show episodes
 
We’ve spent over a decade in the tabletop gaming space, as content creators, local store owners, and online retailers. Now it’s time to answer your questions, dive into complex topics, and have an incredible amount of fun along the way -- featuring exclusive updates, candid dialogue, and fascinating interviews with designers, publishers, and visionaries.
 
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show series
 
Recent announcements that major publishers - Asmodee, Paizo, Ultra Pro - will not be attending Gen Con 2021 fulfills an assertion from Episode 136 of the cast: breaking habits like convention attendance gives publishers an opportunity to determine what really impacts their bottom line. If sales are unmoved or improved without convention attendance,…
 
During the ongoing research and planning process for our next local store, we've consistently run into paradoxical perspectives about what a store should be (free tables, well-staffed, well-stocked, plentiful events, warehouse pricing) and what is worth paying for (almost nothing). These kinds of paradoxes run up and down the chain, and have for a …
 
By the end of last week's episode, it had become clear that there was a lot more to explore on this topic of passion, innovation, and disruption in tabletop games. Are local game stores the next "Blockbuster", or will they drive the next major development in the industry - along with the publishers promoting them? Join us for another tiny sliver of…
 
It's a classic, near-eternal tale - passion launches something wonderful, and then a shift from those early priorities leaves it vulnerable to disruption. We see this across all industries, from restaurants, to films, to music, and of course right now in tabletop games. Are the titans capable of adapting in time, or is this the beginning of a new, …
 
In the midst of a "seller's market" for a good number of games, it's all too easy to curse yourself for selling too soon, or not buying in soon enough, or selling at the wrong price. How far are you willing to push? Retailers and players can quickly find themselves in a devastating spiral, one that applies to every facet of life, and one that we ar…
 
Tabletop games have relied on a number of promotional tools throughout their history, and content previews are at the top of the list. Having now experienced the Flesh and Blood approach of a big "preview season" right before release, we discuss when this tactic works, why it works, and the more general tabletop marketing considerations that publis…
 
In our "How to Ruin a Game" series, we talked a lot about balancing a game and sticking to foundational principles instead of throwing things at the wall and banning whatever created problems. Flesh and Blood, Ashes, and Skytear are all demonstrating "principle-first" design in their own way, and it is wonderful to see. Join us for a conversation s…
 
With the announcement of KeyForge Adventures and Flesh and Blood rumored to be testing a PvE variant of the game (as well as Skytear having a similarly positioned new offering on the horizon), we can't help but discuss the possibilities of head to head games giving players an opportunity to cooperate against a common enemy. Aren't those the best ex…
 
How is it possible that the least amount of in-person play, maybe ever, is creating an unbelievable surge in demand for collectible games? We try to make sense of the current seller's market and unexpectedly veer into a discussion that would make Chidi proud...hopefully. Find all previous casts, as well as products, subscriptions, and blogs, on our…
 
With the recent announcement that Legend of the Five Rings is reaching its end, an era of competitive games in the LCG format comes to a close. Starting with Game of Thrones, Living Card Games promised a reprieve from the costs of collectible games and a monthly injection of excitement for players. But given they've all ended, we have to ask - does…
 
The pandemic has brought many new changes to the tabletop landscape, and like other industries, those changes are likely here to stay (and perhaps overdue, in retrospect). One incredible shift, particularly for card games, is playing over web cam. As it becomes normalized, we may well see larger, more connected audiences for games that play to this…
 
We certainly never expected a pandemic to be the event that re-opened the door to competitive games, but with Skytear, Ashes Reborn, and Flesh and Blood all hitting the scene in 2020, it was, in retrospect, unavoidable. Join us as we talk about re-discovering that competitive spark, and the undeniable energy and excitement that comes with the genre…
 
We've grown up in a world of our favorite games being discontinued (and the majority of players moving on). Going from game to game, hoping that your current obsession keeps getting published, so that you can keep playing, is the result of community building and retail sales being connected - a retail store has no incentive to build community aroun…
 
Watching Flesh and Blood has brought up numerous questions about the strengths and frustrations of collectible games among players, investors, and collectors - particularly among our audience. But more than that, it demands inquiry into the deeper question of how and why collectibility exists, and whether it should be promoted or prevented. Find al…
 
Having looked back at this year - and what a notable year it has been - we discuss what it will be like to move on in 2021. More games? Less games? More social engagement? Less social engagement? Calling it right is an unrivaled opportunity. Find all previous casts, as well as products, subscriptions, and blogs, on our website: https://teamcovenant…
 
In a "strategic realignment" by Asmodee, all current FFG miniatures games (that, importantly, also happen to be Star Wars games) have moved to Atomic Mass, the Asmodee-owned studio responsible for Marvel: Crisis Protocol. What does it all mean? Join us for an episode of pure speculation. Find all previous casts, as well as products, subscriptions, …
 
James White started Legend Story Studios to launch the Flesh and Blood TCG in 2019, after over seven years of development. But like so many publishers, 2020 became a crucible of determination and adaptation. Surprisingly, though, the game is now growing by leaps and bounds - and according to James, the next set, Monarch, is when the system becomes …
 
Last week's Ashes stream was filled with an excitement that is familiar to most of us - the moment when you see behind the curtain, when your understanding of a game is catapulted into new territory that reveals previously unknown possibilities. The best games find ways to create those moments over, and over, and over, while others lose steam befor…
 
We've seen so many card games come and go over the years - but we've never seen an explosion quite like Flesh and Blood over this past month. New partnerships, $1,000 boxes, a thriving singles market, and a migration of disenchanted Magic players - join us as we ask the never-ending question: is this the next one? Find all previous casts, as well a…
 
Eric Lang, designer or co-designer of - Game of Thrones LCG, Call of Cthulu LCG, Warhammer: Invasion, Star Wars LCG, Conquest LCG, Dice Masters, Arcadia Quest, Blood Rage, Rising Sun, Ankh, Song of Ice & Fire Miniatures, Bloodborne, Ankh, Marvel United, and more - sits down with us for an exceedingly insightful 90 minutes on COVID, philanthropy, ac…
 
The second publisher featured on our Industry Insight series, Jamey Stegmaier (Viticulture, Scythe) of Stonemaier Games (Wingspan, Pendulum) discusses the lead up to COVID, the adaptations made in 2020, and where things go from here - for both publishing and retail. Nothing is off the table. Find all previous casts, as well as products, subscriptio…
 
We've kept up with Brenda and Paraic of Knight Watch Games since they won the Power Retailer Award at GAMA (after which we interviewed the former), watching their space improve and their vision come to life. What happens, though, when COVID injects uncertainty into those long term plans? How can retailers adapt? Let's find out. Find all previous ca…
 
If you've been in this hobby for any amount of time, you've probably seen a video from Rodney's iconic Watch It Played YouTube channel. In this continuation of our Industry Insight series, join us for a closer look at content creation in the age of COVID, and the impact it might have on the future of tabletop. Find all previous casts, as well as pr…
 
"The only way to stop us is to kill us." Kicking off our Industry Insight series, Giacomo and Riccardo share the inspiring (and terrifying) story of PvP Geeks' first foray into tabletop games - right as COVID-19 shut down the world. Find all previous casts, as well as products, subscriptions, and blogs, on our website: https://teamcovenant.com…
 
In our final episode of the "How to Ruin a Game" series, and our final episode of Season 3, we embrace one of the most sacred necessities of any modern business - what to say, how to say it, and perhaps most importantly, when to say it. It's particularly relevant for community-driven games, where even a day of silence can compromise everything. We'…
 
The ultimate buzzword for any business, marketing is yet another way that tabletop games can fail - and effective marketing is a particularly unique quandary in this industry. Join us for an exploration of marketing considerations for every publisher, from our perspective as an online and local retailer. Find all previous casts, as well as learning…
 
There's a hard reality behind every expandable game. The system can be perfectly designed without extraneous, floating information and rules bloat. The content can stick to first principles while adding exciting new decision points. The organized play program can be robust and focused on the right things. But if production is erratic, delayed, and …
 
Expandable card games thread the middle ground between the fixed costs of board games and the evolving meta of collectible games, but non-cooperative titles have struggled to survive in the standard three tier system. Join us for a discussion about the fundamental reasons for this difficulty, and a potential solution to them - one we're pioneering …
 
Organized play is so much more than tournaments, and so often a tremendous source of dysfunction for the long-term health of an expandable game. It's incredibly important, and surprisingly simple - but few publishers understand that it's as critical as the content being printed. Find all previous casts, as well as learning content and products, on …
 
On our second installment of this hyperbolically titled mini-series, we spotlight how information can build during the course of a game - or even before it begins - to the point that meaningful decisions cease to exist. Stacking an ever-growing burden of need-to-remember information does not give a game more depth, just as taxing a computer's RAM i…
 
So you get excited for an expandable game, buy in, and fall in love. Each new expansion opens up new, unexplored ways to play. Time passes, players come and go, and then suddenly you find yourself sitting down to play and realizing that you don't really enjoy it much anymore. Something about the game just isn't what it used to be, and you long for …
 
Collectibility is usually a divisive topic - with some claiming the format is predatory and ethically dubious. But what happens when you view the model as something more productive than a convoluted and expensive way to get everything? Lessons from the past may well cause a realignment of expectations, and a much more enjoyable - and sustainable - …
 
Publishers and retailers face a big challenge in onboarding players, the former typically leading the charge through the products that they make. Having recently experienced the classic, random cards approach of the 90s, as well as the somewhat revolutionary, "brand new system and expandable line" approach of Infinity CodeOne, we discuss starter pr…
 
Earlier this week, Origins Online was cancelled after a significant number of content creators and hosts walked away from the event. We discuss what happened, what it means, and what it teaches about the greater realities of tabletop gaming culture. Find all previous casts, as well as learning content and products, on our website: https://teamcoven…
 
The Star Wars LCG, with one of the innovative Eric Lang designs shaking up the scene at the time, instantly threw Star Wars fans into yet another furious debate about the proper way to recreate the "magic of Star Wars". For some, it was too abstract. For others, it was an entirely fresh way to experience a card game. After revisiting it this week o…
 
Games from all genres thrive when they provide players a point of connection when not playing with others - whether through solo play, deck-building, painting, or even collecting. These elements might be more important than any of us fully realize, especially as COVID has forced us to appreciate them. Find all previous casts, as well as learning co…
 
Following in the footsteps of Origins and others, Gen Con has officially canceled their in-person convention, replacing it with an online variant. What could these kinds of disruptions mean for businesses and players who viewed Gen Con as a "no-brainer" every year? Forced reflection and introspection abounds in the age of COVID. Find all previous c…
 
Theme and mechanics should always strive for harmony, but what happens when a wild wrestling match turns into an analytical challenge full of unexpected complexities? For some, the greatest game ever made. For others, confusion. Find all previous casts, as well as learning content and products, on our website: https://teamcovenant.com…
 
When we say a game is "complex", that really doesn't tell us much. Simple decision trees with complex mechanics can lead to beautifully thematic experiences. Complex decision trees with simple mechanics can lead to incredibly satisfying gameplay. We look at the Middle Earth CCG, Legend of the Five Rings LCG, and Skytear - among others - to dig deep…
 
Having now streamed over 100 hours from a diverse catalog of games in the past month, we crack open the eternal topic - why do some games stand the test of time while others fall away? Great design is a mixture of mechanics and expectations, and there is no better framing device for this discussion than the recently played classic, Star Wars: Epic …
 
Just as we finalized a months-long effort to bring clarity to the online component of Covenant, the perfect candidate for our new mission arrived on our doorstep. Join us for a discussion about Skytear, a tremendous game that ushers in a new way for us to help publishers, players, and local stores. Find all previous casts, as well as learning conte…
 
Nothing could be more disruptive or important to address than the COVID-19 pandemic - it's impact on people, games, and the world. As tabletop retail stores close their doors and mass unemployment looms heavily on the horizon, we're certain that things will never be the same. Find all previous casts, as well as learning content and products, on our…
 
Data and privacy issues continue to impact customers and businesses, especially as Facebook and Google receive greater scrutiny. But do you really need to collect all of this data to succeed as a business? Do you owe it to your customers to protect their privacy? And do you actually make better decisions when you throw it all away? Join us as we di…
 
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