The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

In which I get pedantic

Larry (in his 2008 Designer of the Year article) writes:

Age of Scheme’s reception can’t really be easily determined, due to the firestorm over its extremely unfortunate name, but again, there are mostly positive reviews.

Earthquakes are unfortunate. Snake eyes are unfortunate. It’s tough to evaluate competing legal claims. But the designer/publisher named Age of Scheme, not random chance.

As for Larry’s pick for DoY (Martin Wallace), I haven’t played any of his recent games…

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Written by taogaming

February 27, 2009 at 8:38 pm

Posted in Rant

8 Responses

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  1. Brian, suppose that, in some heated moment, I said, “That Bankler is a stinking rat bastard!” Later on, after calming down, I might remark that that was an unfortunate turn of phrase. That’s kind of what I meant.

    I am on record as being disgusted by the title chosen for that particular game. However, I didn’t think that article was the time or the place for a screed of what is essentially a dead issue. So I chose to express my disapproval in that fashion, which I figured stated my feelings without climbing on a soap box.

    But your point is taken. And yes, you are being pedantic. Rat bastard. 🙂

    Larry Levy

    February 27, 2009 at 11:09 pm

  2. The first definition for “unfortunate” listed in the dictionary involves being unlucky. However, there’s a second definition that uses the words infelicitous, unsuitable, deplorable and regrettable. I think that’s the sense Larry was using.

    Eric Brosius

    February 28, 2009 at 10:27 am

  3. Putting aside Bohrer antics for the time being (and the issue is hotter than ever, with new charges coming from Martin Wallace, as can be seen in this thread–http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/384743), the selection of Wallace as Designer of the Year has been well accepted so far. As opposed to some previous years (particularly last year, where there was a lot of controversy over my two and three-way ties), there’s been a broad consensus that Wallace did indeed have the strongest portfolio of games in ’08. The only objections have been from the Dominion contingent, who feel that their game is sufficiently amazing to hold sway over all (a defensible objection, and I did put Donald X. third in my rankings).

    Larry Levy

    February 28, 2009 at 11:36 am

  4. Regrading … infelicitous, unsuitable, deplorable and regrettable

    or …

    suppose that, in some heated moment,

    Both of those sets are accepted definitions, but 1) I haven’t seen much regret, 2) this didn’t happen in the heat of the moment. It certainly struck me more as a glove slap to the face.

    Brian

    February 28, 2009 at 2:01 pm

  5. Broad consensus? By whom? Wallace had zero outstanding games this year, even by rather generous BGG standards. None of his games have very high ratings and the numbers of raters are surprisingly tiny for most of them (only Tinner’s Trail has respectable numbers of raters). Pandemic alone has a BGG rating a half-point higher than Wallace’s best game, and has twice as many raters as all his games combined.

    Personally, I found the idea that Wallace was the designer of the year rather laughable. Yes, I know, I don’t generally like his games. But look at the BGG stats, they clearly show that his market penetration and fan base is pretty marginal.

    Chris Farrell

    February 28, 2009 at 10:43 pm

  6. Well, Chris, I’m happy to say that you’re in the minority on this one. And I also question your assertions. Tinners’ Trail is in the top 10 in average rating for 2008 (I think I used a minimum of 100 ratings). After the Flood and Steel Driver both have quite healthy ratings in the 7.3 range. As I stated in my article, these are a bit lower than the pre-release buzz might have indicated, but it certainly still qualifies as a pair of successful designs. Toledo’s ratings are quite a bit lower, but a good deal of that is from people looking for it to be something it isn’t (i.e., a typical Wallace heavyweight). There have been some positive reviews and I haven’t heard from anyone else who agrees with your take on the game (that you grab the best swords early and the rest of the game is anticlimatic). This doesn’t make it a hit, but it still is good enough to add to his resume (like one of Knizia’s lesser designs, say Municipium).

    As for the number of ratings, the Treefrog line is a limited printing and additional copies will only be produced if another publisher picks up one of the games (this has already happened with Tinners’ and may also be in the works for the other two–next year’s Automobile has already gotten an additional publisher). Given this, the small number of ratings is inevitable and I don’t see it as a problem at all.

    Based on this output, the IGA nomination for Tinners’, and the good chance that either Flood or Steel Driver will get nominated this year, Wallace seems like the clear leader for Designer of the Year to me. Almost of the folks commenting on my article (who haven’t been at all shy about criticizing my choices in the past) have agreed with this. For whatever reason, you reject it (possibly due to your dislike of his games, when many consider him to be the pre-eminent designer in the world today); I don’t expect to change your mind, so we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this.

    Larry Levy

    March 1, 2009 at 1:28 am

  7. Well, Chris, I’m happy to say that you’re in the minority on this one. And I also question your assertions. Tinners’ Trail is in the top 10 in average rating for 2008 (I think I used a minimum of 100 ratings). After the Flood and Steel Driver both have quite healthy ratings in the 7.3 range. As I stated in my article, these are a bit lower than the pre-release buzz might have indicated, but it certainly still qualifies as a pair of successful designs. Toledo’s ratings are quite a bit lower, but a good deal of that is from people looking for it to be something it isn’t (i.e., a typical Wallace heavyweight). There have been some positive reviews and I haven’t heard from anyone else who agrees with your take on the game (that you grab the best swords early and the rest of the game is anticlimatic). This doesn’t make it a hit, but it still is good enough to add to his resume (like one of Knizia’s lesser designs, say Municipium).

    As for the number of ratings, the Treefrog line is a limited printing and additional copies will only be produced if another publisher picks up one of the games (this has already happened with Tinners’ and may also be in the works for the other two–next year’s Automobile has already gotten an additional publisher). Given this, the small number of ratings is inevitable and I don’t see it as a problem at all.

    Based on this output, the IGA nomination for Tinners’, and the good chance that either Flood or Steel Driver will get nominated this year, Wallace seems like the clear leader for Designer of the Year to me. Almost of the folks commenting on my article (who haven’t been at all shy about criticizing my choices in the past) have agreed with this. For whatever reason, you reject it (possibly due to your dislike of his games, when many consider him to be the pre-eminent designer in the world today); I don’t expect to change your mind, so we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this.

    Larry Levy

    March 1, 2009 at 1:28 am

  8. Regrading … infelicitous, unsuitable, deplorable and regrettable

    or …

    suppose that, in some heated moment,

    Both of those sets are accepted definitions, but 1) I haven’t seen much regret, 2) this didn’t happen in the heat of the moment. It certainly struck me more as a glove slap to the face.

    Larry opined that it was unfortunate; he feels the regret.
    –Jeff

    JeffG

    March 1, 2009 at 9:16 am


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