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Cardboard Buzzsaw

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15 Mar 2019 00:00 #293921 by Vysetron
Cardboard Buzzsaw was created by Vysetron
As the board game industry continues to expand and the...

I'm increasingly uncertain as to the future of critical board game content.
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16 Mar 2019 09:57 #293922 by hotseatgames
Replied by hotseatgames on topic Cardboard Buzzsaw
Well put. I personally find no value whatsoever in the “Kickstarter preview” style of video. Someone is paid to produce a preview. If the preview is negative, it’s not going up on the KS page, so all you will ever find is glowing praise.

I can’t fully appreciate a reviewer who never demonstrates a negative review.
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16 Mar 2019 16:07 - 16 Mar 2019 16:10 #293930 by Colorcrayons
Replied by Colorcrayons on topic Cardboard Buzzsaw
I recall reviewing the D&D boardgame wrath of ashardalon. Matt Loter wrote a gushing review about how it was the second coming of Jesus.

I took his review and made a parody of it. Replacing glowing remarks with negative ones. Otherwise, my review was identical.

It was an interesting study in human psychology, since the same people who fawed over Loter's statements reacted with pure unmitigated rage at the exact same comments Loter made that were not even twisted by me.

Very few users seemed to notice, and even fewer called out the hypocrisy of the negative reactions in light of it being a mirror image review.

That experiment essentially proved your point.

But hardly anyone wants to be challenged. All we want is our cozy echo chambers to be safe, warm, and comfortable in validating how great this next thing is before moving on to the one after that.
Last edit: 16 Mar 2019 16:10 by Colorcrayons.
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17 Mar 2019 16:58 #293952 by n815e
Replied by n815e on topic Cardboard Buzzsaw
Bam!
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18 Mar 2019 10:54 #293970 by Legomancer
Replied by Legomancer on topic Cardboard Buzzsaw
As I've said a tiresome number of times, nerd hobbies are now in an era where the goal is not to be a fan of something, but to be a fan of being a fan of something. Being into board games is insufficient, now you have to be into being into board games. And that means you have to acquire or at least play all the new stuff. You have to have an opinion on whatever is currently being discussed. You have to stay on top, otherwise you fall behind and can no longer play the game of fandom.

I don't consume much content anymore. I don't follow the hotness, I listen to very few podcasts, and I unfollowed a bunch of people on Twitter who seem like very nice people, but are still just pushing games at me to get me to play or buy, but not with any real depth of analysis. If I want to play a game for the sheer sake of playing a game, I have so many already. If I want a new-to-me board game experience, I have groups who bring stuff I've never played before and usually am not crazy about because it's this same-old incremental euro stuff that has no reason to exist other than being something new and different.

I'm old and feeble and grouchy and I have plenty of games I like. I've been paying games like this for over two decades now and the thrill of playing a slightly different point gaining exercise is long gone. I want a fun experience, and don't give a crap about who the designer is, what their game design theory is, or how exquisite a mechanism is. Is it fun to play? That's hard to articulate, but few seem to care enough to try to tell me.
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18 Mar 2019 11:09 #293972 by Vysetron
Replied by Vysetron on topic Cardboard Buzzsaw
They don't tell you because it doesn't matter to them or their audience. Most games are disposable now. Their newness makes them inherently valuable until it's gone. They aren't meant to stick around or be played in any depth. You look at the nice object, enjoy its mild mechanical difference from the last 10 games like it, complete 1 game of it, and move on to the next. The work of many designers has been cheapened to the point of being little more than a selling point on a box.

I just want to play board games. Ideally good ones. It's increasingly difficult to find them.
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18 Mar 2019 13:13 #293983 by fightcitymayor
Replied by fightcitymayor on topic Cardboard Buzzsaw
For me, the worst part was my own naive and stupid belief that boardgamers would be able to see past the inherent shillery of KS "previews." I thought for sure that the first time some minis-laden Kickstarter tossed up a YouTube video where some anonymous paid talking-head spouted sunshine & rainbows about some "new hotness" dreck that the boardgamer chorus would rise up and issue forth a direct & passionate rebuke not to let our hobby turn into a hive of basic consumers with all the honesty of your typical fake Amazon product review.

Well... imagine my surprise when that chorus was not only quiet, but instead swelled in the other direction, demanding more shill "reviews" and more anonymous dewy-eyed folk getting hard/wet over some game they barely know. And, as has been said, anyone uttering a discouraging word would be immediately shouted down as a heretic who needs to "get on the hype train."

It's been a sad end to what was once kind of a nice hobby.
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18 Mar 2019 13:26 #293986 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic Cardboard Buzzsaw
My biggest bummer out of the churn has nothing to do with my concern about rubes buying things (and they are!), but the ever increasing natural fragmentation of any discussion about board games on the internet. The OP touches on this, but it is extremely difficult to maintain much momentum on any discussion with others about any given game beyond the 2-3 other people (at TWBG) who have played it. So discussions (including social media discussions, not just a forum problem) become big conglomerations of good intentioned people who don't play the same games.
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18 Mar 2019 13:33 #293988 by Jackwraith
Replied by Jackwraith on topic Cardboard Buzzsaw
That's been my problem for a few years now. People were talking about new stuff that I hadn't even heard of, much less played, so I had no place in those discussions at all. Now I'm a bit more back on board, as I've played things like Spirit Island and Root. But there was a time when I wasn't posting about anything here other than Hearthstone and movies because those were the only connections I had with what was happening in the modern day. If you didn't keep up with the churn (and I didn't and mostly still don't), you were left behind quickly.
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18 Mar 2019 13:36 #293991 by Legomancer
Replied by Legomancer on topic Cardboard Buzzsaw
Folks, it's not the case that people are being duped by shills and previews and paid "reviews" and so forth. No one is being taken advantage of, and there is no crisis on that front.

These people want to buy games. Period. They absolutely do not care otherwise. The paid previews and reviews aren't fooling them into buying stuff, they're simply giving them permission to feel even better about stuff they wanted to buy anyway.

I spent a big chunk of last year on the fringes of that world and there is little to no concern other than "looks gorgeous!" "I know the designer!" "love the theme!" "this mechanism looks cool!" That's it. Everything else is just lagniappe that pushes them not to make a decision but to feel like the decision they were already going to make anyway is justified.
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18 Mar 2019 13:40 #293993 by Vysetron
Replied by Vysetron on topic Cardboard Buzzsaw

Legomancer wrote: Folks, it's not the case that people are being duped by shills and previews and paid "reviews" and so forth. No one is being taken advantage of, and there is no crisis on that front.

These people want to buy games. Period. They absolutely do not care otherwise. The paid previews and reviews aren't fooling them into buying stuff, they're simply giving them permission to feel even better about stuff they wanted to buy anyway.

I spent a big chunk of last year on the fringes of that world and there is little to no concern other than "looks gorgeous!" "I know the designer!" "love the theme!" "this mechanism looks cool!" That's it. Everything else is just lagniappe that pushes them not to make a decision but to feel like the decision they were already going to make anyway is justified.


Yup yup yup. This is what I'm trying to get at. I worry about critique because it's become increasingly clear that it isn't what the modern landscape wants. Eric Twice said it best when I mentioned this before - for them the hobby is the purchase itself.

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18 Mar 2019 14:56 #293995 by fightcitymayor
Replied by fightcitymayor on topic Cardboard Buzzsaw

Vysetron wrote: Eric Twice said it best when I mentioned this before - for them the hobby is the purchase itself.

And it's another black mark against "geek culture." I was just having this discussion last week: People grow up seeing consumerism surrounding them, and they act like it won't affect them. "Pfftt... look at all these squares and their dumb, American consumerist behavior... pffttt... they are SO SO dumb!" Yet... all the producers of the world had to do was slap a Batman logo on it, or a Star Wars logo on it, or a Harry Potter face on it... and suddenly it's open season on filling your life with stupid tchotchkes because you want to be known as a superfan. Same with boardgames now.

KS exclusives?!?! Gotta have 'em!
Latest Stonemaier Game?!? Gotta have it!
Warhammer 40k Underoos?!?! Do they come in XXXXL?!?!?!

At one point people honestly thought the old days of corporations taking advantage of people ended with Exxon and Ford and Mellon Bank. But the slimy sleaze of today (Amazon, Facebook, Cool Mini Or Not) are arguably worse because they con you into thinking you're part of the kool-kidz-klub by putting a happy geek-culture face on their anti-consumer shenanigans, then lie to you about what they're doing.

At least Standard Oil never pretended to be anything other than earth-raping capitalists driven by nothing more than shareholder value and the almighty dollar.
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18 Mar 2019 15:09 #293996 by Vysetron
Replied by Vysetron on topic Cardboard Buzzsaw
I don't trust anyone who tries to sell a game on anything but the game itself. Whether it's being in the cool kid's club or proving that you're a good person, there are a lot of people in this community who would love you to believe that you can make real change if you buy the right games. These are typically people who directly benefit from selling said boxes. If you just buy enough games made by the right people, somehow that will affect positive change elsewhere. Don't think too hard about it. Just get that early bird pledge.

This is tipping my hand and shifting the subject slightly, but this whole thing reminds me of this clip and a quote from it.

"You can remain just a consumerist because your altruistic nature, solidarity, it's included in the price."

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18 Mar 2019 18:03 - 18 Mar 2019 18:04 #294004 by boothwah
Replied by boothwah on topic Cardboard Buzzsaw

Vysetron wrote: I just want to play board games. Ideally good ones. It's increasingly difficult to find them.



This. I add one or two games to the shelf a year - And they are usually 2 to 3 years old or older titles that I've played a couple of times and enjoyed - often I'm purchasing the "fixed" version that includes the whole game (the big box that has the useful expacs) or the revised version with the map printed correctly. But bully to the people that are buying all this regurgitated crap, because just like Monkeys at a type writer, eventually with this much churn, a handful of transformative or smart well tuned games get turned out every year, and the truly good games get talked about after the echo chambers have moved past the new hotness. But you're right - I am not the target market - I'm not a voracious consumer that wants a token for my coolness.

It's not really different than how I consume electronic media - Never have I ever....payed full price for a video game or bought any AAA title on launch day. Let alone pre-releases.
Last edit: 18 Mar 2019 18:04 by boothwah.
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18 Mar 2019 20:49 #294007 by Joebot
Replied by Joebot on topic Cardboard Buzzsaw
Good article, and nicely written! I read it, and I thought, "This seems so familiar ..."

I had just read this article on the AV Club:

theconcourse.deadspin.com/netflixs-brigh...sions-dim-1833056161

It's written by a TV reviewer complaining how Netflix churns out too much content, too quickly, and it's impossible for the critical community to keep up. Here comes another 13-episode season blasted out all at once! And just when you plow through that one, here comes 5 more, all designed to give the masses more of what they want. More! More! More! You don't have time to THINK about what you just watched.

So yeah, exact same problem. The boardgame industry is hardly unique in this regard. Instead of Netflix, it's Kickstarter, or it's Asmodee -- that giant behemoth who keeps churning out endless piles of content, most of it shitty, some of it good, even less of it really great. Trying to keep up with all of that just sounds exhausting. That's why I don't bother.
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