Apr 13, 2015

Podcast Portal: Cardboard!

Welcome to Podcast Portal: a spontaneous column that will highlight podcasts of all genres that are lesser known or new shows that are worth giving a listen. With the medium continuing to grow, it is hard to acknowledge all of them. However, I am going to try and find as many noteworthy titles as possible to share and hopefully expand your mind to the greatest growing medium out there. If you have any podcast that you feel is worth adding to the Podcast Portal, please make sure to inform me whether through the comments or through an e-mail (information in sidebar). 

SHOW: Cardboard
HOSTS: Rich Sommer 
NETWORK: Wolfpop
EPISODE BEING DISCUSSED: "Firsts! w/ Ty Burrell, Rich's Daughter, Flip the Table"

With Mad Men coming to a close in the next few months, it is time for the cast to begin their next move. In the case of Rich Sommer, who plays my favorite character Harry Crane, he has turned to the likeliest of mediums for the least likeliest of topics. As the title suggests, he has made a show dedicated to the rich and enjoyable world of board games. Be warned, he is very passionate and rather opinionated on mainstays such as Jenga and Monopoly. Otherwise, he's nice to be around.
The show is divided up into segments that include his recent favorite games, interviews with guests that include hosts of various other gaming podcasts and his daughter as well as what drinks to make with any game. For those expecting something on par with role playing audio in the mold of Dungeons and Dragons a'la Nerd Poker or The Adventure Zone, be disappointed. This is more of a factual-based show in which games are discussed as if recommendations for the listener's next game night.
Thankfully Sommer has a foolproof format already in place. While a less interested person wouldn't be able to sustain this show for long, he has a formula that not only shows his personal interests, but shares other people's in an attempt to make an understanding of why games are fun. There are some stories within the show that are odd, such as an audio tape game version of Batman Forever. There's plenty else to get out of it and it will make you appreciate the medium more.
Sommer is aware that it is likely that you don't listen to shows of this sort. In an interesting twist, this seems more like his personal PSA to the world by using his Mad Men influence to share opinions of an underdog that we haven't heard much from on Wolfpop. It is likely that those who are listening will hear a lot of new titles when the episode starts. I cannot attest to how much I agree with him, simply because I don't know gaming that well. However, he is very persuasive.
I don't know that I will be sticking with the show every week, but that's only because it doesn't fall into an immediate interest. I find it interesting that his first guest, Ty Burrell, doesn't actually play board games and thus is almost as clueless as we are. It feels like a nice gateway. I worry that when the show, which it should, gets geeky and advanced for the casual listener that it won't be nearly as appealing. However, Sommer is still a compelling host and one worthy of checking out now and again.

RATING: 3.5 out of 5
WORTH A SECOND GO?: While I am not a board game enthusiast, I do find enough merit in this show to give it more time if and when I decide to find a fun game to play with friends or family.

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