This past week or two has been interesting. For those of us who are US citizens or residents, it has been a very stressful and discouraging week. Unfortunately, the gaming space was not it's normal refuge from the sort of negativity that comes from news media. There were three big names that really were criticized this last week.
Daniel Tascini, one of the creator's of all the "T" games, i.e. #Tekhenu: Obelisk of the Sun, #Teotihuacan: City of Gods, and, etc.... Apparently had written some stuff, in Italian, where he says that he calls his "black" friends the "n" word. As a result of all this stuff, while publisher Board and DIce will honor their existing contracts with Tascini, they have, as I understand, cut off further relationships.
Phil Eklund also really came under fire this week. He is the designer of such games as #High Frontier 4 All, #Pax Renaissance, and #Bios: Origins (Second Edition). He has long been known as a person who didn't shy away from putting his opinions, often unpopular and often short sighted and/or wrong, in his rulebooks. He put long essays and lots of "historical" footnotes in his rulebooks. He came under fire this week for posting some stuff about Covid on his facebook timeline. As a result a bunch of people came out and criticized that as well as other things, and a LOT people criticized a specific line or two of authorial commentary in the Eklund game #Pax Emancipation. At first Ion Game Design stood up for him. But, then, bowing to community pressure, they went ahead and said something to the effect that they will run essays by fact and sensitity checkers as well as present alternative viewpoints to the essays.
Finally Funagain games came under fire when the (owner??) had some critical interaction with Jess from Heavy Cardboard. He criticized her for their strong statements against Phil Eklund, he then went ahead and "jokingly" criticized her for living with a man out of wedlock, as well as some other interactions. Some people, as a result of that, have pledged never again to buy from Funagain games.
Now, I am not posting this so that we can talk about the individual cases represented here. That is why I didn't include screenshots actual links and tweets. I don't want this post to just go to talking about these specific people/situations. My questions are much more general than these individual cases.
What is the individual's responsibility in situations such as the above?
Is it our responsibility to call it out?
Is it our responsibility to boycott the publisher, or the designer, or the store?
Is it our responsibility put pressures on our favorite retailers to stop carrying products that benefit the guilty?
Can the the art (the game) be separated from the worldview of the author?
I think that this is an important question. For instance, if you believe that the art is separated from the message, you might be able keep on buying games from Eklund, or Tascini, if they clean up their act. But, if you believe that the product is inextricably tangled with the worldview of the artist, then it might be difficult to buy a game from Eklund, even if he is never given a public voice on social media or in terms of essays.
Is there a space for a game that pushes morally repungant ideology in one's collection?
I have tried to design my library to include books that are true, and books that aren't. I have books that I think present pure unvarnished and compelling truth. I also have Mein Kampf. I have tried so hard to not live in a bubble. I believe that much of the current divisivness in politics, as with life, comes from people living in bubbles. But, at a certain point, one has to decide in what areas they are ok with having the their bubble pushed. I for instance, don't have any actual nazi friends. There I draw the line, even though I own, and have, read Mein Kampf. Where do games fall on that continuim? Is it an area that is ok, or even good, to have "bad games" or is it an are that we should steer clear from?
Anyways, I am interested to hear how y'all think about these issues.
I posed the question recently… What is your favorite Knizia? I thought why should the good doctor have all the fun (he is on this list again BTW)? Curious about other designers as well. So… What is your favorite game by (insert name here) and why?
This following list is not compressive, but I figured it is a good start. To be on this list, I made sure that each designer created at least 5 unique titles.