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Meeple Like Us, February 2017

A summary of the state of Meeple Like Us's take on board game accessibility in February, 2017.

You can read more of my writing over at the Meeple Like Us blog, or the Textual Intercourse blog over at Epitaph Online.  You can some information about my research interests over at my personal homepage, or on my profile at Robert Gordon University.

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Hello everyone it's your best internet boy here to tell you all the Meeple Like Us news that's fit to print! The world is sliding gently into a dark, dank pit of endless despair from which there is no escape but boardgames remain pretty awesome so let's talk about those!

So, we did four reviews and teardowns this month, but otherwise it was pretty quiet except for a couple of things I'll briefly mention at the end. First up, we did the review and teardown of Rhino Hero. There's an expanded version of that coming in the future I'll most likely get, but in the meantime this should let you know what you're likely to expect.

Next, we took on the epic Twilight Struggle and tore it to the ground. I'm not every good at this game, but I appreciate just how deep it goes. That's a game you can genuinely lose days playing if you let yourself.

Next up was the review and teardown of Hive - a game I don't like very much. I just finished writing my review and teardown of Onitama, to go live at some point in the future. If you fancied Hive, I'd say 'get Onitama instead' but I'll give you my full thoughts at a later date.

We took a look at Imperial Settlers, and as is our fashioned broke down the accessibility implications. It's always good to follow up a disappointing game with one that is pure awesome, and that's Imperial Settlers.

That's it! That's all we were able to do in February, the shortest month. Were it just a day longer, we could have included the Sushi Go review here. But it isn't, so I won't. Yes, I just mentioned it. No, I won't link it. It's a matter of honour.

The other two things I wanted to mention was I did a short interview with one of the Scotland national papers a couple of days ago - I'll obviously let you know if/when it gets published. That was fun, but it was interesting because - completely unprompted - the Reddit culture of enabling the alt-right came up. That then dovetails with the other thing I wanted to mention, which was that YET AGAIN we were subject of intense /r/boardgames controversy when someone posted our editorial on sociological accessibility. I didn't venture in the comment thread there because I'm sure it would be like poking a dirty stick into an open wound. The post was live for an hour or so and generated a couple of thousand hits and a hundred or so comments. It was then shadow-banned for the better part of 20 hours, at which point it was unbanned. Of course, by then all the interest had died away and the post was permitted to see off its lifetime in calm seclusion as it sank off the front page and out of sight.

I mention this not because the fact it was banned bothered me - it really didn't. Reddit has shown time and time again it's not the platform for healthy discussion of social issues. If the mods want a community where those issues aren't discussed, that's up to them. What bothered me was the unbanning. After twenty hours, I think you have to commit to the moderation activity. The unbanning struck me as the worst kind of cowardly moderation - the kind where you can say 'technically, TECHNICALLY, we didn't ban it' and still be telling the truth. In this way, the moderation team gets to claim they aren't censoring discussion of the topic whilst enjoying all the benefits that such censorship brings. I would have preferred the honesty that comes from simply owning the action.

I appreciate that this effect probably wasn't intentional and that there was likely no conspiracy to accomplish this useful trick of 'censorship without censoring'. My view remains though that after twenty hours you need to accept the censoring because you accomplish nothing honest by unblocking it later.

Still, you know - Reddit, right? Whatcha gonna do?

See you next month for another exciting update!

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