Board Gaming’s Industry Body Refuses To Say A Word About Black Lives Mattering

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Board Gaming’s Industry Body Refuses To Say A Word About Black Lives Mattering
Photo: LOIC VENANCE, GETTY

An increasing number of prominent board game industry and community members have pulled out of an upcoming show over The Game Manufacturers Association’s (GAMA) inability (or refusal) to make a statement about Black Lives Matter.

GAMA owns and operates Origins Online, a big virtual show running later this month that was intended to replace the usual Origins Games Fair (a physical event that has been postponed to October). It was supposed to feature panels, video and support appearances by notable board games people like Wingspan designer Elizabeth Hargrave, Blood Rage creator Eric Lang, Geek & Sundry’s Ruel Gaviola, Boardgamegeek and Man vs Meeple.

Instead those listed, and loads more, have withdrawn from the show over GAMA’s inability, when even the least sanctimonious corporations and sporting leagues on the planet have managed some kind of message, to make even the most basic statement of support for the Black Lives Matter protests that have been sweeping the United States since the beginning of the month.

You, like some people reacting to this news in the board game scene already have, might wonder why the absence of a statement would constitute such actions. It’s not like anyone from GAMA came out and said they were pro-cops, or that George Floyd’s “criminal lifestyle” was to blame for his murder.

But their silence is more than silence. It’s a refusal to support some of their most important and vulnerable members, who have long had to deal with all kinds of shit just for existing in the board game space, which as you might imagine has (and is still having) more than its fair share of problems with bigoted and hateful community members.

That’s just a small smaple; Hargrave has put together a very long list of those who have withdrawn here. It’s so long that it’s difficult to see how the show can proceed without them.

To date, the closest GAMA have come to saying anything about the issue has been retweeting this message from the Origins show account a few days ago, part of an initiative to support “black creators & designers” and work towards ways “we can all support the Black members of our community better.”

In contrast, here’s a statement released by video gaming’s equivalent body, the Entertainment Software Association, one week ago:

That’s the absolute bare minimum of effort and support, but it is at least something. The fact GAMA hasn’t even been able to cobble something like that together is wild, and the longer their silence continues, whether it’s intentional or not, the worse it’s going to get.

Comments

  • You know what they say… Get Woke, Become so jaded that even when someone says they support something, you still have to criticise them cos you have to feel like you are doing something, and then go broke. 😛

    • yeah this whole woke movement idea where EVERYONE must opening support your movement or their the enemy is stupid.. We need to REMOVE SJW from the issue because its actually sabotaging the whole message! SHAME people can’t see that.

      When a company attaches themselves in someway to any social thing, to me that says “please buy our products because we pretend to care, see we said good thing!”…. PAPER THIN! But we shouldn’t care what any corporation thinks anyway, they worship money, period. THAT will NEVER change! EVER!

  • I’m not sure I really like this mob mentality of “You either say something or you’re against us”. While it seems like a simple solution of them saying something, at this point it will be very hard to distinguish a genuine statement from one that’s made to prevent this peer pressure.

    It’s about what you’re doing that matters, not how loudly you announce it to the world.

    • On the Internet, it’s about how loudly you announce it to the world, not about backing up your words wth actions.

      • Well, yeah. Saying stuff is easy. Actually DOING stuff? That’s hard, man!

        Wait, does changing my social media profile picture count as saying or doing?

    • Wrong, actually. How loud you say something does matter.

      Making sexist and racist jokes leads to increased domestic violence and racist events respectively.

      By refusing to make even a token statement you’re saying that opposing racism is somehow too much effort.

      Imagine how shit of a person you have to be to think opposing racism is someow a moral conundrum or something to be neutral about.

  • what a joke. Just because companies don’t come out and say something it means we are going to condemn them and boycott them. quite frankly the less a company says on the issues of the day the better in my books. Less we end up with society being like in continuum.

    • corporations shouldn’t be making stances anyway. it never comes off as genuine. we know they only do it for clout and so people don’t condemn them. it’s literally just a PR move. maybe the people at the top do care. if they do they should declare that on their personal accounts.

      • You’re right. Most companies are scared, and rightly so, of being cyber-bullied by the social justice mob. It’s almost a mass sociogenic illness, where not spouting trite statements of solidarity could just see a company accused of witchcraft, resulting in brand destruction.

  • It’s not like anyone from GAMA came out and said they were pro-cops…

    What’s wrong with being pro-cops? I appreciate all the work that the Police do to keep us safe as a society. There are bad and/or incompetent Police, but that can be said about any industry or profession on Earth. All these ‘good cop is a dead cop’, ‘defund the Police’ types would be the first ones bleating for help if they were attacked in the street. If the Police weren’t there, something would fill the void, and it wouldn’t be pretty. It would just be mob justice.

    • yeah the whole thing is a joke. the same people that call people out for judging a race on the actions of an individual are the ones judging every police officer on the actions of an individual. i support our police officers and that should not be seen as a bad thing.

    • You are taking what he said out of context, clearly he it is not saying pro-cops vein pro cops is bad, but being ‘pro-those-cops’ is. Not just the wankers who let George die but the ones who knocked over that old man and (originally) didn’t stop to help him, even though he was bleeding from the head. And any other dozens of examples just in the last few weeks alone.

    • One thing I’ve learned that is a very, very important distinction is that our cops aren’t the same as USA cops. It’s a big problem amidst a lot of other societal big problems they have and it makes a huge fuck-fest that they’re having trouble dealing with.

      We are not as deep down the shit hole so of course, we don’t have the same absolute disdain for police, whenever I hear the expression “defund the police” or that they’re unnecessary it makes me wince, they’re so in the middle of it that they can’t get a reasonable perspective and are making flustered, poorly thought out and desperate extreme reactionary decisions which when looked upon from the fence just makes it seem kinda silly.

  • “Actions speak louder than words… But if you dont say the words we’ll still boycott and condemn you for that too!”

  • Surely requesting action from those with the means to do so, as well as educating the population about regular or casual racism faced by all people’s of colour is the goal. Not demanding tokenistic statements from companies that just want to carry on with making sales and keeping people employed.

    • Well, to be honest, most companies aren’t interested in keeping people employed. That’s just an expensive but necessary inconvenience in order to do the “making sales” bit.

    • That’s the really weird thing about it… Ordering people to speak then expecting anything they say to be genuine after that is so incredibly moronic it boggles the mind.

      Worse yet is how a good deal of people are placated once their demands are met and they’ve established dominance over whoever they were screaming at, proving that their true nature is very much only about exerting power over others and nothing else.

      People who genuinely care would never accept a coerced statement… They’d also be too busy actually caring about and supporting those who need it to be running about trying to cancel everyone that didn’t chant from the rooftops in support of whatever cause they were currently pushing.

  • “Support our cause or we will destroy your business”

    Hmmm, For a group that is very against Fascism, You seem to demonstrating a lot of behaviours common in Fascist regimes.

    • Where is the “we’ll destroy your business” bit? These are creators and collaborators who are stepping down from associating with that business since they don’t feel it represents their values and what’s important for them. And that’s fascism? Exercising their right to free association?

      • They are pulling out in an attempt to harm the event, in order to force the group to support their view. They won’t accept anything less than full compliance otherwise it’s off to the virtual gulag.

        What’s funny though is that if their hissy fits work it means the eventual message of support won’t be genuine given they were essentially blackmailed into doing it.

  • They act like mobsters.
    “I see uhh, your little company here. It’s nice. But I can’t help but notice… you haven’t commented on a current issue. It’d be a shame if something were to happen to your reputation…”

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