Here is the board game (and board game-related!) news that caught our attention for the week ending January 22, 2021.
- GeekDad Robin Brooks published an informative piece this week discussing what Amazon’s upcoming Lord of the Rings series might mean for tabletop games.
- TikTok (which I guess isn’t getting banned?) has had a rather weird trend going lately of people singing sea shanties. (For those uninitiated, a sea shanty is a tune with a simple melody and repeating chorus that, at least according to legend, sailors would sing to help pass the time when they had to do the tedious tasks of keeping their ship afloat, which for the record would have been approximately 99.9999% of the time at sea. “Drunken Sailor” is probably the shanty that most people are familiar with.) The shanty that seems to have caused the viral craze is “The Wellerman,” which, as far as I can tell, was originated here. What does any of this have to do with games? Well, it seems gaming editor Tracy Barnett created an RPG out of the song: One Day, the Wellerman Comes. It started as a Twitter thread and was then reformated to a PDF, which can be purchased for $7 on their Itch.io page. (Oh, and also, if you’d like to watch a very well done, quite moving movie, check out 2019’s Fisherman’s Friends on Netflix.)
- Ann Deakins at Abouttimeboardgame.com published a cool infographic this week to help people chose the right title from the myriad Marvel-based games on the market.
- Dice made from actual canned baked beans encased in resin are a thing that actually exists.
- Equinox is a new title from Reiner Knizia and Plan B games. According to a post on Boardgamegeek, the game will be out in June of this year and is actually a reskin of sorts of Knizia’s Grand National Derby, originally published in 1996 by Piatnik and then republished by Fantasy Flight in 2007.
- AEG is set to release Cubitos, a game of racing cubes, next month.
- Most people in the industry are cautiously optimistic that 2021 will see the return of live cons, but 2020 showed that virtual cons could be successful. Renegade is moving forward in that virtual space, hosting the second Renegade Con in mid-February. The event is free but does require signing up for tickets.
- Between the pandemic, lockdowns, and social unrest over the last year, it’s been tough going for the board game industry. Polygon wrote a nice piece on everything that has happened, from the tightening retail sector forcing game stores out of business to the long-overdue reckoning many in the industry have faced for their bigoted views.
- Last week, longtime Italian designer Daniele Tascini was called out for a racist Facebook comment, and in response, German publisher Hans im Glück announced that it would no longer publish Tascini’s games, and would donate the proceeds of sales of already-published Tascini games, including Marco Polo, to anti-racist organizations. That statement follows an earlier announcement from Board & Dice, which currently publishes other Tascini titles, that they would not renew their contract with him. All of this came on the heels of designer Phil Eklund going on a COVID-denying rant online, which lead publisher Ion Games to announce that going forward, they would commission stop publishing Eklund’s often erroneous essays and footnotes in their rulebooks.
- And in related news, the employees of Funagain Games forced CEO/owner Jeff DeBoer to step aside from his management role in the company after his social media comments defending Eklund and personally attacking others in the board game community, although it does appear that he will remain as the company’s owner and thus presumably continue to profit off the games.
What we’ve reviewed this week:
- Jonathan H. Liu published a Kickstarter Tabletop Roundup and a review of GeekDad-approved 5-Minute Mystery.
What We’re Playing
Finally, here’s what the GeekDads played this week:
- Will James played Epic Tiny Mechs and Bamboo Bash.
- Robin Brooks played Warhammer Underworlds: Direchasm.
- Michael Pistiolas played Pandemic Season 0, Wreck Raiders, Tainted Grail, and Love Letter.
- I played Groundhog Day: The Game, our featured image this week.