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November 11, 2012 6:00 PM   Subscribe

"One tragic event and two acts of generosity brought the [Board Game Geek] community together: the result was the Jack Vasel Memorial Fund."

"In January 2011, Cate Pfeifer (Cate108) posted an auction for Tom Vasel and his family to help with the unfortunate loss of his son, Jack. The generosity of the BGG community was amazing. Tom was touched and wanted to pay the kindness forward so he created the Jack Vasel Memorial Fund. He used some of the money that BGGers donated and spent to build this fund. The fund is a not-for-profit with a simple goal: raising and distributing funds to help gamers in their hour of need."

This year's auction ends on November 18th. In addition to hundreds of games, you can also bid on a night of gaming with a few TV celebrity gamers.
posted by Midnight Rambler (17 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
I don't hang out on BGG, but I do listen to boardgaming podcasts, on which Tom Vasel regularly appears. Many people are very deeply embedded in that community (as any other hobby or vocation), to the extent that it is also their social support network and it is great to see that these people will have somewhere organized to seek help. I think every close-knit community, from gaming to sports to craft to whatever should set up these sorts of funds. I know for a fact that the easier time a collective has to helps its members, the more members will be helped. And everyone needs a hand from time to time.
posted by griphus at 6:08 PM on November 11, 2012


(I also know, via my job, that setting up these funds is a bureacratic nightmare and involves a not-insignificant amount of startup capital, so that is all the more props to these people.)
posted by griphus at 6:12 PM on November 11, 2012


BGG is a great community. When Joplin got hit with the tornados last year, many of us donated games to replace those of gamers who had lost everything.
posted by Windopaene at 6:49 PM on November 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Is there something that talks about the origin of the fund without requiring watching a video?
posted by batmonkey at 7:16 PM on November 11, 2012


batmonkey, there's a short backgrounder on the site here.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:51 PM on November 11, 2012


Oh, hey, I heard about this! I follow Jorge Garcia's blog (he started it when he was working on Lost and very, very quickly got a warning from the show's lawyers, so he instead turned it into this adorably geeky ordinary blog where he talked about making his own bread and how cute his dog was and he and his girlfriend posted their goofy pictures and stuff) and he mentioned the auction a few days back. He features an...interesting photo of Rich Sommer.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:09 PM on November 11, 2012


I've been a semi-regular on BGG for about four years now, and while the community is great (and a reminder that board gaming, as a hobby, skews moderately conservative), over the years I have seen any number of what I have taken to calling "desperation auctions." (In more than a couple of them I've auctioned games for their benefit, as many others have done.)

My child is having surgery for the third time - please buy my games, we're out of money.

I need to make my mortgage payment or we'll lose the house - please buy my games, it'll get us another month or two ahead.

I can't afford basic necessities while I'm on chemo - please buy my games.

And the community always comes, and always buys the games (and since these are auctions, they usually overspend). But on BGG, any discussion of why these things keep on happening in the United States is verboten except in the Religion, Sex and Politics sub-forum (which is at best a neverending argument at best between liberals - myself included - and a range of conservatives from trolling-for-yuks to total-nitwit).

It is both heartwarming and depressing in its nature.
posted by mightygodking at 9:53 PM on November 11, 2012 [12 favorites]


That's the crisis model of capitalism in action right there, in other words.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:52 PM on November 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


We started getting into Tom's channel once we played Forbidden Island, realised there was more to board gaming than endless f*cking Catan clones, and were looking for advice about what to play next. (The Dice Tower and Watch It Played are where it's at.)

It was only a few weeks ago that I watched one of Tom's videos - I think one of those 'best x games of [year]' specials (oh, found it). It had a lovely Christmas theme. He was thanking everybody and saying 2011 was an amazing year. And right when I was thinking 'man, that guy puts a lot of effort into this', he mentioned in a by-the-by that Jack was with the Lord, or some such. He started to say it in the same way I'd say 'going out for milk', almost choked at the end, then went on to wish all of us a great new year. And I thought 'he lost his son, and he's still making awesome videos for schmucks like me?'

So I hugged my boys, we played some Castle Panic, and I felt very, very, very grateful.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 11:45 PM on November 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


That's the crisis model of capitalism in action right there, in other words.

So is there a board game in which you have to organize the vanguard party and use it to facilitate this crisis of capitalism?

Because I bet playing at Trotskyism is a lot more fun than actually living through it.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:07 AM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


... over the years I have seen any number of what I have taken to calling "desperation auctions."

[...]

It is both heartwarming and depressing in its nature.


I've had much the same reaction, an unspoken horror that these people could suddenly find themselves in peril of being without food, a home, without any safety net. It's served as a horrifying insight into the reality of the downturn and how people have been betrayed by the system.

The flipside is the ridiculous amount of games that people own. BGG, like many hobby communities, has a tendency to elevate collection and unrestrained spending as a virtue. Post a picture of your 400 game collection - mostly unplayed or even unopened - and receive a sea of envy and thumbs. Seeing stories of desperation amidst a sea of gluttony only serves to emphasize how screwed up our priorities are.
posted by outlier at 4:43 AM on November 12, 2012


If you want, Peter, you can experience life under communism with Kolejka, a board game from Poland all about queuing for scarce goods.

Tom Vasel almost defines 'genial'. His reviews are sometimes scathing but you never feel like he's being mean. He's clearly a very religious man but keeps that side of him separate from the gaming reviews, and he doesn't take much issue with themes that the overly-religious might find problematic. He's dipped his toes into game design and he's been pretty self-deprecating about the results so far. And I would like to know where he gets all the time to do his videos, podcasts, news updates, and other stuff.
posted by liquidindian at 5:03 AM on November 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


But on BGG, any discussion of why these things keep on happening in the United States is verboten except in the Religion, Sex and Politics sub-forum (which is at best a neverending argument at best between liberals - myself included - and a range of conservatives from trolling-for-yuks to total-nitwit).

Well, that....makes sense, doesn't it? The main thrust of that board is board games. Discussions about things not about board games go in the sub-forum.

I mean, you don't post questions on the blue, do you? You post them in Askme. I'm not sure why you find it odd that the mods have asked that discussions about politics happen in the subforum about politics.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:04 AM on November 12, 2012


And I would like to know where he gets all the time to do his videos, podcasts, news updates, and other stuff.

As of a few months (maybe a year) ago Tom has been working on The Dice Tower stuff full time.
posted by Midnight Rambler at 8:20 AM on November 12, 2012


@liquidindian: I've listened to a lot of Vassel on his podcast and for a long time would have agreed without about his geniality. But then, somewhere along the line, I just got tired of his dismissing games and people's opinions out of hand and laughing it off. Even his relationship with Eric Summerer is antagonistic, albeit played for laughs. He's entitled to his opinions and I know his curmudgeon-ness is his shtick, but I get the feeling that if you were playing games with him, or even hanging out with him he'd be overbearing and obnoxious after a while.

I don't know why, exactly, but it's been kind of a cumulative effect over the years of listening. Perhaps, for me, the final nail in the coffin where my enjoyment of him lies dead, is his dismissing people who find Cards Against Humanity fun/funny as only enjoying the titillation of being "naughty."
posted by papercake at 8:28 AM on November 12, 2012


So, if Jack Vassel and Scott Nicholson got into a geniality showdown, who would come out the winner?
posted by jadayne at 5:08 PM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


By making them fight, Michael Barnes wins.
posted by liquidindian at 12:25 AM on November 13, 2012


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