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Jumping the Shark Podcast #124

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This week on Jumping the Shark, the gang gathers round a fire to talk with Dirk Knemeyer of Conquistador Games about his first professionally published board game, Road to Enlightenment. As has been mentioned several times, Bill and Dirk are good friends and Bill’s been involved in the playtesting of this one for some time now, giving it his big honking seal of approval. After that, it’s all Diablo 3 and our preliminary thoughts on the new systems in play – what works, what doesn’t (like the servers), etc. Joins us once again for the show that never ends – well, at least not for an hour or so.

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READ ALSO:  Jumping the Shark Podcast #204

Todd Brakke

Todd was born in Ann Arbor with a Michigan helmet in one hand and a mouse in the other. (Never you mind the logistics of this.) He grew, vertically anyway, and proceeded to spend over 16 years as a development editor for Pearson Education, publishing books, videos, and digital learning products under the Que and Sams Publishing imprints. Because that wasn't enough of a challenge, Todd has also been a 20-year part-time snob about video games, writing reviews, features, and more for multiple outlets. Follow him on Twitter @ubrakto or check it out his website at

7 thoughts to “Jumping the Shark Podcast #124”

  1. As someone who spent a couple of years chest deep in WoW, the D3 downtime really hasn’t bothered me because I just unconsciously assigned it to the MMO category. I suppose that’s wrong because it can be played solo, but I’ve spent about 90% of my time in the game playing co-op. It still sucks that you can’t play your $60 game, and its ridiculous that they couldn’t handle the launch day load (did they not think that the game was going to sell well?), but I think that playing an MMO for a long period makes the problem easier to swallow.

    What has bothered me more is the writing. As someone who really enjoys that universe, it’s ridiculous that the plot is literally just D2 all over again. You still start near Tristram, revisit that dump, rescue Cain, go to a desert in act II, kill multiple lesser evils, and then end the game by killing Diablo. I realize that 90% of the player base doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the story, but some effort beyond “lets just do D2 all over again” would have been nice. I suppose the player is supposed to become interested in Leah’s character, but that’s pretty hard when her entire personality is “I open doors and spout exposition”. The only slightly redeeming parts are the side stories of your followers, which is conveyed only through voiced text boxes and yet still has me more interested than everything involving the main plot.

  2. Good show guys. Really hoping that Road to Enlightenment is a hit. It sounds really neat.

    How many players is the sweet spot?

    1. I’ll let Dirk answer this as there are final revisions to the design that I have not seen yet.

      But I recall us playing 4, 5, and 6 player games and it worked great with all of those — but it also has to do with the number of Catholic/Anti Catholic nations.

      There are rules for 2-3 players but I never tried them.

  3. Hey Bob,

    The sweet spot really depends on the group:

    If you are a Euro group that like fast playing and/or is not super comfortable with negotiation/stop the leader mechanics, 4 player is the way to fly. Once everyone knows how it is a 2 hour experience.

    If you are a war gamer and like games with negotiation and real teeth, 6 or 7 player is the way to go. 7 is sort of the ultimate. 6 is nice because it balances Catholic and Anti-Catholic players which is the tightest implementation. Now you’re talking about a 3-4 hour game.

    5 works well as a hedge between the two and is really nice, I only rate it down because it has asymmetry between Catholic and Anti-Catholics. There are rules to balance that a little, but it still isn’t the same.

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