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Michael Barnes
August 18, 2022
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Godtear Beats the Odds - Review

Board Game Reviews
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thegiantbrain
August 18, 2022
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thegiantbrain
August 11, 2022
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WadeMonnig
August 10, 2022
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oliverkinne
August 09, 2022
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thegiantbrain
August 04, 2022
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oliverkinne
August 01, 2022
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Scout Board Game Review

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oliverkinne
July 29, 2022
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thegiantbrain
July 28, 2022
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WadeMonnig
July 27, 2022
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oliverkinne
July 26, 2022
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thegiantbrain
July 25, 2022
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The Split - Review

Board Game Reviews
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thegiantbrain
July 21, 2022
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16 Feb 2022 22:33 #330845 by DarthJoJo
I’ve talked before with a friend whether games (and expanding the topic to video games and traditional sports) could be considered art.

He disagreed. While there may be aesthetic elements such as the graphic design and writing that could be judged as art, the game itself, the rules and player interaction, could not because they implied a fundamental negation. Opposing forces came against each other and whether through strategy or luck, one was destroyed and the other elevated. This includes co-ops where the players come together to oppose the game system. It’s hard to define art, but it often requires creation, to which he believed games were antithetical.

I’m not sure I agree, but it is something I’ve thought about from time to time.

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17 Feb 2022 11:06 #330859 by hotseatgames
Games are art, and I don't know how someone could argue otherwise. Art is not just visual, as most would agree that music is art. The fact that players participate in the art doesn't make it any less art. Performance art has been a thing for ages, and any museum will contain interactive exhibits, often allowing the viewer to create something on the spot.

If one defines art as something that elicits emotion, then of course, games are art.
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18 Feb 2022 16:19 #330903 by Jackwraith
Anyone interested in doing a two-person dialogue piece about Funkoverse and Unmatched? Those are the two "fighting" games that seem a) most popular at the moment and b) have good contrasts between presentation (art-oriented for Funko; more mechanical for Unmatched), theme (IP for Funko; public domain for Unmatched (with a couple exceptions)); and mechanics (set powers and dice for Funko; card draw/hand management for Unmatched.)

I'd be taking the Funko "side", as I have vastly more experience with it, so I'm looking for someone to take the Unmatched "side". I'm not interested in doing a "which is better?" argument, but rather a compare and contrast. I would just do it myself, but dialogues can often be more entertaining and, again, I have all of one game's experience with Unmatched, so it would be better to have someone with real exposure to it.
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26 Apr 2022 12:42 - 26 Apr 2022 12:45 #332567 by sornars
I think Charlie forgot to post a link to his latest piece here ;):
playerelimination.com/2022/04/25/the-pre...ure-of-crowdfunding/

Anyone who has entered the Kickstarter thread has already encountered a similar discussion but I appreciated the personal connection and head on comparison to a gambling addiction. I also like the acknowledgement that all of us who do crowdfund things are part of the problem. The one thing I would have liked to seen explored in this piece is that Kickstarter exacerbates a problem inherent to the board game industry due to how publishing cycles work.

FOMO is inherent to the OOP and re-print cycle of board games and as a consumer there's nothing you can do aside from purchase now at MSRP/online discount prices, pay (potentially inflated) secondary market prices because you waited or not play the game at all. Option 3 is clearly the rational choice because all of us have more games to play than we have time to play them but the truth is I haven't been playing games since the 60s like some of you have and half of my wishlist is OOP, some of which have been OOP for over 15 years. If you have the money (and space), buying games before some copyright or licensing bullshit makes them unplayable in a different sense becomes a justifiable decision (I say with a crazed look in my eye).

Kickstarter just took a behaviour that already existed and injected it with steroids to create the modern day monster we know and love loathe.
Last edit: 26 Apr 2022 12:45 by sornars.
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26 Apr 2022 13:33 - 26 Apr 2022 13:34 #332569 by charlest
Thanks for sharing it, Sornars. I post to this thread somewhat rarely, as I publish an article or so a week and don't want to push my stuff too hard. I always feel guilty about that.

I'm pleased with this article though and it's gotten quite a bit of comments and reaction, which is great.

The production cycle and games going OOP is an issue inherent to board games that didn't really pop into my mind when thinking about this. It's a good one.

I do think, however, that we are better positioned as an industry in this regard. The increased demand in hobbyist games have given rise to reprints like Unfathomable and the Risk Star Wars game that tried to re-adapt Queen's Gambit.

Kickstarter itself, ironically, is helping to alleviate this issue somewhat. Check out the new version of Ra which is hitting crowdfunding soon. I'm not sure Knizia's classic designs are as desirable if a publisher is unable to test demand on a crowdfunding platform.
Last edit: 26 Apr 2022 13:34 by charlest.
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26 Apr 2022 17:22 #332575 by Jackwraith
Yeah, as much as I avoid it, I don't really begrudge publishers for using it because 1) that's where the eyeballs and almost-guaranteed sales are at the moment; and 2) it is a security blanket for smaller publishers. Even with Root's pedigree, would Oath have found enough retailers willing to take the chance on something so strange (and which fills a lot of shelf space)? Cole has said that he has reservations about using KS for a number of reasons, but that it's also not feasible for Leder to operate without it, at the moment. I don't know what their numbers are, but I tend to trust his judgment. The point about Knizia is a great one, as we've just seen a number of his excellent titles go out of print because tastes have changed and/or the glut in the market overwhelms a lot of "smaller", classic works (one of which I was just teaching (ugh) and playing last night in T&E.) If KS keeps them viable, that's a good thing, right?

But... like sornars said, a lot things have gone out of print and become "classics" because they're out of print. At some point, that lurking demand might have made them economically viable for publishers to reprint them using the traditional methods. This has happened in media of all sorts throughout the ages. No one was interested in JS Bach's music in the late 18th century until Mozart, who was a fan, began reintroducing it to people and it became one of the foundation stones for a lot of what followed. Games don't have to be in print in perpetuity, especially given the mass of cardboard out there that isn't getting played and will inevitably make its way to secondary markets. That's no help to people like sornars who don't want to take a second mortgage in order to afford them, but you almost have to do that with the NEW, DELUXE, FABULOUS productions that are often the norm on KS, too. Like usual, no easy answers.
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26 Apr 2022 18:51 #332578 by Not Sure

Like usual, no easy answers.


I think it gets pretty close to Michael Pollan's "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants."

Good behavior is pretty obvious. There's just a lot of people choosing not to do that, both producers and consumers.

Crowdfunding is definitely a mixed blessing. Some projects get made that didn't have a chance otherwise. There's also a huge tacky speculation culture on top of that, which s fed by the exclusives bullshit and the FOMO.

Circumstances make me more of a collector than a player these days, and honestly buying and shelving games is a hedge against the inevitable OOP days. (I recall Wiz-War and Cosmic Encounter spending over a decade out of print). But more than that, I support the publishers and designers that I actually like, and ignore the rest.

There are definitely people who can afford to just do whatever (board games are still cheaper than most luxury hobbies), and if I had worse FOMO or hoarding tendencies I might be there too. But I'd argue that like in most things in this world, it's not that hard to tell the good actors from the bad. If you're saying stuff like "I don't really know if I want this but I feel like I have to..." or "I don't like buying from them, but..." it's probably time to think about that overall pattern of behavior. It's plastic, not oxygen.

5000 games got released last year. You're never going to play even half of them if you tried, and you'd probably regret even trying them. We've all got to just let that shit go by.

There was an interesting bit in a talk Cole Wehrle gave outside the board game world (at a design conference) where he was trying to explain Kickstarter and the board game market while still leaving enough time to talk about designing Oath. His one-sentence summation to the outside world was (paraphrasing) "Kickstarter lets you trade the availability of your money to gain early access to something". Aside from "can't get it again" FOMO bullshit, (but that money trade works both ways, you can trade more money to go back in time), that's often what you're buying. Exclusivity. What's the real dollar value on that if you're not hustling for online clout or speculating for resale? Pretty much zilch.

The most affecting part of the article was Charlie's description of his bookie relatives, and how getting underwater leads to sinking faster. This hobby does some bad shit to people who can afford it the least, and that's the messiest part of all this to me.
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26 Apr 2022 22:52 #332589 by Jackwraith
Those are great points and I agree with the vast majority of them. I especially agree with the part about supporting designers that you like, because that's what I do and have done for a few years now. If Eric Lang, Cole Wehrle, or Scott Almes do something, I'm looking. Anyone else? Maybe if someone I respect really recommends it (like Charlie!) I worked my way into a copy of The King is Dead like that recently, which is the only game I've acquired in the past few years that didn't come through a trade or because it was from one of the three aforementioned designers.

Like I said, I agree with pretty much everything you wrote. But I still think the answers to the KS problem aren't as simple as "Just say 'No'." As I mentioned, Leder Games wouldn't be able to function without the guarantees of KS, which means we wouldn't see nearly as many Wehrle production (and Wehrlegig definitely wouldn't, which means even fewer.) I don't know that games like Ankh, which does carry the stigma of CMON's overproduction but is still a really excellent game, would be feasible if all they were depending on was distributor orders and FLGS shelf space. So, yes, KS is responsible for a lot crap and a lot of bad things. But it's also been the source of some really excellent stuff and, as you averred to, may be keeping some things in print that would otherwise be lost. I see a lot of shades of gray there.
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27 Apr 2022 12:24 #332603 by Not Sure
I see that as equivalent to the "Mostly Plants" part of Pollan's food argument.

I buy games from Kickstarter, but my total orders from Kickstart is maybe ten, and most of those were Leder or Wehrlegig. Neither of them play silly FOMO games with content exclusives, and "designer I like and support".

"Default to No" is a good position to be in, and a little flexibility goes a long way there. Crowdfunding (in general, as KS is potentially getting weird with blockchain shenanigans) is a mixed blessing. It definitely lets things be produced that would never otherwise see the light of day (like Oath). But even though you can buy a banana at 7-11, the rest of the store probably isn't good for you.

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27 Apr 2022 12:36 #332604 by ChristopherMD

Not Sure wrote: But even though you can buy a banana at 7-11, the rest of the store probably isn't good for you.


I'd be wary of a 7-11 banana as well.
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27 Apr 2022 14:35 #332609 by Shellhead
Board game FOMO was discovered in 1988:

Donnie: My parents didn't get me what I wanted for Christmas.

Dr. Lilian Thurman: What did you want?

Donnie: Hungry Hungry Hippos.

Dr. Lilian Thurman: And how did you feel, being denied these hungry, hungry hippos?

Donnie: Regret.

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04 May 2022 21:59 - 04 May 2022 21:59 #332823 by Gary Sax
Discussed our feelings about Dan Thurot a little bit on discord, I only tend to read his reviews since I find his other work too didactic. But this was an interesting game that wasn't on my radar until I read his review:

spacebiff.com/2022/05/03/crescent-moon/

Not going to run out and buy it but am interested to try it sometime maybe. I think this isn't a great comparison to Root. Thinking a Root game would run three hours is in when will this game end, shoot me territory. But this one sounds like it has a lot more above the table stuff that might justify it.
Last edit: 04 May 2022 21:59 by Gary Sax.

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