Category Archives: rant

rant

Come and watch our phone call

It finally dawned on me while trying to watch the latest Board Dames Hangout on YouTube what I hate about these “content creators”/YouTubers doing these Hangouts. It’s like watching both sides of a telephone conversation. In fact it’s exactly like that.

You are watching (sometimes live if you are online at the right moment) a phone call. And it’s fecking boring.

Ah but Darren it’s not like a phone call because we can talk and ask questions in the chat room.” 

True, but it’s you mostly talking amongst yourselves whilst the YouTubers chat inanely about boardgames to each other over their webcams. Sometimes there might be the odd acknowledgement of the chat room, or answering a question. But the majority of the time they are just making insipid statements and agreeing with each other.

Look I love board games, I love talking about them with my friends. But these hangouts are about as interesting as watching paint dry.

I thought my life was mundane and that my opinions were uninformed and inconsequential. But compared to some of these YouTubers I’m leading the life of James Bond and I’m channeling Einstein.

What I don’t get is why people like these things. Are they wannabe NSA?

They are like live podcasts”

Yeah with crappier production values and no editing. Edit these down and you might get 5 minutes of real content. And that constant flicking on Hangouts between cameras on the faintest of noises. So bloody annoying. Sometimes it gets unwatchable.

You’re just jealous because you don’t do one/haven’t been invited/ no one reads your blog/insert reason here

Maybe so. I can’t rule that out if I’m being brutally honest with myself. I can say it’s not. But is it? Or am I just a hateful person who likes to voice that part of his black little heart to the world?

I do lay awake at night wondering how the heck some of these folks have followers. I have theories, and none of them include “they are creating compelling and insightful content”. One or two have the words generic and bland. 

Which brings us back to describing these Google Hangouts. There that’s tied things up nicely. 

What do you think of these Google Hangouts by “popular” boardgaming YouTubers? 

QOTW what type of games do I like to play?

The other day I was asked what types of game do I like playing? 

What a hard bloody question. Jonathan is quite rightly unashamedly a trading in the Mediterranean type of guy. He knows what he likes. But I also admire that he often steps out of his comfort zone and tries other things.

But what about me? What types of games do I like to play?

Often I’m very black and white on things. But on this probing question I’m grey. The lines are blurred. Insert cliche here.

I suppose in a way I’m a gaming omnivore! I’ll play most types of games.

I really enjoy lcg/ccg style games, such as Android Netrunner, Magic the Gathering, Ashes, and Epic. I like the deck construction. The building a deck round a theme, tactic, or combo. It’s really satisfying when that idea comes off (even if it’s one in ten times!)

Deckbuilders like Marvel Legendary, Star Realms and Hero Realms also give me a lot of enjoyment. Well I hope so because I play Star Realms the app a lot.

Let’s speed things up…

Drafting, worker placement, hidden movement, dungeon crawling, 4X, civilisation building, bluffing, set collection, abstract, all push my buttons. I enjoy the games that have those mechanics. Plus I enjoy the mechanics I haven’t listed. I just typed the ones that came to mind as I typed.

Big games, small games. Gateway, mid weight, heavy. Yep count me in.

Theme? Sci-fi, fantasy, modern, zombie, historical, trading in the med. I’ll happily play any theme. The cyber punk theme is one of the things I love about Android Netrunner.

I think my only criteria really for a game is “is it a good game?” If it is then I’ll enjoy playing it.

I suppose at some point in the future it’d be an interesting exercise to look at my collection and break things down to see how it breaks down by mechanic, designer, publisher etc. That might disprove everything I’ve just written, and show I do indeed have a bias towards certain types of game, designer etc.

In the meantime until I have evidence disproving it, I’m an omnigamer!

Short Rants

It’s been a quiet week for me on the gaming front, so I’ve not really had anything to write about. Which means luckily for you, you get a break from me and my ramblings. Unluckily for you I’m back with this post. A post of short topic rants!

Once more it looks like the UK is getting screwed over on the distribution front for a game. This morning I had an email from the online retailer that I had pre-ordered Inis from that the game “will be available in the UK next week for the first time“. However “it will be a very limited release with only a few copies available for each retailer.” I’d love to know what the feck is going on. Is this due to the publisher under producing the game, having not anticipated demand? Or is this the distributor in the UK redirecting stock to their US sister company so that they can meet demand there? Yes I’m thinking it’s you Esdevium and your Asmodee borg collective. Things are starting to smell. This is happening more and more frequently with new releases. I’m calling it, putting the conspiracy theory out there. One or two publishers under estimating demand may be. But this is too regular now.

On the latest podcast from The Secret Cabal there was a comment from Tony in answer to which game was his gaming group biting at the bit to get back to the table, that I totally agreed with. Tony basically said “there are too many good games to choose from, that it was hard to pick a single game”. It’s true. Scythe, Cry Havoc, Kemet, Viticulture, The Others, T.I.M.E. Stories, the list just goes on. Plus there are new games (when there are enough in the UK that you are able to buy a copy) that you add to your collection.  Then there is finding time and others to play with, and co-ordinating so you can play. I’m dying to play all of those mentioned and more. They are great games.

Star Wars Destiny is a collectable game that I have managed to avoid. I was helped in this by my FLGS. My FLGS got distracted by Blood Bowl. That is the hotness there. The one everyone is playing. There is league play etc. Star Wars Destiny ticks a lot of boxes for me. But I was put off a little by the fact you buy a starter set and it’s not match legal! Apparently you need 30 cards in your deck to make a match legal deck in Star Wars Destiny. How many does the starter set come with? 20!!! WTF FFG? If you buy a starter set of any thing it should allow you to play a match legal game straight out of the box. Thats just shocking, and strikes me of them trying to exploit the gullible gamers and fanboys (of which I’m usually one). The collectable element also switched me off a lot, I don’t want that arms race, and having to spend lots to get that one card you need. I know I’d love this game if I played it, and be hooked. But thank god I’ve avoid it.

I’m hoping this new podcast starting up called The Five By will be a refreshing break from the usual tired old tropes of the gaming podcast world. For starters it’s got more women on it than men. A good start. Plus it has Shiny Happy Meeple as one of the founding voices. If you stalk her on Instagram, Youtube and read her blog, then you too will be hopeful for this podcast, because you know they are starting off with at least one quality host. Wait I’ve been nice about someone, that can’t be right. God I’m feeling more ill than I thought I was. Plus I’m finishing on a semi positive note. Oh that’s bought the tone of this mini rants post right down.

I do apologise for these poorly argued rants. It’s me just letting off steam. Venting my frustration. Plus who reads and listens to me anyway? I’m just this middle aged, over weight dude. What does my opinion mean anyway?

Right I better go and watch the The Watch It Played video for Mechs vs Minions, I’m playing that tonight…

Stuck in the box thinking

This morning on Twitter the UK outpost of Toys R Us tweeted the following question and picture out to their followers. Look don’t ask why I’m following them on twitter, I don’t know either. It might be a Lego thing.

My reply might have been a bit mean! 


Ok definitely elitist. But I’m not really! 

No wait hear me out.

I’m not looking down on those that get pleasure playing these mainstream games. I am looking down on the blinkered limited selection that the likes of Toys R Us offer.

Certainly outlets like Toys R Us should be offering a wider selection of games than those pictured. The “gateway” games of our hobby are definitely ones that should be on their shelves. And I name one or two in my mean tweet above. 

I’m not saying our heavier games such as Twilight Imperium etc should be there. Although it would be amazing to see that. I do think the likes of Splendor, Love Letter and Munchkin, plus others should be.

If the likes of Target and Barnes and Noble in the US can dip their toes into the hobby gaming waters, then surely the likes of Toys R Us could as well.

Mini Christmas rant over. 

I’m the man!

There is a great post by Shiney Happy Meeples about inclusivity, which includes her bravely relating her personal experience.

Which got me thinking. I have no idea what she has had to experience. Frankly I won’t. 


I’m white, I think being 48 makes me middle aged-ish, male, and heterosexual. I am as the title of this post says “the man”. 

Because of the birth lottery it came up me!

I’ve not had to experience sexual abuse, harassment, discrimination because of my gender, colour, sexual preference. 

I have experienced bullying. But that’s a different story, which I will share someday.

However because I am in this position of privilege I do have responsibilities.

The first is to not let these things happen on my watch. So if I see this stuff happening it is beholden of me to step in and stop it. To speak up.

The second is for me not to be a source of this hate. But to be welcoming and include everyone.

It’s difficult to write about inclusion being from the demographic that is probably the source of the majority of the problem.

All I can hope is that when the chips are down that I am brave enough to stand up for those that are being abused. 

I think I will leave this post there. It’s a tough one, and a subject we can’t bury our heads in the sand about.

How do you kill off an lcg?

Well if you are Plaid Hat Games, recently absorbed into the Asmodee Borg collective, you do the following for starters:

  • Make sure that your product is very hard to get hold of at LGS.
  • Make sure that if the public buy direct from you, that you charge extortionate prices for shipping abroad.

Then you go and do the following:

Rumours on bgg  and I have had it from another source as well, is that instead of having this nice deluxe box coming out that was planned, they are going to split out the two new Phoenixborn and their respective new dice into two separate packs. With the fate of the deluxe box in limbo.

What’s the issue with that you ask? Initially not a lot. I’m cool with that. What I’m not cool with is the price these two new expansions will be sold for. The plan from Plaid Hat is for these to be sold for $25 each! $50 for both! That’s more than the cost of the base game which has six Phoenixborn and four sets of dice. Plus if you pre-order being in the UK we get totally robbed with the shipping as well. Plaid Hat are not the most friendly company for international buyers.

But why would you buy from Plaid Hat then, and not just buy the expansion from your FLGS? May I direct you to point one of their plan to kill off the game. Plaid Hat are not able to get product out to stores in enough numbers for people to buy it. It’s very very rare, in fact it’s easier to find an honest Tory MP than to be able to walk into a FLGS and buy an Ashes expansion or even the base game.

So you are kind of forced to buy from Plaid Hat to make sure you get the expansion. They try and sweeten the deal by adding a promo Phoenixborn that is exclusive to them. But that really doesn’t make up for the daylight robbery that occurs when they add shipping.

Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Ashes. I love the art work, the release schedule was ideal for it to be my second LCG/CCG of choice (although it could be a little bit more frequent), I love the dice as resources, it’s a really nice game. Plus in some ways Plaid Hat are also a really great company. They obviously care about the community, and the likes of Isaac Vega (the designer) are regularly interacting with the community, and giving updates when they can.

Not many companies out there actually make their OP kits available for groups to arrange their own OP events (there were some conditions for being able to do this, that were totally reasonable). That was a great touch, and showed they were listening.

But the community is screaming for product. Not just expansions to increase the card pool. But also accessories such as playmats, deck boxes and OP kits. Yes you can get the plastic tokens that Team Covenant do, but for those of us outside the US of A that’s an expensive option once again, because they also like to take the piss on postage.

My fear is that Ashes is dead already. That the combination of these failures, and this latest news about the upcoming expansion will be enough for people to say “I’m out”, and pack away their cards. I know for some this expansion news was the straw that broke the camels back.

It’s hard enough as it is to find people to play the game with. No point demoing the game, as people can’t buy it! No app, no physical product. The situation is bad. Oh and on the app side don’t give me Table Top Simulator as an option. It’s not. If the app isn’t multi platform ie runs on Windows, OS X, iOS, Android then it’s useless. Plus Table Top Simulator is clumsy and horrible. I want a dedicated app that runs on my tablet or phone (my main computing devices when at home), not some cludge.

For a bit of context, White Wizard Games released Epic around the same time iirc, in the past year we have seen OP kits, playmats, one expansion, card sleeves, deck boxes, and the second expansion is hitting any day now. And like Plaid Hat a World Championship. Oh and we will be seeing a Kickstarter for an Epic app (already in development) as well next year.

If White Wizard Games can do all this, plus all their Star Realms, Hero Realms stuff, whilst being a smaller company. Why can’t Plaid Hat, who have more resources behind them?

I hope Plaid Hat are listening. The window for saving this game is closing extremely fast.

 

Tired old tropes

For me to watch/listen to a new podcast/youtube video it has to be something spectacular.

I’m finding that so many are so formulaic and “me too”. Oh your podcast is a bunch of friends sitting round a microphone talking about games, with your unique brand of witty banter and in jokes. Well thats certainly not been done before!

Oh you are standing in front of your shelves and shelves of neatly stacked boardgames. How original.

I’m just finding that so many of these podcasts and youtube videos are using the same old tired tropes. I’ve identified a couple of them in the moan above.

Another one I’m finding so tiring now is the formulaic coverage of a game. Brief intro to the game, over long explanation of the game, then a much shorter opinion on the game. They might even mix in a little bit of ‘amdram’ themed around the game to add humour or entertainment. Some are better than others at doing this. But I find myself hitting the fast forward to get to that short end bit.

The magazine format is also getting like this. A youtube show usually with multiple contributors providing their own little segment. Each segment conforming to the same boring, tired, tropes. I’m watching less and less of these shows as I jump between one segment to another. I think there is about ten minutes of a forty to fifty minute episode of Boardgame Breakfast that I watch now. Given up on the two spin off shows by Sam and Zee. I’ve given the Instagamer Network show a chance but I’m struggling with the tired tropes.

I don’t know what the answer is. But there has to be something better out there. Everything is blurring into one another, where one show can’t be told apart from another.

Oi Games Workshop 

Despite the nasty taste CMoN have left, The Others once more shows what they totally get and you don’t.

42 minis in The Others core box if my maths is correct. And I’ve not had to put a single one of the together, cut one off a sprue or use glue. I can play the game straight away!

No excuses Games Workshop this day and age.

Really Games Workshop?

Oh look one of the sprues from the new edition of Blood Bowl. I took the image from a unboxing video.

Games Workshop just don’t get it. It’s 2016 not 1995.

There is no excuse these days to release a boardgame that doesn’t have miniatures already made up! 

I want to be able to buy, take home, and play straight away. 

Not buy, take home, spend hours putting the miniatures together, once I’ve managed to cut them off the sprue. Assuming I haven’t broken any bits of a model during that sprew surgery.

If the likes of CMoN can produce a game with lots of miniatures for prices that around the same price point of the Games Workshop stuff, the Games Workshop have no excuse what’s so ever.

So despite wanting to buy the game, I’m out on this one.

Not you

I've not had a rant for a little while, well at least a couple of days. So it was timely that iello games would ignite that inner rage within me yesterday with the announcement of a competition.

 

A competition to win a copy of the new King of New York Power Up! expansion. Look at that Mega Shark monster. Doesn't it look awesome?

Yeah wow, who wouldn't want to win that?

Well if you live out side of North America basically you can keep wanting, because with the following:

we will select and announce one random winner with a US or Canadian address.

iello have said you can stand out side in the cold and look into the shop through the window, because you ain't welcome here.

But cutting comments aside, this sort of region crippled competition winds me up.

Why? Sometimes, especially if it is a youtuber/blogger doing it, the excuse is “the postage is too expensive”. Not really, I've sent games internationally and if I can afford it (I'm not rolling in money for sure) living in rip off Britain. And our postage costs in the UK are not known for being cheap. Plus I've had friends send packages from the US to me, and funny enough they manage to do it for a very reasonable price. So I'm not buying it.

Maybe it's not wanting to step on the toes of a local publisher? But with iello I don't think this is the case. But even so it's one copy of the game. I can't see that being a real problem.

Maybe it's seen as being more effort to post it? But really if it's that much of a problem why not just not have a competition. Then you won't have to do anything.

I think making your competitions region specific does not make your customers/fans in the regions excluded feel all fuzzy and nice about you. I kind of resent you. Ok resent is a bit weak. I hate you with every bit of my black little heart.

Right deep breathes I think, I need to calm down.