Board Game Breakfast – Separating Art and the Artist


Tom Vasel reviews The Outer Worlds. Tom also discusses whether you can separate art and the artist who creates it. Plus, many great segments from a plethora of board game experts! Episode # 355.

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0:00 Introduction
1:39 What You Missed on the Internet
2:34 Meeple University
4:32 Ryan & Bethany
6:26 Tom Reviews…Other Stuff
9:52 Ip Match
11:59 Dice Tower Productions
14:14 Girls’ Game Shelf
15:30 Called to Cultivate
17:30 From the Page to the Table
19:35 Tom Thinks
24:13 Board Game Bakes
26:14 By The Numbers
28:06 Dan & Cora
31:11 Outro

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  1. A Piece of the Action says

    Cora immediately won my heart. Great segment.

  2. Thomas Romanelli says

    As usual, a very thought-provoking segment this week regarding "Separating Art from the Artist".

    I think Tom has adopted a very measured and rational approach to this issue, especially as social/political mores will continue to evolve and something that's OK now may not be considered so ten or twenty years hence. As an influential figure in the hobby, I was glad to see that Tom advocates a respect for an individual's choice as concerns potentially controversial designers or their games. If two players can't agree on a title because the subject matter/artist/publisher is deemed offensive in some way, we're should consider ourselves fortunate to have access to so many games that don't have any baggage (yet 😉). "Move on and play on" is a sound and mature stance that all of us could practice.

  3. Cheree Low says

    Agree with you Bethany about Splendor’s theme. This one looks cute!

  4. Dene Glavas says

    Totally agree with your 'Tom Thinks' this week, no one should need to defend their decisions when those decisions in no way hurt anyone else. Everyone can buy from whoever they want, though informing someone (especially a friend) if you think there's a reason not to buy from a particular designer/publisher is a different story, but it's ultimately of course their decision.

    Recently heard about some of the practices of John Bohrer and decided not to buy Ride The Rails, but when a friend offered his copy and I knew the money wasn't going directly to the designer then I bought it. How I feel about the game (it's great) and the designer are compltely separate for me, it's more about who I'm supporting with what I buy

  5. SeventySilk says

    About Tom Thinks: If we weren't allowed to enjoy art when the artist was problematic, we wouldn't be able to enjoy Rembrandt, or Carravaggio, to name a few. Carravagio was a notoriously violent person, who commited murder on at least two occassions. Rembrandt alienated all his friends and clients with his behavior, openly lived together with an unmarried woman, ditched that woman after years of living together for the new housekeeper and admitted his former lover to a woman's correctional facility, probably because of a financial quarrel.

    Humans can be incredibly scummy, but that doesn't devalue their talents or the importance of their additions to their particular field of art.

  6. Cammy Watt says

    So much great art has been spoiled by peoples scummy actions, and as much as I want to enjoy that art again (and I've tried) I just can't immerse myself 100%.

  7. Kevin Gillette says

    The best part is when she jumped when he said coraquest. Also Ryan and Bethany is a great segment. I love it when couples are honest.

  8. Andres Fresquez says

    I love Cancel Culture. "The Revolution will not be televised"

  9. Andres Fresquez says

    Disagree & agree at the same time for different reasons. I don't support artists that live a life that offends me; however, it doesn't bother me if someone else does. I would even be willing to play with them as long as I can state my opinion while playing. I can't help but think of Annie Hall and Woody Allen. I like the movie but don't agree with the director/writer. I wouldn't watch with someone, agree that people are entitled to be WRONG! BTW, Cora Quest sounds awesome! I need to look into that.

  10. skibber999 says

    Even though I live in Denmark there is no doubt that American elections effect my life/world as well. This would be a very interesting game to try 👍

  11. One Tough Yorkie Dog says

    Our society is based upon the majority making a decision about what is acceptable and unacceptable. Unfortunately it can result in bad things being deemed acceptable as well as good. Sometimes our leaders force things for good or ill but ultimately the majority should prevail in a democracy. The first part of becoming a better society is informing people about an issue. Whether we like it or not, the second part is societal pressure on individuals or groups to “do the right thing” based on that information. This pressure is neither universally good or bad but is necessary. The decision to consume the work of an artist with different views than others or society is an individual freedom in many parts of the world but it isn’t without a cost. Free refers to the choice, not any judgement. 100% freedom with no societal pressure is anarchy. Many of the past bad aspects of our society were once reinforced by societal pressure but eventually reversed due to opposite societal pressure. We are affected by societal pressure everyday but we don’t see it because we have internalized it. We have to be called out on them when they negatively affect others. Maybe this is too deep for this discussion and YouTube comments but it’s a slippery slope to pick and choose when someone is allowed to be questioned, it’s part of the freedom many of us embrace. Edit, one thing though, people are allowed to question you but not control your choice unless it can harm others

  12. Brian Garmon says

    Separating art and artist is almost a necessity. Otherwise it would require a full time staff curating Twitter garbage and hate from all sides of the political sphere just from boardgame personalities, designers, and publishers.

  13. Daniel Falkenstein says

    We had a case in my original home town in Germany where it was found out that the guy who wrote some of very popular local carnival songs basically was a nazi and responsible for the deaths of many innocent people at the time. The question came up if his songs still can be played or sung (also publicly). Some argued that they could as the songs had nothing to do with his beliefs contentwise and were just good fun. For me I can say I would not be able to join such a song and I think they should not be part of public celebrations. I would not command others to not sing it privately. But if they did, I know that I would most definitly not get along very well with such a person.

  14. SeaRose says

    Excited about that game Holi behind you! That has got to be the coolest festival in the world (ties maybe with the one in Thailand where everyone sprays one another with water endlessly)

  15. Nina Jiron says

    Amulet of nimbleness…I need that in my everyday life! 🤣

  16. Scott Miller says

    I don't think it's even right to tell people, "Did you know that developer did such-and-such?" Or even, "I won't play this game because the publisher did such-and-such." That's just too close to Cancel Culture for my taste, and I despise Cancel Culture.

    In the words of the wise, "Let your yes be yes and your no be no." Just tell the other person, "I don't play games by that designer because I have issues with some things he's said/done/etc." "Oh, what did he do?" "I'm not going to get into it, but the information is out there if you are interested."

  17. Hengst 2404 says

    Great Topic for Tom to bring up and he certainly explains things fairly clearly. For me, I have not really had much of an issue, in life, with separating people from their work. There are a ton of celebs and creatives out there that I do not agree with, or at least am not as far out as they are, but I can still enjoy their work. Let's face it, anyone even moderately conservative really has no choice but to make their peace as there wouldn't be much to watch otherwise. I always look at Jeep Creepers as my example. Loved the first movie and enjoyed the sequel. Shortly after seeing the sequel I found out that the director is a convicted sex offender and sexually assaulted a minor on a film he made back in the 80s. Due to more lax laws back then, he really didn't suffer many consequences for his actions. I have not watched Jeepers Creepers since.

  18. Chris Hanson says

    Was there a specific thing in gaming culture I missed?
    Who needs to be DOTA'd?

  19. Woodland Alliance says

    Tom thinks is on point as usual.

  20. Calvin Brooks says

    Great episode. Loved how CoraQuest is coming along. Wait….I have to yell it…CORAQUEST!!!. Also, like the Tom Thinks.

  21. ralelunar says

    I've recently come across Circe so thanks for the recommendation, Jenn!

  22. antoyal says

    23:50 The topic of "helpfully" informing people that their faves are problematic can be a thorny one. I think that there is a difference between a) warning people who are likely to be receptive to the warning because it is pertinent to the topic at hand (a warning about a company's crowd funding history popping up in a thread about one of their current Kickstarter campaigns, for example), b) being a morality police officer by naming and shaming artists' wrongthink (going to the forums for a game and dropping "Ackchyually…" bombs, for example), and c) just being a typical troll.

    For me personally, b) is the most annoying. That behavior comes from a very human impulse, but it's one that a lot of us need to get better at controlling.

  23. James D says

    Good 'Tom Thinks' segment. He seems to touch on the cancel culture that is poisoning our public discourse. I can enjoy a game, film or music of an artist I disagree with because they are not trying to get in my face with their opinions. When their art is trying to get in my face with their opinions that's when I turn it off….BUT I would never tell someone else they can't enjoy it.

  24. theaerialnight says

    100% agree on separating the artist from the product though it’s difficult sometimes. There are some extremely opinionated designers, I just chalk it up to eccentricity often travels alongside creativity.

  25. Rebecca Ruhlman says

    In regards to Tom thinks, I will refer people to Lindsay Ellis’ essays on “death of the author”. Basically, yes dota can be applied to games if the author is gone or dead. But as they are directly profiting from their behaviors, that should be factored into the totality of their product. I will also add that because one may be privileged enough to not have something directly affect them, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t affect their surroundings community. And force people to leave boardgaming

  26. The Hexy Beast says

    tom i totally agree with you about separating art from the artist…. i tend to find most political games bad taste but its not my place to say whats in someones collection.

  27. Joseph DeBarr says

    Tom Thinks is right on. I do not think I could say it better so I will not. Love the show. Oh, and CORA QUEST is awesome. Thank you all for all that you do.

  28. Sebastian Trost says

    I think it is essential to seperate every human from their contributions (be it a scientist and her/his studies or a game designers and theirs games), as only very very few among us are actual 'universal geniusses' – the vast majority of us humans are (very) competent in some things, while lacking competence in other areas.
    Our assumptions of ourselves being right (or entitled, intelligent, etc.) might lead to people creating scientific breakthroughs in their field and simulatneously teaching their fantasies as facts in other fields, or creating family entertainment while personally stating controversial opinions or even violating (the rights of) others.
    Destructive, hurt- and hateful actions must not be ignored! (Just to be clear)
    But discarding something great would be wasteful, regardless of any faults or attrocities of its creator.

    I think Tom put it very well: If you cannot enjoy something because of the person behind it, that's completely understandable, but don't force others to discard something.

  29. Mikael Hansson says

    Tom, I think the same can be said about many things. Movies, books, religion, music etc. JK Rowling doesn't seem to be popular these days, and she's done a very popular series of books of course.

    I would never buy Secret Hitler, and might not play it either. But I don't care if others do. And if I should stop listen to music done by people who have taken illegal substances (which I'm very much against), I'd have to lose many great artists from my favourites (I'm a big fan of 70s music).

  30. Tony G says

    Great Tom Thinks segment. People want to bring out their torches and pitchforks too often these days and sure that's fine, stand up for what you believe in but stop trying to impose your views on everyone to the point of shaming them for choosing to play a game.

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