Welcome to the another installment of Around the World of Board Gaming. This is a quasi-monthly column where we look not at board game news but rather board games in the news. We will look at a horrible story of a stabbing that took place over a Magic: The Gathering game, the advent of 3D printer technology and how it affects our hobby and we will wrap up with some news that is close to home. But we will lead off with a story about the publisher-we-love-to-hate: Games Workshop.
Around the World of Board Gaming August 2017
Game Store Sues Games Workshop
Long time readers know my proclivity to denounce Games Workshop. It hasn’t been all negative press for the UK based game company. I did mention in a previous iteration of this column how GW was making tons money on a weak GB pound. But the news today is not favorable for beleaguered Games Workshop.
A store owner named David Moore is suing GW for $62.5 million. Moore, who also is a lawyer, is representing himself in an anti-trust suit. Moore alleges that Games Workshop’s practices are destroying the retailer and amount to theft.
But Moore dredges up some of the other anti-GW talking points people have historically made. Moore alleges that the idea for the tyranids in general and the genestealers specifically were lifted by Games Workshop from the artwork of Swiss painter H. R. Giger.
I admit there is more than a passing similarity between the bug in Ridley Scott’s classic and the vanguard of the tyranid army.
Mr. Moore goes on to allege that GW also took the name “space marine” from Robert Heinlein. The term first appeared in Heinlein’s 1939 work, “The Misfits”. Games Workshop has worked tirelessly to claim the trademark of the term for over a decade now.
Moore also found some records about the manufacturing cost of some of Games Workshop’s merchandise. The Imperial Space Marine 2016 retailed for $30 USD. But according to Moore’s sources, the figure cost $.06 to make. This comes to a mere 50,000% mark up.
Recall in September 2015 when one Martin Shkreli, CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, raised the price of the HIV/AIDS medicine Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 a pill. This was all over the news. And it was only a 5,000% mark up.
The lawsuit is still underway. It’s too soon to tell how it will pan out. I’ll be sure to keep an eye on this story. And I’ll keep you updated with any news.
Man gets stabbed seven times over a Magic: the Gathering Game
There are people who take their Magic: the Gathering very seriously. And then there is Elija Creech of St. Cloud, Minnesota. Creech was playing Magic on Friday, July 28th in the early morning when he got into a rules argument with his opponent.
According to reports, the argument escalated to the point where Creech smacked his opponent with a mallet and then stabbed the victim seven times for good measure. Creech made the 911 call and turned himself in. He is in Benton County Jail as of this writing.
This is the second time in this column that I’ve blogged about violence breaking out in a tabletop game. The vast majority of our hobby enthusiasts are able to find a peaceful way to settle rules disputes*. It is unfortunate when incidents like this happen and cast shade on our hobby.
*Dusty has gotten a lot better.
Game Theory and Hurricane Harvey
The amount of damage Hurricane Harvey has inflicted has not yet been tallied. There have been a few dozens deaths and billions of dollars lost. The final figures will not be firmed up for some time.
The relief efforts will be continuing for several weeks if not the rest of 2017. There are numerous logistical issues in performing a relief effort. And game theory has been underused in improving this. Several recent articles have discussed this.
One of the key takeaways from these articles is that 60% of all donations to relief efforts are non-priority items. A deluge of non-priority items congests the ports. Using game theory can predict the “players'” motives and help optimize relief efforts.
This article on The Conversation is fount of information on game theory as it relates to natural disasters.
The Impact of 3D Printers on Tabletop Gaming
The use of 3D printers has greatly enhanced the ability of industry to create prototypes and meet short term demands. But 3D printers are also being used in board game piece crafting as well. And it’s having a impact.
According to Machine Design, making game pieces is $135 million industry yearly. And low-cost machines coupled with high detailed miniatures are natural fit for gamers. Coupled with the fact that many gamers have a penchant for engineering or CAD, 3D printers will continue to rise in game piece manufacturing.
3D printing typically gives a cost advantage over buying replacement pieces (or worse: buying an entire game!) 3D printing has also been used to pimp out games. Shapeways is a notable manufacturer that exists only to make game pieces for tabletop gamers.
The analysis of Machine Design concluded that the rise of 3D printers will not eclipse the board game market; it will augment it. People who use 3D printers would not have bought the game pieces otherwise. Thus, the publishers are not losing money.
Close to Home
Nerd Chapel is interviewed by Contact 29.18
Eric, a local gamer, has founded an organization called Nerd Chapel. He mixes his fandom with his Christian fellowship. He was interviewed by Contact 29.18 last month. He gave an impassioned case for what he does.
The Gaming Annex
Brandi has agreed to be our Special Events Coordinator. Brandi has been with the group for over a year. She has grown to be a valuable gamer in that time. She also is passionate about our hobby and making it better. Brandi will be the point person for all our Saturday events and any non-standard game event. She was honored to take on this new role. And we are honored to have her as a member of our group.
Kudos to Dr. Steve. He stood in line at GenCon to buy Twilight Imperium for us. Not just one copy but two! And we played both copies simultaneous when Ben was AWOL last weekend. The differences between TI4 and TI3 are still too fresh to explain here. But you can be sure the Muskegon Area Gamers will be publishing tons of blogs about this game.
Until next month, follow us here…