Monday, March 16, 2015

Interview with Jeff King & Jordan Steinhoff of All Us Geeks

Jeff King and Jordan Steinhoff, cohosts of All Us Geeks

I’m here today chatting with Jeff King and Jordan Steinhoff, the guys behind All Us Geeks, which, today, is celebrating its three year anniversary. All Us Geeks started out as a podcast, but now it's also a website, blog, YouTube channel - and anything else I’m forgetting?

Jordan: I have low grade plans for world domination as well as the current entertainment offerings.

Jeff: From a strictly All Us Geeks angle, I think you nailed it. We haven’t launched AUG Con yet or anything. ;-}

When you do, sign me up. For both. I want, like, a duchy or something after the AUG takeover is complete. And a booth at AUG Con. That’s probably easier. Anyway, you guys are coming up on your third anniversary. So, for people who don’t know what you guys are all about, give us a brief history of All Us Geeks.

Jordan: All Us Geeks started as Jeff and Michael, another host who is currently on hiatus.  I was invited for a review of the Walking Dead TV series and never left.  It was originally going to be audio and written game reviews with some general added geekery.  As we evolved, we lost a host, added some video work and created the United Geeks Network, a network of like minded geeky content. 


Jeff: Jordan nailed the beginning. Initially I was asked about doing video reviews, and I nixed that idea because at the time I didn’t want to mess with video editing. But I had some audio experience already. Michael and I had also worked together on an e-zine we use to release; where I did a lot of written tabletop game reviews. I also had a side website that I was starting to put some of my written reviews on and that was going to be my next adventure. But we settled in on doing a podcast with a core segment where we reviewed at least one game a show. I stopped working on the other side project and focused in on producing content for All Us Geeks. As we fleshed it out, we decided to showcase our other geek related interests as well. Jordan came in for episode 1.5 which focused specifically on The Walking Dead, and he’s never left. ;-} We also like to point out that our audience has a recorded journal of Jordan and I becoming friends, because we didn’t really know each other, or have a lot of conversations, prior to him joining the podcast.

So did Jordan get involved through Michael? Or did you just find him with a “Will podcast for games” sign?

Jordan: We were both attending game nights that Michael hosts.  That’s really the only interaction I had with Jeff at the time. We weren’t doing anything outside the realm of game night and were not tight at that time

Jeff: In a Craigslist ad. I don’t recommend it. No, like Jordan said. We both attended Michael’s game night. And we had maybe met there two or three times, but our interaction was low. I think a lot of times when Jordan and I attend those things, there’s a good chance we’re drained from the day. So our overall interaction was low and we really focused on whatever game was on the table. So it wasn’t until Jordan came over for the podcast that we really started interacting and found we had some common ground.

So was it games that you first really connected over? Was there a moment when you guys thought, “Man, this is really going to work!” or was it just gradual?

Jeff: I would say not really. This first episode Jordan participated in was a special episode about The Walking Dead television show. So we didn’t really talk games at all. That episode went really well, it had a good flow and nice discussion/debate. And we clearly didn’t agree on all points but we could easily joke about where we didn’t agree. So right after recording, I told Jordan he could sit in on future episodes whenever he wanted. I can’t remember exactly when we finally stopped calling him a guest. But he’s been a part of the podcast since its inception and helped shape what it is today. But I knew from that first episode that it would be cool to talk more with Jordan. And the rest is out there for everyone to hear. We always tell people, our show is pretty much you sitting around a gaming table with the two of us. Even the stuff that is non-gaming related; that’s the stuff we’re talking about while playing games.

A few of the games they can choose from - if they can find the time.

Throughout the time you’ve been doing the show, were there any segments that you really wanted to work that just didn’t? Or the reverse - that you thought would flop and were fan favorites?

Jordan: One of our on again off again segments is Geeking Out.  It’s not that it hasn’t worked out so much as we’ve gone through our original list of ideas.  Now, we do a Geeking Out topic when something catches our interest but it’s not in every ep.  We get the occasional feedback, question, comment from our listeners and we’ll jump on those.  I don’t think that any of our segments haven’t really worked out.  Some things have needed to change to fit our format or time considerations.  We don’t want to put out a 4 hour ep every couple weeks and for a while it seemed we were doing that.  So some things spun off on their own (kickstarter) and other things, like Geeking Out, are more of a as they happen thing.

I’m a big, big fan of the Geeking Out segment, but that’s probably just because I like to hear you guys argue. I’ll have one of those for you later in the interview! Anything else that has changed in the show?

Jeff: We’ve definitely dropped things or rearranged things. And we’re constantly looking to take in listener feedback. The Game of Crowd Funding was originally just a Kickstarter segment on the main show that didn’t mesh well but has thrived as a stand alone recording. We dropped the segment we use to do about our past and upcoming weekend plans, because it got to a point where we were really just talking about things like lawn upkeep, etc… and it was clearly becoming a dragging point in the show when I was listening to it in editing.

We also dropped the Horror Headlines segment. I’m a huge horror geek. Michael and Jordan were not as much. So the segment really was mostly a solo conversation. But when Cyrus Kirby would come on; him and I would geek out on that segment. So we dropped it from All Us Geeks, but Cyrus and I started a separate podcast for horror movies.

We’re always looking for ways to tighten the show, but not get rid of what people expect from us when they download an episode.

I will say that Jordan and I seem to have a White Whale we’re still chasing. We like showcasing quarterly segments that are geek culture, but areas we’re not experts in. So we have a quarterly Anime and LEGO segment. But Jordan and I have tried several times to get someone to commit to a Cosplay segment! We’ve had it lined up at least twice and it’s never actually happened.

Well, let that be a call to any readers of this interview: cosplay. They wants it. Does you has it? So, other than a cosplay segment, where do you guys envision taking All Us Geeks in the next three years? What’s your master plan for world domination - or is the element of surprise critical there?

Jordan: For the next three years, I’d like to continue to build our name to the point we’re known as reviewers first and geek culture second.  Not that I have a problem being viewed as a geek culture podcast but we started this as reviewers, we review something every episode and after three years, we’re still not widely known as reviewers.  That said, I like our format so if our generalist ways means that never happens, I won’t be too broken up about it.  Overall, though, growth of our listener base, growth of the UGN and growth of the community are all things I want to see happen.

Jeff: We don’t have lofty goals really. We just want to continue to produce the content that our listeners enjoy. Jordan’s right in that we sometimes feel like because we wrap our game reviews with other geek culture topics, and despite doing a lot more Kickstarter related game videos, the general board game public does not think of All Us Geeks as a place for board game reviews. Now, our actual listeners ask us all the time if we’ll be reviewing various games, and many have said they’ve backed something on Kickstarter after listening to what we had to say; but in a broader sense we’re still sort of the unknown factor. I also agree with Jordan in that we (and our listeners) like our current format. We’re constantly told not to change. So if that means we continue a slow and steady move towards being known as reviewers; I’m fine with it. At the end of the day, we’re all about the interaction we have with the people that listen to us. Jordan mentioned United Geeks Network (UGN); and while that’s not strictly All Us Geeks related, it would not exist if All Us Geeks hadn’t done as well as it has. So I’d love to continue growing UGN and bring more geek culture online media content creators in to the family.

It’s strange to me that people don’t know you guys for your reviews! You’ve reviewed one of my games twice! Tell us a little bit more about your review process - how people can find you, what to expect from them, and so on.

Jordan: Primary contact is our website, allusgeeks.com. There are a variety of contact methods to reach us.  You can also find our reviews there.  Also taking a look at our YouTube page will give an idea of what we do for our Initial Impressions videos.

Basically we’ll play a game, sit down and discuss it so we have a baseline to talk about when record and then we’ll sit down and record. We look at mechanics, theme, fun factor and components.  We’ll discuss each of these, some times in depth, sometimes not so much, each giving our thoughts and then giving an overall impression.  It’s a simple formula that is rinse and repeat.  We try to keep it a hate free zone and I do try to find something redeeming about each game we review but sometimes that is hard.  I’ll be straight up and honest though, when something rubs me wrong or I just don’t like.  I don’t want to give anybody silly enough to listen to me any reason to think I see something that’s not there in a game.

Jeff: It surprises me sometimes too. I’ve had people that have asked to come on for an interview and either pre or post interview will be shocked to find out we actually review games and don’t just do interviews.

The easiest way to get in contact with us for a review is to use our contact form on the All Us Geeks website. That will ask the questions I need to know up front to evaluate if we can even make time in our schedule. It also has a link to our Review Policy, so people can see exactly what we’re looking at and what we need and how much lead time is a good idea to give us, especially to not be charged for a rush review if we can fit a game in to our schedule.

Initial Impression videos are pretty much a few quick plays for us to get a feel for the game. I’ll usually go over the rules in advance, but the day we shoot the video might be the same day we play the game a few times first and then reset everything up for the video shoot and finally give our initial thoughts.

An audio review is a bit more in-depth. Those we will usually play in advance of us recording. And we usually try to make sure we both feel comfortable with reviewing it properly, and also make sure we don’t have anything we want to clarify with the designer. We’ve had nights where we’ve actually had the designer on speed dial during a game play session. Once we both feel comfortable, we’ll review the game on a main podcast and cover the following areas: Components, Mechanics, Rules, Teachability, Replayability, Theme, & Fun Factor.

We pride ourselves on giving honest reviews. I try to separate personal relationship status from the game. Just like I don’t have to agree with everything a friend says or believes; ::glares at Jordan:: I don’t think I have to like every game a friend creates. I always hope that is mutual on the other side of the fence. But I also try to remember, there’s a person on the other end that put time and effort in to the creation I look at. So I’m not going to bash for the sake of bashing. And usually if I find something I think might be off, I’ll offer a suggestion or two from a high level perspective.

I also think Jordan and I have the ability to look at a game for its intended audience. We play all kinds of games and both of us enjoy games we can play with more casual players as well. So just because we get a light game on the table, and we might prefer something heavier in general, we’re not going to bash the game for being created as a light game. Some people have said we’re too kind at times, or lenient. But really, I think its more that we do make the attempt to look at a game based on its intended audience, and not always from my personal preference.

And again, we’re honest. If at the end of the day we wouldn’t play the game again, we’ll say that.

Jeff & Jordan playing a game together.

So tell us all a little bit more about UGN. Who’s in it? What’s it all about?

Jeff: In a nutshell, United Geeks Network (http://unitedgeeksnetwork.com/) is a family of online media content providers, that have a geek-centric focus, that promote and support one another. The United Geeks Network started, under a different name, as a small podcast network that included various podcasts that have my voice on them. So it was sort of a light attempt at a network that pretty much took a back seat, because it only really affected shows I was personally involved in. Once we started getting interest from podcasts that I didn’t have anything to do with, I started dedicating more time to make it a functional network. It was also a good time for me to reflect on what I really wanted to accomplish with a network. I saw it as a larger extension of my philosophy with All Us Geeks; especially in terms of community. So it became not just a podcast network, but an online media network with blogs, podcasts, and video creators that all had a geek-centric focus. And when it was time for the network name change; United Geeks Network seemed like a much better fit for my overall goal.

Our current members, by their preferred online medium:

Blogs: The Game Huntress and Indie Conquest

Podcasts: All Us Geeks, Almost Podcast, The Game Crafter Official Podcast, Geek Girl Weekly, Geeks of the North, Rolling Dice & Taking Names, Royal Monster Battalion, and Two Bald Geeks.

Video Content Creators: Broken Prism Reviews

You can find descriptions of each on the United Geeks Network website, and we’re always open to new members joining the family!

So, back to just you guys, at what point will you guys jump the shark and add a wacky third person to every episode of the show? You’ve got Anime Don once in awhile, but I mean someone who’ll be there each episode with their signature catchphrase. And also, what will that catchphrase be?

Jordan: Are you angling for a spot?

Jeff: Right?!? This feels like a trap!

I’m always angling for a spot. :-) No, I’m not really. I don’t know how I’d find time to keep up with your schedule even if you invited me! But the Road to Relaunch interviews with Jeff were fantastic! We’re still due for a final one of those, speaking of schedules - but maybe we should just wait until after the shipping has happened. Right now, the update would be, “Yeah! Printing in China takes a while, ahmahright?” That sounds like the start of some bad game-related stand-up…

But in all seriousness, is there anything that you’ve talked about where you two have said to each other, “No, we won’t do that. That would be jumping the shark”? Or even something that would feel like selling out to you guys?

Jordan: I don’t think we’ve come across a definite ‘no’ answer to anything. Yet.  We do talk about ideas and bounce them back and forth to make sure we we’re both on the same page and have the best implementation for us.  There’s nothing we’ve done that I feel compromises the integrity of what we’ve started and I don’t know that we’d ever be in that position.  We’re guiding this ourselves for ourselves and our listeners and I can’t think of a situation where I’d feel like I sold out.

Jeff: At any given moment, I’ve got at least 15 ideas floating around in my head. Not all of them have to do with All Us Geeks, or even United Geeks Network. But when they do have the potential to affect All Us Geeks, Jordan and Megan are my two main sounding boards. Jordan will help me either nix something that is too crazy to attempt at this time, or taper it to something that makes sense within our current state. Megan can do some of the same, but she tends to also know my overall schedule and what I am currently working on in the evenings, etc… So she’ll ask me the questions about can I personally take it on. So I think between the two of them, anything we decide to implement has a solid plan in place.

I think it would be really hard for us to jump the shark. The fact that we have always said we talk about all things geek related sort of leaves us a wide door to walk through. And we are very mindful of our audience and what we want for the brand. I turn down sponsorships and ads that are not a fit for the show all the time. I’d rather keep coming out of my own pocket before putting something in front of our audience that I don’t believe in or feel is not a good fit for us.

Actually, you know what. I just thought of one thing that I think both Jordan & I would agree would be a jump the shark for All Us Geeks: Flat out charging for reviews. And I first want to stress, I don’t have an issue with people that do charge, some of my good friends charge, and I think they are worth every penny. But Jordan & I have had several conversations around if that was something we wanted for AUG, and we’ve always both come back with a strong No without hesitation. So while we do have a rush fee if we don’t get a lot of time with a game, if you contact us far enough in advance, we don’t want to charge to look at your game. Again, it’s a personal philosophy of ours and everyone has the right to make their own rules in their own house

A few games to be reviewed...
That really gets to one of the things I’ve always liked about you guys: how community driven you are. Where does that come from for you two?

Jordan: Gaming is a social thing.  I can’t count the number of friends I’ve made through gaming from childhood through today, at all stages of my life.  A strong community, whether online, in stores or in your home is an important thing to foster.  It doesn’t matter if your niche is not my niche, the enjoyment and friendship is what matters.  So I like to be part of a healthy, hate-free community and want to help grow that as well.

Jeff: It’s kind of the way I’m wired. I’m more invested when I can surround myself with a good community. And I think we’ve been very lucky in that aspect when it comes to All Us Geeks. I also think the overall game industry community is a unique industry in that “competitors” are willing to openly help one another.  I also tend to look for ways I can bring in some form of charity when I have some controlling interest in what I’m focused on. That’s why we chose the pledge drive month to not just be about raising money for only All Us Geeks. And like we’ve stressed this year; we’d love to get to a point where the pledge drive month becomes 100% about giving to charity. That’s a long ways off, as we do have expenses we need to keep watch on, but we’d still love to get there someday.

Jordan mentioned the hate-free community, and with all of this Gamergate nonsense happening, it’s sort of on a lot of people’s minds. Have you guys had to deal with any listeners - or even an interviewee - who you had to kind of tell, “Hey. That’s not how we do things.”

Jordan: I’ve had a few occasions to correct people on what we do and why we do it.  Some people seem to think that being a reviewer is a license to rip on games or creators and it’s really not that for me.  I say that knowing that I am possibly best known for my rants but I do try to keep it calm and sane for the reviews.  I work, with every post, to remember that the anonymity of the internet is the problem as much as the people who spew the bile so I try, when posting in relation to AUG to maintain some, just a bit, of professionalism.

Jeff: In general, I think we’ve been pretty lucky and have been able to avoid most negativity. I think there might be times when the fact that Jordan and I are both smart asses by nature, and love to joke around, might come close to getting us in a situation where someone takes what we say in a way we never meant it. But for the most part, I hope, people realize how we are and that we’ll be the first to point the joke at ourselves before taking it outside. And if we do start joking around like that, it usually just means we’re comfortable with you.

I do agree with Jordan that there are a lot of misconceptions about what a reviewer is, or what we’re expected to do, etc.

To be honest, I have yet to have a bad interview. I’ve had a few that I was leery about going in, but I’ve never stopped an interview and I’ve never said “this isn’t going to work.” And I’ve walked away from many interviews with people that I continue to have conversations with outside of the podcast.

As far as something like, “You need more of a female perspective,” we’ve never really gotten that. But at the same time, Megan gets requests to sit in on videos and she’ll do those from time to time. We’ve had Megan & Sara on the show, and even let them take over a segment. We’ve also asked both Megan & Sara from time to time if a certain game interests them enough to do a review with us. But this is not their normal scene and it’s not something they are interested in doing all the time. We also have Sarah Reed, who started as a listener, become a regular contributor to the podcast. So we’re open to all kind of voices when it makes sense to bring additional voices and/or segments in to the show.

And while you’re on the topic of community, for anyone thinking about starting up a podcast, what would be your advice to them?

Jordan: Comfortable chairs. Don’t worry about lack of feedback.  If you’re getting consistent listens, you’re not really talking in a vacuum. Passion.  Be passionate and let your listeners hear your passion.  Nothing kills a cast for me faster, no matter how much i love the topic, than hearing hosts that sound like they’re doing a work presentation rather than talking about a hobby they love.

The chairs in question...

Jeff: If you are going to do a long podcast like ours, Jordan is right: COMFORTABLE CHAIRS!!! I’ve upgraded ours once, and I think I need to do it again! Other advice: Ask for help. There are a ton of people willing to help you out, myself included. I’ve helped launch several podcasts, in and out of our network. Also record a test one and edit it. If you can get through the entire process and still want to keep going, you know you’ve found your passion project. You WILL hate the sound of your own voice, everyone does. Don’t worry about what the other podcasts are doing. Focus in on your voice and your audience will recognize that. Numbers shouldn’t matter. Sure, it’s cool to get huge numbers. But, especially in the board game space, you’re probably putting out a show for a niche audience. And there’s a lot of power behind having an intimate connection with a smaller group, than a generalize broad listenership. A lot of people start freaking out when they “only” have numbers in the 100’s. But seriously, switch that to a classroom setting. Now picture how many people that actually is that happen to be listening to what you have to say. That’s pretty amazing at any number.

Yeah, as a classroom teacher, I can completely relate to that. It’s not just about how many you reach - but about how deeply you reach the people that are listening to you. Are there any podcasters who really inspire you guys? People you hear doing what they do and you say, “Man…yeah! That’s it!” In those exact words, of course.

Jordan: The guys from D6Generation.  They’ve survived host turnover, rotating hosts and other such setbacks and are still going strong.  I’d like to have their longevity in our niche.

Jeff: This is a tough one. Like I said above, I don’t sweat too much what other people are doing. And my personal podcast listening is a lot broader than just board game related. Podcasts like D6 Generation and On Board Games; long running shows like that are inspiring. I personally like BJ Shea’s Geek Nation. I like the fact that it’s a radio personality that was offered his own podcast, and pretty much only agreed to do it if it could be geek-centric. And finally I’ll say Dave Jackson from The School of Podcasting. I use to listen to a lot of podcasts about podcasting, Dave’s is one of the few that made my cut when I decided to trim down. He’s also the guy I credit for hearing what I’ve been saying on our show all along, but in a more streamlined phrase: Names not numbers.

I was going to ask about the “names not numbers” thing. That’s something you say a lot on the show, and it’s a great philosophy as content creators. How does that influence what you guys do?

Jeff: The concept is not new to us, Dave Jackson just put it in a much simpler form than I ever have and it now makes a great mantra.

Names not numbers, to me, means that I don’t focus on how many downloads we get per episode, or what our numbers look like versus any other podcast. What I focus in on is the email, tweet, Facebook message, etc from individuals that take time out of their busy days to let us know something. We put out a lot of content, so we’re already asking for a bit of a time commitment sometimes. So for someone to go one step beyond that and actually interact with us; that’s my inspiration. That’s the person that gets us to the next episode, and the next. It’s someone I know by name, I’ve probably had a conversation with based on that initial interaction, and that I can think about in a similar situation when it comes up on the show. Maybe they’ve told us we help them on a long commute, or their day job would suck without us in their ear, or we’ve sold them on a game, or show, or comic, whatever it is. Those all mean something to us on a personal level that simply staring at a number just can’t replace.

Do we look at numbers? Sure, but not on a consistent basis. And usually we’re more curious about little things like, which countries are growing in downloads, or sometimes we’ll joke on the show about which states are “winning” in listenership. But it’s more of a curiosity to us than a driving force.

That said, sometimes we have to address the numbers, because other people might be looking at them to decide to send us that game that a listener asked if we were going to review. So having the downloads, likes, followers, YouTube subscribers means something to them. And we happily display all of it on our front page.

But, speaking of numbers, this weekend you guys hit a pretty major goal on your Patreon project: fully funded with wiggle room - and 70/30 split with charity for your pledge drive. Congrats! What does that mean for AUG? And while you’re at it, tell us a little more about the Patreon campaign.

Jeff: Thanks. I think Jordan & I are still trying to process it overall. Ever since launching the Patreon page; I think the main word in our vocabulary has become “humbled.” There really is no better way to describe the response we’ve had so far to our Patreon page.

Despite all the research, planning, and communication, we honestly weren’t sure how people would react to the Patreon page. We went through the exact same emotional triggers anyone goes through with a crowdfunding idea. From “What if we launch it and no one supports us for months?” to “Well, even $5 a month is more than we’re getting now.” And all point in between. We do a lot of promotion for other people, but it still feels strange to us to self-promote. But eventually, again like any other crowdfunding project, we eventually just had to bite the bullet, believe in the planning we had done, and launch it and let go. And we had an amazing first few days that put us at a point we didn’t think we’d be at for months. And like you said, we’ve hit a new milestone; which is actually our 4th, and we’re almost to the 5th milestone. We are humbled.

So what does the current milestone mean for AUG? Well, we had already passed the milestone that had us fully funded and allowed us to keep everything we currently do for All Us Geeks. The “with Wiggle Room” portion of this milestone means two things:

First, we are giving more money towards charity during our 31 Days of Podcasting pledge drive. We’ve gone from needing to raise our own costs, and then splitting 50/50 with charity, to we’re funded and splitting 50/50 with charity right away; to where we are right now: we’re splitting everything 70/30 with charity. And the milestone we’re in reach of lets us make that a 80/20 split instead.

Second, we can actually put some money aside for upgrades, replacement equipment, and seriously we weren’t joking: COMFY CHAIRS! I’ve personally upgraded our chairs once, but we both risk our backs and comfort level every time we record a main episode since it usually is a 2+ hour recording session.

I have a few things I’d like to upgrade when possible. I’ve got items for both the audio and video side of All Us Geeks that it would be nice to have. But for right now, I still have to go through and prioritize where it makes sense to start. I also want to be mindful of taking on any more monthly/annual fees for the show, because that would mean adjusting all our current milestones.So it woud have to make good sense to the overall show to bring on a new recurring fee of some type.

Ok, so what is our Patreon page all about? Well, for those that aren’t aware; Patreon is a site that allows for crowdfunding for people that produce ongoing content. So instead of going on Kickstarter or Indie Go-Go once a year and trying to raise all of your annual expenses in one shot, Patreon allows people to support you on a monthly basis. You can find ours at https://www.patreon.com/allusgeeks.

So to peel the curtain back a bit here. We’ve been doing this for 3 years and it’s mostly been out of pocket. There are a lot of expenses that I’ve just taken care of and never even bothered to register on the spreadsheet to AUG. But Megan & I have had a lot of changes in the last year or so, including several deaths in the family and having to move and move quickly. So while Jordan & I were talking about planning for a Patreon late last year; it wasn’t until I sat down to prepare for this year’s pledge drive that I put all of our fees together and came to the realization that I just couldn’t sustain AUG for more than maybe another year unless we did really well with the pledge drive. And we would continue to really rely on the pledge drive every year. At the same time, I never once wanted to remove the charity aspect of the pledge drive. So the reality was, we might sink or swim by the Patreon page. That’s why if you see our first 3 goals, they are a breakdown of what might not make the cut if we didn’t hit the Fully Funded milestone.

So the idea behind our Patreon page is to help with the monthly costs to run All Us Geeks. We’re also not getting rid of anything for people that don’t, or can’t, support us! This is not a premium, paid content service. At best, Patreon supporters get our content 48 hours before it hits our public feed. Everything remains free. But if you enjoy our content, want to see it continue, and have the means to support us; Patreon is a great way to do that.

And, while we’re on the topic of fund-raising, can you tell us a little more about the 31 Days of Podcasting that you’re in the middle of right now? How’d that idea get started, how has it evolved, and so forth?

Jeff: The 31 Days of Podcasting is our way of giving back and saying thank you to everyone that supports us. We match it to our anniversary month (March) and we also make it our pledge drive month. We’re asking for support, so I like the idea of giving something in return.

The idea was really because there is something called Dog Days of Podcasting, I believe. That is a group of podcasters that agree to podcast every day during the month of August. I loved the idea of it, but I don’t really want to commit to doing something like that in August, especially since I first learned the year Jordan & I went to Gen Con together. But the idea stuck with me and we were about to do our first pledge drive. So that’s when I decided to give it a shot. This year is the second one we’ve done.

So the idea is that I podcast daily in the month of March. Those episodes are 15+ minutes, a lot seem to be coming in around 30 minutes. But I put out some form of content every day. Each episode usually ends with me reminding people about our pledge drive and the various ways they can donate, but the upfront content is either me updating people about something going on with All Us Geeks, or me talking with a guest about whatever topic we hit on. It’s very relaxed and casual. This year we’re talking with a lot more people than I have in the past, and we’re introducing some of the members of the United Geeks Network as well. I do some minimal editing, but in order to get them out daily; they don’t go through my normal editing process. Still, I don’t think I’ve gone to bed at a decent time yet this month. ;-}

The biggest evolution has been the amount of other people joining me for them this year. It’s still not a hugely planned out event for topics, but it is fun to have different voices participating with me. I’d also say on the pledge drive side; we’re trying to offer some incentives for pledging by doing a contest in April for a game prize package and we’re adding a new game to the package for every $100 we’re able to give to the Jack Vasel Memorial Fund, which is our charity of choice this year.

We’ve also threatened for years to do a Google Hangout. And this is the year we’re following through! So March 16, 2015 is our actual three year anniversary and we’re going to celebrate with our listeners.

If people want to join up for the three year anniversary, how can they find out more info about that?

Jeff: The main listing for the event can be found at https://plus.google.com/events/cqmh363i3i7aaeefos8rb9tv9h8. It’s also listed on the sidebar of the All Us Geeks home page or you can watch via our YouTube channel; since it’s a Google Hangout on Air. It will be happening from 6:30pm to 8:30pm, central time.

Geeking Out topic: What games are you guys playing right now that you’re loving, new or old?

Jordan: Oooo - I didn’t even read ahead.  I’ve been getting in a lot of Warhammer Fantasy and Wild West Exodus lately.  Two of my favorite minis games.  On the tabletop side, I’ve been getting not much in other than review work but when I have the chance, Netrunner and Star Wars LCG are still a couple of my favorite to things to play.

Jeff: My tabletop time has been extremely limited, outside of review plays. Netrunner is one of our go-to games if Jordan and I actually find time in our schedules. The Pathfinder Adventure Card Game is another one. Diamonds has been getting some love in our house, since it’s a nice twist on a classic trick-taking card game, and Megan comes from a predominantly card playing background. I’ve been playing a lot of Scrolls and Hearthstone on my tablet. And Pure Pool and Far Cry 4 are my current go-to games on our Xbox One.

I’ve played Diamonds and loved it...but it was sold out! Waiting for Stronghold to print some more to get a copy.

Jeff: Diamonds is a great fit in our house. It has very familiar trick-taking elements that work for Megan, while also introducing the idea of different actions being associated with different suites. I think it’s a great game to slowly introduce some of the concepts of other board games in a very familiar package for people that classify themselves as non-gamers. GET IT! ;-}

 Well guys, thanks so much for sitting down for me with the interview! Congrats on hitting the three year mark - and hopefully, we'll sit down for another interview in a year! Keep up the great work, and, readers, if you're interested in finding out more, you can head to AllUsGeeks.com or UnitedGeeksNetwork.com. If you like what they do and want to support them on Patreon, you can do that right here.

Doug Levandowski is a game designer and co-creator of Gothic Doctor and a few other games that haven't been published...yet. When Doug's not designing, interviewing, marketing, or sleeping, he's teaching English to a bunch of amazing high schoolers. They're working on Macbeth right now, which is his favorite play to teach. You can find him on Twitter at @levzilla.