Recommend
12 
 Thumb up
 Hide
101 Posts
1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5  Next »   | 

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Gaming Related » General Gaming

Subject: Saving Board Games from the Gamers rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Eddie the Cranky Gamer
Canada
Edmonton
Alberta
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
I've been wrestling with an uneasy frustration for about a year or so. Something was really bothering me about the state of the gaming fandom, and I've just recently felt confident enough in my opinions to begin putting it down in words. Here is an excerpt:

Quote:
Ever since The Dice Tower started I was haunted by a feeling that something was wrong with it. If you didn’t know, The Dice Tower is a prominent podcast about board games authored, primarily, by Tom Vasel. (Hi Tom. Despite what is to come I love the show). Weekly for most of its run, and now on a biweekly format, The Dice Tower is 80 or so minutes of news and opinions about board games and the related subculture.

Early on in its run I tried to capture my feelings about the show and deliver them to Tom, and while extraordinarily polite my perspective was mostly dismissed. I felt the show needed to be shorter, tighter, and more focused. There was, in my opinion, simply nothing about the genre that deserved a 90 minute weekly ramble-a-thon. Of course, The Dice Tower soon became one of the more influential podcasts on the scene, and I was left scratching my head. But the truth is I totally failed to capture what my feeling was, and instead delivered a bunch of half-cocked objections on wishy-washy premises.


You can read the complete first part of my thoughts over on my blog, and can comment on it either here or there.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John W
United States
Sacramento
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
1) I encourage a critical deconstruction of overly-obsessive podcasts/vlogs that may alienate or steer in a wrong direction.

2) I'm not convinced you've even come close to a persuasive argument, since AFAICT you've based your entire argument on one off-the-cuff section where one participant didn't realize until a bit along that she owned the game she was describing.
Surely in the thousands of minutes of talking, you could come up with more than 1 point that might support your argument....?

3) You seem to ignore lots of good things when analyzing an effort.
Your review of Spiderman 3 went into some good detail, but you ignored a lot of other aspects of the movie that would lead the viewer to believe that the movie is a good comic book film.

And to answer your question:
Eddie Brock in the movie has fangs because of something called artistic license. The director doesn't have to explain why the symbiote grants him fangs, because the fangs help the viewer see the character the way the director wants him to be seen by the audience.
Enjoy a good effort - at least point out the good things that people do, if you are going to be analyzing their work(s), to provide a balanced review.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mark Crane
United States
Orem
Utah
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I have a policy of never reading any other sites besides this one, so I can't check out your blog posting about how obsessiveness is ruining gaming.
15 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dane Peacock
United States
Stansbury Park
Utah
flag msg tools
badge
That tickles
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Sir, I admire your courage. You articulated very well your position on an issue that will garner the wrath of many.

For my part, I see your points but I personally cannot see the cause and effects of how the elitists are harming the gaming industry. Yes, they make me want to puke, but they probably end up doing a lot more good than bad.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nairb Attobas
United States
Pittsburgh
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
How long before this thread explodes, I wonder?

Probably not long.

Side note/non-sequitur: Mary and her husband are two of only three folks from BGG that I've ever met/gamed with in person, and they're exceedingly nice people. I didn't realize she did stuff with the Dice Tower.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sven
Germany
Frankfurt am Main
Hessen
flag msg tools
badge
We will move from victims to survivors and conquer as we go.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
While I see your point, I don´t see which other course you have in mind. I´m looking forward to the 2nd part...
After all, those people who will invest time and energy into a hobby (like producing podcasts, fanzines etc.) or become prominent within it´s community will always be those, who take the hobby to extremes. Nobody who just likes boardgames and loves to play one or two times a month with his/her friends will aspire to produce a podcast like the Dicetower!
Also, these "extremists" normaly have a certain enthusiasm and zeal that drives the hobby forward. Of course this is just the other side of the coin that you desribe - but I guess you can´t have one without the other.

BTW, I totally agree with your opinion, that the Dicetower should be shorter and more focused.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United States
Tucson
Arizona
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
If I understand you correctly, you believe it to be a problem that the most vocal proponents of boardgames and those with clout in the industry are more interested in always having more and more new board games be produced. They want to always be playing something new, rather than re-playing something they know they like. They are more concerned with quantity rather than quality.

You seem to imply that the ratio of quality games to mediocre games is changing in favor of mediocrity. I don't know that I agree with that. I do think I'm pretty close to critical mass as far as owning games goes so it takes a lot to impress me. But the good games now are as good as the good games of a few years ago I just don't think I'll like them any better then games I already have so I don't bother getting them.

Game players are different then collectors. Players need to play games more often. If they can't play games, why buy more? If one is a collector, well, heaven help them.

I think players need to be more discerning. My philosophy with regard to game aquisition is to play a game before buying it if at all possible. If it's not possible, wait until it's readily available else where, read as many comments and reviews as possilbe and finally wait a few more months. If I still really want to play the game I'll buy it knowing that if it's got any popularity at all I'll be able to trade it away if I don't like it.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
If Actions Speak Louder Than Words, Then Actions x2 Speak Louder Than Actions
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
flag msg tools
badge
One of the Original Twelve
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
ced1106 wrote:
apotheos wrote:
I felt the show needed to be shorter, tighter, and more focused.


So... create your own show that's shorter, tighter, and more focused? :/


aka. Washu! ^O^



And then buy an audience with free game giveaways and contests.

I stopped listening back when I realized that my chances of winning a contest was marginally better than being entertained by the show.

Tremendous!!
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kevin Brown
United States
Macon
Georgia
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I understand where you're coming from, but I think you're fundamentally missing the point of The Dice Tower. It's not intended to appeal to casual gamers or people who are looking for a fun way to spend a Thursday night with the family. That kind of person isn't likely to download a boardgaming podcast in the first place.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Aaron Silverman
United States
Halfway between Castro and Mickey Mouse
Florida (FL)
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
ced1106 wrote:
apotheos wrote:
I felt the show needed to be shorter, tighter, and more focused.


So... create your own show that's shorter, tighter, and more focused? :/


He wants to spend less time on it, so the answer is to put in the effort to do his own podcast.

Brilliant!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eddie the Cranky Gamer
Canada
Edmonton
Alberta
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
reapersaurus wrote:
to provide a balanced review.


I wasn't trying to present a balanced review.

Is there a Spiderman 3 thread we can use for that? I'm game to discuss it.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris
United States
Altoona
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I guess I don't understand. The Dice Tower is Tom's podcast and he will run it as he see's fit. I'm sure he gets many suggestions per day and can only incorporate those ideas that he has time for and make sense to him. In short, you can't please everyone.

That said, I agree that a shorter/tighter podcast is a worthy goal because I don't have time to listen to a 90+ minute podcast. Thus I have enjoyed the new Metagamers podcast.

Final thought: if you think you can do better, then I suggest creating your own podcast. That is the cool thing about this medium - anyone can do it!

Chris

Edit: added the spiffy new url tags
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eddie the Cranky Gamer
Canada
Edmonton
Alberta
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
LetsGetTrivial wrote:

Final thought: if you think you can do better, then I suggest creating your own podcast. That is the cool thing about this medium - anyone can do it!


I'm very nearly certain I can't do better. I wasn't suggesting people should listen to me instead of him. I'm woefully stupid and have as short attentio...what? Candy?

Quote:
I see your points but I personally cannot see the cause and effects of how the elitists are harming the gaming industry.


This is my favorite criticism so far because I really didn't sell the point well. Its not causing harm, but I think it is sharply limiting its growth potential. I don't think modern games should be a niche hobby, but I don't see a lot of effort to correct that.

3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Swood
United States
Stamford
Connecticut
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I enjoyed your article, and have a few comments:

1) I've never listened to The Dice Tower, but I am a huge advocate of short podcasts. Podcasts are a HUGE step backward in technology in that they are absolutely linear. You can't skim a podcast. Think cassette tapes. I have many interests and I'm not about to spend more than 20 minutes listening to a podcast about any of them.

Podcasters! Less is more!

2) I am a guy with a LOT of hobbies. Every single hobby community thinks it is on the brink of disaster. It's quite common and normal to think this way, but I've never seen it amount to anything.
11 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nick Floyd
United States
Minnesota
flag msg tools
I am not familiar with "The Dice Tower" but I read your blog and I know the type of gamer you are referring too. I see your point, but I'm not sure I agree. These "extreme" gamers are the lifeblood of the hobby. It is mostly this type of gamer who bought those small numbers of Pillars of the Earth last month.

That being said, I don't think that they pose a road block to the hobby and frighten would be gamers away with their elitist attitudes and their presence on the internet. These elitist gamers are invisible to the person only just being introduced to the hobby. A player who has just played their first games of Settlers and Ticket to Ride is not likely to go home and start searching the internet for gaming pod casts and setting up a profile on BGG, even if they enjoyed the games immensely. The persons who are listening to The Dice Tower are people who are already ingrained in the hobby and are looking for the next big game. I don't think it is an issue.

Not every person who has yet to try our hobby would enjoy it and be taken in by it. My fiancée hates games (she says "hates," but I think she just dislikes most of them). My father doesn't like games. We have to cajole him into playing party games with us. They just don't like the competitive aspect or expending the mental energy needed to play a game. Maybe the are intimidated by those gamers trying to teach them with with an obviously greater understanding of the game and more experienced gaming. I guessing this is kind of what you are referring to. We can only help that by introducing games slowly and in a non-competitive manner.

If you are looking for someone to blame for the fact that gaming is a niche hobby and not as wide spreed as you would like, blame the merchandising industry. Designer games are sold almost exclusively in niche stores where as Monopoly and Sorry are sold in every Wal-Co and Targ-Mart in the country. If one could pick up designer games in these stores it would be both a boon and a bane to the hobby. It would get more good games into people's hands that they might not otherwise try it, but it does not mean it will make gamers out of them. As it stands, an average Joe Non-gamer is not going to walk into the Dragon Den and impulse buy Caylus off the shelf. And I thank God for that. If a non-gamer were to buy Caylus at Wal-Mart and try to teach themselves how to play... well that is one less person that won't be joining our fine hobby. That's if their head didn't explode.

This, like 90% of hobbies, has to be introduced to people softly and slowly. This is why many games such as Ticket to Ride and Settlers of Catan are often labeled as "gateway" games and are "good for non-gamers." They are introductory games and this is the reason they sell so well. Gamer friend introduces the game to non-gamer and non-gamer goes out and buys it. Does non-gamer become a gamer? Some do and some do not. Were those that don't scared away by the elitist attitudes of the gamers they know and the internet gaming community? Some maybe. But online communities are here for the advancement of their hobbies and I believe that this what their effect most often is.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mark Haberman
United States
Painesville
Ohio
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
LetsGetTrivial wrote:

That said, I agree that a shorter/tighter podcast is a worthy goal because I don't have time to listen to a 90+ minute podcast. Thus I have enjoyed the new Metagamers podcast.


Thanks! We need to be careful though. We seem to be sliding toward the 90+ minute mark. We do our best to keep them around an hour.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gabe Alvaro
United States
Berkeley
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Drew1365 wrote:
This seems like your key point:

Quote:
The industry has become so satisfied with being marginal that it makes almost no effort to find a larger audience.


And well . . . this could be said for any niche hobby. There have been many discussions here about how mainstreaming would be bad for the industry -- that there's actually more success to be found by serving a niche, and serving it well. Oh, sure, there will be the odd break-out game that the mainstream becomes aware of, but for the most part, this hobby will always exist on the fringes of the mainstream.

That said, sometimes the hobbyists themselves (as differentiated from the industry) are so deep into this niche, that they cannot poke their heads up and smell the fresh air. (True of both "Euro" and "American" game fans.) That may be where the problem lies. Once people begin drawing a circle to separate us (gamers) from them (muggles), they then begin drawing smaller circles to subdivide the niche. And then the battles begin.

But the industry really doesn't care about that.

Perhaps the answer is to stop drawing circles at all.

I agree with Drew here. Who says the industry even wants to go mainstream? I feel what the OP is expressing here, but it's difficult maybe impossible to link it up practically to real causes and effects.

I mostly feel what you seem to be expressing in regard to my own local attempts as a game group organizer to find more people to play with. I want gaming to go mainstream because I want to play more games more often with more people in my life. My impression of the gaming cognoscenti that you speak of is that they don't struggle to find opponents or to get people to join their game group. For them gaming is a lifestyle full of many other gamers, a scene if you will. It affords them plenty of opponents and an endless supply of games. If marginal works this well, why change? They probably just do more of what they love, just get deeper involved with the games and thumb their nose at the mainstream.
1 
 Thumb up
0.19
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
J Jacy
United States
Waltham
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I think you make a lot of "off the mark" assumptions.

First you seem to think of some gamers as "front facing" or "spokespeople" for the hobby. It seems to me that the people you are mentioning are just like you: playing games and hoping to get as many people as possible to play because they like you, enjoy games and think they have a lot to offer people in the way of entertainment. Ask the average person who Tom or Mary is, and you'd get a blank stare, amongst gamers you'd get varied opinions on whether they enjoy their podcast and reviews and such. There is no "game pope" and even then there would be plenty of people who would listen to a game pope.

Secondly, you seem to express that just because you can't think of 350 games worth playing, that there aren't actually 350 games worth playing. This is scale, as you mentioned, or you use yourself as the only measure of others, and find their collections "too big" or conversly you may be a bit jaded your own collection doesn't measure up?

Thirdly, that the Dice Tower isn't being critical enough. Well, they talk about games they've played a couple times, and games they've played a lot, and they tend to mention the good, the bad, and most often (in my mind at least) who would most enjoy a game, because target audience means a lot for games. This is a good thing and should work with your own views, because it seems just about anyone will enjoy a game if it is the right game for them in the right circumstance. This stance also runs totally counter to your belief that only the obsessed can understand/care about the conversation on games when listening to the Dice Tower.

It seems that your mission is to get a niche into the mainstream, while the Dice Towers' might be more geared towards discussing games, sharing the hosts' thoughts and get gamers to play games with as many people as possible. Sure you'd get more out of the Dice Tower as an "in the loop" gamer then someone who has only played Monopoly, but the same is said for BGG itself.

Just my thoughts on this entry in your blog (as I've not read anything else you've written, yet), as it seems to me to all boil down to your personal preference vs. the preference of others on how to get more people gaming. They obviously feel as though their hard work in putting together shows is a good thing, and I'd doubt your blog will change their minds.


-jjacy1
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gabe Alvaro
United States
Berkeley
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
apotheos wrote:
This is my favorite criticism so far because I really didn't sell the point well. Its not causing harm, but I think it is sharply limiting its growth potential. I don't think modern games should be a niche hobby, but I don't see a lot of effort to correct that.


What is this "growth potential" you speak of? Where? How? Are you sure you are not thinking wishfully?

Phloid wrote:
Not every person who has yet to try our hobby would enjoy it and be taken in by it. ... They just don't like the competitive aspect or expending the mental energy needed to play a game.

Is this not the accepted universal truth about those sheeple (sorry, I like it) non-gamers?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric Jome
United States
Franklin
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mb
apotheos wrote:
I don't think modern games should be a niche hobby, but I don't see a lot of effort to correct that.


When you are an avid golfer, it's hard to understand how someone might not like the game of golf. Yet millions of people wouldn't even consider trying it out.

Modern games are great, but this is not a hobby for everyone. Indeed, it's probably not even a hobby for many. It takes a lot of time, more than a fair bit of money, a desire to spend your free time with strangers (and some are stranger than others)... But the most devastating problem is the entrenched common opinion that;

Board games are for children.

This is terribly obvious to every person you meet on the street. Just like comics, cartoons, and video games - kid's stuff. If you are still wasting your time with this stuff as an adult, you obviously have a development problem. Unlike golf, which enjoys widespread common acceptance as a reasonable pasttime for adults... and still is disliked and avoided by millions.

It isn't the elite of the hobby that hold it back from widespread acceptance. It's this prejudicial opinion. Tom Vasel is no one. You only know of his existence because you are already devoted to this microscopic hobby - he is the greens keeper at Augusta, and you, the avid golfer, think he should dress one course differently.

But millions of people don't even want to play golf.
10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eddie the Cranky Gamer
Canada
Edmonton
Alberta
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
I think I am taking it as an assumption that the market for mainstream games could be taken over by modern board games. Are they incompatible markets, or is it all in the spin?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric Jome
United States
Franklin
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mb
jjacy1 wrote:
There is no "game pope"...


Egads! I'm not a big fan of titles, but I'd commit some kind of war crime to be universally recognized as the Game Pope!

I'd have acolytes follow me with censers shaped like twenty sided dice! I'd have an entire ceremonial robe made from various ultra-rares from collectible trading card games! The gift shop at the Cathedral of Games would sell chit and die rosaries!

OMG

It boggles the mind.

I think I just had a game-gasm just thinking about it.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ken B.
United States
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
generalpf wrote:
blindspot wrote:
Is this not the accepted universal truth about those sheeple (sorry, I like it) non-gamers?

It would be nice if someone came up with a term for non-gamers that was not derogatory.



I suggest "Pee-Pee Doo Doo Heads."
11 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric Jome
United States
Franklin
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mb
apotheos wrote:
I think I am taking it as an assumption that the market for mainstream games could be taken over by modern board games. Are they incompatible markets, or is it all in the spin?


Totally incompatible.

What is a mainstream game? Candyland? Monopoly? That's what I saw on an end cap at Target a few days ago. You mean you are going to get people to give up on their Chess or Backgammon to enjoy a rousing round of Lost Cities or GIPF? Or give up golf, gardening, bird watching, or American Idol to spend more time hunkered over Paths of Glory or Tigris & Euphrates?

Until you can convince the vast majority of adults that spending their time playing a board game is a fun, interesting hobby, you aren't going to make a dent in the mainstream game market. And that is a virtual impossibility... most people want to escape from thinking, not find a way to spend more time working their brain.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gabe Alvaro
United States
Berkeley
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
generalpf wrote:
blindspot wrote:
Is this not the accepted universal truth about those sheeple (sorry, I like it) non-gamers?

It would be nice if someone came up with a term for non-gamers that was not derogatory.

Of course it's also a universal truth that you'll attract more flies with honey than vinegar. I know this. I'm derogatory here mostly for effect. I like to vent among the initiated. Away from this site I am the most desperate subtle, accomodating, hand-holding, patient and respectful board game evangelizer you'll meet.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.