"Sporadically Board with Mike and Dan": Podcast Review
Release date: Sept. 11, 2018
Genre: Talk Show
Hosts: Mike DiLisio, Dan Hughes
"Sporadically Board with Mike and Dan," also known as "SpoBo," is a great example of a podcast that covers a niche but growing interest in a very engaging way. "SpoBo" is a podcast that, as the title suggests, is sporadically about board games and whatever the two hosts, Mike DiLisio and Dan Hughes, and a guest want to talk about. Most of the time, the conversation is about a specific topic, but lately, the podcasters have answered questions from listeners submitted through the various online platforms and had no guest. For longtime followers and new listeners eagerly catching up, this change in format is a great way to freshen up the show, especially since each new episode is getting longer.
With this format, though, it is imperative to have to host personalities hook listeners, be able to engage and keep them entertained. DiLisio and Hughes both have distinctive personalities that come through well and have the ability to suck listeners in from the very first episode.
For 30 minutes to an hour, sometimes it's just the two hosts talking about board games and whatever is going on in their lives at the time before bringing in their guests. Then they launch into some rapid-fire questions for the guest and their taste in board games before launching into a discussion about the episode's topic. They end each episode with a segment called “a few acres of rubbish,” where each person in the episode recommends something non-board game related to the listeners.
Each segment has its ups and downs, but all are worth listening to. The show's biggest weakness is the rambling of the hosts, and sometimes guests, as they can go on for far too long about things listeners might not be tuned into. Listeners might not have experience with the people the hosts talk about or knowledge of the inside jokes.
The hosts mostly do a good job of explaining themselves throughout the episode, but sometimes drag on when the topic has outworn its welcome. Their conversations are able to carry through this, however, because DiLisio and Hughes have a great sense of humor and kinship that welcomes listeners in without needing to see them or be physically near them, which is a quality all podcasts should have.
The sound quality is always great, especially when coming through speakers or headphones. The podcast is something you can definitely play in the background, if necessary, and still be able to listen to it.
Some podcast highlights are the episodes with Matthew Jude (who jokingly gets called the third host because he has been on so much, which has led to a separate podcast where he is the third host) and episodes where they take deep dives on topics that aren’t really talked about. One example is when they brought Ian O’Toole on to talk about board game art, which went into a deeper discussion about art itself.
With running jokes, a great sense of humor, welcoming hosts and great production values, "SpoBo" is a podcast that anyone with any passing interest in the board gaming hobby should give a shot. Newcomers should definitely start from the beginning, though, as newer episodes wouldn’t be as entertaining without the prior knowledge of the long-running inside jokes.