This is a transcript of Brainwaves Episode 118
Direct quotes are in italic
[Brainwaves Intro Music]
Jamie Adams: Hello and welcome. My name is Jamie Adams
Oliver Kinne: and I’m Oliver Kinne and this is Brainwaves Episode 118 bringing you the best in tabletop gaming news. These are the headlines for the week of 3rd of April 2023.
Gizmodo shines a light on Wyrmwood
Nebula Games Award
New gamma board members
All this and more on this episode of Brainwaves
Jamie: Linda Codega who he interviewed about Dungeons and Dragons open gaming license 1.1 in episode 114, has published an article about Wyrmwood gaming on the design, technology, science, and science fiction website Gizmodo.
Linda’s article covers Wyrmwood’s response to allegations of sexual assault at the company which we covered in episode 116 as well as accusations of unprofessionalism, disrespect, and deep-seated misogyny. While Wyrmwood still maintain that they
Oliver: “take any allegation of inappropriate conduct, including, but not limited to, sexual assault, sexual misconduct and safety issues, very seriously [and] consider the safety and well-being of [their] employees a top priority”
Jamie: the investigation into the company which Linda describes in their article, meanwhile spoke to
Oliver: “multiple people who allege they have been assaulted or harassed by former and current employees at Wyrmwood Gaming.”
Jamie: many of these allegations are aimed at the company’s owners Doug Costello and Bobby Downey who appear to have allowed Wrymwood to have a hostile work environment, including discrimination against employees based on their gender, race and, sexual orientation as well as retaliation against employees who spoke out against the mistreatment, while also failing to provide a safe working environment.
Now we encourage you to read the full article a link to which you can find in the show notes as it provides much more detail on the investigation and further information on the allegations and culture at the company.
Now it’s not surprising I think that toxic culture is, wel,l deeply seated in many parts of the tabletop industry and it seems it’s pretty serious here.
Oliver: yeah definitely and it’s clearly that there’s more allegations now coming to light we didn’t cover the whole article here because it’s very long there’s lots of things in there so definitely read that but yeah other than the sexual uh assault allegations that have been made previously there’s more information and it sounds like yeah more employees are speaking out even if they obviously keep stay Anonymous for their own safety. So hopefully this will bring more to light and we’ll hear more I guess eventually as well.
Jamie: and as I’ve said many times before as an industry, the tabletop gaming industry keeps saying we are you know we love everybody we’re really inclusive and need to consistently put your money where your mouth is people.
Jamie: we can’t keep saying it on one hand and then this is just going on day to day okay it’s one or the other absolutely got to do something about it
Oliver: yeah stop it where you see it
Jamie: exactly call it out.
Moving on, Oliver
Oliver: yes the nebula awards has announced this year’s nominees. The awards were founded in 1965 by the Science Fiction and Fantasy writers association, began as a way to recognize excellent science fiction and fantasy novels, novellas, and short stories.
Since then several award categories have been added. This year sees ‘Journeys to the Radiant Citadel’ a collection of adventures designed for the tabletop role playing game Dungeons and Dragons 5e being nominated for the best games writing award alongside several notable video games released last year including the fantasy role-playing video game Elden ring and the action RPG video game Horizon Zero Dawn: Forbidden West
Other nominees for the award are the puzzle game, Stray, Pentiment, a video game inspired by mediaeval artwork and history, and a video game adaptation of the horror RPG series of Vampire the Masquerade called “Sins of the Sire”.
Previous winners of the best games writing award include Thirsty Sword Lesbians in 2021 a queer tabletop roleplaying game about sword fighting and passion. The winner of the nebula best games writing award will be announced via virtual ceremony taking place on May the 14th.
Well it’s great to see that these well probably known amongst people who read Science Fiction and Fantasy Books these Nebulae Awards I think quite famous certainly along those uh areas that
Jamie: they absolutely are yeah
Oliver: and they’re now making sort of their well over they have been for a few years now but that’s the first time I’ve heard that they actually recognizing games and and board games or RPGs in this case obviously and as well as video games so that’s yeah nice that they’re they’re being recognized
Jamie: I’m sorry uh listeners I haven’t been doing my homework here I think we may have touched on it either last year or two years ago because I seem to remember thirsty sword lesbians and the nebula Awards coming up previously. I think the best games writing award yeah it’s it’s really good to see the awards evolving and going yep these are just as valid and they have been some fantastic, some fantastic stories.
Journeys Through the radiant Citadel if anyone is unsure is a collection of Adventures uh and each Adventure was created by an author of color which is you know quite serious, not quite serious, but it’s a very notable achievement yeah it’s a pretty strong set of nominees.
I’ve not played Stray, I’ve only seen it, people playing it where you play as a cat going through a mostly abandoned city uh it’s very cute. Pentiment I have and I’ve played about an hour or so, very interesting you’re in the Holy Roman Empire around the time of the Reformation. The art style is very nice it does look like this as you said inspired by medieval artwork so it’s all that kind of fresco look
Oliver: yeah yeah
Jamie: it’s very nice. I’ve not played Sins of the Sires but I have played Vampire the Masquerade a long time ago
Oliver: cool. I know only Stray by name and the others well again by name but not really much about them so but yeah it’s great to see.
Now what else is great to see in the world of board members Jamie?
Jamie: Now GAMA, the non-profit U.S hobby games trade association has announced the results of their election for members of the board of directors. The election covered all categories except retailers, who voted in a separate election on the 28th of March.
The new and returning members of the board of directors are Eric Price of Mejia games Factory over production, Grace Collins from Snow Bright Studio (Creator), Monica Russo of Tabletop Enterprises LLC and Meeples at Sea over media and events, Lee Allentuck the last game board a publisher, and Bo Heath from Arcane Tinmen a wholesaler.
Their positions start on the 1st of April 2023 and run until the 31st of March 2025. still to be announced is the candidate for the retailers category though the nominees are Rhonda Becker the incumbent of the gamer’s den of Cambridge, Minnesota, Mark Franzen of geek world games of Tyler, Texas, Francis Hull of Hometown comics and games Inc of Greenfield Indiana, Don Marinaro of Paddy’s game shop of Saint Cloud, Minnesota, and Jay Mason Grant another incumbent of Black Knight games of Hamilton, Ontario in Canada.
Congratulations to the board of directors and we’re sure we’ll hear very soon about the candidate for the retailers category. So, Oliver I believe you wanted to say something about the GAMA board of directors.
Oliver: yeah it’s I think we’ve we talked about GAMA before there’s lots of noise about things changing at the top and things getting better but always seeing is that boards are being changed new people are being voted in and I don’t know but we’ve actually seen an actual change in the organization as such. I don’t know when we last covered GAMA but it’s it’s yeah yet another election and you know obviously congratulations everyone who was uh voted in and hopefully uh we’ll see what happens with the retailers category but we also want to hear news about how they’re changing the actual you know behavior and and uh representation with within the board and all that. So yeah just hoping to hear some more on that front as well.
Jamie: now onto the rest of the news
Oliver: Cartamundi a belgium-based company that manufactures produces, and sells board and card games has announced that it will close its Waterford City operation threatening the loss of over 230 jobs.
The closure will be phased over a number of months until August of this year and consultations with employees have already started. The factory opened in 1977 and at its peak employed up to 400 people during busy times of the year. Cartamundi points to the post covert decline in demand for board games that put the company under increased economic pressure. The factory itself is said to have made losses for many months making it unsustainable for the business.
The brainwaves team hopes that all employees find new roles and land on their feet. But obviously a good question now is we understand the economic question we understand the decline in demand for board games after Covid obviously there was a huge increase but I do think that’s what we still demand somewhere and are we seeing things moving more to China or is it literally so little demand that you know it’s not going to be replaced somewhere else it just feels like you know closing this Factory means that eventually that capacity is needed again and it’ll you know happen somewhere else.
Jamie: I think I think there is demand I just think the price of production is quite problematic and that you know as you said both Covid decline into the amount of board games there is. I think there has been a notable drop off but I don’t think I think a lot of it is looking for how do we get a lot of units out publishing, or not published, produced in China
Oliver it sounds like the factor has been making losses and I guess this was probably under cards maybe even
Jamie: as you said
Oliver: yeah you know it’s just it’s been something that now there’s a official reason that they can point at because manufacturing outside of China is probably well there’ll be other places but certainly outside China is going to be more expensive so yes yeah but yeah we hope that all the employees find other jobs somewhere else
Now speaking about selling cards what story have you got Jamie?
Jamie: did we talk about selling cards
Oliver: well manufacturing cards
Jamie: okay okay so yes okay right yeah.
The rarest Yu-Gi-Oh card in the world will finally be sold this April. Only one copy was ever printed and it’s been in the hands of its sole owner since 2005 but not anymore. After 18 years he’s ready to part ways with it
As reported on Kotaku. “Tyler the great warrior” was a card created as part of the Make-A-Wish Foundation in the United States for Tyler Gressel who’d been battling a rare liver cancer that only had 200 cases in the entire country. He said
Oliver: “I wanted a Porsche but I wasn’t old enough”
Jamie: Instead Gressel flew to New York City to meet Kazuki Takahashi Yu-Gi-Oh series Creator who created two sketches based on G ressel’s favorite character Future Trunks from Dragon Ball Z and he was able to choose his favorite. He watched the card printer stamp the card which was immediately put into a glass case and never removed until it was recently taken out to be graded.
It almost got a near mint score because of some creases that occurred while it was sitting in its glass storage case but it’s signed by Takahashi who sadly passed away last year while trying to save people from drowning.
Gressel told the Yu-Gi-Oh content creator Alex Simo
Oliver: “As far as I know, nobody’s touched it with their bare hands. I want to part with the card now after so much time, because I think the anticipation has really been killing some really avid collectors. I’m not getting any younger, I want to start a family, I want to own and operate my own business and also help my community as well as travel and see my brother in Switzerland.”
Jamie: Those who are auctioning the card off are in something of a quandary here one representative said
Oliver: “we are in Uncharted Territory here as there’s never been a (one-off) Yu-Gi-Oh card publicly sold”
Jamie: and as such no starting bid has been yet decided on. The card will be auctioned on the 19th of April so fans of Yu-Gi-Oh watch that cyberspace.
I think this is a really, a really nice story and I really like Gressel uh talking about it going you know not getting younger, I want to start a family and he wants you know a business and help the community
Oliver: and it’s time for someone else to enjoy the card I guess you know as well it’s one of those things you hang on to things for a while and you enjoy it and now someone else can have a chance
Jamie: Yeah I think that’s important in so many parts of the world to go you know you can you don’t have to hold on to something for the rest of your life, you can enjoy your time with it and then let it go. When we find out how much it will have sold for we will let you know listeners because I think this might make something of a mint.
Oliver: I think so yeah exciting
Oliver: And now on to uh our jobs opportunities and events listing
We haven’t got any jobs or other opportunities but I found an event or rather a friend of mine who’s going to Salute 50, the 50th annual independent wargaming event on Saturday the 22nd of April at Excel London.
The event says that there will be thousands of guests, hundreds of games, Traders and clubs turn up from all over the world. So this is a great place to go if you’re a tabletop wargamer or hobby painter and want to just see more things happening and that’s a single day event so it’s all going to be all compressed in one day or so sounds exciting and yeah my friend is really looking forward to going.
Jamie: now one day for all that independent war game that’s going to get through what oh two turns of ninth Edition Warhammer 40K.
Oliver: just the setup yeah
Jamie: I know I realize it’s an incredibly Niche joke but uh we’re doing news about tabletop gaming we’re already niche of a niche
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Oliver: yeah there you go yay and you do need the dice if you’re going up to salute 50 as well so
Jamie: I mean that is true that is true
we have a little extra special thing at the end um which Jamie is going to talk to talk or talk to which Jamie is going to talk about
Jamie: I can talk to it but it probably won’t uh react very. Well uh yes traditionally this obviously it was the Monopoly corner but now as you know I’ve branched out in just little interesting things.
Now this is the Royal Mail that Bastion of British forgetting where you live they have announced on its website on the release of the 8th of June 2023 of commemorative stamps for the popular miniature war game Warhammer which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.
Now unfortunately there’s no further information on the artwork or the number of stamps that will be made available, but they’re likely to range from first day covers to frame sets as well as presentation booklets filled with info and artwork.
Now hopefully we might be able to find out a little bit more because Richard Simpson of we’re not Wizards, friend of the show, is responsible for listing all of the stamp collections on eBay for the Royal Mail. So he’ll definitely be getting a set and we might we might try and prod him for a little bit of Insider information as to what or who will be included on those stamps.
So if you’re a Warhammer fan and you like sending letters, quids in!
Oliver: eighth of June is the day to look out for and
Jamie: 8th of June yep probably find out beforehand what the images are
Oliver: but keep an eye out get your hands on the first edition
Jamie: definitely yeah you know what Warhammer fans before they release the second edition stamps and the first edition stamps will be useless and
Jamie: and then it’ll be Third Edition stamps and again this is a niche Warhammer joke but never mind
Thank you very much before I waffle on and, yeah thank you very much for listening.
If you like what you’ve listened to then the best way to help us out is to share the podcast and drop us a review and rating on iTunes now you can also follow us in a myriad of places Oliver has tabletopgamesblog.com with their absolutely fantastic reviews every week and some wonderful thought pieces and opinion pieces on the state of the gaming industry
Oliver: thank you
Jamie: we have we have our Discord which is we’ve got regular stuff going on regular chat regular news stuff if you’d like to contribute to the news at all please come along we like to hear people’s voices we like to you know spread try and get as much information as we can before we bring this to the audio table as it were.
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thank you very much for listening everyone and we’ll see you again soon
Oliver: yes thank you and goodbye