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Other Stuff => General Wargames and Hobby Discussion => Topic started by: Gardensnake on August 17, 2019, 06:08:25 AM

Title: Separating the designer from the game?
Post by: Gardensnake on August 17, 2019, 06:08:25 AM
Okay,

Without naming any names, how do members here separate the game from the designer? What I mean is, if you find the game designer a despicable person, but you are a fan of either the game they've designed or the genre it's set in, how do you reconcile your feelings? I'm not going to name either the game or the designer, but when answering think of a designer that you think is an awful person with a design you like. Please answer with that in mind or with whatever your thoughts on my question are. If you think I'm nuts, then please let me know, but please give reasons, don't just say I'm nuts. I'm asking because I'm finding myself in this situation and am looking for advice as to what to do. There is a game setting that I find very intriguing and think the rules are well done, but I find the designer a despicable human being and really don't want to support him.

Thanks,

William
Title: Re: Separating the designer from the game?
Post by: Plynkes on August 17, 2019, 07:41:11 AM
For myself, I don't know enough about any game designers to have strong feelings about them either way. I'm actually struggling to think of the names of any game designers off the top of my head (other than a couple of LAFers who have published their own rules - and yes they are despicable people, but I have to be nice about them because they are also LAF mods ;)).  I've read owners of businesses holding forth on such things as politics on internet fora in the past, and made the mental note "well, I'm never buying anything from him", but it has never happened that someone who sold something I actually wanted to buy has done this, so I have never really been put to the test.

If you feel that strongly, and it sounds like you do, then walk away from the game, you don't want this nagging at you whenever you play. Otherwise, by all means play it. Not sure outside input can be of much use here, you're just going to have to decide how much you care about whatever this person has said or done.



Title: Re: Separating the designer from the game?
Post by: Charlie_ on August 17, 2019, 07:56:30 AM
Hmmm, sounds like the dilemma we can often have with music... When you love an artist's music, but later find out they are truly unpleasant people... Either a bit of an arrogant entitled dick, or much worse.
In that situation I don't think it's morally wrong to continue listening to and enjoying the music, though of course it might put you off it a bit.

Perhaps your situation can be approached the same way? If you already own and play the game, and really enjoy it, don't feel bad for continuing to do so. If you haven't yet purchased it and now don't want to get involved, sure I can understand. But don't let it hold you back if later all your friends are playing it and having a great time, and your refusing to get involved!
Title: Re: Separating the designer from the game?
Post by: Harry Faversham on August 17, 2019, 08:34:31 AM
Okay,

If you think I'm nuts, then please let me know, but please give reasons, don't just say I'm nuts.
Thanks,
William

I think your nuts, here's why. If you like the design/game use it and thoroughly enjoy it. But, be shameless/tireless in your loathing of the turd in 'uman form wot invented it. Sometimes you can think these things through too much.
Simple, innit!!!???

;)
Title: Re: Separating the designer from the game?
Post by: westwaller on August 17, 2019, 09:13:10 AM
I guess it depends why you dislike the designer. If you find them just a bit annoying or they a morally/ethically repugnant or guilty of a criminal offence.
In short if Hitler were alive today I wouldnt support any line of miniatures or games he produced, but if say Chris Martin from Coldplay (who I'm not a fan of or his music particularly) produced the best miniature line in the world suddenly I might have to consider buying from him... Tolerance and understanding of differences of opinion are  a good thing in my humble opinion and we are all human but it's up to you make your own judgements.
Title: Re: Separating the designer from the game?
Post by: Arrigo on August 17, 2019, 11:15:01 AM
Depend why you dislike the designer. There are a couple of people I consider arrogant, overboard, and so enamoured of their designs that cannot see issues with them. I do not buy their games...

There is a chap who I dislike for several reasons, but I have several of his games because there are good.

There is a chap I like a lot... but his games are so-so...  well I do not get his games...

and so on, the list is long.

As long:

1) I am not supporting something I feel fishy (Valley Games KS anyone?)

2) I am not giving money I am afraid it can be used for criminal activity (one Italian distributor is a former terrorist and I do not buy from his group... another one was  even reputed to have sent fascist leaning group to beat competitors... I avoided business... but I had to play against him at a DBM tournament!)

3) I don't dislike the designer because he is a turd designer...

I can live with games of someone I dislike. Ehy I have ever read book of academics who had very unsavory characteristics...


But I am a designer... so maybe I am part in this discussion... ahahahahah  lol (I am also despicable according to some!)
Title: Re: Separating the designer from the game?
Post by: Gardensnake on August 18, 2019, 04:03:50 AM
You are not the designer in question. I have no reason to consider you despicable.

William

Depend why you dislike the designer. There are a couple of people I consider arrogant, overboard, and so enamoured of their designs that cannot see issues with them. I do not buy their games...

There is a chap who I dislike for several reasons, but I have several of his games because there are good.

There is a chap I like a lot... but his games are so-so...  well I do not get his games...

and so on, the list is long.

As long:

1) I am not supporting something I feel fishy (Valley Games KS anyone?)

2) I am not giving money I am afraid it can be used for criminal activity (one Italian distributor is a former terrorist and I do not buy from his group... another one was  even reputed to have sent fascist leaning group to beat competitors... I avoided business... but I had to play against him at a DBM tournament!)

3) I don't dislike the designer because he is a turd designer...

I can live with games of someone I dislike. Ehy I have ever read book of academics who had very unsavory characteristics...


But I am a designer... so maybe I am part in this discussion... ahahahahah  lol (I am also despicable according to some!)
Title: Re: Separating the designer from the game?
Post by: fred on August 18, 2019, 08:09:58 AM
For myself, I don't know enough about any game designers to have strong feelings about them either way.

This.

There are a few designers who write articles for magazines, but these are generally on wargaming topics, so don’t really tell me anything more about them as a person, but can explain their game design thoughts further.

I think if you find the designer so despicable, that when ever you play the game it makes you unhappy then I would say don’t play the game. But if it gives you mild feelings later on reflection, I wouldn’t worry about it, especially if you have already bought the rules and are playing them.  You may choose not to spend more money with them.

Ultimately your moral stance is only affecting you (and possibly the people you game with) so you have to decide if the cost (not playing the game) is worth the benefit (feeling happy with your moral compass).
Title: Re: Separating the designer from the game?
Post by: Arrigo on August 18, 2019, 09:53:54 AM
You are not the designer in question. I have no reason to consider you despicable.

William

I was just trying to lighten the mood. But some people consider me despicable! On the other hand, I am coming to the conclusion that there will be always a wide range of opinions on a given person...

About designers in general, when I started in the hobby, I knew some designers by name like Phil Barker, Mark Herman, Richard Berg, Joe Balkoski and some few others.  But they were just names boxes and booklets. Then I started to buy gaming magazines and read articles, historical and game oriented. Then internet came, I got to interact with some designers, then I started to move around... then facebook... then... well I started to put ideas and quirks behind the names and games, to interact with some of them, and so on. I even studied under a game designer, and ended up sharing office with him! Some are nice persons, some are not, some are even despicable. But with the degree of communication, connections, I find weird that people still has few interaction with designers in this hobby. But with interaction came also some negative baggage, as it is quite normal.

Title: Re: Separating the designer from the game?
Post by: Belligerentparrot on August 18, 2019, 09:59:53 AM
Hmmm, sounds like the dilemma we can often have with music...

Yes, this was my reaction too! It might also help to separate some issues:
1) Is this a personal dislike, or a political one? E.g. I think Bono from U2 is a colossal bellend, but I don't think he's politically problematic in the way that e.g. a neo-nazi band like Skrewdriver are. If I personally disliked the game designer, well, I could separate that from the rules. But if it is a political dislike, I would find that a lot harder, especially if....

2) In playing the game are you financially supporting something you think shouldn't be supported? I would say there is a point of morality/justice there: wargaming should be fair/just trade as much as any other of our consumer purchases are (same applies, I'd say, to music).

I recall seeing discussion on Frothers in the long long ago of one historicals rules producer who seemed very keen on far right political movements, no idea who it was as my memory is crap, but there was a general consensus that buying from that company was hardly just/fair trade.
Title: Re: Separating the designer from the game?
Post by: Belligerentparrot on August 18, 2019, 10:02:14 AM
Oh sorry Westwaller, and everybody, I've just duplicated your point without realising you'd posted it.
Title: Re: Separating the designer from the game?
Post by: Arrigo on August 18, 2019, 10:36:16 AM
I think another point could be made not so much about politics,  but personal issues. You can have some serious issue with someone, like he is  obnoxious, self aggrandizing, insulting to a point you cannot really stand him and you can be unwilling to give him money. I think I have pinned a couple of people in that category...  lol is not about supporting a dubious cause, but really spending your hard earned money to allow someone to become even worse.

Of course you can make the case, if we are at this point, probably that person rules/games would not usually inspire positive comment from yourself...

On the other hand, considering there is a an amount of team work on some products, it could be a more nuanced situation.

Very curious about that company on Frothers... no idea on that myself.
Title: Re: Separating the designer from the game?
Post by: YPU on August 18, 2019, 11:12:59 AM
Oh sorry Westwaller, and everybody, I've just duplicated your point without realising you'd posted it.

well, you have the user name for it.


On occasion, a writer's convictions start to shine through in their writing (especially in one man works), or you think it does after you discover their thinking and it can salt the fun so to say.
Title: Re: Separating the designer from the game?
Post by: Condottiere on August 18, 2019, 03:23:03 PM
Depends on whether I know him/her and/or he/she has wronged me on some level - all other reasons are relative. I don't know Frank Chadwick, but based on his half-arsed Condottiere rules, his attitude to an half finished review on TMP, and his sycophants on that thread, I won't be buying any more of his rules, especially those published by Wargames Foundry.   

I don't see any point in going Savonarola on rulebooks after finding out about Dave Waxtel (http://theminiaturespage.com/boards/msg.mv?id=204953), especially as it's hard enough to find copies in print - if you find that person offensive, put up the stuff on eBay or hawk it/give it away at a convention.

Title: Re: Separating the designer from the game?
Post by: Norm on August 18, 2019, 03:45:16 PM
Only you can decide, this is meant to be your hobby, just go with what will give you enjoyable quality game time.
Title: Re: Separating the designer from the game?
Post by: mcfonz on August 18, 2019, 04:23:59 PM
This is kinda a tough subject to discuss without getting borderline with some of the forum rules.

Suffice to say I have stopped buying from some mini manufacturers and will never buy from others due to finding out more about them and what they represent.

That's your right as a consumer. If the product you are purchasing is directly funding these people and you don't wish to do so, then it is entirely your choice.

I'd say if you have that big a bone of contention then don't buy anymore of their stuff. Accept that you did but perhaps not armed with the knowledge you have now, move on. Use what you have or shift it. Life is too short, there are a gazillion different miniature suppliers and rule set makers out there to explore.
Title: Re: Separating the designer from the game?
Post by: Arrigo on August 18, 2019, 05:17:06 PM
Only you can decide, this is meant to be your hobby, just go with what will give you enjoyable quality game time.


Okay.... and you know about Valley Games, its warous incarnation, and the Up-Front reprint 'scandal'? Short version (I may be wrong on details, go to BGG for the whole mess, or maybe you all know of that) two Canadian chaps were running a company, Valley Games doing reprint of some AH classics. Sales were bad and they got under, they were bailed out by a gamer with a huge loan. But then they refused to pay back used BGG to smear the loaner and started a KS to reprint the old AH Up Front. KS campaign with lofty and unrelated goal, they promised to redo the graphic using osprey artists, to rewrite the rules to make everything perfect... nd collected huge sums. But...

1) the chap wanted his money back
2) Hasbro had not given them the right to the game, and was starting to get into gear to stop them...

Then it came out that they were not paying the artists, and they could have been over-promising a bit (but people had put in some case 2-300 USD on all in pledges...)

3) it was discovered they were selling assets to fictitious companies to try to avoid the creditor...

the Texas Rangers got involved... <Walker's music clue> at the time KS companies could only be US, so they created a subsidiary in Texas with a chap to run the KS.  The Texas court basically ordered the KS company to pay the creditor with the KS money, and give the money to the court until final judgment was passed. Their texas lawyer basically absconded with the money and the Rangers were after him.  They even got the Canadian courts involved at this point... the original owners decided to take an holiday in Australia and never came back... plenty of people got burned.  Basically a con, but they even got support from BGG leadership when they had BGG banning the original creditor when he started to warn people about the risk involved in the KS...

So yes, I will never buy anything from them.  But... there is a good ending. Hasbro and wargame vault teamed to bring Up Front and its expansions back in its original form, even if without box. So I did not invest in the KS but got the game at reasonable price!

Another story... Terry Shrum and is Fresno Gaming Association (and other names...). The were re-issuing SPI classics with updated graphic (Shrum was a talented computer graphic), but basically no rules. And then, it was early-mid 90s  had a lot of pre-publication offers that never materialized, but they got money. I bought 2 games  from the LFGS of the time, and never tried again. Rip off with barely functioning rules. Plenty of people did the same because they disappeared...  o_o

Different case, more close to the OP. Critical Hit, Ray Tapio, and Advanced Tobruk System. Great game, but shaky company. The owner has a reputation for smearing competitors, and their marketing is both obnoxious and disinformative. Very little information of their products on their website, something you do not even understand if they are in stock or in pre-publication.  The game system is nice, but basically badly supported. Once they were giving updated edition of the rules  for download (quite common for map based games), not they stopped and the last update is an independent, overpriced, stand alone rulebook. Their newsletter looks as written by a 6 years old, with suspicious endorsement and a lot of hype (and almost nothing as real information on the games). And the owner has a bad reputation.  Several designers said he had ignored contract obligations and basically cheated. Despite liking the game, I decided I keep my modules, but I am not investing anymore into it.

Title: Re: Separating the designer from the game?
Post by: FramFramson on August 18, 2019, 06:27:58 PM
However you go, I wouldn't sweat it too much. The "Art vs Artist" debate is as old as the bones of the hills.
Title: Re: Separating the designer from the game?
Post by: Gibby on August 18, 2019, 06:44:31 PM
I don't have any trouble separating the designer from the game, for the most part, because I usually know nothing about the designer. Obviously, if the website said "all proceeds go to the World Puppy Flaying Society" then I'd give it a miss, but by and large I only tend to want to get to know more about the actual game designers if I play and love several of their works. For the most part I take it for granted that truly odious people wouldn't be all that successful in this hobby. Perhaps I'm naive! I suppose in the age of social media it's all too easy to get to know the personality of most people who are active on there. Unless you ignore it. :D
Title: Re: Separating the designer from the game?
Post by: Antonio J Carrasco on August 19, 2019, 06:33:08 AM
I can't separate them, actually. Or to be more precise, I have some red lines that I won't cross. For instance, there is a Spanish manufacturer that I have stopped buying from because I can't stand his inability to separate his business from his politics. He presents himself as a gentleman, and some people is fooled (I know I was) until you realize that behind the façade there is just a fanatic and a hypocritical bigot.

I've bought nothing from him since 2017 and I don't intend to spend a single euro in any of his products ever again.
Title: Re: Separating the designer from the game?
Post by: Shahbahraz on August 19, 2019, 07:25:39 AM
This all sounds terribly exciting, and I have missed out on it over the years.

I suspect if I did know more about some individuals in the hobby, I might be more reluctant to give them money, but as far as I know, while I might disagree with the tinge of their politics, they aren't funding neo-nazi training camps, or offering back issues of Stormfront free with their latest kickstarter.
Title: Re: Separating the designer from the game?
Post by: Kitsune on August 19, 2019, 08:41:44 AM
Well, I won’t be buying that Varg RPG at any point soon, TBH.
Title: Re: Separating the designer from the game?
Post by: Elbows on August 20, 2019, 02:43:19 AM
I've never found a wargame or game so good I wouldn't ditch it if the designer was overly offensive (for whatever reason).  Now, would I bash the game because of it?  No.  This is something that journalists and other idiots do too often.  You have one decision, whether or not you spend the money.  I hate people who conflate the quality of a product with the person producing it.

For instance I may despise Actor X...but if he/she does some amazing performance, I won't say "oh that sucks because they're Actor X", etc.

I'm an amateur game designer, and I consider myself a pragmatic asshole.  I prefer an honest jerk over a dishonest fiend. 
Title: Re: Separating the designer from the game?
Post by: ced1106 on August 20, 2019, 03:08:23 AM
Okay.... and you know about Valley Games, its warous incarnation

Yep!

Especially thanks to KS  ::) I've encountered businesses with product I'd like to purchase, but would not do so because of its behavior towards customers or the gaming hobby. Part of this is the touchy-feely kumbaya thing, but it's also practical self-interest, since these companies are more likely to not respond to customer service problems. Prodos / Archon particularly comes to mind (their miniatures are really good), although companies like Defiance have been mentioned on Dakka. I don't know if I'll back another CMON project (I usually don't back them because they don't include enough miniatures), after their unexpected shipping increases during their Bloodborne KS.

While I don't find game designer Mike Selenker particularly offensive, I dislike his SJW viewpoints interfering with game content. Specifically, in the Betrayal at House on Haunted Hill (?)'s Widow Walk expansion, he had his SJW friends design adventures for the game, and their lack of game design experience showed. However, his Pathfinder Adventure Card Game and Acrophobia (?) card game designs I didn't like (the latter was particularly disappointing), so it's no big deal if I don't play his games or not, anyway. Games Workshop is regularly called out for some sort of offense (usually prices), but I don't find their games and miniatures must-haves, either.

Too many games, and too many miniatures. If the designer of Gloomhaven was found offensive, I'd be in a bit of dissonance, but I have so many games that putting a game from an offensive company or creator at the end of my gaming queue isn't all that difficult. Seems to be the same way with miniatures, as I'm not backing a Prodos miniatures KS in favor of two others. However, I still own games and miniatures from those I've found offensive, thanks to deep discounts around the holiday sales.

So I believe that offensive behavior is not necessarily independent of the final product. As I see it, ethics and good customer service is a long-term investment that hopefully pays off, while selfish and offensive behavior may have short-term benefits, but will lose out in the long run. Three years to gain a customer, three minutes to lose one. Life's too short, either way.
Title: Re: Separating the designer from the game?
Post by: Shahbahraz on August 20, 2019, 10:55:49 PM
Can we please refrain from using politically charged terms like SJW, Snowflake or whatever. I came here instead of another wargames forum for the reason they allowed exactly that sort of rubbish.
Title: Re: Separating the designer from the game?
Post by: Antonio J Carrasco on August 21, 2019, 06:28:29 AM
...

Nothing to see here. Move along.
Title: Re: Separating the designer from the game?
Post by: Condottiere on August 21, 2019, 01:44:28 PM
Can we please refrain from using politically charged terms like SJW, Snowflake or whatever. I came here instead of another wargames forum for the reason they allowed exactly that sort of rubbish.
Instead of burying your head in the sand and hoping things working out on their own or relying on the involvement of an Adeptus Arbiter, why not ask for clarification? Why not ask ced1106 about what's SJW about Mike Selenker's and his friends' viewpoints? In most cases, like my encounter on The Swords of Robert E. Howard (http://swordsofreh.proboards.com/thread/943/conan-barbarian-7), the poster doesn't have any evidence other than biased perception, though I would also ask why it's an awful/subpar product. 
Title: Re: Separating the designer from the game?
Post by: Shahbahraz on August 21, 2019, 02:43:16 PM
Instead of burying your head in the sand and hoping things working out on their own or relying on the involvement of an Adeptus Arbiter, why not ask for clarification? Why not ask ced1106 about what's SJW about Mike Selenker's and his friends' viewpoints? In most cases, like my encounter on The Swords of Robert E. Howard (http://swordsofreh.proboards.com/thread/943/conan-barbarian-7), the poster doesn't have any evidence other than biased perception, though I would also ask why it's an awful/subpar product.

Deflect deflect...
Title: Re: Separating the designer from the game?
Post by: Belligerentparrot on August 21, 2019, 03:31:08 PM
Instead of burying your head in the sand and hoping things working out on their own or relying on the involvement of an Adeptus Arbiter, why not ask for clarification? Why not ask ced1106 about what's SJW about Mike Selenker's and his friends' viewpoints?
Asking for clarification in this case invites an explicit discussion of politics, which this forum is not in favour of. So no one was burying their head in the sand as far as I can see - think you might have jumped to some hasty conclusions there, Condy  :)
Title: Re: Separating the designer from the game?
Post by: Michi on August 21, 2019, 03:31:59 PM
Back to your initial question - I find it very interesting and was subject to your dilemma myself too.
I liked a game for its concept and the miniatures and would have loved to buy and play it, but I would have felt shame and guilt to throw any money in the direction of the makers.
I found my way to work around that by buying it second hand (feeling innocent of having supported them).
Title: Re: Separating the designer from the game?
Post by: Condottiere on August 21, 2019, 03:59:14 PM
Deflect deflect...
Okay Boris Johnson... ;)
Title: Re: Separating the designer from the game?
Post by: Condottiere on August 21, 2019, 04:11:47 PM
Asking for clarification in this case invites an explicit discussion of politics, which this forum is not in favour of. So no one was burying their head in the sand as far as I can see - think you might have jumped to some hasty conclusions there, Condy  :)
Asking for clarification doesn't necessarily lead to a discussion of politics, unless someone escalates it. I don't know any of the mentioned games, but I am curious if someone's dislike over the quality, lead to an obsession over something imagined, based on something the designer said elsewhere. In the case of  Conan #7, aside from the fact that most of Marvel's current production is half-arsed and derivative, the poster's issues were determined to be incoherent and imagined, based on biases.

Not jumping to hasty conclusions...
Title: Re: Separating the designer from the game?
Post by: Condottiere on August 21, 2019, 04:20:26 PM
Back to your initial question - I find it very interesting and was subject to your dilemma myself too.
I liked a game for its concept and the miniatures and would have loved to buy and play it, but I would have felt shame and guilt to throw any money in the direction of the makers.
I found my way to work around that by buying it second hand (feeling innocent of having supported them).
Isn't this still supporting them albeit in a a roundabout way? It's only a step away from boycotting Games Workshop and buying a shrink-wrapped slightly scuffed box or book from an independent retailer - almost like money laundering! Why not holy water and meditation and/or prayers to  excise the negative karma?   
Title: Re: Separating the designer from the game?
Post by: Michi on August 21, 2019, 04:34:27 PM
Isn't this still supporting them albeit in a a roundabout way? It's only a step away from boycotting Games Workshop and buying a shrink-wrapped slightly scuffed box or book from an independent retailer - almost like money laundering!

I don't think so. Somebody else put his money on them (and I' not talking about a retailer, but some private person). If that one sells on, I am happy and both of us are satisfied with a proper deal.
I just wanted to be of any help with my opinion. You weren't the one who asked, were you?
Title: Re: Separating the designer from the game?
Post by: Captain Blood on August 21, 2019, 04:49:51 PM
Too much needle in this thread. It was always likely to go this way.
Please also be careful about calling out and disliking 'the views' of named third parties. Lead Adventure isn't here to provide a platform for publicly condemning the views of other people unconnected with this place, particularly when someone is reporting what they believe to be the views of a third party.
Before flames break out in full, we'll pause there until the board moderator gets a chance to take a look and decide if this is a discussion we want to have here.
Title: Re: Separating the designer from the game?
Post by: Westfalia Chris on August 21, 2019, 05:57:35 PM
I'd let it run for a bit, but I agree with Captain Blood's previous post in that nothing good will come from this except trash-talking third parties, which is not likely to make them change their ways.

I'll leave this thread locked. If you have a concrete, viable customer issue or personal issue to resolve, I'd suggest taking it up directly with the "guilty party", so to speak.

If it is of valid interest to the community, such as obviously (and preferrably provable) fraudulent behaviour or unreliability, a thread might be warranted if kept civil and on focus.

If it is just personal disagreement with someones particular interests, actions etc., I don't see anything you can viably do except "you pays your money, and you takes your choice". I wouldn't want personal vendettas or campaigns exercised here.