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oliverkinne
November 26, 2021
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Lunar Base Board Game Review

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November 26, 2021
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November 25, 2021
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November 24, 2021
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November 24, 2021
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thegiantbrain
November 23, 2021
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November 23, 2021
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November 22, 2021
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Tharos Board Game Review

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November 19, 2021
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November 18, 2021
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November 17, 2021
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November 16, 2021
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November 15, 2021
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November 12, 2021
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November 10, 2021
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November 09, 2021
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Dismissive posts and inclusion

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12 Mar 2021 09:26 - 12 Mar 2021 12:34 #320445 by Josh Look
This is really veering off into territory unrelated to this game and this review, but here we are and I think it's important enough to bring up.

The abstract disconnect criticism of Euro games that I feel like this site has generally fallen back on isn't a problem with the games, but the people playing them. This isn't a slight on anyone here, you're going to like what you're going to like and the tastes of this site definitely leans in a certain direction. But it's obviously not a flaw in the games themselves, people enjoy puzzling through a pile of mechanics, myself included, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that.

What is wrong, and is something I think should be addressed is that these games are so easily and immediately dismissed by certain members and staff here for the sole reason of them not being of interest to those people. Not interested in a heavy Euro? Cool, that's fine, you don't need to just as much as I don't need to be interested in some subpar narrative experience where I have to use my imagination to connect what in reality are entirely unrelated dots. You don't go on sites that cover much broader ranges of topics and leave dismissive comments on things that don't interest you, why here? I get that this is much more of a "say what you want" environment than BGG, but there's still some big picture stuff that those sorts of comments might be a detriment to. To a new user, or even a long time user such as myself, there's still a certain connotation around here about Euro games that, frankly, is off-putting, as well as it being disrespectful to the author who put the work in. We're supposed to be a different, more inviting website now, but you're not there yet. It's unintentional but it still feels very selective, and then there's the beyond tired "AT is better" BS, still floating around like it ever had a reason to exist.

I think I'm getting back into the writing game. The best way to encourage the change you want to see is to put that discussion out there yourself. And yeah, I'm probably only going to write about Euros or games that straddle that line.
Last edit: 12 Mar 2021 12:34 by Josh Look.
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12 Mar 2021 09:38 #320447 by Shellhead
Fortunately there is an exponentially larger and more popular board game site with a lingering pro-euro bias that shows up in the ratings and lists. As long as that site continues to thrive, this site is just an underdog niche site with that offers an alternative perspective. And nobody is going to bully our individual members into liking what they don't like. Complaining that we favor Ameritrash here is like complaining that Black History Month is racist because there isn't a White History Month. In reality, the whole rest of the year is White History Month in the U.S.

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12 Mar 2021 09:47 #320448 by adamr
I didn't mean for any conversation here to swing that way, I'm just talking about Euros because I enjoy them, and hopefully others who do might want to know about some. To each their own, play what you enjoy ;)
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12 Mar 2021 10:00 - 12 Mar 2021 11:38 #320450 by Josh Look

Shellhead wrote: And nobody is going to bully our individual members into liking what they don't like.


Nobody is bullying anybody into liking something they don't. What I'm suggesting is taking what we're really known for, or, I should say, what the reinvention of this site is supposed to be known for, a higher quality of writing and perspective beyond what is found at that other site but finally acknowledging the Euro v AT pissing contest is long over, folks new to the hobby could not care less about that, and covering a wider range of games to acknowledge that things have changed. A user base that understands that things have changed and the need to evolve to avoid becoming an echo chamber would be a nice added bonus. Please do not mistake this as an invitation for an All Euros Are Good parade, that is NOT what I'm getting at.
Last edit: 12 Mar 2021 11:38 by Josh Look.
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12 Mar 2021 10:07 - 12 Mar 2021 10:13 #320451 by Gary Sax
I split this thread off. Have at it. I still need to firm up my thoughts on the topic. It's a meta criticism of the site that Josh has dropped a number of posts over the last year, so it might as well have its own thread.
Last edit: 12 Mar 2021 10:13 by Gary Sax.

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12 Mar 2021 10:09 #320452 by jason10mm
I loves me some euros but there is a point where the interconnected links in the engine can start to outpace the theme for me. Euphoria, I think, was one where I just couldn't grok the jumps in "get this to do this to do this to score this". But otherwise so long as the action option tree isn't too big or laden with obtuse iconography it works for me. Theme it with wine making, brewing beer, or constructing a castle and I'm in! Theme it around running a daycare and the exact same underlying mechanics fall a little flat for me (as does game #2334 of "harvesting crops in the fertile fields of rural France").

I think euros do get the short end on reviews because they are kinda hard to conceptualize and don't lend themselves to pics of fancy minis, gripping emergent gameplay retellings, or evocative call-backs to nostalgia tinted childhood memories (in the US at least, maybe europeans have fond memories of playing Catan or whatever in the 80's/90's)

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12 Mar 2021 10:13 #320455 by jeb
Replied by jeb on topic Dismissive posts and inclusion
The irony, obviously is that this site was founded on inclusivity--it was BGG's community that was dismissive of AT games, and robartin and others chiming back with, "hey some of these games are great." To then come over here and be just as dismissive of Euros, at large, is contrary to that initial driver.

That said, you can't make me like REEF ENCOUNTER.

By the same token, I just can not get myself to enjoy rules-heavy mini games, and my sad shelf toad stack of EARTH REBORN, CHRONICLE X, DESCENT, and others attest to this. They just aren't fun (for me) and I, personally, am unable to attach to them meaningfully. Don't get me started on anything WARHAMMER outside of the DEATH ANGEL card game and the ASTARTES animated shorts.

Everyone has likes and dislikes, and its more important to attach feelings to the passions of people than the things they happen to be passionate about.
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12 Mar 2021 10:16 #320457 by ChristopherMD

Josh Look wrote: What is wrong, and is something I think should be addressed is that these games are so easily and immediately dismissed by certain members and staff here for the sole reason of them not interesting those people. Not interested in a heavy Euro? Cool, that's fine, you don't need to just as much as I don't need to be interested in some subpar narrative experience where I have to use my imagination to connect what in reality are entirely unrelated dots.


Complains people are being dismissive of games they don't like.

Immediately proceeds to be dismissive about games he doesn't like.

You're the biggest fucking elitist on this website so it's truly funny that you would bitch about this when you are constantly going into threads just to shit all over games other people enjoy. I'm gonna trigger you right now and mention Arkham Horror 2nd Ed. It's several members here favorite game. C'mon you know you can't resist telling us all how bad it actually is now that someone dared write its name here.
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12 Mar 2021 10:26 - 12 Mar 2021 10:29 #320458 by Josh Look
Look, the vast majority of Euros are much like the vast majority of thematic, narrative, AT or whatever label you want to put on them: Ultimately unimportant.

And Jason, you're right, they are hard to write about. Even the best Euros are hard to generate excitement about. I remember my early days in the hobby and reading a Euro rulebook and being completely in the dark about how this game was going to be fun. The execution is where it's at, or isn't. That's much more a challenge to communicate over something like Camp Grizzly, where I can describe to you just how intense/silly it can be.

This shouldn't be about the validity of Euros and whether or not each individual user likes them. That was not my intent. Nor was it really about featuring more Euro games. We do feature Euro games, I'm fully aware of it. I just think that asking folks that when they see something that does not interest them and they're faced with the choice of leaving a dismissive or disparaging remark or moving on, that they take the overall tone and mission of TWBG (NOT F:AT) into consideration. I am just as guilty of this as anyone else. I'm sure I will be attacked for this, being the bully I've been made out to be lately, but my wishes couldn't be any further from that.
Last edit: 12 Mar 2021 10:29 by Josh Look.
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12 Mar 2021 10:34 - 12 Mar 2021 10:35 #320461 by jeb
Replied by jeb on topic Dismissive posts and inclusion
@ChristopherMD, That's not really fair, I don't think. I respect Josh, and I think he brings a real depth of experience and knowledge to discussions about any game. But AH2e is one of my favorite games and Josh is wrong about it. That kind of ends the whole thought process for me. I am obviously wrong about WH40K, as like a billion dollars a year of purchases can attest. But I don't get bent out of shape because people don't think like me(BIG FAT ASTERISK).

I think I can be a little judgy if the discourse falls down into omg lulz i just wuv my big tiddy mousepad and you'll see me get annoyed and bring it up (cf Black Barney). But for the most part, if I think you're being honest with me, and with the topic, everything will be fine.


(BIG FAT ASTERISK): About games. I will get all up in your thought process on other topics.
Last edit: 12 Mar 2021 10:35 by jeb. Reason: post in between
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12 Mar 2021 10:39 - 12 Mar 2021 10:49 #320463 by Josh Look

ChristopherMD wrote:

Josh Look wrote: What is wrong, and is something I think should be addressed is that these games are so easily and immediately dismissed by certain members and staff here for the sole reason of them not interesting those people. Not interested in a heavy Euro? Cool, that's fine, you don't need to just as much as I don't need to be interested in some subpar narrative experience where I have to use my imagination to connect what in reality are entirely unrelated dots.


Complains people are being dismissive of games they don't like.

Immediately proceeds to be dismissive about games he doesn't like.

You're the biggest fucking elitist on this website so it's truly funny that you would bitch about this when you are constantly going into threads just to shit all over games other people enjoy. I'm gonna trigger you right now and mention Arkham Horror 2nd Ed. It's several members here favorite game. C'mon you know you can't resist telling us all how bad it actually is now that someone dared write its name here.


Well, at least I've dethroned Barnes.

I might be wrong, and if I am, fine, I can live with it, but if I take the time out of my day to shit on AH it's in something like a Flashback Friday post where the question, IIRC is "Love it? Hate it?" It was asked, I answered. I'm not jumping in on the What Games Have You Been Playing thread, seeing what you played and saying, "Yeah, that game sucks, you wasted your time on that one!" If I do tear down a game, I do my damndest to explain why I don't like it, with any criticisms I make laying at the feet of THE GAME and not the PEOPLE WHO LIKE IT. I am not completely irrational and think that any of this is anymore than subjective, and when I do say something that someone disagrees with, I want them to tell my why my assessment is wrong, hopefully with the same caution to direct such talk to my assessment and not me personally. This is how our conversation about game design grows and evolves, and how we has gamers and people learn from each other. Disagree with something I say about a game? Please, challenge my opinion and perspective, don't make it a personal attack on me. Some of my best IRL friends are on this site and love AH, but they still respect me as a person and vice versa.
Last edit: 12 Mar 2021 10:49 by Josh Look.

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12 Mar 2021 10:47 #320464 by Jackwraith
For my own part, I've mentioned many times in my various reviews and deep dives that I think the terms "Euro" and "Ameritrash" are simply outdated and have been for about a decade. Abyss, for example, is without question built on "Euro" mechanics, but is also drenched (ahem) in a theme that's redolent of an "Ameritrash" approach. Cosmic Frog is the same way. Can you imagine any game from the '00s that has that theme that would also be oriented around constructing your land stacks in specific patterns for victory points?

I think some of this is certainly audience-oriented. A lot of the long-timers here first came into contact with gaming when the idea of a "Euro" wasn't really on the radar. I can do a deep dive on Shogun to lots of positive response because that's a game we remember from back in the day when it was either stuff like that, mass-produced games like Monopoly (which was actually a really good time every time I played as a kid...), or classic abstracts like chess. The nostalgia factor has always been a part of this site's identity, in addition to being fans of more modern stuff like Twilight Imperium when the real fire in the board game world was with anything Knizia had produced. I pitched an idea to Wade a while back about doing one of our joint articles on our favorite Knizias and the truth of the matter is that Wade simply hadn't played that many of them, so it would've been mostly me spouting off, which isn't what I wanted. There's nothing he can do about that and it's understandable that a site formerly known as "Fortress Ameritrash" might have an audience that's skewed in a particular direction.

But another thing about this site's identity has been the largely "no holds barred" nature of the fora. Uba mentioned to me a while back that probably only 10% of the site's users actually post here, so it's largely still the same crowd that it's been for ~15 years and that means a lot of veterans of not only the Euro/AT wars from BGG, but a lot of people who used to engage in Freakout Fridays, as well. Your point that the redesign of the site should bring a reassessment of the use of the fora is salient and I think that's largely been accomplished. We mostly don't have stream-of-consciousness profanity about this or that topic anymore (Thanks, Gary) but, as several have noted already, you can't make people like what they don't like.

At this risk of sounding pedantic (maybe too late), something I learned a long time ago from my political work is that you can't tell people what they want, even if it might be the best thing for them. The corollary to that is interests. I learned that there's really nothing to be gained by trashing someone else's likes or dislikes. It simply won't produce the kind of communication that's otherwise possible and, in fact, inhibits it. I may not be a fan of Dominion, but there's nothing to be gained by telling everyone else how awful it is. I can say why I don't like it and others are free to agree or disagree (in the same way I did in my trade post about Res Arcana), but belittling others for their choice of game doesn't make sense if we actually want to have a conversation. But, on that note, I can't say that I see a lot of that here these days. The thread about Viscounts where this topic originated saw a few people expressing their disdain for "mechanical Euros" but I thought there were just as many talking about how they either liked the West Kingdom series or had enjoyed the parts that they had played (as noted, I've only gotten to Raiders of the North Sea, which I liked.)

But, by all means, if you want to write more about "Euro" stuff that you enjoy, have at it. I'm still looking for someone to bat the Knizia ball around with...
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12 Mar 2021 11:15 #320467 by the_jake_1973
It sounds like all of this kerfluffle can be summed up thusly: Don't yuck someone else's yum.

Instead of 'You wasted your time with game X', say 'since you liked game X, game Y offers even more to like.'

I will say that I did not read the review or the thread, I've seen the game and know it's not my jam.

It's probably a good personal practice to put yourself in the shoes of the person you are replying to and see what the comment feels like and adjust from there.

None of this applies to people who like pineapple on pizza, BTW.

Carry on....but kindly.
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12 Mar 2021 11:31 - 12 Mar 2021 12:31 #320473 by Josh Look
Hey, I'm fine with actual criticism of games. That's half of what we're here for.

1. Don't make it personal.
2. Don't take criticism of a game as a personal attack on you.
3. Game you haven't played doesn't interest you, that's fine! Not everything is made for you. No need to vocally dismiss someone's work.

Nevermind the Euro stuff. I don't think these three things are a big ask. And if I've gone on a thread where it wasn't an invitation to offer legitimate criticisms of a game that you enjoy and did so only to get a reaction, yeah, that sounds shitty. I probably wouldn't be too proud of my past self. People change though. We're allowed to do that.
Last edit: 12 Mar 2021 12:31 by Josh Look.
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12 Mar 2021 11:36 - 12 Mar 2021 11:39 #320476 by Michael Barnes
Well I was about to post my thoughts on this but Marc probably did a better job with it. It looks like we are having the Friday Feels.

The idea that “Ameritrash” dogmatism is still a thing is laughable. Indeed, one of the main reasons I proposed we move away from the F:AT name and the Wild West forum policy was that I, as well as some of the other folks here, had simply _grown up_. I was 30 when this site started. Back then, I didn’t see slagging Eurogames, even if it was lighthearted and really just trash talk, as gatekeeping and exclusion. I didn’t have the wisdom that like said above, you can’t make people like or dislike something even if you feel righteous and motivated to do so. More than that, there’s not a lot of value in shutting down genres or gaming concepts out of hand, especially when dismissive dogmatism shuts down your perspective. Like I always say, if you want to complain about abstraction or overdone mechanisms...look no further than rolling a die

Opinions are great and -that- is really what we are founded in- honest, authoritative, and sometimes alternative opinion. The BGG crowd initially viewed us as BG Something Awful. And that is NOT a distinction I cared to have. Some of our former members and contributors thrived in that kind of environment. They have moved on and the site is better for it. Notably, those folks were also among the most dogmatic of us.

The problem is that there is a fine line between the strong, public ally voiced opinion and gatekeeping. I’ve encountered this most recently with OSR. In fact, I’ve fallen into this trap myself. There is SO MUCH grief given to 5e. Even big name, well respected writers and designers will jab at 5e...but 5e is -by far- the most popular and more importantly accessible RPG there is and it is -important- that someone new to the hobby sees that what they got into from a box set bought at Target is valid and supported. Cool indie veterans shitting on it is damaging and dismissive, and it puts up a wall around the hobby.

Steve does not like heavy Euros, worker placement, or any of that. It’s part of his F:AT/TWBG character. I get it, I respect it. But I do also totally see where Josh is coming from- just slagging the game out of hand doesn’t really do anything other than reinforce Steve’s highly generalized, unspecific dislike for what he perceives as inferior gaming concepts.

We all do this from time to time. I did it last week in the post about the Monster Hunter game. A lot of it is just trash talk, like I said. But here at 45, I’m trying to be much more mindful that no matter what my opinion is on something like that, ultimately me coming out strong on it is more likely to make someone feel put out or marginalized because they like whatever it is than it is to convince someone that they’d be better off spending their money elesewhere. It’s just a really fine line and it’s easy to cross...are you giving a valuable opinion or are you inadvertently gatekeeping?

We don’t want folks to lose their strong opinions or feel like they can’t be expressive and spirited. But I do think that we need to be mindful that this site needs a wider range of opinions, concerns, and values to be successful. And honestly, Steve, I don’t think that going into a review of a popular Eurogame pretty much to just say you don’t like it at a conceptual level does anything. If you had played it and it reinforced why you don’t like those things and you told us how, I think that’s a very different kind of post with a much higher value. Adam is one of our newer contributors and I think he did a great job- I’m kind of bummed that his work resulted in these kinds of posts and this kind of discussion instead of folks talking about his writing or the game.

Anyway, Kickstarter still sucks and most board games are trash anyway.
Last edit: 12 Mar 2021 11:39 by Michael Barnes.
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