This is a roundup of the best tabletop gaming content that we saw over the course of the month. If it’s not tabletop gaming related, it is at least Meeple Like Us adjacent. Essentially this is a digest of great stuff that you may have missed – it’s not the only great stuff that’s out there, just the best stuff that actually drifted across our tired, jaded eyes. For those that would like to bring 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 this 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 for you to use. I promise to remember to check it. Occasionally.
If you want us to consider something for the next one, drop us a message on Twitter, email or Reddit. Or Facebook. Or… you know, it’s the Internet. You’ll probably manage to work out how to get a message in a bottle to us.
Previous 2018 Roundups
We kicked off the month here north of the Wall with Tabletop Scotland’s inaugural convention and it was a blast – I loved it, as did Mrs Meeple. We wrote up our thoughts which you may have seen here, here and here. Unlucky Frog also did a roundup of roundups and you should hella check that out. You should also hella come along to Tabletop Scotland next year if you’re in the area.
Sorry for saying hella. I’ve been playing a hella amount of Life is Strange.
This isn’t board game related, but it relates to Mrs Meeple so that’s probably within scope? Anyway, she ran the Loch Ness Marathon this month and she wrote up her thoughts on the experience on her own running blog. Some of the more active members of this site’s readership might find the idea less horrifying than I do. For a different perspective on the same event, she also published a guest post from Debbie Thain. You may remember Debbie from our adventures in Watch the Skies.
Over on Youtube, Dan Mansfield has done a wonderful sign language review of Root. This isn’t the first of his ASL reviews we’ve pointed you to on the blog, but it’s wonderful to see that these are still coming out. I wanted to remind you if you may have forgotten that this is a channel to which you should definitely consider subscribing.
Staying with the theme of accessibility, the Geeky Gimp published a great guest post from James Cole talking about teaching games whilst having a visual processing learning disability. I always advocate the importance of learning about embodied perspectives of disability, and posts like this are far more valuable than just for the insightful content contained within. Each is like a masterclass in appreciating the real world impact of accessible and inaccessible design. On a similar note, check out this post about playing games while blind on Sightless Fun.
Daniel Klein over on Twitter has a great thread about ‘reverse sexism’ and why the idea of sexism against men is a logically broken false equivalence. It’s in reference to Riot’s (admittedly crass and cack-handed) attempt to address their massive recent PR problems with regards to sexism in the company. Whether you’re willing to give Riot the benefit of the doubt when considering their response, the linked twitter thread is forensic in taking apart some of the more regressive objections that have been raised to rail against a women/non-binary exclusive event at PAX.
Friend of the Show James Naylor has published another insightful post, this one looking at whether we need a new kind of board game review other than what we tend to see in the ‘media landscape’. James is a very thoughtful gentleman and I recommend his blog to your regular attention. I’d also recommend you check out his post on what happens when a passion project ends, written in regard to the end of the Croydon Citizen magazine.
PC Gamer, of all places, have an excellent retrospective on the making of Pandemic Legacy. It’s extremely interesting and comprehensive and you could do a lot worse with your time than sinking it into this marvelous beast.
This massively popular video about the Jenga pistol is something we saw for the first time this month. Why can’t you buy this version in the shops?
The Guardian published a special feature on Youtube creator burnout, and it features some thoughts from Shut Up and Sit Down’s Matt Lees. Burnout is a massively significant thing when you’re working for a passion project – self care is vital and you don’t need to be a big ‘success’ for the pressure of the job to erode the joy you experience from it. Take care of yourself. Lindsay Ellis, a wonderfully talented Youtuber herself, had some followup comments on Twitter that I think are worth your attention.
Ars Technica have a fascinating look at the game Glory of Rome and how its semi-recent Kickstarter success led to massive logistical problems and the effective death of the game. It’s an interesting read in and of itself but it also serves as a valuable cautionary tale for the unexpected consequences of achieving the goals you set out for yourself.
GRtist on Twitter put up a wonderfully heart-warming thread about Magic The Gathering veterans, gatekeepers, and the importance of kindness in sustaining a game community. This kind of thing is what we all need to be doing when we can, in whatever form is appropriate for our own participation in the hobby. Pay it forward. Today you, tomorrow me.
The financials of the board game business are pretty opaque, but la Radio des Jeux had a conversation with Frederic Henry from Monolith about the cost of the recent Claustrophobia Kickstarter. Someone was kind enough to put up the figures on a Reddit post that is illuminating.
I was delighted to see this month that Johnny Chiodini was once again acting as Gamemaster for the OutsideXbox team. Their new adventure, or oxventure, is called Quiet Riot and it’s up on Youtube RIGHT NOW.
In ‘Pollsters say the Cutest Things’, YouGov have revealed that one in three Britons belongs to the Neutral Good alignment. This is a self-reported measure though and as a result is’ not remotely rigorous. Even if it was you’d have cause to doubt the results. At best you could say Brexit is Chaotic Neutral if not outright Chaotic Evil, and the alignment chart doesn’t at all line up with the results of the referendum. Perhaps it would have been more accurate if there was a Chaotic Chaos option.
Have you ever fancied designing a tabletop escape room? Well, the Room Escape Artist has a post looking at some consistently applicable design principles for how to do it properly. As a veteran developer of puzzles in text games, I can confirm many of these are applicable across multiple puzzle design domains.
In gaming across the world, there’s a great overview of a board game convention that was held in Uganda earlier this year. It’s a really enjoyable read because the experience of the convention is so dramatically at odds with what many of us will be familiar. There’s some video footage available too. Check it out!
I’ve had a chance to play Crokinole a few times in the recent past and it’s pretty great. I’m rubbish at it, but do you know who isn’t? It’s these two people right here at the New York Championship Final. Seriously, some of this play is indistinguishable from magic.
Tiffany Caires on Twitter has a thread that should serve as a good reality check for those that see themselves as being trapped in a review cycle that emphasises the newest hotness. One of the many insightful points made:
Stores couldn't sell Terraforming Mars when it first first came out because no one cared. Same for Lords of Waterdeep – no one wanted it. It takes time for people to play games and most consumers don't blind-buy off of brand, title, or designer.
— Tar Caires, Team Tilt Danger (@TheOneTAR) September 24, 2018
It’s well worth taking a look at the thread, especially if you want a reason to focus on the games you love rather than the games which are simply the newest.
Man, have you seen what’s going on over at the roll20 site? It’s like a textbook garbage fire onto which someone has poured a potent petrol cocktail of whiny consumer entitlement and whinier mismanaged customer service. Check out this reddit thread for some of the least proportionate over-reactions that you’ll ever see. Stand well back – this is a blaze to watch from a distance.
The Playability podcast put up a great interview with Sarah and Will Reed with regards to their game Oaxaca – a game of tactility from a team that have a special focus on the visual accessibility of the games they create. Listen to the Playability podcast on an ongoing basis, really.
Over on the Giant Brain there’s an interesting interview with Jackson Pope about his game Flickfleet – it covers a lot of varied territory and is worth your time.
The Thoughtful Gamer put up his list of the top 10 games of 2017 and I found it interesting largely because of how much it diverged from many of the other ones I’d seen. I mean – obviously a year as strong as 2017 is going to have some common entries across the landscape but this is a more varied selection.
Finally – as I mentioned earlier I’ve been playing a lot of Life is Strange, and also Life is Strange: Before the Storm. Oh Chloe. You are the best bae in the whole bay. Anyway – one of the little story segments you can play through in Before the Storm is a mini-RPG adventure with some neeeeeeerrrrddsss in the school playground. Here’s a video of the sequence, and you know – I’d love a game that was basically this but a full campaign. It reminded me a fair bit of Telltale Games’ Poker Night at the Inventory and it’s not like they’re going to be doing much with that idea in the future.
This Month’s Spotlight
This month’s spotlight is on Sightless Fun – a semi-new blog that is doing visual accessibility focused analyses of tabletop games. We already mentioned them above, but you should add them to your regular rotation of blogs. The goal of Meeple Like Us varies from day to day and depends on where I currently am on the Optimism/Pessimism spectrum. What I’ve always wanted is to see though is the work we’ve been doing expanded upon by other outlets and that’s exactly what’s happening here. Imagine a whole stable of blogs like this, each with people focusing on the analysis of their own games in relation to their own personal circumstances. According to Ertay he was inspired to start the blog because of what we were doing with Meeple Like Us and that’s maybe the best feedback we’ve ever been given on the blog.