SamuraiGunslinger Podcast Review: The D6 Generation

THE D6 GENERATION

Site: www.thed6generation.com

Hosts: Raef “Hollywood”Granger, Russ Wakelin, Craig Gallant

Topic: General gaming podcast covering Wargames, Boardgames and Gaming Culture.

 

The D6 Generation has very quickly become one of the best examples of gaming and hobby podcasts by establishing a very unique style while providing a great variety of content.

 

The first thing anyone will notice when listening to the D6 Generation is it’s unique sense of humor. Each episode begins with the ‘rapid fire’ segment that is a frenetic and sarcastic lampoon of The McLaughlin Group in which Craig assumes the role of the host and fires a frenetic series of questions at his co hosts amidst a string of absurd, yet often hilarious nicknames. The questions always foreshadow the topics of the show and thus serve to warm up the audience while lightening the mood at the same time.

 

This sense of humor is definitely a matter of taste with some not enjoying it much while others talk of laughing painfully at some of the unexpected jibes. Personally I find it hit and miss on the humor but have come to expect the segment and look forward to it’s familiar presence at the start of each episode.

 

The show then continues with a number of standard segments including one or two major feature articles that provide detailed reviews of games from all wide variety of styles and genres. Another regular segment, Achievements in Gaming, details the gaming lives of the hosts and awards them with achievement points ( including the actual XBOX Live achievement ding) for each positive accomplishment. This feature would be dull were it not for the great sense of humor and camaraderie shared by the hosts. This sense of an extended family pervades the show and allows it to often transcend what could otherwise be dry material.

 

Another interesting segment of the show is the “Hollywood” minute. This is Raef’s opportunity to wax poetic about whatever topic happens to appeal to him at the moment. This brief look at the world through the randomly aimed prism of a gamers eyes is always entertaining. The brevity of the segment keeps it from taking away from the focus of the show, while the quick break from purely hobby related faire helps to keep the show moving.

 

Perhaps the best feature of the D6 Generation are the featured reviews themselves. As dedicated gamers Russ and the rest of the crew really go in depth on every game they discuss. I have personally purchased a number of games solely on the recommendations of the D6 Generation without hesitation because after listening to the review I feel as if I had already played the game.

 

The detail with which the games are reviewed is truly extensive and this could be a weak point of the show if you are not interested in that particular game or genre. Everything is looked at including, the quality of the printing, the clarity of the rules, the depth of strategy and feel of each game and most importantly how much fun the crew had playing it and why.

 

The only downside to the show is that with such detail the shows can run long and are often broken up into two parts. If you are not interested in the topics of that individual show you might not be willing to sit through that level of content, but you can be certain that if the content of one episode is not entirely to your likening that something in the next will be.

 

In summary The D6 Generation is an excellent show and highly recommended for those with wide tastes in gaming. If you have a narrow focus to your hobby then the show might not be for you all the time, and a quick review of the episode notes will let you know if  each individual show covers a topic you have interest in. Perhaps the best way to enjoy this show is to let the hosts voracious appetite for new and different games help you to expand your own horizons. If you look at it in that way, then you will look forward to each episode as much as I do.

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Samurai Gunslinger Podcast Review: 40k Radio

Samurai Gunslinger Podcast Review: The Drop Podcast

Samurai Gunslinger Podcast Review: Podhammer

This Week In Wargaming Announced

Samurai Gunslinger Podcast Review – 40k Radio

Show Title: 40k Radio

40k_logo.jpg

Website: www.40kradio.com

Hosts: Spencer Harding, Phil Johnson

Format: Discussion of Warhammer 40k related news and issues.

Review:

This show has been a real joy to discover. As I have been slowly reviewing the various hobby podcasts I was very pleased to see 40k Radio come on the scene and had been waiting for them to reach the 5 episode mark so I would have a reasonable number of shows to judge from. I have been pleasantly surprised to discover the extreme care that Spencer and Phil take in researching the issues they discuss, as well as preparing for the guests they have on the show. The pre show prep is obvious and makes a real impact on a listeners enjoyment as the isssues discussed are covered in a concise and cogent fasion. Absent is the rambling and frequent non sequitors that frequently appear in the early episodes of any podcast, especially shows focused on a hobby.

The audio quality has steadilly improved and I was suprised to learn that all of the first 5 episodes have been done with little more than a pair of standard chat style headsets, a laptop and the free audio program audacity. For the show to shine with the level of audio and mixing quality it has with such limited hardware is a testimate to the level of dedication shown by the shows hosts who obviously spend many hours per show in the editing room.

This is not to say that you will confuse 40k radio with a network quality show, it does have some issues but they are minor given the format and by episode 5 nearly all issues relating to production quality have been resolved. The show does not go in for a tremendous ammount of fancy sound effects and music cross fading, but in a show that is designed to be informational first, that is more of a distraction than an addition in my opionon.
In just 5 episodes the show has allready drawn two guests including One of the Community Mangers of Games Workshop US, Chris Collinghorst as well as several of the Adepticon Staff. They have also planned to attend and cover the Adepticon Tournament with interviews and recorded coverage for the following episode.

Perhaps the shows greatest flaw is simply the fact that it is very narrow in focus. For fans of Warhammer 40k however, this is the shows greatest strength as they can count on getting exactly what they want. The shows motto is “all 40k all the time.” and they deliver just that.

Check them out when you get at chance and if you regularly listen to podcasts on your ipod or other mp3 player, they are definitely worth adding to your subcription queue. With 40k Radio, Podhammer, The Drop Podcast, Fell Calls and The D6 Generation, you have just about everything you need to keep you up to date and at your best with your wargaming hobby.

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Review of Drop Podcast version 2.0

Review of the Drop Podcast

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Description: Games Workshop related news, views and resources.

Frequency: Bi-Weekly

Feed: Drop Podcast

Website: Minatures Wargaming Union

REVIEW:

This year has seen a dramatic change in the format and, in my opinion, quality of the Drop Podcast. As the only current pod-cast giving significant and consistent coverage to the full Games Workshop hobby, this podcast has a lot of material to cover and a large audience to satisfy. Initially the podcast was done in a very informal and unscripted format which led to many episodes devolving into random arguments between the hosts or meandering non-sequitors that caused the show to drag. Even with these shortcomings they drop podcast crew did a good job of covering the full world news and upcoming events in the GW universe.

As 2007 came to a close the team behind the show made a point of asking their listeners for suggestions on how to improve the show. As expected when you throw yourself at the mercy of the Internet, they suffered a good number of slings and arrows, but to their credit they took this constructively. With the start of the new year they launched a new format with significant changes both the the format and the tone of the show.

The new format is broken down into several segments each episode and they have managed over the first four episodes of the new format to keep this fairly consistent.

Each episode begins with a breakdown of any news or significant rumors surrounding the various Games Workshop games and product lines. The news is done in a free-form manner without a defined script but with a set outline of subjects to be covered. This allows them to keep the friendly banter that has always been a strong point of the show without going to far and loosing track of their subject. The news is topical and due to the bi weekly nature of the show, reasonably current. Fans of GW forums will certainly have heard this news before they listen to the show, but I enjoy hearing their opinions and interpretation of the news even if it is not new to me.

This segment is followed by the unit of the show section. In this portion of the show they will go into an in depth examination of a single unit type. This alternates with each show from 40k to Fantasy and the show notes always list the unit reviewed for each episode. The reviews are good, if not to the level of a forum tactica. Anyone who has extensive experience with GW will not likely get a great deal of new ideas here but it is ideal for players looking to try out a new army or for new players not fully familiar with the game.

The next segment is a review and discussion of a listener submitted army list. Here the hosts dissect an army list submitted by a listener and offer suggestions and criticisms. Again these will not give you the kind of intense minutiae you would get from reading a long forum army list discussion, but they do cover all the basics and usually offer some good advice. Once again this section is ideal for players looking to try out something new as well as a great way to get a new take on a familiar list build. To date they have only done 40k, but this is due to the fact that no one has submitted a Fantasy list for them so they cant be faulted for this.

The next regular section is the featured story for the episode. This can range from in depth discussions on upcoming game releases to reviews of army new army books or even discuss some of the many video games based on the GW IP’s. This is usually my favorite section of the show as they give themselves time to really discuss the subject at hand. The different opinions of the hosts can lead to some entertaining but light hearted arguments. In the previous format this could lead the show off track, but within the new format they seem to keep things in hand without being a hyper scripted news magazine.

As with most podcasts, the show wraps up with a listener feedback segment where they read emails, play voice mails and answer or react to the questions or points raised therein. The crew is very good at answering questions respectfully and with as much detail as possible.

One other excellent feature of the podcast is the show-notes. Each episode has show-notes on the podcast site that not only list the subject of each segment but also give the time stamp. This handy feature allows a listener to jump ahead to a subject that particularly interest them or to skip a topic they don’t want to listen to.

On a whole the show is well produced, nicely informative and highly entertaining. For fans of the GW universe it is an excellent addition to your iPod or Zune or however you like to listen to your audio media. If you tried the show before and did not like it due to the format or the occasionally rambling nature of the discussion, I strongly suggest you give it another chance. The Drop Podcast team have made a very sincere effort to listen to their audience and respond to it’s wishes. I for one wish them all success.

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Metamor City Review, great audio fiction podcast!

Metamor City Podcast Review

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Website: www.metamorcity.com

Genre: Sci-fi/Fantasy/Horror audio fiction

Creator: Chris Lester 

Rating 5 our of 5  5-bullets.jpg

If you have ever read and enjoyed Laurel K Hamilton, Played Shadowrun or you loved the Catch a Deadly Spell movie on HBO in the 90’s then you will be right at home in Metamor City. Chris Lester has created a fascinating and incredibly rich universe with interesting characters and situations.

The primary premise of the background is that Metamor City, a titanic cyberpunk style metropolis built like a giant steel and concrete layer cake with four levels of streets supported by 500+ meter skyscrapers. The city is inhabited by all manner of supernatural creatures from daemons, and light bringers to elves and vampires. The city is built around an ancient citadel that is the center of a religion based on the veneration of St Morai an immortal demigod who saved the city as it stood between an invasion of the gods of light and shadow in it’s distant history. ( I hope we hear more about that in future episodes!)

Anyone familiar with the classic FASA role-playing setting of Shadowrun will recognize a number of familiar themes but Metamor City is not just Shadowrun Redux. The theme is far darker and more adult in tone and is reminiscent of early Laurel K Hamilton.

The character Morgan Drauling, a police medical examiner who also happens to be a Vampire is a great example of this. In episode two Morgan, while hunting for a willing partner to feed upon, rescues a young runaway from a trio of rogue vampires. The three other vampires have, in defiance of the vampire queens order, decided to feed upon an unwilling victim with full knowledge that feeding all three of them will kill her.

Morgan kills their leader, and send his master less minions running. She then spends the rest of the episode fighting her own hunger while helping the girl who ends up submitting to Morgan’s thirst voluntarily after coming to trust her. The scene is at once touching, mildly erotic without being sexual and strangely romantic. Morgan is voiced by the amazingly talented Leann Mabry from the Tag and the Seam podcast. The entire episode is wonderfully produced with a nice use of sound effects and a fantastic integration of music at key points.

In some episodes the language and occasionally graphic sexuality make the overall show not for children but most episode are fine for anyone old enough for Harry Potter or the like. Chris is also very diligent in providing accurate disclaimers when needed.

As the show has grown it has attracted a number of talented armature voice talent to the point where each episode now boasts a full voice cast. Each episode also features a different selection of  music from talented artists. The music is all pod safe and thus free for download if you like what you hear.

I can not recommend this series highly enough, I have enjoyed every episode and marvel at the amount of work and talent that are poured into this project. I can not think of a single professional audio project that exceeds the quality found here and the fact that you can enjoy all of this for no more than the time it takes you to subscribe on itunes, or whatever non apple podcast aggregator you like, is just too good to be true.

If you haven’t listened you are robbing yourself of a wonderful bit of entertainment. If you have, you should spread the word because Chris deserves to get far more attention that he has received. I, for one, will be watching and listening very closely.

Samurai Gunslinger Video Podcast Review: Totaly Rad Show

Title: Totally Rad Show

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Genre: Video Variety and Review Podcast

Website: Totally Rad Show

Producer: Revison 3

Cast;Alex Albrecht, Dan Trachtenberg, Jeff Cannata

Description: Video Podcast focusing on Film, TV and Video Game Reviews

Rating: 4 out of 5 4-bullets1.jpg

Review:

The Totally Rad Show is perhaps the most heavily produced and well supported variety videocast currently available. With the full backing of the Revision3 machine the show has the advantage of a significant budget for equipment, effects and net presence. This means that the show, while still a podcast, has a higher level of expectations to meet that your average show shot in mom’s garage with an hand held camera.

The show begins every week with a slick green screen sequence featuring a different version of the show logo every week. The changing backgrounds are always submitted by fans and range in quality from interesting to flat out amazing. This creates one of the many connections with their fan base that makes the show special.

The format of the show is simple, with each episode dividend into three or four main sections each broken up with a short comedy skit or informal bonus review or discussion. The show focuses on Movie, TV, and Video Game reviews and occasionally adds Comic Books to the mix. Each section will feature a review of one or more recent releases in the appropriate category with each host taking their turn to give their take. The hosts are very good at allowing each other to present their full view without interruption or argument even when they are obviously in deep disagreement. This leads to some interesting and spirited debates without allowing the show to dissolve into a shouting match.

The three hosts are all young and personable but not professional Journalists. This gives the show a sometimes amateurish quality that contrasts with the above average production quality on occasion. I personally find this charming, and enjoy the informal format of the discussions but it has made some of the people I have tried to introduce to the show turn off quickly saying that it’s ‘just a podcast’. It is difficult to tell sometimes if this is something the hosts are actually shooting for, but it is an impression that I feel limits it’s audience.

Within those limitations, however, the show can be very entertaining as well as informative. The hosts obviously like each other, yet are more than willing to go head to head over disagreements on the things they review. The reviews themselves are deep and insightful with multiple points of view considered. In many cases I find myself strongly disagreeing with the review at first one or two only to have the third host say exactly what I was thinking. It is this wide scope of views and opinions that makes this show such an excellent resource for making decisions on geek culture.

Of all the video podcasts that I watch regularly, TRS is the one I most look forward to every week. I am always looking forward to see what the guys will say about my favorite game or movie and even if I think they are all idiots for disagreeing with me, I still enjoy hearing their takes. Personally I can not recommend the show highly enough, however as an objective reviewer I do have to give the caveat that people not used to this style may find themselves tuning out during the antics and geek culture in jokes that abound through the show. If you are already a regular viewer of video podcasts then you are probably just the kind of person who will love TRS. If you are looking for a show to introduce you to the format, TRS may be the perfect choice but only if you consider yourself to be something of a Geek yourself.

Of course, as the guys themselves say in a recent episode. It’s cool to be a geek. If you believe this as well, then you should definitely give TRS a look. If you are anything like me, you will find yourself becoming a fan before you know it.

Podcast Review: Podhammer

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Title:   Podhammer

Author: Jeff Carroll

Affiliations: Miniatures Wargaming Union

Genre: Miniatures Wargaming ( Warhammer )

Number of Episodes: 10 ( As of date of review )

Frequency: Biweekly (Approximate)

Rating: Four Out of 5 4-bullets.jpg

Description: Podhammer is a bi-weekly podcast about Warhammer Fantasy. The show covers everything from latest news & releases, tournaments & painting.

Review: As a miniatures wargaming podcast, Podhammer has a very narrow appeal and if you are not familiar with the tabletop game, this podcast will not be of interest to you. If you are a player, or a fan however, this podcast is a wonderful resource as well as highly entertaining.

Each episode, Jeff takes on a new topic and explores it in great depth and detail. He has covered new army books, his own new armies, major tournaments in his native Australia as well as interviews with other gamers and tournament organizers. In all cases he leaves no stone unturned in his attempt to cover every aspect of the subject at hand.

The format of the episodes is relatively static, with segments for Warhammer news, updates on Jeff’s personal Warhammer experiences as well as information on the upcoming MMORPG Warhammer, Age of Reckoning. Each episode ends with a standard listener feedback segment.

Although his audio quality has been occasionally erratic, the production values have been above average overall and the quality as a whole has improved. The main problem has been his interviews in the field, usually done at tournaments or local gaming stores. The interviews themselves are excellent, and highly entertaining, but Jeff has struggled to maintain quality audio. Given the difficulty of getting good audio samples in an open public environment, even with pro level equipment, it is understandable that some of these segments have had spotty audio quality.

One point that should be mentioned is that Jeff is VERY Australian. As a result his accent as well as those of his guests can, at times, be a little hard to understand for those of us living outside of OZ.  Personally, if find this to add to the feel and uniqueness of the podcast as it expresses the global nature of the hobby, but some might have difficulty understanding the local lingo enough for it to be worth mentioning.

Overall, as a fan of the table top game, I have found Podhammer to be an excellent listen, and look forward to each episode. Jeff is clearly dedicated to improving both his own delivery as well as the programs production and audio quality so it should only get better from here. If you like Warhammer, or table top games in generally, I highly recommend you give Podhammer a listen.

Playing for Keeps, Podast novel review.

Samurai Gunslinger’s Podcast Novel Review: Playing for Keeps320_1697546.jpg

Written by: Mur LaffertyPerformed by: Author

Genre: Science Fiction, Superhero

Rating: 4 out of 5 4-bullets.jpg

Description: Playing for Keeps tells the story of Keepsie Branson, a bar owner in the shining metropolis of Seventh City: birthplace of super powers. Keepsie and her friends live among egotistical heroes and manipulative villains, and manage to fall directly in the middle as people with powers, but who just aren’t strong enough to make a difference. Or that’s what they’ve been told. As the city begins to melt down, it’s hard to tell who are the good guys and who are the bad.

Opinion: Playing for Keeps is the third podcast novel presented by the prolific and well loved podosphere celebrity Mur Lafferty. Well known amongst the podcasting community for her numerous successful podcasts and books on podcasting she has yet to break into true mainstream recognition. This most recent effort by Mur may end up being the work that brings her to the attention of the wider science fiction community.

As a superhero story Playing for Keeps has to deal with the many conventions of the genre without seeming to be another rehash of a very crowded genre. Fortunately for the reader, she manages to breathe just enough originality and humor into the story to make it feel new to even the most jaded comicphile.

All of the characters in Playing for Keeps have something unique about them beyond the quirky not-so-superpowers. The lead character, Keepsie Branson is just the kind of conflicted, doubt ridden but good hearted protagonist that comic fans love. I think that anyone who has ever sympathized with Peter Parker with have no problem getting to know Keepsie.

Contrasting the main characters of the story, categorized as ‘third wavers’ due to their belonging to the third group of powered humans to emerge in Mur’s interesting universe, the “real” heroes are a bunch of arrogant, spoiled brats in tights. Even the super villains are in many ways more sympathetic, which leads to some interesting moral questions for Keepsie and her merry band when they are forced to pick sides.

The audio quality of the podcast is good, if not exceptional. Mur does not distract from her story with sound effects and big production values. The story is the key, and this podcast does nothing to take you out of the story. Mur has improved her delivery from some of her earlier efforts which had the tendency to be slightly monotone in delivery. Playing for Keeps is delivered with a strong, yet understated dramatic tone that works perfectly for the story itself.

With the full novel now available in print form I can safely say that the surprises keep coming as the story goes on. The novel has a satisfying ending that leaves plenty of room for more if Mur chooses to make this a series. I for one hope so as I have thoroughly enjoyed this outing.