Have you ever wondered what it takes to become an insider on the game industry? Here we have the scoop from Tom Vasel of The Dice Tower podcast. The Dice Tower is dedicated to getting folks to learn about the wide world of exciting new board games, which Gamewright of course supports! Tom and his daughters have reviewed many of our games, so we’re happy to have the chance to catch up with him and share his insight and experiences with our readers.
1. What inspired you to create The Dice Tower podcast/website?
I first started the podcast because I thought it would be fun, because my church had some recording equipment, and because Mark Johnson [of Boardgames To Go] put out a call for others to podcast on his own gaming podcast. The website came a bit later, and at first was merely a placeholder for the podcast, but we are hoping to evolve it into something much more as time goes by.
2. Can you describe what goes into preparing for one of your podcasts?
Quite a bit, actually – much more than folks think! Obviously we play and review a lot of board games. I try to have a list of things that we are going to talk about months in advance, and we solicit segments from our contributors. Then, Eric and I build a script together, using the contributions that we have gotten. I go hunt down news, and put together a top ten list. Every two weeks we then record two episodes back to back via Skype, with each of us recording our ends. Eric mixes the two halves together, and edits them to make me sound slightly less insane. Then he sends everything back to me, where I stitch together the whole episode. We then send it to our show notes guy and enhanced podcast (includes pictures) guy, and it finally gets posted. Probably 6-8 hours goes into two podcasts, minimum.
The videos are about as much work – as I storyboard them in my head, and then record the different sections – then edit the whole thing on the computer. Lots of work, but it is rewarding when a few people like it!
3. What are some challenges you face running such a well-known gaming resource?
Well, I HATE saying no to reviews, but there are just so many people wanting to have their game reviewed – and we simply don’t have the time to review everything. Time, I think. We try to review everything, and I’m always looking for more reviewers so we CAN review everything, but we haven’t gotten there yet.
4. Why do you think playing card, board and dice games is important, as opposed to video games, and how is the tabletop gaming world different from the video gaming world?
I could speak for days on this topic, but I don’t have the time (see above!). Social interaction, for the most part – you can tell me all you want how the video game industry promotes this, but it doesn’t – most people have “fake” friends online and don’t know how to communicate with people in real life. Knowing how to deal with winning and losing, how to negotiate, how to trade, how to think through problems, the list is endless. Board and card games are great!
5. Are you going to any upcoming conventions?
I’ll be at TotalCon in early 2012, and I hope to announce a Florida convention soon also, but nothing earlier than that, sadly.
6. What are your top five favorite games that are on the market? Do you have favorite Gamewright games?
I can’t spoil my five favorite games at this point, especially as I’m currently going through my top 100 games of all time – and # 1-5 haven’t been announced yet.
But Gamewright games – that I can do. Forbidden Island, Turn the Tide, In a Pickle, Ka-Ching, Luck of the Draw, Captain Clueless, Who Would Win? My kids would have a much different list – they’re probably better authorities on this than I!
7. Have you ever attempted to invent a game?
I have invented one game – Vicious Fishes. It was sort of self-published, but no company has picked it up yet for distribution. I’m currently working on another untitled one about the Mafia, which I have high hopes for.
8. What do you do outside of The Dice Tower?
I’m a youth pastor at South Dade Baptist Church in Homestead Florida, and also the high school math teacher at Colonial Christian School. Thanks for the opportunity to come on here! I’ve always appreciated how Gamewright seeks to make quality children and family games, as opposed to much of the drek that is currently in our modern mass market stores. Hooray! Remember, real men play board games – with their families.