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Subject: Superstition and Board Games rss

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I was watching an episode of The Dice Tower in which one of the reviewers said that the game was broken because he won’t ever play the warlock. I wish the show had explored that issue more. I would love to hear other gamer’s pro/con views on reviews of this sort.

Disclaimer 1: This topic clearly borders on some sensitive areas, and I’m not looking for anything other then an honest discussion. Refrain from nonconstructive comments and be sure to follow BBG forum policy.

Disclaimer 2: I don’t think I agree with his review, but I don’t devalue his right to make his review based on his personal tastes. Such reviews encourage discussion!

First, I object to the review based on the fidelity to the show’s topic. The episode was called ‘Essential Game Expansions.” The clear take away is that the base game isn’t really broken. The expansion is not really essential to fixing the game proper. No fiddly rule was presented; rather a thematic element inside the base game is objectionable to the reviewer. He does admit to his bias, but never clarifies his position as to the merit of his observation. Furthermore, there are even alternatives within the base game to play if you don’t want to use that particular element. The expansion then isn’t really “essential” to fixing the game. An obvious choice for omission in The Dice Tower’s editing that otherwise might have made room for additional content on other essential expansions.

OR – keep the review in the episode, but don’t leave it unfinished. As it was, I wanted a proper conclusion that supported his argument: when the reviewer said, [Playing the warlock character] “is to far down that path” … a path to what exactly? It opens the door to so many questions:

I don’t think he is suggesting playing the warlock will lead down the path of a runaway leader situation. It is clear that he has personal views that suggest this character is offensive – but not the whole game’s magic theme? So is he suggesting that when I play just this character something real will happen to me outside of the game of supernatural influence? Has it already happened to me? How many people are reporting this?

AND is he implying that simply buying the expansion is enough to negate this supernatural power? Can I leave the warlock character card in the box or should it be disposed of in a certain way?

He did say it was a personal issue, so rather is he implying that he alone is susceptible to something real happening to him of supernatural influence when he plays that character? Please go into specifics! But that really wouldn’t qualify it as an essential game expansion recommend either.

His review was just glossed over, but that is the problem with reviews of that nature, it has zero meaning unless you define exactly whom you are representing for the review. For instance, I know a family of Christians who would never play Mage Wars because they object to the theme, but further, they would label anyone as “not a real Christian” for playing it! But they don’t represent every Christian, because I know there are plenty of other Christians playing Mage Wars, Cthulhu games, and other demonic themed games who don’t see it as a threat to their personal philosophy. But why is this reviewer playing a game about magic and declares the game broke because he doesn’t like magic themes? Maybe it would be more valuable to simply make a comment that XYZ game might be offensive to some [insert: people with dwarfism, Muslims, redheads, pirates, or racists, etc.] but not all.

Reviews of this nature really are only valuable if you declare upfront exactly what subset of a group you are representing and reviewing for, which in this case didn’t happen.

Thoughts?

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Jarrett Dunn
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I believe I know the review you are talking about and there are some things you should probably realize:

1. Sam is a strong Christian. There is nothing wrong with that and that is just his beliefs. He doesn't feel comfortable playing the Warlock so he doesn't.

2. ALSO if you watched his and Tom's Magewars review it is one of his FAVORITE games. Even with the Warlock in he loves the game, he just thinks the expansion really adds to it since it gives him more options.

3. It was THEIR views of what they individually think are essential expansions and even THEY don't agree with one another.

Personally I thought it was a good piece. More of a "if you are like me and like the things I like you really need to get these", and the nice thing is having 3 different and at times diametrically opposed people giving each of their top 10s it really gives you an idea of what the different player types like.
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You are referring to Sam Healey(sp?) who is an active member of the Christian community. I'm not entirely sure if he is a pastor but either way it is his faith that makes him feel the way he does about that particular character in that particular expansion.

Edit: always a day late and a dollar short :/
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I thought it was a pretty elegant way of voicing his opinion. He didnt preach or anything, but merely stated his view.

We are all different, luckily, and as long i am not forced to adapt someone elses views, they can have theirs in peace.

Edit: Well, relative peace... i might engage in a debate about their opinions, and i also invite people to do the same with me.
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RiderPestilence wrote:
You are referring to Sam Healey(sp?) who is an active member of the Christian community. I'm not entirely sure if he is a pastor but either way it is his faith that makes him feel the way he does about that particular character in that particular expansion.

Edit: always a day late and a dollar short :/


Here's a GG for the trouble .
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mltdwn wrote:
RiderPestilence wrote:
You are referring to Sam Healey(sp?) who is an active member of the Christian community. I'm not entirely sure if he is a pastor but either way it is his faith that makes him feel the way he does about that particular character in that particular expansion.

Edit: always a day late and a dollar short :/


Here's a GG for the trouble .


Hey, um... I'm also a dollar short! Twenty in fact! Yeah, that's it- twenty!
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Whoa. The responses about the reviewer’s religion seem to miss the point I was trying to make in my post completely. I wish I was a more talented writer, but I stress, I was not attacking the man’s personal views or his right to make those reviews in ANY way.

Honestly I’m taken aback by the responses so far. But, I am sorry if I offended anyone, including the reviewer. But I don’t know how to write about a topic and be less clear that I am not passing judgment on the reviewer’s personal beliefs. Are topics of this nature off limits?

{edited for clarity}
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mltdwn wrote:
RiderPestilence wrote:
You are referring to Sam Healey(sp?) who is an active member of the Christian community. I'm not entirely sure if he is a pastor but either way it is his faith that makes him feel the way he does about that particular character in that particular expansion.

Edit: always a day late and a dollar short :/


Here's a GG for the trouble .


Very kind of you! Thanks
 
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BrackAttack wrote:

I was watching an episode of The Dice Tower in which one of the reviewers said that the game was broken because he won’t ever play the warlock. I wish the show had explored that issue more. I would love to hear other gamer’s pro/con views on reviews of this sort.

Disclaimer 1: This topic clearly borders on some sensitive areas, and I’m not looking for anything other then an honest discussion. Refrain from nonconstructive comments and be sure to follow BBG forum policy.

Disclaimer 2: I don’t think I agree with his review, but I don’t devalue his right to make his review based on his personal tastes. Such reviews encourage discussion!




I think that a claim that a game is 'broken' based upon such
personal tastes is ridiculous. I had a friend who wouldn't
play Geronimo because of the topic - and that is perfectly
reasonable, but in no way does it make him qualified to
review the game.

It would however be reasonable to call the game distasteful.
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BrackAttack wrote:
Whoa. The responses about the reviewer’s religion seem to miss the point I was trying to make in my post completely. I wish I was a more talented writer, but I stress, I was not attacking the man’s personal views or his right to make those reviews in ANY way.

Honestly I’m taken aback by the responses so far. But, I am sorry if I offended anyone, including the reviewer. But I don’t know how to write about a topic and be less clear that I am not passing judgment on the reviewer’s personal beliefs. Are topics of this nature off limits?

{edited for clarity}


I don't think any of the replies you got were in defense of Sam. Also I don't think you offended anyone. It's just stating the facts.

1) he is a devout member of the Christian faith
2) he doesn't like the warlock character because for whatever reason it conflicts with his faith
3) it's not about being superstitious, it's about his religious views of right and wrong

These types of discussions aren't off limits. Just as long as people keep a level head I don't see any problem with an open discussion.
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I thought this thread was going to be about gaming superstitions, like blowing on dice....
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Well, I'm not sure that the initial premise of a base game having to be "broken" is accurate.

I personally don't think a base game has to necessarily be broken to make an expansion "essential". It's possible that this is the majority of the cases, but not always. In the case of Mage Wars, he felt this expansion was essential because it gave him greater flexibility in his character selection and that to him made it "essential".

King of Tokyo: Power Up is another example in my opinion. In my opinion the base game isn't broken by any means, but they considered it essential because it gave each monster something unique, which they felt made the game better. But it was never "broken".



 
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RiderPestilence wrote:

I don't think any of the replies you got were in defense of Sam. Also I don't think you offended anyone. It's just stating the facts.
I probably interpreted the tone incorrectly when I read above:
mltdwn wrote:
“you should probably realize: #1. …There is nothing wrong with that…”
- I jumped to assume he meant that I implied I suggested otherwise. My bad.

RiderPestilence wrote:

1) he is a devout member of the Christian faith
Fact, okay, but what is the value of announcing what his particular views are? I agree, some belief brought him to that conclusion. I don’t think it really matters which belief system (especially when being a particular faith doesn't unanimously define his conclusion.) Also, When the reviewer brought this subject up in a public forum, he didn’t bring up his religion either (I don’t think).

All I really asked was if those conclusions A) Really denotes a broken game. And B) mean he is suggesting I shouldn’t play that character either; making the expansion essential. And if so, then I had some open questions extrapolating those implications for discussion.

RiderPestilence wrote:

2) he doesn't like the warlock character because for whatever reason it conflicts with his faith.
Again, that was clear from the show. He doesn't like the character for some reason. But, that reason wasn't a game mechanism reason; hence my post.

RiderPestilence wrote:

3) it's not about being superstitious, it's about his religious views of right and wrong.
Well, Right and wrong for him maybe, right. But for other religious people also, me? So my post.
 
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Slyght wrote:
I thought this thread was going to be about gaming superstitions, like blowing on dice....
...isn't it?
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That video is an hour long so I'm not going to watch it, but I'd take exception if he really claimed the game is "broken" because of his own religious beliefs. Now, maybe those weren't his words, maybe he said it tongue in cheek. But a personal problem with the theme has nothing to do with a game being broken.
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Bruiser419 wrote:
I personally don't think a base game has to necessarily be broken to make an expansion "essential". It's possible that this is the majority of the cases, but not always.
Agreed, but in this case, yes, because the review commented that the game was broken.

Bruiser419 wrote:
In the case of Mage Wars, he felt this expansion was essential because it gave him greater flexibility in his character selection and that to him made it "essential".
And that makes sense too. So essentially the premise is: Mage Wars doesn’t have enough characters to play, so you need to get the expansion to make it playable.

I feel like if that were his premise, the other reviewers (Tom and company) would have debated him on that point, giving some heavier balance to the review. Because as it was they kind of rushed past their points, not in their usual counterpoint fashion.
 
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BrackAttack wrote:
RiderPestilence wrote:

I don't think any of the replies you got were in defense of Sam. Also I don't think you offended anyone. It's just stating the facts.
I probably interpreted the tone incorrectly when I read above:
mltdwn wrote:
“you should probably realize: #1. …There is nothing wrong with that…”
- I jumped to assume he meant that I implied I suggested otherwise. My bad.

RiderPestilence wrote:

1) he is a devout member of the Christian faith
Fact, okay, but what is the value of announcing what his particular views are? I agree, some belief brought him to that conclusion. I don’t think it really matters which belief system (especially when being a particular faith doesn't unanimously define his conclusion.) Also, When the reviewer brought this subject up in a public forum, he didn’t bring up his religion either (I don’t think).

All I really asked was if those conclusions A) Really denotes a broken game. And B) mean he is suggesting I shouldn’t play that character either; making the expansion essential. And if so, then I had some open questions extrapolating those implications for discussion.

RiderPestilence wrote:

2) he doesn't like the warlock character because for whatever reason it conflicts with his faith.
Again, that was clear from the show. He doesn't like the character for some reason. But, that reason wasn't a game mechanism reason; hence my post.

RiderPestilence wrote:

3) it's not about being superstitious, it's about his religious views of right and wrong.
Well, Right and wrong for him maybe, right. But for other religious people also, me? So my post.


Ok, I'm starting to grasp the reason for your post. You are simply stating that since it is a personal thing (not liking the Warlock for whatever reason) it was unnecessary for Sam to mention it. If that is indeed your point, I agree 100%. It doesn't break the game at all, it's all about personal choice and that is really what the purpose of this discussion is. Is the Warlock character going to offed you and your faith personally. I can't answer that question all I can do is link you to the site http://magewars.com/jsite/detailed-overview/mages/the-warloc... and you can ultimately decide for yourself.

I hope that is getting the discussion back on track. If not I appologize
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I just listened to it and Sam's exact words were, "for my personal tastes it was broken because I'm never going to use it [Warlock]." So he isn't saying the game is universally broken, but broken for him. In the context of the show they were creating it was necessary for him to mention it because it explained why he was including it in his top 10 essential expansions. Without that issue he may not have included it.
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Despite not playing the games anymore I'm a monster fan of the Universes that Games Workshop has set up for themselves. I'm also a fan of Dice Tower reviews regardless of their opinions because they're not as picky about things I consider too nit picky, honest, and true to themselves. I also use their reviews as a purchase information base because they go through a lot of mechanics (and are usually quite good about it).

Combining those two facts I was looking at Chaos in the Old World and I really liked their reviews, because while they did not like the theme due to their beliefs, they were good about the mechanics and the actual points of the game. They just didn't like the theme and I can understand that playing as the darkest beings in the Warhammer Universe might be offensive to someone. Running an army of daemons and all the dark artwork I can see how that can be offensive or too much to someone with strong religious convictions. I appreciate the fact they were honest about the strong points about mechanics and the main things about the game and just didn't like the theme.

Also I didn't buy it because it requires too many gamers for me to play regularly.
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Moral of the story?

People use the word 'broken' when describing board games much too easily.

A broken game implies that the game cannot be played. The reviewer here isn't saying that the game couldn't be played, but that he preferred not to play certain aspects of the game.

That's not a question of a game being broken- for whatever reasons. Its an issue of personal preference.

Darilian
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Darilian wrote:
People use the word 'broken' when describing board games much too easily.

+1
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jjfalzone wrote:
I just listened to it and Sam's exact words were, "for my personal tastes it was broken because I'm never going to use it [Warlock]." So he isn't saying the game is universally broken, but broken for him. In the context of the show they were creating it was necessary for him to mention it because it explained why he was including it in his top 10 essential expansions. Without that issue he may not have included it.


Check my underlining in the quote above. What he said does not mean that he said the game was broken for anyone else.
 
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David Vander Ark wrote:
jjfalzone wrote:
I just listened to it and Sam's exact words were, "for my personal tastes it was broken because I'm never going to use it [Warlock]." So he isn't saying the game is universally broken, but broken for him. In the context of the show they were creating it was necessary for him to mention it because it explained why he was including it in his top 10 essential expansions. Without that issue he may not have included it.


Check my underlining in the quote above. What he said does not mean that he said the game was broken for anyone else.


I'm just not convinced that using the word in that way makes a bit of sense.
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RiderPestilence wrote:
Is the Warlock character going to offed you and your faith personally. I can't answer that question all I can do is link you to the site http://magewars.com/jsite/detailed-overview/mages/the-warloc... and you can ultimately decide for yourself.


Goodness, that character is dark. As a Christian, I can see where Sam is coming from. Most of my friends and board game buddies would be incredibly uncomfortable to play as the Warlock due to his controlling demons, using blood sacrifice, and such. (As the game itself exists in a fantasy world, controlling biblically inaccurate "demons" doesn't bother me as much. Still, using known satanic symbols is pushing it a bit even for me.) So, all in all, Sam's comments would help me to decide whether or not to buy that game or get the expansion. I guess they wouldn't be much use to one who does not share his beliefs. Unnecessary? Not sure.

As for superstition in board gaming... if there is a green team in a game my group plays, I must be them. That is all.
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Denigrating a game because, for reasons external to the game itself, the reviewer won't play one of the characters, makes for a poor quality review.

Would we accept a review of "Talisman is broken because the sorceress is a girl and I don't want to play a girl."? Or indeed "Sergeant Gideon is bald, I refuse to play a bald character, Space Hulk is therefore unplayable."?

Refusing to use a character in a fantasy board game because he looks like a comic book satanist is, to be frank, silly in any case; most of us have at some point committed genocide or at least mass murder in board games, after all.
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