lot of games and pieces come up for discussion here, so brace yourself for a link attack. Quinns' <em>Sanctum </em><a href="" target="_blank">Wot I Think </a> <a href="" target="_blank"></a> Troy's <a href="" target="_blank">reactions</a> to <em>Anomaly: Warzone Earth</em> Rob, two years ago, on <a href="" target="_blank">tower defense games</a> Quinns on <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Ace of Spades</em></a> 3MA on <a href="" target="_blank"><em>AI War</em></a> Rob's "excessively positive" <em>Dungeons </em><a href="" target="_blank">review</a> The Verdun game Rob couldn't remember is <em><a href="" target="_blank">The Trench</a></em> <a href="" target="_blank">Kieron Gillen on Warfare: 1917</a>
May 13, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 115: Bolshy Balderdash
Rob is pleasantly surprised by <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Revolution Under Siege</em></a> and rounds up Troy Goodfellow and <a href="" target="_blank">Broken Toys</a>' Scott Jennings to talk about it. What is the context for a Russian Revolution game, and how does <em>Revolution Under Siege </em>communicate that? Is the AGE system a good one for this kind of game, and why is it such a turn-off for some people? Most importantly, how the hell does an armored train work? Why wouldn't you just stay away from the tracks? Seriously guys, what the hell?
May 06, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 114: Patents, Progress, and Rogue Puffins
Gamers With Jobs continues colonizing 3MA, but the natives still welcome Cory Banks because he brings whiskey and podcast topics. Fantasy Flight games is upset about an iOS game that bears a significant resemblance to Richard Borg's Command & Colors system, and Bruce, Cory, and Rob wonder what it all means. Before they reveal themselves as ignoramuses yet again, <a target="_blank" href="">William Flachsbart</a>, intellectual property expert, arrives to tell them what it all means. How carefully must new products tread around the innovations of old ones? When does borrowing mechanics turn into theft? Is there any way we can send Troy to jail? What about the Vancouver Canucks? Here is Bill Abner's original <a href="" target="_blank">No High Scores</a> story, and the <a href="" target="_blank">interview</a> to which Wil is referring in this episode. Big thanks to <a href="" target="_blank">Michael Hermes</a> for helping us sort out numerous audio problems this week.
Apr 28, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 113: CGA: The Panzer General Series
Ah, good day, Herr General. The General Staff have prepared this podcast analyzing the strength and dispositions of the <em>Panzer General</em> series. You will have access to some new units for this mission. Bruce will shatter its defenses with an explanation of why he is not very fond of it, and Julian and Rob will go through the gap with an argument for its simplicity and refinement. Troy can provide air cover by placing the series in a wider context of genre and gaming history, but be careful. He consumes alcohol at twice the rate of a normal unit. Brilliant victory: Complete the podcast in 55:39 Victory: Read Rob's love-letter to <em>PG2 </em>in the May issue of <em>PC Gamer</em> Tactical victory: Comment and re-tweet
Apr 21, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 112: A Special Secession Session
On the 150th anniversary of the attack on Fort Sumter, Troy and Rob rally around the bonnie blue flag and find Gamers With Jobs' Erik Hanson waiting for them there. Then they march off to discuss the American Civil War and its gaming legacy. They discuss how changes in a game's scale also change how the war is presented, why the war has such a hold on the imagination, and what were its defining features. A Along the way, Rob calls the Shenandoah campaign the Cumberland campaign, incorrectly places Cutler in command of the Iron Brigade at 2nd Manassas, and leaves his window open to let listeners hear the sounds of the Cambridge police. Embarrassing errors, or a subtle homage to Burnside?
Apr 14, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 111: Golden Voices for a Golden Throne
Bill Abner and Dan Stapleton arrive to help Rob sort out the long-delayed <em>Dawn of War II: Retribution </em>episode. Rob isn't wild about the campaign for a few reasons, and eventually he starts to figure out why. Bill dislikes Chaos Marines wailing on electric guitars, and he thinks that's indicative of the direction the 40K universe has gone. Everything goes brilliantly until the show ends and Dan asks, "Wait, was I supposed to be recording?" Then Rob executes him, inspiring everyone to greater feats of podcasting next week. <a href="" target="_blank">Bill's Retribution review</a>
Apr 08, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 110: Three Daimyo and a Baby Mori Clan
GameShark's Bill Abner joins Troy and Rob to discuss<em> Shogun 2</em>, mortality rates among Japanese generals, and Bill's enchanted copy of <em>Shogun 2</em>, in which everything awesome that can happen, does. Rob's Gamepro series: <a href="" target="_blank">Part 1</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Part 2</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Part 3</a> Bill's <a href="" target="_blank">GameShark review</a>
Mar 31, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 109: The Contractual Obligation Album
After the panel completely falls apart on the eve of recording a <em>Dawn of War 2: Retribution</em> episode, Troy and Rob soldier on by themselves. Troy hasn't played <em>Retribution</em>, but he is happy to announce his upcoming marriage to <em>Field of Glory</em>. Rob forgets that he's on a podcast and just starts talking with Troy, and along the way he mangles a great Provost Zakharov quote and explains why he thinks refinement is undervalued compared to innovation. At the end, Troy talks about his upcoming meet-up, and Rob asks for listener input on a 3MA website. Then Audacity eats his audio file and the episode is produced from a Skype recording. The Zakharov quote: "There are two kinds of scientific progress: the methodical experimentation and categorization which gradually extend the boundaries of knowledge, and the revolutionary leap of genius which redefines and transcends those boundaries. Acknowledging our debt to the former, we yearn, nonetheless, for the latter." - Academician Prokhor Zakharov, "Address to the Faculty"
Mar 25, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 108: Three Men of War
Julian and Rob are at death's door following PAX East and a week of cruel beatings at the hands of <em>Men of War: Assault Squad</em>. Rock, Paper, Shotgun's Jim Rossignol, author of <a href="" target="_blank"><em>This Gaming Life</em></a>, comes to their rescue, and together they try to figure out why this genre-breaking, rule-defying battlefield simulator exerts such a tremendous fascination. <a href="">Wot Alec Meer Thot of the original <em>Men of War</em></a> <a href="" target="_blank">Jim, in <em>The Escapist</em>, on <em>Men of War </em>and heroism</a> <a href="" target="_blank">Jim on <em>Men of War: Red Tide</em></a> <a href="" target="_blank"></a> <a href="" target="_blank">Jim on <em>Assault Squad</em></a>
Mar 17, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 107: Hail, Hail, the (GDC) Gang's All Here
During GDC, <a href="" target="_blank">Tom Chick</a> and Soren Johnson hosted <a href="" target="_blank">a talk that was so good</a> that a single panel couldn't contain them. They have invaded Three Moves Ahead to talk to Rob and Bruce about why strategy gaming is in a platinum age, how the business of development is changing, and the relative importance of AI in the development process. Then Tom, Bruce, and Soren freak out over <em>League of Legends</em>, although Bruce is convinced it's <em>Land of Legends</em>. Whatever it is, it sounds pretty good.
Mar 11, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 106: An Expansive Discussion with Johan Andersson
Paradox's Johan Andersson talks to Rob about <em>EU3: Divine Wind</em>, expansions, the design process at Paradox, and the newly-announced <em>Sengoku</em>. <a href="">Johan's Q&A with GameShark</a>
Mar 03, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 105: Sometimes You Gotta Roll the Hard Six
In the wake of another successful Rabbitcon, Lara Crigger and Rob Daviau join Julian and Rob to talk about good luck, bad luck, and fun luck. Rob and Lara discuss her first wargaming experience, <em>Hold the Line</em>, and how it came down to a photo finish despite some unspeakably bad luck for her American forces at the start. Rob Daviau explains how luck aids the storyteller, and shapes game narratives. Then the panel considers why the sort of luck in a deck of cards is often more interesting than the luck in a roll of the dice, and how luck can shake up repetitive gameplay. <a href="" target="_blank">Rob (Red) vs. Lara (Blue) at the Battle of Long Island</a>
Feb 24, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 104: What Would Manstein Do?
Bruce and Rob welcome Troy back to the show by monopolizing conversation as they describe their reactions to <em>War in the East</em>. Bruce consults von Manstein's <em>Lost Victories</em> in the hopes of discovering where they went, but Rob is pretty sure the Germans dropped them somewhere in the Pripyat Marshes. All Troy knows for sure is that 2by3 scored a big win with this game. Then Rob takes a trip into <em>Dungeons</em> and finds a pleasant surprise, while Bruce is pleased by an invasion of Poland wargame with a marvelously bad interface. Show links: <a href="http://http//" target="_blank">Battle of Smolensk (1941)</a> - The map may help you enjoy the show Rob's <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Dungeons</em> review</a> <a href="" target="_blank"><em>September 1939</em></a>
Feb 17, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 103: Community
Rob turtles up for a free-for-all discussion of RTS multiplayer gaming with <a href="" target="_blank">Tom Chick</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Chris Remo</a>. What really powers the <em>Starcraft II </em>community, and why can't other RTS games match it? It looks unstoppable, but does a challenger arise with <em>League of Legends</em>? 3MA favorites <em>Supreme Commander II </em>and <em>RUSE </em>depress the panel with their multiplayer front-end, but Chris cheers himself up by building a cathedral in <em>Dawn of Discovery</em>.
Feb 10, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 102: Online Board Gaming
Game Table Online's Robert Eng joins Bruce, Julian, and Rob for a discussion about online board gaming. Topics include business models, what goes into a successful conversion, and what these services mean for the board gaming hobby. <a href="" target="_blank">Game Table Online</a>
Feb 03, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 101: A Most Ingenious Paradox
Rob and returning guest <a href="" target="_blank">Jenn Cutter</a> discuss what they saw at the Paradox convention in New York. <em><a href="" target="_blank">The Escapist's</a> </em>Greg Tito helps out with some good questions and pro-tips on how to make a game presentation awkward for journalists. Troy Goodfellow just can't quit you, and refuses to leave until you understand how great <em>Crusader Kings 2 </em>looks. Games discussed: <em>Naval War</em>, <em>Magicka</em>, <em>Pride of Nations</em>, <em>Salem</em>, <em>Pirates of Black Cove</em>, <em>Gettysburg Armored Warfare</em>, <em>Crusader Kings 2</em> Production: <a href="" target="_blank">Michael Hermes</a> Greg Tito's previews from the Paradox Convention: <a href="" target="_blank">Magicka</a> <a href="" target="_blank">Mount and Blade: Fire and Sword</a> <a href="" target="_blank">Salem</a> Jenn Cutter's previews from the Paradox event: <a href="" target="_blank">Magicka</a> <a href="" target="_blank">Pride of Nations</a> Rob's thoughts for <a href="" target="_blank">Gamers With Jobs</a>.
Jan 27, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 100: The Reboot
Troy makes a shocking announcement that leaves the podcast in shambles.
Jan 19, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 99: War in the East
<a href="">Scott Jennings</a> (Lum the Mad) fills in for an ailing Rob as he and Bruce and Troy welcome Joel Billings (2by3 Games) and Erik Rutins (Matrix Games) to talk about what <a href="">Gary Grigsby's War in the East</a> means for wargame design, scale, realism and detail and marketing of wargames.Pardon some of the sound issues from time to time.
Jan 13, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 98: 2010 in Review and Looking Ahead
PCGamer's Dan Stapleton returns to help Troy and Rob make sense of 2010. Why Starcraft 2 matters, why Troy resents DLC, the magic of Achtung Panzer and why Rob has no idea what is coming out this year.
Jan 07, 2011
Three Moves Ahead 97: Bronze with Alex Kutsenok
If you chat with me about strategy or board games, I have mentioned <em>Bronze</em> to you. Alex Kutsenok is the lead designer of Bronze and he sits down with me and Julian to talk about the development and inspirations for this deep but easy to learn computer/board/strategy game. Prepare for a love fest.I also give shout outs to all the people who helped make Three Moves Ahead in the past year.
Dec 30, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 96: Shafer, Patches, Holiday Wishes
On the night before the day before Christmas, Troy and Rob and Julian sit down to talk about Jon Shafer leaving Firaxis, mega patches for turn based games Civ 5 and Elemental and then we wrap up with seasonal reflections including New Year's resolutions for the podcast.
Dec 24, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 95: End Game Moves
In response to a listener/reader question, Troy and Rob talk about end games that work and end games that don't. What do we mean by the "end game"? What role do strictly defined victory conditions play in making an end game appealing? Can you avoid the late game drag?Apologies for the duet show. That time of the year.
Dec 16, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 94: Home for the Holidays
We were on a good run and it couldn't last forever. A pleasant light little seasonal chat about how to cope with the gaming constraints of visiting our families went off the rails when we realized that that topic would only last us about forty minutes.I made the mistake of pushing us forward and then things got a little weird and stupid. I cut that bit - saving it for an outtakes show where it belongs; trust me you do not want to hear how unfocused it got until you are in the mood for it. Note to self: If you run out of things to say after 30 minutes, it is OK to stop there.Shorter than usual, but we talk about how board games can bring families together, what games keep us sane on our own when we retreat to a quiet corner.
Dec 09, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 93: Theme, Mechanics and Meaning
GWJ's Lara Crigger and JTS's Todd Brakke join Troy and special guest Soren Johnson in a wide ranging talk about how how theme and mechanics work together or fight each other. What is <em>Left for Dead</em> really about? Why are themes so important to Lara? How do mechanics translate meaning? Why is Civilization so ahistorical? Do only game designers care about this stuff?Lara loses her train of thought for the first time ever, Todd makes some sense and Soren is his usual impressive self. And more on X-Com. <a href="">Theme is Not Meaning Part 1</a>, <a href="">Part 2</a> <a href="">Redistricting Game</a> <a href="">Soren's GDC talk as summarized by Destructoid</a>
Dec 03, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 92: Classic Game Analysis - X-Com
PCGamer's Dan Stapleton joins Troy, Rob and Bruce to talk about what made 1994's <em>X-Com</em> one of the best strategy/tactics games ever made. Tension, atmosphere, UI, level blending, real time v turn baed and indie efforts to bring the magic back. <a href=",63595/">Hideous UK Box Art</a><a href="">Xenonauts</a><a href="">UFO: The Two Sides</a><a href="">Dan vs Evan in The Two Sides</a><a href="">Tom Chick on X-Com</a>
Nov 23, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 91: Licensed Behavior
Troy almost fires Rob and Julian on this episode as a conversation about licensed strategy games. Bruce Geryk holds forth on why War of the Rings is like Stratomatic Baseball, Julian sings of Starfleet Battles and Rob talks about his experiences in another board game. What makes a license succeed or fail? Can either Star Wars or Star Trek really work as a licensed strategy game? Martin vs Erikson - who wins? Is Troy the only person who likes Babylon 5?It is a loud and fun show. Listen to it.Also, info on the upcoming 3MA/FOS meetup. <a href="">War of the Ring</a><a href="">War of the Ring article (Bruce is the final two comments)</a><a href="">Starfleet Battles</a>
Nov 16, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 90: Order, Order
News that <a href="">a genetic algorithm has cracked the Starcraft code</a> prompts Troy to ask the panel about the place of build orders and in-stone strategies in the genre. Julian talks about chess and <a href="">Hoard</a>, Rob talks about the beauty of a game that opens up and Troy sucks at everything.Also news on the upcoming DC area fall meetup. November 20th, btw.
Nov 10, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 89: Elections and Campaigning
No one was in much of a mood to talk about anything this week, but we did it anyway and it was almost topical. Gameshark's Bill Abner joins Troy and Rob for a rambling chat about election games they've played, election games they haven't played and whether the dream election game they imagine is even possible.Bill also gets mysterious messages from a lost soldier.
Nov 04, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 88: Ethics, Morality and Motivation
Bruce Geryk returns to the show to give special guest <a href="">Michael Abbot</a> a hard time in a discussion that is intended to focus on the ethical and moral dimension of wargames and wargaming, but ranges all over the place, including a sidetrack into why people get into wargames to begin with. Rob Zacny tries to keep things on topic and Julian Murdoch explains why Defcon makes him cry and his daughter says the smartest thing in the hour.
Oct 27, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 87: Borrowing and Personalization
<a href="">Hellmode</a>'s Ashelia (aka Rhea Monique) joins Rob and Julian for a discussion of how strategy games can learn from other genres.Rob also coins the Old Country Buffet approach to strategy game design.
Oct 21, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 86: Logistics, Supply and News
Troy and Rob start the show with a talk about what Derek Paxton's move to Stardock means for <em>Elemental</em> and the future of Stardock.They then segue into a discussion about logistics and supply rules constrain the player in interesting ways. Rob tells another wargame anecdote, we debate whether an AI really understands supply rules and again talk about the best RTS ever made.This is the October pledge drive, as well, so stay tuned to the end for another plea for money. Not for beer.
Oct 14, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 85: Betrayal and Manipulation
Julian and Rob are joined by Rob Daviau (Hasbro) and Chris Remo (Irrational) to talk about how games let us give in to our worst impulses and betray our friends. Neptune's Pride, Risk, Weinhandler, Starcraft and a dozen other games come up.
Oct 07, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 84: Civilization V with Todd Brakke
One guest cancels, but his shoes are ably filled by Gameshark's Todd Brakke as Troy, Julian and Rob hold forth on the game that has already eaten Troy's life - and he has to keep writing about it for at least another month.Listen as the team talks about their favorite innovations in Civ 5, how the map brings the game to life, why the AI's failures are so disappointing, social policy vs civics and hopes for the future.And Julian is on drugs.
Sep 30, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 83: RUSE
This week, Rob takes the lead and sings the praises of RUSE, the new WW2 RTS from Ubisoft and Eugen Systems. Troy and Julian push him on the differences between the single and multiplayer components, whether it uses real deception and some rambling bits about World War 2 games in general. <a href="">Rob's review at Gameshark</a> <a href="">Rock Paper Shotgun RUSE discussion</a>
Sep 23, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 82: Chris King and more Victoria 2
Unavailable when we needed him, but still game for a show, Victoria 2's lead designer Chris King joins Troy and Rob for a discussion of Marxist economic models, why they are so many rebels and why he bothered redesigning Vicky in the first place.
Sep 17, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 81: Elemental Post Mortem with Brad Wardell
A terrible launch of a game I wanted to love turns what should have been a "WOW" show into another opportunity for Brad Wardell to explain how Stardock screwed up. Listen how imperfect QA practices, overconfidence, groupthink and not taking every beta crash report seriously turned one of the years most anticipated new IPs into a lesson for developers And also, how Stardock commits to make things right - including refunds. (Ask them. I have no idea what the mechanics are.) <a href="">Rob's review</a> <a href="">Troy's review</a> <a href="">Tom's review</a>
Sep 08, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 80: Question Time
This week, the sound is terrible again mostly because my wireless refuses to cooperate. Big promise to fix this next week - I thought I had the problem solved.But if you bear with us, you will hear Troy and Rob answer some questions from listeners about logistics, making losing fun, why games are released unfinished and a dozen other topics.
Sep 01, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 79: Victoria 2
Rob Zacny's sound goes in and out, but when it works you can hear him, Troy and Julian talk about the latest grand strategy game from Paradox. Why does it make Julian angry? Do you have to force the politics to make them interesting? What does the game get right and wrong about the nineteenth century?A reminder about the upcoming question show and a preview of coming attractions. <a href="">Rob's review at Gameshark</a>
Aug 25, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 78: Forgettable Games, Memorable Ideas
Troy and Rob dig through their histories to recall bad games that had tiny moments of genius. What happens when a game gets one thing right? Can forgotten games still have a legacy beyond their failures? Can a good idea overshadow a bad game's legacy?Also reminders of the Question show coming up in a couple of week's time. <a href="">"Noble Junk" post</a> <a href="">Epic Fails podcast</a> <a href="">Rob's Making History 2 review</a>
Aug 19, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 77: Starcraft 2 and Chris Remo
Troy - suffering from a splitting headache - is joined by Rob Zacny, Tom Chick (hooray) and Idle Thumbs/Gamasutra star Chris Remo before he heads off to join Irrational Games. The topic: Starcraft 2. Why does such a competitive, sports structured game like SC2 have such wide appeal? Is the single player campaign really that different from other campaigns? And how about that writing? What are the great joys and great disappointments? Finally, what does Starcraft 2 mean for the future of the PC RTS? <a href="">Troy's Starcraft 2 review</a> <a href="">Tom's Starcraft 2 review</a> <a href="">Rob's thoughts</a> <a href="">Idle Thumbs podcast</a> <a href="">FoS/TMA Meetup details</a>
Aug 10, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 76: Modding
Troy, Julian and Rob are joined by Maxis Games' Soren Johnson and Fall From Heaven 2 lead Derek Paxton in a chat about modding. How do you assemble a mod team? What are the trade offs for developers and publishers in supporting mods? Scope and ambition and talent poaching and creativity.Also news on our upcoming question and answer show and the TMA/FoS meetup. <a href="">Fall From Heaven 2</a> <a href="">Strategy Station</a> <a href="">Meet Up Discussion</a>
Aug 03, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 75: The Strategy Syllabus
This week, with the rest of the TMA crew (i.e., me) off gallivanting around California or saving lives or something, Rob and Julian decided to have a real show. They dig deep into the perfect strategy gaming syllabus, and come up with some obvious and startling conclusions. At least, that's what they tell me. I haven't listened to it yet. I hope there's pie.
Jul 29, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 74: Classic Game Analysis - Freedom Force w/ Ken Levine
Ken Levine from Irrational Games drops by the show to talk about what made Freedom Force so special. Is it an RPG or a strategy game? We discuss the virtues of pausable real time play, the fine line between homage and parody and learn about what games Ken plays when he is not writing kick ass game stories. <a href="">Freedom Reborn - a fan community</a>
Jul 20, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 73: What Made You?
This week, Troy and Rob are joined by <a href="">Jenn Cutter</a> in a trip down memory lane. The topic: How did you end up the gamer you've become? When did Rob and Troy learn they were strategy gamers? How do games fit into the rest of your life? How do you deal with being the only gamer in a social circle? Which games poke which aspects of our character? Troy and Jenn also explain BBSes to Rob.Also, a date is set for the Washington DC area Flash of Steel/Three Moves Ahead meet up.
Jul 14, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 72: Technological Innovation
This week, hardware expert and long time strategy gamer <a href="">Loyd Case</a> joins Troy, Julian and Rob in a chat about how various advances and changes in the technological environment have changed how see and approach strategy games.
Jul 07, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 71: Disciples 3, HoMM and Games Like This
Gameshark's Editor in Chief Bill Abner joins Troy, Rob and Bruce to talk about Disciples 3, Heroes of Might and Magic, Jagged Alliance, King's Bounty - strategy games with tactical components. To what extent are these RPGs? What differentiates a good one from a bad one? Bruce mentions Odium again.The good doctor also promises to write something.
Jun 28, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 70: E3 Recap, Risk and 1C
With E3 2010 in the books, Troy talks about what he saw and is generally concerned about "everything fits together". Julian gives us a preview of Risk: Factions and Rob runs down what 1C has coming your way, based on what he saw in San Francisco.Also, bonus tip on how not to prepare vodka.
Jun 23, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 69: E3 Special Short with Jon Shafer
Promises to listeners are not kept, so Troy flies solo for an interview with Jon Shafer, the lead designer of Civilization 5. 15 minutes of Hex Based Strategy Gaming.
Jun 16, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 68: Selling Strategy
This week, Troy, Julian and Rob are joined by PR pros Joe Ziemer (Triple Point PR, Paradox shill) and Stephanie Schopp (Tinsley PR, Stardock water carrier) to talk about marketing strategy games in this gaming and business environment. Is strategy gaming really dead? How do you find new audiences and keep the old ones? How do PR people deal with media and developers?
Jun 08, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 67: Experimenting With RPGs at Rabbitcon
Oy. Troy breaks his computer and therefore sounds like he’s calling in from a submarine. But the rest of show is a long discussion about Games Masters experimenting with RPG and miniature mechanics. Julian and Rob discuss a fascinating game session before the team digresses onto iterative learning in game design and whether games do a good job of teaching through systems at all. Promised images will have to wait until I have a computer that can resize them properly. Stupid netbook.
Jun 02, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 66: The SimTex Legacy
Good Old Games has made the classic SimTex games Master of Orion, Master of Orion 2 and Master of Magic available for low, low prices. So Troy, Tom, Bruce and Rob spend an hour talking about what made SimTex special. What do we mean by personality in strategy games? Does the UI hold up? Which of these games has aged the most poorly? When is tactical combat an impediment in a turn based 4x game? We answer these questions and more in this new analysis of classic game design.<a href="" target="_blank" class="liexternal">Troy’s Revisionist History on SimTex</a> <a href="" target="_blank" class="liexternal">Tom’s Retroview on Master of Orion II</a> Buy <a href="" target="_blank" class="liexternal">Master of Orion 1 & 2</a> and <a href="" target="_blank" class="liexternal">Master of Magic</a> at Good Old Games. <a href="" target="_blank" class="liexternal">Master of Magic Intro</a>
May 24, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 65: Tutorials and Training
Tom Chick returns after a month away from the podcast to join Troy and Rob in a discussion about designing tutorials for strategy games. Is the failure of tutorial design a root of the decline in strategy gaming? Can you really integrate a tutorial into a story based campaign? What are the responsibilities of the gamer to learn what he/she is doing on a battlefield? <a class="liexternal" href="" target="_blank">Dave Perkins’s tutorials for Solium Infernum</a>
May 18, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 64: Forgotten Fronts
Just Troy, Julian and Rob again as they ad hoc a podcast about types of games and settings that they would like to see in the strategy arena. Is there a really good Tolkien strategy game? Where is our fort game? Can we fill in our history a little more? Pack the comment section with your own suggestions.
May 12, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 63: Frozen Synapse
Tom and Bruce are absent again while Troy, Julian and Rob dissect the still in beta <a class="liexternal" href="" target="_blank">Frozen Synapse</a>, a small team tactics game from Mode 7. Troy finds it too difficult, Rob loves the potential for story telling, and Julian digs the puzzles. Listen as we talk about tactical games, the union of art and design, indie game marketing, a digression on Ancient Trader and an apology from Troy on his terrible mailing skills. <a class="liexternal" href="" target="_blank">Frozen Synapse</a> Rob Zacny on <a class="liexternal" href="" target="_blank">The Hunter (Escapist)</a>, <a class="liexternal" href="" target="_blank">Sins of a Solar Empire (Game, Set Watch)</a> and <a class="liexternal" href="" target="_blank">Birth of America (UGO)</a>
May 05, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 62: Gettysburg Scourge of War
Another wargame show! Troy, Julian and Rob are joined by NorbSoft’s Norb Timpko and Jim Weaver to talk about Gettysburg: Scourge of War. Learn more than you ever wanted to know about how to make a civil war game. Why is the AI so recalcitrant? What are the lessons of leadership here? How do you make a map like this? And where do history and gameplay collide when the AI hasn’t read the books you have? <a class="liexternal" href="" target="_blank">Scourge of War: Gettysburg</a> <a class="liexternal" href="" target="_blank">The Maps of Gettysburg : An Atlas of the Gettysburg Campaign, June 3 – July 13, 1863</a> <a class="liexternal" href="" target="_blank">Buy Take Command 2nd Manassas</a>
Apr 27, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 61: Imperialism
Troy, Tom and Bruce look at the classic Frog City/SSI games <em>Imperialism</em> and <em>Imperialism 2</em>. What makes this series one of the greatest grand strategy experiences of all time? Can a game this difficult and time intensive be made again? Bruce has a theory, Tom keeps calling <em>Colonization</em> the wrong name, and Troy is focused on diplomacy. <a class="liexternal" href="" target="_blank">Bruce’s Revisionist History on Imperialism</a> <a class="liinternal" href="">Troy’s essay on Imperialism’s maps</a> <a class="liexternal" href="" target="_blank">Tom vs Bruce: Imperialism 2</a>
Apr 20, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 60: Achtung Panzer and WW2 Tactics
Troy, Rob and Bruce participate in the wonkiest Three Moves Ahead ever, as Dr. Geryk makes up for weeks of absences with another tour de force rant. How does Achtung Panzer compare to Combat Mission? What do we expect from a WW2 tactical game, and how do these expectations mesh with reality? Turn based, real time and replay – how do they fit together? Bruce also recommends a bunch of books. <a href="">Achtung Panzer</a> <a class="liexternal" href="" target="_blank">Tom vs Bruce: Combat Mission</a> David Glantz’s <a class="liexternal" href="" target="_blank">BARBAROSSA DERAILED: The Battles for Smolensk, July-August 1941</a> David Glantz’s <a class="liexternal" href="" target="_blank">Armageddon in Stalingrad: September-November 1942 (The Stalingrad Trilogy, Volume 2) (Modern War Studies)</a> and <a class="liexternal" href="" target="_blank">To the Gates of Stalingrad: Soviet-German Combat Operations, April-August 1942 (Modern War Studies)</a> David Glantz’s <a class="liexternal" href="" target="_blank">The Siege of Leningrad: 900 Days of Terror (Cassell Military Paperbacks)</a> John Erickson’s <a class="liexternal" href="" target="_blank">The Road to Stalingrad (Cassell Military Paperbacks)</a>
Apr 14, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 59: Distant Worlds – Space is Big
Troy, Tom and Rob talk about Code Force’s <em>Distant Worlds</em>, a 4x Space RTS that tries to tackle the challenge of ceding control. How can a game get past player paranoia about letting the AI handle things? When does a player choose to intervene? How can the AI failure at basic tasks undermine your confidence in everything else? Why and when does <em>Distant Worlds</em> work? Also, last chance to win one of two copies of <em>Making History</em>. <a class="liinternal" href="">My first crack at the virtual viceroy problem</a> <a class="liexternal" href="" target="_blank"><em>Distant Worlds</em> at Matrix Games</a>
Apr 07, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 58: Phoning it In About Pax
With the post con exhaustion, panelists running around like crazy and Julian Murdoch fighting some sort of bug, it’s sort of a wonder we got a show together at all this week. Rob, Julian and I talk about why we loved PAX East. What makes a fan con different from a trade show? Is Microsoft Surface the future of board games? What strategy game was my surprise of the show? Probably one of our shortest and slowest shows, but we promise a stronger one next week. Listen to win a prize. <a class="liinternal" href="">My thoughts on PAX East</a> <a class="liexternal" href="" target="_blank">Julian’s Thoughts</a> <a class="liexternal" href="" target="_blank">Rob’s Thoughts</a>
Apr 01, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 57: Supreme Commander 2 and Command & Conquer 4
Troy, Tom and Julian devote the hour to dissecting the surprisingly good <em><a class="liexternal" href="" target="_blank">Supreme Commander 2</a></em> and the disappointing <em><a class="liexternal" href="" target="_blank">Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight</a></em>. Why does SupCom 2’s deviation from the franchise formula make the game better? Why is it like Sins of a Solar Empire and Demigod? Do we want to gain experience points in our RTSes? When good design meets bad design in the same package, what wins? And come hear how disorganized we are for PAX! <a class="liexternal" href="" target="_blank">Tom Chick’s review of SupCom 2</a> <a class="liexternal" href="" target="_blank">Tom Chick’s review of C&C 4</a> <a class="liexternal" href="" target="_blank">Troy Goodfellow’s review of SupCom 2</a> <a class="liexternal" href="" target="_blank">Quarter to Three Community podcast on SupCom 2</a> <a class="liexternal" href="" target="_blank">The Flash of Steel Store</a>
Mar 23, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 56: Civ 5, Sid Meier and Farmville
We throw together a show on some of the strategy gaming news and ideas coming out of this year’s GDC. What do we know and not know about <em>Civilization 5</em>? Is Sid Meier coddling players in his psychological approach? And why is Julian on the side of evil in the Facebook wars? We announce the winner of the King Arthur steam code and begin planning for PAX East. <a class="liexternal" href="" target="_blank">Fear and Loathing in Farmville</a> <a class="liexternal" href="" target="_blank">Gamasutra on Meier’s Keynote</a> <a class="liexternal" href="" target="_blank">Julian’s article on Facebook games</a> <a class="liexternal" href="" target="_blank">Chris Hecker on the rewarding boring activities</a> <a class="liexternal" href="" target="_blank">A Theory of Fun for Game Design</a> <a class="liexternal" href="" target="_blank">Pre-order Sid Meier’s Civilization V</a> <a class="liexternal" href="" target="_blank">Rob Zacny on the bias against strategy games</a> <a class="liexternal" href="" target="_blank">Match Defense: Toy Soldiers</a>
Mar 16, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 55: Starcraft 2 Beta and Napoleon Total War
Two games this week. First, Tom Chick and Troy Goodfellow report on their experiences in the <a class="liexternal" href="" target="_blank">Starcraft II</a> beta. It’s an old school RTS that eschews fifteen years of evolution in favor of keeping things as they were in 1998. What do we like so far? What do we not like? Meanwhile, Rob Zacny asks questions about Blizzard’s continued relevance in the genre. Then, Rob leaps to the defense of <a class="liexternal" href="" target="_blank">Napoleon: Total War</a>. Hear why he will be probably be giving it a very positive review and why Tom still thinks Creative Assembly should be embarrassed. Stay tuned to the end for a reminder to enter the game draw for a special prize.
Mar 09, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 54: Introversion
Troy, Julian and Rob wax rhapsodical about the glories of indie strategy game developer <a class="liexternal" href="" target="_blank">Introversion</a>. What makes <em>Darwinia</em> a “different” RTS? Is <em>Defcon</em> the best multiplayer game ever made? And can you make a game about terrorism? Listen to the end and learn how you can win a prize. Seriously. I have one for you. <a class="liexternal" href="" target="_blank">Gamers With Jobs talks to Chris Delay</a> <a class="liexternal" href="" target="_blank">Introversion’s Tough 2008</a>
Mar 04, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 53: The One Year Anniversary Show
No agenda this week beyond a few of my favorite clips, some chat about the podcast’s high and low points and what we’d like to see in the coming year of podcasts. Learn about Tom’s other podcasts, Bruce Geryk’s origin story, whether or not Julian is a game reviewer and how Rob makes his girlfriend cry. Lots of self congratulation, too, so if you don’t like that sort of thing, maybe you shouldn’t listen.
Feb 23, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 52: Sins of a Solar Empire Diplomacy
Troy is joined by Tom, Julian and Rob to talk about the new expansion for <em>Sins of a Solar Empire</em>. How does Diplomacy work in a multiplayer game? Does it add more personality to a game with rather bland sides? Does Tom cheat? How should Rob refer to his significant other? Where does Julian go when the podcast is over? Listen to the final podcast to find out why this is expansion made all of us fall in love with Sins again.
Feb 16, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 51: Science and Technology
Troy is joined by Tom, Bruce and Rob as they counter December’s religion show with a talk about how strategy games treat science. How do you link technology to other game mechanics? Is there a risk of runaway games if you emphasize science too much? Dead ends, blind research, science of observation and whether you can actually have hard science in a strategy game. And Bruce replies to comments about his thoughts on <em>Hearts of Iron 3’s</em> infantry weapon research model. <a class="liexternal" href="">Heisenberg’s War: The Secret History Of The German Bomb</a> <a class="liinternal" href="">Three Moves Ahead Episode 20 on The Snowball Effect in Game Design</a> <a class="liexternal" href="">Tom and Miriam Sitting in a Tree</a> (Wayback Machine – very slow)
Feb 10, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 50: Designing Government and Debating Detail
Having not seen each other in weeks, Tom and Bruce giggle like schoolgirls reunited after summer break before getting into their usual sparring. Troy just tries to keep people on topic – futilely. The putative topic: How do you design a game that makes the management of a government as interesting as the issues of war and peace? There’s a side trip into questions about abstraction and the problem of irrelevant detail.
Feb 01, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 49: Strategy Games and Story Telling
This week, Troy, Julian and Rob talk about the limitations and possibilities of story telling in strategy games. Can you have an authorial perspective in a system driven genre? Is the RTS campaign story irrevocably broken? Is there anything on the horizon that might give us hope? And stay tuned to the end where I ask for feedback for our anniversary show.
Jan 26, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 48: The Gaming Gender Gap
This week, Troy and Tom welcome Lara Crigger, Jenn Cutter and Tiffany Martin to the show to talk about the gender gap in strategy gaming. Well, that’s where it starts. It turns into an almost 90 minute discussion of the place of women in gaming, their portrayal in games, the importance of peer groups, more <em>Brutal Legend</em> and the coming demographic shift. So less strategy wonkery than usual, but you guys can deal for a week, right? <a class="liexternal" href="">Tiffany Martin’s blog</a> <a class="liexternal" href="">Tiffany’s thoughts on classes in Borderlands</a> <a class="liexternal" href="">Lara Crigger on her changing gaming habits</a> <a class="liexternal" href="">Hire Lara Crigger</a> <a class="liexternal" href="">Jenn Cutter’s Open Alpha</a> <a class="liexternal" href="">Jenn Plugs Flash of Steel and TMA and says nice things about me</a> <a class="liwikipedia" rel="nofollow" href="">Rhapsody</a> <a class="liwikipedia" rel="nofollow" href="">Tabula Rasa</a> <a class="liexternal" href="">Pure Pwnage</a> <a class="liexternal" href="">Battle for Wesnoth</a>
Jan 19, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 47: Looking forward to 2010
Troy, Tom and Rob look at the big 4 RTSes coming out this year (<em>Command & Conquer 4, Starcraft 2, Supreme Commander 2</em> and <em>RUSE</em>) as well as the return of Norb Timpko, the future of Facebook games, the battle between Victorian Age games. And Tom makes Troy sing. Apologies for the sound issues. It was a bad connection that we tried to fix a couple of times without much success. <a href="" class="liexternal">Greed Corp</a> <a href="" class="liexternal">Scourge of War: Gettysburg</a> <a href="" class="liexternal">Sid Meier talks to Julian Murdoch</a> <a href="" class="liexternal">Paradox buys AGEod</a> <a href="" class="liexternal">Vainglory of Nations</a> <a href="" class="liexternal">Victoria Developer’s Diaries</a>
Jan 12, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 46: EU3 and Heir to the Throne
Troy, Tom and Rob Zacny talk about Europa Universalis 3, the new Heir to the Throne expansion and how the series rewards different play styles. Has the new expansion compromised the importance of stability? How does the new system change our favorite nations' development? Can Tom keep all the changes in every expansion straight? (Spoiler: No, he cannot.)
Jan 05, 2010
Three Moves Ahead 45: 2009 in Review
Tom and Troy spend the hour looking back at 2009, including insight into how to make a Best of the Year list, why Tom finally joined Facebook and the state of the genre in the last year. Dawn of Discovery, Brutal Legend, Heir to the Throne, UniWar, and even Evony. Bruce is also there, in body if not spirit, but he finds time to complain about why Uniwar is the worst game ever. <a class="liexternal" href="">Tom Chick’s RTS Round Up at Crispy Gamer</a> <a class="liexternal" href="">Tom’s Top Ten Games at Fidgit</a> <a class="liinternal" href="">The Flash of Steel Year End Summary</a> <a class="liexternal" href="">HPS Squad Battles at NWS Online Store</a>
Dec 30, 2009
Three Moves Ahead 44: Religion
A subtle shifting of the guard as Julian Murdoch is back after hiatus, but Troy Goodfellow is off for a week, leaving Julian at the mercy of the far more stable Tom Chick and Bruce Geryk. The topic is religion: does it work in a strategy game as a mechanic? Has anyone done it better than Civ IV? Bruce argues for Dominions and random boardgames about the reformation nobody's ever heard of. Tom revisits the Sims and Europa Universalis, and Julian goes off-topic and spoils all of Assassins Creed 2 (You've been warned.)
Dec 22, 2009
Three Moves Ahead 43: Episode 43
This week, Tom Chick makes the case that strategy gamers need to have a console to truly appreciate the range of games out there. He calls Bruce and Troy “dinosaurs” for clinging bitterly to a fading gaming platform, even though it is at the moment best suited to the deep games that all three love. What is the present condition of strategy gaming in the console arena? Are independent strategy game designers making a mistake by focusing on the PC?
Dec 15, 2009
Three Moves Ahead 42: Epic Fails
<a class="liexternal" href="">Rob Zacny</a> comes to the plate as a pinch hitter, but we still manage to get three original panelists together for a long discussion about strategy games gone wrong. Ascendancy, MOO3, Road to Moscow, and other favorites.<a class="liexternal" href=""><em>Road to Moscow</em> preview at IGN</a> <a class="liexternal" href="">Bruce’s Review of Squad Leader</a> <a class="liexternal" href="">Tom’s review of Axis and Allies</a> <a class="liexternal" href="">Troy’s Diplomacy Review</a> <a class="liinternal" href="">Rob’s love of the old Total War games</a> <a class="liexternal" href="">Troy’s review of SupCom for the 360</a> <a class="liexternal" href="">Chris Remo’s Top 5 PC Games of 2009</a> <a class="liexternal" href="">Jim Rossignol on ArmA</a> <a class="liexternal" href="">Tom’s Review of Empire: Total War</a>
Dec 08, 2009
Three Moves Ahead 41: Solium Infernum
Our first ever guest, Vic Davis, returns for an episode that will not be lost to the ether. <em>Solium Infernum</em> gets invited to a love in as Tom, Troy and Bruce try to explain why it is one of the best games of the year. We can an inside look at game design, how an game about unbalancing your opponents stays balanced and what Vic has up his sleeve for the expansion.<a class="liexternal" href="">Ameritrash Games</a> <a class="liexternal" href="">Cryptic Comet</a> <a class="liexternal" href="">Quarter to Three Games Forum – Full of AARs</a> <a class="liexternal" href="">Penny Arcade’s Tycho loves Solium Infernum and links to Tom’s Fidgit diaries so I don’t have to</a>
Dec 01, 2009
Three Moves Ahead 40: Episode 40
Troy, Bruce and Julian deal with a few questioners listeners brought to the panel. Can noobs and experts play together? What is the place of AI in current game design? Why do we keep doing this? And where is Tom? Thanks for your questions, and keep them coming. We might do this again some time soon. <a href="">Bruce Geryk on MOO3</a><a href="">Julian on Populous</a><a href="">Rob Zacny on Black & White</a><a href="">Solium Infernum Live Blogging</a>
Nov 25, 2009
Three Moves Ahead 39: Episode 39
Another guest this week as Ntronium Studios lead Bob Smith talks to Troy and Tom about the imminent release of <em>Armada 2526</em>. Bob is a veteran of Creative Assembly and has been making games for over a quarter century. Is there room for another 4x sci-fi game? And how do you differentiate one title from another?<a class="liexternal" href=""><em>Armada 2526</em> at Ntronium Studios</a> One week left to send in questions to the TMA crew at troy DOT goodfellow AT
Nov 17, 2009
Three Moves Ahead 38: Episode 38
This week’s show begins with a business chat as we talk about the changing revenue models in all gaming as downloadable content begins to supplant or supplement the traditional retail expansion pack. Be sure to stay tuned for Bruce’s Nietzsche moment in which he declares that gameplay is dead. The last half of the show is spent celebrating expansions that were good, denigrating those that were bad and mourning those that never happened. Lots of Big Huge love – kind of standard operating procedure.
Nov 10, 2009
Three Moves Ahead 37: Episode 37
Chris Park from Arcen Games joins us this week to talk about independent game development and how his sci-fi RTS <em>AI War: Fleet Command</em> saw the light of day. Park talks about the design process, the challenge of modeling risk and reward and the difficult part of difficulty levels. It’s also one of our longest podcasts ever. <a class="liexternal" href="">Arcen Games</a> <a class="liexternal" href="">Tom’s column on <em>AI War: Fleet Command</em></a> <a class="liinternal" href="">Feature Series: The Decade</a> <a class="liexternal" href="">Quarter to Three, where you can find Tom’s movie podcast</a> Send your questions for Episode 40 to troy.goodfellow AT
Nov 03, 2009
Three Moves Ahead 36: Episode 36
We try to make up some ground this week with a little chat about <em>Panzer General: Allied Assault</em> (via Julian), <em>Eufloria</em> (via Tom) and, our main topic, <em>Tropico 3</em> (via me). When is a remake enough? Am I trust too critical of a game that I actually like parts of? Can you cautiously recommend a game with major gameplay problems? <a class="liexternal" href="">Eufloria</a> <a class="liexternal" href="">Tom’s <em>Dragon Age</em> diaries</a> Troy’s <em>Tropico 3</em> review (link to come)
Oct 28, 2009
Three Moves Ahead 35: Episode 35
Skip a night and the inmates take over the asylum. Tom and Julian decide to talk about <em>Brutal Legend</em>, especially its strategy components. Why is BL Tom’s favorite game of the year? Are there different strategies for the RTS component? Is it an RTS at all? Also, Bruce makes a cameo appearance in the intro.
Oct 20, 2009
Three Moves Ahead 34: Episode 34
Ubisoft’s Michael de Plater joins us for a fanboy grilling from Tom Chick. Why EndWar worked, its relative success and why Bruce never got to actually play EndWar for very long. Apologies in advance for Michael’s sound. His plug-in mic was not working for some reason so he talked to his laptop. Through a tin can. From the distant future. While in a submarine. Fighting robots. He’s that good. <a class="liexternal" href=",2773/">Michael de Plater’s rap sheet</a> <a class="liexternal" href="">Tom’s great EndWar column</a> <a class="liexternal" href="">Tom’s review of Brutal Legend – yet another game he thinks is an RTS</a>
Oct 13, 2009
Three Moves Ahead 33: Episode 33
Sometimes Bruce misses a show he really needs to be on – like the one where we pronounced the death of the Dominions 3 game. This week, Dr. Geryk won’t give up and he makes a compelling argument along the way. Bruce admits to a new way of thinking about games, we talk about reviving our board game blogging (but we need help!) and we talk about wargames we like and don’t like. We both say mean things that we should take back. <a class="liinternal" href="">Our Twilight Struggle game</a> <a class="lipdf" href="">Republic of Rome Rulebook</a> <a class="liexternal" href="">1805: Sea of Glory</a>
Oct 06, 2009
Three Moves Ahead 32: Episode 32
So what do you do when your guest doesn't show and your schedule for the rest of the week is shot to hell? You go ahead, press record and make it up as you go along.A beloved friend of the show is on his deathbed and no doctor is in sight to save it. Tom calls Section 8 "the shooter from the Kohan guys" and fights with Julian over whether or not the game is very good or just good.
Sep 29, 2009
Three Moves Ahead 31: Episode 31
Majesty 2 becomes the starting point about the pluses and minuses of surrendering control. Troy, Tom and Bruce talk about the origins of Majesty, other games with the detached czar motif and whether or not the game is repetitive. Listen as Bruce schools Tom on the subtleties of his new favorite game and find out which game Tom thinks is about sex and death. Also, listen to the worst contest ever. <a class="liexternal" href="">Bruce Geryk’s original Majesty review</a> <a class="liexternal" href="">Erik Wolpaw’s rebuttal</a> <a class="liexternal" href="">Troy’s Majesty 2 review</a> <a class="liexternal" href="">Tom’s Majesty 2 review</a> <a class="liexternal" href="">Dwarf Fortress</a> <a class="liexternal" href="">Tom on Halo 3:ODST’s Campaign</a> and <a class="liexternal" href="">on the firefight mode.</a>
Sep 22, 2009
Three Moves Ahead 30: Episode 30
Ever wonder what would happen to a show where Tom Chick didn’t show up to ask annoying questions? This is the answer. PCGamer’s role playing game authority Desslock sits in with the remaining panelists to talk about how RPGs and strategy games overlap. Where is character advancement more important than story? Does Dominions 3 count as an RPG? It’s a low key and low energy discussion with only a little bit of nagging to Julian to get his turn in.
Sep 16, 2009
Three Moves Ahead 29: Episode 29
This week, a full panel deals with the question of getting started in strategy gaming. Should people approach the genre from first principles (The Murdoch Method) or through a topic they are interested in (The Goodfellow Approach)? How important is the visual immersion compared to the mechanics? Bonus: Everyone is called an idiot by someone else at least once. <a class="liexternal" href="">The Qt3 thread that inspired this chat</a> <a class="liexternal" href="">Tom’s column on RTSes for newcomers</a>
Sep 08, 2009
Three Moves Ahead 28: Episode 28
The smallest podcast ever! Scheduling confusion means that just Tom and Troy are on hand to talk about naval tactics in strategy games. High on nostalgia, low on insight and yet another plug for <em>Crown of Glory: Emperor’s Edition</em>’s tactical naval engine. You do get a moment where Tom fancies himself to be Da Vinci. <a class="liexternal" href="">Lost Admiral</a> <a class="liexternal" href="">Perfect General</a> <a class="liexternal" href="">Crown of Glory: Emperor’s Edition</a> <a class="liwikipedia" rel="nofollow" href="">The Battle of Lepanto</a>
Sep 01, 2009
Three Moves Ahead 27: Episode 27
The panel welcomes Mark H. Walker to the round table for a bruising discussion of his upcoming squad based wargame <em>Lock N Load: Heroes of Stalingrad</em>. Bruce and Julian dominate an unusually combative conversation, which only shows how much we care. What is the place of narrative in war games? Do designers overestimate how intuitive their designs are? Apologies for the sound quality here. In spite of a perfect sound test earlier in the day, Mark’s satellite internet was not up to the task later that night so he had to phone in. Then the recording somehow made Troy’s comments appear three seconds later than they actually happened, making editing a real pain in the ass and borking the <em>Dominions 3</em> discussion altogether. (Short version, Bruce didn’t send his turn but notice he was attacked by Julian’s deer men.) <a class="liexternal" href="">Lock N Load</a> <a class="liexternal" href="">Matrix Games</a>
Aug 25, 2009
Three Moves Ahead 26: Episode 26
Troy, Tom and Bruce spend an hour talking about city builders as ant farm games. Why didn’t they talk about <em>Dawn of Discovery</em> two weeks ago? What’s up with <em>Cities XL</em>? Is SimCity Societies a neglected classic or a misfire of epic proportions? And, most importantly, does Bruce know any games made after 1984?
Aug 18, 2009
Three Moves Ahead 25: Episode 25