Adventures in Board Game Podcasting
What’s up, geeklings!
My name is Jaume and I’m here today to talk about Spain’s tabletop podcasting scene, as it’s been steadily growing over the past few years. When I rejoined the hobby around 2015 after a long hiatus (you know, getting married, having children, and other distractions), I eagerly tuned in to the podcast app on my smartphone, trying to find board game related podcasts in English and Spanish.
During my gaming sessions, I soon found out I preferred playing thematic games (aka Ameritrash games). While the more strategic Euro style games looked nice, I found that my interest usually dropped after the first few rounds of play, as resource gathering and resource management were mechanics that didn’t excite me as much.
Giving Birth to a Podcast
I played a lot of role-playing and strategy games in the past, which means I find it much more exciting to take on the role of a hero, immersed in fantastic adventures with other companions, encountering unexpected events and exciting journeys through unknown, unexplored lands.
As I subscribed to many podcasts, I discovered – to my disappointment – that most Spanish-speaking podcasts were oriented towards the Euro gaming sector of the hobby. Thematic games only occasionally caught the attention of podcasters, and sometimes they talked about them in a derogative manner: randomness, dice-rolling, miniatures, plastic ‘trash’…
All those definitions sounded more like shortcomings, when these traits were in fact exactly what I was looking for in a board game.
One day, when talking to a friend about how little attention thematic games received in our specialized media, a crazy idea popped up in my mind. What if we made our own content, focusing mainly or exclusively on thematic games? My friend Javier immediately said yes. And so we started our own podcast, devoting it to thematic or narrative-driven games. Until today, it’s still the only one of its kind in Spanish.
We needed a name of course, so we thought about the terms that were often used to dismiss thematic games, and decided to turn them into something positive. Since dice are a common component in thematic games, we thought about ‘dice-chucking’: rolling lots and lots of dice.
Soon after that, “El Tiradados” (“The Dice Chucker”) was born.
The El Tiradados Podcast will be 3 years old next May. A new episode is released every month and we record for about 2 hours. Every episode is divided into 4 main sections: feedback from listeners, market and crowdfunding news, games we’ve played, and an open discussion on some specific topic related to board games, sometimes with a special guest giving their specialized opinion about the issue.
So, This Podcasting Thing... How Does it Work?
Good question! You could say that podcasting is actually quite easy, especially compared to running a video channel. All you need is a decent microphone, a piece of recording and editing software, and a host where your podcast can be found, downloaded, and heard by listeners. That’s it!
Well, you may need a few other things. But the basics are there, and that’s really all you need to get started. It’s pretty easy to find good microphones online: you just need one that captures your voice clearly and loud enough to generate an audio recording. If you’re going to podcast with more people, either regularly or occasionally, you will need a common platform to be able to record together.
For example, Skype has a neat recording feature: your guests will see a warning that the chat is being recorded. If you want to go for a more professional tool, you can try online apps like Zencastr or SquadCast, which include Premium versions for more features such as more guests in a single session, higher recording quality, and more recording hours per month.
If you have a Mac, you might want to have a look at Audio Hijack to record your voice. All these tools will produce audio files, with MP3 being the most popular format.
Next, you will probably need to edit your audio files. Listeners don’t like it if all you have is one or more voices speaking for an hour or more.
You will need to add something to spice up your episodes, such as a musical intro and outro for your episodes. If you’re thinking of including different sections, you also need some sounds or song fragments to separate them.
Many songs can be found online that are royalty-free or under a Creative Commons license. You may use them freely, but always remember to give proper credit to the creators when you use their work!
Editing and Hosting Your Podcast
Maybe you want to make your voice ‘emerge’ from the music, and then lower the background to a minimum or mute it altogether when the voices start discussing. A fantastic tool to do these things (and many more) is Audacity. The best part is: it’s absolutely free!
Although this audio editor may overwhelm you at first sight, with its many menus and options, its basic features are actually quite easy to learn. Just import your audio files and you’ll be able to see a wave track for each one. You can slide up and down tracks in the editor’s timeline, combine them with other tracks, lower or increase their volume, etc. The possibilities are endless!
Last but not least, you will need a host, to… Well, host your recording. Again, there are many of them: some of them are free and others require a (usually low) monthly fee.
Some popular choices are SoundCloud, Spreaker, or Buzzsprout, just to name a few. They will also provide you with a feed, that you can use to share your podcast to popular services such as Apple or Spotify. You can even add your own BGG page!
These are all the basics you need to start podcasting. Now all that’s left is to look inside yourself to find your motivation, vision, and commitment. Of course there’s also a small monetary investment if you want to start your new project. But above all, always remember the golden rule: enjoy the ride!