Saturday, December 10, 2011

Ahoy IABN. Also, podcasts.

Can an iPod be retro?
The Iron Agenda Blogging Network feed is live, so a hearty "Come on in, the water's fine" to all the traffic that (hopefully) finds it way here from there. 

The Iron Agenda wasn't the first Warmahordes podcast I listened to, but it was the first one that got added to my regular rotation.  It hit all the things I wanted: general news, tactics, combos. and it did all of that with good sound quality and engaging hosts.  Sadly the show stopped about a year ago and I have yet to find a suitable replacement.  The Iron Agenda is still the standard I measure Warmahordes podcasts by, and they've all come up short thus far.  Despite constant disappointment I'm still on the hunt, and I can try and save you some time and effort by sharing my (admittedly biased) thoughts on a great swathe of the Warmahordes podcasts that are going at the moment.

The Front Line

These are the first podcasts I reach for.  They have a decent backlog, (mostly) solid sound quality, and good hosts.  I've listened to these for long enough to feel comfortable calling them solid options.

Focus and Fury is about as close as I've come to finding the mix I'm looking for.  I often confused this podcast with the Iron Agenda back when both were putting out shows as they had a similar feel and approach.  This one is a bit unfiltered, so if you're worried about your sensitive ears (or have a little pair of ears to look out for) then proceed with caution.  This would be my go-to podcast if they'd release shows with some consistency.  Focus and Fury has been spotty for better than a year.  While this does make new shows all the more exciting, one of the things I want from a podcast is current news, so a regular schedule is a must.

The Prime Generation started up when the two above podcasts were both going strong, and since it's in the same newsy-tacticy vein I dropped it fairly quick.  The sound quality in the first couple show was not so good which made my decision for me.  I've since given it another go and it has changed for the better.  The approach is still the same but the sound has gotten better, and the hosts have a good chemistry on the mics.  Like Focus and Fury this one can get a bit salty.  The releases are more consistent than Focus and Fury, but still a bit shy of the once a week standard that I'm looking for.

Lost Hemisphere Radio has changed co-host recently, but is still going strong despite the swap.  This is more of a hobby podcast than a competitive one, but there's plenty of news to be had and the hosts have a particular charm.  The sound is rough at times but good in general.  They have a guest each week, who is occasionally a PP staffer, and everyone sounds like they enjoy the show.  My main issue here is length.  LHR often clocks in well over two hours, which doesn't match up well with my hour(ish) ideal.  This is a great painting podcast because of the length and meandering subject matter.

The Second Wave

This group is newer arrivals.  Some I've joined well into their run, while others have just gotten started.  This is a great time for one of my biases: I don't really like UK/Aussie podcasts.  The accents are fine in most scenarios (I'm even a recovering Anglophile), but for some reason they don't work for me so well on podcasts.  They aren't total deal-breakers, as witnessed by the ex-pat Aussie who runs Lost Hemisphere, but they are starting with a penalty.

Elite Cadre is a newer podcast that has passed the first cut.  It's a very British show, but it doesn't work against this show as much as some of the others.  The hosts are entertaining and the sound is good enough.  They fit into the general frame of what I'm looking for in terms of news/tactics/combos, though I don't have enough of a feel for the show to tell if they focus more on competitive or casual play, though I think it's the former. This isn't as appealing as I want it to be because I'm convinced, for no good reason, that the meta in the rest of the world somehow doesn't apply here in the States.

Guts N Gears is a show I've been meaning to give a second chance to.  I dropped this one for being exceptionally British in the halcyon days of the Iron Agenda, but when I saw the regular Guts N Gears section of No Quarter I started to wonder if I was missing something.  They seem to be at least a semi-official podcast, based on the number of PP staffers that are on their show and the aforementioned No Quarter affiliation.  My big complaint with this is the amount of computer generated voices they use, especially for sponsor plugs.  I haven't gotten back to this one yet, a holdover of how little I liked the show the first time around, but it's climbed back up my list of shows to listen to.

Boosted Damage is another UK podcast, though I think they may be based more in Scotland than England.  Despite having listened to a couple of their shows, I can't really pull together a coherent impression of the show.  The perils of "listening" to a podcast while blogging/reading, or a referendum on the quality of the show?  I'm not sure.  Sound is a bit rough, but content is decent.  Perhaps a half-dozen episodes in I haven't unsubscribed, so I guess that is a thumbs-up in its own way.

The Others

These are good podcasts that aren't a good fit for what I'm looking for, or else they were bad enough that I turned them off quick, or else they aren't strictly Warmahordes podcasts.

Chain-Attack is an interesting one.  They bill the show as a battle report podcast, and it certainly is.  That sounds like the most boring thing ever to me, but I find this show is more than just gaming stories.  While it is primarily about the two casters used in the game, and about the game played with them in particular, the hosts get into the casters and lists in enough depth to make the podcast more useful than just a battle report.  Good sound and an interesting premise, but it's a little too unusual to make the first grouping.

Trollblood Scrumcast is a lot like Lost Hemisphere Radio in that it's a blog that spawned a podcast.  I've only listened to a single episode so far, but I liked what I heard.  Sound quality was decent, hosts were good, but there are a few sticking points for me.  First, it's all about Trollbloods.  There's nothing wrong with this, and this podcast first caught my attention because it's all about Trollbloods, but since my gaze has since wandered to Legion I'm less interested now than I was then in something that's just about the one faction.  It wasn't nearly as UKish as I was expecting, though one of the hosts is from Wales.  Worth a listen if you like Trollbloods.

Warcast got about five minutes of my time before I dropped it.  This is an Aussie cast (I think), and the sound is real bad.  So bad it last just those five minutes.  I've been listening to talk radio for longer than I'd like to admit, so when I hear a hiss from a hot mic and constant (CONSTANT) thumping of chairs/tables/whatever it grinds my gears.  This may be the show I'm looking for, but I can't get past sound quality.

The Eternal Warriors is a show mostly about 40k and Warmahordes, though they do a decent bit on other games as well, mostly Malifaux.  This is a re-badged Dice Like Thunder, with a bit of a different cast, so if you're familiar with DLT you probably already know about this one.  Good sound and good hosts, but the split format is both a strength and a weakness.  Because I've been straddling 40k and Warmahordes since my triumphant return, this show scratches all my itches at once.  However, by multi-scratching they miss out on the deep itches and I often find myself yelling at my radio when they talk (wrongly) about Khador.  This one has podfaded a bit in the last few months, hopefully they make a return soon.

D6 Generation covers Warmahordes...I think.  The issue I have here is length.  When I was trying this podcast out, I didn't find any episode under four hours.  That's an absolute deal-breaker for me.  They seem to cover a lot of games and in great length, but I think a bit of editing would help the show a lot.  EV likes them, and I think I would too if they'd just tighten the show up.

Breaking the Format looked real good until it disappeared.  This one caught my notice because it featured an Iron Agendaer (Jason Flanzer), but it looks like they turned the lights off after an episode or two.

That's about that.  I listen to more podcasts than I probably should, and have standards that might be higher than is reasonable, but such is life.  While I haven't found that single show that hits all the notes I want to hear, between a couple of them I get what I'm after.  Hopefully you can find what you're looking for too, even if you didn't know you were looking for it yet.  If I've missed any then let me know.  I'd say I'm always on the lookout for new material, but this post should have made that point already.

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