One of the problems of producing a fortnightly podcast is that you notice how fast life rolls around. (I’m sure Rob notices exactly the same with his ReRoll column). I barely feel like I’ve extricated all the scattergun commas from my last podcast post (which asked Does Warhammer Ruin Everything?) and now it’s time to write the next one. This week we’re talking about one of the biggest problems of being a tabletop gamer: Do we need quite so many boxes? aka “Stuff Happens!”
You’re Gonna Have to Face It, You’re Addicted to Stuff
It all started with a column by Ben Maddox in this month’s Tabletop Gaming Magazine. (It’s a UK publication that’s well worth a look if you’re into tabletop games and still have room in your reading schedule after consuming GeekDad’s smorgasbord of reviews.) The magazine has a monthly column called “Cardboard Manifesto,” which usually proposes a slightly controversial change to accepted board game practice. This month’s column was titled “No More Components Please!”
A bold request! Yet Maddox sets out his stall well.
“It’s a dangerous proclivity. It’s a proclivity bordering on a habit. It’s a habit bordering on a dependency. It’s a dependency bordering on a catastrophic addiction. An addiction that will consume us all in fire. An addiction that will drown us all in the sea.
The article then goes on to discuss the Kickstarter model, most commonly associated with CMON games, of paying significant sums of money for boxes and boxes of plastic. Plastic that often never sees the tabletop. The apex (or possibly nadir) of this phenomenon is the pictures you see on social media of people whose Kickstarter boxes stack to be taller than their new owner. It’s obscene (my observation) and unsustainable (the assertion of the column).
Less Is More
The Kickstarter phenomenon taps into the great geek Achilles heal, FOMO. There’s something about getting “all the stuff” that is incredibly appealing. The online platform makes it even worse. You’re delaying your gratification but also delaying the practical problems of things like “Where am I going to put all these boxes?” If you were in a shop and somebody asked you for $350 in exchange for 2 meters of boxes, you’d probably think twice. Late at night, on your laptop screen staring at all those beautiful 3D renders, it’s so easy to click that buy button. We convince ourselves in the abstract that we WILL have time to play with all (or, more ludicrously, we will have time to paint it all).
This is what Pete and I discuss on the podcast, as well as that unshakeable feeling that the next great game is out there; if you keep buying, you’ll eventually find it. Not only that, companies like Games Workshop just keep making make great models, and, again, “We wants them, precious!”
Not for nothing did we recently give the title to our fortnightly discussions, “The Shiny Games Round Up.” I’m terrible for looking at the shiny new stuff out there, rather than picking up what is on my shelf waiting to be played. I’m very good and convincing myself I can make time for games, despite many years of evidence to the contrary.
Who Is Watching The Rings of Power?
Due to life being busy and the return to school, I haven’t had much opportunity to keep abreast of all the new announcements and releases, so not too much shiny stuff this episode to tempt me. Instead, Pete and I talked about The Rings of Power. It’s hard to judge on two episodes, but we’re remaining cautiously optimistic! In addition to that, we answer the question of which game would we most like to have with us on a desert island. Not Robinson Crusoe, that’s for sure!
I do hope you enjoyed this week’s podcast. If you’re interested, Pete and I did meet up again this week to record an overview of War of the Ring: The Card Game. It’s a great homage to The Lord of the Rings and a well-implemented, competitive journey through Frodo’s epic quest.