Welcome to The Meta Game, where we'll not only be talking about board games, but also talking about talking about board games. I'm your host, Chaz Marler, and the way this works is that, I'm going to present a topic. And then I’ll skim the YouTube comments for questions and comments on that topic, followed by a general Q&A at the end if there's still time. To have one of your questions or comments considered for the Q&A portion of the show, post it in the YouTube comments area, being sure to include the hashtag #TheMetaGame. I'll be using a search tool to highlight those comments. Not all submitted comments will be featured on the show, but I do try to go back and re-read through all of them after the show.
But for now, let’s dive into today’s topic: “Gamer cred”. Is there a reliable gauge of how important someone’s opinion on games is? And, if so, should there be?
As you probably already know, I’m able to be here with you today on The Dice Tower’s YouTube channel because several of the stretch goals from their Kickstarter this year successfully funded. Thank you guys, for that. Well, another stretch goal from the Kickstarter that was successfully funded, unlocked the production of an upcoming series of videos counting down my Top 100 board games of all time. I’ve already started work on compiling my list, but it’s already turning out to be more of a challenge than I first thought it would be. Not only because my town is suffering through a massive index card shortage, but because I keep second-guessing myself about some of the games I'm considering putting on my list, wondering if they're "gamery" enough.
We addressed the flip side of this in the first episode of The Meta Game when we asked how good a game has to be in order to still be considered a game? The game in that example was TENZI, which I, admittedly have a low opinion of, due to its virtual lack of decision-making and player interaction. But, those flaws don’t disqualify TENZI from being a game. It still has as much of a right to be considered a game as, say, Twilight Struggle.
Now, spoiler alert, TENZI, won’t be making an appearance on my Top 100 games of all time. But, there are some games that I've found myself considering excluding from the list because I fear they may not be considered to be “good enough” games. I have wondered, if I include games that are less popular on my list, will it destroy what little “gamer credibility” I may have accumulated?
I decided that I’m not going to mention any of the games that I’ve been struggling with, because not naming specific ones allows your imagination to conjure up games that are likely even less flattering than the ones I’m referring to. But that’s good, because what you consider to be the most “ungamery” games are the ones that I want you to be considering when you formulate your own opinion on this topic.
If a game can be unpopular and flawed but still be no less of a game, then I would think that it would follow that enjoying those same games wouldn't make someone any less of a gamer.
But what about people who call themselves gamers, or run game clubs, or produce videos of board game news, reviews and commentary on YouTube? Are those individuals held to a different standard of "Gamer Cred"? And should they be?Or, to put it another way, do the specific board games that someone enjoys make their opinion on other games, or the industry in general, any more or less valid?