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Changing the Rules of the Game

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There’s a game mechanism called area control. Usually, those who are already in a dominant position continue to do well if large numbers of pieces are removed from the board.

Some games might have a runaway leader, a negative game state which shows how we desire fairness and equal competition to make games better for everyone. Unfortunately, players who are disproportionately punished by random events, or players who are disadvantaged from unbalanced asymmetric sides result in a game state where certain players cannot recover without the other players intervening. Whether players are aware of the inequity or not, those who enjoy a winning result should not count it as a win.

Why, then, do we accept it in life? The board state in America is unfair. The stacked event deck disproportionately targets people of color. The social and economic model in society makes every turn harder to catch up. 

Everyone at Board Game Quest agrees the board state is unfair. The murders of George Floyd, Philando Castile, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbrey, and so many others illustrates that fact. Do we, as players accept it, or do we speak up? The game should be made more equitable. Black lives matter.

At Board Game Quest, we stand for implementing fairness in our economic policies and shunning prejudiced financial institutions. We want to see discriminatory social policies change. We want racist curriculum removed from our schools. We want people of color to feel safe in their own communities, in their own homes. The sum total of systemic racism in our society is frightening to us. It needs to change.

But we’ll simply appeal to you as gamers. Considering the rules of our society, would you want to be the black token? If you knew someone at the table had no chance at a fair game, would you say something? The game has been going for quite a few rounds now. It’s high time we say something and take action to change the game. 

A few actions taken by BGQ staff include donations to organizations such as The Bail Project, ACLU, Black Lives Matter; contacting our elected representatives about the unjust use of force against civilian protesters; participation at local protests; educating ourselves about white privilege; supporting Black-owned businesses. These are all personal, individual decisions but we wanted to share what actions we are taking on this playing field. We are committed to taking action during this difficult time and collaborating with one another to ensure we do our part in responding appropriately to racism, bigotry, and oppression.

–The BGQ Staff

22 COMMENTS

  1. I’m not looking for social commentary from board game sites such as this. There’s enough of it everywhere, everyday. This country is obscenely obsessed with race issues and it’s infused itself everywhere. Frankly it’s tiresome and predictable when everyone feels the need to make sure they are on the “right side”.

    • Wolvercote66, you used air quotes where they didn’t need to be. And judging by your comments and your picture, I’m assuming you’re not a person of color. Otherwise this perceived obscene obsession with race would simply be your life. In fact, it is your life. It just impacts you in a positive so it’s not a problem for you. And what’s tiresome and predictable is racism in America. I’m not saying that you are racist, but I encourage you to challenge some of the thoughts and feelings you may have that directed you to speak out against a post/article that was speaking out against current issues that directly and negatively impact human lives that are different from your own.

    • I can not stress enough, that getting rid of police brutality benefits EVERYONE. It’s not just a race issue. Imagine I wanted board games to have better, clearly written rule books. I only play sci-fi games, and you only play pirate theme games. The change I want make both of our lives better.

    • I don’t expect any reader to feel obligated to post something positive here. The fact that you’re asking BGQ to silence this opinion because it’s not relevant to what you want the site to be shows that you think “board gaming” and how we view each other and have a functioning society are not related. Board gaming is a social hobby that helps bring people together. If you can’t even stay silent when some of us express the fact that some people don’t have the equal opportunities to enjoy life without much more adversity, then you are someone not welcome at my game table.

    • I vividly remember the AIDS activists in the 80s telling us that silence = death. People are being murdered. It’s time for people to speak up. We chose to do so. You do not have to.

    • The only point proven is you are for hate. You are wearing a ribbon and saying things loudly, it’s just in alignment with ignorance. And where are you looking for social commentary? Racial inequality has an impact on every scale, be it at the table or what we see on television now. Race issues aren’t contained in a bubble or a vacuum. And if you don’t want face it at all, might as well stay isolated.

      I got into the hobby because it brings people to the table. You get to know more people from different backgrounds and engage in friendly competition. But it’s people like you who don’t help with the growth of the hobby with you’re elitist attitude.

      Complaining about where this site stands on the current situation achieves what? And in doing so how are people reading your comments to view where you stand? Race issues have existed since the inception of this country, but let’s whine about it because it makes you uncomfortable just to read about. Good thing no one is actually experiencing it in their daily lives.

  2. Thanks for shedding some light in this area. I’m encouraged by the level of support from the board game community.

  3. Thank you, Board Game Quest staff. I fully support your decision to address these issues, no matter how uncomfortable they are for some folks..

  4. I am European. After reading the comments of Wolvercote66 I can now better understand the incomprehensible fact that Americans elected Trump president. Herewith I confirm that whoever express here the fact that some people don’t have the equal opportunities, is welcome at my gaming table.

  5. Love this site and the creative words they speak about bringing people together towards a shared positive experience and to have understanding that now is time for big change. I am currently dealing with a “wolvercote66” with my parents and after sharing great words for hope and equality due to facts of history and current events with them, they’re understanding continues to be ignorant. That red cool-aid must be too addictive for some. I don’t get it. Black Lives Matter.

  6. I hear you Sk84lyph. These are definitely times for uncomfortable conversations. We all share that difficulty.

  7. It’s me a black guy here. I’ve never felt that the game was unfair yes there is a sign that is completely on the board right now but I like my asymmetrical power. I’m probably one of the few minorities that’s not really a fan of all this because it’s so facetious and is being orchestrated by somebody playing a bigger game. it’s an election year and people are moving pieces on the board but just a little bit bigger than that as we try to move the world into some interesting New direction

    very honestly I’ve never wanted to be associated with any criminals black white red Mexican so criminal died in police custody really doesn’t do anything for me. I work with police for 15 years of my life I’ve seen criminals do everything to try to get away to try to hurt more people I’ve had three of my close family members died because of criminals who just did light crimes up until they murdered someone.

    I’ve always equated America to the game small world where everybody has powers and you can achieve with your powers. I refuse to believe in the big bad white man boogie man because that sounds like a fairytale that somebody made up so they can divide the world into black and white while they sneak around and get the win condition

    • I hear you Mike. I think for many people (mostly people who have never encountered racial bias from the police), the simple assumption that the cops are good people is being challenged. Police have problems and bad days and different perspectives just like all of us. We just need to get to a better common understanding here because the imbalance (civic authority vs police authority) can’t continue. I have personally seen this having grown up in the South. I’m sure others have too.

    • While it is not necessary to ‘wear the ribbon’, I think by posting that comment with that video shows they’re antagonistic rather than an ally.

  8. Interesting… and thank you.

    I come from the UK. I’m not European or African originated. We all need to do better.

    (I see a disappointing lack of diversity in games..this is where I am referring to video games.)

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