As it is with most hobbies, sports or interests there will always be the urge to talk about or listen to people talking about what you enjoy. For me growing up as a young war gamer it was difficult to get hold of this type of content. It was around but technology was no where what it is today. There were audio tapes or CD’s which people would make and distribute around their hobby groups but this involved a lot of investment for not only the people recording it but also us who want to listen.
Today with the advancement in smartphones and tablets alongside 4g we can upload content and stream it instantly via our personal devices. This has lead to a huge increase in the volume of ‘Podcast’s’ available to us all on demand. A podcast is simply an audio file uploaded to a podcast host, i.e. iTunes, for listeners to subscribe to. It gives your audience a place to go in order to listen to all of your content and make sure they don’t miss out.
When I stopped wargaming when I was 15, Podcasts were not really a thing. They may have been around but weren’t very popular or accessible but what I have noticed since coming back to the scene 3 years ago is the vast amount and variety of podcasts available for the varied different game systems. Whatever game you play I can assure you there will most likely be a Podcast about it and for the bigger games such as 40k or Blood Bowl there will be a plentiful selection all taking a different angle.
This is where Podcasts are great. Years ago you would normally have to read Games Workshops monthly publication (White Dwarf) to keep up to date with your past time. Which some could say would be biased as they are trying to sell you their products at the end of the day. Now you have a bunch of different opinions and characters delving into your favourite hobby. Let’s take Blood Bowl for example, you have one Podcast which focuses on the competitive side of the game, reviewing team builds and going over recent tournaments. At the other end of the spectrum you have a podcast who just love the Blood Bowl universe, talking about its history, making thematic rules and teams etc and sharing hobby tips and ideas. Whatever you want from your listening you are bound to find something that you like.
So what podcasts do we have available for Blood Bowl? There are a few to say the least, some more popular and longer running than others but all have their own thing going or them, bringing value to their audience. This is not a definitive list of all channels available and of course is my own opinion on each one but the 4 main broadcasts I would like to talk about and compare are Both Down, Bonehead Podcast, TalkNuffle and Two Drunk Flings. The main discussion and comparison of these podcast will be based around, How informative they are, How entertaining they are, are they unique, and in what situation would you listen to it.
Both Down is the first Podcast I listened and subscribed to when I reignited my love for Blood Bowl at the end of 2016. It is arguably the most popular and was highly recommend when I did some research. It is run but two long running Blood Bowl coaches from Oklahoma USA, Scott and Steve preaching their passion for the game and the effort and knowledge they put in is very noticeable.
When you have a look into Both Down you will see that their ‘selling point’ for use of a better term is that they are a fluff focused and driven Podcast, although they will talk about tournaments and competitive issues, it is the fluff that they would like to focus on. This is highlighted in their ‘Both Down approved’ team names. A real pet hate of one of the presenters are people who call their teams something ‘funny’ and random that has no relation to the history or thematic of the team/game. In order to promote the creation of thematic team names they have a process here you can send in the name and race etc in order to get it ‘Both Down approved’
So what does Both Down offer? There is a reason it is one of the most popular podcasts out there and that is because Scott and Steve are genuine, they do not read from scripts so much so they can often be guilty of going off on a tangent and end up talking about a completely different game. But you don’t notice it as it flows and you feel like you are in a conversation with two Blood Bowl enthusiasts.
The episode themselves are always informative whether it be about new releases, topics of discussion going around the community or the tournament scene in the USA (which as someone from the UK is always interesting to hear about) and are entertaining. They do have some laughs but is a more subtle way than some other channels (I will get onto that later).
A special highlight from the Both Down podcast is their yearly episode summarising the Chaos Cup, one of the four majors held in Chicago, USA. It is never your normal tournament discussion, yes they talk about the games they played but they also go in to great depth about the social aspect i.e. going out in the local area, what food they tried and what they enjoyed about the venue etc. This to me really adds something different as mentioned in our UKTC post recently, a lot of the enjoyment I get out of these tournaments is where it takes us and the experiences off the pitch.
So where do I listen to Both Down? I normally listen to them in the gym, some podcasts are used for background listening whilst you focus on another task while these guys really get you immersed in the discussion and I find myself zoning out on what I am actually doing, perfect for when your on the treadmill.
The Bonehead Podcast is fairly new to the game but has really come out shining in the saturated market of Blood Bowl Podcasts. It is presented by 2 coaches based on the south coast of the UK (I believe), focusing on what they call ‘Bonehead ideas’. This is simply coming up with ideas/rules which would not normally be allowed in NAF sanctioned events and talk about them. If they think they would be good fun they have even been known to run tournament with these implemented rules, for example their last event allowed mixed teams, taking positionals from 2 different teams. I didn’t attend this event but I can only imagine the carnage involved.
The broadcasts themselves are organised very well, a bit more structured than Both Down but with that comes the reduction of a bit of character. I remember listening to episode 1 and thinking it was ok but I most likely wouldn’t be a subscriber. A few weeks later I listened to the second episode and then the third and before I knew it I was a regular member of their audience. In my opinion they started off slow but they really improved and grown in the last few months and now I wouldn’t miss an episode.
The Bonehead Podcast definitely succeeds in entertainment over informative. They naturally go through the motions of announcing anything new that happening in the community but that’s about it, they really come into their own when they get into deep discussions about unorthodox rules and teams and this is what I believe a lot of people go to them for.
So where do I listen to them? I actually listen to the Bonehead boys to and from work in the car, giving me a laugh and a bit of a lighter mood after a long day.
Another fresh on the scene podcast bringing you a more Nuffle inspired view on the Blood Bowl Universe. These guys are great, coaches of the infamous DBL and ECBBL in London, who pick apart the local Blood Bowl scene in detail, following the major leagues and tournaments in the area and also following the groups of London coaches around the UK attending the Major events. Back in 2016 when I first got back into the game there was not a lot going on in London, well not advertised, for the game apart from the most renowned leagues in the country that is the ECBBL, so it is great to see this podcast bring the community together in a way. Tom and Phil who run the podcast play for both the ECBBL and the DBL (the 2 biggest leagues in London) and have been great ambassadors for the game and drivers for the coming together of the London community. That’s not saying no one else was involved, there were many people from around the area and heavily involved in the creation of what is now called ‘BBALLS’ The Blood Bowl Association of London Leagues but I believe its things like this that really gave it a nudge.
So the podcasts itself is chaotically brilliant bringing a lot of character and representing a side of the game and community that you don’t normally hear about. Like most channels they talk about new releases and things going on in the game but where I think they exceed is being able to deliver good content and tactics etc by some very good coaches whilst keeping very entertaining.
TalkNuffle actually took over from the original London Based Podcast ‘Hard 6’ I believe and have also continued on their Super Bowl events which was my first NAF sanctioned tournament and always put on a great show. I am always keeping my eye out for new episodes from Tom and Phil and cant wait to see what they do in the future.
So where’d I listen to it?
I like to listen to Tom and Phil while painting, they have a lot of banter and laughs that are great to have on in the background while concentrating on the modelling with the key segments great to take a break from the brush and listen to.
Two Drunk Flings
So for the last of the 4 that I listen to on a regular basis comes ‘The Two Drunk Flings’ A channel started shortly after the new release of the game at the end of 2016 hosted by a group of coaches located in the Midlands in the UK. As you can guess from their name they are not the most competitively minded Blood Bowl coaches with a fascination for the legendary team that is Halflings so much so that they teamed up with well know sculpture, Iron Golems, in order to produce their own set of miniatures. These were great and were well received in the community really promoting their podcast and community of Drunk Fling and Friends.
The podcast itself is a more casual approach, a group of like minded coaches getting together to discuss the game and what has been going on in their local community and the Blood Bowl universe as a whole. Alongside this one feature that separates them from other podcasts are the episodes where a member of the team will venture out whether it be to a local tournament, a major event or anything related to the game and interview people involved. This really gives us listeners an insight into others communities around the country and how they are run. Recently they have began to branch out into other avenues such as DnD but the Bowl is still there.
What always stands out for me with Two Drunk flings is their production values. There has obviously been a lot of time and money put into their episodes which shows by the level of editing with sound effects and audio control. This is also demonstrated by the quality of marketing and content produced off air. They are very active in the community off air and bring us some great art and opportunities we may not have had without them.
With the Fling and Friends, it is very similar to TalkNuffle in that its more of a laugh whilst talking about the important topics and for me is put on during my painting sessions when available.
So there you have it, the four podcast I listen to the most, there are also some other GREAT podcasts not mentioned here but I cant go over all of them here, to mention a few, Three Die Block, Double Skulls podcast and +2 Fame.
So to sum it up, what value do podcasts bring to me? For me personally sometimes life can get in the way of being able to play the game as much as I would like or socialise in the groups of coaches as much as I would like but having this vast array of Podcasts gives me that fix when needed and a way to keep up with what’s going on.
I can imagine the value the hosts get from their channels is similar as to what I get form this blog, being able to express my opinion on what is going on and hopefully my effort will help someone else in my position. It is an extension for the hobby you love and in turn an extension of the joy you get from the game.
Another benefit of Podcasts in the community is the platform it gives us coaches to potentially reach out the Games Workshop. I’m sure there are staff in the specialist Games crew who listen to these, and take on board what the people want. I for one have noticed changes that have occurred after an widely accepted opinion had gone around the Blog and podcast community for example, Card Sleeves, people wanted blood bowl card sleeves for the new sets of cards releases with the new set. It didn’t take long for the message to get back to GW and for them to be put into production, ironically no one uses them and they have since been taken off their site.
So to end it there I would highly recommend the above 4 podcasts if you are debating where to invest your time, they are a great range of channels with different views and takes on the beautiful game. So get subscribing and enjoy!