I have never been all that satisfied with the quality of the discussion at places like Board Game Geek. I mean, does every Geek List need a Busen Memo entry? And the only thing more irritating than the guy posting pictures of his east European girlfriend with a couple hundred board games has got to be the unctuous remarks those sorts of pictures seem to induce. Seriously, y’all….
(But that girl was hot, though. Just sayin’.)
There’s some sort of twisted culture that’s emerged there. And it gets the exact things wrong that I would want most from a gaming oriented site.
- Role-playing games are treated as a separate subject when, in my mind, that has never been the case.
- Discussion trends towards OCD level obsessions with the game components and how to organize them into a box. The signature contribution to game design that this “community” has generated is the idea of using petri dishes to store your cubes for Pandemic. Good one, guys.
- The archetypal board game geek user owns a hundred games. He’s played less than half them. Of those that he has played, most of them don’t come out for more than five game sessions. Games that actually hold up under hundreds plays are not held in esteem there.
- They largely treat the games hobby as if it came into existence about ten years ago. A lot of the users come off as having a chip on their shoulder when it comes to this– as if the hobbyists that were playing games decades before them have to suddenly prove themselves.
- They have lots of running jokes, but not much in the way of an actual sense of humor.
So, while the Board Game Geek does have its uses, I have the same beef with it that I do the way journalists cover the hobby. With the exception of about two articles this year, they do nothing to capture what gaming is really like.
Maybe I’m oversensitive. Maybe I’m overstating the case. Maybe everyone else is fine with holding their noses and putting up with it. My point is, if you’re not one of the latter type you don’t have to. The gaming discussion on Google+ is way better and has a much higher signal to noise ratio. If you are keen on games and feel lukewarm about hanging with the folks over at Board Game Geek, you have an alternative.
Given how I feel about it, you can imagine that I have no desire whatsoever to put up with the usual BGG shenanigans. But when a couple of my reviews went up over there, I was in no mood to play along. I figured… wouldn’t it be more fun to absolutely pillory everything I hate about the Geek in an epic level rant?
Now… like everything else I do lately, the thing that the post was ostensibly about was not what the post was really about. Making fun of the typical BGG user was the just how it got framed. The point was to get into some of the finer points of gamer psychology. People that only play euro games really are of a different stripe than the hobbyists that preceded them. I really wanted to get at the heart of that….
Ah well, not everybody got it. Especially the two guys I was raking over the coals. I have to say, though, I have nothing against them personally. It’s the culture I want to beat up on and they are useful exemplars of it. Still, I was surprised at how low one of them stooped in response:
The guy says I wrote a “hate article” and that I want “to call people stupid, schizophrenic, or make long winded attacks on people’s character.” I don’t think I called this guy names. The bit about schizophrenia was directed at how he argued, not at his actual psychology. And while I will cop to mercilessly ridiculing his position, I never once went personal or attacked his character. But wow, did he ever show me how to do that!
(If you ever wondered why people are so touchy on BGG, it’s because some of the users there identify so closely with euro games, they take every criticism of that type of game as a personal attack.)
Honestly, I just wanted to show his ilk what it’s like for the average gamer to go onto the Board Game Geek site. I wanted him to bask in that feeling of second class citizen status that BGG seems to confer on people that are not hard core euro gamers neck deep in the cult of the new. Given that it’s pretty clear that the guy’s head looked like his avatar after he read my post, I think it’s pretty safe to declare… mission accomplished!
Thank you, sir, for giving me the satisfaction.