Today’s featured Board Game media are Cardboard Republic creators, Erin Ryan and Ryan LaFlamme. Cardboard Republic is your one stop shop for all things board game related. They have a great blog with everything from reviews, previews, and current board game happenings. Their podcast Vox Republica is where they talk about games they have played, interviews with designers, and discuss board game news items. They even create some fun, short, videos where Erin goes over their current game hauls, and my personal favorite, the To Be Played segments where she covers what they managed to get to the table the previous month and what they hope to get played in the coming month.
Three random facts about Erin:
- She once got a sunburn on Loch Ness. Unfortunately, she did not see any monsters. Cryptozoology fail.
- She will play any game with a haunted house/ghost theme, no matter how awful the mechanics, design etc. Seriously. Any. Game.
- She is a certified SCUBA diver. While sitting on the bottom of the ocean, she was once hit in the face by a startled lobster.
Three random facts about Ryan:
- He has an innate ability to fall asleep pretty much anywhere with minimal effort, and has done so in more than a few strange places, including on a flight of stairs, the kitchen floor, and a park bench.
- He has terrible handwriting, a fact that has not changed in his entire life. He has documentation about his poor quality going as far back as elementary school.
- Whenever he hears a song by The Cranberries, it makes him think of classic PC shooters like Heretic and Doom. His Mother would play their copy of the cd while doing housework on weekends, which is often when he would be using the family computer.
Questions by Kimberly Bullock (KB) answers by Erin (E) and Ryan (R)
Three board game media related questions:
KB: How did you get your start in board game media?
E: Ryan can probably explain this better than I can, but . . . we loved games, and wanted to talk about them. So, you know, we made some space to do that, particularly for indie games.
R: I've always been a fan of gaming and toyed with doing game coverage as far back as 2009. We didn't start seriously laying the groundwork for it though until Erin and I rounded up a group of interested individuals in the summer of 2012. It seems weird to say, but back then there was far fewer reviewers than there are now and we believed we had a unique approach to offer the community. So we decided to go for it. By the fall, the CR had launched. Our mission was twofold from the start. First, we felt there was a better way to review games than strictly whether we liked it or not and instead focused on the types of gamers who would like a game (in addition to its overall quality) - what we call our gaming archetypes. Secondly, we wanted to help give voice to some of the more indie game publishers out there, which coincided nicely with the nascent of Kickstarter popularity.
KB: If you could only consume one kind of board game media, what would it be, and why?
E: Does Twitter count? Board game Twitter is the best.
Editor’s Note: Of course board game Twitter counts, and we love it.
R: Of the big three, I have to go with written media. They all have merit, but I like being able to check out content when I'm between work projects or on the go. I'm often in a position where I'm trying to find information quickly or I can't watch/listen easily. Outside of gameplay examples, the written medium gives the quickest and easiest access to the gaming content I seek while also letting me conveniently consume it.
KB: What is your favorite part of creating media?
E: Sharing my experiences with games, and making space for other people to share theirs as well.
R: The discourse and networking that comes as a result of sharing it with others. More than anything else, the relationships (both professional and personal) that we've fostered over the last few years validates why we got into it in the first place. Whether it's requests for our services or simply chatting about content on social media, it's that personal interaction that keeps me going.
Three Questions that are just for fun:
KB: What is your favorite season?
E: Fall, of course. I've only met a few people who live in New England and don't say Fall.
R: Fall. It'd be weird as a New Englander to say otherwise.
KB: Where did you grow up?
E: Northern Massachusetts.
R: Born and raised in northern Massachusetts. My family hasn't really gone that far these last 400 years.
KB: What is one book you have read that has really stuck with you?
E: I read a lot and I'm really impressionable, so every book I read is The Best Book Ever for about a month after I finish it. But that said, Helene Hanff's 84, Charing Cross Road made me laugh and cry and order the sequel, all by page 5.
R: Ooh, tricky one. I'll go with Thoreau's Walden. I don't subscribe to every single facet of the book's philosophy, but when I first came across it as a teenager it left an indelible mark. It illustrated that you could have different viewpoints from those around you, and that doing so sometimes may be for the best. Most teens are conditioned to go with the group, so I enjoyed the ideas found within about forging your own path and thinking for yourself. It didn't create those notions for me, but it reaffirmed that it was ok to do so.