The serious business of making games

Brace Yourself Games laid off around half of its staff of 40-ish people.

That AA space is so hard to be in. Maybe the only teams there already had a big hit and are still paying employees from that war chest.

The 2 latest games from them I know of, the mech one, Phantom Brigade, is less than what was expected at first, but still pretty great. The Industries of Titan one, kinda vanished without impact.

Uh-oh, I thought Industries of Titan was still in early access. It’s been out three years? Ouch.

It left early access in January. I tried it again, but it still didn’t come together for me.

Oh, I see, thanks! Curse those stores showing the EA date as the release date.

Man, Embracer stock tanking makes me nervous since they have bought what feels like 75% of the game studios out there.

I wonder if it was Amazon. Embracer’s existing deal with LotR may have been attractive at least for opening talks.


As a rule, saying what you experience as reality, like, “very few women send in game designs”, ok. Saying why you think reality is how it is, something like “women don’t send in game designs because something something females, something something unlike males”, heh, probably not the sort of thing that needs to leave the confines of anyone’s brain (or exist in them, but what can you do…).

This statement always grinds my gears when it comes to the inevitable backpedaling post (as he did here):

Come on man, of course it reflects your views. It literally is your view! You just shared it!

I think a better response would be owning up to it, acknowledging the feedback and how it allowed them to see the problems in their position (true or not), and how they’re going to use the opportunity to be better.

I don’t know how anyone could believe “All the things that I just took the time to write up and publicly post on the internet aren’t my thoughts on the matter at all!”.

100% this. Dude didn’t make an offhand comment, he wrote a 500-word Twitter post (blue check!) on the topic.

An example of a game proposal from women that he didn’t want to publish:

It’s a game about politics; in general, we don’t publish games about politics

An example of a game proposal from women he’d like to see:

I’ve never been pitched a wargame by a female.

The cognitive dissonance is astounding.

What I really want to know is what’s with women game designers not pitching giant robot games? WTF, ladies? If women want to have more representation in board games, just design board games that the boys want, duh.

It definitely helps to refer to them as “females”.

Oh, come on, when has war ever been political

I even think there was dude, something something Clausewitz, who said “war has nothing to do with politics”, and he was Prussian, so he knew something about it.

There is a long standing strain of thought among wargamers that you can separate the politics from war, leaving only the cool strategies, tactics, and gear behind, free of any connection to anything else. It was bullshit in the 1970s when I started playing wargames, and it’s bullshit today, of course. It has, over the years, primarily served as a convenient fig leaf for steelheads to idolize the Wehrmacht and Waffen SS without showing their true colors.

To be honest, for me some wargames are like bigger, more complex chess matches.

For sure. And to be fair, most wargames of the move-unit-chits-around-a-map type are basically closet fights with little to no time spent examining the underlying politics. They could just as easily be plain-bellied sneetches versus star-bellied sneetches in a paintball arena as Afrika Korps versus the British in the desert. Most wargames only flirt with overt political issues by modeling supply lines or morale.

I like the image of sneetches duking it out.

What you describe is I think exactly accurate. And to some extent, that’s to be expected, as most wargames are games about the mechanics of armed combat. Which is fine, but I think where our irony meters start going off the chart is when folks fail to acknowledge the sleight of hand and try to pretend that wargames and what they simulate are actually devoid of any political baggage.

Yes, exactly! The dichotomy is just funny to me. “I don’t like political games, but I love wargames!” is peak “keep your politics out of my sci-fi” nonsense.