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BradHB
September 18, 2021
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September 16, 2021
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Quick, Simple Fun: High Society

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September 15, 2021
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September 14, 2021
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Play and Pass

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ubarose
September 13, 2021
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September 13, 2021
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September 10, 2021
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Karuba Board Game Review

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September 10, 2021
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September 09, 2021
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September 09, 2021
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September 08, 2021
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Mariposas - a Punchboard Review

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September 07, 2021
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Paring down

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September 03, 2021
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September 03, 2021
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Earthenwar Review

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Bugs: Recent Topics Paging, Uploading Images & Preview (11 Dec 2020)

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18 Mar 2021 00:00 #320779 by thegiantbrain
Cancelled was created by thegiantbrain
As the audience grows, so does its diversity. Keep in...

The tabletop hobby is growing rapidly. Every year we see more and more people around the world sit round a table. They come together to chuck dice, deal cards and explore this wonderful pastime that I, and you, love.

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18 Mar 2021 04:15 #320780 by Erik Twice
Replied by Erik Twice on topic Cancelled
This is a very difficult topic for me to discuss because the cultural differences are massive. Gaming is extremely anglocentric and offering my views as a Spaniard leads to some huge cultural shocks.

For example, that XKCD comic is one of my most hated images on the internet. Freedom of speech is not defined by the American constitution nor does it only affect goverments. I'm actually confused at why you would use it, Iain, since you are British, right? And neither Tabarni nor Eklund are under the jurisdiction of the US.

Just my two cents.
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18 Mar 2021 08:32 - 18 Mar 2021 08:43 #320786 by hotseatgames
Replied by hotseatgames on topic Cancelled
My guess is because usually when some (American) asshole meets the consequences of their actions, they say their First Amendment rights are being stomped.
Last edit: 18 Mar 2021 08:43 by hotseatgames.

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18 Mar 2021 09:25 #320791 by Sagrilarus
Replied by Sagrilarus on topic Cancelled
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights covers freedom of speech worldwide. So this isn't a particularly American thing.

Speaking your mind and not expecting consequences is naive. But the current global communication channel provides positive feedback for extreme positions. There's advantages, often financial, to being a dick, regardless of which direction your dickishness is heading. That is what is driving modern media worldwide. Rupert Murdoch has made it a business model (and made serious book) and I believe his team is responsible for this particular one-word slogan.

"Cancel" is not a concrete thing. It's a marketing slogan. "Rebuttal" is the real concept meant for 90% of "cancel" usage, and Socrates spoke to it 2500 years ago. I'd wager it pre-dates language. But Murdoch's team came up with "cancel" because it can be new and trendy and easy to remember and easy to say, a slogan to generate market share. Boil down a concept into a short phrase that will piss people off, bang on it all day, sell ad space.
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18 Mar 2021 09:30 #320794 by We-reNotWizards
Replied by We-reNotWizards on topic Cancelled
I'll repeat what I've seen in other places, that's it not really Cancel Culture unless it's from the Cauncelle Coulture region of France, otherwise it's simply Sparkling Consequences..
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18 Mar 2021 11:15 #320802 by Shellhead
Replied by Shellhead on topic Cancelled
Last week, I made a comment in this forum to the effect that you can't bully someone into liking something they don't like. While I think it is perfectly acceptable to stop spending money on products, services, or entertainment provided by a person who doesn't share your values, I detest it when people try to shame other people who are able to separate the product/service/art from the creator. And with the current polarization in American society, it doesn't really accomplish anything when somebody gets cancelled because new fans will rally to that creator out of sheer spite. There are exceptions when the individual in question becomes indefensible, like Bill Cosby, but cancellation is often a zero-sum game without any real winners or losers.
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18 Mar 2021 12:17 - 18 Mar 2021 12:31 #320807 by ubarose
Replied by ubarose on topic Cancelled
Yesterday on Twitter, Calvin Wong was tweeting about how the settings in the Z-Man Euro Classics Line perpetuates Orientalism. First of all, before I say anything else, he is absolutely right. It is not up for debate. I in no way disagree with him.

However, Orientalism is something I have always struggled with, ever since I first studied it back in my college art history classes. I understand that it portrays Eastern cultures in opposition to Western culture, with Western culture being the superior. So Eastern is passive, static, emotional and chaotic, while Western is active, mobile, rational and ordered. And, of course, this is all tied into colonialism. On the other hand 19th century Orientalism produced some very appealing art, poetry and literature. It has been rather difficult for me to come to terms with, especially when my professor was showing a slide of a really pretty painting that I very much liked, but telling me it was a "bad" thing.

So, when I read Calvin's tweet, my first gut reaction was that someone wanted to take all the pretty things away from me. Fortunately, I had read this article just a few days prior (because I read all the articles before you all do), and remembered this bit:

"It’s not nice when you or something you love is criticised. When you feel passionately about a game, publisher, or whatever you want to defend it from criticism. It can feel like a personal attack. You go on the defensive, get angry. Most importantly, you stop listening. You become afraid that the thing you love will be taken away. That it will get ‘cancelled’."

I felt exactly as Iain described. So my second thought was, stop, listen and think. Most importantly, listen and think from the perspective that what Calvin says is valid and true. So my third thought (and truthfully, I fumed and sulked for a bit before getting to this third thought) was reassuring myself that no one wants to take anything away from me, they want to give me something that's better.

My fourth thought took awhile to arrive, as I pondered the third. It wasn't until this morning as I walked through my house to get some coffee, looking at the art on my walls, that I finally realized, that it isn't Orientalism that I like and want, it is actual real Indian, African and Japanese art that I love. The reinterpretations of it by Americans and Europeans widely misses the mark and is awkward and ugly. Nothing about the settings or the art in the 5 Euro Classic games makes them more appealing to me than if they were set elsewhere. In fact, they would probably be more attractive if the publishers and designers used settings and styles from their own culture, with art done in the artist's own style from their own culture.

Furthermore, Calvin advocates for designers, developers and artists of the culture being represented to work on games. Which means that he is advocating for superior products for me. Instead of inferior, fake Indian art, maybe someday I get actual, beautiful real Indian art, in a game that represents the real India, from Indian designers working within an Indian game design paradigm. How cool is that.

It took me awhile. I still don't understand Orientalism on an intuitive or visceral level. It will probably continue to fly under my radar. But I am working on it. I got there by listening and suppressing my outrage and defensiveness over thinking something that I liked, and was important to me, was being "cancelled."

TL;DR - Stop. Listen. Think.
Last edit: 18 Mar 2021 12:31 by ubarose.
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18 Mar 2021 13:10 #320812 by Shellhead
Replied by Shellhead on topic Cancelled
Historically, colonialism was largely an active European effort to exploit a relatively passive rest of the world. I don't think that history should be either suppressed or celebrated. It does seem like a lot of eurogames have colonial settings, and that is not completely unrelated to the focus of eurogames on management and exploitation of workers and natural resources. The box covers of Z-Man's classic euro line do not strike me as disrespectful to those settings, and the person featured on each cover appears indigenous to the setting and not some glorified white merchant.

As for Orientalism, I see some very blurry boundaries between cultural appreciation, appropriation, and assimilation, and I find it more challenging to experience outrage within that blur. I was raised to believe that America's diversity and melting pot culture were strengths, despite the ongoing bigotry and discrimination arrayed against American diversity.
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18 Mar 2021 13:57 #320816 by ubarose
Replied by ubarose on topic Cancelled
The box covers of Z-Man's classic euro line did not strike me as disrespectful either, which is a large part of why I struggled with what Calvin was saying. To even start to understand, I had to first listen, and then force myself to let go of my own views, and try to see it from his perspective. To do this, I had to begin by telling myself, "I'm wrong. He's right." And then proceed from there.
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18 Mar 2021 14:38 - 18 Mar 2021 15:09 #320819 by Jackwraith
Replied by Jackwraith on topic Cancelled
The point that Calvin is making about those box covers is that they're a) stereotypical and b) hearken to a time when those cultures were often fundamentally misunderstood (not that that's hugely improved...) and, c) don't really acknowledge the modern versions of those cultures. I know more than one person who still has ideas about modern Japanese culture that are extremely skewed by "samurai and ninjas." Just picking out the one example of Samurai, the depiction of that warrior isn't even especially accurate. But beyond that, wouldn't it be better to have games about Japanese culture that had nothing to do with a warrior class that largely stopped being warriors 400 years ago and haven't existed as a social class in Japan for 150 years? Or if one does want to continue to engage that imagery, set it in a game that's clearly fantastical, like Rising Sun?

Knizia is often tarred with the label that his games have little to do with their themes. I've done it myself. With the (slight) wisdom of age, I've come to realize that that's not the case. He did engage his themes in his design. There's no better example of that in that line of games than Taj Mahal. However, the good doctor also isn't an expert on Indian history and so the cultural references in that excellent game are fairly clumsy when considering the actual Mogul empire and its later fragments. It also has very little to do with modern India but the visuals represent a depiction of "the exotic East" that still pervades common Western/American thinking and it's not outrageous to suggest that maybe something different could be done. That series of games is different from something like Pax Pamir, as the latter was specifically designed to represent a specific time/event in history and, in fact, is partially based on the idea of asking questions about colonialism and imperialism. Taj Mahal and Samurai are not that, but their visuals/themes represent a static portrayal of that period without context. I wouldn't immediately cite them as offensive, but I don't think "tired" is too critical a word.

This isn't a slight on the games, on Knizia, or on Z-Man. It's more like a suggestion that maybe we as a community have moved on from that sort of thing and new games and new versions of old games could perhaps register a bit more with what the modern community happens to be.
Last edit: 18 Mar 2021 15:09 by Jackwraith.
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18 Mar 2021 15:20 #320820 by ubarose
Replied by ubarose on topic Cancelled
@Jackwraith

Very well articulated and so helpful. Thank you.
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18 Mar 2021 15:27 #320821 by fightcitymayor
Replied by fightcitymayor on topic Cancelled

Erik Twice wrote: This is a very difficult topic for me to discuss because the cultural differences are massive. Gaming is extremely anglocentric and offering my views as a Spaniard leads to some huge cultural shocks.

I would love to hear them!

One thing I have noticed (as the socio-political hullabaloo creeps ever-further into the boardgaming space) is how one of the strongest voices against the feminist critique of how women are portrayed in popular culture has been European men. I expect to see acolytes of folks like Ben Shapiro and Jordan Peterson and Joe Rogan being irritated with women decrying sexualized images, but I was honestly surprised at how many times the angry voices were not North-American.

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18 Mar 2021 15:32 #320822 by Shellhead
Replied by Shellhead on topic Cancelled
I feel that it takes an excessive level of handwringing to complain that there is a samurai depicted on the cover of a game called Samurai, or that there should be a modern Japanese person on the cover of a game set in medieval Japan. But I do sympathize with the idea that the samurai are often inaccurately depicted. Would it be better or worse if game designers used a fictional setting that happened to resemble an inaccurate version of that historical setting? I don't know. Various games tied to the Rokugan setting of Legend of the Five Rings depict a distorted version of samurai culture, but at least they acknowledge the existence of female samurai.
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18 Mar 2021 15:47 #320823 by mc
Replied by mc on topic Cancelled

Sagrilarus wrote: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights covers freedom of speech worldwide. So this isn't a particularly American thing.

Speaking your mind and not expecting consequences is naive. But the current global communication channel provides positive feedback for extreme positions. There's advantages, often financial, to being a dick, regardless of which direction your dickishness is heading. That is what is driving modern media worldwide. Rupert Murdoch has made it a business model (and made serious book) and I believe his team is responsible for this particular one-word slogan.

"Cancel" is not a concrete thing. It's a marketing slogan. "Rebuttal" is the real concept meant for 90% of "cancel" usage, and Socrates spoke to it 2500 years ago. I'd wager it pre-dates language. But Murdoch's team came up with "cancel" because it can be new and trendy and easy to remember and easy to say, a slogan to generate market share. Boil down a concept into a short phrase that will piss people off, bang on it all day, sell ad space.


There is no bill of rights or constitutional amendment guaranteeing anything where I live, but the cartoon makes plenty of sense to me, largely because of the UDHR as you say. Philosophically I find it amusing to see privileged people with huge audiences and platforms crying free speech and cancel culture when they are called out.

Yes, a large percentage of cancelling is rebuttal, and the term is a tool of Murdoch et al, who amplify the idea into a bogeyman hiding behind every door. I still think it's a real phenomenon though, at least, steps are taken beyond rebuttal; Defamation cases or other legal measures (the first port of call for the wealthy and aggrieved) , legislation to ban protesting, sicing influential pundits/media on organizations or individuals to cloud or stop debate, doxing, these are all examples of things beyond rebuttal. When I hear "cancel culture" I think of the long history of that kind of thing and its ongoing use, and the many many societal rules that forced- or still force - people to not exist or not voice their convictions because it was forbidden.
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18 Mar 2021 16:00 #320824 by Jackwraith
Replied by Jackwraith on topic Cancelled

Shellhead wrote: I feel that it takes an excessive level of handwringing to complain that there is a samurai depicted on the cover of a game called Samurai, or that there should be a modern Japanese person on the cover of a game set in medieval Japan.


But that's not the point I was making and I don't think it was the one Calvin was making, albeit his response was a bit hotter than mine because the issue is more personal to him. The point is: Why do games involving Japanese history and culture have to be called "Samurai" at all? The game itself is, in fact, one of Knizia's that is more loosely attached to its theme (like Ra in that series, as well) so there's no reason to present it in that fashion. It doesn't mean that his original concept was wrong or that it being published in that way, including by Z-Man, is wrong, either. It's just a matter of asking: Why always this? It was the same question people were asking a couple weeks ago about Tiny Epic Dungeons: Why are heroic fantasy women usually represented, not only with sexualized features that appeal in that fashion, but also in poses and wearing clothing that emphasize those features? Elizabeth Hargrave's question was very pointed in that respect: Why can't this be different? That's the same question that Calvin is asking.

His secondary question, of course, is: Why can't there be more games by Japanese designers that deal with Japanese culture and history (or any themes at all, for that matter)? That's kind of a bigger problem. But I don't think it's outrageous to point out to Knizia and whomever he picks to put Samurai back in print that the game could stand a retheming or at least a different visual presentation, even if it continues to carry the title "Samurai" (for marketing/identification purposes.)
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