News Digest Episode 127
This is a copy of the “script” we used to organise Brainwaves Episode 127. It is not a full transcript but should give you an overview of the news as we reported it. Quotes are in italics.
Kickstarter walks the line on AI
- We reported on the last time when Kickstarter shared their thoughts on AI in episode 113 of the cast back in December last year. Now, almost eight months later, the company is ready to release a policy on the use of artificial intelligence in Kickstarter projects.
- In a post published on 1st of August on their website, Kickstarter explains that they will not outright ban projects using AI, as long as they contain what the company calls “human creative input” and as long as artists, whose work is referenced by the AI, are properly credited and have given their permission.
- To facilitate the new policy, which will take effect on Tuesday, the 29th of August, creators using AI will be prompted to share further details during the project submission process. Furthermore, Kickstarter reserves the right to suspend any project that does not properly disclose the use of AI.
- In the post Kickstarter summarises their upcoming policy
- To be allowed on Kickstarter, projects utilizing AI tools for generating images, text, or any other output must disclose relevant details on their project page. This includes information about how the creator plans to use AI content in their project, as well as which elements of their project will be wholly original work and which elements will be created using AI outputs.
- Projects developing AI technology, tools, or software must disclose information about any databases and data the creator intends to use. The creator must also indicate how these sources handle consent and credit for the data they utilize. If the sources don’t have processes or safeguards in place to manage consent, such as through an opt-out or opt-in mechanism, then Kickstarter is unlikely to allow the project.
- The post further outlines how the additional information is collected and makes it clear that the new policy will continue to be updated as AI technology develops.
Drivethru lays out policy on AI
- Drivethrurpg, the largest source for Role playing game PDFs also put out a statement and amended policies with regards to AI content in games.
- Since March 2023 they have required creators to mark work that contained AI generated artwork and had banned any standalone artwork products that solely use AI generated assets.
- In an update on the 19th of July they added this update
- While we value innovation, starting on July 31st 2023, Roll20 and DriveThru Marketplaces will not accept commercial content primarily written by AI language generators. We acknowledge enforcement challenges, and trust in the goodwill of our partners to offer customers unique works based primarily on human creativity. As with our AI-generated art policy, community content program policies are dictated by the publisher that owns it.
- In addition you are required to mark any product that contains any amount of content generated by AI.
CGE announces RE-wood
- Czech Games Edition are the publishers of Galaxy Trucker, Codename, and Lost Ruins of Arnak.
- They have recently announced a spiel 2023 release called Kutna Hora: The City of Silver. This game will be the first to feature a new material developed in Germany called RE-wood (spell that out with the hyphen).
- From the release announcement on the Czech Games Edition homepage
- This new technology combines wood waste and recycled binding material in an 80:20 ratio, creating biodegradable products, including intricate board game bits!
- In a video explaining the material it is explained that the RE-wood is injection moulded like plastic pieces are which means it can carry much finer details than are currently available through wooden components.
- Czech Games Edition says that Re-Wood components once made can be recycled over and over again into new components making them 100% sustainable.
- The material is made from 100% recycled and natural materials and has been PEFC certified. PEFC is the programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification. This is an organisation that traces the sources of wood back to source and ensures it is harvested sustainably.
- At the moment these components are being produced in Europe but in the video Czech Games Edition explain they are going to be sharing the technology with other companies. They provide an email at the bottom of the article we will share if you are interested in finding out more about it.
Petersen Games joins up with Catalyst Games Labs
- Over the last couple of casts we have been tracking the woes of publisher Petersen Games over their last Kickstarter project, Cthlhu Wars: The Demon Sultan.
- Last time on Brainwaves we reported that a mysterious benefactor had given the company the money necessary to bail them out of their shipping issues and that games were now on the way to backers. In that update the company also said big news was coming.
- That big news is now here.
- At the end of their latest update the company posted this
- They go on to basically admit that they are good at designing games and bad at the production of games. Petersen Games will go from being a full service company, doing all aspects of boardgame design, production, and delivery, to focusing on the game design side of the business and get Catalyst to do the production side of the process
- Catalyst Games Labs are the publishers of the Shadowrun RPG amongst other properties like Battletech.
- Randall N. Bills, managing director of Catalyst Game Labs posted this on an announcement on their website
- “Sandy Petersen designed the original Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game.“As well as the seminal Age of Empire computer game series, which my sons and I have spent so many hours playing. He’s left such an incredible mark on both the tabletop and computer game industries. And I’ve loved Cthulhu Wars from the moment I played it, along with several of his latest board games. It’s an exciting opportunity to help a great game company, as well as look to the future for what we might develop together.”
Chai: Tea for 2 still steeping
- We last reported on the troubles that Steeped Games were dealing with in episode 120 of the cast (original story in 116). Since then it had gone very quiet, which wasn’t unexpected. So we were a little surprised when Dan Kazmaier, director of creativity at Steeped Games, posted an update on the Chai: Tea for 2 Kickstarter campaign page.
- In it, Dan thanks everyone for their encouraging emails, which allowed Dan to focus on getting the campaign fulfilled. Dan goes on to say that:
- “The good news is that we’ve finally completed the accessories and game except for one translation, which we’re finalizing with our localization partner. Once that’s finished and we’ve printed those, we’re good to go starting fulfillment. Everyone will be receiving all of their copies and everything they’ve paid for.”
- As a reason for the long time of complete silence about the campaign, Dan says:
- “To be completely honest, I’ve had a pretty tiring first half of the year. My mental health really suffered from some deaths in the family, and we stepped out of some conventions while taking a step back from things that were stressful and focusing on family.”
- Dan goes on to apologies for the long delays in the campaign and says that:
- “There were many things that did not go our way with manufacturing, but other things were in my control that have been resolved.”
- Dan is trying to get everything back on track to finish the campaign. According to the post, shipping will begin with backers in Asia, Australia and New Zealand at the end of August to mid-September, while other regions will follow after.
Card Kingdom Union
- Back in May 2022 on episode 98 of Brainwaves we covered the beginnings of a Union forming at Card Kingdom, a US based retailer of Collectible Card Games.
- On the 31st of July, 2023 the union announced that they had voted to approve a contract from the management of Card Kingdom.
- From the press release, Bob Woods the Vice President of Card Kingdom said this
- “We’ve very proud and excited by the results of our negotiations with UFCW 3000. This has been a productive and collaborative process from day one, and our approach has remained simple — honor the union process and employee voices while not trading our customer expectations and cultural foundations that make us who we are,”
- “This Agreement is the embodiment of that balance and compromise. From market-defining inclusivity provisions to industry-leading wages, benefits and workplace experience programs, Card Kingdom was and remains a great place to work for all employees.”
Disney Lorcana lawsuit
- Over the last couple of casts, we have been bringing you updates on the Upper Deck vs Ravensburger lawsuit. This suit was brought by Upper Deck over the Disney Lorcana CCG which is launching at Gencon. Gencon will be all wrapped up by the time you listen to this.
- In the last cast we reported that Ravensburger had moved to dismiss the case basically citing the length of time that it had taken Upper Deck to make a move as one of the primary reasons the case should not go ahead as well as their not being sufficient evidence that the reported illegality happened in the state of California where the lawsuit is being brought.
- In response to this Upper Deck have filed an amended complaint basically detailing all the reasons why the suit should be brought in California including details of meetings between Ryan Miller, the designer named in the suit, and Upper Deck in that jurisdiction.
- We aren’t going to go through all the minutiae here, we will link to the twitter thread, but Paul sums it up like this
- 1) (Upper Deck) amended its complaint,
- 2) the new “jurisdictional” arguments are strong(er),
- 3) other gaps were filled, and
- 4) Ravensburger/Miller now has to face a copyright infringement claim…in part because they moved the case to federal court.
One ring sold for $2million
- Over the last few casts we’ve been bringing you updates on the search for the one off card ‘The One Ring 001/001. card’ from the Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle Earth set for Magic: The Gathering.
- The card had been found and the owner was figuring out who to sell it to last time we reported on it.
- Well now the story is at an end because rapper Post Malone has purchased the card from the owner for a whopping $2.6 million (US). The card had been valued at $2 million (US).. Joshua Brook, the owner of the card said this in an interview with site Geek Culture
- “When I found the One Ring, the first person who came to mind was Post Malone. I have played MTG since I was a kid and obviously it would be amazing to keep this card. But for a guy like me, being able to sell it is life-changing. I just really hoped it would go to someone who would appreciate it as much as I do,”
- “This is my dream come true, meeting Post Malone and him buying the One Ring card from me is literally a moment straight out of a fairytale. Post Malone, you have changed my life. Things like this don’t happen to people like me, I guess it’s magic. I am forever grateful.”
Diana Jones Awards
- In Episode 124 we gave you a run down of the finalists for this year’s Diana Jones Award.
- This is one of our favourite awards. It celebrates excellence in gaming and has been awarded to people, conventions, movements, and individual games.
- This year’s winner is the Coyote & Crow RPG by Connor Alexander from Coyote and Crow. This is a tabletop RPG set in a world where the colonisation of America never happened and imagines what that future would look like. It was developed by a team of native americans.
TCG player union attacks ebay
- In August of 2022, ebay acquire TCG player one of the largest online marketplaces for collectible card games.
- In March of 2023 a 272 member union was formed within TCG player making it the first organised union in ebay’s history. The union was formed as the workes alleged that their jobs, benefits, and pay were being threatened by the merger with ebay, all aspects they say were not great to begin with.
- The union is filing an Unfair Labour Practice Charge against ebay alleging that they have engaged in delaying tactics in meeting the union at the negotiating table. They also gave a press conference on the 31st of July to try and foment offline action and pressure ebay to the table.
- Ebay issued a statement to site Dicebreaker where we picked up this story.
- “We are not aware of any Unfair Labor Practice charge being filed. TCGplayer’s priority is, and always has been, to build a workplace culture that gives team members a voice and opportunity to actively shape their future – and the future of the business. We are firmly aware of and committed to meeting any and all obligations we may have under the National Labor Relations Act. We will continue to follow the procedures of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
- At the onset of this process, TCGplayer asked Region 3 of the NLRB to resolve the issue of whether our Operations Leads were supervisors and thus ineligible for representation by the CWA. The CWA pushed back on our request and Region 3 of the NLRB agreed to wait until after the vote to address the issue. Due to the CWA’s position and Region 3’s action, we now find ourselves with this core issue unresolved. We are equally frustrated by the delay in the process; however, we intend to abide by the legal process put forth by the NLRB.”
School of Psychology’s GRAILPress Release: https://www.massey.ac.nz/about/news/grail-gaming-lab-opens-at-school-of-psychology/
GRAIL website: https://grailgamingresearch.wordpress.com/
- The School of Psychology of Massey University in New Zealand has announced on Monday the 31st of July that they want to investigate the potential positive effects of gaming, focussing on tabletop roleplaying games (or TTRPGs) as well as boardgames – and they have found the perfect name for this new research: GRAIL – The Gaming Research and Investigation Laboratory.
- Two lecturers, Mr Garea and Mr Hebden, will be managing the research.
- Mr Shaun Garea has published in areas of gaming related to cognition, cooperation, aggression and gambling. He’s also worked for years in film and the arts, garnering experience in both writing and directing which may explain his love of narrative storytelling and roleplay, and their potential for psychological benefit.
- Mr Hebden has published in the areas of social media, marketing and drinking culture. He is very interested in boardgames (as his large collection attests), with special interest in games as cultural artefacts and tools of modern meaning making.
- Explaining why they chose the name Mr Garea explains:
- “We picked GRAIL as a name because it speaks to questing, which works both for gaming and adventuring but also the quest for knowledge and research.”
- Describing the potential of this project, Mr Garea goes on to say:
- “Play allows us to experiment, to try new things, to succeed or to fail with no major repercussions. Games allow us to grow and to learn. So, just what kind of things are there that we can learn from the games that people already love to play? Imagine being prescribed some Dungeons & Dragons twice monthly for half a year, or remembering to take your weekly dose of Gloomhaven or Wingspan? I am slightly joking of course but think about the potential.”
- His colleague, Mr Hebden adds:
- “Games get us all around the table talking, thinking and interacting which, from a research perspective, is a great foundation to build upon. Modern games are like any other creative piece of work, they can be a voice for communities or provide an opportunity to reflect on important topics and themes.”
- Mr Garea will be looking at the potential psychological, educational and therapeutic benefits of playing and engaging in creative roleplay. He describes how a large section of the LGBTQ+ community has embraced TTRPGs of the last few year:
- “The ability to be someone else, to try on a new skin, or to experiment with sexuality, gender and identity in a fun welcoming environment has provided many players with a much-needed refuge.”
- Mr Garea also mentions roleplaying games written by first-nation peoples in the United States and generally believes that games can broaden people’s horizons.
- Speaking about board games, Mr Garea recongizes that COVID-19 is likely to have influenced the renaissance of the hobby. Given the more structured design of board games, this part of the research will focus more on cooperation, empathy, sociality and focussed learning.
- Mr Garea and Mr Hebden will also be launching the lab to the public at the upcoming Armageddon Expo on the 5th to the 6th of August in Palmerston North, New Zealand, running free sessions of games for attendees to participate in.
National Education Association post about using play in education
- The National Education Association in the United States is also seeing the benefit of boardgames in education.
- In a recent article on their site they draw attention the Tabletop Alliance, a volunteer nonprofit that aims to advance education through the incorporation of games in the classroom.
- Bruce Brown is the founder of the Tabletop Alliance and said this about how they advise teachers
- “Some teachers might want games to demonstrate economic principles or historical lessons, others to align with social emotional learning. We call each educator we send games to [and] find what will best align with the desired outcomes.”
- The tabletop alliance believes that boardgames can help with a whole host of aspects in the classroom including social issues, self awareness, self management, relationship skills and responsible decision making.
- Some games recommended by the alliance include Nmbr9, Just One, and King of Tokyo.
Dannie Loe moves to Flat River
- Back in episode 125 we reported that Dannie Loe was leaving Hachette Boardgames US. She was the marketing manager at that company.
- It was recently announced that Dannie had joined Flat River Group as their Hobby Product Marketing manager
- Flat River Group is a distributor and e-commerce specialist that also has a games division called Flat River Games.
- Jules Vautour, president of hobby and business development said this of the hire to icv2
- “Danni Loe has spent the past ten years honing her craft with some of the strongest brands in our industry, and she is a great addition to the Flat River Group team. She is a real leader, and her ability to build both brand awareness and community are strengths we want to give a greater platform to.”
Bree moves to Arcane Wonders
- Bree Goldman who has previously was Director of Marketing (English Markets) with Lucky Duck Game, has announced a move to Arcane Wonders as Marketing Manager.
- Arcane Wonders is the publisher of Furnace and Foundations of Rome amongst many other titles
- Bree posted this on twitter with the announcement
- I am beyond excited to share the news that I have found my new home as Marketing Manager for Arcane Wonders! Yes, this does mean I will be at Gen Con, and I can’t wait to see so many of you there! Come visit me at booth #529
Tylor becomes ecommerce and analytics at Hachette UShttps://twitter.com/kovraystudios/status/1683972463489867780?s=21
- Ilya and Tylor (he/him) are boardgame influencers who release content under the name Kovray Studios
- Tylor has recently announced that he is joining Hachette Boardgames US in an ecommerce and analytics role. Hachette have been accelerating to become a big player in the boardgame world in the last couple of years and publish games like the Spiel nominated Iki.
- On a post on Twitter Tylor announced
- I’m thrilled to share that I have embarked on my next epic adventure! I have officially started a new role as the Ecommerce and Analytics Manager at
- ! One can say, a dream come true.
Ryan Schoon joins Japanime Gameshttps://www.facebook.com/JapanimeGames/posts/pfbid0BEXrS97fNGSCZAda3BehfzEXRntCpG8ugaYVbnfVYohppUwmPxhT2RR75oBxoYGJl
- Ryan Schoon is part of the Youtube Channel, Man vs. Meeple where all sorts of games are covered.
- Ryan has recently announced that he will be joining Japanime games in the role of Marketing and Communications manager.
- Japanime games are the publishers of a whole slate of games out of Japan including titles tied to popular anime like Attack on Titan and Sword Art Online.
- Japanime Games said this about the hire in a post on Facebook
- “Japanime Games is thrilled to announce a new addition to our team – Ryan Schoon, who will be taking on the role of Marketing and Communications Manager. Many of you might be familiar with Ryan’s work already as part of the board game YouTube channel Man vs Meeple, but his years of tabletop experience and passion for board gaming make him an ideal fit for our team. He has worked on both sides of the industry, alongside publishers and content creators, and is familiar with the needs of the consumer as well.
- With Ryan on board, we are more determined than ever to expand our social media and marketing presence and offer inside access to our game lines, each one steeped in the world of Japanese anime and culture. As part of his new role, Ryan will work to foster meaningful relationships with influencers, amplifying our brand across multiple diverse, digital platforms.
- Discussion: Lots of moves, some folk in the influencer sphere stepping up to jobs in the industry. Thanks to Sarah from our Discord for letting us know about the Ryan Schoon appointment.
Jobs, Opportunities, and Events
Evil Hat fund for Apocalypse Keys https://bsky.app/profile/evilhat.bsky.social/post/3k3twzh7r3627
- In the not too distant past Evil Hat Productions successfully funded their latest RPG Apocalypse Keys on KS. This is an RPG where you play powerful individuals on the side of good against the coming evil. Think Hellboy, Men in Black and you are on the right track.
- The final stretch goal of that campaign was a fund to be given to creators of material, supplements, or new games inspired by Apocalypse Keys. This is called the Omen project and has been confirmed in the latest update to backers.
- There is $5000 up for grabs in pots of $500 a time. You can apply multiple times if you have different projects in mind. They are primarily looking for supplements for the core game but are open to other ideas. They are especially looking for new creators and people with marginalised identities.
Metallic Dice Gameshttps://metallicdicegames.com/Promo Code: ROLLWITHBRAINS
Exploding Kittens Game Show
- Exploding Kittens is not only the name of the games company that produces games with art from the Oatmeal webcomic, but also the name of a game by that company which raised $8.7 million during its crowdfunding campaign, which at the time was the 3rd biggest ever Kickstarter project at the time.
- It is also the name of a Netflix Tv show, the full title bring Exploding Kittens: Good Vs Evil.
- That Tv Show is being turned into a new version of the Exploding Kittens card game called Exploding Kittens: Good Vs Evil. How is the game different? THe product description reads: “It’s still the highly-strategic kitty powered version of Russian Roulette you know and love with new Armageddon Cards which set up an epic battle of Good vs. Evil”
- So to summarise. There was a webcomic that got turned into a card game that got turned into a TV show that got turned into a card game. Clear? Good.
- A job listing that popped up from Mattel for “Chief Uno Player”
- From September, the lucky player will be working for four weeks in New York, including playing the new Uno Quatro (which has tiles instead of cards) for four hours a day, four days a week, amongst other duties such as “sit for long periods, lift and carry 50 lbs, and set up playing tables & tents on location”.
- Problem, applicants have to be aged 18 or over, have to apply vis TikTok and be residents of the US to be selected for the job which is stated as paying $4,444.44 (£3,500) a week.
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