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Gloom of Kilforth: A Fantasy Quest Game» Forums » News

Subject: Gloom of Kilforth, October 2016 rss

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It's probably best if I restate my position, motives, and reasoning here and now as clearly and politely as possible before I continue responding to anyone in this forum.

First, the facts of the matter.

1.) Tristan did make the decision to have the art altered without forced coercion. That is true. But this decision was not free of third party input. He welcomed third party input on 1 boardgamegeek thread via a poll he started on that thread. No such poll was made on Kickstarter, and no one on Kickstarter was made aware that such polling or third party input was being done prior to the launch of the campaign. Kickstarter was one place where Tristan received no third party input on the matter of whether or not some of the artwork should be altered.

2.) The kickstarter backers remained unaware that such input caused the artwork to be altered on some of the cards until November 1st 2016, nearly a year after the project was successfully funded.

3.) The reason Tristan created a poll for third party input was due to concern that the artwork would offend some.

4.) The original number of people polled was no more than 121, with 75 voting on the 1st option, "Yes, it's a fantastic art in a fantasy game." 46 voting on the 2nd option, "No, I won't buy the game because of this card."

5.) The individual who created the artwork is female.

Can we all agree that those five points are true? Can we at least have common ground on that?


Now, here's why I take issue with this.

Point 1: Tristan should have asked for third party input from the kickstarter backers. He should have asked for their input because they are the ones ultimately putting up their own money to make his project come to light. They are the ones who are investing in the product. They have a right to know what the product is and what it contains. There is no good logical reason as to why they should not have known about the polling that would ultimately result in changes to the product they have invested in. Not one.

Point 2: The backers should have been made aware from the beginning, or at least immediately after the project had ended. That would have been the opportune moment to have polling done to see what their opinions are.

Point 3: The only people Tristan should have been concerned about regarding who would be offended by the card art are the backers themselves. Because they are the ones who are ultimately getting the cards and the game.

Point 4: It's too small of a sample size in the polling, the margin of error is too big. Even assuming all the people who participated in the polling actually backed the project, 121 people out of 1,481 is only 8% of the number of people who backed the project. 46 individuals who voted no to the original card art only compose of 3% of the total number of backers.

Point 5: If females can create it, females can be ok with it, and not be turned off by it.


So not only did Tristan poll a very small sample, and not only is there no guarantee that that 3% would even go on to back the project, but the project may have even been funded without them. In fact, I know for a fact that at least 1 individual among that 3% didn't back the project.

Quote:
"I am one of the backers who is glad of the change, and weighed in on that side of the debate at the time. But at that time I was ultimately happy to go with Tristan's decision, whatever way he decided to go. I wouldn't have been aggrieved if this was the other way, because I felt that GoK wasn't overly bad, compared with many some games that i really wanted, but ultimately chose to not back or purchase because i objected to the depiction of women in them." -- davidcoleman


edit: davidcoleman has stated that this was a typo and that he did back the project.



I am open to arguments as to why it was a good idea to leave out the kickstarter backers from this process. Because I see it as nothing other than a bad choice, the wrong choice. If anyone can give justification as to why this was a good choice, I'm all ears.


Now, that's just my argument against the decision-making process. My other issue is with the mindset of having the art altered in the first place. Even if a larger sample was taken, even if about 36% of the total number of backers ended up saying they wanted the art altered, is their reasoning for doing so logical and justified? I have read the various reasons people have given, including from Tom Vasel. Here's the points that have been brought up so far:

1.) The content is offensive.

2.) It represents women in a bad light. The image objectifies them. Makes them highly sexualized. It's sexist. This has consequences.

3.) It's unrealistic and absurd. No woman warrior would dress this way.

4.) It's stereotypical.

5.) It insults the intelligence and womanhood of women.

6.) We are just bored with the 70's male fantasy trope of scantily clad women.

7.) It gives people who are not nerds a low opinion of nerds.

8.) It makes the board game hobby less welcoming. Because women are the ones being turned away from these images, and thus causing women to be chased away from the board gaming hobby.

9.) Appeasing the minority means more sales and popularity for the game. It widens the audience base, much like cutting out portions of a film that would be rated R so that it will be rated PG-13 instead.

10.) This relates to issues that are becoming so pertinent and important that they can find themselves in a niche hobby. Mainly male entitlement and that men and women aren't equal in today's society, regardless of the progress that has been made over the years.

11.) Anyone who disagrees that this isn't art that portrays women as objectified and oversexualized is one who has no problem with seeing women objectified and oversexualized.

12.) This is a Mountain out of a Mole Hill issue.

Not entirely sure if that's all the points, but those are the main lines of argument. Now, I think the arguments I've made prior to these points are good enough to at make it a logical decision for Tristan to, at the very least, second-guess his decision. The arguments for these points intend to demonstrate why they are faulty arguments.

Point 1: Someone is always offended by something, that doesn't necessarily make the offended individual reasonable. There needs to be an expressed reason for being offended. If it's not reasonable, then it's reasonable that they should try to live with being offended and get over it. But if it is reasonable, then that's a different story. Currently, I find it unreasonable to be offended at the female warrior image, for reasons I will state by addressing the other points.

Points 2-4: I'm not going to pretend it's something other than what it is. Yes, the image isn't realistic. Yes, the image is a supersexualized image of a woman. It's not the most supersexualized image I've seen in a game, but it is supersexualized. It is absurd to believe that a real woman warrior would dress that way. It's stereotypical in the sense that it was stereotypical in the 70s and 80s for women to dress this way in sword and sorcery (aka fantasy) films, comics, and games. I won't deny any of that. But just because all of those things are true, does that necessarily mean women are being portrayed in a bad light? Does that really mean the image is promoting sexism? I don't believe that, and here's why. First, definitions:

sexist: relating to or characterized by prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex.

prejudice: preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.

stereotype: a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing.

discriminate: make an unjust or prejudicial distinction in the treatment of different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of race, sex, or age.

In order for the image to be considered sexist, it must be prejudiced against women, showcase a woman stereotype, or discriminate against woman. It must only do 1 of those 3 things in order to be considered sexist.

When it comes to prejudice, it must be of a preconceived opinion not based on reason or actual experience. And it is for that reason that I do not believe any prejudice is on display here. Because in this day and age, as if the discussion hasn't already proved this, we live in a society where this is no longer a preconceived notion amongst the majority of the population, amongst those of us who are rational thinkers. Thus we have an opinion of women that is based on reason and actual experience, so we can toss out prejudice.

When it comes to discrimination, in this case, the women are considered to be discriminated against as opposed to men who are not. The problem with that is that there are images in the game that not only show both men and women that are scantily clad, but there are images of men and women that are not scantily clad. Therefore there isn't any real great distinction between men and women in that regard when it comes to that art on the cards, so we can toss out discrimination.

That leaves stereotype. It's true, there is a widely held idea of women in fantasy settings being scantily clad, as seen in many films and books and posters of that genre in the 80s. But it's no longer a fixed image. Why is it no longer fixed? Because in today's society, there are fantasy genre games and films and posters that portray women in a different more realistic way. Games such as Mistfall. Films such as Maleficent and Frozen. And even so, there is still demand for the ideas, the images, of old, as indicated by films such as Wonder Woman, as games such as Gloom of Kilforth (or so I thought). The point is, there is a mixture of both now, of several ideas. Thus we no longer live in a society that goes by a single fixed image of a woman in this type of fantasy setting, so I hardly think stereotypes are ruining peoples lives like it was back in the 70s and 80s, so I believe we can toss out stereotype.

So, no prejudice, no discrimination, no stereotype. That means no sexism!


Point 5: If it's not sexist, how does it insult the intelligence of women? If a woman draws the images, and if other women say they are not offended by the image, how does it insult their intelligence? Because the artist wasn't intelligent when she drew the images? Because women don't know what is good for them? I think not. I think they can think for themselves and determine what insults their intelligence and what does not. I think women are intelligent enough to know that it's not normal to dress this way, and I think they're intelligent to know that most men are intelligent enough to know that that is the case.

Point 6: Bored with that trope? Then why is Wonder Woman making a comeback? Why did this project get funded (even with the changes, the trope is still there)? Why did Conan, Mythic Battles, Sword & Sorcery - Epic Fantasy Co-op board & miniature game get funded? Why is Gladiatoris getting funding so quickly?

Point 7-8: I say it's less welcoming if it excludes portraying women of that type/dress style, thus discourages cosplayers from dressing accordingly. That applies to the men too, in case you're wondering, though I would hope any nerd men who dress in that attire also have the muscle to back it up (it would probably be entertaining to look at either way). Wouldn't such diversity make the hobby more interesting and make newcomers more curious to get into it?

Point 9: I think Game of Thrones and those previously mentioned kickstarter projects (let alone the poll math I mentioned earlier) show that you don't need to appease those who are so easily offended to make a profit.

Point 10: And that is the reason why this has become a hot button issue. If it wasn't considered a big deal, it wouldn't be getting so many responses. The topic being that men and women aren't equal. Yeah, I agree, men and women should be more equal in some areas. Women should be paid the same amount as men for the same type of work. Men should do the cooking and cleaning more often. More women should get into football and board games. More men should get into sleepovers with other men and do some knitting and girl-talk. Those last 2 points are a joke in case you're wondering (or are they?). Even with the divide acknowledged, why would altering the card images heal that divide? Should the battles for that equality be fought elsewhere? That's like saying you want one milk company to make organic milk, and switch from buying 2% fat non-organic milk to 1% fat non-organic milk. Not exactly encouraging anyone to switch to organic.

Point 11: Now just because I want the art to remain as it was for this game doesn't mean I want women to be objectified. I shake my head each time I see that Carls Jr. ad of the woman riding that mechanic bull while eating a big fat burger. I shake my head and laugh at some of the older black & white films with how women are talked too. I do the same thing to that film Deathstalker. I know those bits of media objectify women, and so I don't take them seriously. At the same time, I find them entertaining for their cheesiness. Just because I don't mind seeing women objectified (too strong of a word to be accurate here IMO) in this case doesn't mean I don't mind seeing women objectified in another case. In some cases it's light-hearted well-intentioned entertainment, other times it's just shameless drivel. Is it wrong to have the light-hearted well-intentioned part?

Point 12: It may be a Mountain out of a Mole, but as it was said earlier, censorship is a slippery slope. It can start out small, it can start out as a mole hill, but overtime it can grow into a mountain. It's better if the issue is addressed early on before it grows out of control and it really does become a big concern. Not taking the poll seriously? Creator decides to alter some cards. If that can happen because of something like this, who's to say it won't get worse somewhere down the road?

And with those points addressed, I go to:


Adrian_vN wrote:
gexthegecko wrote:

Wrong! It's respectful to less than 10% of their broad audience.

Not wrong! You're presuming that his "broad" audience are just the KS backers and no-one else. It's not. What about further down the track if he wants to go the retail route, etc? I get what you're saying about the backers and the poll etc but we can't presume to know exactly everything Tristan considered in coming to his decision.


I presume no such thing. It's a fact stated by Tristan himself on the kickstarter campaign page:

"Without Kickstarter this project will not get made. If/when we do fund there are no current plans to release the game on a commercial level, although expansion content would be possible through the same channel if the demand exists... So vote with your wallets people and order your exclusive copy now! Remember how difficult it was bagging that elusive, expensive copy of Magic Realm?? Don't miss out this time, and let's all get our copies of the ultimate fantasy RPG style adventure game once and for all!"

On that other point of thinking further down the line, I think he should also think about what customers would think of a game creator who is willing to make card art more safe and less daring at the whims of a few and not respectfully consider the views of those who would actually invest in his products. Which side would he lose more numbers on? Which side should he be willing to lose numbers on in that regard? Assuming this does end up making it to retail.



Adrian_vN wrote:
gexthegecko wrote:
Tristan may have that this method was best, but I say he is wrong to think so.

With respect, I don't think you can say Tristan was wrong about any decision he makes about his game. You can say you don't agree with those decisions but it doesn't make them wrong per se. They are his creative calls and that's entirely his prerogative.


If I don't agree with the decision, it's because I believe it is the wrong decision, thus I can say Tristan was wrong about a decision he made. What's the point of arguing against a decision if you don't think it's wrong?


Adrian_vN wrote:
If we look at the changes Tristan/Ania made to that one card we've seen, I don't think anyone could argue that they're substantial. (I know you're not particularly but some here are.) A bit of shading over the cleavage/chest/belly. Are we really crying "CENSORSHIP!!" over that?


Yes we are. Censorship, small or large, is still censorship. And I've seen too many examples of how such a small thing can escalate and get worse when it comes to films, I'll be damned if I sit idly by and see the same thing happen to board games I care about, let alone those I'm invested in.
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emodiu5 wrote:
Why is this such a big deal? If 45 (or whatever) more people play the game because they changed the card art on 3 cards, why would anyone be against that?

Does the game become worse for you because there isn't cleavage on a few cards? Seriously? No? Then why do you care?

If those 45 more people will now be able to play and enjoy the game, isn't that good?

Every time this comes up, I just don't get it.


Well first of all, those 45 more people won't be able to play and enjoy that game because at least one of them didn't actually back the project. For another, should the game really be worse for you because there is a small amount of cleavage, something that isn't exactly a rare sight in this day and age (I'm not talking about images on the web, I'm talking about how real people really dress when going out around town, in schools, and in stores)? Is that really something that's going to drive people out of their minds?

The game becomes worse not because there's less cleavage, but because I'll be reminded of why a specific card has been altered every time I see it. It's the principle of it all.

And I believe my previous post will help you "get it". At least I hope it does.
 
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Bichatse wrote:


TLDR
 
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Uhm, if you need to see boobs to play game you might have a problem beyond a few art changes.

Also note that you can easily "hot up" any card.

Tempests and teapots...
 
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martimer wrote:
Uhm, if you need to see boobs to play game you might have a problem beyond a few art changes.

Also note that you can easily "hot up" any card.

Tempests and teapots...


That's not the main issue here. But I'm happy you brought that up, considering that the changed card art zooms in and centers on the boobs, so I would consider that a win to some extent for those who actually do feel that way.
 
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Has anyone ever heard of Draco Magi? Ever heard about Five Tribes? A vocal minority voiced their opinions on matters like that before, and the game creators caved into their demands, despite how unjustified they were. In Five Tribes, they took out the slave cards (even though it was historically accurate). In Draco Magi, they ended up doing something very very similar to what has been done here. The difference is, there's still a chance Tristan can take it back.

This isn't a minor issue, this is a growing epidemic.

https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/59282/what-was-once-few-h...
 
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gexthegecko wrote:

This isn't a minor issue, this is a growing epidemic.


shake
 
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emodiu5 wrote:
gexthegecko wrote:

This isn't a minor issue, this is a growing epidemic.


shake


A headshake isn't exactly going to demonstrate that I'm wrong. If you have good reason to believe I'm wrong, then say something.
 
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gexthegecko wrote:
Has anyone ever heard of Draco Magi? Ever heard about Five Tribes? A vocal minority voiced their opinions on matters like that before, and the game creators caved into their demands, despite how unjustified they were. In Five Tribes, they took out the slave cards (even though it was historically accurate). In Draco Magi, they ended up doing something very very similar to what has been done here. The difference is, there's still a chance Tristan can take it back.

This isn't a minor issue, this is a growing epidemic.

https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/59282/what-was-once-few-h...


Discussion of this issue as a general matter in the gaming industry should probably be taken to another forum.
 
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GreenLaborMike wrote:
gexthegecko wrote:
Has anyone ever heard of Draco Magi? Ever heard about Five Tribes? A vocal minority voiced their opinions on matters like that before, and the game creators caved into their demands, despite how unjustified they were. In Five Tribes, they took out the slave cards (even though it was historically accurate). In Draco Magi, they ended up doing something very very similar to what has been done here. The difference is, there's still a chance Tristan can take it back.

This isn't a minor issue, this is a growing epidemic.

https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/59282/what-was-once-few-h...


Discussion of this issue as a general matter in the gaming industry should probably be taken to another forum.


The issue ties in directly with this update thread as another attempt to sway the game creator's decision.
 
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gexthegecko wrote:
GreenLaborMike wrote:
gexthegecko wrote:
Has anyone ever heard of Draco Magi? Ever heard about Five Tribes? A vocal minority voiced their opinions on matters like that before, and the game creators caved into their demands, despite how unjustified they were. In Five Tribes, they took out the slave cards (even though it was historically accurate). In Draco Magi, they ended up doing something very very similar to what has been done here. The difference is, there's still a chance Tristan can take it back.

This isn't a minor issue, this is a growing epidemic.

https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/59282/what-was-once-few-h...


Discussion of this issue as a general matter in the gaming industry should probably be taken to another forum.


The issue ties in directly with this update thread as another attempt to sway the game creator's decision.


As long as comments are about GoK, then I agree that they are relevant to this thread. But there was nothing in the comment I quoted that related to Gloom of Kilforth.

Edit: - My apologies. It's late, and I glossed over the last comment referencing Tristan.
 
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Sorry, but I am trying to figure this out, and I really do not get it.
For what it is worth, I am a late backer.

From what I understand there was a poll somewhere? Is there a link for this poll?

And it seems that those opposing it is upset because the art was changed even though more people voted it should not change?

Is that essentially it? Thanks.
 
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Michael_Olsen wrote:

Sorry, but I am trying to figure this out, and I really do not get it.
For what it is worth, I am a late backer.

From what I understand there was a poll somewhere? Is there a link for this poll?

And it seems that those opposing it is upset because the art was changed even though more people voted it should not change?

Is that essentially it? Thanks.


If I recall correctly, before the kickstarter went up there was a preview-page.
It had the warrior woman card on it (or this card had been posted in a preview blog).
Either way, some people pointed out that they were disappointed with the card.
This created lots of discussion.
A poll was made, asking if that card would stop people from buying the game or if the card was fine. And I think most poeple said the art was fine, but some said it would stop them buying the game.
But Tristan, the creator, said he would think about it as it turned out that it did bother some people.

Then the kickstarter launched and funded.

After that, I think there's been some revisions of the card design (this might ahve been during the kickstarter), and plenty of more images have been posted. There might or might not have been tweaks to the rules?

Then, from what I could read from the update, apparently some third parties had made enough comments during the editing of the game, so that Tristan decided to look over the art. After this look over, he and the artist decided to change some pieces.

I also wouldn't be surprised if other pieces of art have been changed for various other reasons. If all of the art in the game is made from art pieces that were accepted on first draft, that would be impressive.

So from what I can tell, the poll might have given Tristan the idea that he might want to look into the art.
But it also sounded like there were further input later in the project that might have caused him to sit down and actually do it.
But this is just my impression, and only Tristan really knows of course.

Personally, I think the sad part about this whole thing is that Tristan mentioned that the art had been changed. If he hadn't specifically called it out, I'd be surprised if anyone would have noticed.

Edit: Forgot to add, props to Tristan who decided to sit down and attempt to look at his commissioned art from a different perspective!
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Thanks Josephine. It is all clear now.

Yes, I agree. Of course the designer can change his design to please more people, if he so desires.
This happens with various entertainment items all the time: Movies, books, games, you name it. That is the nature of a free market economy.

The whole thing about a few people causing the change seems silly. I suspect if we divide people into "for", "against", and "do not care" most will be in the not care category. "For" and "Against" are probably going to be largely the same size (or maybe there actually are more people pro-change than against the change).
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Even Tom Vasel are commenting this now, from 20:34:

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tilde72 wrote:
Even Tom Vasel are commenting this now


Thanks.

What do you know, for the first time I agree with Mr. Vasel : - ). He hit the nail on the head, that is for sure.
 
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Michael_Olsen wrote:
Thanks Josephine. It is all clear now.

Yes, I agree. Of course the designer can change his design to please more people, if he so desires.
This happens with various entertainment items all the time: Movies, books, games, you name it. That is the nature of a free market economy.

The whole thing about a few people causing the change seems silly. I suspect if we divide people into "for", "against", and "do not care" most will be in the not care category. "For" and "Against" are probably going to be largely the same size (or maybe there actually are more people pro-change than against the change).


Haven't read through the comments on the first page or even this page have you? On the first page I made a post that not only links to the thread with the poll, but shows an image of the poll taken right when this news came out. A post I made at the top of this page (page 3, just in case this ends up getting posted on page 4) makes the situation perfectly clear by mentioning 5 facts about this that I'm sure everyone can agree on, no matter which position they take.

It's not that a change was made that angers many of us, it's why the change was made in the first place.
 
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gexthegecko wrote:
Haven't read through the comments on the first page or even this page have you? On the first page I made a post that not only links to the thread with the poll, but shows an image of the poll taken right when this news came out.


There it was, thanks. There seem to be a few threads on this, and I think I got them mixed up. Thanks again.
 
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Michael_Olsen wrote:
tilde72 wrote:
Even Tom Vasel are commenting this now


Thanks.

What do you know, for the first time I agree with Mr. Vasel : - ). He hit the nail on the head, that is for sure.


Agree.
 
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tilde72 wrote:
Even Tom Vasel are commenting this now


Well now, seems as if the domino effect is in effect. Congratulations Tristan, you did it. You got some more publicity for this game by another popular figure among the board game community.

Obviously I've got plenty to say in response, but this thread isn't the place for it, because this is more of a discussion of PC and welcomeness of the board gaming hobby to everyone in general. That is for a blog response.
 
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Wow, got Mr. Vasel involved. Free advertising!
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ScottE wrote:
Wow, got Mr. Vasel involved. Free advertising!


Wonder if I can get a kickstarter reward for that?
 
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gexthegecko wrote:
ScottE wrote:
Wow, got Mr. Vasel involved. Free advertising!


Wonder if I can get a kickstarter reward for that?


Tom never mentioned the game in particular, so unless someone had already been reading this thread, it would be difficult to know Gloom of Kilforth is the game he is referencing. But I hope that others can figure it out, as I agree that this would otherwise be free advertising to be mentioned by Tom Vasel on Board Game Breakfast.
 
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gexthegecko wrote:
ScottE wrote:
Wow, got Mr. Vasel involved. Free advertising!


Wonder if I can get a kickstarter reward for that?

You should, probably got a few additional pre-orders!

I haven't watched the video, not sure I can get through 46 minutes of him being offended. At least now we got the controversy of the week a high profile web celebrity.

To be honest, I'm getting pretty tired of all these fights. If a designer wants to change his game to appease a few angry people, that's fine. I'm sure someday I'll be in the same position and will have to make that call. Our first title fortunately had head & shoulders shots of each hero so we didn't have to worry about cleavage or too much leg showing. But people certainly get worked up over it. I hate to see censorship but these days you really have to think about it since it can be distracting when trying to get a game funded. I've seen several KS projects go off the rails because of some "controversy" and the creators have to put in a lot of work to get it back on track.

So Tristan, I feel for you. I know it can't be easy to make the call.
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Just an FYI as it sounds like you haven't watched Board Game Breakfast before - it's a bunch of short segments put together by various contributors. Tom's thoughts on this may go about 5 minutes if he went long. The rest is gaming news and thoughts and likely not related. Kickstarter news, painting, new gamers, thoughts on new releases or even old ones, etc. make up the bulk of the show.

Edit - autocorrect.
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