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Board Game LYFE!!!


Controlled Area Gaming

I want my readers to know how old I am. It will help stave off the flood of negative comments and rage-infested emails when I release my pre-written review of Ethnos 2nd Edition: Slovenia Too.

I am old enough that I had to check Urban Dictionary for “lyfe” to make sure I was using it correctly. I’m so old I had to ask one of our 20-something writers what a particular piece of millennial slang meant. You know you’re really old when the marketing department pushes you out of an age bracket for how much you spend on clothes, movies, music, and/or dining out.

However, even with my more tempered spending on being fashionable, I still buy a lot of games and feel I represent a good slice of gaming life. The drive to find that quintessential play experience colors every hour of my day. As I’m writing this, my family is halfway through a game of Clank! Legacy, I’m designing another Tyrants of the Underdark fan expansion, planning an old-school PC adventure game with my son, and curiously shopping gaming bags online (Top Shelf Fun FTW).

That’s the one thing I hope I share the most with readers: a love for games and the needs they help fulfill. This is an emotional need for socialization and shared intellectual experience outside the doldrums of everyday life. Winning a game of Great Western Trail, having a new idea for a game, backing a cool looking Kickstarter, complaining about your current Kickstarter, and finding ways to store all the games you complain about are the unique world experiences that tie us together.

It’s all very strange to outsiders looking in. And it felt that same way when I first watched Meeple People. It’s a new YouTube show that (as someone else online describes) feels like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia meets a board game group drama. Indeed, the fractured and immature personalities on the show are the crux of the comedy as board game life references are dropped here and there throughout. It’s easily watchable by board game spouses, but well-traveled gamers will likely get all the references.

Just like any group activity that requires repeat attendance, board gamers (and roleplayers and miniatures gamers) have idiosyncrasies that show up no matter the group. Bob takes long on his turns. Emily always plays with red. Albert is always on his phone on his turn. These annoying potholes in the road trip of board gaming are always something to deal with. And painfully, the passive aggressive ways people respond to these situations make for some great comedy.

I feel like the team behind Meeple People get that. I wasn’t laughing much at first, but by episode 5, when you get comfortable with the characters and the situations, the humor sits itself down at the table and politely asks to play your favorite game. The writing is excellent. The characters are humorously defined by their dialog as well as the performances of the actors.

All in all, for a meager “board game” comedy show, it’s good.

Tahsin loves games that tell stories through their play structure. He's also a film nerd and father of one geek.

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