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December 15, 2021

The Top 10 Summoner Wars Albums of All Time

J Updated

Game Information

There Will Be Games

If you’re someone who would be following my blog but didn’t listen to my interview of America’s next top Summoner Wars playtester, you can find it here.

Back in Episode 53, I was the first one to get the ‘podcast origin story’ treatment, with Colby.  Perhaps he knew even then that he wanted to get rid of me so he thought he’d get mine out of the way first. I decided to pass the torch to Cory Bullock with an interview, because I’ve grown to know him pretty well and figured people would like another peek behind the curtain of Summoner Wars.  

 We started out by talking about the usual stuff from earlier origins stories: how he started gaming, where he’s from, and so on.  Just as I started playing traditional card games and chess with my father, Cory’s dad was an old school Avalon Hill fan who later introduced him to CCGs.  I played MtG, but he’s mostly just aware of it and the literature surrounding it; we talked about how we're both 'Red' players.  We both cut our teeth on Pokémon.  He played a bit of Decipher’s Star Wars CCG. Cory continues to play A Game of Thrones LCG in addition to Summoner Wars.  We briefly touch on console games, such as Ogre Battle 64.

 But I wanted to know who he really was, so I turned to one of the most common questions I got asked by people in high school, right after “what sport do you play?”

 I’ve seen Michael Barnes posit that typical BGGers are more likely to listen to Weird Al than the general public.  I’d lump Monty Python and perhaps Jonathan Coulton songs in there too.  Barnes sees similar links to the Ameritrash movement and a predilection for punk and metal. Do Wargamers listen to Jazz and Chess players Classical?  If the only board games in your house are Monopoly and Apples to Apples are you more likely to listen exclusively to the top 40?  Is there a connection between my older sister introducing me to both Pearl Jam’s Vitalogy and Magic the Gathering in the same year?  I started to wonder if smaller publishers are staffed with people more likely to listen to alternative or independent music.  A little while ago I suggested this as a podcast topic to Colby Dauch, but he declined it because he just hits buttons on his PandoraPad or whatever.

So, mid-interview, I dropped a surprise nuke on Cory.  “Top 5 favorite albums of all time.  Go.”  He was caught off guard, so I picked some of mine while he thought about it.  But I quickly realized that yes, I did ask him a hard question, since I was neglecting some stuff from later in the alphabet as I glanced at my music folder.

[Warning: Some videos or lyrics may be NSFW]

Green Day – Coming Clean from Dookie

Arctic Monkeys – I Bet You Look Good On the Dancefloor; from Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not

CAKE – Daria from Fashion Nugget (but really, I like the whole album, and you’re more likely to have heard The Distance from that album.  I listen to the Cake discography on most solo road trips).

At the Drive-In – Pattern Against User from Relationship Of Command

Weezer – The Good Life from Pinkerton

Honorable mentions from the show:  Fever to Tell by Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Doolittle by Pixies.  

I also really like Nirvana’s unplugged album.

Here are songs from each of Cory’s top 5 albums, in I think no particular order:

Modest Mouse - Tiny Cities Made of Ashes, from The Moon and Antartica

Okkervil River - Seas Too Far to Reach, from Down the River of Golden Dreams

The Hold Steady - Banging Camp, from Separation Sunday

Laura Marling - Ghosts, from Alas I Cannot Swim

Ben Folds Five - Steven's Last Night in Town, from Whatever and Ever Amen.

And then I asked him what his favorite Summoner Wars album is.  If his debut was working on Cloaks and Jungle Elves, (let’s say that the JE are the A side, and Cloaks are B), was that the work he’s most proud of?  While excellent, he said that he didn’t have a sophomore slump – he really liked the work done on the VG/FK reinforcements.  And I pointed out that the Master Set* came out really well, and it was our 3rd album together.  We marveled at it, and then went on to talk about a lot of Summoner Wars stuff…

 *In hindsight, I prefer to think of the reinforcements as a solid EP, while the Master Set was some crazy 2 or 3 disc set that managed to be good, such as Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness by Smashing Pumpkins.   Again, showing my age here.

Even thought it didn’t show up on my list, there was definitely a time during testing where I’d listen to Combat Baby by Metric on repeat while staring at sideways boards in VASSAL.

There Will Be Games
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