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Deceptive Merchandising? Amusing Lessons From Promotional Pictures Of Games

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When browsing the images for the game Celtica some time ago, I couldn't help but notice that there were only two or three pictures of people actually playing the game. The contrast between a promotional picture from the publisher and a real-world picture from a gamer couldn't be more striking! Here are those two photos:

The kinds of people that the publishers want us to think play Celtica:

Board Game: Celtica

The kinds of people that actually do play Celtica:

Board Game: Celtica

Wow. Talk about bringing us down to earth and back to reality! Or is this like a before-and-after series, the second picture showing us how things turned out 10 years later in the real world, when the men have acquired beards and bellies, and lost both the glamour and the girls?

There's a lot of scary things about those photos! And I'm not just talking about the facial hair on display in the second picture. Or even the non-conformist people types in the background! No, let's also talk about that first picture! Isn't it disturbing that they've made the box lid look so ... big (compare with the second picture)? And that they've generously awarded it so much space on the table, forcing all the good-looking gamers (models?) to be cramped together at close quarters in less than optimal game-playing conditions? Now look at how they're holding their cards, particularly Mr Blue-Shirt ... And check out who is gazing at who - what exactly is the relationship between the four of them anyway?

Just what is it that the publishers want us thinking when we look at promotional pictures like the one for Celtica? And how far removed is this from the reality of game night at Bob's, or the scene pictured in the second photo of real-life gamers?

Board Game: Haggis
The kinds of people that play Haggis

On the other hand no promotional picture could quite do justice to the roller-coaster emotions of a real-life gaming session of Haggis that I enjoyed on Valentine's Day with my darling wife. What a fantastic two-player card game this is! While the spartan artwork on the box cover oozes elegance and class, it gives no indication of the surprisingly tense gameplay that lies therein. I won't repeat all the excitement here, but just direct you to my session report, which should make for an entertaining read.

Read the full story: Microbadge: Ender's Reviews: Comprehensive Pictorial Overviews fan The perils of serving Haggis for a date-night on Valentine's Day: an eyewitness report

Join the discussion: What other rash and grossly unjustified conclusions can we come to about Celtica and the people playing it based only on these two photos? Let speculation run rife! Which of these groups would you rather game with, and why? And what are some of the most amusing board game promo pictures you've come across?
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Subscribe sub options Thu Feb 17, 2011 10:35 am
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