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In 2012 Idle Thumbs ran a Kickstarter campaign, not just to bring back the Idle Thumbs podcast, but to try and turn Idle Thumbs into a small podcast network, with a studio, a new website, and the ability to exist for years to come. We documented that time in this podcast.
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Len, Lorris, and Lambert sat down with JayBean, the creator of the popular Anbennar fantasy total conversion mods for Europa Universalis 4, Crusader Kings 3, and Victoria 3. We asked him what he's most excited about from what we've seen of EU5 so far, what changes he might make to the mod with these new systems, and how Paradox Tinto can better sup…
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In this episode, Soren interviews noted game investor Mitch Lasky, best known for his work as a venture capitalist at Benchmark, as the CEO of JAMDAT, and as an executive at Activision and Electronic Arts. They discuss how the industry’s business models have always affected design, why he was wrong about the Halloween pack ruining League of Legends…
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This is a free preview of this month's Patreon episode. Check out the extended version at Patreon.com/3ma!Len, Lambert, and Lorris are here to explore the question of how long a podcast about an unreleased game can be before someone in our lives physically intervenes. We not only have Tinto Talks and the Johan Files to cover, but now Tinto Maps, Sa…
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Len and Rowan are joined by Nathan from the YouTube channel The Great Book of Grudges to discuss the Thrones of Decay patch, Creative Assembly's apology tour, and the state of Immortal Empires in 2024. Rowan grapples with why Warhammer 3 just isn't doing it for her, Nathan marvels at the current contentment of the community, and Len chews a hole in…
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In this episode, Soren interviews noted game investor Mitch Lasky, best known for his work as a venture capitalist at Benchmark, as the CEO of JAMDAT, and as an executive at Activision and Electronic Arts. They discuss how the Doom shareware model was a preview of free-to-play, why a console transition led to EA buying Maxis, and how Jamdat pioneer…
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This is a free preview of this month's Patreon episode. Check out the extended version at Patreon.com/3ma!Len, Lambert, and Lorris are back to discuss the next four Europa Universalis V dev diaries and The Johan Files, an edited compilation of all of Johan's relevant forum posts that has more than doubled in size since we last talked. We decided to…
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In this episode, Soren interviews veteran game developer Jake Solomon, best known for the XCOM reboot and Midnight Suns. They discuss his first, failed attempt at XCOM, why 75% does not mean 75%, and how many copies of XCOM he sold at Power Gamer in Glen Burnie, MD. This episode was recorded on April 26, 2023.Games discussed: Civilization Revolutio…
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It's a full house this week, as Len is joined by Ian Boudreau, Luke Plunkett, Mike Williams, and Ruth Cassidy to perform a bit of an autopsy on Millennia, C Prompt and Paradox's take at a Civ-like historical 4X. We all came away with a bit of a bad taste in our mouths about it, to varying degrees, and we spend a fair bit of time trying to explain w…
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This is a preview of this month's Patreon episode. Check out the extended version at Patreon.com/3ma!Join Len, FatherLorris, and Lord Lambert as we get the NoCB Cast band back together to talk for 3.5 hours about Paradox Tinto's "Project Caesar," which is probably Europa Universalis 5. Okay, let's be real: it's definitely Europa Universalis 5. We b…
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Is this a Winter of Wargaming? Len and Ian are joined by Brian "Chef Lu Bu" Smawley to dig into Warhammer 40K as a setting through the lens of the flagship tabletop miniatures game (particularly the recent 10th Edition). We go over a bit of lore, run through the factions, talk about our favorites, discuss how we got into the hobby, and why it may o…
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Len, Rowan, and Ian gather 'round the Yule Log for an extended discussion on the year that was 2023 in strategy games. There was a lot of good and a lot of bad. There were a lot of people talking about "Strategy/Simulation Game of the Year" that didn't really know what they were talking about. We share our personal picks and tease out a theme to en…
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In this episode, Soren interviews veteran game developer Jake Solomon, best known for the XCOM reboot and Midnight Suns. They discuss how much money he had to give back to Accenture, how to animate multiple units at the same time, and why Sid suddenly started golfing so much. This episode was recorded on April 25, 2023.Games discussed: Sopwith, Sil…
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Listen to the first five minutes of our November Patreon episode for free, and then hear the full one hour and 15 minute interview by subscribing at Patreon.com/3MA!Len had a chance to chat this month with Michele Pirovano, the (almost) solo developer of dotAGE, a game we all had a great time with this year. They discuss how board game design has h…
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Len is joined by Dr. Bret Devereaux and Chapel Comic creator Father Lorris to take a look at Victoria 3 one year later. Is this a game that deserves to stand beside Paradox's best yet? And if not, what's it still missing? We play armchair game dev for an hour and a half and unpack the difficulty of modeling both the beginning and the end of one of …
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Len and Jon are joined by Sin Vega and Well There's Your Problem's Justin Roczniak (donoteat01) to discuss Cities: Skylines 2. We have some mixed feelings about this much anticipated sequel, and we don't shy away from pointing out what doesn't work while giving a few nods to what is new and cool. If you understand how garbage works in this game, pl…
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Len and Ian are joined by freelance writer Josh Broadwell to discuss Total War: Pharaoh, the first properly historical Total War in an actual age. We dig into the new campaign mechanics, the feel of the battles, and the scope of the map. Has Creative Assembly Sophia come from behind to take the title of Total War's A-Team?…
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In this episode, Soren interviews veteran game developer Trent Kusters, co-founder of League of Geeks, best known for the strategy game Armello. They discuss why Armello has so much output randomness, whether they fudge the odds, and how to turn off a Game-as-a- Service. This episode was recorded on September 8, 2023.Games discussed: Armello, Magic…
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This week, Jon is joined by RPS Editor in Chief Katherine Castle and freelance writer Dominic Tarason to discuss Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew. Mimimi's swan song, as we sadly learned after recording, is a follow-up and an evolution to Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun and Desperados 3, both games that we loved. What makes this one even better?…
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In this episode, Soren interviews veteran game developer Trent Kusters, co-founder of League of Geeks, best known for the strategy game Armello. They discuss how he faked his way into games journalism, how to sneak risky ideas past licensors, and how to make games feel big. This episode was recorded on September 8, 2023.Games discussed: Pong, Trog,…
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Len, Jon, and Ian are joined by Brian "Chef Lu Bu" Smawley to delve into Baldur's Gate 3. We discuss what really makes this a CRPG that can be enthusiastically recommended to tactics fans, what our favorite races, classes, and companions have been, and the ridiculous antics we've gotten up to with Larian's "Yes, and..." engine and quest design. Is …
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In this episode, Soren interviews tabletop designer Cole Wehrle, best known for his work on Root, Oath, Pax Pamir, and John Company. They discuss whether John Company is satire, how the East India Company was like QWOP, and the importance of German postal rates. This episode was recorded on March 22, 2023.Games discussed: Stratego, Dungeons and Dra…
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Rob, Len, and Rowan are in the pipe, five-by-five, to discuss Aliens: Dark Descent. An unconventional squad-based stealth game that brings James Cameron's sci-fi classic to a new (and dare we say better) perspective, we discuss similarities to the likes of Darkest Dungeon and how clever escalation mechanics can dynamically imitate the structure of …
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This week, Len is joined by Sin Vega and Dominic Tarason to discuss Jagged Alliance 3, the long-awaited sequel to one of the greatest tactical games of all time. Did they do a good job of recapturing what made the original so memorable? Is this just another XCOM, or is there more to see here?Bởi Idle Thumbs
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It's the... Summer of Wargaming? When a game comes along that's even too obscure and spreadsheet-y for our normal panel, we light the Grognard Beacon. And this week, first-timers Wesley Livesay and Benjamin Magnus answered the call. The subject? Rule the Waves 3. If you love mid-90s PC productivity software interfaces and big boats of all shapes an…
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In this episode, Soren interviews veteran game designer Tanya Short, co-founder of Kitfox Games and best known for her work on Moon Hunters and Boyfriend Dungeon. They discuss why her parents had to get a second phone like, how she accidentally made a roguelike, and whether Moon Hunters should have combat. This episode was recorded on March 23, 202…
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Len, Rowan, and Jon step through the portal into Age of Wonders 4, the latest fantasy 4X from Triumph and Paradox. We dig deep into the strategic and tactical pacing and why so much of it hits the spot in a world of ultra marathon strategy campaigns. What is so satisfying about its empire customization and progression? And did we actually manage to…
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Rowan, Len, and Nerium hitch their wagon to Darkest Dungeon 2 and set in for the long haul on this epic-length episode. We discuss some of the ways this sequel is an improvement over one of 3MA's consensus favorite games of all time (that we somehow never did a dedicated episode on), and several ways in which it's not. What kind of parties did we l…
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Rowan, Nerium, and Luke set off into the fantasy landscape of Wartales to give a glimpse at one of the most robust tactical management games we've seen in a while. They discuss how it's a counterpoint to – and possibly even a commentary on – Battle Brothers in a couple of interesting ways. You'll also hear perspectives from both of its world scalin…
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In this episode, Soren and Leyla interview veteran game designer Charlie Cleveland, founder of Unknown Worlds and best known for his work on Natural Selection and Subnautica. They discuss why Moonbreaker is the first digital miniatures game, if players would notice if critical hits were removed, and whether the game should have an undo. This episod…
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It's an all-star panel as Len and Mike Williams are joined by Mohawk Games' and Idle Thumbs' own Soren Johnson and Paradox Tinto's Johan Andersson to chip away at a tricky target: the different design goals between a more "Board Gamey" strategy game like Civilization and the "Simulationist" breed exemplified by Europa Universalis. We discuss what w…
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This week, Len and Ian welcome military historian Brett Devereaux back to the show to talk about The Great War: Western Front. We discuss what it gets right and what it gets wrong about the trenches, artillery bombardments, and innovative tactics that eventually broke the stalemate. But at the end of the day, does the Western Front of World War I j…
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In this episode, Soren and Leyla interview veteran game designer Charlie Cleveland, founder of Unknown Worlds and best known for his work on Natural Selection and Subnautica. They discuss why Charlie Cleveland moved to Cleveland, how he did Kickstarter before Kickstarter, and whether Subnautica was intended to be a survival game. This episode was r…
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This week, Rowan teams up with Fanbyte's Mike Williams and Kotaku's Luke Plunkett to discuss Terra Nil, a "city builder in reverse" about restoring the natural ecosystem of a devastated planet. We break down what makes this concept so compelling, feelgood, and relaxing, as well as what it could have done differently to fill a more simulationist nic…
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Len and Ian are joined once again by our official unofficial historical consultant, UNC Chapel Hill's Dr. Bret Devereaux, to discuss a couple of interrelated topics: Snowballing in strategy games and the process of industrialization. We take a wide-ranging trek through games and history that touches on different ways developers have tried to put ch…
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In this episode, Soren interviews veteran game designer Liz England, best known for her work on Scribblenauts, Sunset Overdrive, and Watch Dogs: Legion. They discuss how she organized her mom’s RPG inventories, what is the boiling point of a lion, and whether system complexity matters if the player can’t see it. This episode was recorded on Septemb…
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We have a packed panel this week as Jon is joined by Fanbyte's Mike Williams and Nerium Strom, Waypoint's Renata Price, and Freehold Games' Brian Bucklew to hop into the cockpit on Phantom Brigade. This is far from the first turn-based mech game we've talked about, so why were there so many people excited to talk about it that we couldn't even incl…
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Rob and Ian are joined by Kotaku's Luke Plunkett to dig in to Company of Heroes 3. The long-awaited World War II RTS left us with mixed feelings, between a dynamic campaign that just doesn't really work and some of the best battle maps the series has ever seen. So how does it all stack up when the smoke clears? And what about that North Africa oper…
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Len, Jon, and Ian kick off what is to be an ongoing series revisiting some big ideas in strategy games that we haven't covered since Ye Olde Podcast Days of Yore. This time around, we're taking a fresh look at religion, which we last gave its own show waaay back in 2009. How have strategy games changed their depiction of spiritual practices in the …
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It's a NoCBcast semi-reunion as Len is joined by Lambert (https://www.youtube.com/Lambert2191) and Father Lorris (https://www.chapelcomic.com/) to discuss Anbennar, our favorite Europa Universalis IV total conversion mod. Have you ever wondered how elite elven archers would fare against 18th Century line infantry? What if the Protestant Reformation…
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Len, Rowan, and Mike Gillis take peek ahead at the roster of strategy games that are maybe, probably, or definitely coming out (or coming out of Early Access) in 2023. We also take an aside for some informed speculation on what some suspiciously quiet heavy-hitters like Total War and Civilization might be concocting. Also, who is Hooded Horse and w…
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In this episode, Soren and Leyla interview veteran game designer Harvey Smith, best known for his work on the Deus Ex and Dishonored series. They discuss what TDA stood for at Origin, if Dishonored is just Thief but faster, and why it is sometimes better to be heavy handed. This episode was recorded on March 23, 2022.Games discussed: Pong, Adventur…
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Len and Fraser are joined by PC Gamer's Evan Lahti to discuss Marvel's Midnight Suns. This tactical card battle RPG from Firaxis is a big departure from XCOM... or is it? We gush and grumble about our most and least favorite characters, respectively, break down the combat and progression systems, and learn an important lesson about the true meaning…
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