Here We Are


Well, friends. Here we are.

This website does not exist to make political statements, or to discuss the human condition. But there comes a point when you can’t just ignore what’s going on in the world. Voices must be raised and shared, because things aren’t right.

I’ve written and re-written this post a half-dozen times, turning over in my head what to say. After all, what I have to say is hardly significant in all of this.

But I care about what’s going on in the world, and much of what’s going on isn’t right. I care about people, in my own strange, introverted, geeky way. I care enough to say: Black lives matter.

It’s strange that we live in a time when that statement could possibly be considered controversial, and yet I know some feel angry at the sight of that phrase.

And certainly, people on both sides have not behaved perfectly. But whatever minor rights and wrongs, whatever the specifics, it is clear that the black community is crying out in pain. It’s clear that we white people need to seriously confront our issues with racism; and most importantly, to listen to the voices crying out, to try and understand. It’s the least we can do. And, obviously, it’s not just the Black community, but all people of color in this country who have various reasons for hurting, for anger, for fear.

For my part, I am doing my best to listen. I have been doing so for years, since the first cry of Black lives matter. I’m not outspoken or vocal about much, but I have been reading black voices, listening to arguments and discussions, and doing my best to learn and grow. I would encourage anyone like me to do the same. Don’t settle for what you already know; look, listen, learn. Try to understand. Don’t be afraid of questions; if what you know is right, there will be answers. If not, don’t you want to know the truth?

And, let’s face it. The board game community hasn’t avoided these issues. In some cases, parts of our community have become truly nasty and cruel. I have seen rage in reaction to simple things like… trying to include more diversity in board game art, whether it’s female characters or people of color. I’ve seen people become defensive and angry when challenged to portray non-european cultures with more respect and accuracy, and by including actual people from those cultures in the design process. I’ve seen indignation in regards to people challenging the colonialism (and often implied slavery or genocide) inherent in many board game themes.

The simple truth is, we don’t need to be angry about these things. We don’t need to be on the defensive. We should listen, and strive to do better. Listening to someone doesn’t necessarily entail doing exactly what they say at all times; it does mean, making sure you are acknowledging problems and trying to do better.

iSlaytheDragon will continue. We’re still focused on board games, on the fun and joy we can have with our families and friends over a table filled with cardboard. But we will also be looking for ways to support the community, to help it improve, and make it a better place for everyone. Board games are about coming together, not dividing.

So. Here we are.

Futurewolfie loves epic games, space, and epic games set in space. You'll find him rolling fistfuls of dice, reveling in thematic goodness, and giving Farmerlenny a hard time for liking boring stuff.

Discussion9 Comments

  1. I respect that. One thing you might be able to do from where you are is to have a section in your reviews talking about representation. Many of the games will be neutral in regards to this (ie – games with only non-human characters), and some will be accurate historical reflections (ie – it doesn’t make sense to have a black king of England in a history-focused game). However, for games that really do things well, you can have a section of the review giving positive re-enforcement to that. Just an idea.

  2. Glad to hear it. Black Lives Matter. Such a simple statement that is just so important.

    It’s important to look and question lots of our assumptions, and the same goes for other forms of oppression, like sexism, as you mention. It’s a real eye opener to really take in how the cis heterosexual white male is the standard, the default, in game creation when it comes to characters, people, culture, perspectives. So there is a challenge here for designers and game makers to look at this, in simple ways too, in every step of making a game.

    The thing is that if this diversity is embraced the gaming industry itself will grow and get better for it, which really shows us how reactionary and counter-productive the arguements against BLM are.

    Thanks for your post. Was happy to see it come up on my emails.

    • Reactionary? Hardly.

      It’s a clever strategy that cloaks the complete disintegration of the principles upon which America is founded in soundbites that no sane citizen would disagree with.

      But BLM’s stated goals exceed “mere” racial ones, and those of us who “dare” to disagree are marginalized to the point of cancellation.

      Irony much?

  3. Black lives do indeed matter.

    But F*CK that Marxist BLM organization.

    You want diverse voices? Let this comment stand.

    • I, too, find the BLM organization deeply troubling. But I’ll also note that there’s nothing in this post that talks about the organization. It just says what we can all agree upon, that black lives are valuable.

      • I take the opposite view it isn’t the BLM organisation that is troubling, it is the reactionary kick-back against it that is troubling. Racism is deeply troubling and if it wasn’t for organisations like BLM there wouldn’t be as much debate about just why black lives do matter. If no-one organised in anti-racism how could the change happen? In particular I think more white people should take the time to look into the organisation, but also consider what they are saying, and reflect on the systemic racist structures in our societies. Plus there are many good books, like by Reni Eddo-Lodge or bell hooks.

        Plus BLM goes beyond ideology, and it is obvious that people who support it, march in the streets, try to make a difference come from many different backgrounds (different political parties, ideologies, or even none) – so I don’t think that BLM is a marxist organisation.

        Anti-racism goes wider than what some people consider to be issues of race, it intersects with wider anti-oppressive goals, and so makes demands of a wide political nature. To change society, to go beyond empty politician’s statements for the media, means real system change that will effect everyones lives. It’s a positive change and like many other people I want to change the present for a better future for everyone.

        • Reading what’s posted at the BLM website, along with a good many statements on record and in-context of the group’s founders/leaders lay waste to the claim of both non-Marxist doctrine and anti-racism. In spite of the ever-present gaslighting, bucket-carrying propaganda we’re all getting spoon-fed, the devil (as usual) remains in the details.
          One needn’t be a Fox groupie or a tin-foil hat, mouth-foaming brand of paranoid conservative to grasp this, just like one ought not to be smeared as some de facto racist in spite of no evidence to support such a claim. For too many, a steadfast refusal to support this organization is tantamount to an admission of racism. That is and remains slander at worst, a d merely lazy ad hominem at best.

          • Hey fellahs, thanks for the discussion on our post. I want people to feel they can express their opinion as long as they do so respectfully and without vitriol.

            In this case, I think this thread is a veering a little too far into territory that doesn’t need to be covered here. Anyone is free to have their own thoughts on the BLM organization, and there are places for that discussion… but I don’t feel that this post is the best place for that.

            Thanks for understanding

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