There was a discussion in a Facebook group I am part of this Sunday, asking what are people’s favourite games designed by minority designers.

Sadly it was shut down and deleted before I could comment, apparently there were some undesirable comments in it.

But the thread asking why it was deleted which was quickly shut down showed what kind of comments I should have imagined.

When it comes to the board games industry, I think it would be fair to say that it does have a representation issue. My first U.K. Games Expo was 90% bearded white dudes, last year was very different to be fair, a lot more women, a lot more families a lot more LGBTQ folk, but white men (usually with a belly and beard like myself) still made up the majority of the attendees.

And the number of BAME attendees is still very low, which is shame, and I think that part of that is when there is a discussion about BAME game designers, you get comments about why does someone’s race matter, that it’s just playing identity politics and only working to divide people.

I am gonna be frank here, representation matters, if we see BAME game designers front and centre, then more BAME people will want to play board games.

I have sadly had a few occasions where when demonstrating games, I have been told by BAME people that board games are not something that people like them play, and I think that a big part of that is, because the board game hobby is seen very much as a very white dominated hobby.

Of course there will be those that continue to say that it should not matter what race someone is when they design a game, but I don’t think that’s a good way to think about it.

Let’s look at the most famous BAME board game designer, Eric Lang. He is a mixed race fella and had designed some amazing games, and come up with some brilliant and innovative game mechanisms.

Naturally, he will have a different background to many other game designers, coming from two different cultural backgrounds. And this difference in experiences will no doubt have contributed to the mix of talents skills and talents possessed by Lang, that has allowed him to innovate and design games in different ways to the average designer.

And I highlight him because he is an exception, he is a great designer, at the top of the industry who just happens to be mixed race, but the fact that he is sadly the only BAME designer of any notoriety is why his ethnicity stands out. In an ideal world, his ethnicity wouldn’t be something so noticeable because there would be a lot more BAME designers.

So when we have a board game industry that’s more diverse, we get more great games, we get more innovation, more challenging games.

We have seen that as more women are designing games, we are getting a bit of that, but most of the women designing games are coming from the same socio-economic background as their male counterpoints.

This isn’t me saying I want to see less games designed but white men, but what I want are more game designers, a bigger pool of talent, and for people to come into the industry who can offer innovation from which all designers can learn.

A case in point is music, over the past century, the biggest driver in development of popular music has been the influence of the music of other cultures. Ok yes in a lot of cases white people still dominate that industry whist using making music highly influenced by other cultures. But without the influences of other cultures, we wouldn’t have had jazz, rock and roll, rap etc.

So if we encourage game designers from other backgrounds, and I am not just taking about different ethnicities, but also religion, class, nationalities, education, disabilities etc.

The bigger the pool of talent, the better games we get, the more diverse an industry we have, the more players we have, the more opponents we have , the more games sold and the bigger the industry.

This is just my perspective, and I know that as a white dude, I enjoy a huge amount of privilege, but I don’t want to be a dude who sits back and says, I don’t see race I just see the games.

People like me have to say something when we see comments like that, we need to point out that representation is important, we need to say, actually, we want to see games from BAME designers specifically. And most important of all, listen to players, content creators and designers from a BAME background have to say on the matter.

If you want to follow up on this can I suggest checking out games by BAME designers, google and look for them, sadly I could only find Eric Lang and Omari Akil with my Google Fu, and in fairness of all the game designers I have met, the only one who was BAME was Eric Lang.

Also check out content creators who are BAME, simply because most reviewers out there are straight white dudes, and yeah their reviews are good, but getting reviews from people with different backgrounds can give you a perspective that you yourself may not have considered, which may open up new gaming possibilities, or make you reconsider a game. I’d recommend Be Bold Games and Geeky Gaymer Guy on YouTube.

I admit I probably made an incoherent mess of this whole post, but this something I feel strongly about, and I will end with a bit of wisdom from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

Consider the flowers of a garden. Though differing in kind, color, form and shape, yet, inasmuch as they are refreshed by the waters of one spring, revived by the breath of one wind, invigorated by the rays of one sun, this diversity increaseth their charm and addeth unto their beauty. How unpleasing to the eye if all the flowers and plants, the leaves and blossoms, the fruit, the branches and the trees of that garden were all of the same shape and color! Diversity of hues, form and shape enricheth and adorneth the garden, and heighteneth the effect thereof.

Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

What I Am Modelling

I started the week by starting the Prosecutors from the Age of Sigmar starter set and a Knight-Venator for my Stormcast Eternals, these were a lot quicker to paint than I thought they would be.

This means the only remaining models from the original Age of a Sigmar box set I have left to paint are the Retributors.

I then started work on some Blood Ravens Intercessors and Sgt Jovan.

The Intercessors are a mix of multipart models, a Dark Imperium model and one from the easy to build set. These five models will add to the squad I painted up when Dark Imperium first came out and give me a full squad of ten Intercessors.

I am painting Sgt Jovan at the same time because it’s makes sense to paint him with these six instead of later on with a squad of ten.

I then started work on three Blood Ravens Land Speeders, which I got finished on Sunday afternoon. I have built and painted here a Typhoon and two Tornadoes.

I then started work on 5 Retributors, a Knight-Heraldor and a Knight-Vexillor for my Stormcast Eternals.

The Knight-Heraldor was finished today, I dunno why but I decided to focus on just him.

I also made sure all of my next ten projects are built, primed and paced into my “in-tray“.

So how does my painting plan look for now.

  1. Stormcast Eternals Retributors x 5 & Knight-Vexillor.
  2. Space Wolves Grey Hunters Packs Leaders x 4, Iron Priest & Repulsor
  3. Blood Ravens Chaplains x 5
  4. Chainrasp Horde x 40
  5. Sons of Horus Contemptor Dreadnought
  6. T’au Ethereal on Hover Drone x 2
  7. Blood Ravens Intercessors x 10
  8. Death Guard Sabre Strike Tank x 2
  9. Stormcast Eternals Sequitors x 8
  10. Blood Ravens Repulsor x 2

What I Am Reading

I finished Valdor: Birth of the Imperium, I enjoyed it, but I found it very short and I think I would have like there to be more to it.

I have now started on The Founding by Dan Abnett the first Gaunts Ghosts omnibus, I have been getting hassle from Graham and Chris for having never read any Gaunts Ghosts books so I am correcting that oversight.

In terms of audio books I listened to Honourbound by Racheal Harrison, because I really loved the story and it was just as enjoyable in audio format.

I also finished listening to Cadia Stands by Justin D Hill, which was really good and I was quite pleased to hear that Cadians are in fact, space Geordies.

And I just started listening to Cadian Honour by Justin D Hill which continues the Cadians are Geordies theme.

What I Am Playing

Sadly not a sausage, really sad about that.

What I Am Backing

Still backing Railroad Ink Challenge, but I am considering dropping my pledge at this point just due to financial issues.

We are seriously looking at backing Chai: High Tea, the game looks really nice.

What I Am Cooking

For Sunday morning breakfast I made a slow cooker hash brown and smoked sausage casserole, it tasted a lot better than it looked.

Next time I am thinking of reducing the smoked sausage a bit, adding some unsmoked bacon lardons and a finely diced green pepper.

What I Am Spending

My first premium pack for Mortal Realms arrived, a slight issue with a sprue but nowt that I can’t imagine will take long to deal with.

The pack is of Flesh Eaters Courts and contains an Abhorrant Archregent, 20 Crypt Ghouls, and 3 Crypt Flayers, plus Athonian Camoshade and an extra magazine

The only issue is that Lindsay and Megan are not pleased that I am giving serious thought into turning these guys into an army that I would play with!

We also as a household decided to buy Pandemic: Hot Zone North America, we love Pandemic and the idea of a smaller, quicker version of the game is very appealing, just like Ticket to Ride London.

I also purchased a couple of sheets of transfers with the Blood Ravens chapter symbol, but they aren’t due to arrive until July as they are coming from China.

And finally I bought myself a 12 pack of Carabao Sugar Free Green Apple, annoyingly I have been living on energy drinks lately, they have really been helping me get through the day.

But this on is my current favourite, and thankfully is sugar free.