#222: Fumbling towards a New Normal


We celebrate the release of a palindrome episode with the glorious news of the return of SHUX, the Shut Up & Sit Down Expo. Perhaps more relevantly, SVWAG are invited guests! Both Mark and Walker will be in Vancouver from September 30th to October 2nd. Now that you know where they will be, you can more efficiently avoid them. Or you could go play a game with them, whatevs.

02:54 AYURIS: Tidal Blades: Heroes of the Reef (Tim Eisner & Ben Eisner, Druid City Games, 2020)

Games Played Last Week:
05:45 -Vengeance: Roll & Fight (Gordon Calleja, Noralie Lubbers, & Dávid Turczi, Mighty Boards, 2022)
10:05 -Regicide (Paul Abrahams, Luke Badger, & Andy Richdale, Badgers from Mars, 2020)
10:52 -Scape Goat (Jon Perry, Indie Boards & Cards, 2020)
12:54 -Battlelore 2nd Edition (Richard Borg & Robert A. Kouba, FFG, 2013)
15:57 -Millennium Blades: Collusion (Joshua Van Laningham & D. Brad Talton, Jr., Level 99 Games, 2021)
21:32 -Golem (Flaminia Brasini, Virginio Gigli, & Simone Luciani, Cranio Creations, 2021)
22:42 -Clash of the Gladiators (Reiner Knizia, Rio Grande Games, 2002)
27:17 -Guards of Atlantis II (Artyom Nichipurov, Wolff Designa, 2022)
28:22 -Ghost Adventure (Wlad Watine, Buzzy Games, 2020)
31:36 -Orléans (Reiner Stockhausen, dlp Games, 2014)
33:01 -Shamans (Cédrick Chaboussit, Studio H, 2021)
37:19 -Carnegie (Xavier Georges, Quined Games, 2022)
38:39 -Scythe (Jamey Stegmaier, Stonemaier Games, 2016)
39:44 -The Guild of Merchant Explorers (Matthew Dunstan & Brett J. Gilbert, AEG, 2022)

News (and why it doesn’t matter):
41:09 Discordia by Bernd Eisenstein
41:25 Spiel des Jahres Winner: Cascadia from Randy Flynn and Flatout Games, Kennerspiel Living Forest from Aske Christiansen and Ludonaute
41:52 The Wordle nightmare evolves into board form
42.32 Sabika by Germán P. Millán
43:00 SVWAG at the Shut Up & Sit Down Expo: SHUX! September 30 - October 2

43:57Topic: Fumbling towards a New Normal
Video: Board Game Design: How COVID 19 changed the board game industry forever

It makes me bummed to hear how much they like Battlelore because more than likely I’ll never have the chance to play it. Same with hearing about people’s love for Descent 2nd ed

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I picked up a base game copy a while ago and have resigned myself to just never having the expansion content.

Yeah I think that’s the best you can do now

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I’m very curious on the New Normal with everybody here - both with themselves and their gaming group.

My gaming group had this new influx of members precisely because of COVID! Chatting with them, their reasons is that they feel like they need a social hobby. However, Party games, as fun as they are, didn’t came back with force. If anything we became more drawn towards the medium/heavy ones - even the new comers! We now refer to them as the “Ark Nova group”. It is also nice to see that our game nights nowadays tend to consist with appox half of the regular members being women.

However, it seems back to normal for us. But I don’t attend still if I have symptoms or found myself positive. That seems to be the policy for everyone else.

As for myself, the pandemic did emphasis to me how life is short and killed the collector in me (although he still collects. He still couldn’t let go of his Mask trilogy series) Hence why you see my ambitious 40 mid- to heavy-games goal.


Still recommend it just for that. I’m lucky enough that I got the last exp brand new without the silly price. But I have to fight in bids with the others on eBay


Well, the new normal being heatwaves in the summer and covid waves in the winter…

In private, I am mostly meeting people normally. I expect people to be a bit more aware about staying away from others if they have any symptoms for anything. But for meeting friends, I feel the risk is far smaller than what I would have to give up. So games would be happening as pre-pandemic (if we weren‘t so busy with renovations) because my gaming has always been primarily within my close circle of friends.

Just before the pandemic we had made plans to go to FLGS for their gamenights. That never happened and probably won‘t ever at this point.

I have never gone to any conventions except SPIEL. SPIEL is not a convention. I will talk to our „hosts“ soon and make it clear that we will not be going to SPIEL if they are uncomfortable with us visiting. I will also make clear that my decision to go will be very last minute this year. The current wave seems to be breaking a little so we may actually have a chance in October… I am lucky that I do not need to book a hotel. (I also just found out I have another ‚relative‘ living even closer to SPIEL now). If I go to SPIEL, I‘ll be masked whenever I am inside and I will definitely not be going on Saturdays or Sundays. I might still play games with strangers I guess… if they are masked as well. But I might also just be too nervous and just buy a ton of games and leave quickly, who knows?

For me the biggest change has been that I have started playing boardgames remotely on various websites and TTS (I did that before a couple of times). It is not a regular thing except with my one friend but it has opened up some gaming opportunities for me.

I think this will be the way things are in the forseeable future.

As for the games themselves: I am trying to keep my collection size in check, currently there is a slight upward trend only partially due to KS deliveries. I see myself shying away from Crowdfunding more often due to the whole pricing scheme that got out of hand partially due to the pandemic.


No masks to be seen in public in the UK, and even at Airecon people were taking them off while at tables. Similarly Stabcon at the start of this month. I will admit I find it difficult to be the only person keeping a mask on.


I still wear a mask indoors—unless in a private setting.

I had my mask on—as I still have to—on the train to Frankfurt last week. And I would have even if I didn‘t have to. I saw a couple of passengers took theirs off while in their seat. That is mostly their problem.

A lot of our friends recently caught it. Some on vacation (we got lucky), some at work (we still work from home 99% of the time), some we just don‘t know. The virus is everywhere and while certain risks (with friends) are acceptable to me, others are not.


Friend who was also at Stabcon got it - I didn’t. We mostly didn’t play the same games; but I strongly suspect that his main exposure would have been on the train, while I drove.

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Ive found similar. Now I mostly play a TCG seeing a lot more players enter the game because lockdown as they weren’t spending money on other things so why not splash out a little? This was then followed by an influx of MTG players wanting to be big fish in a small pond. The community is much more cohesive than boardgames (no debating what game to play) and I’ve found a great community has grown up around that. I’m honestly not sure if the playerbase would be so diverse in outlook without lock down. Made some really good friends with similar outlook to me (enjoy competitive play, but will prioritise life events). Also enjoyed playing with people around the world and chatting after, it’s just been a really enriching experience for me in a way I’ve not experienced with other hobbies (even boardgames) - a great way of opening conversations with total strangers.

There has been some conflict around Covid though. Opinions vary from “it’s normal now, no precautions needed” to people really stressing out over wanting policies implemented to force mask wearing etc. This has been exacerbated by 2 events with people testing pos for covid shortly after - whether it was at the event or travel etc is unknown but people speculate. It has reached a point of ‘what are civil liberties?’ existentialism, but tbh the people wanting tough restrictions have largely been ignored/dismissed (for better or worse). Seems to fallen into the line of people can take whatever precautions they want to but you can’t make other players do anything, which obviously favours the no precaution players.

Likewise a lot of ‘non-gamer’ friends have asked about boardgames with renewed interest. But it never quite gets to concrete plans for games night, so same old same old.

Personally I’ve just settled into games as part of lifestyle without wanting it to become my whole life. I collect and have games that won’t see much play, but I’m lucky to have disposable income so it makes no difference to me. “Spending money is okay, let it go” has been quite liberating for me, as I’ve been raised to pathologically save money which has caused issues in the past (I somehow left Uni with more money than I went in with…). Likewise I’m thinking more about rivalry between games in the sense of “if I’m always going to choose X, why keep Y?”. Letting things happen rather than being more proactive with trying to organise games nights etc has worked for me. Mainly making a conscious effort for hobbies not to become a second job to manage and coordinate. Recognising I tend to hyperfixate on one thing and dive all in has been nice for me, and I feel better able to stop myself doing that now. Everything in moderation!


My pre-pandemic gaming was mostly a dining room table group at either my house or my (then) neighbor’s house, with about 8 total “members”, but only me and said neighbor were the “regulars”.

My former neighbor has resumed his dining room table game nights and I would certainly be there if it weren’t for small children at home that don’t yet know the joy of sleeping through the night.


My gaming has returned to pre-pandemic normal, as it always just involved a few friends getting together at someone’s house and gaming for a few hours a couple times a month, at best.


I wouldn’t have board gamearena without the pandemic. I like the weekly check in with a couple of the guys but I sort of also dislike the schedule around a zoom call. I’d much prefer it if everyone was down with a personal meet up but I think one or two are still hyper nervous about covid.

The table we used to play on got the heave ho for a work desk so now we play on the floor. My knees are not thanking me and we have to have better eyesight to play some larger stuff. We’re getting a small table so hopefully that will fix that problem.

Covid itself has probably made me more wreckless about covid - I feel like the loss of being isolated and cooped is a hard cost just to remain “healthy” (while my health gets more messed for other reasons as my regular exercise groups and activities went to toast).

Gaming has been a bit different here in NZ as we had longer periods during the last two and a half years where we were free of the virus, but we have had masks for nearly a year now (Delta in August and Omicron in Feb-March, which still lingers with a “second” wave complicated with winter flu coming strong as well).

Still people is avert to wear masks very often, and I admit once I’ve gone through it and luckily was like a strong cold only, I am not too freaked out by it, so I comply mainly from a professional point of view. My new company test us with PCR 3 days a week, and I remain with masks in common areas and inter-departmental meetings, but when we get results for all my office as negative, masks go out that day while we are in our department. But last night I went to a basketball game and hardly anybody was wearing a mask, and last Saturday we went to the pub to see the ABs playing Ireland, and only the staff was masked, and not all covering their nose.

Regarding gaming groups, things are back to “normal” and in our Monday night in Napier we all are vaccinated and nobody wears a mask. A new Friday night has started for the last 3 or 4 weeks and it is starting to settle, with smaller numbers, but it is only a 5 mins drive from home (if that) here in Hastings, while Napier is 20-25 mins each way. Nobody wears mask there either.

In a way, I admit that I am not very fussed because I a have no elders in my family I can pass it to. If I had, or when I get closer to travelling back to Europe in November, I think I will be a lot more cautious.

We tried to get to a new normal with the first kids’ party in our gaming group in about 2-3 years - a rooftop pool party at our house. It was great, the kids had fun, the dads drank too much, the mums all caught up (sorry for the stereotypes, but it did work out that way).

But now I think all three of our kids have covid. But the only way to check would be to take time off work to visit a doctor to get a recommendation to get tested, which is somewhat expensive, you aren’t guaranteed that the doctor will even be cooperative without fevers presenting, and our workplaces would get huffy about taking the time off. So they keep going to daycare/school, we keep working, and I wonder if we are being irresponsible.

If they do have covid, and I think we’ll find out at the weekend, we’ll be back to spending more money on testing to determine when we can back to work and school/daycare, more hits to our salaries, etc. It seems that the “new normal” sucks.

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I’m a tad alarmed that a first world country doesn’t have free testing


There is (insufficient) free testing for people without symptoms.

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That’s a more defensible position, surely. Are healthy people likely to spend their free time wasting government resources getting tested without a suspicion of having COVID? Seems unlikely.

A: “I have the day off, what should we do today?”
B: “Oh, I know, let’s go stick something uncomfortable in our noses!”
A: “Well, okay, but this time just the COVID test.”

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I think the main thing is that it brings down % positive figures, or something?

But a lot of people do need proof of a negative test, and I think that’s why the service is there. As long as you don’t mind waiting in a line all day with people you could catch covid from.

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