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Subject: On the topic of so many prominent podcasters/reviewers calling it quits rss

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Joshua Gardner
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In case you haven't heard, the Game On! with Cody and John podcast is calling it quits after 82 episodes. Their reasons are that it's become bigger than what they wanted, that they were getting free review copies and all they wanted to do was do a podcast. It turned from fun into work, and they're cutting ties.

Makes sense to me. I just find it a bit alarming. We've seen people who get really involved in providing a service to the board game community, Scott Nicholson with Board Games with Scott, Jeremy Salinas with Drakkenstrike's HD Reviews, and now Cody and John with Game On!, stop all of a sudden. I'm not saying that each of these situations are exactly the same, but I find them intriguing.

Scott says he quit Board Games with Scott because it wasn't fun anymore, because others were doing the same thing. But since then, his posts have suggested to me that he was frustrated that what he was doing didn't have a perceived value, but was being used by publishers.

For example, back in the first Jack Vasel auction, he said he would do a video to raise money for Tom. He was reaching out the publishers to finance the video, but was getting mostly BGG users, his viewers:

snicholson wrote:
"I'm really surprised there aren't more publishers bidding on this one. It's a great marketing opportunity, as I've got about 7,000 subscribers to BGWS, and they would get a video that they could use as they want to market the game."


and

snicholson wrote:
"You are exemplifying one of the main reasons why I stopped BGWS. For every one "thanks," I would get three "do something for me" messages."


This sounds like someone who recognizes the service they provide, but is frustrated with the lack of proper appreciation/compensation for their time. He was doing something for fun, but someone else was profiting from all of his efforts.

Then move onto Jeremy Salinas. He's been a bit coy about his situation, but it's similar. He produces fantastic videos that any publisher would want to use. But he drew the line at publishers using it without his permission as if it was their own. Then they threatened him with a lawsuit:

Drakkenstrike wrote:
When I approached this venture in September 2010, my goal was to provide the BGG and Board Game Community with a High End Video Review format that mirrored the works of some of the best Video Game websites in the market(ie. IGN, Gametrailer's, etc), however, with one major difference.....those reviewers get paid for their work as it is their Job and main source of income. I did not fall into this role thinking that I was going to accumulate wealth from becoming a Reviewer, but I did believe that since my work would be so vastly different than what the community has experienced in the past, that it would catch on quickly and become a great source of influence for potential buyers and publishers/manufacturers alike. Because of the way I present my work and the huge amount of time dedicated to each individual video, I strongly believe that I, and only I own the rights to my own catalog of work and have all legal right to grant or deny permission to those said parties who wish to benefit financially off of my Videos.


He puts all of his time making these videos, and publishers think they 'own' it because they sent him a free early copy? Ludicrous.

Podcasts like Game On! and reviews like Drakkenstrike's reviews in HD are fun to listen to and watch, but they also provide cheap PR for the industry. And how are people like Cody, John, Tom Vasel, Scott Nicholson, Jeremy Salinas compensated? A free review copy of a game that they may or may not have wanted in the first place? Expectations for a positive review on their latest podcast? That doesn't sound like fun, it sounds like work to me, poorly compensated work, a job that nobody in their right mind would stay at.

But this is all supposition on my part. I just find it intriguing that so many gamers out there providing a service to the community are getting jaded, frustrated, and tired with what they're doing. A darker side the the industry indeed.

TLDR; Scott Nicholson, Jeremy Salinas and Cody and John have called it quits. My guess, because they're essentially free PR for board game publishers, and the job sucks.
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David Boeren
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It all makes sense to me. When fun turns into work, it's time to consider if you still want to do it. But there will always be more people who want to pick up the torch so I'm not worried about that.
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Jennifer Schlickbernd
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If I were going to do what Jeremy was doing, I'd have a long term plan for it that benefited me. For example if he wanted a job in the video editing/creation industry. Or have those same publishers who are taking his work pay for his work. Those videos are an awesome portfolio and that's why I'd do it. Otherwise like he's seen, people just take advantage and you feel frustrated.
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Robert Wesley
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Have you SEEN the 'scene' for the 'mindscape' about the 'landscape' for which we're 'underwhelmingly undergoing', concurrently as that occurred RIGHT under our very noses? No? Well, then, there you "DON'T GO" now, eh?
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Esteban Fernandez
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If you want to do it for fun, do not accept free games, and play what you want and talk about it.

If you want to talk always about the last hotness, then I can see how at the end it can feel like work, and how it's not worthy as an unpaid or badly paid job

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Trent Howell
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I think Cody and John are hitting it right on the head. Our family has enjoyed doing video reviews of board games for the last couple years and there are definitely points of it being more Work than Fun.

And since our reviews are done by the kids so parents can see what kids think of the games, it all depends on their time and interest. And with so many activities that they're involved in, it's tough to get the time in to keep it up.

Currently when they want to play a game, they choose their favorites that they're already well familiar with rather than learning a new game all the time. So the stack of games on our "to review" shelf seems to loom over us. And when it feels like a chore to them, it's easier to do other things.

However, even with all that said, doing this endeavor as a family still provides great time to be together. And their moods ebb and flow. So the trick is picking our moments when they're in the mood.

Hopefully by slowing the flow of new games coming in this year, we'll get caught up on our game plans and then see where it goes from there with the video reviews.

Because as far as I go, I still love writing about games and family gaming - it's a nice outlet.
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bullseyetm wrote:
Then move onto Jeremy Salinas. He's been a bit coy about his situation, but it's similar. He produces fantastic videos that any publisher would want to use. But he drew the line at publishers using it without his permission as if it was their own. Then they threatened him with a lawsuit.


Wow. I believe that any publisher that stoops to that level deserves a first hand lesson of how the Streisand Effect works.

Although I'm sure that Jeremy by now just wants to forget about all of this, I'd love me some names. I certainly don't feel good giving money to a publisher that thinks that it's OK to threaten someone just because he dares not let them do whatever they want with HIS video.

Copyright, DMCA, ACTA... looks like all that shit seems to always work in only one direction, doesn't it?.
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Eddy Sterckx
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fiomtec wrote:
Although I'm sure that Jeremy by now just wants to forget about all of this, I'd love me some names. I certainly don't feel good giving money to a publisher that thinks that it's OK to threaten someone just because he dares not let them do whatever they want with HIS video.


+1

I've already got a couple publishers on my "do not ever buy another game from these clowns" blacklist and there's room for more
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James Mckane
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I am sad to hear Game On have called it quits, they were in my top 3 audio podcasts. I can understand the pressure of having review copies needing to be reviewed. I personally stopped seeking review copies, and was refusing them, as reviewing was starting to feel like work to me. In my life I made the mistake of working in an industry that was first a hobby, after one bad experience with an employer I lost all interest in that hobby after years of being very dedicated to it. I only make mistakes like that once. Board games are now to important to me, I won't risk losing another hobby.

To quote part of a conversation I had with another reviewer in September last year.

Quote:
jamesmckane wrote:
I turned down some review copies recently because I just wasn't feeling like having to do a review. I am quite content just slowly working on a review of a game in my collection here and there with no pressure to complete it by a certain date (the pressure however was only something I only ever put on myself anyway). No biggy, hopefully my videos will improve during this time.
I have to confess that I have 3 games at the moment in my review queue and yes, the pressure is self inflicted!


For me it has mostly been pressure I felt just because I had something I had to do and it was not neccassarily something I always wanted to do...It's tough sometimes to draw a line between being a gamer and reviewer.

It's always sad to hear a contributor to the community is having troubles.



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Michael Heagerty
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Whatever. Kinda tired of hearing about podcasters quitting. If they don't want to do it anymore, then they should just stop doing it and not make a big deal about it.

And any pressure they feel they have brought on themselves, presumably from accepting free review copies of games.
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Like I've always said. This is what happens when you turn your hobby into "work"...Just play games
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mheagerty wrote:
Whatever. Kinda tired of hearing about podcasters quitting. If they don't want to do it anymore, then they should just stop doing it and not make a big deal about it.

And any pressure they feel they have brought on themselves, presumably from accepting free review copies of games.


I enjoy the reviews and really like to hear about why they cease. It's kind of sad when they stop making reviews and its nice to know what happened (IMO).
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James Mckane
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mheagerty wrote:
Whatever. Kinda tired of hearing about podcasters quitting. If they don't want to do it anymore, then they should just stop doing it and not make a big deal about it.

And any pressure they feel they have brought on themselves, presumably from accepting free review copies of games.


I'm not seeing any podcasters making "a big deal about it". It's simply an interesting topic to discuss.
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I don't have much to add to this conversation. I'm just a greedy review watching junkie really. But I do try very hard to let those I leech from know how great I think they are either with cheerful notes of praise or monetary compensation.

The hardest part for me (being relatively new to the board gaming world) is finding an early review by one of those great reviewers and then diving deeper into their catalog only to discover they quit months or years earlier. It's a real downer.

It seems to me that most things on the Internet start from a good and pure place and almost always turn dark and ugly after a while. I've experience it in the Internet Art world time and again. And each time I quit (sometimes announced, sometimes unannounced), I say to myself that *this* time will be the last time I try to have fun online. But I always find my way back in one form or another. The key is to find the proper life balance to keep it fun while mentally switching off the ugly, often ungrateful background noise. Easier said than done, I know. I still struggle with it every day myself. Ya just gotta keep reminding yourself why you started in the first place.

Let me just say though that (for me personally) without great reviewers like Tom Vassal, Scott Nicholson and Trent's *wonderful* family at TheBoardGameFamily, I'd not have started gaming again (like this) in the first place.
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Troy Adlington
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You know that guy that always comes into a forum that is talking about some movie or TV show, and says with some misbegotten sense of elitism.
"Oh I don't have a TV"

Well...finally it is me

I don't watch reviews.

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I'm with you Troy. I have to stick to the written reviews since I like skimming and speed-reading too much.
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Ben Wand
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Yeah, working for free gets old pretty quick, even when it's your hobby.

The funny thing is that there's a large section of people who think it's fine and dandy to do all kinds of free work for game designers and publishers...
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Nim Chimpsky
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I know this is a bit off-topic, but does anyone know what the purpose of a reviewer joining the Dice Tower Network is? Do they join because it will expose them to a larger audience?

Sometimes it seems like the Dice Tower intends to be the definitive source of video reviews, so they acquire/snatch up any of the reviewers that begin to gain in popularity (Castelli, SU&SD, etc). Then they can claim all these good review shows are part of the Dice Tower Network, almost as if they're trying to take partial credit for them.

Obviously nobody is forcing these reviewer to join the DTN, so I'm wondering why they do.

As for current reviewers, I find marnaudo's reviews to be insightful, and enjoy Castelli's reviews for being sometimes silly yet always informative.
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James Mckane
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Quote:
Sometimes it seems like the Dice Tower intends to be the definitive source of video reviews, so they acquire/snatch up any of the reviewers that begin to gain in popularity (Castelli, SU&SD, etc). Then they can claim all these good review shows are part of the Dice Tower Network, almost as if they're trying to take partial credit for them.


Certainly not in my case, I was not approached by anyone to join the network, I approached them via email myself. I inquired about joining because they have always been one of my favorite shows, I've not missed an audio episode since around the time Eric came on the show. Increasing my audience was more what I knew would happen as result of joining, but not why I joined. Another reason was to literally network with the other podcasts. In this country I sometimes feel iscolated from other video/audio podcasters. I appeared on the best of 2011 Dicetower show and that would be one of my proudest moments since I started the show.

Gald you enjoy the show too.
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My guess is that each episode takes a lot of resources. These providers realized their resources were better spent elsewhere. People change. Priorities change.

Just imagine the thousands of hours dedicated just to this one product by some of these guys. Maybe its time for others to step up to the plate.
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Nim Chimpsky
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jamesmckane wrote:

Certainly not in my case, I was not approached by anyone to join the network, I approached them via email myself. I inquired about joining because they have always been one of my favorite shows, I've not missed an audio episode since around the time Eric came on the show. Increasing my audience was more what I knew would happen as result of joining, but not why I joined. Another reason was to literally network with the other podcasts. In this country I sometimes feel iscolated from other video/audio podcasters. I appeared on the best of 2011 Dicetower show and that would be one of my proudest moments since I started the show.

Gald you enjoy the show too.


Thanks for the clarification. I never thought that it might work the other way around (people asking to join, rather than being asked to join).
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Dan Patriss
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On the main topic, I have their last 2 episodes DLed but haven't gotten a chance to listen to them yet but it's a shame they are stopping. I enjoyed their show as well as some of the ones mentioned here. It's not easy to find a podcast that covers a bunch of types of BGs and are enjoyable to listen to as well.

As for the other topic that has come up I am kinda wondering if this is a reason but not the entire reason. I will just leave that up for speculation but I will give you my reasoning with reviews.

The reason why my podcast (The Geek Allstars) has done a couple of reviews is to get the word out on some games we have played. We do them at our pace and our own way. I think if you put it all on the table to people who want to send you games and when and how you will do them then it's always on your terms. If you don't make huge promises to people you cannot break them.

If publishers want to send us some games as review copies, I will be happy to take them and play them and give them some publicity. It will be when I have played them a few times and in our normal format. I wouldn't promise I am going to write a thesis on these games but hey I would love to give the world my 2c on games we played but I won't promise any more then honesty and on our terms and pace. If that's good then sure send us any review copies you want, The Geek Allstars would be happy to get to them and do them when we can.

See? It's not hard, do things at your pace and how you like to keep things fun. It;s our hobby. unless Cody and John were being paid thousands of dollars to do these reviews I don't see why they cannot just return to doing what they love, talking about great games their experiences and what they have played. Keep it fun boys and let me plead to you, don't hang it up, I enjoy your show, and as I always say I am the only one who matters (In all honestly best of luck to you guys I hope you can make some more shows if recording is truly what you love to do).
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Steve Carey
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As others have noted, if doing a podcast creates pressure or is viewed as "work", then it's certainly understandable to drop.

This hobby is as dynamic as it is interesting - whether it be designing, developing, writing, reviewing, etc., sometimes the passion wanes on a topic or we just need a break.
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Steve Carey
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darthhugo wrote:
Maybe its time for others to step up to the plate.


Check out The Gaming Gang - they don't go around promoting themselves much and they cover a wide variety of topics from wargames, to euros, to family games, to minis, to RPG's, in an Episode podcast every two weeks.

They have a wide selection of podcast reviews, many of which have been put into written format too.

They also just recently introduced a segment called 'The Daily Dope' which is a 15 minute or so promo segment on what's going on in the hobby today, mainly highlighting new or upcoming products (and even if I'm not personally interested in some of those products, I always find them entertaining to listen to).

At first I thought it was a bit silly of an idea, but now I listen to almost every one and enjoy the daily podcast very much.

http://thegaminggang.com/

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William Boykin
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Podcasters and good reviewers should insist on getting paid for their work, rather than just make stuff for free.

That's the source of the real problem here. The modern internet and social media is too dependent upon people making content for free, and doing it 'for the love of the hobby'.

Screw that. If you do good professional quality work, you should be paid for it.

Darilian
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