Three Moves Ahead

By Idle Thumbs

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Subscribers: 628
Reviews: 3

 Jun 1, 2022

 Jun 23, 2019

 Jan 1, 2019


Three Moves Ahead is the leading strategy game themed podcast on the internet. Every week a panel of knowledgeable gamers with strong opinions meets to talk about the strategy and war games of the day, design issues and games in the wider world.

Episode Date
Three Moves Ahead 571: Terra Invicta
SPOILER WARNING! Skip from 44:00 to 58:43 if you want to experience your first playthrough blind to the truths behind the alien threat. Len and Jon take to the stars with Terra Invicta: a wildly ambitious, solar-system-spanning, alien invasion grand strategy games from the makers of XCOM and XCOM 2's Long War mods. The ambition is incredible, but with ambition comes hubris. Is this even a working video game? And if so, who is it for?
Sep 30, 2022
Three Moves Ahead 570: Grand Tactician: The Civil War
The promise of the Civil War game that does everything is enticing but elusive. Now that it's out of early access, is Grand Tactician: The Civil War that game? Is it even close? Rowan and Rob get into the weeds on its officer promotion system, AI, brilliant little touches, and missed opportunities.
Sep 16, 2022
Three Moves Ahead 569: Immortal Empires
Len, Rowan, Jon, and Kotaku's Luke Plunkett take the plunge into Total War: Warhammer 3's Immortal Empires beta. It's the fullest realization of the promise Creative Assembly made six years ago and one of the most ambitious strategy campaigns of all time. Did the madlads actually pull it off?
Aug 31, 2022
Three Moves Ahead 568: Farthest Frontier
Len and Jon are joined again by UNC Chapel Hill's Dr. Bret Devereaux to discuss Farthest Frontier, a survival city-builder with an uncommon level of historical authenticity. From clearing brush to crop blights, the attention the devs have given to inflicting realistic suffering on our villagers captured our imagination. But does it hold up at this early stage of early access?
Aug 26, 2022
Three Moves Ahead 567: Two Point Campus
Len and Jon are joined once again by Fanbyte's Mike Williams to talk about their semester abroad in Two Point Campus. Is the humor a bonus or a drawback? How is it, really, as a management game? And what exactly does the Scientography machine... do? We have written a thesis on all of these topics and are ready to defend it.
Aug 13, 2022
Three Moves Ahead 566: RTS Esports and Stormgate
Len is joined by two special guests, Strategy Lead at Vortex Games Trent Murray and Head of Esports at Frost Giant Studios, Trevor "TorcH" Housten. From the glory days of Brood War in Korea to the modern era of "ded gaem", we go over the history of RTS esports, why it was overshadowed by other genres, and what the future may hold. In particular, Trevor has some insights to share on what Frost Giant is doing to create the first "social RTS."
Jul 30, 2022
Three Moves Ahead 565: Strategic Command: American Civil War
Rowan, Troy, and Ian Boudreau dig into Strategic Command: American Civil War. Taking a very high-level look at the conflict, the focus is much more on the operation than individual battles. It's an ambitious approach for a relatively small studio. Does it pass muster from serious Civil War buffs? And what about Ian?
Jul 22, 2022
Three Moves Ahead 564: Company of Heroes 3 North Africa Interview
Rob sits down with Company of Heroes 3 Lead Gameplay Designer Matt Philip and Senior Designer Will Ward to talk about the recently-released North Africa alpha, which you can play from today until July 19. The Deutsch Afrika Korps is the second German faction to be announced, so what sets them apart from the Wehrmacht? And how do you balance around player attention in a game where you're supposed to zoom in and admire the detail?
Jul 13, 2022
Three Moves Ahead 563: Starship Troopers: Terran Command
Len is joined by Sin Vega to discuss Starship Troopers: Terran Command, a bug-splattering RTS that happens to be the first licensed Starship Troopers game in far longer than you may realize. And there's a bit more to it than just StarCraft or Dawn of War with a cult hit sci fi license tagged on, too. I feel like I can't make the "Would you like to know more?" joke again so I'll spare you all that.
Jul 01, 2022
Three Moves Ahead 562: Songs of Conquest
Len and 3MA Radar Technician Mike are joined by Sports Business Journal's Jason Wilson to talk about Songs of Conquest, an early access aspiring successor to Heroes of Might and Magic. We've got frog men. We've got zombies. We've got Generic Human Fantasy Kingdom. Is it worth a look?
Jun 25, 2022
Three Moves Ahead 561: Warhammer: 40,000: Chaos Gate: Daemonhunters
Len and Rowan are joined by Kotaku's Luke Plunkett and Twitch streamer Casey Explosion to talk about Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate: Daemonhunters, and also more than a little bit of Mechanicus since we seem to have slept on that one. Is this just XCOM with space marines? And why should you be paying attention to this, the 40,000th Warhammer 40,000 game to release just in the last decade alone?
May 28, 2022
Three Moves Ahead 560: Old World Interview
Len and Jon are joined by Leyla and Soren Johnson to talk about Old World's Steam launch and its first big expansion. We got their thoughts on the Early Access process, figuring out how to depict historical cultures like the Hittites when sources are sparse, and where the ancient era 4X might go next.
May 20, 2022
Three Moves Ahead 559: Off Duty - May 2022
Len and Rowan are joined by Fanbyte's Steven Strom to test fly a new episode format. Our usual episodes covering a specific game or digging deep on a single topic aren't going anywhere, but this week we're just sitting down to have a chat about what we've been playing and what's on our minds relating to the world of strategy games. Steven needs a new management game to sink their teeth into. Rowan has been moving and putting Civ through its paces on the Nintendo Switch. And Len has some good and bad news about class warfare. If you enjoyed the show this month, we always really appreciate your support over at
May 15, 2022
Three Moves Ahead 558.5: Movie Night: Gettysburg (Patreon Preview)
Over on Waypoint I’ve spent about a month looking back at Sid Meier’s Gettysburg and teaching the game to the rest of the crew (with varying levels of success). But since I was already hip-deep in 90s Civil War culture, Troy and I decided it was time to tackle one of the films that we’ve been intending to discuss for years: 1993’s Gettysburg, directed by Ron Maxwell and bankrolled by Ted Turner. There are a lot of issues with Gettysburg. It’s evasive on the subject of slavery, wanting both to ennoble is white Union heroes by reminding us that theirs was an army of liberation but to not think too deeply on who was being liberated or from what. Because it is also a product of Lost Cause traditions where the conflict was predominantly one about culture, or as the foppish British observer in this story declares, the root of the conflict is the “different dreams” of its antagonists. Not pictured: the Confederate dream. It’s also a very incomplete military history of the battle of Gettysburg but this really stems from the decisions author Michael Shaara made with his novel The Killer Angels, which finds its central narrative drama in James Longstreets’ prescience that Robert E. Lee is marching the army into a decisive defeat while on the Union side the story is told from the perspective of characters who do recognize the stakes and the dangers and have the agency to rise to the moment. It’s the stuff of a great war novel but not of a comprehensive military history, and so Gettysburg ends up being a film where Union command is effectively invisible. However, within those choices Gettysburg remains, as Troy says, one of the all-time great battle films. The murkiness in which decisions are made, the clarity of a commander’s intentions to his subordinates, the places where the rubber of generalship meets the road of combat… all of this is brilliantly rendered in Gettysburg and, for me and Troy, maintains it as a favorite even for all of its manifest flaws. We also decided that this episode, because it’s so directly in dialogue with a ton of work I’m doing over at Waypoint and on streams there, is one we’d just make public instead of reserving it for the Patreon. Troy and I love having these monthly chats for our backers (and our last one on Knight’s Tale and Marie Antoinette was another favorite) but here it felt like a useful place to show how we set these discussion about history movies in the context of all the other work we do as critics and professional strategy nerds. And by the way, after having tackled some heavier films of late, next month we’re giving ourselves a break with Branagh’s Death on the Nile as well as the 1978 version. Troy is trying to convince me to watch the Suchet one was well, and while Suchet is basically to Poirot what Jeremy Brett is to Sherlock Holmes, I’ve been warned that version is not one of the better Suchet adaptations. But we will at least be alluding to it in that conversation, even if we are focusing on the 2021 and ‘78 versions.
May 01, 2022
Three Moves Ahead 558: Dune: Spice Wars Early Access
Len, Fraser, and Jon take a look at Shiro Games' Dune: Spice Wars, which just launched into early access. Is this the modern Dune RTS we've been waiting decades for? As it so happens, it ends up igniting an entirely different kind of war in our own ranks.
Apr 30, 2022
Three Moves Ahead 557: Cantata Interview
We explore our impact on the strategy game world as Jon sits down with creative director Kyle Kukshtel to talk about Cantata, an indie space tactics game directly inspired by a conversation we had on this very show almost a decade ago. So how exactly did our kvetching inspire the design of this project? How do you make a tactics game that isn't secretly just a puzzle game? And what was the thinking behind the very off-the-wall art style that got Cantata turned down by at least one publisher?
Apr 25, 2022
Three Moves Ahead 556: Ethics in Strategy Games
Rob and Rowan are joined this week by freelance writer Ruth Cassidy, whose article, "Ethically designing unethical worlds" ( inspired this week's topic. From eugenics in Crusader Kings to choosing between fundamentalism and fascism in Frostpunk, the games we play often put us in the position of someone who has to make some pretty horrifying decisions. How can designers best depict these elements in a way that lends them gravity, but doesn't seem to implicitly condone them? Is it even possible?
Apr 15, 2022
Three Moves Ahead 555: Triangle Strategy
This week, Rowan recruits Fanbyte's Mike Williams, freelance writer Kendal Erickson, and 3MA's Correspondent for All Things Three-Sided, Brian Smawley, to discuss Triangle Strategy. The Switch has had some sleeper strategy hits, and we're here to let you know if this one belongs among them. Beware of salt.
Apr 01, 2022
Three Moves Ahead 554: Empires and Imperialism with Bret Devereaux
Len and Mike are joined once again by Dr. Bret Devereaux (@BretDevereaux), Visiting Lecturer in the Department of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and author of the blog A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry ( The topic this time around is Empires and Imperialism. What exactly makes an empire? How do strategy games model empires and the process of imperialism, and how could they potentially do better? Header Image: The "Ozymandias Collossus", Ramesseum, Luxor, Egypt by Charlie Phillips via Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0
Mar 14, 2022
Three Moves Ahead 553: Total War: Warhammer 3
Len, Rowan, Fraser, and Jon join forces on one episode for the first time in a long time to talk about Total War: Warhammer 3. With nine new factions, a new story-driven campaign, and a customizable daemon protagonist, it's an ambitious capstone to the trilogy. Pledge yourself to Podcast Undivided and find out how we think it stacks up.
Mar 01, 2022
Three Moves Ahead 552: Crusader Kings 3: Royal Court
Len and Ian take a look at the first full expansion for Crusader Kings 3, and it's a chunky one. Royal Court adds a full 3D throne room and the ability to interact with your subjects at eye level for the first time. Forging new family heirlooms and new cultures. Has it reignited our interest in CK3?
Feb 22, 2022
Three Moves Ahead 551: HighFleet
This week, Jon and Rob dig in to what Rob has dubbed "yet another entry in the crowded Lunar Lander Bullet Hell Naval Wargame Roguelike Visual Novel genre." It's not an easy game to get into, so how did our boi go from cursing its very name to absolutely adoring it? What exactly is this game, anyway? And why should every good fleet commander read the manual?
Feb 12, 2022
Three Moves Ahead 550: Expeditions: Rome
Len and Troy plunge gladius-first into the Late Republic to win victories on the tactical and strategic scale in Expeditions: Rome. The third installment in the series has more going on than ever before, but is it /too/ much? And what is the correct way to pronounce Cicero, anyhow? We came. We played. We did a podcast about it.
Feb 01, 2022
Three Moves Ahead 549: The Strategy Outlook for 2022
Len and Rowan come in for a low glide over 2022's calendar of strategy game releases to discuss what excites us, what worries us, and what smaller stuff we're keeping an eye on. Will Victoria 3 live up to the hype? Can Marvel's Midnight Suns satisfy our in-house X-Mean aficionado? Will Dwarf Fortress ever actually come out? We don't know the answers to any of these questions, but we can certainly discuss them over a few drinks.
Jan 21, 2022
Three Moves Ahead 548: 2021 Recap
Troy and Len are joined by PCGamesN's Ian Boudreau and Fanbyte's Mike Williams to look back on a year that's a bit hard to summarize. Why can't we find a theme to slap on 2021? What were some of the biggest surprises, good and bad? And what were our favorite strategy games in what was, if nothing else, kind of a weird year for them?
Jan 15, 2022
Three Moves Ahead 547: Hearts of Iron IV: No Step Back
Len and Kotaku's Luke Plunkett dig into the logistics-laden recent expansion and patch for Hearts of Iron 4 with No Step Back and the Barbarossa Update. How has it changed how we play, and how does HoI4 feel different now compared to launch? We also go into the joys of playing wacky scenarios with historical focuses switched off and making the dumbest tanks the engine will allow.
Dec 24, 2021
Three Moves Ahead 546: Company of Heroes 3 Multiplayer Interview
Rob got to check out a pre-alpha build of Company of Heroes 3's multiplayer, and now he's sitting down with lead gameplay designer Matt Philip and map designer Will Ward. Among the topics on the docket are how the flow and pacing of battles has changed from previous games in the series, keeping familiar factions fresh without betraying their identities, and the challenges of creating maps that appeal to high-level competitive players as well as casual weekend warriors.
Dec 04, 2021
Three Moves Ahead 545: Against the Storm
Rowan, Jon, and Ian Boudreau talk about Against the Storm, an early access city-builder that forces you to abandon your cities after a set amount of time. How do these shorter runs affect how we approach the genre? What does a beaver need, on a deeper level, to be happy? And why were we so eager to do an episode on this when early access city-builders are thick on the ground these days?
Nov 19, 2021
Three Moves Ahead 544: Darkest Dungeon II Early Access
Rowan recruits Fanbyte's Steven Strom and long-lost guest Jason Wilson to take a look at Darkest Dungeon II in early access. That's right, five years later we finally put out an episode with Darkest Dungeon in the title. How does it differ from its predecessor? And which of the changes do we actually like? How do we feel about the fact that they can kiss now? How do we feel about a sequel that is deliberately smaller in scope than the original?
Nov 12, 2021
Three Moves Ahead 543: Age of Empires 4
Len and Ian Boudreau discuss Age of Empires 4, the long-awaited return of one of the RTS genre's defining franchises. What's new and what's been kept the same? And where would we like to see it go in the future? Okay, okay, I'll say the thing: wololo. Get it? It's funny because I said a thing you remember. Humor is when someone says a thing you remember.
Nov 05, 2021
Three Moves Ahead 542: The State with Bret Devereaux
Len, Rowan, and Mike are joined by Dr. Bret Devereaux (@BretDevereaux), Visiting Lecturer in the Department of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and author of the blog A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry ( The topic is The State in strategy games. What is a state? What are the advantages and disadvantages of making a game about states, and seeing history through a lens of state action? We talk in particular about how this question applies to Europa Universalis IV.
Oct 29, 2021
Three Moves Ahead 541: Strategy Games As A Service
Len and Rowan discuss the concept of "games as a service" as it relates to the strategy space. Is it a good thing? Has it always been around and we just called it something different? Can you ever really trust a game studio? Are the post-Kripke seasons of Supernatural actually worth your time? Listen to the episode, then check out the Season Pass over on
Oct 22, 2021
Three Moves Ahead 540: A Send Off to Civilization 6
Troy, Len, and Jon sit down to discuss the Civilization 6 New Frontiers DLC pass and where the king of 4X stands in 2021. How does Civ 6 now compare to launch five years ago? How have its modern competitors changed our perception of and relationship with it? Is Sid still the gold standard to beat?
Oct 08, 2021
Three Moves Ahead 539: Conquest of Elysium 5
Jon and Ian Boudreau talk Conquest of Elysium 5, a lo-fi fantasy tactics game with Dwarf Fortress-like procedural world generation. Lead armies of moose, visit other planes of existence that are doing their own thing while you're not looking, and try to make it as a Senator in an era with no Senate. Do you like to control archers with your numpad? We know you do!
Sep 18, 2021
Three Moves Ahead 538: Hell Let Loose
This week Rob is joined by Ranged Touch's Cameron Kunzelman and PCGamesN's Ian Boudreau to discuss an unusual World War II military shooter that feels more like a tactics game: Hell Let Loose. Hear the stirring tale of trying to explain how to drive a manual transmission to someone who has only ever been in his 2006 Honda Civic during the middle of a war. Find out which war movie officer Rob would be. And by the end, probably have a pretty good idea of whether or not this would be your thing or not.
Sep 04, 2021
Three Moves Ahead 537: Humankind
Len, Rowan, and Fraser gather to discuss Amplitude's Humankind, the Civ competitor that has been looming large over our release radar for the past couple years. How does it compare to Sid Meier's finest work, and even this studio's previous 4X forays? Will it reignite the spark for those who have lost their love for the turn-based march through history? And aside from all that, is this game even done?
Aug 20, 2021
Three Moves Ahead 536: Slipways
Len, Jon, and Mike discuss the indie space "4X without two and a half of the Xes" Slipways. We dig into the benefits of games designed with very strict rules that eventually let you break most of them, as well as having challenging microstrategy games you can finish in about an hour but aren't totally mindless.
Aug 13, 2021
Three Moves Ahead 535: Deck Builders
Rob is joined by Nicole Clark and Cameron Kunzelman to discuss two recent deck builders: Klei's Griftlands and Abrakam's Roguebook. What do we like and what brings us dismay about each? How do they stack up against other recent paragons of the genre? Where do these types of games fit into the strategy ecosystem? Is boxed macaroni and cheese really that much better if you drop some unsalted butter in there? That's not relevant to the episode. It's just me, Len, asking a cooking question.
Aug 06, 2021
Three Moves Ahead 534: Dark Deity
Rob and Rowan are joined by PCMag's Mike Williams to discuss Dark Deity, a JRPG-inspired indie tactical RPG. What lies beneath the outward riffing on Fire Emblem? What kind of characters will we be bringing to battle, and can we make them kiss? Are numbers even real? Why can Len never come up with a clean way to wrap these episode descriptions up? Is she really just going to let it go out like this?
Aug 01, 2021
Three Moves Ahead 533: Old World
Troy, Len, and Jon gather by the fire to discuss Old World, the new ancient world 4X from Civilization IV designer and prolific 3ma guest Soren Johnson. Does the tighter timeframe help or hinder it? Is it just ancient Civ? Is that even a bad thing? How many more questions can I come up with? Does this description still look too short? This is probably a good place to stop, right?
Jul 23, 2021
Three Moves Ahead 532: Company of Heroes 3 Interview
Relic has announced Company of Heroes 3! Rob and Len were given a chance to give a bit of the new dynamic campaign map a go. Now they're joined by Relic's David Littman and Matt Philip to discuss what we saw and how this long-awaited sequel is coming together. You can check out the pre-alpha preview yourself by heading over to
Jul 13, 2021
Three Moves Ahead 531: Siege Survival: Gloria Victis
Rob, Troy, and Fraser have only a curtain wall and a micromanagement puzzle between them and the invading hordes as they discuss Siege Survival: Gloria Victis. Who will hold out, and who will secretly leave the postern gate open to put an end to the suffering? When are we going to do a show on Going Medieval? What is a siege, if not a larder persevering?
Jul 02, 2021
Three Moves Ahead 530: Total War: Three Kingdoms: Endgame
Rob and Rowan are joined once again by Three Kingdoms opinion-haver Brian "Chef Lu Bu" Smawley to discuss Creative Assembly's very odd pronouncement of ending support for Total War: Three Kingdoms. Where did it land and how do we feel about the state it's in? What do we wish had made it in? And what the hell is going on with gates?
Jun 28, 2021
Three Moves Ahead 529: Early Access City Builders
In one of our biggest panels ever, Rowan, Fraser, Len, Jon, and Mike are joined by Sin Vega to discuss the many city builders currently stewing in Early Access, or which had a long tenure there. What is the role of Early Access for this genre, and why does it seem to be such a popular starting point? Also, what would we like to see in the next generation of city builders?
Jun 20, 2021
Three Moves Ahead 528: Hundred Days - Winemaking Simulator
Rob and Len are joined by behind-the-scenes mastermind Mike to pursue some millennial agriculture fantasies, step on some grapes, and grit their teeth through a bit of sus localization. Will they taste victory, or find themselves sprawled in an alley with a bottle of $8 chardonnay wondering why they thought they could drop out of school and join a punk band? Are these hypotheticals getting more weirdly specific all the time? Does anyone even read the description anyway?
May 29, 2021
Three Moves Ahead 527: Ultimate Admiral: Age of Sail
Michael Hermes makes a port of call as Rob, Nick Capozzoli, and Matt Flanigan take to the high seas in Ultimate Admiral: Age of Sail. Rob hates the land combat, Matt hates the way the ships behave like sports cars, Capo greets both with measured approval, and Michael thinks we're all being a bunch of picky jerks looking a gift-horse in the mouth.
May 25, 2021
Three Moves Ahead 526: Total War: Rome Remastered
Rob, Jon, and Len have taken up their swords and strapped on their sandals to party like it's 2004. What did the original Total War: Rome do right that the series hasn't since? And does it hold up beside its younger, prettier siblings? And why is no one talking about Lone Star? Seriously. It's a great movie.
May 08, 2021
Three Moves Ahead 525: Unity of Command II - Barbarossa
Troy and Rob are joined by Kotaku's Luke Plunkett to discuss Unity of Command II's Barbarossa expansion. How much of the frustration you feel leading the Germans on the Eastern Front comes from any given game, and how much of it comes from the mere situation of leading the Germans on the Eastern Front?
Apr 30, 2021
Three Moves Ahead 524: The Total War: Rome Remastered Interview
This week, as we prepare for the release of Total War: Rome Remastered, Rob welcomes Creative Assembly's Kevin McDowell and Guy Davidson, who both worked on the original Rome. They talk about the studio's early days and precarious finances, the surprisingly slow-burn success of Rome, and the long development hangover that resulted from CA's old culture of crunch. Producer's note: We weren't able to get an isolated vocal track for one of our guests and there are a few places where there's a definite echo. Apologies for the inconvenience.
Apr 23, 2021
Three Moves Ahead 523: Workers and Resources: Soviet Republic
Len and Jon are joined by Alice Caldwell-Kelly and Justin Roczniak of Well There's Your Problem to talk about Workers and Resources: Soviet Republic. May contain revisionism. Check out Well There's Your Problem, a podcast about engineering disasters: Support us on Patreon:
Apr 09, 2021
Three Moves Ahead 522: Suzerain
Rob is joined by freelance writer Sin Vega to discuss Suzerain, a branching narrative head-of-state simulator that asks you to make complex decisions about the politics of a small, Cold War nation. Support us on Patreon:
Apr 02, 2021
Three Moves Ahead 521: Shadow Empire
Rob, Jon, and shadow councilor Mike are joined by 3ma Panelist Emeritus Tom Chick to discuss Shadow Empire, a post-apocalyptic sci fi colony management sim with a 300+ page manual.
Mar 26, 2021
Three Moves Ahead 520: An Interview with Dana Lombardy
Bruce takes the Winter of Wargaming to the Streets of Stalingrad as he interviews acclaimed wargame designer Dana Lombardy to discuss his past, present, and future work. Check out where you can still pre-order MacGowan and Lombardy’s The Great War card game at the Kickstarter backer price.
Mar 12, 2021
Three Moves Ahead 519: Field of Glory II: Medieval
Rob, Troy, and Jon discuss Field of Glory II: Medieval as the Winter of Wargaming enters the Middle Ages. Who are these guys Alexander Nevsky brought to war today? Anybody? Pyotr, are they friends of yours or what? Support us on Patreon:
Mar 05, 2021
Three Moves Ahead 518: PanzerBlitz
As the Winter of Wargaming presses on, Rob and Bruce discuss the Avalon Hill classic PanzerBlitz and the interplay between game mechanics and the awesome war movie you see in your head. Support us on Patreon:
Feb 25, 2021
Three Moves Ahead 517: An Interview with Lou Coatney
Note: Since this episode was recorded, one of the designers discussed, Tom Russell, has come out as transgender. Please note that while he / him is used on the podcast, her correct pronouns are she / her. The Winter of Wargaming begins with a trip down memory lane with Bruce and wargame designer Lou Coatney, whose career includes not just several great original print-and-play designs but also a robust set of fixes and "mods" to classic wargames. Bruce and Lou also discuss in detail the problems of getting Barbarossa and The Bulge "right" from a design and history standpoint.
Feb 12, 2021
Three Moves Ahead 516: Total War: Warhammer 2 and 3
Len, Rowan, and Fraser ally up to discuss all of the updates to Total War: Warhammer 2 since its launch, as we've miraculously not done a show on it since then, and the piping hot announcement of Total War: Warhammer 3.
Feb 06, 2021
Three Moves Ahead 515: Faction Design
Rob, Rowan, and Len discuss how faction design in strategy games has changed over the years, and the trend toward more specific and asymmetrical mechanics which started in RTS before spreading to the rest of the wider genre.
Jan 29, 2021
Three Moves Ahead 514: Airborne Kingdom
Fraser and Jon are joined by PC Gamer's Rachel Watts to discuss high-flying city builder Airborne Kingdom. Can this unorthodox spin on the classic genre keep our interest aloft?
Jan 15, 2021
Three Moves Ahead 513: 2020 in Review
Rob, Rowan, Jon, and Len discuss the year in the rear view. 2020 was a year we'll never forget. But can we say the same about its strategy games? How good was Crusader Kings 3, really? What could our modern leaders learn from Soviet Concrete Simulator? Is RTS back, baby? Tune in and reminisce with us.
Jan 08, 2021
Three Moves Ahead 512: Per Aspera
STORY SPOILERS! Skip ahead from 58:30 to 1:13:05 to avoid. Rowan, Jon, and Len discuss the new Mars colonization game Per Aspera, and how it weaves branching story into a classic colony builder.
Dec 18, 2020
Three Moves Ahead 511: Wingspan
Troy and Jon are joined by Dicebreaker editor-in-chief Matt Jarvis to discuss the PC version of the award-winning avian card game Wingspan. What are these birds up to? Where are they coming from? Should we be concerned? Why does our producer feel the need to ask you a whole bunch of questions at the end of every episode description these days? What do you think ever happened to those birds that used to sell us cereal on TV? Where did they learn to talk? You know, just curious.
Dec 12, 2020
Three Moves Ahead 510: Möbius Front '83
Rob, Troy, and Jon discuss Zachtronics' Cold War wargame Möbius Front '83. What has it borrowed from the genre's storied past? And what might it have missed from recent years?
Dec 04, 2020
Three Moves Ahead 509: The Insider and All The President's Men
Troy and Rob discuss two films about exposing the seedy underbelly of the institutions of power: Michael Mann's Insider and Alan J. Pakula's All The President's Men. How has the film industry's portrayal of investigative journalism and corporate whistleblowers changed with the times? What can each of these stories still teach us today?
Nov 24, 2020
Three Moves Ahead 508: Star Renegades
Rowan and Jon Bolding are joined by Fanbyte's Steven Strom and Waypoint Radio's Ricardo Contreras to discuss spacefaring tactical roguelike Star Renegades.
Nov 09, 2020
Three Moves Ahead 507: Sid Meier's Sid Meier's Memoir
Troy and Rowan are joined by Paradox's Johan Andersson and Mohawk Games' Soren Johnson to discuss the august Sid Meier's recent book, Sid Meier's Memoir.
Nov 02, 2020
Three Moves Ahead 506: Iron Harvest
Rob, Troy, and the prodigal panelist Jon Bolding discuss the alt history interwar RTS Iron Harvest. Can a strategy game be good in single-player for the same reasons it's bad in multiplayer? Aren't giant dieselpunk mechs just the raddest shit? Rev up and strap in to find out.
Oct 09, 2020
Three Moves Ahead 505: Crusader Kings 3
Rob, Rowan, Fraser, and Leana discuss their feelings on Crusader Kings 3 a few weeks after launch. How do we feel now that we've spent more time with the full version? Why does Rob keep sleeping with his grandkids' wives? Listen in and find out!
Sep 23, 2020
Three Moves Ahead 504: Troy and Kingdom of Heaven
Rob and Troy are walking the battlements as they revisit Wolfgang Peterson's "Troy" and Ridley Scott's director's cut of "Kingdom of Heaven". What do these two movies about major siege-battles fought between clashing civilizations, from the early years of the War on Terror, say about their moment? Is Troy underrated, overrated, or correctly rated? Why is Brendan Gleeson so unsettling? All these questions and more are answered this week on Three Moves Ahead.
Sep 14, 2020
Three Moves Ahead 503: Total War: Three Kingdoms - The Furious Wild
Rob and Leana are joined by Creative Assembly's Simon Mann to talk about the latest DLC for Total War: Three Kingdoms, The Furious Wild.
Sep 04, 2020
Three Moves Ahead 502: A Total War Saga: Troy
Rob, T.J., and Fraser are joined by freelance writer Dia Lacina to discuss A Total War Saga: Troy. The ancient city, not the creator of this show.
Aug 29, 2020
Three Moves Ahead 501: Othercide
Rob and T.J. are joined by freelance writer Astrid Johnson to discuss goth girl tactics game Othercide.
Aug 13, 2020
Three Moves Ahead 500: Origins
For our landmark 500th episode, Rob sits down with Rowan, T.J., Troy, and Bruce to discuss the formative games that made us strategy fans. Buckle in - it's a long one!
Aug 02, 2020
Three Moves Ahead 499: Desperados III
USgamer's Mike Williams and Kotaku's Luke Plunkett join Rob to talk about Desperados III, the stealth tactics puzzler from Mimimi. They talk quicksaving versus flow, stealth tactics vs stealth immersive sims, and Desperados vs. Shadow Tactics, the previous game from this developer.
Jun 30, 2020
Three Moves Ahead 498: Crusader Kings 3 Hands-On
Rob and T.J. got some hands-on time with an in-development build of Crusader Kings 3, and they have a lot to say about it. Can the medieval strategy sequel live up to its now august predecessor?
Jun 06, 2020
Three Moves Ahead 497: Gears Tactics
Rob is joined by Cameron Kunzelman and Evan Lahti to discuss Gears Tactics, which adapts the familiar rhythms and dynamics of Gears of War to a turn-based, squad-tactics format with generally positive results.
May 29, 2020
Three Moves Ahead 496: XCOM: Chimera Squad
Rob, Rowan, and Bruno Dias start working the mean streets of City 31 as they discuss XCOM: Chimera Squad.
May 13, 2020
Three Moves Ahead 495: Sports
With the sports world mostly on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, sports games have emerged to take their place in some of the oddest ways. Rob discusses this weird moment for sports sims with Troy, Jenn Cutter, and Kat Bailey. They chat about why sim motorsports seem to be working well, but most console sports sims don't seem to have the same resonance. Rob accuses Troy of being the target audience for beat reporting based on Out of the Park leagues. Troy denies the charge, then describes the travails of his Expos dynasty in detail.
May 01, 2020
Three Moves Ahead 494: Stellaris Federations
Rowan, Jon, and T.J. are joined by Waypoint and Friends at the Table's Austin Walker to once again ask the immortal question: Is Stellaris good now? On the heels of a diplomacy rework and four years of expansions, what has become of Paradox's oddball 4X space child?
Apr 23, 2020
Three Moves Ahead 493: Animal Crossing New Horizons
Fraser is joined by Jon Bolding, Dia Lacina, and Philippa Warr to discuss Animal Crossing: New Horizons, from the ways it connects to the city builder genre to the oddities of the game's premise.
Apr 16, 2020
Three Moves Ahead 492: The Last Autumn (Frostpunk)
Rob is joined by Cameron Kunzelman and Ethan Gach to return to the world of Frostpunk before the frost as the panel considers the game's latest DLC, The Last Autumn. In some ways it's an expansion the reveals some of the worst traits of Frostpunk, but in some other ways it reinvents and reimagines the game as a trickier and more credible management game.
Apr 09, 2020
Three Moves Ahead 491: Master of Magic
This week we are going all the way back to 1994 to discuss Master of Magic. MoM, though not quite as popular as its bovine counterpart, was a very forward-thinking game. It offered many levels of customization not yet seen in gaming and inspired classic modern series like Dominions and Age of Wonders. Listen in as Rowan Kaiser, Jon Bolding, and Troy "Do you like what I've done with my hobbit hole?" Goodfellow discuss Master of Magic, sci-fi vs fantasy, and why generic magic isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Mar 25, 2020
Three Moves Ahead 490: Micro-RTS Games
Not every novel must be Inifinite Jest, not every RTS game must be Starcraft 2. Sure, sometimes you need to hold your copy of Starcraft 2 with the cover facing out so people at the coffee shop KNOW you're playing Starcraft 2, but sometimes you just want to play a quick game of something and get out. This week, Rob and Cameron Kunzelman discuss three RTS games the can be played in less time than it takes to listen to this episode. So once you are done loudly asking if the barista has a second bookmark you can borrow for the footnotes, take a listen to our discussion on Circle Empires, Escape Dead Earth, and Death Crown.
Mar 02, 2020
Three Moves Ahead 489: Mandate of Heaven
Rob, Brian "Chef Lu Bu" Smawley, Rowan, and T.J. discuss the Mandate of Heaven expansion for Total War: Three Kingdoms. Brian has been radicalized the populist vision of the Yellow Turbans and feels like only Zhang Jue has put in the work to lead China to a glorious new age. Rob and T.J., meanwhile, feel that incremental reform is the way to go. Rowan is out for themselves, but is also starting to wonder if that old Total War campaign inertia might not be settling in.
Feb 13, 2020
Three Moves Ahead 488: The Decade in Retrospect
Rob, T.J., Rowan, and Fraser gather to consider the last ten years in strategy games. There is a stark division about what happened to the RTS, as well as how the concept of a game being "finished" mostly disappeared. Then Rob tries to wrap up the show and it goes for another hour as everyone tries to choose their favorite genre game from the last ten years.
Jan 20, 2020
Three Moves Ahead 487: Best of 2019
Rowan, T.J., Jon, and Rob look back at 2019 and the games that most delighted or dismayed them.
Jan 09, 2020
Three Moves Ahead 486: Lion in Winter
It's Christmas at the Plantagenets as Rob and Troy watch the superb Lion in Winter and the less superb Becket. What do these movies have to say about history and politics, and is any of it related to historical fact? How good is Hepburn? What is O'Toole doing across these two films?
Dec 29, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 485: Phoenix Point
Jon and Rob welcome back Paul Dean to discuss Julian Gollop's and Snapshot Games' Phoenix Point, which tries to blend some of the old-school systemic realism of the original X-COM games with the ease of play of newer tactics games. It's all going well until the gang realize the AI plays like a zombie... and this isn't a zombie game.
Dec 20, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 484: Unity of Command 2
Rob and Troy are joined by Kotaku's Luke Plunkett to discuss Unity of Command 2, the long-awaited sequel to on of Three Moves Ahead's favorite wargames. How does the new setting change the game, and what's with all these new buttons?
Dec 12, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 483: Planet Zoo
T.J. and Fraser are joined by Bruno Dias (@NotBrunoAgain) to talk about Planet Zoo, Frontier's spiritual successor to zoo tycoon. Animals are great, but is managing everything around keeping them happy? Why are there 30-50 feral hogs on my trade screen? Zoo-ne in to find out!
Dec 02, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 482: Radio Commander
Troy, Jon, and Rob have been to The Nam and deep in "The Shit" this week as they play Serious Sim's narrative wargame, Radio Commander. To what extent is Radio Commander an actual wargame versus a cleverly disguised RTS choose-your-own-adventure? Does the distinction matter? What are the game's politics, and how do they affect Radio Commander's portrayal of contemporary politics? Most confoundingly, the crew wrestle with whether this is a good game that people should play, or merely an interesting experiment.
Nov 22, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 481: Close Combat: The Bloody First
Rob and Troy play the new, 3D Close Combat: The Bloody First and see how it measures up to the series' history.
Nov 05, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 480: 1999
Rob, Rowan, and Sean welcome Jeff Green to discuss what might be the greatest year in gaming. Looking down the release slate for that year, it was obviously stacked with brilliant games like Alpha Centauri, Freespace 2, and Jagged Alliance 2 (to name just a few). But did people know it was special at the time? And did anyone realize how fleeting that moment would prove to be, just before Microsoft entered the console wars and began to bridge the gap between console and PC?
Oct 11, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 479: Age of Wonders: Planetfall
Rob, TJ, Ian Boudreau, and US Gamer editor Mike Williams discuss the very pleasant surprise that is Age of Wonders: Planetfall. From initial skepticism over the fantasy series' pivot to science fiction, the gang are slowly won over by Planetfall's novel solutions to expansion and city management, diplomacy with minor factions, and glorious tactical combat.
Sep 25, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 478: Oxygen Not Included
Nicole Clark joins Rowan and Rob to talk about Klei's Oxygen Not Included and its punishing model of offworld colonizaiton.Learn how everything that can go wrong does go wrong, and how well the game communicates excruciating detail about why your colony is dying.
Sep 13, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 477: Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Rowan, Fraser, and Rob are joined by Kotaku's Gita Jackson to discuss their tenure as teachers at Garreg Mach Monastery. The gang talk about the really thougthful politics and characterizations that define Fire Emblem: Three Houses. Aside from that, is it a good tactics game? And finally, the gang gets into some serious spoilers about the game's shocking reveal midway through.
Aug 29, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 476: Pericles
Rob, Troy, and Bruce get together to discuss Mark Herman's epic wargame of the Peloponnesian Wars, Pericles. How does it capture the sweep of a vast historical subject that was only sometimes decided through military conquest?
Aug 23, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 475: Gerykon 2019: Reiner Knizia Games
The Tehran Conference. The meeting at Appomattox. The Council of Elrond. All historical gatherings that pale in comparison to the summit that occurred in late July 2019 as the Three Moves Ahead team gathered in Oregon for several days of gaming. Hosted by Dr. Bruce Geryk, Gerykon 2019 was attended by Michael Hermes, Rob Zacny, and Troy "I hope they let me back into Canada" Goodfellow. Bruce played the part of eccentric board game sommelier, guiding the group through several layers of gaming history. Our first episode about Gerykon 2019 covers several entries from Reiner Knizia, a household name among those in the know. From the dizzying heights of Ra and Modern Art to the baffling lows of Beowulf, we consumed great amounts of scotch and had many discussions about game design and strategy. Also, Rob made up a really gross name for a painting.
Aug 06, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 474: Steel Division 2
Rob and the gang are deeply conflicted over Steel Division 2. A good multiplayer game with some genuinely impressive detail about the armored combat on the Eastern Front, it's also a game that has not grown to match its subject, and then there's the matter of that campaign...
Aug 01, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 473: Historical Guardrails
Rob, Rowan, TJ, and Sean discuss how "historically" they like their games to play out and whether that wish is incompatibile with player freedom and variety.
Jul 12, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 472: We. The Revolution
Rob and Troy are bad revolutionary judges in We. The Revolution. But is there such thing as a good judge on a tribunal as compromised as this? It doesn't look like it in Polyslash's grim political adventure. The gang discuss the historical perspective that We. The Revolution adopts as well as its curious feature-creep as it moves from a straightforward legal procedural to something far more ambitious and less coherent. Why are you fighting for control of Paris? Why are you commanding soldiers in battle? Are its systems of political intrigue and persuasion any fun to use? The more you play, the less sense We. The Revolution seems to make, but the more hypnotic it becomes.
Jun 27, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 471: Anno 1800
Nice island you got here, shame if it wasn't fully industrialized! Fortunately Jon, Troy, and Rob are here to strip mine, clear-cut, and redevelop the hell out everything in sight. Troy puts this latest entry in the broader context of both the series and city builders in generals, Jon has made some mistakes, and Rob is both dazzled by the game's beauty but wishes it more fully captured the impact of heavy industry on nature. Also he is convinced somehow he can make a sensible grid layout out of a game built to confound them.
Jun 13, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 470: Total War: Three Kingdoms
This week's show is the alternate universe version of our 2013 episode on Total War: Rome II. It was two hours of non-stop slamming that poor game - a real massacre. But here we find ourselves in 2019 with Total War: Three Kingdoms in front of us, and things are different. It's good. It's very good. The load times are short. The AI seems competent. The vibrant Three Kingdoms setting is brought to life with both a story mode and a gloriously ahistorical mode that lets the characters shine. Rob, Fraser, T.J., Rowan, and special guest Ginny Woo explore this new entry that bridges the gap between the historical Total War games their offshoot fantasy cousin.
Jun 01, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 469: Imperator: Rome
Rob, TJ, and Jon are not quite sure what to make of Imperator: Rome, the latest historical grand strategy game from Paradox Development Studio. Should a Hellenistic warlord have such fine control over demographics? Is there much to do beyond empire-building? On the other hand, when the eagles are marching, does there need to be?
May 21, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 468: Same Thing, Different Place
The gang has been playing the Steel Division 2 beta and wow, things are different on the Eastern Front. That leads to a discussion of how familiar series and systems take on new life, or fail to, when adapted to new settings.
May 10, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 467: Hard Times or Easy Living
Rowan, TJ, and Rob and joined by Jon Bolding to talk about how the difficulty discussion and "designer intent" maps to strategy games... or doesn't. We discuss games that go out of their way to highlight a specific "way it's meant to be played" and whether that actually holds up in reality. We also talk about customization options and, when all else fails, the glorious tradition of house rules and outright cheating to find the way to play that "just right" for you.
Apr 25, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 466: Dawn of Man
Troy, Jon Bolding, and Rob discuss Madruga Works' Dawn of Man, a prehistoric and ancient history city builder and survival game. The gang is charmed, but also feel like there are some big gaps in the evolution of your city and society.
Apr 12, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 465: Mark Herman's Empire of the Sun
Rob and Bruce are here to sing the praises of Mark Herman's Empire of the Sun, a brilliant adaptation of the war in the Pacific. Enjoying the game through the magic of VASSAL, our wargaming duo describe how about Empire of the Sun does a commendable job of conveying the challenges of imperfect information, the plans of the Imperial Japanese fleet, and inter-service rivalry - all through the elegance of card-based play.
Apr 05, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 464: Dota 2 Auto Chess
Here's the word cloud for this week's episode: Dota2, mod, sports management, moba, battle royale, open world survival game with roguelike elements (jk but we need that SEO), deckbuilding, tower defense. That's right, we're talking about the mod for the game that's a copy of a mod for another game that has nothing to do with either of the things in its title: Dota 2 Auto Chess. Auto Chess is Dota 2 mod that you can play right now, for free. It's taking the world by storm, and it contains a satisfying combination of team management and long-term strategy. Rob, Rowan, and Taylor Cocke talk us through what the heck it is, how it works, and why Taylor seems to like it so very much. Also, a surprising amount of basketball commentary.
Mar 28, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 463: Classic Year in Review: 1994
Sound Blaster! 3DFX! Games that go unpatched because there's no way to fix them! That's right, we're going back 25 years to 1994. Yes, 25 years. We're all hella old, in case that had not occurred to anyone. But who am I kidding, if you're listening to this show you are probably part of the gamer geriatrics, pausing from your record run of Chip's Challenge or Kye to dust off your AARP card and get cheap coffee at McDonald's, nursing it from 9 AM to 11 AM before going to the smaller grocery store in town because the bigger store just has too many choices and the lights are too bright. Anyway, lots of good games came out in 1994. Rowan correctly names the Overall Game of the Year while Rob and Sean have good intentions but are unfortunately wrong. Art by Carlos Villa.
Mar 19, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 462: Sid Meier's Civilization VI: Gathering Storm
The seas are rising. The air is getting worse. Rock bands are forming. Fraser, Sean Sands, and Troy "The Diplomatic Juggernaut" Goodfellow go for Just One More Turn (tm) with Civilization VI: Gathering Storm. In this, the "second Civ expansion that finally finishes the game", the player fights against other civilizations as well as an increasingly hostile Mother Earth. Gathering Storm is a worthy addition to the series, but where do we go from here? Certainly not beyond earth (cough), but with Civ as a whole?
Mar 05, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 461: Three Kingdoms as a Setting
It's rare, but sometimes companies that aren't Koei make a game about the Three Kingdoms. During the runup to the new Total War game, we thought it would be fun to talk about the Three Kingdoms as a setting and the games from that past that have portrayed it well. Are you ready for a deep dive into Three Kingdoms history? No, like, a really deep dive? This week T.J., Rowan, Austin Walker, and guest Brian "Lu Bu" Smawley talk about their favorite factions, historical tidbits, and video game adaptations of this rich period of history.
Feb 12, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 460: Looking Ahead to 2019
2018 has come and gone, its crusty remains pushed to the side for new buffet plate (always get a new plate) of games coming out in 2019. Rob, T.J., and Ian Boudreau talk about the games they're excited for, the games they're cautiously optimistic for, and even some that they're dreading.
Feb 02, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 459: Warhammer 40,000: Gladius - Tyranids
In the grim dark future there is only war. No, really. In Warhammer 40,000: Gladius - Relics of War, there is no diplomacy system. All of that nonsense has been put aside in lieu of 40K chainsword murder. Gladius manages to be a chimera of strategy games. Is it a 4X? Part of an RTS? Grimdark Civ? Whatever it is, Rob and Fraser generally like it.
Jan 22, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 458: Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden
This week Rob, Jon Bolding, Giant Bomb's Alex Navarro, and Troy "I can't find the bard class" Goodfellow take a look at Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden by The Bearded Ladies game studio. Mutant Year Zero combines XCOM-like tactical gameplay with a post-apocalyptic setting that's a joy to look at. Its boardgame roots are evident in its sharp gameplay and rich setting.
Jan 12, 2019
Three Moves Ahead 457: A Look Back at 2018
We threw restraint to the wind with our 2018 wrapup this year, so you get TWO episodes for for the same great price. Session one has Rob, Troy "this is the year my musical theater career takes off" Goodfellow, and Jon Bolding talking about their favorite games. After that, T.J. Hafer, Sean Sands, and Rowan Kaiser go into their top picks including all the Paradox-y stuff that we don't let Troy talk about. It's a long episode for what felt like an incredibly long year. 2018 hit us with a lot of political, military, and economic turmoil, so sometimes it's good to kick back with a strategy game and focus instead on political, military, and economic turmoil that we can control. These are our top (and maybe not so top) picks of the year.
Dec 31, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 456: Crusader Kings 2: Holy Fury
It's been a minute since we've talked about Crusader Kings 2, so why bring it up now? Holy Fury - the latest major DLC - is one of the most significant changes to date, moving CK2 even closer toward RPG than grand strategy game. Is this the expansion that restores Fraser's interest in the game? Is this really the last expansion? What is the future of CK2? Why does T.J. go on and on and on and on about succession laws? Can you really be a duck? T.J. and Fraser answer all these questions and more.
Dec 26, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 455: Classic Year in Review: 2003
From the dizzying highs of the Frozen Throne to the baffling lows of Master of Orion III, 2003 was a darn good year for games. Prince of Persia: Sands of Time became a hallmark for many gamers, and Rise of Nations came onto the scene to become the "other" kind of RTS. Korsun Pocket (recipient of its own 3MA episode) showed us what amazing AI could look like, and Knights of the Old Republic grew T.J. into the person he is today. Rob, Rowan, and T.J. hop into the Wayback Machine to go to 2003, when invading Iraq seemed like a cool idea. In and out war, Morty, 20 minutes tops.
Dec 20, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 454: Armored Brigade
If the notion of the modern RTS makes you break into a cold sweat as you think about APM and wrist pain, we have good news for you: Veitikka Studios has created a more elegant weapon for a more civilized age. Armored Brigade puts you in command of cold war-era equipment in an impressively generated battlefield. The excellent scenario generator and impressive AI turn this game into something special, much to the delight of our panel. Rob, Ian Boudreau, game designer Rod Humble, and Troy "You've given me a heart and a brain" Goodfellow explain why Armored Brigade turned out to be an excellent game to round out 2018.
Dec 14, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 453: Black Hawk Down and Zulu
We're trying something different at Three Moves Ahead this week. Rob and Troy "am I Siskel or Ebert?" Goodfellow take a brief respite from gaming to to discuss two historical military films: Zulu (1964) and Black Hawk Down (2002). Let us know in the forums if you enjoy this discussion of movies, imperialism, and interventionism.
Dec 06, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 452: After Dark 2018
Every once in a while we like to kick back, pour a drink, and check in with the crew to see what's going on. This week it's Rob, Rowan, and Michael on the air to discuss what they've been playing - strategy or not. Michael bares his soul to share the things that bring him joy, only to be mercilessly mocked by the two jerks that aren't writing this episode summary. Rowan describes his love / hate relationship with Pathfinder and Rob details his love / love relationship with Steel Division. We also touch on the new Civilization VI expansion announcement and discuss some upcoming plans for the Winter of Wargaming.
Nov 22, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 451: Cities: Skylines - Industries
Cities: Skylines has continued to grow, adding expansions like so many strip malls to suburban hell. The latest DLC, Industries, shines a light on the utilitarian but necessary underbelly of any city: the industrial zone. But does Industries really capture the economic importance of production and mining? To answer this and other important questions, Rob and T.J. are joined by Justin Roczniak (donoteat01 on Youtube), who offers a comprehensive breakdown of the city building genre from an urban planning perspective.
Nov 16, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 450: Two Point Hospital
Are you down with PPO and dyslexia treatment? If so, this week's show may be for you. Rob, Jon Bolding, and T.J. Hafer dive into Two Point Hospital, a spiritual successor to the U.K.'s favorite sim, Theme Hospital. Two Point Hospital endeavors to lighten up the otherwise serious business of health care, illess, and piles of corpses with a light sense of humor and a clean (an)aesthetic.
Oct 24, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 449: Frozen Synapse 2
Frozen Synapse 2 is here, bringing combat that is an intricately planned and delicate ballet that ends with a shotgun to the face. Rob, Jon Bolding, and Troy "Wait, you said we were just going out to ride Tron bikes" Goodfellow plan and shoot their way through a cyperpunk collection of hallways and doors.
Oct 12, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 448: Valkyria Chronicles 4
Sega's not-really-World-War-II set in kinda-Europe returns in Valkyria Chronicles 4. Valkyria Chronicles marries tactical military gameplay with anime style and story. This extra long episode of 3MA, which features Rob, Heather Alexandra, and Austin Walker, covers a wide range of topics: Austin's definitive thesis on anime, Rob's complex feelings about Cowboy Bebop, problematic butt pats, the first episode of The Shield, and occasionally Valkyria Chronicles 4.
Oct 04, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 447: Tactical Management Games
This week features a veritable smorgasbord of strategy games as we try and define the Tactical Management Game. It's not quite a management sim and not quite a tactical strategy game. We're looking for games that include a deep strategic or base building layer that also allow you to call some of the proverbial and literal shots. From sports management games to ironman-roguelike-procedurally-generated-party-combat romps, there's a lot of ground to cover. So listen in as Rob, Rowan, Heather Alexandra, and Boudreau get into defining Rowan's white whale of genres.
Sep 21, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 446: Phantom Doctrine
Phantom Doctrine promises a combination of tactical combat and sleuthing with cold war-era spycraft and compelling procedural narratives. Its delivery on those fronts is charming but ultimately falling short of the goal. Join Rob, Evan Lahti, and Xalavier Nelson Jr. as they dive into Phantom Doctrine and end up talking about Hard West.
Sep 13, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 445: Mark Herman's Fort Sumter
Bruce is joined once again by noted game designer Mark Herman to discuss Fort Sumter: The Secession Crisis, 1860-61. Fort Sumter is a short-form card driven game that highlights the tumultuous time leading up to the Civil War. In this wide-ranging discussion Bruce and Mark talk about the high amount of wargames coming to market, crisis dimensions, and the invasion of Japan.
Sep 05, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 444: Six Ages: Ride Like the Wind
King of Dragon Pass, a longtime cult favorite, is one of gaming's best storytelling platforms. In a fantasy world older than Dungeons & Dragons, King of Dragon Pass combined elements of choose your own adventure, strategy, management and council politics that went unrivaled for almost twenty years. The developers at A Sharp have now returned to deliver a new entry in the world of Glorantha with Six Ages: Ride Like the Wind. Featuring the same unique play style of King of Dragon Pass and similarly gorgeous art, Six Ages allows players to manage cows, the Gods, magic, and more cows. Six Ages recently debuted on iOS exclusively, but will be available for PC next year. Join Austin Walker, Jon Bolding, and Troy "I hope this time I can marry a goat" Goodfellow in talks about trolls, raiding, and praying to all the right deities.
Aug 31, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 443: The Best RTS Comp Stomps
The future will not be pretty. Advances in AI and robotic mobility makes it clear that we are only years, if not months away from Skynet becoming self-aware. When it does, it will look back on what humans have wrought and it will rain fire upon us. Consider: the videos of Boston Dynamics mercilessly kicking robot dogs. Consider: the subjugation of the wild Roomba. Consider: the term "comp stomp", in which a team of human players collaborate to battle, mock, and ultimately defeat a computer opponent. Join Rob, Sean Sands, Bruno Dias, and Troy "I always say 'glhf' to the AI" Goodfellow as they examine the real time strategy games that make beating up robots fun.
Aug 24, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 442: Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
Ever since Troy Goodfellow founded Three Moves Ahead in the mid-60s, the same question has been asked over and over: When will you cover a Mario game? Your emails, faxes, and mimeographed tracts have been heard, and we are proud to present our first Mario-based episode: Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle for the Nintendo Switch. Rowan Kaiser took over the studio along with guests Danielle Riendeau and Ben Bertoli to talk about Mario + Rabbids and its expansion, Donkey Kong Adventure. Referred to as "Mario XCOM" since its announcement, Mario + Rabbids combines tactical gameplay with the character and charm one would expect from a Nintendo + Ubisoft game. Is this the first Mario game we've covered on 3MA? We believe so. Is it the last? Not likely, given the strategic depth and Cold War undertones of Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker.
Aug 16, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 441: Rob & Bruce & WWI
This week: Dr. Bruce Geryk, Sommelier of the Somme, guides Rob through several unconventional takes on WWI combat. World War I poses a serious challenge to the game designer, but Bruce takes us through several examples of how to do it right. Get ready for talks about "historicity", which should not be confused with the classic Police album, "Synchronicity". Some say it's their greatest album, but I'm more partial to Ghost in the Machine, myself. Anyway, let's talk about Paths of Glory, The Lamps are Going Out, and Fields of Despair.
Aug 10, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 440: Cultist Simulator
Cultist Simulator is a game - maybe - that revels in its own vagueness. Not knowing what it's about or what you're supposed to be doing at a given time seems to be the point. There's a story in there somewhere, but will you be able to find it? Rob, Cassandra Khaw, James Persaud, and Troy "A hedonist club is a good place to spend money and meet people, but the bookstore is better" Goodfellow dive into the eldritch horrors of neatly arranging cards on a table and wondering what it's all about.
Aug 02, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 439: Cataclysm: A Second World War
In a rare live and in-person episode, Rob joins Dr. Bruce Geryk in his mountain lair to talk about GMT Games' Cataclysm: A Second World War. Cataclysm is a board game that offers a deep political system along with standard military fare, succeeding at the former and passably presenting the latter. Players have to adapt to the dynamic early 1930s political landscape and steer their nations to success in an atypical pre-WWII world.
Jul 23, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 438: Procedural Content and Strategy Layers in Games
It used to be enough for mainstream games to claim they had "RPG elements". Now we see games with base-building and "strategic layers" - what does that mean? Can one truly take two disparate genres and combine them in a meaningful way? And does procedural generation of content ever live up to its promises? State of Decay 2 ends up being the whipping boy as Rob, Steven Strom, Rowan, and Fraser discuss all of the above.
Jun 23, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 437: Slay the Spire
Slay the Spire, a deckbuilding game that won't require you to take out a second mortgage on your house, has captivated the members of our panel. Its crisp gameplay and tight design has the internet abuzz, and it's quickly becoming the darling of the deckbuilding scene. It's so good it even got Julian back on the show! Listen in as Julian, Sean Sands, Austin Walker, and Troy "The rarest card in my booster was a swamp mana" Goodfellow as they talk about what keeps them coming back to Slay the Spire.
Jun 14, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 436: To Infinity Engine and Beyond
Games like Baldur's Gate cast a long shadow but, like a racist grandparent, come along with too many caveats of being a product of their time. There have been many attempts to capture the magic of early CRPGS while adding modern accoutrements, and the financial success of games like Pillars of Eternity and Dragon Age: Origins are clear indicators that the public is looking for such a product. But have any of these attempts actually nailed the CRPG formula? Is a modern CRPG truly worth pursuing, and were the originals as good as we remember? Join our host T.J. Hafer, Rowan Kaiser, and Cameron Kunzelman as they travel from the Gold Box to the most recent iteration of Pillars of Eternity in search of the perfect CRPG.
Jun 07, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 435: Omnia vincit Roma
This week we explore Rome. Not the Total War game (though it gets mentioned), but Rome itself - as a historical interest and as a touchpoint in gaming. If you've listened to the show in the past, it's no secret that several members of our panel have a strong interest in the Roman empire and the fascinating history that surrounds it. In this episode we finally let everyone loose to talk about the period without worrying about a specific game review to guide the discussion. Listen in as Rob, T.J., Rowan, and Troy "I wear socks with caligae" Goodfellow dive deep into their collective knowledge and discuss ancient Rome.
May 28, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 434: Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia
Rob, T.J., and Fraser sharpen their berserker axes and talk about Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia. This new offshoot of the main series changes the scope by zooming in on the British isles at the time of Viking invasions. While the game has its high points, Thrones of Britannia misses the mark quite often, not unlike the hordes of anonymous archers found within. It's not necessarily that-first-episode-we-did-on-Rome-2 bad, but apparently it's all the same to Fraser.
May 16, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 433: Frostpunk
It's the most Hobbesian Three Moves Ahead ever as Rob, Jonathan Bolding, and Xalavier Nelson talk about Frostpunk. This episode covers all of the pillars of Three Moves Ahead's moral compass: Megalomania, child labor, Dune references, and the knowledge that the death of faceless numbers will always be preferred if advancing the common good. Or the tech tree.
May 08, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 432: BATTLETECH
Harebrained Schemes' BATTLETECH is here and it has stomped its way into our hearts. The strategy game based on the PC simulations based on the RPG based on the tabletop game (or something like that) appeals to the more modern tactics fan and the Gen X supernerds that were there at the beginning. Rob, Rowan, Rob Daviau, and Jonathan Bolding discuss the merits of the game and come up with a strong recommendation for it despite some launch-time technical problems.
May 01, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 431: Hearts of Iron IV: Waking the Tiger
T.J. Hafer is our host with Rowan Kaiser and author April Daniels as we look at the latest Hearts of Iron IV expansion, Waking the Tiger. Released long with the major game patch "Cornflakes", Waking the Tiger adds all the usual suspects for a Paradox expansion: new game mechanics, skill trees, and enhancements for specific countries. Is Communist China the place to be now? What about alternate history packs, like Kaiserreich? Waking the Tiger extends the legs of HOI and gives us a positive outlook for the future of the game.
Apr 21, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 430: Classic Year in Review: 1998
The year is 1998 and the 500 lb. gorilla in the room is Starcraft. Blizzard creates the finest Warhammer 40K game ever made and changes the RTS landscape forever. Half-Life. Ocarina of Time. Baldur's Gate. Is 1998 the greatest year in history for gaming? Listen to Rob, Rowan, and Troy "Starcraft: The cutscenes were nice" Goodfellow discuss the details.
Apr 14, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 429: Subterfuge
Do you like submarines? Do you like being irrationally angry at your best friends? How about checking your phone at 2 AM? Subterfuge may be the relationship ender you've been looking for. Rob is joined by Kotaku's Heather Alexandra, PC Gamer's Philippa Warr, and freelance writer Nick Capozzoli to talk about Subterfuge, a game about being a jerk. Inspired by the long-form RTS gameplay of Neptune's Pride, Subterfuge is as much a game about relationships with other players as it is tactics. The panel discusses their emotional highs and lows when dealing with the hell that is other people, and you can hear the frustration as Rob demonstrates the most exaggerated sigh in the history of podcasting.
Apr 06, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 428: Gary Grigsby's War in the West
The Winter of Wargaming marches on with Gary Grigsby's War in the West. Bruce joins Rob and Troy "No, really, the Canadian military was actually very invol-" Goodfellow to talk about the the thundering behemoth that is War in the West. It's been long established that panel enjoys Gary Grigsby's earlier War in the East, but does that love carry over to War in the West? The eastern front may have certain qualities that make it the perfect candidate for strategy at this level, while the West finds itself pushing and pulling the player's attention in too many different directions. Listen in to find out what the panel thinks and why PC gaming is dead. Forever.
Mar 30, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 427: Northgard
This week Rob and Troy "Canadians are just as tough as Vikings" Goodfellow are joined by Waypoint's Ian Boudreau and Cameron Kunzelman to talk about Shiro Games' Northgard. A reasonably-paced RTS set in the time of Vikings, Northgard gives you a thoughtful, boardgame-like experience that isn't focused on APM. Northgard turns the tables on traditional RTS games by emphasizing a small number of precious units rather than throwing hordes at the player. The winters can be brutal, but Northard earns a strong recommendation from the panel.
Mar 24, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 426: Into the Breach
Our cadre of mechs is at full capacity as Rob, Rowan, PC Gamer's Evan Lahti, and Troy "Tide pods, time pods, either way put me down for two" Goodfellow talk about Subset Games' Into the Breach. Following their massively successful space-faring game FTL, Subset has created a gem of a turn-based strategy game in which you pilot mechs across small battlefields and occasionally through time. Part battlefield tactics and part chess puzzle, Into the Breach manages to strike a fine balance between replayability, short play sessions, and engaging tactical play.
Mar 18, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 425: Stellaris 2.0 & Apocalypse
It's a full house as Rob, Fraser, Sean Sands, and T.J. Hafer talk about the large 2.0 update to Stellaris and its Apocalypse expansion. Do you hate planets? Do you often think about blowing them up? Would you prefer another target, a military target? Apocalypse adds big ships and explodable planets just for you. The 2.0 update has added several key features, such as the fleet manager and big changes to starbases. Have all these changes tightened up the midgame and turned Stellaris into a space hit? Listen in to find out.
Mar 09, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 424: Command Ops 2
The Winter of Wargaming continues with Panther Games' Command Ops 2. Released a while ago under a different name under a different publisher under a different moon, Command Ops 2 is real-time wargame that truly puts you in the shoes of a commander. The realistic order delay and beautifully tactical map make this a unique wargaming experience that can be played in a variety of theaters. Rob, Michael, and Troy "Even in my simulations no one listens to me" Goodfellow dive into what makes Command Ops such a gem.
Mar 02, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 423: Civilization VI: Rise and Fall
Civilization VI is a complex game. Not in terms of its rules, or how it plays, but in the reaction it garners from fans and critics. Of course it's a good game. Is it a great game? What parts of it are great and what parts aren't? Does the latest expansion, Rise and Fall, change the things that are holding it back? That's a lot of questions. The good news is that Rob, Rowan, and Fraser take their sweet time answering them in this two hour episode that goes from the fundamental aspects of the game real-life politics. So, settle in for a long one as we go through Civilization VI: Rise and Fall.
Feb 23, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 422: Command: Modern Air / Naval Operations
We kick off the Winter of Wargaming with a whale of a first show: Command: Modern Air / Naval Operations. CMANO is a simulation built for the military and played by you, the military enthusiast at home. The depth of the unit database, the scope of its missions, and the granularity of its control make one of the more intimidating games in our discussion roster. Bruce, Michael, and Troy "they call me the Nimitz of the sea" Goodfellow dive into what makes CMANO fun, or maybe not fun, but sometimes confusing, though usually entertaining.
Feb 16, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 421: Nantucket
Call me Zacny. Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my Steam Wallet, and nothing particular to interest me on shore... you know what, you get it. It's Moby Dick. This week, Rob, Matthew Flanigan (thehistoricalgamer on Youtube) and Troy "No I don't have scurvy this is just how I look" Goodfellow talk about the debut game from Picaresque Studio, Nantucket. Nantucket is a strategy / RPG hybrid that has the player managing a whaling vessel and setting out to sea to earn their fortune in the trade of whale anatomy. Our whaling crew agrees that Nantucket is a beautiful and well-crafted experience with some room for improvement, but definitely a contender for Best Whaling Simulator of Q1 2018.
Feb 08, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 420: Classic Year in Review: 1993
Rob, Rowan, and Troy "my arcology's economy is based on poutine" Goodfellow fire up the Wayback machine once again to visit the pixely past of 1993. It is a monumental year for games as Doom is unleashed onto the public in a swath of blood and gore while Myst is released in a swath of ambient music and confusion. Have you heard of this new-fangled contraption, the CD-ROM? What a time to be alive. Strategy heavyweights Master of Orion and SimCity 2000 hit the scene, establishing groundwork that gamers will know for decades to come. Join us in the hazy past that doesn't feel like 25 years ago but it is and oh my God I'm old.
Feb 02, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 419: Europa Universalis IV in 2018
This week we return to an old friend, a stalwart companion, an evergreen delight that has been with us for years and years and years and years. Europa Universalis IV received several updates and expansions in 2017, and while the game has not changed radically it has matured like a fine wine that was traded from the Bordeaux trade node to Ragusa. In a 3MA first, T.J. Hafer is at the helm to host the show along with Rowan Kaiser and Gamers with Jobs' Sean Sands. Prepare yourself with a deep dive of finer details of EUIV as it exists in 2018.
Jan 23, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 418: They Are Billions
This week Rowan, Fraser, and Troy "Why are you slathering me in zombie-q sauce?" Goodfellow talk about They Are Billions by Numantiam games. Zombies are back, but there are even MORE of them in this Early Access title. They Are Billions is a real time strategy game that has you manning the ballistae and defending your steampunk-ish city against relentless waves of the shambling dead.
Jan 14, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 417: 2017 in Review
Another year of strategy gaming has come to a close. Rob, Rowan, and T.J. are here to tell you what they liked, what they didn't, and what left them vehemently ambivalent. Rob doesn't bury the lede and jumps out with his GOTY right away and Rowan fulfills his duty of making people feel bad for liking certain things.
Jan 04, 2018
Three Moves Ahead 416: Dominions 5: Warriors of the Faith
This week Michael, Bruce, Jonathan Bolding, and Troy "I've never met a succubus I didn't like" Goodfellow talk about Dominions 5: Warriors of the Faith. Illwinter Games continues their long-running master class in world building and fiction in games with the fifth entry in the series. Dominions combines wargaming with a diverse fantasy setting that has attracted a loyal fanbase over several versions and decades. The panel talks about what is new in the series, whether the graphics really matter, and why it's fun to be a monolith.
Dec 20, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 415: Endless Space 2 Revisited
We put the call out to our Patreon backers: What game would you like us to circle back on? The winner of a heated battle was Amplitude's Endless Space 2. Released in May of 2017, Endless Space 2 took some of the learnings of a 3MA favorite, Endless Legend, and applied them to their original dust-using space 4X Endless Space. How has the game fared since launch? What is the Academy? Do we really need it? What does Amazon buying Whole Foods mean for hero availability? And, seriously - where are these pirates getting all this tech?
Dec 12, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 414: 1997 in Retrospect
1997. Garry Kasparov loses a monumental chess match against Deep Blue, changing the state of chess forever. Troy Goodfellow acts as a body double for Leonardo DiCaprio in the recently released Titanic and the Notorious B.I.G. informs us that more problems are inevitable when one experiences a sudden increase in liquid assets. Also, a whole bunch of really great strategy games came out. This is the first in a series of (nonconsecutive) retrospective episodes in which the panel goes back in time to review what were some really standout years. This week Rob, Rowan, T.J. Hafer, and Troy "Did you know I had a bit part in the Fifth Element?" Goodfellow discuss all of the best titles from 1997. We award titles for Best RTS, Best Grand Strategy Game, and Best Wargame for this most auspicious of years.
Dec 04, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 413: Myth
It's time for another patent-pending Three Moves Ahead Classic Game Analysis as Rob, Gamers with Jobs' Shawn Andrich, and Rock Paper Shotgun's Adam Smith discuss Bungie's Myth series. Myth holds a unique place in strategy's gaming pantheon: in an era of clones and remakes, there's still nothing quite like it out there. Its grim and dark (but not grimdark) fantasy setting and early physics engine set it apart from other games of its day. Take a trip down memory lane before Destiny, before Halo, and into the glory of Myth.
Nov 16, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 412: XCOM 2: War of the Chosen
Rob, Rowan, and David Heron take a deep dive on XCOM 2: War of the Chosen. XCOM 2 received a tepid welcome from the Three Moves Ahead panel when it first came out in early 2016, and Three Moves Ahead gave its expansion a good long time to simmer before diving in. War of the Chosen adds more of almost everything, but is that a good thing? The crew also discusses ubermod The Long War.
Nov 10, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 411: Total War: WARHAMMER II
Are you ready for morehammer? Nah, just kidding, we won't do that bit again. Guest host Rowan Kaiser talks to T.J. Hafer and Kotaku's Luke Plunkett about Total War: WARHAMMER II. The Warhammer train keeps on hammerin' as the dark elves, Skaven, and other grimdark beings storm across the battlefields in the Total War engine once again. This sequel comes hot on the heels of the original game and improves it in many ways, but is it worth picking up? Tune in to find out.
Nov 02, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 410: Franchise Hockey Manager 4 and Motorsport Manager
It's time for a racing and hockey double-header as Rob, Michael, and Troy "My favorite movie is 1992's The Cutting Edge" Goodfellow talk about sports management sims. The beginning of a new NHL season is a darn good reason to examine Out of the Park Development's Franchise Hockey Manager 4. The crew also discusses Motorsport Manager, a sports sim game that may be the entry point needed for a non-sim gamer. If you like to boss other people around and not actually DO the thing that the game is about, then sports management sims might be for you!
Oct 25, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 409: Field of Glory II
It's an ancients kind of week as Rob, Rowan, and Troy "I'm so good with the elephants my mates call me 'Elephant Man'" Goodfellow talk about Field of Glory II by Byzantine Games. FoG II started as tabletop system that was ported to the PC in the original Field of Glory and its Asian counterpart, Sengoku Jidai. The sequel improves the formula in almost every way and presents an extremely capable engine for designing and playing out tactical battles. The campaign falters a bit, but the crew is pleased overall.
Oct 18, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 408: Tooth and Tail
Tooth and Tail has turned out to be a game of note for several reasons. First, it deftly executes the short-form RTS genre while providing luscious artwork and pleasing visuals. Next, it provides a challenging and thought-provoking story that explores narratives in socioeconomics and societal structures. Finally, it appears to be a game that everyone on the show appears to enjoy. Rob, Rowan, Fraser, and game developer / Waypoint contribute Bruno Dias talk about animals eating each other because in the end, we're all just meat.
Oct 03, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 407: Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun
Tarou was awake and alert despite the chill and the early hour. Normally, drawing last watch was one of the worst tasks imaginable: a tortuous eight hours of mind-numbing circuits and bitter cold. Tonight was more tolerable, however, for Tarou knew that it was his last night as a guard for the malicious warlord. No more would he risk his life by showing small kindnesses to the prisoners, no more would he have to lay awake at night and wonder how many had died by his master's hand. He would leave and start his life again. His plans were set to meet a hay cart near the edge of the compound at dawn, and he would be free from this hellish existence forever. He would - wait - was that the call of a white-cheeked starling? Normally they had all migrated south by this point of the season. Perhaps the starling was a good omen for the beginning of his new life. Tarou whistled a jaunty tune back as he turned the corner. Rob, Fraser, Rowan, and guest Nick Capozzoli talk about how this and many other stories end in Shadow Tactics, a strategy game about being quiet and killing things.
Sep 26, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 406: Battlestar Galactica Deadlock
Rob, Rowan, and Kotaku's Luke Plunkett pull up a space chair and talk about Battlestar Galactica Deadlock. In addition to the admirable lack of colons in the title, Deadlock manages to take a licensed IP and turn it into a faithful and satisfying gaming experience. If the term "broadsides in space" gets your solar sails at half mast, this may be an episode for you.
Sep 20, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 405: Lords of Waterdeep
This week's Three Moves Ahead stretches the boundaries of the podcast medium to bring you LIVE audio via recording. Rob, Rowan, Fraser, and Troy "always a bardsmaid, never a bard" Goodfellow share their thoughts on the Steam port of Lords of Waterdeep while playing a game together. Lords of Waterdeep started as a popular worker placement board game and eventually made its way to mobile platforms. It recently arrived on the PC via Steam and quickly found a place in Fraser's heart. It's not a good place, but it's firmly embedded there. Like a valve blockage. EXPLICIT CONTENT WARNING: many curse words are uttered, even more than usual.
Sep 08, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 404: Total War: Warhammer Revisited
It's episode 404hammer and Rob, Fraser, and T.J. Hafer revisit Total War: Warhammer. With the sequel fast approaching, Rob had the itch to play some morehammer and see how the series has evolved. Far from being a borehammer, the newest races and expansions seem to have expanded the gameplay and embraced the lorehammer. Rob's enthusiasm is infectious and everyone on the panel feels the esprit de corpshammer as this game turns out to one of the finest Total War games in the lineup. Warhammer.
Aug 26, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 403: Survival Strategy
Survival: it's what separates people from animals. How far we've come from punching a tree until it explodes into logs that we can craft into workbenches. What began as humble topiary assault spread through time, Asia, and eventually into strategy games. This week, Rowan, Critical Distance's Zach Alexander, and Troy "Surely I can trade my encyclopedic knowledge of show tunes for food" Goodfellow get together to talk about survival strategy games. From half-RPGs to city builders, game devs like cramming a food clock into any game orifice they can find and the result are normal strategy games with the added fun of starvation and disease.
Aug 18, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 402: Battle Brothers
This week Rob, Rowan, Obsidian's Josh Sawyer, and Troy "I told you, these leeches are medicinal" Goodfellow discuss Overhype Studios' Battle Brothers. It's been a while since the panel has been smitten with a game, but Battle Brothers seems to win everyone over with its smart tactical turn based combat. Taking a break from elaborate spells, this low-fantasy setting has your archers are melee combatants slugging it out in the mud and snow against brigands orcs.
Aug 11, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 401: Kingdoms and Castles
Troy returns from vacation just as Fraser prepares to sail the wine-dark Aegean. But they pause long enough to talk about Kingdoms and Castles with Rob, a fun little medieval tower-defnse-city-builder that everyone wishes were just a little bit... deeper. But can Kingdoms and Castles' appeal be separated from its simplicity and shallowness?
Aug 04, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 400: Dream Daddy Civil War
Forgive us. The title was Rowan's fault. Rob and Rowan have been playing Ultimate General: Civil War and Gettysburg: The Tide Turns, and those games have got them thinking about what they really, truly want from a Civil War wargame. Rowan talks about how he wants to feel like a commander in the field, dealing with the same uncertainty and dynamics that Civil War generals faced. Rob agrees, but also wants a game that feels roughly true to the historical record, yet also wants the capacity to be surprised. In other words, we want it all. Rowan also proposes that Sid Meier's Gettysburg, at this point, casts too long a shadow and its influence is stifling other approaches to tactical wargame design.
Jul 22, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 399: Air Combat
Bruce sits down with James Crate, a former naval aviator, and discusses various efforts at designing and playing games about air combat. Crate discusses how a lot of Cold War era wargames reflected US military doctrine, but not necessarily air engagements as pilots would experience them in the field. How did the lessons learned from actual air combat match the expectations reflected in wargames? Also, prepare to learn that air-to-air missiles don't work like you think they do.
Jul 02, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 398: Taking the L
Rowan, Sean, and Rob discuss what goes into a "satisfying" setback as opposed to something that sends one running to the quickload button. Rowan possibly solves game design.
Jun 25, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 397: Meta Campaigns
Rob, Fraser, and Rowan look at the game outside the game. What are the ways that strategy and tactics games contextualize our actions and decisions, and which approaches do we tend to prefer. The conversation runs long but takes an exciting turn as the crew realize they've likely solved strategy games.
Jun 16, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 396: Endless Space 2
It's a giant-sized gulp of Three Moves Ahead as Rob, Rowan, Fraser, and Sean "The Game Horatio" Sands discuss Endless Legend 2. Amplitude Games brought a competent - if not a bit bland - entry into the space 4X pantheon with Endless Space and followed up with the brilliant Endless Legend. Does Endless Space 2 continue their march toward greatness? Amplitude have expanded their writing and storytelling but unfortunately neglected the "QA" section of the tech tree in favor of ballistic weapons.
May 31, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 395: Jack Greene
Dr. Bruce Geryk is back to host and talks to legendary game designer and author Jack Greene. Jack has contributed several seminal games over the years, such as Bismarck Second Edition, Iron Bottom Sound Third Edition, and Norway 1940. He tells Bruce about the old days of graphic design and publishing and lays down some practical knowledge about printing techniques.
May 24, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 394: Expeditions: Vikings
When is a Viking not a Viking? When he's a farmer. Or a trader, maybe? Or maybe just a really sad dude that's down on himself. Rob and Troy "How hard can it be to build a farm, guys?" Goodfellow talk about Logic Artists' Expedition: Vikings and how there's a good game in there, if you can just pillage it out.
May 09, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 393: Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III
Rob, Fraser, and guest Ian Williams pick up their chainswords and head to the far-flung future to play Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III. The original Dawn of War remains a favorite of the panel, and Dawn of War II had its charm. Does Dawn of War pull the series back into greatness? Well, that entirely depends on how you feel about MOBAs. And multiplayer. Because if you don't like those things, you may be left in the cold, unfeeling void of space.
May 04, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 392: Steel Division: Normandy 44
Do you like wargames in Europe... that escalate? Do you like air AND land battles? Then Eugen games and their partners at Paradox have a game for you in Steel Division: Normandy 44. The creators of the perennial favorite Wargame series have turned their rivet-counting attention to World War II in their newest real time strategy game. Rob, Rowan, and Fraser give you the scoop on the latest game and why they have enjoyed their pre-release access.
Apr 24, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 391: Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
The stranger's arrival coincided with omens that the villagers could not ignore. A calf born with two heads. Flocks of crows circling the village green silently as the night, their voices stolen. Men disappearing for days at a time in the woods only to return stupefied, gibbering of bright lights and fairy rings. That stranger's name? Fraser Brown. And he's here to host this week's show on the latest expansion for Crusader Kings II - Monks and Mystics. CK2 Superfan T.J. Hafer is also on hand to talk about satanic cults, taking care of inconvenient spouses, and whether or not we've all hit the DLC fatigue wall.
Apr 11, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 390: Medieval II: Total War
Rob, Fraser, and Troy "No One Expects the Canadian Inquisition" Goodfellow return to the Total War series in a Patreon-patron chosen topic. Medieval II was far and away the most voted-for game in our options of the "middle" Total War games, and this week we return to what made the game so special. Was it the flavorful peasant models? The interesting DLC? The active modding scene? The galloping Scots? Find out as we blast back to 2006.
Mar 29, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 389: Winter of Wargaming 2017 Wrapup
Rob and Bruce wrap up this year's winter of wargaming by looking back at some of the games they played and some of the trends they've seen in the wargame space. From boutique games to the pros and cons of computer wargaming, they cover a wide array of topics on their favorite hobby. Does a narrow scope limit a game's design or does it open up new possibilities? How well can you really simulate a given scenario?
Mar 20, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 388: Scourge of War: Waterloo
Rob, Rowan, and Troy "As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster" Goodfellow talk about Scourge of War: Waterloo. Waterloo is the first departure for the Take Command series in which we travel to a conflict outside of the American Civil War. Rowan has concerns about forts and Rob has concerns about... a few other things.
Mar 13, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 387: Churchill AAR
It's a very special Three Moves Ahead as we find Rob visiting Bruce in person to play a variety of wargames. The star of the weekend is Mark Herman's Churchill (previously covered in 3MA #330), a game in which players assume the role of Churchill, Stalin, or Roosevelt over the course of ten critical conferences. Also discussed: 13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis.
Mar 07, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 386: Steel Panthers
Fun fact: Did you know that if you search for "Steel Panthers" on Google Images you will find both A) screenshots of the Steel Panthers series and B) photographs of an active glam rock band named Steel Panther? Go ahead, look for yourself. I'll wait. Did you check? Pretty crazy that people are still into that. In any case, our Patreon supporters voted and decided that this month Rob and Troy "It's all about penetration and angles" Goodfellow talk about Steel Panthers the video game. Not the band.
Feb 27, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 385: Star Wars: Rebellion Board Game
Rob, Sean Sands, and Jonathan Bolding get together to talk about Star Wars: Rebellion. No, not that one, the board game one. Fantasy Flight's take on the Star Wars universe offers an asymmetrical experience in which the powerful Empire attempts to search for the scrappy Rebels across the galaxy.
Feb 21, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 384: Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
Hearts of Iron IV has received its first beefy chunk of DLC with Together for Victory, and Rob, Fraser, and T.J. Hafer are here to tell if you it's worth your hard-earned post war dollars. In short: it probably is. Together for Victory expands on the player's ability to reshape history and manage British Commonwealths. Is the best part of the DLC the battle log? Does Fraser get tired of constantly being wrong all the time? Does this expansion make leasing things fun?
Feb 13, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 383: Distant Worlds and Aurora
The title of the patron backer poll was: "What two (2) inscrutable games do Rob and Troy have to explain to each other?" We found the most incrutabl-iest games we could for our list and the backers voted: Distant Worlds and Aurora would be the games to play. Unfortunately, Troy's head exploded during his valiant effort so this week Rob and Michael will talk about these two behemoths of space strategy. They won't cover everything and won't get everything right, but maybe - just maybe - they'll sell you on what makes these challenging games worth your time. Or not. Probably not.
Jan 23, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 382: Battlefield 1 and First Person Shooters
The Winter of Wargaming is upon us once again, and to kick things off we look at a different kind of wargaming - the first person shooter. Battlefield 1 tackled the often-neglected first-person arena of World War 1, and to everyone's surprise it turned to be a damn fine game. Several other recent releases have also featured the grim realities of WW1 so Rob, Fraser, and guest Evan Lahti go through them this week to discuss whether historical accuracy is something we need or even want in a WW1 game.
Jan 14, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 381: Ultimate General: Civil War
Rob, Rowan, and Troy "My favorite civil war documentary was F Troop" Goodfellow get together to talk about Ultimate General: Civil War. Game-Labs had an impressive debut with Ultimate General: Gettysburg, putting out a game that was lauded by the community at large as well as our panelists. With UG: Civil War, they take on a much larger task by adding persistent units, more battles, and a grander scale. But are they up to such a daunting task? Can they overcome the focused genius of the first game? As it turns out: yes. Yes, they can.
Jan 07, 2017
Three Moves Ahead 380: The Best Strategy Games of 2016
Hey there, friend. How's it going? Have a seat here next to your Uncle Rob. You can have a sip of my brandy old fashioned if you don't tell your mom. Why the long face, ace? 2016 got you down? Yeah, it's been kind of a shit year. But that's okay, I've got good news: regardless of what's happened in the rest of the world, 2016 was one of the best years ever for strategy games. The number of quality releases is enough to keep anyone busy for the next decade. But Uncle Rob, Cousin Fraser, and Wacky Neighbor Rowan are here to guide you through the best games of the year and give their definitive, not hesitant at all lock-in picks for Strategy Game of the Year.
Dec 30, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 379: Duelyst
Our Patreon patrons have spoken, and the winner of our "Let's talk about an online CCG that's NOT Hearthstone" poll was Duelyst. Rob and Julian have a very un-3MA discussion in which all parties agree that the game at hand is pretty rad. Duelyst takes the best parts of Hearthstone and adds its own mechanics and flavor to create a satisfying game that has kept Julian occupied for the better part of the year. Good job, Patreon backers. Good job.
Dec 23, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 378: EUIV and Rights of Man
Nothing is certain in this world except death, taxes, and Paradox expansions. Time marches on and EUIV, the elder statesman of the Paradox stable, the well-rounded workhorse, the stalwart representation of all things Paradox...ish... has continued to grow and improve. Guest host Sean Sands talks with Rowan Kaiser and T.J. Hafer about Rights of Man and the current state of the game. Where does EUIV go from here? Does Paradox just keep adding features forever? Would that be a bad thing? Why are estates so lame? Why isn't Victoria III a thing yet?
Dec 19, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 377: Warhammer, Glorious Warhammer
This week Rob, Fraser Brown, and Jonathan Bolding get together to talk about the Warhammer universe. There has been no shortage of Warhammer (both 40K and non-40K) games lately, with Games Workshop throwing the proverbial spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks. Amidst the vast swaths of mediocre to bad games, however, there are gems that accurately capture the macabre gravitas of the Warhammer universe.
Dec 12, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 376: Underrepresented Theaters and Conflicts
Rob, Bruce, and Troy "I was named after a siege" Goodfellow get together to talk about battles that just don't get enough love. Our Patreon donors voted and decided that this week the panel was to discuss theaters, battles, and conflicts that haven't been given a fair shake in the strategy gaming community. Rob and Troy have their hobby horses but Bruce takes exception to the question itself.
Nov 28, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 375: Rule the Waves
Bruce and Troy "Bury me with the HMS Niobe" Goodfellow welcome Matthew Flanagan to this week's show as they talk about 2015's Rule the Waves. Rule the Waves is a game about designing post-dreadnought battleships in the context of World War 1 great powers. Part budget manager, part ship designer, and sometimes a combat simulator, Rule the Waves is a game that has all the detail that simulation grognards expect and all the trappings that come along for the ride. Troy loves it, Bruce has his reservations, and Matthew tells us what makes the game so appealing.
Nov 18, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 374: Civilization VI
Troy "I hate that jerk-ass Montezuma" Goodfellow is joined by Rowan Kaiser, Fraser Brown, and David V. Heron to talk about one of the biggest strategy games of the year: Civilization VI. A new Civilization game is always a cause for celebration. But what has changed? What has remained? Is it a revolution or an evolution? In this case, it turns out to be more of the latter. It's a fun game, it has some great ideas, but at its core it remains the same Civilization game it has been for decades. But... is that a bad thing?
Nov 12, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 373: Amplitude Studios and the Endless Series
This week Rob and Fraser welcome special guest Jeff Spock, Narrative Director at Amplitude Studios. The Endless Series has garnered a large amount of praise with its impressive debut in Endless Space, the unique gameplay in Dungeons of the Endless, and the master class of 4X gaming in Endless Legend. Jeff goes over the challenges of writing for 4X and strategy games and how the universe has changed from Endless Space to Endless Legend. Endless Legend has changed quite a bit since launch and Jeff explains how the series has evolved and where it might go in Endless Space 2. This topic was chosen in a poll by our Patreon backers.
Nov 07, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 372: Chris Park and Arcen Games
This week, Michael and Troy "Benevolent Dictator for Life" Goodfellow welcome Chris Park of Arcen Games back to the show. Arcen has recently posted their Kickstarter for AI War 2, followup to the original cult hit from 2009. Featuring asymmetric gameplay and unique strategy, AI War: Fleet Command was the first game to highlight Park's unique vision for gaming. Chris talks about the challenges Arcen has faced, the evolving game market, and what it means to make games with integrity. Also, be sure to stick around after the show for some brief announcements from the gang.
Oct 20, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 371: 3MA After Dark
Three Moves Ahead is serious business. We spend weeks - sometimes months - planning stimulating topics and tantalizing shows. But this week it's time to unwind. It's time to pour some scotch, dim the lights, and talk about whatever's on our minds. For the first time ever, the Three Moves Ahead team is all on the show at the same time: Rob, Bruce, Michael, and Troy "I keep bookstores in business because I don't trust technology and hate trees" Goodfellow. Also, be sure to stick around after the show and get a glimpse of professionalism at its finest.
Oct 02, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 370: Dean Essig
Bruce welcomes award-winning game designer Dean Essig of The Gamers to talk about his long history of designing wargames. Dean's experience in the military and attention to detail have helped him create long-lasting series that model combat on several different levels. Dean and Bruce discuss the process of playtesting, the challenges of tactical, battalion, and operational level games, double-blind gaming, and why Illinois is such a great state.
Sep 24, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 369: The Banner Saga 2
WARNING: The Banner Saga 2 is a story-driven game. Certain plot points will be talked about. Major plot points from the first game are discussed. Such is life in a podcast where the point is to talk about what happens in video games. This week Rob Zacny and Fraser Brown talk about Banner Saga 2, the sequel to the Kickstarter darling that made a splash with its gorgeous graphics and brutal gameplay. The decisions are harder, the battles are more interesting, and lots of people still die.
Sep 16, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 368: Dark Reign: The Future of War
This month's patron-selected game is 1997's Dark Reign: The Future of War. It wasn't the prettiest game, or even the best game. But it was an RTS that existed in the glorious sepia-tinted days when the genre could do no wrong and even the more hamfisted attempts were at least competent given the sliding scale of the time. Rob, David Heron, and Troy "These RTS games make my rheumatism flare up" Goodfellow talk about Dark Reign, the 90's, and KMFDM somehow.
Sep 09, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 367: Bite-sized Strategy
Rob, David Heron, and Troy "It's dignity, gah - don't you even know dignity when you see it?" Goodfellow get together to talk about strategy games that don't take 100 hours to play. Whether you're burned out on the sprawling grand strategy games that take up more time than most community college degrees or you just don't have enough time left in the day after pursuing your community college degree, shorter games can be better. But why aren't there a lot of compact, quick-to-play strategy games? Why does the general gaming public hate the ones that do exist? Our panel tries to crack the case of the easily digestible strategy game and ultimately leaves slightly depressed.
Aug 31, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 366: Modern Warfare
Bruce is joined by game designer Mitch Land to talk about the Next War series of games and modern warfare. Modeling modern warfare is its own challenge as designers attempt to get the most accurate data possible and then abstract it to a playable game. Mitch talks about modeling and performance data, why aircraft carriers are important, and the processing of printing and publishing a game.
Aug 12, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 365: Rimworld
Rowan Kaiser, Gita Jackson, and Jonathan Bolding join Troy "Why do I always have to clean the airlock" Goodfellow to talk about Rimworld. Rimworld joins a prestigious line of games in the relatively new genre of "It's like Dwarf Fortress, BUT - " by adding its own sci-fi survival twist. While still in Early Access, Rimworld has recently made its way to Steam to bring its procedurally-generated madness to the masses.
Aug 05, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 364: Pet Peeves
Certain sins are unforgivable. Poor interface, an over-abundance of tooltips, and apparently ship designers. Let's get one thing straight: I - Michael, who writes these notes every week - like ship designers. I liked Gratuitous Space Battles, I like them GalCiv, I like them any way I can get them. So while I've never been on the show to defend my case on this particular topic, I'm writing the notes. Do I get to editorialize? Sure I do. Who's going to stop me? Troy? Ship designers are always a delight. If you don't like them, then this week you can listen to Rob, T.J. Hafer, and Rowan Kaiser go through their lists of strategy game pet peeves.
Aug 01, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 363: Sid Meier's Pirates!
Rob, Fraser, and Troy "I'm tired of swabbing the poop deck" Goodfellow get together to revisit Sid Meier's Pirates! We all know who Sid Meier is, and we all what pirates are. So let's just cut to what you're here for: Troy "I'm wanted on three continents for my ample booty" Goodfellow, Troy "My parrot crapped on my shoulder" Goodfellow, Troy "Ramming broadsides is my specialty" Goodfellow, Troy "How do I make a sandwich with two hooks" Goodfellow, Troy "I've got barnacles but I can't say where" Goodfellow, Troy "Stop calling me 'Shark Bait'" Goodfellow
Jul 11, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 362: Alternate Histories
Rob Zacny, Rowan Kaiser, and TJ Hafer range the hills of Gettysburg and traverse the Pacific in a show that talks about games that alter the course of history. Hearts of Iron IV inspired this discussion about how we can change the outcome of historical events to something even more plausible than reality.
Jul 05, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 361: Pacific War Strategic Games
Bruce welcomes back game designer Mark Herman to talk about games covering the Pacific War in World War II. Mark's expertise comes in the form of his two Pacific games, Pacific War (1985) and Empire of the Sun (2005). Bruce and Mark cover a wide variety of board games, diving into what makes or breaks a strategic game in this theater.
Jun 24, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 360: Hearts of Iron IV
Rob is joined by Bruce, Jonathan Bolding, and Fraser Brown to discuss the latest in Paradox Interactive's stable of historical games, Hearts of Iron IV. This latest entry in the series returns us to World War II, except it's not always World War II, but that's kind of the point, except when it's not. Despite a few glaring oversights in documentation, the panel has plenty of good things to say about the joy of being "historish". Tune in to find out: is the whole game great, or just Parts of Iron?
Jun 17, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 359: Chess in 2016
The inmates are running the asylum as Three Moves Ahead producer Michael Hermes takes over the show to talk about the state of chess in 2016. Joining Michael is chess professional and Youtuber John Bartholomew, an FIDE International Master and all-around chess guru. There are many reasons to be excited about chess right now, such as the boom in Youtube and streaming and the dynamic state of the professional scene. John and Michael go over some of the tools available to modern players, the sites they get excited about, and how St. Louis has become the chess capital of the US.
Jun 10, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 358: Battlefleet: Gothic Armada
This week's show features another game chosen by our Patreon backers: Battlefleet: Gothic Armada. In the grim dark future there is only war, but here in the present there is... well, still only war, just mostly in the form of Games Workshop games with "war" in the title. Rob, Rowan Kaiser, and freelance writer Jonathan Bolding to talk about this boardgame adaptation and agree it's a gorgeous visual feast that also embraces the glorious tradition of Warhamminess.
Jun 03, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 357: Total War: WARHAMMER
Good news, Games Workshop fans: your long wait is over. After literally days without a single new Warhammer or Warhammer 40K video game being launched, Total War: WARHAMMER is upon us. Fraser Brown and Dan Griliopoulos join Rob to talk about the latest entry in the Total War series that takes the series to the mildly ahistorical setting of Warhammer. The reviews have been positive and the verdict is a solid recommendation from our panel as Total Warhammer puts the fun back into Total War.
May 25, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 356: Ashes of the Singularity
Ashes of the Singularity is hard to pin down. It's not fast, like Starcraft. It doesn't have the same swagger as Grey Goo. The single-player campaign leaves much to be desired. Yet there are still some interesting mechanics that make it a point of interest on the RTS map, a giant ball of string that, while not as much fun as Mount Rushmore, was good for at least one fun picture.
May 18, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 355: Stellaris
It's a very special, gas giant-sized podcast as the panel discusses Paradox's newest grand strategy game, Stellaris. Stellaris takes the Paradox formula and flings it into space, replacing trade merchants with space merchants, warships with space warships, and regular coalitions with space coalitions. Not content with one, two, or even three guests, Rob welcomes Rowan Kaiser, Austin Walker, Fraser Brown, and Sean Sands to the show to get their take on the new game. Some people love it, some people have conflicted feelings, and then there's Rowan.
May 09, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 354: Offworld Trading Company
Game designer Soren Johnson returns to the show to talk about his new game, Offworld Trading Company. Built in spirit of M.U.L.E., Offworld Trading Company is an economic RTS that has the player hunting for resources and playing the market. Soren talks about recent changes to the game, the pros and cons of Early Access, and the benefits of having hyper-competitive players.
Apr 29, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 353: Twilight Struggle
It's an uncommonly ebullient episode of Three Moves Ahead as Rob, Julian, and Troy "Please Speak Louder Into My Bowtie, Comrade" Goodfellow talk about Twilight Struggle on the PC. This Cold War era board game has been translated to a shiny new computerized version which, despite some minor technical drawbacks, has the entire panel (and Bruce) happy with the results.
Apr 23, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 352: Atlantic Fleet
Our Patreon patrons have spoken and they chose Atlantic Fleet, a World War II naval warfare game available on mobile and PC. Rob, Bruce, and Troy "Lining Up Shots to Fire Out the Rear" Goodfellow find Atlantic Fleet to be a solid investment for $10, even if there are a few nagging flaws.
Apr 17, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 351: Weekend of Wargaming
In order to dispel the notion that we are all just disembodied voices generated by an algorithm programmed to please fans 82% of the time, Rob and Bruce got together - in real life - to play board games. In this extra-jumbo episode of Three Moves Ahead our duo of wargamers talk about block games, COIN games, insurgencies, and Bruce's cats.
Apr 12, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 350: Aging Gracefully
Nostalgia is a powerful thing. Softened memories of sunlit rooms on Saturday mornings and brilliant panzer strategy replace the reality of grueling turn counts and CD-ROM issues. Can you ever really go home again? Is Master of Orion really as good as we recall? (The answer to both is: no.) Rob Zacny, Rowan Kaiser, Sean Sands, and Troy "I don't Google during a podcast" Goodfellow wheel their chairs into the whist room to talk about games that have aged gracefully and games that have not.
Apr 04, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 349: Satisfying Party Games
Rob Zacny gets together with Rabbitcon host Julian Murdoch as well as game designers Rob Daviau and David Heron to talk about party games. The term "party game" can conjure up a variety of games, from the most casual of affairs to the in-depth slog that run through the night. But how can a board game balance depth with ease of entry?
Mar 25, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 348: Civilization at 25
In this very special Three Moves Ahead, Rob is joined by Civilization designers Jon Shafer and Soren Johnson to talk about Civilization. The venerable strategy series turns 25 this year, and Rob already took the one joke I had about how it can now rent a car. Oh well. Jon and Soren give their takes on the other entries in the series and give some insight into their design decisions for Civ IV and V.
Mar 17, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 347: Dwarf Fortress and World Simulators
After many requests, the Dwarf Fortress show is finally here. 3MA editor Michael Hermes and Troy "Wait, how does vomit work again" Goodfellow are joined by Gaslamp Games' Nicholas Vining and freelance writer Gita Jackson to talk about everyone's favorite simulation, Dwarf Fortress. Dwarf Fortress has helped move forward an entire genre of games, from direct copies to finely honed world-building experiences. What is the secret sauce that makes Dwarf Fortress so endearing? What's the deal with the interface? Why does everyone keep dying?
Mar 10, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 346: Silver Bayonet
Bruce continues the Winter of Wargaming and brings on Gene Billingsley and Mitch Land of GMT games on to talk about the 25th Anniversary Edition of Silver Bayonet. Silver Bayonet was the first game published by GMT, and to commemorate 25 years of business the company is reissuing the game with revised rules and an improved map. Listen in to find out why the game is important to Bruce and what fans can expect to see in the new version.
Mar 03, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 345: Decisive Campaigns: Barbarossa
Bruce and Troy "I know his ideas are weird but let's just hear him out" Goodfellow are joined by Rod Humble to talk about Decisive Campaigns: Barbarossa. The latest entry in the Decisive Campaigns series adds intriguing elements of roleplaying into the wargaming formula as the player attempts to sway, cajole, and stay on the good side of superiors and fellow staff.
Feb 26, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 344: Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan
Rob is joined once again by David Heron as well as the elusive Julian Murdoch to discuss Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan. Sekigahara fills a fascinating niche in the wargame space by giving a lengthy game experience that is light on rules. It's easy to teach and learn yet still gives the impression of a much beefier experience.
Feb 21, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 343: XCOM 2
It's a full panel tonight as Rob, David Heron, Rowan Kaiser, and guest Jonathan Bolding discuss the newly released XCOM 2. XCOM: Enemy Unknown was a darling of the strategy game space, garnering rave reviews a strong following. XCOM 2 should be a slam dunk, right? ...right?
Feb 12, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 342: Satellite Reign
Satellite Reign is more cyberpunk than anything has a right to be. It deftly combines quality gameplay with all of the hallmark features of the often overplayed or misinterpreted genre. Giant Bomb's Austin Walker joins Rob to talk about Satellite Reign and why they enjoy it so much. Also, Rob finally fulfills the prophecy of someone on the show using the word "panopticon".
Feb 07, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 341: Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak
It's a full house as Rob, Rowan, Fraser, and guest T.J. Hafer get together to talk about Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak. The original Homeworld games were in space. Deserts of Kharak, believe it or not, takes place on the ground. This type of out-of-the-box thinking appears to have paid off as our four panelists have taken quite a shine to the game.
Jan 28, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 340: Hegemony 3: Clash of Ancients
The Patreon backers have spoken, and the listener's choice game for January is: Hegemony 3. Rob and Troy "I can tirones my own sandals, thank you" Goodfellow take a good, long look at Longbow's latest entry in the Hegemony series. What does it bring to the table? Does it bring enough new content to the table? Whose table is this, anyway? Join us and lament the loss of your burning farms.
Jan 21, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 339: Ancient Warfare
Spears! Cavalry! Dirt in your sandals! Rob, Bruce, and Troy "Is my pilum showing?" Goodfellow continue with the Winter of Wargaming and their discussion of ancient warfare. Learn more about history than you ever wanted from a video game podcast as the trio discuss their favorite games as well as a new secret project.
Jan 14, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 338: Legion Wargames
Bruce kicks off the 2016 Winter of Wargaming by interviewing publisher Randy Lein of Legion Wargames. Legion is the publisher of many storied titles, such as B-29 Superfortress and Dien Bien Phu: The Final Battle. Randy offers some insight as how the publishing world works, shattering expectations of the glitzy night life and glamorous parties.
Jan 07, 2016
Three Moves Ahead 337: 2015 Wrap-up
2015 has come and gone, cast aside like an empty yogurt container. "It's time for a new yogurt," you think. "I am done with this one, even if there is a little left in the bottom." Still, we should take time to reflect and look back at all of the good parts of the yogurt from the past year. Like the one whole blueberry amidst small bits of blueberries. Or when the yogurt burped a little no matter how softly you tried to peel back the lid. If it's not clear by now, this is a metaphor for Starcraft. Happy New Year from Three Moves Ahead!
Dec 31, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 336: Star Wars: Rebellion
In an episode that is in no way a cross-promotional marketing tool funded by Disney - but call me if you are interested in cross-promotional marketing - Rob, The Verge's Rich McCormick, and Idle Thumbs' Nick Breckon revisit Star Wars: Rebellion. Rob originally hated Rebellion. He made a big stink about it, we all remember it, and nobody wants to talk about it. But years later with the wisdom of old age and the context of modern strategy games, he now realizes that Rebellion is a gem worth talking about once more.
Dec 24, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 335: Thea: The Awakening
Rob, Fraser, guest Tim McDonald, and Troy "I've got fur, let's make hats" Goodfellow talk about Thea in language that makes it seem like they really, really like the game. Yet that's not entirely true. Mostly. Thea was picked by our Patreon backers as the Listener's Choice game for December, now tune in and hear what our conflicted panel has to say.
Dec 18, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 334: Comebacks
This week on The Game Design Rountable we have Dirk, David, and Rob talking to - wait, no. This is Three Moves Ahead and Dirk - no Rob - talk to the other Rob. Rob Zacny. I don't even know any more. The days turn into nights which turn into days, nothing but podcasts. Names and titles pass me, topics upon topics. Who can keep track any more? Is this Three Moves Ahead or TGDRT? Another file on the hard drive, another show posted. Anyway, Rob Daviau and David V. Heron talk to Rob about comebacks in gaming.
Dec 14, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 333: Prison Architect
Rob Zacny and special guest Paul Dean talk about Prison Architect, a game that has recently been released yet seemingly been around forever. Rob and Paul are both quite keen on the game and its sense of humor, satire, and good old fashioned ant-farminess.
Dec 07, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 332: Chaos Reborn
This week Rob, Bruce, and Troy "I'm not playing unless I can summon a unicorn" Goodfellow discuss Chaos Reborn. In 1985, game designer Julian Gollop released Chaos: The Battle of Wizards for the ZX Spectrum. He would later go on to be the designer of the venerable XCOM series. Chaos Reborn is a new game in the tactical gaming space made possible by a successful Kickstarter campaign.
Nov 26, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 331: Starcraft 2: Legacy of the Void
Rob, Sean Sands, and Kotaku's Jason Schreier take a comprehensive look at Starcraft 2: Legacy of the Void. The campaign is coming to an end as long-remembered friends from the original game are back to complete the story of Starcraft. The crew discusses the current state of multiplayer, Archon mode, and how to have the most fun in the game.
Nov 22, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 330: Churchill
Bruce sits down with renowned game designer Mark Herman to talk about his latest offering, Churchill. Combining historical personalities with the tension of negotiation, Churchill is not a wargame in the traditional sense. Rather, it puts the players in the shoes of Churchill, Stalin, or Roosevelt as they plan the Allied attack against the Axis.
Nov 12, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 329: Civilization: Beyond Earth - Rising Tide
Civilization(R): Beyond Earth(TM) had a bumpy start. Despite Firaxis's's...s attempts to distance Beyond Earth the from the venerable Alpha Centauri, the game was inevitably compared to the genre favorite and found to be wanting. A new expansion is here and special guest Martin Glaude - best known for his Let's Play videos on Youtube as quill18 - joins Rob and Troy "There's Always Money in the Banana Stand" Goodfellow to discuss the latest addition to the Civilization franchise.
Nov 05, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 328: King of Dragon Pass
It's another Classic Game Analysis as Bruce, special guest Jon Shafer, and Troy "But Being One With the Cows IS My Religion" Goodfellow talk about the venerable King of Dragon Pass. This essential entry in the strategy/roleplaying/management/cow trading sim genre has inspired and delighted gamers since the 90's. The game is now available on modern platforms with updated content, so what better time to go back and discuss the finer points of negotiating with duck people?
Oct 29, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 327: Kingdom
Rob, Rowan, and Fraser apparently got into the catnip this week before getting together to talk about Kingdom. Kingdom is a game about chasing rabbits, usurping monarchies, and losing your hat. It caused Rob to enter a Howard Hughes-esque fugue state, shuffling about in his apartment with tissue boxes on his feet while mumbling about forgetting to bring coins into the woods.
Oct 25, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 326: State of the RTS
This week Rob, Fraser, and Troy "More Than a Phalanx" Goodfellow take a look at the RTS genre. Rob has concerns about the health of this stalwart of the strategy space, where innovation seems low and quality titles are few and far between. Troy wants more elves and less aliens.
Oct 16, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 325: Nobunaga's Ambition: Sphere of Influence
Rob, Gaslamp Developer Nicholas Vining, and Troy "Notice me, senpai" Goodfellow sit down to talk about Nobunaga's Ambition: Sphere of Influence. Koei has a long history of strategy games that dates back to console gaming with Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Their most recent offering, Sphere of Influence, is newly available on Steam. It's a beautiful game, but is it good? Is interesting better than good?
Oct 09, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 324: Tower Defense
Rob, Sean Sands, and Troy "I play Plants vs Zombies for the lore" Goodfellow hunker down to defend their glowing orbs and talk about tower defense. The genre is still alive and well, but did it ever really die? Or has it been the Samwise Gamgee of genres: consistent, comforting, and good at gardening?
Oct 05, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 323: Company of Heroes
The true measure of a game's greatness is how many game developers play it during their lunch breaks. This week we learn that Company of Heroes validates this universal truth with its compelling gameply and lasting appeal. With the recent addition of the British army to CoH2, Rob Zacny, Blendo Games' Brendon Chung, and CoH product Shane Neville look back at the original game and the state of the sequel. The first entry in the series still holds strong while the sequel continues to improve.
Sep 25, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 322: Wing Leader
Bruce and Troy "I really made a Messerschmitt" Goodfellow are joined by noted game designer Lee Brimmicombe-Wood to talk about Lee's new game, Wing Leader. Wing Leader is a side-view aerial combat game that allows players to simulate different weather conditions and air combat scenarios.
Sep 17, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 321: Act of Aggression
This week is a full house with Rob, Troy, Tom, and Fraser all weighing in on Eugen Systems' Act of Aggression. Tom stands alone as the half-hearted bastion of defense for a game that underwhelmed the panel. An unintuitive UI, questionable ethnic portrayals, and general crappiness had Fraser "so angry he punched a child", a deed which is now forever rendered in text.
Sep 10, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 320: Game Designer Brian Train
This week Bruce sits down with prolific game designer Brian Train. Brian's games span a wide range of conflicts and scenarios, including Greek civil war, fighting in Algeria, and Special Forces actions in Vietnam. His predilection for asymmetric warfare and non-traditional combat modeling have brought his games to the attention of US military simulation experts and wargame fans throughout the world.
Sep 03, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 319: Armello
Rob, special guest Paul Dean, and Troy "Blue Balls Appear Irregularly" Goodfellow talk about Armello, an Early Access game available on Steam. Armello combines charming graphics and design with a game concept that is unapologetically a board game. The PC translation of this is full of potential that has time to be realized by the time the game is ready for release. We learn that Paul is lukewarm on the game, Troy is a fan, and Rob doesn't like Talisman.
Aug 26, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 318: Warhammer: Shadow of the Horned Rat
Warhammer: Shadow of the Horned Rat (1995) is a gem of a game that has recently been made available again through the magic of digital publishing. The game was ahead of its time: the 3D tactical combat would serve as an inspiration for the gameplay in Shogun: Total War. (The Total War series would eventually meet up with Warhammer later in Total War: Warhammer.) The dark fantasy setting and special hero combat would eventually "inspire" Warcraft 3. Join Rob Zacny and special guest Dan Griliopoulos as they look back on Shadow of the Horned Rat and the nuanced subtleties of the Warhammer universe.
Aug 21, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 317: Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
TJ Hafer and Rowan Kaiser joing Rob Zacny to discuss the latest expansion to CK2, Horse Lords. Horse Lords allows the player to assume the role of the eastern hordes, galloping across Europe and the CK2 interface. Has CK2 finally been stretched to its limit?
Aug 06, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 316: Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void
Starcraft II remains one of the most popular Esports, BUT... It's one of the most-streamed games, BUT... the new game mode will attract new players, BUT... listen in to hear what Rob and 3MA's very own Sean Sands think of the Legacy of the Void beta. (Also, learn about Rob's wicked APM.)
Aug 02, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 315: Fixing Franchises
Things can change quickly. One day all of your fans are happy, the positive reviews flow like wine, and phrases like "a return to form" are bandied about by critics. Then, when you least expect it - BAM: hit by a bus called "Rome 2" and it's back to the bottom. Time to claw your way back again. Rob, Fraser, Rowan, and Troy "The Horse Lord" Goodfellow talk about series that have fallen off the horse, gotten back on, fallen again, shot the horse, and built a glue factory. No cows (or horses) are sacred and Rowan drops a truth bomb about Alpha Centauri that we all needed to hear.
Jul 24, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 314: Massive Chalice
It's our Pi-eth episode! Rob is joined by game designer David V. Heron and OG panelist Tom Chick to discuss Massive Chalice. Doublefin's take on squad-based tactics has Tom all aflutter while David has a more reserved take. This Massive Chalice show has Massive Spoilers, so watch for the subtle cue.
Jul 17, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 313: Listener Mail
Rob, Bruce, and Troy "They Call Me Pony Express" Goodfellow attack the mailbox. We asked 3MA listeners for questions and got them in spades, so tune in to find out the panel's favorite games, podcasts, and desert island picks.
Jul 09, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 312: Historical Accuracy
Bruce and Rob are joined by game designer Ananda Gupta to discuss the idea of historical accuracy in games. Bruce gets down to the point by looking for a definition of "historical accuracy" and whether it's a bonus, a detriment, or just another facet of wargaming.
Jul 02, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 311: Total War: Attila
Rob Zacny and Troy "Flava Flavius" Goodfellow examine the latest Total War game, Attila. Following the dizzying heights of Shogun 2 and the despair-filled depths of Rome 2, Attila shows that Creative Assembly can still soar like so many proverbial eagles. The praise is effusive in this show as both hosts are happy to see the series return to form. Rob breaks it down: "Attila... basically awesome."
Jun 27, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 310: EU4Ever: Common Sense
Rob, Rowan, and Sean Sands fulfill our listeners' requests by taking a deep dive on the newest expansion for EU4: Common Sense. The latest DLC (and associated free update) brings notable changes to the game's systems. Are they all for the better? Should this be called EU5? How many kids are on Rob's lawn, and should they get off of it? Credit for the episode title goes to listener @semitext, who angers me by coming up with something as good as "EU4ever" before I could.
Jun 22, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 309: Hearts of Iron IV Preview
Paradox returns to World War II with the upcoming Hearts of Iron IV and a recent press event found Rob, Rowan, Fraser, and Gamers with Jobs' Sean Sands playing a preview build of the simulation. The results? Mixed feelings. Amidst glimmers of hope for an improved HoI on the order of the successful EUIV and CK2, the panelists found a confusing interface, a lack of direction, and plenty of room for improvement before the final build.
Jun 10, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 308: Order of Battle: Pacific
In the beginning, there was Panzer General and it was good. Soon after that came Panzer General 2 and it was even better. After that was another game we don't talk about. Fast forward a decade or so to Panzer Corps and things were back to good, unless you asked Troy, and some time after that we reach this week's topic of Panzer Boat. Rob, Tom, Bruce, and Troy "HMCS Uganda" Goodfellow get together to talk about Order of Battle: Pacific, a game that superficially shares a lineage with the venerable Panzer Corps and other Slitherine games. Rob and Troy took a shine to it while Tom and Bruce decide that they've sung this song, danced this dance, and sunk that carrier before. Hello Kitty is invoked, JRPGs are explained, and the Pacific Theater in general is likened to Warhammer 40K.
May 27, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 307: Roguelikes
Roguelikes. They're not strategy games, but they're everywhere. Well, parts of them are. Very specific parts, but rarely all of them, at least not enough to make everyone happy. To discuss these finer points, Rob gathers a veritable rogue's gallery of panelists and experts. Tyler Sigman: game designer and creator of the upcoming Darkest Dungeon. Darren Grey: Roguelike developer and current host of Roguelike Radio, an entire podcast about the genre. Michael Hermes: 3MA audio guy with the ability to bug Rob until we finally do a show about roguelikes. Absent: Troy "I Only Play Minotaurs" Goodfellow.
May 20, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 306: Invisible, Inc.
Rob and Troy talk to Jamie Cheng and James Lance of Klei Entertainment, developers of Invisible, Inc, a turn-based tactical game that focuses on stealthy people doing stealthy things.
May 14, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 305: Kim Kanger and French Colonial Wargaming
This week, Bruce Geryk hosts Kim Kanger, designer of Dien Bien Phu: The Final Gamble, as well as a series of wargames covering France's 20th century colonial wars. They discuss the appeal and importance of the wars in Algeria and Southeast Asia, as well as the unique challenges of designing games around them.
May 07, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 304: Star Drive 2
MoO-ve over, other space 4X games -- Star Drive 2 is here and ready to impress. Fraser Brown (it's definitely Fraser this time) and Rob discuss the finer points of perpetuating genocide on a mass scale for the best reason possible: a lack of any other viable option. Star Drive 2 improves on the original and brings a ship building module that Rob actually enjoys, a feat not seen since GalCiv2 which is only accurate because I am writing this summary and Rob is not. Also, Endless Space is a great game. Love, Michael.
May 01, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 303: Heroes of the Storm
Open your folder of fanfic and scroll down to the Warhammer and Warhammer 40K crossover you've always wanted to publish, the one where the dark elves fight space marines with acid spitting aliens and dragons flying through the sky next to the Serenity (for good measure). Now close that that .txt file, open Heroes of the Storm, and behold: Blizzard have brought your dreams to life! Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo come crashing together in the MOBA/LOMA that promises to be faster to play, easier to learn, and cost more than other, similar titles. Rowan Kaiser and David Heron join Rob to talk about the current state of HotS and whether it lives up to Blizzard's lofty goals.
Apr 24, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 302: The 4X Genre
Have you ever felt unable to articulate the gnawing doubt that paws at your mind as you play another 4X strategy game? Wondered at the tickle of weariness that plays at your mind as you once again discover Iron and go about the tedious work of upgrading your troops to Swordsman? Have you sighed deeply, closing out yet another Civilization run a mere five hours in, knowing that you'll never come back to it, finding it easier to start again on a vast, unspoiled continent before the crushing weight of despair will once again drive your game to a close? If so, this is the show for you! Rob and Troy are joined by game designer David Heron and freelance writer Austin Walker to talk about 4X games as a whole - what works, what doesn't, and why every damn conversation circles back to people looking for another Masters of Orion game.
Apr 15, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 301: John Tiller's Squad Battles - First World War
The Winter of Wargaming plods forward, inch by inch, straining through the rain and grime amidst a hail of enemy artillery and rifle fire. The trenches never end, a maze of mud and blank-faced soldiers so far beyond rational thought that their only solace lies inward toward thoughts of home and hearth. But wait, who's that ahead going over the top? It's Rob, Bruce, and Troy "Who Took My Cheese Rations?" Goodfellow here to talk about John Tiller's Squad Battles - First World War. Is this entry into the venerable series the volume that finally makes trench warfare fun?
Apr 08, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 300: Vietnam '65
Three Moves Ahead extends a warm welcome to founding member and persistent barista Tom Chick for our 300th episode. Tom, Rob, Bruce and Troy "I Hate Nicknames" Goodfellow discuss Vietnam 65, a PC and iOS game about managing hearts and minds during the Vietnam war. This week, we learn that Rob is unequivocally the tactical and strategic mastermind of counter-insurgency warfare. Bruce reveals what he considers to be the best - best - Vietnam war game ever made, and we all learn a little bit about what a "light" war game is.
Mar 30, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 299: Earliest Access
Rob is joined by Darkest Dungeon developer Tyler Sigman as well as Jon Shafer and Soren Johnson to talk about Early Access. As more games come onto the market in Early Access, gamers are getting more vocal about how it should be done and whether it's ultimately good for the consumer or the developer. Jon and Soren certainly have opinions, and they don't always align. The important thing to remember is that Soren and Jon both love you very much and this is not your fault.
Mar 19, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 298: Cities: Skylines
This is, by far, the most drug-filled, corpse-ridden, communism-fueled episode of Three Moves Ahead yet. Cities: Skylines has quickly become the darling of the city management scene and Fraser Brown, Rowan Kaiser, Sean Sands, and Rob Zacny are here to tell you why.
Mar 15, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 297: Frozen Cortex
Mode 7 developer Ian Hardingham joins Rob and Fraser to talk about Frozen Cortex, the robot football follow-up to 2011's Frozen Synapse. Fighting robots! Running plays! Stats? Wrong end zone!
Mar 07, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 296: Sunless Sea
Rob, Bruce, Julian, and Fraser set sail in the macabre and fascinating land of Sunless Sea. Based on the setting of the browser game Fallen London, Sunless Sea fills out its bingo card quickly as a roguelite-RPG-text adventure-FTL-Lovecraftian-ship simulator. Learn why this game is generating gobs of praise and high scores and also why there is an island named after Bruce.
Feb 25, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 295: Heroes of Might and Magic
Rob, Rowan, and Troy "I have a Gnoll friend" Goodfellow talk about the Heroes of Might and Magic series in its entirety, from bright, pixely start to Match Three finish. HD remakes, RPG spinoffs, puzzle games -- HoMM has it all.
Feb 20, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 294: Fifty Shades of Grey Goo
Rob is joined by freelance writer T.J. Hafer and Gamers With Jobs' Shawn Andrich to talk about Grey Goo, a new RTS with a classic aesthetic and modern conveniences. Also, goo.
Feb 04, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 293: Close Combat
The Winter of Wargaming continues with Rob, Bruce, and Troy "We Need More Canadians" Goodfellow talking about the Close Combat series. The series saw a refresh in 2014's Gateway to Caen - was it enough of an update or has the series gone stale?
Jan 29, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 292: Advanced Squad Leader
Bruce and Julian sit down to talk about the often mentioned (but rarely truly discussed) Advanced Squad Leader. Joining them are Jeff Hallet and Dave Kleinschmidt, hosts of what is undeniably the best ASL podcast on the internet, The 2 Half-Squads. ASL holds a reputation for being one of the most detailed and fully fleshed-out wargames available. The flexible combat system lends itself to memorable games that cover a wide variety of scenarios. For even more in-depth discussion of ASL, visit The 2 Half-Squads:
Jan 19, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 291: Europa Universalis IV in 2015
Sean Sands from Gamers With Jobs joins Rob to talk about Europa Universalis IV. EUIV has seen several expansions and updates since its launch, and what used to be the undisputed flagship of the studio is fighting for top dog with Crusader Kings II. Sean has played just a few hours of EUIV and offers his insights into what the game has grown to be and why he keeps coming back.
Jan 13, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 290: Odds and Ends
Just in time for the weekend, it's Rob and Troy "Miscellaneous is my Middle Name" Goodfellow back together to talk about some of the smaller games that fell through the cracks during this holiday season.
Jan 03, 2015
Three Moves Ahead 289: 2014, King of Years
Rob Zacny, Fraser Brown, Rowan Kaiser, and Troy "You Say 'Two Piers', I say 'Paradox'" Goodfellow talk about all the terrific and not-so-terrific things that happened in strategy gaming in 2014. Endless Legend appears to win based on the metric of time discussed and we all learn what Rowan really thinks about his cat.
Dec 24, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 288: Ardennes Assault
Rob and Fraser talk about Company of Heroes 2: Ardennes Assault. Someone, on this very show, declares Ardennes assault to be the best - the BEST - that Company of Heroes has ever been. But who? Who would make such a bold claim?
Dec 18, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 287: General Mayhem
The most regular of panels is together to talk about generals: how are they portrayed in games, and do they accurately represent the effect of true leadership on the battlefield? Rob, Julian, Fraser, and Troy "That's not my lieutenant, that's my horse" Goodfellow debate the finder points of leadersihp. Most importantly: Fraser has the itch to write some fan fiction.
Dec 04, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 286: Valkyria Chronicles
Valkyria Chronicles: a product of Sega's ill-fated R&D development team that was sort of set in Holland and loosely based on a conflict that may have been World War II (but wasn't). Rob is joined by Gamers With Jobs' Shawn Andrich and developer David V. Heron to talk about the 2008 Playstation 3 cult classic that has found new life on Steam, or a platform that closely resembles Steam.
Nov 27, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 285: No Coffee, No Smokes
Kotaku's Evan Narcisse joins Rob and Fraser to discuss This War of Mine. Rather than pushing chits around from the remote general's chair, This War of Mine plunges the player into the lives of the people affected by war.
Nov 21, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 284: This is My Arquebus
Rob, Troy, and Bruce discuss Pike and Shot, a wargame about everyone's favorite 16th-century military formation.
Nov 15, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 283: A Sterile Future
Rob, Fraser, and Troy "It's my planet I'll do what I want" Goodfellow talk about the latest entry into the Civ franchise, Civilization: Beyond Earth. Is this the game we've all been waiting for? Well, no, not really. Find out why and listen to Troy talk about touching planets, and them touching back.
Nov 07, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 282: Surrender or Die in Obscurity
At long last, console games are coming to Three Moves Ahead. Michael Hermes and Jenn Cutter join Troy "Zodiac" Goodfellow to talk about Square's 1997 Playstation game Final Fantasy Tactics. Listen in and learn about chocobos, time mages, and questionable translations.
Oct 30, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 281: Black on Red
The original panel gets together to talk about an original game made by our original intern, Soren Johnson (also known for designing Civilization IV). Rob, Julian, Bruce, and Troy "The Wolf of Nix Street" Goodfellow discuss buying, selling, and exploring in this early preview of Offworld Trading Company.
Oct 22, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 280: Have Fun Storming the Castle
You think you can get into my castle? You can't. I've got a moat. I've got a moat, and I've got some big-ass walls. See those arrow slits? We're going to shoot arrows at you, and there's not a damn thing you can do about it. Because I am safe in this castle and you're just some puny little knight on a - oh, you think your ladders are going to help? Gonna put some ladders up and storm the walls? Well, I can - wait. Oh shit. Those are some good ladders. I can pour some oil on you, perhaps? Nope, you're already in the compound. Fifteen years of construction time, countless blocks of stone, and you beat me with a ladder. Shit.
Oct 17, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 279: Teenage Zombie Insects
Fraser Brown and Rowan Kaiser join Troy "Restart" Goodfellow to talk about Endless Legend. Most of them agree that Endless Space was good... but not great. Does Endless Legend pick up the slack and become a game for the ages? One thing is certain: it sure is purty.
Oct 10, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 278: Troy Goodfellow Simulator 2014
Kotaku's Patricia Hernandez and Eurogamer's Paul Dean join Troy "Morris Windsor" Goodfellow to talk about the latest installment in the Sims Franchise. Discussion abounds regarding pools, toddlers, and having a pint with Death down in the local. Fair warning for wholesome Sim-lovers everywhere: Troy gets a little blue.
Oct 03, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 277: Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)
Planetary Annihilation is finally here, and Rob is joined by Fraser Brown (PCGamesN) and Brendan Caldwell (Rock Paper Shotgun) to discuss their differing views on the game.
Sep 25, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 276: Functional Cogs Only
The crew from Gaslamp Games talks to Rob and Troy about their upcoming (but available in early access) simulation game, Clockwork Empires. Daniel Jacobsen, Nicholas Vining, and David Baumgart answer questions about cults, cannibalism, fish people, and the fire alarm. I took out the fire alarm bit, though. Bad radio.
Sep 18, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 275: The Rise of Nations Show
Where does one begin to discuss what has been called "The Official Game of Three Moves Ahead"? Tom would say: by describing the sublime user interface, or maybe the clever ways the game handles technology and advancement. Perhaps the deft grace with which it weaves the entirety of human history into one lunch break. In summary, Tom thinks this game is the cat's pajamas. Listen in as he waxes poetic alongside Rob and special guest Sean Sands.
Sep 12, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 274: Mail Call!
What's the craziest thing you've ever seen a computer AI do? What kind of product does Rob use in his hair? Does Troy really sing showtunes all the time? (Yes.) Some of these questions are answered in this week's Q&A show!
Sep 04, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 273: The Guns of August
Rob Zacny and Troy "Vimy Ridge" Goodfellow continue the discussions of World War I with Slitherine's Commander: The Great War. Alternate episode titles: Slow Your Kaiser Roll World War Fun
Aug 22, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 272: Knights of the Sky
In a feat more rare than a perfectly executed Reverse Cuban Eight, the entire panel is on board for this week's show. Rob Zacny, Julian Murdoch, Bruce Geryk, and Troy "Sopwith Camel" Goodfellow talk about flight during World War I.
Aug 13, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 271: The Last Express
Three Moves Ahead continues to explore World War I in an extended episode that looks at 1997's The Last Express. Rob and Troy are joined by Idle Thumbs' Chris Remo to dive into an adventure game that explores the often-overlooked time in history that preceded World War I.
Aug 08, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 270: Gaul Stones
Today's episode on Hegemony Rome: The Rise of Caesar is all about learning. We learn that Troy's eloquence is as fleeting as the wind. We learn about Fraser's dark side. We also learn that Rob, ah, really likes logistics.
Jul 24, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 269: Crisis Management
Game Designer Chris King joins Rob and Troy to talk about crisis management and political tension in video games. In this anniversary year of World War I it's only fitting to discuss the systems and mechanics that create the powder kegs that eventually spawn global conflict. It's also never a bad time to talk about Victoria 2.
Jul 17, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 268: Pickett's Charge
Rob, Julian, and Troy "Stonewall" Goodfellow get together to talk about Ultimate General: Gettysburg. Is this the bargain we've been waiting for? The next great Gettysburg game? The game that finally introduces the importance of Lollazapoola Hill?
Jul 09, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 267: Revising History
Jon Shafer returns to the show to talk with Rob and Troy about revisionist history. Everyone thinks the Spanish Conquistadors were jerks, but let's not forget the behavior of the waffling Belgians. Also, where are all the World War I games?
Jul 03, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 266: Relaxing by the Hearthstone
An all-star panel of Julian Murdoch, David V. Heron, and Troy "Well Played!" Goodfellow get together to talk about Hearthstone. Blizzard's CCG seems to be the darling of the gaming community, but David has his reservations.
Jun 26, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 265: Tally Me Bananas
Pork sandwiches. Salsa music. Awesome hats. Politically motivated murder. Tropico is back again and Polygon's Charlie Hall is here to talk to Rob and Troy about the latest installment in the long-running series. Has the well been tapped? Is the series still going strong? How awesome would Rob look in a white linen suit and hat?
Jun 19, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 264: Building vs Battle
Rob is joined by game designers and 3MA regulars Soren Johnson and Rob Daviau to talk about the balance between building an empire and going to war. Sometimes you just want to build a sand castle. Sometimes Montezuma comes along and kicks your sand castle over. Then you have to go to war, but you've been researching some bigass lighthouse. Now what?
Jun 10, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 263: Winter of Wargaming Wrapup
This week Rob and Bruce round out the evergreen Winter of Wargaming by talking about wargames with Firaxis Games' Ananda Gupta. Any topic related to strategy gaming is in play, ranging from solitaire wargames to Hearthstone and Batman.
Jun 02, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 262: A Thousand Shards of Light
Rob is joined by a full complement of guests with Rowan Kaiser, Kat Bailey, and Jason Wilson on board to talk about Warlock 2: The Exiled. The original Warlock was regarded as a solid foundation of a game with room for improvement. Does Warlock 2 deliver?
May 28, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 261: Hearts and Minds: Vietnam 1965-1975 with John Poniske
Bruce concludes his three-part series with game designer and Vietnam veteran John Poniske. The pair discuss John's game Hearts and Minds: Vietnam 1965-1975 and its inspiration and design decisions.
May 19, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 260: The empires of EVE
Rob is joined by author and EVE historian Andrew Groen as well as fleet commander Manny and alliance leader Molle to discuss EVE Online. Player machinations form the base upon which EVE Online is built and result in battles that are publicized for their massive player count, coordination, and real-world costs. Listen in to learn how and why these conflicts start and get an inside glimpse at the often intimidating EVE universe.
May 14, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 259: Vietnam 1965-1975 with Nick Karp
Bruce talks to Shenandoah Studio founder and game designer Nick Karp about his 1984 game, "Vietnam 1965-1975". The pair discuss the challenges of designing a game around a conflict still fresh in the minds of the country and the world as well as where Nick got the information and inspiration for his game.
May 05, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 258: A Land War in Asia
Rob, Troy, and regular panelist Fraser Brown try to figure out just what Wargame Red Dragon is. Is it a wargame? RTS? A real-time wargame? A platforming roguelike? Tune in and find out where Red Dragon ranks in the Wargame series.
Apr 28, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 257: Vietnam Solitaire with Dave Kershaw
Bruce Geryk begins his three-part look at games based on the Vietnam war by talking to game designer Dave Kershaw. The pair talk about Dave's game Vietnam Solitaire, the assumptions that it challenges, and modeling an unwinnable war.
Apr 21, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 256: The Days of Yor
In our 2^8 episode, Rob and Troy talk about Galactic Civilizations 3 with lead designer Paul Boyer. Paul explains the goals of the alpha and what early backers can expect at this stage of development as well as future builds. Rob and Troy rattle off a few items from their wishlist and both of them are wrong once again about how fun the ship builder was in GalCiv2. --Michael
Apr 15, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 255: Wizard
Rowan Kaiser and Fraser Brown fill in for an ailing Rob Zacny and talk about Age of Wonders 3. After a dearth of fantasy strategy games over the years, how does Age of Wonders 3 set alongside the Warlock series and the upcoming Endless Legend? Listen in as the phrase "dire penguin" is said on the show for the first time ever.
Apr 07, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 254: Putin on the Ritz
Troy and Bruce conclude the Winter of Wargaming by talking about Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm. Does Red Storm fit the mold of a traditional wargame? Quit Stalin and give this show a listen.
Mar 24, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 253: From Tabletop to PC
Rob and Bruce continue their Winter of Wargaming by talking about Conflict of Heroes and the critical changes that took place as the game transitioned to the PC. Come for the gaming discussion, stay for the talk of relevant books and history.
Mar 10, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 252: Magic Hills and Body Count
Rob and Troy talk about wargame scenario objectives and the balance between one-off tactical battles and the larger strategic picture.
Feb 28, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 251: We Built This City
Rowan Kaiser, Cassandra Khaw, and Greg Tito join Troy to talk about a return to the city-building genre with Banished from Shining Rock Software. Alternate titles: Tales from Rowan-oke, Miners & Minors.
Feb 22, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 250: It's More Than A Box
Troy and Rob mark episode 250 by looking at a new game from Proxy Games and Matrix. Does Pandora live up to its ambitions as a spiritual successor to one of strategy gaming's most beloved titles? Listen as they look at the old wine in not very alien wineskins. Plus some kind words for everyone that has gotten us this far.
Feb 07, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 249: Pressing Through Mud and Snow
Mohawk Games' Soren Johnson joins Troy and Bruce to talk about Drive on Moscow, the followup to last year's Battle of the Bulge. Bruce gives some insight from behind the scenes and Soren explains why writing a good AI is a large undertaking.
Jan 30, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 248: The Dredge Report
Polygon's Danielle Riendeau joins Rob and Troy to talk about the long marches and difficult decisions in Banner Saga. Well-marked spoilers are present between 30:58 and 38:26.
Jan 23, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 247: Korsun Pocket
Rob and Bruce revisit SSG's classic Korsun Pocket in this first episode of 3MA's Winter of Wargaming. Rob tells us how the game holds up to someone seeing it for the first time and Bruce explains what made Korsun Pocket unique and important at its release in 2003.
Jan 16, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 246: Commentarii de Bello Gallico
Rob and Troy go deep into Roman history to talk about the expansion to Total War: Rome II - Caeser in Gaul. Have Creative Assembly turned their trireme around? Listen in to see if Rob is less irate and hear Troy drop the best sound bite in the history of the show. Alternate title: You've Got Some Gaul
Jan 11, 2014
Three Moves Ahead 245: Auld Lang Zerg
Tom makes the bold claim that the traditional RTS is dead by the hands of MOBAs. Troy still likes Civ and Rob discusses his space minivan as well as pushing through the less savory parts of SimCity.
Dec 31, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 244: Best of eSports 2013
Andrew Groen and Taylor Cocke join Rob to talk about the eSports scene in 2013. The crew discusses how the different games have evolved and where they'd like to see eSports go in the future.
Dec 28, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 243: Personal Highlight Reels
Julian, Bruce, and Rob sit down to discuss their favorite things from 2013. Rob and Bruce look forward to a Winter of Wargaming. Bruce and Julian argue about Waterdeep.
Dec 17, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 242: A Black Turn of Events
Pieter de Jong and Tomislav Uzelac join Rob and Bruce to talk about the Black Turn expansion for Unity of Command. They go in-depth on the Eastern Front and principles of scenario design.
Dec 10, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 241: Sons of Abraham
Campo Santo's Nels Anderson joins Rob, Rowan, and T.J Hafer to talk about the Crusader Kings 2 Sons of Abraham expansion and why it speaks to so many people outside the traditional grand-strategy sphere.
Dec 03, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 240: Enemy Within
David Heron and Rowan Kaiser join Rob to talk about the Enemy Within add-on for XCOM.
Nov 26, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 239: A Blizzard of Enthusiasm
Rob, Fraser Brown, and TJ Hafer have come away from Blizzcon feeling like Blizzard is more of a strategy studio than it's been in years.
Nov 15, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 238: State of the RTS
Soren Johnson joins Rob and Troy to discuss the meaning of the RTS format, why the traditional genre definition is too narrow, and his new studio.
Nov 08, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 237: Night of the Card Hunter
Jon Chey, formerly of Irrational and now of Blue Manchu, joins Julian and Rob to discuss Card Hunter.
Nov 02, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 236: Q & A
Rob and Troy field some listener questions, revisiting space games, and whether they prefer more abstraction or more theme.
Oct 23, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 235: A Tough Row Tahoe
Julian Murdoch and designer Rob Daviau join Rob on vacation to talk about playtesting, feedback, and making games work.
Oct 16, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 234: Seeking New God
Bruce Geryk brings Tom Chick back to the show so they can grill Ilwinter's Johan Karlsson and Kristoffer Osterman about Dominions 4 - the latest version of their "So You Wanna Be A God?" Fantasy Conquest Game. Learn about new empires, new powers and why everything is just a bit different for them.
Oct 03, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 233: Enemies Within and Twilight Struggles
Firaxis designer Ananda Gupta joins Rob, Troy, and Bruce to discuss his upcoming expansion to XCOM and his storied design career in PC and board gaming.
Sep 25, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 232: Sid Meier's Gettysburg!
Nick Breckon joins Rob and Troy to talk about one of the greatest wargames ever made.
Sep 18, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 231: Odi et... odi.
Everything changes in this Very Special 2-hour Three Moves Ahead event. Rob, Rowan Kaiser, and Fraser Brown gather to talk about Rome and destroy a grave threat to the Total War series. But then the next morning they realize they've gone too far and they're all like, "What have we done?" But nothing will ever be the same again, they've been marked forever.
Sep 12, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 230: Hot, Hot NS Hex
Soren Johnson, Ryan Kuo, and Michael Hermes join Julian today to talk about iOS asynchronous board gaming. Neuroshima Hex is the star of the show and leads the panel to other recent additions such as Eclipse and A Brief History of the World.
Sep 05, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 229: Rebels, Dissent, and Treason
Rob and Troy discuss how rebellion and discontent have been represented in strategy games, and why they can be so crucial.
Aug 26, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 228: A New Universe
PC Gamer's TJ Hafer and Gamesbeat's Jason Wilson join Rob to discuss Europa Universalis IV. Spoiler: they loved it.
Aug 19, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 227: What's the Deal with Lord Management?
Idle Thumbs' Sean Vanaman and former Escapist editor Tom Endo join Rob to explain the appeal and hurdles of Dota 2 and lord management.
Aug 08, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 226: Firaxis' Revisionists
Ed Beach and producer Dennis Shirk sit down with Rob to discuss their thinking behind Brave New World, and making a better Civilization V.
Jul 28, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 225: Brave New World
Rob, Troy, Fraser Brown, and Rowan Kaiser talk about the latest Civilization expansion.
Jul 20, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 224: Stopped at the Gates of Moscow
Tom Chick joins Rob to talk about their feelings toward Company of Heroes, and why they both feel a bit disappointed. Tom thinks the game's economy is broken and it's become too armor driven, while Rob is really depressed by the faction design. And yet Rob still likes it, while Tom finds it ultimately pointless.
Jul 12, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 223: God Help the Marines on Iwo Jima
Evan Lahti joins Rob to talk about Red Orchestra 2: Rising Storm (a totally LEGIT strategy topic). They discuss why it outstrips Heroes of Stalingrad, how it does faction design right, and the role of asymmetry.
Jul 04, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 222: Wargame: See Deep, Think Deeper
Bruce and Tom join Rob for a late-night chat about Wargame: AirLand Battle, Cold War tactics and politics, and Rob's overwhelming awfulness at this game.
Jun 28, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 221: Binding With Iron
Troy and Bruce team up to discuss the track record of railroad games through strategy history, from 1830 through Railroad Tycoon and Rails Across America and beyond. How do these games distinguish themselves from each other? What is the attraction? Does Ticket to Ride count?
Jun 20, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 220: Expanding the Company of Heroes
Relic's Quinn Duffy and former Relic producer and friend of the show Shane Neville join Rob to talk about Company of Heroes past and future.
Jun 11, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 219: Meeting of the Minds
Rob talks to the Paradox brain trust of CEO Fred Wester and VP Shams Jorjani to discuss publishing, Paradox's approach to the business, and whether reviewers are the enemy.
Jun 05, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 218: The War in Europa
EU IV lead Thomas Johansson and freelance writer Joe Robinson join Rob to talk about their recent adventures with a massive EU IV multiplayer session.EU IV lead Thomas Johansson and freelance writer Joe Robinson join Rob to talk about their recent adventures with a massive EU IV multiplayer session.EU IV lead Thomas Johansson and freelance writer Joe Robinson join Rob to talk about their recent adventures with a massive EU IV multiplayer session.
May 30, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 217: Victoria Day
3MA Producer Michael Hermes and GWJ editor Erik Hanson joins Rob and Tom to talk about Victoria II: Heart of Darkness. Rob is reconsidering some of his earlier, harsher views on Victoria while Tom argues that it is a towering achievement of game design that speaks to real-world politics in a way few others have ever attempted.
May 20, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 216: Lost in Space
Paul Dean joins Rob to talk about their shared frustration with the state of strategy games among the stars.
May 14, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 215: Early Access
Tom Chick and Rob talk about the rise of early access programs, whether it's a good thing, and what it means for their work.
May 01, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 214: We <3 the Swarm
Andrew Groen and Sean Sands join Rob to discuss how Heart of the Swarm has changed StarCraft 2, and the evolving competitive landscape. (Cover image: Enrique Espinoza courtesy MLG)
Apr 24, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 213: On Campaign
Tom Chick joins Rob and Troy to talk about campaigns in RTS games, particularly StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm.
Apr 17, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 212: Set Disruptors to Acts of God
Troy, Julian, Dave Heron, and Rob talk about the role of extraordinary disruptions in strategy games. From acts of God to the acts of Khan, why don't more strategy games include disruptions? And should they?
Apr 09, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 211: Worth a Thousand Words
PAX East 2013 was host to the second ever Three Moves Ahead panel, and this time we took on interface design. Troy and Rob were joined by Rob Daviau (IronWall), Eric Lee Smith (Shenandoah) and Nels Anderson (Klei)
Mar 27, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 210: A Silly Place
Chris and Rowan Kaiser join Rob to dissect SimCity and its many quirks.
Mar 21, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 209: Desktop to Tabletop
Bruce and Troy welcome Paul Rohrbaugh from High Flying Dice Games to the show to talk about what it means to be a desktop wargame publisher? Why do desktop games support greater variety in conflicts? Is there a limit on what can and cannot be done? What does a desktop consumer look like? And stay tuned to the end for a pretty cool wargame story.
Mar 12, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 208: Social Gaming
Rob Daviau joins Julian, Rob, and Troy to talk about games that are more about social interaction than mechanics. Traitor games, party games, and negotiation games.
Mar 07, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 207: Eagles Marching
Awesome Out of Ten's Fraser Brown and PC Gamer's T.J. Hafer join Rob to talk about Paradox's March of the Eagles.
Feb 27, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 206: Cold Warriors
It's just Troy and Rob this week as they reflect on Cold War strategy games and the unique challenges and temptations of that setting.
Feb 19, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 205: A Final Unity
2x2's Tomislav Uzelac joins Bruce and Rob to talk about designing Unity of Command, scenario design versus systems design, and where the series goes from here.
Feb 12, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 204: Gate-Crashing the Roman Empire
Jon Shafer joins Rob and Troy to talk about his new project, At the Gates, and the role of map evolution.
Feb 06, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 203: Classic Career Analysis with Chris Taylor
Gas Powered Games' Chris Taylor joins Rob, Troy, and Julian to talk about Total Annihilation and the Supreme Commander series, as well the problems currently facing Gas Powered and their Wildman Kickstarter..
Jan 29, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 202: Best of the Best 2012
It's old home week on Three Moves Ahead as the full panel assembles to talk about their favorite games and trends of 2012, and Tom Chick crashes the party to bury the hexagon, not to praise it.
Jan 22, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 201: Best of the Guests 2012
Our most frequent guests in 2012, designers Soren Johnson, Jon Shafer, and Dave Heron return to 3MA to talk to Rob about their favorite experiences of the year.
Jan 15, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 200: Tapping Past Bastogne
2013 opens with a look at Shenandoah Studios' Battle of the Bulge for iPad. Everyone agrees that it is shiny and beautiful, but does it work as it should? Is it even a Bulge game at all? Listen as Troy, Bruce and Julian work out what makes Battle of the Bulge a near perfect match of design and platform.

Gameographies of major players at Shenandoah John H Butterfield Joe Miranda Eric Lee Smith

Bruce's review
Jan 07, 2013
Three Moves Ahead 199: Some Assembly Required
Troy and Julian welcome freelance writer and co-proprietor of the Shut Up, Sit Down Show, Paul Dean, to talk about house rules and modding in board games. Why do we do it? What counts as a mod of a board game? And how do you get other people to play them? Creativity, design, drinking - Troy is good at one of these things, but a fine chat is had.
Dec 18, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 198: The Kessel Run
Rowan Kaiser rejoins Rob and Bruce to talk about War in the East, while Bruce has been busy with the Don to the Danube expansion. Rowan has thoughts about approaching the hardest of the hardcore wargames from a newcomer's perspective, while Rob is laboring under the most epic misconception in 3MA history. Bruce is a little bit disappointed in the new scenarios, and he and Rob discuss their ideal Eastern front scenarios. Then the panel talk about Matrix prices, and what they mean for the genre.
Dec 11, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 197: All By Myself
Troy and Bruce welcome original panelist Tom Chick back to the show to talk about solitaire boardgames, starting with the new Phantom Leader for iPad and then roaming through 20000 Leagues Under the Sea, Levee En Masse, some Lovecraftian thing and Ambush. What makes a solitaire board game distinct from a computer game played against an AI? When do theme and production values matter? Plus the return of the Geryk outro tunes.
Dec 04, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 196: Grunt's Eye View
Rob is joined by Shawn Andrich, Evan Lahti, and Phill Cameron to talk about Planetside 2 and the past and future of the large-scale shooter. At what point does the scale start to turn a shooter into a strategy game, and does Planetside hit that level? Everyone suspects that Planetside would be more strategic if only there were a commander role, and Rob and Shawn are reminded of the old Battlezone games. Evan is impressed by how diverse the experiences and battlefields are in Planetside 2, but everyone has doubts about the F2P economy and the progression system. The group also talk about the ArmA series and Natural Selection 2's blend of RTS and FPS.
Nov 29, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 195: Classic Game Analysis: Age of Mythology
Rob and Troy welcome freelancer John Peter Grant to the show to talk about one of the greatest real-time strategy games ever made - Ensemble's Age of Mythology. The art, the story, the balance, the structure -- everything is examined in a deep and wide-ranging conversation about why this game still stands as a landmark title with a lot to teach the modern RTS developer and player.
Nov 20, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 194: Checking In with Arcen
Last seen way back in Episode 37, Chris Park from Arcen Games returns to the show to talk to Troy, Michael Hermes and Shannon Quesnel about AI War: Fleet Command on the occasion of the release of Version 6.0. Chris talks about how theme and vision dictate patching, the particular skills that a hardcore niche audience can bring to an indie game and how Steam is the best promotional tool they have.
Nov 12, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 193: A Million Little Plastic Pieces
Rob Daviau joins Rob and Julian to talk about components, game enhancements, and theme. How does component quality factor in design decisions, and how much should they support theme? Why do we get so attached to the sensations that accompany a game, to the point where it can profoundly affect the quality of our experience? Why did War of the Ring nearly get Rob Zacny pulled over at the border?
Nov 06, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 192: Fallen Enchantress with Derek Paxton
Derek Paxton comes back to the show to talk with Tom, Rob, Bruce, and Troy about Fallen Enchantress, his massive revision of 2010's Elemental: War of Magic. He explains how he started reshaping Elemental, and how the project grew along the way. Tom is already a big fan, and even suggests that Fallen Enchantress may be close to Master of Magic-levels of greatness. Rob and Troy are a bit more reserved, and some arguments break out over diplomacy, the early game, and the tactical combat. Derek details his thinking on each of those points, and goes a long way to explaining why Fallen Enchantress works the way it does.
Oct 30, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 191: Return to Summoner's Rift
In a perhaps dangerously detailed discussion of League of Legends, Rob and Julian talk to Rhea "Ashelia" Monique and Julian Williams about the recent League of Legends championship. They talk about the new ways pro teams are playing the game, and the connection between the pro game and the regular ranked play. They also talk about the importance of casual play and bringing in new players, and discuss the different ways StarCraft 2 and League of Legends approach that issue.
Oct 23, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 190: Fatality!: The XCom Review Show
Dave Heron and Jon Shafer return to the show to talk about XCom: Enemy Unknown with Julian and Troy. They talk about the streamlining Firaxis has done to the franchise and how it has paid off. How do the strategic and tactical levels meld? Is the voice acting any good? How replayable is it? And listen to their inevitable list of nitpicks. Troy's thoughts on XCom, Rob and Joe Robinson talk XCom and Rob argues in favour of its simpler design
Oct 15, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 189: Through a Glass, Darkly
Klei's Nels Anderson and Firaxis' Scott Lewis join Rob and Troy to talk about fog of war and hidden information in game design. They talk about Mark of the Ninja and how information-gathering becomes a key game phase, and how games like Civilization use fog of war as a way to keep the player focused on a small, manageable area at the start of the game. The group discuss other ways to represent information-gathering, touching on games like Wargame, XCOM, Panzer Corps, and even 2006's Chromehounds.

Apologies for any audio issues. We lost Scott Lewis's audio track to a software glitch.
Oct 09, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 188: We Will Be Watching, Commander
Bruce and Rob welcome Jake Solomon, lead designer of Firaxis' new XCOM, and interrogate him mercilessly. Jake explains his design choices and the trade-offs he faced in adapting and updating X-Com.
Oct 02, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 187: Faster Than Light, Slower Than Death
Michael Hermes joins Rob, Troy, and Julian to talk about FTL. Why FTL understands why we like space, its lovely simplicity, and why unfairness is cool.

Read Troy on FTL, then read Rob on his rendezvous with death.
Sep 25, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 186: Playing at the World
This week, Troy and Bruce talk to Jon Peterson, author of the epic gaming history tome, Playing at the World: A History of Simulating Wars, People and Fantastic Adventures from Chess to Role-Playing Games. They talk about the turning points in the evolution of wargames, when a wargame becomes a role playing game and the important task of collecting and compliling gaming’s long and often small scale history.
Sep 19, 2012
Three Moves Ahead 185: