News Digest Episode 123

This is a copy of the “script” we used to organise Brainwaves Episode 123. It is not a full transcript but should give you an overview of the news as we reported it. 

Brainwaves Episode 123

Quotes are in italics


Upper deck sues Ravensburger

  • Upper Deck, the company behind the Legendary series of Deckbuilders is suing Ravensburger over their forthcoming Disney Lorcana game
  • Lorcana is a Collectible Card Game due to come out very soon and was drawing big crowds at UK Games Expo. 
  • In a post to their corporate page, Upper Deck President Jason Masherah said:
    • “We invested significant time and resources to develop a new and novel trading card game. Our current leadership values the importance of protecting intellectual property of both Upper Deck and its licensors,” 
    • “We want gamers and fans to continue enjoying and having access to unique, innovative and immersive trading card games. We encourage competition in the industry, but also strongly believe in playing by the rules to ensure the gaming community benefits from the different creative choices by each manufacturer.”
  • An individual called Paul Lesko on Twitter went through a breakdown of the suit and what was involved. Paul is a Plaintiffs Litigator
  • The suit has Upper Deck Company as the Plaintiff and Ryan Miller and Ravensburger North America as the defendants. The filing starts out like this
    • Upper Deck seeks to protect its intellectual property from premeditated theft by Miller. On a work for hire basis, Upper Deck engaged Miller as lead game designer to develop a major proprietary trading card game for Upper Deck called ‘Rush of Ikorr’. After over a year of developing Rush of Ikorr alongside Upper Deck, Miller terminated his contract with Upper Deck and, either before termination or just after, began working for Defendant Ravensburger, a direct competitor. At Ravensburger, Miller transported his work product on Rush of Ikorr, knowing such work product was solely owned by Upper Deck, into trading card game called ‘Disney Lorcana’ (“Lorcana”). This trading card has remarkable, uncanny similarities to Upper Deck’s Rush of Ikorr.
    • Miller’s acts in pilfering the game design Upper Deck paid him to create and using those designs to develop a competing trading card game for a competitor were aided and encouraged by Ravensburger, who now seeks to profit from stolen intellectual property. These acts give rise to a host of causes of action under California federal law. 
  • To translate, Miller worked for upper deck on a game, left the company and took that design to Ravensburger who made it into Lorcana.  
  • The suit goes on to detail the similarities between Loracan and Rush of Ikorr and lay out what it wants from the suit which basically breaks down to not allowing Ravensburger to release Lorcana, payment for fees, restitution, return of their intellectual property. 
  • Paul goes on to say that he thinks the suit will rest on whether or not Upper Deck can prove that the design of Lorcana is a ‘trade secret’ or if it is too similar to other games in the genre. He believes that proving that it is a trade secret would be extremely difficult. 
  • The suit was formally filed on Wednesday and Ravensburger have responded

Cardboad Edison Award Winner Announced

  • Cardboard Edison recently announced the winner and runners-up of their 2023 award. Cardboard Edison is run by Chris and Suzanne Zinsli, who are game designers and bloggers. The award recognizes and promotes great unpublished game designs. Additionally, finalists receive in-depth and detailed feedback from the judges’ panel.
  • Submissions for the award go through two rounds of judging by a panel of over 50 people, being rated on engagement, originality of theme and originality of mechanisms. Finalists are additionally judged based on smoothness of play and fit for target audience.
  • This year’s winner is Diatom by designer Sabrina Culyba [sulbah], in which players collect and place tiles to create mosaics.
  • We were delighted to get a chance to talk to Sabrina, and you can hear that interview with Iain on the cast.
  • You can find out more about each game and what the judges thought on the Cardboard Edison website.
  • Congratulations to Sabrina and all of the runners-up.
  • Sarah’s details and all about Diatoms!

UK Games Expo

  • UK Games Expo, the largest hobby games convention in the UK, took place from Friday, 2nd of June until Sunday, 4th of June. Now in its 16th year, the event returned to halls 1, 2 and 3 of the Birmingham NEC, as well as a number of different rooms in the nearby Hilton Hotel.
  • We’re still awaiting official figures, but Andy Kybett, the Founder of WynterCon, an annual Comic-Con style event in Eastbourne, East Sussex, posted on LinkedIn that he was told that this year there were over 32,000 unique visitors, with a total attendance of over 52,000. Just to clarify, the attendance is the number of people entering the show each day. So a person attending all three days counts for 3 with regards to the attendance figure.
  • The figures are particularly amazing, because on both, the Friday and the Saturday of the event, there were train strikes in the UK that majorly affected Birmingham International train station, which serves the NEC. The convention is accessible by car, but usually a lot of people also arrive by train.
  • I (Oliver) was there for all three days and even though the Friday and Sunday felt about as busy as it has been in previous years, Saturday was a lot busier than normal. Of course, that’s great to see.
  • The UK Games Expo is a trade event as much as a consumer show. Thursday night was the press evening, where press and publishers talked to exhibitors before the show opened the next day. On Friday evening there was a designer-publisher speed-dating event, followed by a chance to network. At the same time, the show also saw the general public enjoying demos and buying games, accessories and other products available for sale.
  • Next year’s UK Games Expo will take place from Friday, 31st of May until Sunday, 2nd of June 2024. Hopefully we’ll see you there.

Games Expo RPG controversy

  • Expo didn’t go off entirely without issues
  • W.H. Arthur @Aryl_Ether, posted this on the 6th of June
    • For UKGE, I offered to run RPGs by queer creators; Dream Askew by Avery Alder and Sleepaway by Jay Dragon. Dream Askew was rejected because the organiser didn’t want “themes of sexuality or orientation”, and reference to queerness was removed from Sleepaway’s event description.
  • This understandably upset some who thought that Expo was censoring games based on the content. 
  • It took games expo a day to get a response together. They said this in a series of tweets posted yesterday, the 7th of June
    • It has been brought to our attention that two errors were made in run up to this year’s UKGE. Firstly an RPG scenario was rejected prior to this year’s show due to subject/theme of sexual orientation. Secondly, new GM’s did not receive their Volunteer Orientation training.
    • On the first matter, we have reviewed the email chain between the RPG Manager and the individual submitting the game and have found that this is true. UKGE does not accept scenarios containing “sexual content” due to the past experience of this type of content causing distress and upset to players. However, this does not extend to sexual orientation. The volunteer made an error of judgement in conflating the two and UKGE offers our unreserved apologies to the GM.
    • It is not our policy to censor based on sexual orientation and we failed the GM by rejecting the scenario and the volunteer by not giving sufficient support and advice. The volunteer was over sensitive to an incident that occurred in 2019 and stepped over a line.
    • We have always tried to be an inclusive and diverse convention, welcoming all. Sometimes we make mistakes, and this was one such time.
  • They conclude this thread by talking about the administrative error that led to the Volunteer Orientation training not happening and what they would do to correct that. It is signed by Richard Denning, one of the organisers. 


United Paizo Workers 

  • Back in episode 84 we brought you the news that workers at Paizo publishing, creators of the Pathfinder RPG, had formed a union. 
  • United Paizo Workers has just voted to ratify their first contract with Paizo. 
  • The account on twitter said:
    • Along with raises across the board, preserved and expanded benefits, and enhanced protections for workers, this contract provides a framework for continued collaboration between union labor and management, to everyone’s benefit!


Founder of BGA, Greg Isabelli, Leaves

  • Greg Isabelli, the founder of Board Game Arena (or BGA for short), a web based platform to play board games online, announced on 2nd of June 2023 in a blog post on the website that he is leaving. Greg had the idea of launching the platform 13 years ago and that now:
    • “it is time for me to leave and let BGA stand on its own feet.”
  • BGA was acquired by Asmodee in February 2021 as we reported in episode 67 of the cast. Since then, BGA did what was necessary to allow the company to transition to new management. As part of this plan, Greg had a free hand to recruit a team of 10 people to manage BGA and work on improving it. Then, in January of this year, Alexndre Schlecht, started managing the company and three months later, in April, Emmanuel Colin, co-founder of Board Game Arena, left. Greg Isabelli’s departure completes the transition.
  • Speaking about the reasons for his departure, Greg Isabelli says that Asmodee is definitely not one of them.
    • I have been very clear from the start with Asmodee: BGA buyout was part of a transition strategy to a new team to make it sustainable over time. They accepted and supported that all along the way.”
  • Talking about the future of BGA, Greg Isabelli says that price increases are unavoidable:
    • “[…] the “historic prices” we used to have were too low. The catch-up that has been done these 2 last years was welcome. Among other considerations, something that everyone should keep in mind is that the BGA revenues are shared with Premium games publishers as “royalties”. Significant royalties means more money to create new future games, but also make it more probable to have them on BGA.”
  • Talking about his personal plans, Greg Isabelli says that:
    • “I am lucky enough to be able to focus on non-profit projects. I have always found fascinating the possibility of using technology to make new kinds of social interactions possible. […] A specific social organization is not going very well at the moment: representative democracy.”

Zev leaves Wizkids

  • Zev Shlasinger has announced his departure from Wizkids, which he moved to after leaving Z-Man Games, the company he helped found. 
  • Justin Ziran, president of Wizkds said
    •  “I would like to share my heartfelt thanks to Zev for an amazing seven years of service. I look forward to future collaborations with Zev should our paths cross, and I sincerely hope they do.”
  • The decision is ‘mutual and amicable’ according to ICV2. 
  • Zev said of the departure
    • “As with all good campaign settings in games, I look forward to my next adventures in the hobby game industry,”

Gamefound partnership

  • On the last cast we reported on the firing of folk at Steamforged games and the announcement that Steamforged had signed an exclusivity deal with Kickstarter, making Kickstarter the only place where you will be able to back games from the company.
  • Following that announcement 11 days later, Gamefound announced similar deals with
    • Archon Studio, Heroes of Might and Magic III the board game
    • Corvus Belli, Infinity miniatures game
    • Flatout Games, Cascadia, Calico
    • Geeknson, gaming tables
    • Open Owl Studios, Stars of Akrios, Stoensaga, Mythwind
    • Van Ryder Games, Final Girl, Hostage Negotiator
  • These studios will now fund exclusively through the Gamefound platform. Gamefound said about this partnership:
    • We’ve been developing the platform for years now, building a platform for the gaming community and by the gaming community, aimed to bring solutions not just to crowdfunding and pledge management but specifically to the tabletop community’s needs. Working directly with many of these creators over the years, we’ve always been able to build a better solution and ensure that the creator’s voice and needs are an important part of Gamefound’s continued growth and development. With these partnerships, we’re making sure that this vision continues.

Battletech mods removed

  • As reported on Dicebreaker, moderators of the r/battletech reddit found themselves nuked from orbit due to their response to LGBTQ+ content being published on the forum. 
  • Many members of the reddit had posted about the Battletech pride anthology fanzine and found their posts deleted or otherwise removed without warning. 
  • When pressed for explanation, moderator u/Mr_severan cited a rule that said posts will not discuss:
    • “the Real World, politics, or current events in this subreddit,”
  • The moderator also said that it fell foul of their 1988 policy which uses the year 1988 as a measure of the relevance of any posts. As many pointed out pride events have been happening well before that date and also that Catalyst games labs, the publishers of Battletech had posted about the anthology. 
  • Community and marketing director for Catalyst game lab, Rem Alternis, posted
    • “The need for a safe space on reddit was brought to my attention today. While reddit was far down on my list to get to, I feel that our community had an urgent need for our presence, and our support. Let me be clear: BattleTech is for EVERYONE.”
  • The backlash from the community brought original mod ddevil63 out of retirement to ‘nuke the whole mod team’ as the zine creator put it. They said:
    • “Hello /r/battletech community. I originally created r/battletech 15 years ago because I wanted a place to talk about Battletech on Reddit. I have not been active as a moderator or contributor but I regularly read posts and comments. Yesterday was when I became aware of the removal of the Pride Anthology post and the rightfully deserved backlash. I have no moderation or community management experience but I’m trying my best to right any wrongs,” 
    • “Effective immediately, Rule #1 of r/battletech mirrors Rule #1 of r/OfficialBattletech, ‘BATTLETECH IS FOR EVERYBODY’. The previous rule, ‘All posts must be Battletech related’, and its 1988 stipulation has been removed. The current moderation team has been removed. I ask that you please be respectful to them. I sincerely hope they remain a part of this community.”
  • The battletech pride anthology is available for free to download on

Jobs, Opportunities, and Events

25 June 2023: LGBTQ+ board games afternoon

  • London LGBTQ+ Community Centre, 60-62 Hopton Street, Thames Path, Bankside London SE1 9JH
  • A chance to spend a chilled Sunday afternoon playing popular board games with other LGBTQ+ folks in a relaxed environment. Some games will be provided by organisers, but individuals are welcome to bring their own too. Donations will go towards supporting the London LGBTQ+ Community Centre.

Read this

Interesting piece on how Games Workshop have drifted away from Satire and in doing so have made space in the hobby for the extreme right wing. Thanks for Scott from Minerva Games for bringing it to our attention.

Patreon Shoutouts

James Naylor

Shaun Newan

Our Patreon

Support Us

Metallic Dice Games


Sir Meeple

And finally….

Warhammer Stamps

  • If you want to show your loyalty to the Emperor why not send him a lovely note with a Warhammer stamp on it. 
  • The stamps are available framed, in collectors and presentation packs and in various other limited edition forms, some of which you can actually put on mail. 
  • The stamps show images from across Games Workshops catalogue from the original Rogue Trader to more recent titles like Age of Sigmar. 
  • All are available from the Royal Mail store or ebay where good friend of the show Richard from We’re not Wizards has been responsible for listing them. 

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Email: [email protected]

Iain McAllister

Tabletop games reviewer and podcaster based in Dalkeith, Scotland.

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1 Response

  1. 12 Jun 2023

    […] News Digest for this episode […]

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