Sunday, 7 February 2021

Newsround - Jan 31st to Feb 6th 2021

In the best tradition of John Craven's Newsround here's my rundown of "What I Learned" on the Internet this week.

D&D Beyond Team Exit

I'm an occasional user of D&D Beyond so this almost slipped under my radar.  Several of the D&D Beyond team left parent company Fandom including co-founder Adam Bradford, Tom Kenreck and community manager Lauren Oboe.  Now this might not seem like a big thing, but it might also be a foreshadowing of things to come.  

From a managerial perspective it makes a lot of sense that you subcontract out the creation of game software to people who are expert at that sort of thing and reduce or shift the risk of development.  

However, if it's a big hit, you now have a situation that a significant proportion of your customer base is using a product you don't technically control and have to pay twice for the same content.  Whilst you might get a cut of that cash under a licensing deal with said software company, it's a significant barrier to your future growth.

Is this the precursor to a WotC acquisition? Potentially, but it could just be individuals wanting to take advantage of new opportunities which have arisen. Time will Tell. 

SJWs Don't like D&D Puppets with Big Bewbs

Arieola Borealis - Big Bewbed Lady Dragonborn Barbarian
Arieloa Borealis
(It's even in the name dudes)
As reported by Clownfish TV, apparently the social justice gatekeepers on Twitter are up in arms about the portrayal of one character in the new WotC approved D&D video stream The Stuff of Legends.  This outrage comes despite that voice actress Shanna Malcolm specifically requested that her puppet be a big bewbed lady Dragonborn Barbarian. 

I'm not usually a huge fan of these Critical Role style games but Stuff of Legends is doing something pretty cool which appeals to my generation raised on The Muppet Show and Fraggle Rock.  IMHO, having the puppets acting out the scenes really adds to the seperation between character and player.  I love it.    

Honestly, I get so tired of the box ticking virtue signalling manufactured outrage that I feel the only answer is to say:

"You go girl!!" 

£438 for a Digital Boardgame!!

Dropping into my inbox thanks to Asmodee Digital was this article touting the latest innovation in boardgame technology, the digital boardgame.

SquareOne is essentially a square tablet with an interactive border giving you a new way to play some of the most popular boardgames on the market.  Obviously Asmodee are heavily invested in this with 3 of their titles (Ticket to Ride, Terraforming Mars and A Game of Thrones) already having implementations.  The indiegogo project is backed by some of the other big names in boardgames including Kosmos, Ravensburger and Call of Cthulhu creator Sandy Petersen.

Backers can get in on the action for a mere £438 for the standard edition with an 8 game starter pack.  Whilst my eyes watered at this sort of investment (remember these crowd funded projects aren't guaranteed) when you consider that the average cost of a board game these days is about £40 then you are approaching a price point parity.

However, one of the great attractions of boardgames for me is that they are physical products.  They don't require an ongoing subscription to an internet service to play them, or an app to be downloaded.  If I want to thin out my collection and sell one, I can.  Unlike technology they don't have a product lifespan and tend to hold or even appreciate in value. 

That said, I do own several digital editions of boardgames for my iPad.  One of my favourites being Race for The Galaxy (also on Android, Steam and Boardgamearena) which has to be the best card game implementation I know of.  I've playtested the crap out of it during COVID-19 lockdown and racked up some 2,000+ games.  I guess for me the holy grail is to have an implementation which can run on ubiquitous hardware which I already own and be a VTT for Role Playing Games.

I can see the appeal of having all your games in one little box compared to having a house full of cardboard (particularly for the millenial generation rent) and it does look like a pretty cool way of playing some of your favourite games.

See It on Board Game Geek Firefox plugin

If like me you are constantly firing up a new tab to check what BGG thinks about a game you have just read about then this firefox plugin is for you.  Simply highlight a word on a web page and right mouse click to open a new tab with the games BGG entry on it.  So simple even Oleg would approve.

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