Monthly Roundup – November 2018
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.
This is likely to be the second last of these roundups – they haven’t really had the effect I was hoping for in raising the profile of the work people are doing. I’m going to see it through to the end of the year but unless there’s a dramatic uptick for this post and the next I don’t see this series continuing into 2019.
Previous 2018 Roundups
- January 2018
- February 2018
- March 2018
- April 2018
- May 2018
- June 2018
- July 2018
- August 2018
- September 2018
- October 2018
Mrs Meeple and I got a chance to check out Keyforge at the Glasgow Games Festival this month. Owen Duffy was kind enough to show us how to play. It’s pretty good but it’s probably quite telling the only question people seemed to ask about it was ‘Do you have any of the funny deck names?’. I’m not sure that’s enough to build a franchise on but it certainly hasn’t done the game’s profile any harm. What might do the game some harm though is that the secondary market for decks is, within weeks of its release, reaching ridiculous levels of excess.
Donald X Vaccarino himself weighed in on the Dominion strategy forum to talk about the secret history of Dominion: Renaissance and it’s full of really interesting observations. It’s well worth reading. At the other end of the strategy scale is a Reddit thread that talks about the equivalent of Fool’s Mate for Dominion – a strategy that wins the game in three turns provided you have a particular collection of cards in play.
Spiel seems to get riskier for publishers every year, with thefts of stock and revenue becoming increasingly common. Japan Anime Games has an interesting post on the topic, but perhaps the most notable thing I saw was this BGG thread in which the occasional note of sense floats in a solid sea of passive-aggressive victim blaming. Worth reading, perhaps with a stress-ball handy.
The subreddit whatisthisthing had a really interesting post on what seems like a weird board-game all bound up in conspiracies and espionage. Turns out it’s not quite that straightforward but I found the matching Snopes thread to be equally interesting. It turns out the only X-Files related board game is the one by IDW Games.
We’re no great fans of Kickstarted boardgames here on Meeple Like Us. Too often it seems like a way for larger companies to basically shunt all the risk of capitalism onto the consumers while retaining all the benefits. With projects like this floating around we have to wonder when people are going to become at least a little critical about their pledges for untried and untested board-games. Jamey Stegmaier elaborates on some similar themes in a post where he talks about the growing and unfortunate trend of using Kickstarter as a preorder store. Something has to give at some point. Perhaps some point later in this roundup…
Friend of the Show James Naylor has a typically insightful blog post up in which he talks about ignoring the cult of the new in favour of more reliable, established routes to the huge amounts of fun locked up in this hobby. It’s a lesson i hope to see more of us taking to heart.
Hat tip to To Play Is Human for linking this amazing post about an artist that uses jigsaw mash-ups to create some stunningly evocative art. It’s almost enough to get me interested in jigsaw puzzles. Not actually enough, but almost. Look at these things, they’re phenomenal.
Are you finding a favourite game to be a bit of a chore to play? Broken or unbalanced? Slow and lethargic? Maybe a house-rule would work to fix it, and there’s a Reddit thread that contains hundreds of interesting, effective or funny house-rules you might consider adopting. At the very least you can read through and get a good feel for what is effectively the board game modding scene.
Clio’s Board Games contains some of the most unique content on the internet, reveling as it does on the intersection of history, wargames and design. Whether it’s discussing the German Revoltuion of 1918 or the cold war as dissected through Twilight Struggle there’s a lot you can learn here. This month I was particularly taken by this post on Hannibal Barca and Scipio Africanus. Educational and entertaining, you’ll come away from this a smarter person.
Is the board game bubble about to burst? Plenty people think so but I suspect at worst we’re likely to see a relatively minor market correction coming. Why are we even talking about that though? Well, CMON reported a fair dip in their profits, which caused their stock price to dip as a result. Monocles popped out of eyes from one side of the hobby to the other. While I suspect this isn’t anything to worry about for the industry over the long term, I do think it’s more evidence of a growing backlash against Kickstarter heavy business models and honestly I’m kind of glad to see that. Nick Bentley has some interesting thoughts on the wider implications of these trends in the industry.
White Wolf Publishing managed to stick yet another paw firmly in its mouth with a ridiculously offensive appropriation of the murder, torture and imprisonment of LGBTQ people in Chechnya. Turned out vampires were responsible all along. They did issue an apology but the whole incident has been damaging enough to cause Paradox to step in and revoke the White Wolf’s ability to operate independently.
White Wolf may be Bad Wolves, but do you know who are Good Doggos? It’s these doggos over on Who Dares Rolls where you’ll find a list of the best dogs in board games. It’s a good list Bront even if it does suggest that wookies are basically big dogs and not the proud, noble warriors they are.
We don’t normally signal boost stuff from Shut Up and Sit Down because, lol, like we even can. They did however announce an absolutely fantastic opportunity – with the departure of Paul Dean they’re looking to bring a (paid) intern on board (tee hee) and if that sounds like a golden ticket to Wonky Willy’s board game journalism factory then you’re gosh darned right.
Over on the One Switch Gaming blog is this interesting post about a physical board game that uses some hacks in Tabletop Simulator to provide an accessibility system in an environment where such support is utterly lacking. Some useful pointers here for those that might be interestied in ensuring their TTS games are as accessible as possible to a wide audience.
Two neat things from Sightless Fun this month. The first is their analysis of the accessibility inherent in digital manuals for board games. That’s an interesting topic and tackled with the usual care and consideration I’ve come to expect. They’ve also started up a podcast for visual accessibility in board games and I’m really excited for where this ends up going. Check it out!
Two very wholesome twitter threads from moregamesplease to report here – the first takes a look at how various content creators define success. Noting that many people said it was the recognition of peers, the second thread was a chance for those very same peers to point out the creators that they actually did recognise. Very feel good stuff here for a lot of people and you should follow Ross because he gives good twitter.
Tanya DePass has a thoughtful and forceful post on the hard limits that go along with sentiments of support. ‘I love what you do doesn’t pay the bills’ – it’s true too. It’s occasionally disheartening to see how easily the dedicated audience for boardgames can throw millions at a random kickstarter project. That’s especially so when you consider how little is sent towards the creators that are working their fingers to the bone fighting the losing battle against the tide of mediocrity. I’m not saying to support Meeple Like Us, but it would be swell if you could consider whether you might be able to support some creator somewhere that is giving you content you value.
It wouldn’t be a month with a letter in it if we didn’t have people on Twitter telling us that women don’t play games. Well, they do. They play all kinds of games, and always have. Kotaku took a look at some of the important women in the history of D&D. We can all learn more about the women that have largely been air-brushed out of the conventional histories of our hobbies.
Cole Wehrle has a really interesting twitter thread about choosing colours for games when colour blindness is an issue. It’s a great, in-depth look at how to choose colours thematically and yet retain accessibility. Great stuff.
This Month’s Spotlight
This month saw the genesis of a new publication called Can I Play That – an outlet focused on game accessibility writing. It’s primarily for video games and while they can’t pay writers yet they are looking to build up the necessary support and funding to make that happen. If you’ve got an interesting story or thoughts about playing games while disabled you should check out their call for submissions. The more game accessibility publications that exist, the better in my view. If you’re interested in the work we do here on Meeple Like Us you’re almost certainly going to find plenty over on Can I Play That to tickle your fancy in the coming weeks and months. Check it out!