Saturday, 26 April 2014

Train and Waggle Dance, yes again!!

So my Saturday has been taken up with two games. Not what I had expected but it's turned out to a fascinating day. I had plans of writing some of my teaching essay for Uni, it's due in tomorrow week so about time I dedicated an hour or two on it. As it was I got a lot more written than I'd expected and so was ready to learn a new game, The End of Atlantis. At Essen last year, Philip and I sat down at this amazing circular board and waiting patiently for someone to come over and sell it to us. Being British we were very patient for a good quarter of an hour and then sloped away hopefully unnoticed! Never mind. I picked it up a few weeks ago now, the few bits on the Geek read well and the board is so very pretty....

As it was Henry from Grublin dropped me an email saying he was hoping to submit Waggle Dance to the Geek today so that it's up tomorrow on its own page. That's where all games dream of being, and will be the start of the funding process too, with it being launched on kickstarter on the 27th May. As Hagrid would say, 'Oops, I shouldn't have told you that!' My resemblance to the character has been put to me before so don't go there. Henry was after some feedback on his blurb for the game so a few us have been trading insults and suggestions, changing words and tea-towel ideas. It was a very interesting process to be involved in and hopefully of use.

During the conversations I caught up with the fact that the mighty Tractor Boys have another season down under, although that will include a trip down the road to see them against Brentford. And an East Anglian derby of epic proportions is still looking very likely too. I then swooped down onto a conversation about depressing games. Depression being so dear to my heart, and even closer to my head, I was intrigued by the number of bizarrely themed games. Some well clearly humour-based but others, well, I don't know what the designer(s) were thinking. Then one provoked even more than the usual debate. A game simply called 'Train'.

It's taken me hours to read through all the posts on a single discussion about this game, it's heavy reading and I'm not sure I'm quite bright enough to have taken it all in. Anyway, the 'game' is a one off, not made public, only used by the 'designer' to offer her take on history, in this case placing Jews on trains as part of the holocaust. It is more of an art-piece than a game. But that gaming is able to offer such important subjects for consideration is important to me. Whether the designer should have ensured more historical accuracy I'm not so convinced about. Some of the more valid points, in my opinion, are;

  • 'the strength of the game is that it gets a reaction from everyone who encounters it'
  • 'it makes devaluing life shocking or horrifying'
  • 'meant to elicit a knee-jerk reaction and prod our consciences'
There are discussions on the possible self-publicising nature of the designer. Those that say the hidden information should not have been hidden. That tragedy should not be politicized. For me though I believe that anything that raises this topic, in whatever form, has to be valid. We must never forget what happened there, never let it happen again although I'm far from convinced that we're doing that even now. 


  1. Balance in all things Neil. Burnley won, so for me it was a very happy day!

  2. Yey for tea towels. You can never have too many.