Scythe and Charterstone designer urges gamers: ‘Don’t turn a blind eye to harassment’


DSC_4642-57968.jpg Players at UK Games Expo 2017

Jamey Stegmaier pens open letter with advice on helping the ‘gaming industry to survive and thrive’

The creator of last year's Scythe and upcoming legacy title Charterstone has written an open letter to tabletop gamers with his advice and thoughts on helping the “‘gaming industry to survive and thrive”.

Among the ten points listed by Jamey Stegmaier are sympathetic acknowledgments of situations that players often gripe about online, including missing parts (“99% of the time, the solution is super simple: Go to the publisher’s website and fill out their replacement parts form.”), boxes that aren’t designed to hold future expansions (“Most publishers don’t have a 10-year roadmap for all possible expansions before the core game is even released.”) and why promos and expansions aren’t included with the core game (“Remember that other gamers may have different priorities. […] While it’s fine for you to feel that way, consider the impact on the cost and price.”)

There are also some friendly tips on how players can let designers and publishers know their feelings about games and encourage future support for expansions and reprints without being aggressive – including rating games on BoardGameGeek (“Even if it’s not a top-notch rating, it demonstrates that people have actually played the game.”) and making negative posts constructive rather than simply attacking a game’s creators, with Stegmaier remarking: “You have the power to make an impact on future games every time you share your thoughts instead of just spreading hate.”

Stegmaier takes the time to remind experienced players to consider their audience when introducing someone new to the hobby, advising them that their favourite games and non-inclusive terminology might not necessarily be the best way to get a friend to enjoy gaming and explore other tabletop offerings.

Building on the idea of reinforcing gaming as a welcoming hobby for all to enjoy, he concludes by commenting on the issue of harassment in the hobby, bluntly urging players to not only not harass fellow gamers but to also speak up when they see harassment happening, regardless of where it takes place or to whom it occurs.

“The gaming community can be a wonderfully welcoming place for people of all shapes, sizes, creeds, races, genders, nationalities, sexualities and ages,” Stegmaier writes.

“The entire industry – gamers, designers, publishers, etc. – benefits from this diversity and ever-expanding community. So don’t harass people who are different than you, and when you see harassment happening (in person or online), don’t turn a blind eye.”

While many of the topics discussed are serious, it’s a wonderfully positive and upbeat read with some excellent points, and is well worth checking out in full.

Stegmaier wrote a similarly insightful and open letter to Kickstarter backers in 2015, offering some thoughts on the relationship between creators and fans who have invested their money in a project, which remains just as relevant and important – if not more-so – today.

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