I’m a dedicated podcast listener – I got hooked on them in the early days and they’ve become a constant source of entertainment, from filling the time during long commutes to being a welcome distraction while being stuck at home during the current crisis. I’ve got a number that I want to give shoutouts to in these quick posts. I’ve picked each of them based on a simple parameter – they’re the ones that I regularly push to the top of my queue and do my best to keep up with.
Of all the podcasts that I listen to Happy Jacks is the one that I’ve stuck with the longest. How long? Roughly a decade. It was the second ever podcast that I got into, after the now defunct Bear Swarm and it’s safe to say that it’s the one that has had the biggest influence on me as a gamer. It not only got me through the wilderness of periods where I found myself barely playing games but has been responsible for introducing me to so many amazing gamers over the years. The community, through both the (numerous) forums and discord has always been fantastic and welcoming (with only a small number of flame wars). It’s been a big enough part of my gaming life that I even flew out to the amazing Stratigicon convention back in 2015 for the best four days in gaming I have ever had.
The regular advice show, which has always had the welcoming feel of friends just casually chatting about the hobby, has also developed an extensive stable of actual plays, featuring a wide ranging style of games from D&D to Legend of the Five Rings (Inukai!), a multitude of PbtA games and smaller indie games. As the show has grown it has also worked to diversify the cast roster and continues to do so at a time when representation is something so much of the hobby is struggling with. I’m not going to pretend that they’re perfect but they are actively engaging with issues and striving to improve.