30 September 2013
With babygeddon almost upon me, I have found it increasingly difficult to find the time to gather people and play games. There are just too many trips to Babies Я Us that need to take place and so I am left looking at a wall of board games and trying to figure out which ones will provide less of a choking hazard and thus can be cracked out for my impending, unsuspecting spawn. However, I am able to obtain a sort of gaming methadone by watching other people talk about games, and so in something of a meta article, I am going to do a review of a review show: Shut Up & Sit Down.
Shut Up & Sit Down is a member of Penny Arcade‘s burgeoning media empire and is incredibly charming. It helps that the two hosts, Quintin Smith and Paul Dean are thoroughly British and engaging. The shows are fairly long (15-20 minutes) but are polished and well edited so you don’t get that heavy-breathing, mumbling, shaky-cam quality to which so many board game review videos seem prone, nor do you wind up with the too slick, barely disguised advertisements. Instead, you get a very nice, in-depth explanation with heaping spoonfuls of humour and some bizarre bits added on. It reminds of nothing else so much as Alton Brown’s “Good Eats” but… for board games.
Most of the games reviewed are ones with which I am not familiar but are usually of the Euro-game tradition. I would love to see their whimsical take on bigger, more familiar games but I can appreciate that there are probably many places where one can find those games reviewed so I like that they prefer to highlight slightly more obscure games.
One element that I truly appreciate is that they are very generous with their criticism as well as praise. They can make a game seem absolutely perfect and have you reaching for your credit card but then hit you with its flaws, causing you to pause ever so slightly in your mad scramble to collect all the games. These criticisms are very insightful and show just how much the hosts love good games and are not willing to sacrifice their exacting standards nor nitpick just for the sake of it.
Finally, the show makes wonderful use of captions and annotations and and I am a sucker for whimsical footnotes. I thoroughly recommend checking them out although it may make you very lustful for a whole host of fascinating games. Good luck and maybe watch with your wallet in another room.
Here’s their latest episode: