ENGN 134 – Podcaster Roundtable on Thematic Games

Jason is very excited to host Every Night is Game Night’s first Podcaster Roundtable on a specific topic. It started as a Twitter conversation, and it has now blossomed into its own podcast.

We welcome Paul Grogan from the Gaming Rules YouTube channel as well as Marc Davis from the Thoughtful Gamer blog to talk about theme in games and thematic gaming from all angles. We cover:

• Basic definitions of theme
• A game’s theme vs. a game’s setting
• Theme as distinct from narrative, story, or plot in a game
• Dice rolling in many thematic games
• Whether a dyed in the wool Euro game can ever deliver a truly thematic experience

Please follow these fine gentlemen at their respective channels. And if you are so inclined and have the means, please check out their Patreon campaigns!

Gaming Rules – https://www.patreon.com/GamingRules

The Thoughtful Gamer – https://www.patreon.com/thethoughtfulgamer

  • Anthony

    Anthony lives and plays games in Pittsburgh, PA. A lover of complex strategy, two player war games, and area control, Anthony is always eager to try a new game, even if he's on rule-reading duty.

  • Show Comments

  • Brendan O’Neill

    #134–Great episode on theme, guys! I wanted to chime in on something you touched on in the last 15m of the episode. Much of the time, theme is participant dependent and how willing the player is willing to suspend their disbelief. 7th Continent worked fantastically for me, and I loved creating the story of my explorer being driven back to rid him/herself of the curse.

    But I played with someone who wanted to PLOW through the game and when we did that, it just became a handful of skill checks. Not as enjoyable for me. When all other things are equal, I love to get swept up in a fun theme every time.

    Thanks for all you guys do!


  • Jason Perez

    That’s a great point! Looking back at the episode, I think we could have done a better job really focusing on the user-interface aspect of thematic gaming. Whether a game tries to achieve theme or no, games can never be truly thematic unless the gamer is willing to buy in. Thematic games truly are magic tricks. We can either sit back and enjoy the show, or point to all of the visible slight-of-hand and poo poo the whole experience. Sounds like your friend pooped all over the continent :).

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