Meeple Monthly Roundup

Meeple Monthly Roundup, March 2018


Let’s be honest – there is too much happening in board games. There are too many games, too many podcasts, too many blogs. Just too much of everything!

This article series is going to exacerbate that problem by being ‘just one more bloody thing’ that gets published. My hope here is to direct attention to some of the absolutely excellent stuff that’s floating around there. This is stuff that maybe you missed because you blinked at the wrong time as your twitter feed refreshed. This isn’t necessarily the best content from the month, it’s just the most interesting content that I and others actually saw and remembered we’d seen. I stole the idea for this from Keith McLeman over at Cardboard and Coffee, and you should go drop him a follow on his Facebook page for his own monthly digest.

I’m always interested in contributors for this series, although of a neccessity the number of slots for this will have to be limited. I don’t want this to end up being so long a list that it doesn’t even serve as a highlight reel. Please drop me a mail if you’re interested in providing your own monthly roundup, with full attribution! For those that would just like to bring occasional attention to especially good work they’ve seen, or even point out something of their own of which they are especially proud, drop a comment under the post. We also have a Meeple Like Us Subreddit, and if you feel happier adding your favourite posts there then there will be a comment thread for this post right there. I promise to remember to check it. Occasionally.

Previous Roundups

Michael’s Links

Okay, let’s start off strong here – Kirsti from Peace, Love and Games has put together an absolutely excellent video of more than a hundred people explaining, usually in beautifully creative ways, why they love board games. It fair brings a lump to your throat and Kirsi has done something wonderful here.

TR Knight has a nice, short and punchy guide that contains some easy ways to make your games more accessible – I especially liked ‘tearaway strips’ because I am constantly cursing shrink wrap packs I need to slice open with a knife and yet never once thought to consider it as an accessibility issue.

I’ve been asked occasionally about accessibility in the Live Action Role Playing (LARP) scene, and I’ve had to say ‘sorry, no idea’ because I don’t know how any of it works even if I have friends who were Super Into It. It’s not really a tabletop thing but it’s such a cool problem domain for accessibility that I absolutely have to put this article your way.

In the last roundup I mentioned Mysty Vander’s perspectives on being made to feel unwelcome at a gaming convention. It’s here if you need a reminder. Well, there’s a follow-up and it’s predictably disheartening. It’s a drama as sad as it is familiar, and I certainly hope for, but don’t at all expect, a satisfying and respectful conclusion.

TLOMDR linked me to this great thread from Eric Lang talking about inclusivity, playtesting and the importance of both speaking up and actively listening.

This isn’t about tabletop games but it’s hugely relevant to content creators – Scott Benson, one of the co-creators of Night in the Woods, has a great and important twitter thread about the corrosive impact of burnout and how societal structures come together to normalise it. Don’t get suckered in to thinking that intangible rewards justify neglecting your own self care.

Nicole Hoye over at the Daily Worker Placement blog did a nice two part feature interviewing some board-game content creators – first part is those who are videographers and writers and the second is podcasters and makers. It’s interesting to see how processes differ between and even within the different forms of media.

Bruno Faidutti has a short but insightful post on the glut of board-game releases we’re all seeing on a daily basis. The pace of release is fast and seems to be getting faster, and it’s well worth reading his thoughts on the matter. Scroll down for the English translation – don’t let your browser do it and hide the original like I did…

I bring your attention to this little piece of research from the University of Portsmouth. It’s not about board-games except it’s totally about board-games and particularly the culture of conspicuously backing ever more ludicrously expensive Kickstarters. I’ll just quote one thing from it and let it percolate in your big ‘ol brains.

“On the basis of our work, we conclude that self-presentation and online ‘personal branding’ is shown to have a significant effect on the behaviour of funders. This behaviour is partly influenced by a person’s desire for image enhancement and their motivations to improve social image.”

This is a neat thread on Reddit where people take the opportunity to revel in their most unpopular opinions in an enjoyable session of prolonged negativity. It’s always nice to see some of your own secret opinions validated, and equally nice to see someone with a genuinely unpopular view you can get properly upset about.

Launching a Kickstarter or Patreon has always struck me as an impossibly brave thing to do. I’ve going to be offering a Patreon for people to support the work of Meeple Like Us but I always end up mentally circling back to ‘What if you threw a party and nobody came?’. Brandon Rollins has a very nice post up on dealing with the anxieties of crowdfunding and it’s well worth reading if you’re considering an equivalent plunge.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I still think Scrabble is the best game ever made. Well, this popped up during the course of the month – a conversation with a championship Scrabble player.

So, the big misconception is that it’s about words.”

I always say to people that criticise Scrabble for not being a lot of fun unless you have a big vocabulary that they’re making a mistake in thinking of it as a word game. Scrabble is a war game.

Our one from the archive here is from the Dice Tower’s new series on the their history. It’s the first review Tom Vasal ever wrote. From the humble beginnings of a text review on Boardgamegeek to being someone that is basically the biggest name in board game reviews… it’s the single step that began a journey all the way to the top of the Dice Tower. Tom Vasal clearly never forgot the face of his father. And the tower is closer…

Rebecca’s Links

Find Rebecca over at Twitter and the site To Play is Human!

Eric Buscemi at interviewed Barbara Allen. She talks about her experience as the customer relations expert for Fowers Games, co-host of the Players Wanted podcast, and founder of the World of Women Discord channel.

Ross at More Games Please interviewed Kyle Ferrin. Kyle is a board game illustrator who works with Leder Games and has illustrated Vast: The Crystal Caverns, Root, and is currently working on Vast: The Mysterious Manor.

Theo at Geeky Gaymer Guy did a fun review of Cat Lady, complete with funny cat noises and cat puns!

Girls’ Game Shelf did an amusing review and play-through of Marrying Mr. Darcy this month.

Every Wednesday, Jackson Pope does a #CraftWednesday thread on Twitter that several tabletop gamers, bloggers, crafters, and designers participate in. It is SO COOL to see projects that people are working on every week, especially when you can follow the evolution of a project over time.

Game designers in the news! CNBC did a piece on Travis and Holly Hancock, the team behind Salem 1692, Tortuga 1667, and Deadwood 1876.

Our Turn Podcast interviewed Carla Kopp, of Weird Giraffe Games, and Tony Miller, of the Breaking into Board Games podcast. Weird Giraffe Games is publishing Tony’s latest game, Fire in the Library… which I am SUPER excited about! They also discuss some of their favorite games.

Jamey Stegmaier wrote about how to handle criticism while running a Kickstarter campaign in his latest “Kickstarter Lessons” series post. He provided a lot of insight and advice regarding social interactions that campaign managers and game designers have to navigate from fans, trolls, and the gaming community in general.

This Month’s Spotlight

Have you heard of Cast the Bones? Well, you should check out Cast the Bones. I believe it’s currently only available to Patreon supporters for now but… well. This is maybe the most original thing anyone is currently doing in the tabletop video scene. Let me just quote the description from the page:

“Cast The Bones is creating a Lovecraftian horror satire about a dead board game reviewer”

Intrigued? You should be… we’re six episodes in now and I’m already finding myself impatiently hitting refresh for the next one.

“At this low low price, over the months and years ahead, you will get access to Ben Eddings’ show “Cast The Bones”. That’s every episode he made before he died (and every one that appeared afterwards).”

WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN and what manner of game is the Lord of Blank Faces? I cannot wait to find out. Need a sweetener as to why you should check it out? It’s being done by Rab Florence who I enthuse about a lot on Meeple Like Us. From Downtime Town to Cardboard Children to Videogaiden to the impossibly likeable Top 50 he and his daughter did years ago… Rab is someone on whom you should be keeping your eye.