Down the back of the armchair: My PODBOX in 2017

These newsletters have not been as regular as promised. My original intention was to provide recommendations for the GROGSQUAD based on my ‘consumed media’, however since I began late last year, my intake of media has reduced dramatically thanks to the imposition of other demands on my time. It isn’t likely to get any better until I retire from work, so it is best to see them as occasional treats for the next 16 years.

The chaps at Dissecting Worlds have hung up their headsets. I appeared on there as a frothing at the mouth RuneQuest zealot late last year. Keehar wants to spend more time gaming and donning his pads and box to play more cricket. In their final episode, Matt and Kehaar select their Desert Island podcasts. Keehar kindly took the GROGNARD files on board his ill-fated cruise ship alongside the evergreen Hypnogoria from the phenomenal Mr Jim Moon.

I’m always looking for new podcast to take with me on my daily commute. I thought that I would add a handful of my own recommendations based on my listening habits over the past 12 months.


In my pod box there are the gaming staples:

The Good Friends of Jackson Elias: I think that this year, this podcast has matured into something very special. The quality of the content is second to none. I wholesomely recommend their recent episodes about Religion and Cthulhu: a challenging, thought-provoking and inspiring podcast encouraging CoC players to think more about the motivations of NPCs based on religious compulsion. This year they also had an episode dedicated to the World of Darkness universe which I found very informative. It was entertaining too as host Matt Sanderson tried to negotiate the minefield of the current licensing arrangements. Every episode plants the seed of an idea: highly recommended.

Cthulhu Breakfast Club: There’s something reassuringly English and jolly about this podcast produced by the fine folk of YSDC. Paul is an amiable host and there is joy to be found in his guests trying to avoid him descending into audio-quakery. The guests are plucked from the YSDC actual play stable, Finn and Val as well as TV’s Marty Jopson and HP Lovecraft Literary Podcast’s Chris Lackey. Sometimes the banter is lost on me and the “G and P numbers” debate (how many steps are you away from playing with Gygax or Peterson) out-stayed its welcome. However, most of the time it’s like being with friends exchanging views over tea and cakes. Subjects covered always have a Lovecraftian theme, the chat is light and knowledgable and it’s worth going beyond the paywall just to spend time in the company of Paul.

The Smart Party: I’ve always been a fan of this show since I saw them at DragonMeet alongside The Good Friends … There’s a definite sense that they’ve shifted up a gear since their 50th show released earlier this year, as their quality content has been coming out thick and fast. With the possible exception of Episode 61 when it stalled, the recent output has been very good: Ken Rolson, an actual play of Blades in The Dark and a call to players to up their game, have all been recent highlights.

Monster Man – a new podcast with a very appealing concept – host James Holloway going through The Monster Manual from beginning to end. Funny, full of suggestions and informative. They’re short, so subscribe!

Improvised Radio Theatre with Dice: I was pleased to finally convince Mike Cule to contribute an article to the latest GROGZINE. In this podcast, he and his co- host, Roger Bell West, have maxed out their wisdom score applying their experience in gaming to elucidate such subjects as tech levels, inspirational music and the RPG a Day. It appears like clockwork on the first day of the month, I measure the passing of my life by its appearance in my box.

Ken and Robin don’t need me to recommend them to you.

You know about all those though, don’t you? What about the others that I always listen to?


This was the year that stopped listening to Mark Kermode’s film review. I don’t know why, possibly because my viewing habits have been changing over the years. There was a point this year where they were amusing themselves by playing the podcast at a slower speed and I thought that they’d reached peak ‘self-indulgence’ (note-to-self).

Big Mouth During ‘the naughties’ my favourite podcast was The Word magazine, co-hosted by supreme music journos Mark Ellen and David Hepworth. When the magazine folded, they continued the podcast sporadically as recordings of live interviews at The Islington pub. The recent one featuring Danny Baker is filled with his usual joie d vie, however I miss the knowledgable vibe and general hoary old chat from the original format. Producer Matt Hall and erstwhile The Word editor Andrew Harrison have attempted to restore the newsy feel in Big Mouth, a podcast that reviews the week’s cultural highlights. The tone is uneven as it is very much guest dependent, but it’s worth tuning in for Andrew’s turns of phrase and Matt’s inspired recommendations. As a starting point, I’d go for the most recent, and work backwards. You’ll be listening to St Vincent and buying comics in no time.

Thinking Allowed I know that there are many people who love In Our Time, Melvyn Bragg’s weekly history-thinking programme on Radio 4. I tend to pick and choose topics, but I make a point of listening to Laurie Taylor’s consistently interesting Thinking Allowed. Start with Mafia – Organised Crime.

Adam Buxton Podcast This is a charming, funny series which has provided the best individual podcasts of the year: Adam Curtis and Johnny Marr.

SMERSH Pod One of my recent discoveries, following the James Bond RPG episode, is SMERSH Pod, presented by John Rain and a special guest each episode which goes scene by scene through Bond movies. I’ve been working through the back catalogue and it is, without doubt, my favourite podcast of the year. It’s hilarious. As a starting point, try Moonraker with special guest Al Murray. It’s not all Bond, there’s a few Side Specials too: try out The Wild Geese.

Hopefully there’s something in this list to pique your interest. Please let me know your recommendations in the comments.

Author: Dirk

Host of The GROGNARD RPG Files podcast. Talking bobbins about Runequest, Traveller, Call of Cthulhu, T&T, AD&D and others from back in the day and today.

4 thoughts on “Down the back of the armchair: My PODBOX in 2017”

  1. I highly recommend the Archeology Channel podcast (from the Archeological Legacy Institute). A great 10-15 min weekly roundup of the week’s archeology discoveries. As a recovering Runequest addict it’s full of Bronze age inspiration.

  2. Its curious that this year I also have stopping listening to the Kermode and Mayo podcast! How odd, I’d not realised until you pointed it out…

    Meeples & Miniatures is always worth a listen (its how I found you). And for self promotion there is also my ww2podcast ( ;o)

    1. That’s a great list and I smugly note that I listen to several you have recommend already. If you’re a fan of DC Comics, then I highly recommend the various podcasts on the Fire And Water Podcast network. Loads of great stuff on there.

  3. I listen to pretty much all the gaming podcasts listed (even if sometimes I find Ken & Robin and Improvised Radio Theatre make my head hurt a bit). I’ve also enjoyed several episodes of James Introcaso’s Tabletop Babble (

    Jim Moon’s Hypnobobs podcasts are always entertaining (, although I think he’s in the process of moving provider. Anyone know if the move has gone through?

    The 2000AD Thrillcast ( is good if you like The Galaxy’s Greatest Comic. If nothing else, seek out their two part interview with Mike McMahon – he’s knowledgable, self-deprecating and very, very funny.

    Intelligence Squared ( covers a good range of politics, science and history. A discussion on drug-resistant bacteria from a while back was particularly illuminating (if also rather depressing).

    The Infinite Monkey Cage ( with Brian Cox and Robin Ince is a nice mix of hard science and geek humour.

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