Monthly Roundup – October 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. OrFacebook. 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’re going to start off this month with this fascinating post on the cold war in board games – more than just the focus here, this post also covers some great stuff about why historians should care and links to an extended thesis on history in gaming. It’s all well worth your attention.
We weren’t able to make it to the first Tabletop Gaming Live convention – it was down in London and at an awkward time, but I was interested to read a couple of reports about the event. The first is from the Million Word Man blog, and the other from Cardboard and Coffee who you might recall were the inspiration for us doing this monthly roundup in the first place. If you’re in London for the next one, you might want to make a note for your calendar.
The Economist of all places has a brief article about the popularity of board games, pointing out the surprising success of companies like Games Workshop and the explosive growth in the convention scene in the UK. You know things are starting to become obvious to even the simplest of journalists if even the Economist have managed to notice what’s going on.
I don’t know what they’re up to, but Girls That Game have been hinting at a plan for something truly spectacular at the UKGE in 2019. Unfortunately all I can do is gesticulate wildly and point you towards this tweet which may, or may not, be of interest. I DON’T KNOW EITHER BUT I AM EXCITED TO FIND OUT.
Meeple Critic put together a top ten of unique games, and I was very pleased to see that it actually was full of pretty unique games – games that have their own interesting quirks and gimmicks. A lot of lists like this tend to converge on the familiar but while I had heard of a few of these games the majority were new and fresh. Check it out, maybe.
We liked Fog of Love a lot when we reviewed it, and the people begin it have been making special efforts to be more inclusive in the art and scenarios. For National Coming Out Day they announced a new expansion that focuses on queer relationships as well as new covers to reflect that focus.
This Reddit thread isn’t about board games, but oh my God it’s still well worth reading as a powerful cautionary tale. Essentially it was posted by someone that quit their job to become a game dev and then posted ‘So, now what do I do?’ to an incredulous audience. The advice ranges from ‘Get your job back’ to ‘No, seriously. Go get your job back’. I’m all for people pursuing their passions, but it’s vital you go into these things with a plan and a following wind. If you have neither, failure is the only thing you can truly expect.
I love Monkey Island. So much I have a framed poster of the cover of Monkey Island 2 on my wall. You can imagine my delight to see this Monkey Island retheme of Libertalia. Instabuy, if someone wants to work out the tortuous intellectual property problems that would come with getting it to market.
Sam Connor over on Twitter has a genuinely horrifying thread on the stock images available on Shutterstock and how they perpetuate ableist attitudes. And wow, it’s not even a little bit subtle. Seriously, this is eye-opening in the worst possible way.
You know when you want to play a new game and someone gives you a brief tutorial indistinguishable from a postgraduate class on advanced superpositionality? Well, someone was in your house and they caught you on film. #RelatableContent.
Matt Thrower over on There Will Be Games tidied up and re-posted a great article he had written several years ago on the topic of board game criticism. As you might image, we found it very interesting and commend it to your attention. The more critical we are about criticism, the better it’s going to get.
Stacy Delloforno has a fascinating and troubling post over on the Contessa blog – it tackles the white progressive problem at the heart of gaming and how it manifests in the Diana Jones Award. Quoting from the article:
It’s hard for me, now, to see the Diana Jones Award as anything but an awkward vessel for extending Gen Con’s marketing presence. An archaic relic of a time before when people actually had to give a shit about the great gatekeepers – Gen Con and Dungeons & Dragons, given out by a committee that seems increasingly more interested in maintaining the status quo than they are about discovering and defending the new. The different. The dam breakers.
It’s worth giving this one a close read.
In a more lighthearted vein is this new game – Mediocre Luigi Party, which serves as a necessary counterpoint to the fun to be had in Super Mario Party.
Mindshift have a great post on using Dungeons and Dragons as a way to prompt greater literacy amongst students. One of my favourite things to see is people using gaming to support greater goals. This absolutely shows how powerful games can be not just for the fun they offer but the valuable skills they help inculcate.
Over the years I have come to realise I’m not really a fan of Shut Up and Sit Down. I’m a fan of Paul Dean. When his contributions to the channel decreased in number, so did my enthusiasm for checking out the site. Well, Paul is moving on to the greener pastures that have been calling him. SU&SD will be greatly diminished by his absence even as the next topic on which he focuses his attention is correspondingly enriched. I will be excited to see what he ends up doing. I’m sure it’ll be Beary Good.
Netrunner has finally come to the end of its life, and Vice have a comprehensive article from Alex Spencer looking at the impact this has had on the community. It’s wonderfully detailed, and reads much like a love letter to a community about which I have only heard great things. That’s not all Vice have pulled off this month in terms of tabletop coverage – they also have a fantastic look at how important the art of D&D has been in building its audience over the years. Vice are knocking it out of the park of late.
Jaipur is a site favourite, and I was delighted to see To Play is Human showcase a wonderful upgrade kit for which I would happily trade five camels any day of the week.
I leave you this month with this hilarious video from ProZD, eloquently demonstrating not only what it’s like to receive a shellacking from an expert player but also clearly showing what it’s like as a non-gamer to listen to someone narrate their turns in a collectible card game.
This Month’s Spotlight
This month’s spotlight is on 3 Minute Boardgames. You might well have guessed from our output that I’m not really one for the brevity, but if I was this is how I’d like my reviews to come across. But really, the best thing that they’re doing at the moment is ensuring their videos are subtitled properly so as to better support accessibility in gaming. Their channel is great, they’re lovely people, and they’re doing great work in bringing tabletop coverage to a wider and more inclusive audience. Make it worth their time and check them out!