Board Gamers Anonymous

Covering the whole length & breadth of the tabletop gaming experience. Posted here are excerpts from the blog's official website, boardgamersanonymous.com.

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#FunInGames now has a Geeklist!

Drew Davidson
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What started as an exercise in self-amusement has grown into a 5-days-a-week avalanche of self-amusement.

I'm finding inspiration everywhere for my board game-themed captions, and I've even come up with my very first meme! (They're not so easy to create from scratch.)

Our Twitter feed, @BGAPodcast, sends out #FunInGames Monday thru Friday, and I'll be posting a week's worth to my Geeklist. Enjoy!

#FunInGames, from Board Gamers Anonymous!
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Fri Oct 30, 2015 7:12 pm
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More of BGA's "Fun-n-Games" cartoons

Drew Davidson
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Here are a few more cartoons I prepared for our Twitter feed (@BGAPodcast). Two of them are based on artworks, and two come from copyrighted images.

The biggest problem I'm having right now is figuring out how to make the cartoons appear bigger in this post. As it is, everyone has to click on & enlarge each cartoon in order to read it.


The Holy Land Board Game Meetup
(using art works created from biblical scenes)

From gallery of BoardGamersAnonymous


Board Gaming is an Art
(using art works from a variety of sources)

From gallery of BoardGamersAnonymous



And a couple funnies which raise questions of Fair Use...
I've been reading up on Fair Use for a couple decades, starting with when I was giving mix tapes (8-tracks!) to friends.
I've never gotten into legal trouble before, and I don't intend on crossing the line now.

All images are used in accord with Fair Use principles.
In other words, as long as I'm making fun of the photo and not using the photo to make fun of something or someone else, I'm probably good...

Gaming With the Stock Family
(using stock photos of different families playing games)

From gallery of BoardGamersAnonymous


Modding Mad Men
(using stills from Mad Men, of course)

From gallery of BoardGamersAnonymous
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Fri Oct 16, 2015 1:31 pm
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Well, they're not really 'memes' now, are they? Introducing FUN'N'GAMES!

Drew Davidson
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No, a 'meme' is a commentary on society and pop culture. There's a satirical message hidden beneath the humor.

The stuff I've been making are just glorified cartoons. Other people have done the work of creating the graphics; I'm just sticking on a caption.

So, we can call them Comics, of a sort. Or Funnies (like the old Funny Pages in the newspapers. ... Remember "newspapers"? ...)

Anyway, I'll be sending them out daily on our Twitter feed, @BGAPodcast, and reposting them here every few days.

Here are the ones from the past few days, to catch you up...

Behind the Scenes of Your Favorite Games


From gallery of BoardGamersAnonymous


Poor Richard's Game Reviews


From gallery of BoardGamersAnonymous


Twelve Geeky Men

From gallery of BoardGamersAnonymous
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Tue Oct 13, 2015 12:15 pm
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How to Make a Meme [edit: How I make my FUN'N'GAMES]

Drew Davidson
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Memes are so much like potato chips... Except that they're a lot more fun to make than they are to consume. I'm so addicted that we'll be posting memes every day to our Twitter feed, @BGAPodcast.

I can't decide which is more fun, finding the right graphic to use for a meme, or coming up with a good caption. Either way, the least fun part is sitting at the computer, formatting and reformatting 'til I get the look just right. At least I'm getting quicker at that part.

If the #BGAMeme thing is going to have staying power, I have to create enough different meme themes to get and keep our Twitter followers hooked. But even though I'm creating a wide variety of themes, I'll still keep writing for our 'flagship' Meme, which is the Norman Rockwell painting.

In searching for new themes, I thought about how I might bring my upcoming radio show, On The Table, into the mix. The idea was simple: any photo, still or artwork where people are sitting around a table could be ideal for a meme.

I'm not using the Meme Generator website, as most of the popular memes have been overdone long ago. And since I'm such a fanboy of anything pop culture, I've decided to draw memespiration from the fields of arts and entertainment.

The graphics can't be cutsey (no cats), but it has to have a theme that I can build around. And I have to be able to come up with 2 or 3 captions right away or I'll file it away for later.

And if I can't come up with a good heading for a particular meme theme, then I'll set it aside. For example, our original meme has the heading, "Recently at a meeting of Board Gamers Anonymous..."

I'll give you another example of a heading.... I saw a great still from the classic film 'Casablanca'. Bogart, Bergman, Rains and Henreid are sitting around a table in Rick's cafe. I instantly came up with a half-dozen good ideas for the meme, but I needed a heading to center them around.

So, I borrowed the original title of the film's screenplay for the series heading: "Everybody Comes to Rick's... for Game Night!"

Let me know what you think about the first one in the new series... (I'll have a few more meme themes for you tomorrow...)

Everybody Comes to Rick's...for Game Night!

From gallery of BoardGamersAnonymous
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Mon Oct 12, 2015 1:52 pm
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I've Discovered Memes [edit: now I call them FUN'N'GAMES]

Drew Davidson
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Somewhere along the road to a Radio Show I've gotten distracted by memes. I was trying to figure out how I could use memes to promote the upcoming show.

(Sidenote for Cynics: Not all memes are created organically. 'Guerilla Meme-ing' has become just another form of marketing, so I thought I'd climb aboard that bandwagon...)

I couldn't figure out a meme theme that would fit my show's title, "On The Table." Out of the blue it dawned on me that our podcast, Board Gamers Anonymous, has the perfect title for a meme. It reminds people of the addiction support groups that are ubiquitous in both life and popular culture.

Geeks are addicted to games & they need support, too! So, below are my first forays into that meme. Future themes are not all going to be ripoffs of Rockwell. You'll see scenes from popular movies and curious old art works, too. But think of this as our 'flagship meme.'

I'll be posting new ones Daily to our Twitter account, @BGAPodcast.

These funnies are titled:
At a Recent Meeting of Board Gamers Anonymous...

From gallery of BoardGamersAnonymous


From gallery of BoardGamersAnonymous


From gallery of BoardGamersAnonymous
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Thu Oct 8, 2015 4:28 am
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Resurfacing into a Radio Show

Drew Davidson
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Welcome back to the Blogosphere, Drew!

Well, thank you , Drew, I'm happy to be back!

The move to Vermont was quite overwhelming. Not only were our lives filled with daily white-outs for two months, but as soon as the snow melted I discovered that there was a house, and surrounding property, that needed upkeep and upgrading.

It's been a steady procession of projects for a last few months. Not so overwhelming as to wipe me out completely. But combined with my efforts to do some gaming locally (we have a FLGS in Bennington!), I just haven't had the mind-space to create more blog entries.

Funny thing is, what has brought me back to blogging is my new radio show. Yeah, I'm still doing the BGA podcast with Anthony, Chris & Daniel. But I'd been wanting to create a spinoff show for a year and my move to Vermont has actually given me the impetus and the opportunity.

There's a local AM radio station here that's always looking for volunteers (it's a non-profit, listener-supported station). More importantly, it has 3 very nice, functional studios for the free use of their show hosts!

So, I no longer have to use my Snowball mic + Harlan Hogan Porta-Booth setup to do recording. I can use the same equipment as the professionals use!

I actually talk a little more about doing a Radio Show vs. doing a Podcast over at the Home Site for this blog, BoardGamersAnonymous.com.[http://boardgamersanonymous.com/?p=2394] I'm going to do the bulk of my blogging over there because we're trying to build traffic and listenership by keeping all our projects 'in house'.

Even though I'm creating a show at a radio station (premiering Friday, November 3rd), it will be uploaded to the Board Gamers Anonymous site and we're bascially going to treat it like a podcast episode. So, you don't have to listen to it live (3pm, Eastern time); you can download the mp3 along with all your other favorite podcast.

Excuse me, I meant "podcasts"....

In next week's blog post I'll talk about the radio show's concept and how it developed.

Thank you for patiently waiting for me to get back in the game!
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Sun Sep 6, 2015 8:58 pm
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Moving On Up!

Drew Davidson
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Up North, that is!

Come Thursday, Lori and I, along with Lori’s niece and two sons (ages 9 & 11) will be driving to our new house in Bennington, Vermont. We’re going to a better place, for sure, but I will miss the opportunities that life in New York City presented me.

When I first moved here in 2007 to further my musical theatre career. I’d only been acting for a half-dozen years. But being in NYC allowed me to have fun with some great roles: a con man in Big River, Fagin in Oliver!, and Edna Turnblad’s devoted husband in a national tour of Hairspray! (Note: that was the Christopher Walken role in the movie adaptation.) Although I was offered the chance to join Actor’s Equity, I dropped out after a year because there were few opportunities in a Union show for a middle-aged man with a thin resume.

I temped in office gigs for a while, and made my own work in mystery shopping, focus groups, and selling on ebay. As my interest in theater waned I renewed my interest in board games, hooking up with a Meetup group in Staten Island. A year’s worth of gaming with my new friends brought me an invitation to join a 4-person podcast that had an opening on the team.

It didn’t talk long for the 4 of us, including Anthony, Chris & Daniel, to gel. Anthony, our producer, tightened up the show and solidified the format that we’d been tinkering with. We’ve been steadily gaining listeners as well as getting to know publishers, designers and educators throughout the country.

It’s a testament to how well we click that even though Anthony moved to Brooklyn a couple months ago, though I’m moving to Vermont this week, and though Chris is moving to New Jersey next week, we’re all going to stick with each other and to the podcast. Our branching out geographically will allow us to make even more friendships in the community.

Board Gamers Anonymous will be gradually building out our organization in preparation for projects ahead. It’s going to be an exciting year and we’re glad to have so many readers and listeners along for the ride.

So, what projects do I have going personally? Once I’m settled into my new place in Bennington, I’ll be spending time at the local game store, Gamers Grotto. There are gaming groups to the North, South, East and West of us, too.

Now that I’m the caretaker for the McCallion-King collection (read the story behind the collection), I’ll have a chance to play some great games from the past that I’ve never owned or brought to table. In fact, I’ve been thinking of creating some theme nights built around two to four similar games, linked by Designer, Theme or Mechanic. I’m going to have some fun with that! You can find the McCallion-King collection here: https://boardgamegeek.com/collection/user/BoardGamersAnonymo....

There’s a great little community radio station in Bennington, WBTN-AM. I’ve had experience creating a radio show before, about musical theatre (of course), so I want to try my hand at producing a radio show about tabletop (analog) games. I’m not sure of the exact format, or of the time, but the program will be archived on the station’s website, and listeners can subscribe to the RSS news feed if they like. It'll be a couple months at least before that gets up and running, but I'll let everyone know about it in my blog.

Basically, this is a long explanation of why I won’t be posting much for the next week or so. For a few days it’s going to be very busy around here. But I promise that afterwards, it will get very gamey around here.

Wait…. that doesn’t sound right...


My podcast:BoardGamersAnonymous.com
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Tue Jan 20, 2015 8:00 am
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TrendWatch ’15: Schools churning out more game designers

Drew Davidson
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This is the sixth in a series of trends to watch for the coming year.
1 – Video Designers Going Cardboard
2 – Business Owners Blogging
3 – "Tabletop" Changing to "Analog"
4 – Celebrities Outing Themselves as Geeks
5 - Game Cafés taking the place of Game Stores

You don’t need to play baseball in college to succeed in the major leagues. But college can be a great place to hone your skills and to get prepared to enter the marketplace. And the most talented high school sports stars will always get a free ride through college, if they want it.

In the same way, you don’t need a college degree to be a successful game designer. In fact, in the digital world, many game designers found success before they were even old enough for college. But, like baseball, getting a college education isn’t going to set back your professional career, only your finances. That’s because there are no scholarships (yet) for game design superstars.

Each year, more colleges & universities are offering degree programs in game design, and in 2015 the trend will accelerate. Here, in New York City, NYU is adding a BFA in Game Design for the Spring term. For the past couple of years they’d been offering a postgraduate degree, but now they’re aggressively enlarging their game design department.
http://gamecenter.nyu.edu/academics/

It’s true that the majority of matriculants are focusing on digital platforms. But schools are not neglecting the analog side; some of the classes they offer are directly targeted to the cardboard & meeples crowd.

The trend is even starting to appear among pre-college aged kids. The Boy Scouts now offer a Merit Badge for Game Design.
http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/boyscouts/advancementand...

Tessa, who writes the Board Game Duel blog, has created a design class for the children she teaches in her co-op homeschool.
http://boardgameduel.com/who-are-we-get-to-know-board-game-d...

And there’s a private school in New York City, Quest to Learn, that teaches students in Grades 6-12 how to create games -- both digital and analog -- that will assist them in learning.
http://upperschool.q2l.org/

The trend we’re hoping most to see in 2015 is women, and girls, taking advantage of these opportunities to learn game design. College degree programs could give women a greater chance to break into the field. I just don’t know if they’ll take it.

For example, at NYU, the Department of Game Design is technically a part of Tisch School of the Arts, definitely female-friendly. But the Game Center is physically located in the Engineering building, still very much a ‘boys club’…

Now, let’s see the Girl Scouts offer a Badge for Game Design…
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Sat Jan 17, 2015 8:00 am
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Best Blog Posts of the Week, featuring 'Talking at the Game Table'

Drew Davidson
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A mid-week recap of the best blog posts from Jan. 7th through Jan. 13th

I’ve decided to not highlight blogs by designers or those that focus on RPGs. Cardboard Edison does a great job at covering design blogs, and Jeffro Johnson (Jeffro’s Space Gaming Blog) occasionally writes posts highlighting recent RPG articles.

So, I’m just going to focus on the gaming world. This simpler mission will make it easier for me to pick out those blog posts that are of interest to most enquiring gamer minds.

AT THE TOP OF THE CHARTS . . .

TABLE TALK
TJ Perry @ The Political GAmer, 1/9/15

http://thepoliticalgamer.weebly.com/blog/table-talk

It’s a big issue of mine, because I really enjoy talking around the table. And I don’t mean just the head games of Metagaming, but the helpful ‘what do I do now’ thinking-out-loud that adds a dimension to gaming.

TJ discusses the many different reasons players have for talking during a game, concluding with the most common one…

Quote:
Many gamers feel responsibility for the games they introduce and teach people. They want these people to enjoy the games, and one way to enjoy a game is to win. So gamers often help their friends with strategy on their first games or just quarterback in general. I suggest that you remind yourself that making poor decisions is also fun - if they are your decisions and if you learn from them. …. If you, like me, have the tendency to do that - remind yourself that it is their game to play and their mistakes to make. Trust the game…


THREE MUST-READS . . .

WHAT MAKES GREAT ART IN GAMES
Nicole Jekich @ Across the Board Games, 1/12/15

http://www.acrosstheboardgames.net/nicole/what-makes-great-a...

It’s a great story: Girl goes to school to become a video game artist. Woman graduates from school; devotes her considerable talents to board game art.

Nicole sees a similarity between digital and analog and she points to superior examples of graphic design in games.

Quote:
When I share on Twitter about a game having great art there are usually three factors that lead to that exclamation. I look at board game art for its: 1) visual interest or artistic quality, 2) storytelling ability and 3) practical design.

She includes a number of fascinating visual examples to illustrate her points.

BLOG EVIL 9 (sung to the tune of Emerson Lake & Palmer’s “Karn Evil 9”)
Tony Boydell @ Every Man Needs a Shed, 1/13/15

https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/37607/blog-evil-9

That’s the song that begins “Welcome back, my friends, to the show never ends.” Nothing else about that song is memorable in the least.

It takes a man of iron constitution to force himself to listen repeatedly to Emerson Lake & Palmer in order to write this song. And it takes a man of misanthropic bent to force anyone to listen to that same music while reading his lyrics.

HOW TO WIN AT ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS
Mark Frauenfelder @ Boing Boing, Jan. 13, 2015

http://boingboing.net/2015/01/13/how-to-win-at-rock-paper-sc...

A sublime conjoining of Game Theory and Metagaming.

(The above four blogs earn consideration for the BGA Blog of the Year Award. One point is awarded for inclusion, with an extra point given to the Post of the Week.)

AND FOUR OTHERS WORTH YOUR TIME . . .

POST HOLIDAY ASSESSMENT
Jacob Coon @ Whose Turn is it Anyway?, Jan. 7, 2015

http://whoseturnisitanyway.com/post-holiday-assessment/

Like most gamers on holiday, Jacob wanted to introduce his family to the joys of boardgaming. He sets for himself a scale of success, and then measures the results by his scale.

Based on his scale, how did you score during your trip home this past December?

THE LINE BETWEEN PRINT AND PLAY AND GAME SYSTEMS
Lowell Kempf @ A Gnome’s Ponderings, Jan. 7, 2015

https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/37486/line-between-print-...

Following his Resolution not to purchase new games in 2015, Lowell’s been giving thought to the print-and-play genre.

GAMES AROUND THE WORLD: ANCIENT EGYPT
Damian Walker @ Cyningstan, Jan. 10, 2015

http://www.cyningstan.com/post/1056/games-around-the-world-a...

Damian has created a fantastic database of ancient games, built one post at a time. Here he surveys the various games that were created in Merrie Olde Egypt.

I DON’T THINK MY KIDS HAVE EVER LAUGHED THIS MUCH WHILE PLAYING A GAME
Denise Patterson-Monroe @ 365 Days of Gaming, Jan. 12, 2015

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/37700/i-dont-think-my...

Sorry is all the way down at # 10517 on Board Game Geek’s rankings, near the very bottom. Yet Denise’s family anecdote shows why such games endure… They’re fun for the whole family!

Which one of these posts did you enjoy? Are there any blogs that I missed last week? Let me know in the Comments section!
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Fri Jan 16, 2015 3:39 pm
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Eco-Friendly Board Game Storage Solutions

Drew Davidson
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How would you know that the board gaming hobby has finally become a thing?

Well, one way you can tell is if a major character in a major TV show mentions board gaming in a matter-of-fact way. South Park's Stan Marsh made a comment in the recent season finale about waiting for his dad to come home and take him to the 'board game store.' And that was it. Boardgaming was the rare normal thing in Stan's abnormal world.

Another way to tell that a hobby has been integrated into everyday life is if the Environmentalist/Conservationist/Green movement has weighed in.

Board games are so ubiquitous in the home that finding a safe, clean and 'green' way to store them is now a big issue. Or so the website Crafting a Green World says. They recently published an article on eco-friendly storage solutions.

http://craftingagreenworld.com/2015/01/14/better-board-game-...

Some of the ideas have been seen before in DIY forums here on Board Game Geek or on Reddit. Their best, most original ideas sit and #4 & #5 on their list:
Quote:

4. Framed wall storage. This is my favorite idea, because so many board games are just so lovely to look at. Here’s another way to do the project that mounts the game boards, rather than framing them.

5. Game table on casters. This rolling short table is perfect for setting up complicated games or big puzzles, and then rolling the whole thing under the couch or bed between play times.
It's a good thing for the hobby and the industry that gamers often have a problem finding enough storage for all their games.
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Fri Jan 16, 2015 6:19 am
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