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Desc:In which Dr. Phillies discusses aircraft carriers and shows his feminist side.
Category:Arts, Educational
Tags:board games, wise old game master, george phillies, hobbies of the damned
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Comment count is 8
baleen - 2017-06-29
For the gaming from hell week that I might have missed.

I admit that I have watched and/or fallen asleep to this entire lecture series. I have grown uncomfortably fond of this man.

Throughout the series, he force speckles politically righteous statements such as "Webber introduced particularly strong female protagonists... for some this may be quite educational."

In another, he airdrops the African slave trade into the middle of a bit on game economies, following with a short silence and then, "It really was quite a horrible thing, what we did there. A horrible thing." He is too innocent to hold these things against him. It is obvious that he is somewhere on spectrum, and this is part of the perverse combination of joy, aversion, shock and genuine learning that gives me a reason to watch.

Another guy like this is Calandale, who is not nearly as locked in his brain as this wizard, and is also made warmer by his very honest emotional struggles and his genuine passion for this obscure obsession. Calandale has unfortunately been withdrawing from social life online, at least the easy channels. His obscure game rants are truly a thing of beauty.

All of these guys seem to be united in their hatred of most eurogames (except Tigris & Euphrates), I guess because of their "reduced complexity" and "inaccurate depiction of ____," especially in historically-themed games. Truly a bizarre demarcation, like an ancient record collector's fruitless diatribes about diamond turntable needles.
baleen - 2017-06-29
Also, the tangent on hydrogen.

Phillies is, by trade, a polymer chemist and physicist (I think?).

chumbucket - 2017-06-29
I've recently got back into boardgames and am leaning back to the realm of "wargaming" versus what's considered "eurogames" lately. Wargaming is definitely a realm of old white guys but in general they are nice folks. While I find both forms of games fun to play, I find the eurogames to be too much more about bookkeeping than actual competition and there is just way too much hype about them lately.

As for calendale, I've been keeping up with his YT channel for quite some time. I do enjoy his perspective on games but he can get real ranty especially on BGG forums. I think he might have got ban-hammered there or at least muzzled there but he's recently back to his typically pretentious tone with a slight bit of passive aggression.

The dude in this video is interesting but good lord I could not see myself getting through more than 1-2 classes with him.

Nominal - 2017-06-30
Yup, eurogames are dry, dull accounting affairs.

Thurne und Taxis: Who can develop the most efficient 17th century German postal system?

Ruhrschifffahrt: Who can develop the most efficient 18th century German coal barge network?

Powergrid: Why this 3-5 hour snoozefest is so popular I do not know.

Terra Mystica: I can guess why this is popular. It gives you the feeling of super varied asymmetrical faction play inside eurogamer trappings. Then you realize that each faction has one "correct" playbook to follow and you mostly ignore the other players as you focus on typical eurogame "multiplayer solitaire" to score victory point salad.

Just follow the golden rule of boardgames: If it has cubes of wood, avoid it you should!

baleen - 2017-06-30
The reality is that "eurogames" were never distinct from "Ameritrash games." In the 70s the "big" hobby board publishers (Mayfair, Avalon Hill, TSR, Steve Jackson (sort of a ripoff artist in his starting days), SSI were all experimenting with some very original innovations, and euro designers were inspired them, though nowhere near at the post-Catan level.

What really created the concept of "Eurogames" was 1. The radically different boardgaming culture in Germany, dating back to the founding of Ravensburger in the 19th century. In Germany, gaming isn't "geeky." Board games are considered an important part of family life and relaxation, as well as an educational tool. ESPECIALLY as an educational tool, which is what the Spiers des Jahres awards in Germany address every year. If you take home one of those awards, your game is likely going to be selling hundreds of thousands if not millions of copies in Europe with collateral rewards the world over. Ridiculous to think of board game design as a profitable endeavor of course, but for a few big names that isn't the case.

This is also part of the philosophy that drives so many fantastic, "dry" games. There is a tacit agreement among established designers to rely less on violence, and more on a cooperative style of play, usually in a historical or educational setting, that never involves player elimination. That last part is pretty important when talking about how Eurogames became a huge thing.

The agreement is not hyberbole. A famous event at the turn of the century in which the most notable eurogame designers all signed their names on a napkin in a pub during the Spiers jes Jahres convention, proclaiming that they would no longer design games if they didn't have their names on the boxes, is generally acnknowledged to be a turning point in the marketing of games and paved the way for the current boardgame revolution we're in the midst of.

So even if you hate "eurogames," the credit is theirs for establishing game makers as artists to be remembered, not nameless dorks in the sweltering offices of Hasbro. The only deviation from this is maybe Magic: The Gathering's Richard Garfield, but the rise of WotC was a complete anomaly.

baleen - 2017-06-30
sorry not SSI, my brain isn't working right now. you know the one I mean.

baleen - 2017-06-30
And I read about C-dale's issues with bans and his retreats. It's a shame, I think he could really be the Lester Bangs of boardgames if he really wanted to. Which come to think of it isn't a good thing necessarily.

garcet71283 - 2017-06-29
Hobbies of the Damned tag please
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