Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Podcaster Spotlight: The Independent Characters - Carl Tuttle (Part Two)

Today we bring you part two of our interview with Carl Tuttle, host of The Indepedent Characters Podcast. Look for part three tomorrow, then Fantasy Friday to end the week! Next week we will be posting interviews with Geoff and Zach, the other two main hosts of TIC!

Download their current episode here.

What has been your experience lately with Tyranids?
This is a tough one. I have a fully painted Tyranid army, and I often think of going back and fleshing it out a bit and playing it more. I think right now the Tyranids changed drastically from the horde of monsters scrambling towards you, to a really sensitive army to position. If anything I would compare them more to Eldar now, than to the Tyranids of 4th edition. The army really requires you to have the right units, in the right place, at the right time. It's a very tricky army for people to work with at the moment. I really do not have too much trouble beating them currently. Which probably puts me off to playing them. Of course a really good Tyranid player could probably clean my clock. Let's face it - I'm not the best guy when it comes to tactics.

However, I know more about how the game is played now than I did when I was playing my nids. So I could probably use some of that to my advantage and do a bit better than I think I would.

What do you think GW could do to fix Tyranids?
There's too much competition for their elite slots. I think this is the thing that hurts them the most. I also find it really tough to justify putting a Hive Tyrant on the table with no invuln save these days. Which is unfortunate, because I love the idea of the Hive Tyrant. There are just too many missiles out there in newer armies (or dreadnoughts with autocannons) to risk losing such an expensive unit that really has a hard time taking advantage of cover.
Can you tell us about the narrative campaign you have planned?
Well it's actually not a narrative campaign. I found rules for running The Eye of Terror Campaign for your gaming group in some old White Dwarf Magazines I have. I'm really disappointed I wasn't playing 40k at the time this world wide campaign was run by GW. I would love to play in something like that. So when I found these old articles, I thought, "Hey I could run this for my local area!". The rules as written can accommodate about 24 people. So that's going to be my first step. I'm going to run it for about 24 guys (we have a LARGE gaming group to draw from here!) and see how it goes.

Then, there are some changes you can make to the math of the thing to make it viable for larger groups. This would become quite cumbersome for one person to do, so I actually have a friend helping me with the back end to a web site which will allow people to submit their games, and see real time changes to war zones. If the concept works this summer - I think you can expect us to "re-brand" the Eye of Terror Campaign into something of our own devising. I will change up a few of the rules and then the idea is to launch something "world wide" that game clubs and players can take part in. I already have the back story worked out and an area of space in mind for the campaign. It should be a lot of fun I think. I will be sharing more on this on our show in the near future!
Geoff's favorite part about Adepticon?
Anything you'd like to say about the Adepticon coverage you'll be doing this year?
Well it's going to be great for one thing! We had a lot of fun doing it last year. This year we hope the changes we have made are going to help make it easier to tell what is going on, while still allowing us to do commentary and have fun with the whole thing. We've just finished running a drawing/contest for some KR Multicase prizes to help us raise money for this coverage. Our listeners are amazingly generous. So I think they have helped us a tremendous amount to bring this coverage to life. So we really do not want to let them down!

I'm mostly hoping I don't have the technical problems we had last year! I was forced to stay up the entire night troubleshooting the problem. I wonder how much better our previous coverage would have been if I wasn't so exhausted!

Not only are we going to be covering the finals, but we are also going to bring you a lot of interviews and some other special things we have in the works while we are there!

What do you envision for TIC Podcast in the next three years?
Whew! That's a hard question. If I'm being honest, the show has already exceeded our expectations at this point. I would certainly love for the show to continue to gain in popularity. We see a significant upward trend in our downloads month over month. I would love to see that continue. I guess I would like to just ensure that we continue to innovate the show and remain relevant and entertaining! We are trying out some new things this year and we will see how they go over. We really just want to grow with the game. In that sense I am really looking forward to what 6th Edition will bring us.

For the show to continue to grow and do new things though, we will likely need to change up some of the way we work. I think until people really do a Podcast like this, they don't really understand the amount of work that goes into it.

It seems like there are a lot of 40k / minis wargaming podcasts out there, but you have consistently provided one of the most organized / on topic / creative podcasts. What do you think has contributed to your success?
I'm always surprised when people refer to us as a successful Podcast. I'm not really sure how that is measured. I probably measure it in terms of the number of friends I have made through the show. I really have a hard time keeping up with everyone I have made contact with because of it! So in that sense I would say the show is a success.

All of that aside though - I think there are a couple of ways we approached the show that made a huge difference. The first thing is that we came into the Podcast with a plan. We knew what we did and didn't want to do. For example: News? No thanks. Everyone reads Blogs and by the time a bi-weekly Podcast announces news. It's old. Codex Overviews? Nope. Everyone else does them. Take a look at how many Podcasts did "Necron Codex Overviews". I don't think we could really add anything, that hasn't already been talked about there. Tactics? Not really my personal strong suit, and for the most part I personally don't find hours of tactics discussion to be entertaining. There is obviously a market for it, but I am not that market.

So we knew we wanted to not travel the same road everyone else did. But there were obviously a few things we were going to do that were the same. Hobby Progress for example. I actually LOVE listening to people talk about their hobby progress. So this was something that appealed to me to share. Games Played. I don't like to go through them blow by blow - but a nice overview of the game and a memorable moment or two is nice to hear as well (in my opinion anyway).

So we settled on our strengths, which was a friendly, positive environment. So right out of the starting gate we wanted to make people feel "like they were a part of our gaming group". We also wanted to steer away from negativity. That's not to say we wont be critical of products, but we will also talk about what is good about a product as well as bad. This seems to have resonated with people a lot. As I mentioned before, the show has allowed me to make a ton of friends across the country and abroad!

We also were sticklers for being on time with our show. We say every two weeks and we mean it. The occasional episode has slipped but we do everything we can to make sure we meet our deadlines. Shortly after we started, we had played with a couple format ideas. We finally settled on the "theme" for each show. This would usually comprise of the majority of the show. At some point we also kind of morphed into the Podcast that really is willing to branch out and explore playing 40k in different ways. This is something I think we have latched on to.

And then of course, the Imperial Armour and Forge World coverage we do. Honestly, we got lucky with that one. I was such a huge fan of The Siege of Vraks series, I insisted on doing a show about it. Geoff was on board. So we did the whole thing in one show. I wish we had spread it out now! We had an immediate and positive response about it!

What have been some of the biggest challenges that you've faced as a 40k Podcaster?Time is always a challenge. My wife puts up with a lot of my time being taken up by this thing. It really has become a second job. Having to juggle the show, along with my real job (which takes about 60+ hours a week), family obligations (I have a kid as well!), and then my own personal playing and hobby time... doesn't leave me with a lot of free time NOT dedicated to 40k and the show.

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