Unpopular Opinion: Short Runs

You can never have too much of a good thing. Well, Uncle Geekly begs to differ. I haven’t done an unpopular opinion in several months and this one may sound like an idea a lot of people share, but when one breaks down what it means, it doesn’t take long to see why it’s difficult to put into practice.

Part of what makes Firefly special is the fact that it only lasted one season. It never had the opportunity to run its characters and world into the ground, or finish it’s story (I’m not so happy about that aspect), so in a round about way, I like that Fox unceremoniously dumped it after 14 episodes. To be fair, I love Firefly and wished it ended the way Breaking Bad did; tell a tight story with a defined, planned ending.

Breaking Bad knew when to call it quits and did a great job with an ending in mind years before it had a chance to lose its way. Arrow wasn’t spared this fate. The first two seasons were some of the best superhero television I’ve seen, but the next five or six seasons never could capture that magic. The only thing that stays constant for the creative process is that at some point the creative team will lose interest or run out of ideas.

It’s a balancing act of figuring out how long a television show, or other medium, this isn’t specific to just television, can remain relevant and leaving the audience wanting more, and that’s where I’ll get to some current, sacred flamingos. How many seasons does Rick and Morty have before it becomes The Simpsons or Family Guy? When will Westworld and Black Mirror lose their integrity? Have either of them already done so? Would another Souls or The Witcher video game or two cheapen the series? Okay. I believe The Witcher won’t have another entry and if it did, another one would–most likely–cheapen the series.

It’s easy to see when a series loses its way after the fact, but most Rick and Morty fans will be watching the series when it jumps the proverbial great white some time during its next eight seasons. Cartoon Network renewed Rick and Morty for eight seasons and if the show makes it that long, which I don’t think it will, there’s a greater than 86 percent chance Rick and Morty will be a shell of itself. (Note: 86 percent of all made up statistics use the number 86.) The scarcity of something can add value and the projects that know when to call it quits, or at least when to hit the pause button, can be some of the best.

What made Star Wars fans hungry for more content after Return of the Jedi was that they had to wait 16 years for The Phantom Menace. With Disney increasing the production schedule to a Star Wars movie being released every twelve to eighteen months, few people have time to anticipate the next entry of the series. The same can be said of Marvel movies. To be fair, Marvel’s production schedule is like Star Wars on steroids: three to four movies a year. Yikes! Having said all this, I wonder if I’ve done too much with this site.

Eh. Uncle Geekly isn’t that talented anyway, so there isn’t that much quality to be lost with more frequent content. What are your thoughts on this subject? The idea of short runs adding to a project, not the quality of this blog. I may pass all blog complaints to Standard Issue Star Trek Geek Jim, so he can yell at me via yodeling telegram. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Unpopular Opinion: Raiden Was the Right Choice for Metal Gear Solid 2

Metal Gear fans saw years’ worth of trailers and demos and previews that featured their favorite stealth, badass Solid Snake in Metal Gear Solid 2. The graphics improved. The framerate looked amazing. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty was the reason many people purchased a Playstation 2. Gamers smiled when they got to play Snake again for the first time in three years. It was two or three hours of gaming bliss, and then the game baited and switched Snake for Raiden. Gamers started off puzzled. After another eight or so hours of Bleach Blonde Ray-Ray, they became pissed. But despite the hate, Hideo Kojima’s choice of Raiden was for the best.

I’m not saying that I enjoyed Raiden’s incompetence or how he whined so much I wanted to reach into my television and choke him. He was insufferable. I wanted to play as Snake as much as any fan, but Raiden’s foibles are what made him the best choice.


Snake was a badass by the end of the first Metal Gear Solid. He was a badass during Metal Gear Solid 2, and he was going to be one at the end of the game. There’s nowhere for the Snake character to go. Raiden had a character arc.

He had to learn to be a special ops agent. He watched Snake in awe during one scene, and I’m sure gamers experienced that same awe. Raiden put gamers in a perspective that they would’ve never seen had they played as Snake. Heck, that moment of awe is one that I haven’t seen in any other video game before or since. It was an earned moment. It was brilliant.

Hideo’s choice of Raiden was a bold one, and it wasn’t just a bold choice for a video game. It was a bold writing and character choice. If anyone questions whether video game writers are concerned about character building, show them Metal Gear Solid 2. Very few writers of any kind would’ve taken this big a risk.

Even though I felt deceived by Kojima at the time, he made the best writing choice. He picked what was best for the story, the characters, and the world of Metal Gear Solid instead of catering to fans.

Do you think Kojima made the right choice with Bleach Blonde Ray-Ray? You can leave a comment or complaint below, but I may be in my cardboard box hiding.

An Unpopular Opinion: The Hate for Monopoly has Gone Too Far

For the tabletop uninitiated Monopoly hate may sound like lunacy, it’s the bestselling game of all time, but in the board game community, saying that Monopoly is a good game is akin to claiming that one prefers the prequels to the original Star Wars trilogy.

Monopoly’s average score on Board Game Geek hovers around 4.3 out of a possible 10. It’s rated 15,760 out of a qualifying, as in enough reviews, 15,763 games. Tic-Tac-Toe may be the most famous game rated below Monopoly. Tic-Tac-Toe! Many true analog gamers hate Monopoly. Hate may not be a strong enough word. They loathe the game.

Keep in mind that a 4.3 rating tallies up several people who gave the game a perfect 10 and still, there are plenty of people giving it a 1 or a 0 to bring the overall score to below average, but the hate may have gone too far.


Yes. Monopoly shows its age. It takes a fair amount of time to play. 80-85% of modern games play in a fraction of the time it takes to play Monopoly and the games that take as long as, or longer than, Monopoly create a world, a story, characters, or all three for players to latch onto. Yes, modern gamers have—for the most part—moved beyond simple roll and move. They want more choices and not leave huge decisions to a simple roll of the dice. And yes, Monopoly is one of the hardest and therefore worst games to teach someone as their first board game and countless people are introduced to board games with Monopoly—more on that in a minute—and the game does a good job of ruining friendships and familial bonds. How many games of Monopoly end with someone getting upset and quitting? But it doesn’t deserve to be in the bottom four rated games. There’s a reason, beyond licensing, that Monopoly is a classic.

Monopoly is a balanced game. If you look beyond the roll and move mechanism, it has deep strategy. It teaches math and introduces people to a market place. Countless designers have been inspired by Monopoly. Yes, plenty of modern game designers avoid making a game like Monopoly, some of them may actively make a game that isn’t Monopoly, but one can’t ignore the cultural significance of the evergreen game. I wonder how many game designers today began with a Monopoly clone or tweaked the game with their own house rules, and for those of you who may question Monopoly’s balance it’s a house rule that disrupts the game’s balance the most. The worst house rule of all time is one that’s included with the base game today: money on Free Parking.


Little good can come from playing the game with money under Free Parking. If the leader lands on the space, they get further ahead of the other players, creating a runaway leader. If someone trailing by a lot lands on the space, they’re given the equivalent of a meaningless run during a 10-run baseball game, right before the mercy rule to end the game would occur, and now they have to keep playing a game they know they’re going to lose. That isn’t fun. It definitely isn’t fun when “I’m smarter than you” cousin Justin won’t let you call the game early. I don’t care if I landed on Free Parking, Justin. You own the blue, yellow, and green monopolies and they all have hotels. I’m just going to give you all my money the next turn. I quit!

Never play Monopoly with money on Free Parking, but one can’t hold the sins of Free Parking against the original Monopoly.


Other house rules and new game variants do more to modernize this older game. Holding an auction before the roll of dice adds strategy and can speed things up; you don’t have to wait for someone to land on each space for each property to be owned and money exchanges hands quickly. Some newer versions of Monopoly have express dies that shake up things a bit. If you can find 2007’s Monopoly: Tropical Tycoon DVD Game, I’d highly recommend playing it. Besides the inclusion of a DVD, players have jobs and individual powers that give them unique advantages. It’s a game that shows that there’s a lot of design space with Monopoly because of its universal theme.

So, why all the hate? There are countless games ahead of Monopoly that are broken and unbalanced. Plenty of older games hold a higher rating than Monopoly too. True. The hate may come from Monopoly tearing friends and family apart. Player elimination in a longer game is a tough pill to swallow. Just ask Risk. One hates being eliminated early from a long game and being forced to watch, but I’d wager the hate comes from Monopoly’s place as one of the first games people play.


Monopoly is a tough game to learn. How many kids under the age of ten would know how to calculate 10% of their total assets for Luxury Tax? How many people can add up what they owe for maintenance in their head? Even if you can, would you want to? There are few modern games that require players to use a calculator or tax their brain with needless math, and it’s this barrier to entry that turns off a lot of would-be board game enthusiasts from the hobby.

I’ve lost count of the many people who don’t play board games who’ve said that they’ve only played Monopoly and board games aren’t their thing.  If you played Monopoly as your first or only board game, I could see someone not liking board games. Tabletop gamers resent Monopoly because it has single-handedly prevented them from sharing their hobby.

 Monopoly isn’t a beginner board game, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a game that’s so below average that it gets rated beneath unbalanced and broken games.

Is there another board game that gets too much hate? Does Monopoly deserve all the hate it gets? Let us know in comments.

Unpopular Opinion: Women Only Board Game Design Contests Are Good for the Hobby

When Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG) listed a women’s only board game design contest in July 2018 (here’s the link), the contest was shared by multiple websites and game design forums. I’m a member of several of these forums, and the backlash was eye-opening.

Heated discussions on social media can turn ugly. Many of the people who shared this contest—not expressing that they supported it or why, even though sharing the contest was a form of support—had to delete their posts within hours. Some reshared and disabled comments so internet trolls couldn’t respond. A lot of what these trolls said isn’t repeatable, but there were some sentiments—that weren’t overtly sexist—that occurred frequently and here are two of the most prominent.

1) Women should challenge themselves and submit to board game design contests that are open to everyone.

2) Contest or Design Group “Fill-in-the-blank” is better because it’s truly inclusive.

Let’s start with the first comment. Who says that women aren’t participating in other board game design contests? There aren’t as many women game designers as men board game designers, it’s a male dominated field, but I’ve heard of at least a handful of women board game designers who submit to plenty of other design challenges and contests. There have been several women who’ve won. There have been a few female designers who were part of blockbuster tabletop games like T.I.M.E. Stories. These voices are unique in part because they have different life experiences, and the board game community could and should do more to give these voices a platform to be heard.

I don’t just design board games. I also write fiction, non-fiction, and poetry and submit to various literary journals. Many of these journals will have calls for submissions from minorities, and a similar backlash can occur. I’m not sure why. There are countless journals to submit to that will accept entries from anyone. If I see a listing for one that doesn’t apply to me, I skip it or if I know someone that the listing would apply to, I let them know about it. It costs me nothing. But the opportunity for someone else, especially someone who belongs to a minority, could be invaluable.

I know of hundreds of board game design contests. AEG’s Women Game Designers Wanted listing is the first time I’ve seen a woman specific challenge. It costs nothing to support this contest, but a lot can be gained.

The second comment type is more insidious. It accuses the contest of not being inclusive and devalues it, but the people who made this type of comment never have to worry that Design Group “Fill-in-the-blank” has no one else at the table who looks like them. Sure, everyone is welcome in Design Group “Fill-in-the-blank,” but some people feel more welcome than others. There’s a reason contests that encourage minorities to participate exist. They’re needed.

Most people in the board game community would agree that more women designers are needed, but despite what the backlash would suggest, a contest like AEG’s might bring more women to the table and make the hobby more inclusive. It helps to normalize women tabletop game designers. The more women who join the table, the less contests like AEG’s needs to exist. But even if minority contests persist, what does it cost someone to ignore the contest if it doesn’t apply to them or send the listing to a friend?

That second type of comment might do more damage to distance women game designers from the hobby. The writer of that type of comment doesn’t understand the obstacles for a woman designer or doesn’t care. If one doesn’t have someone like one’s self at Design Group “Fill-in-the-blank,” one is less likely to join. It’s intimidating. Having a minority specific design contest is more inclusive. It leads to a minority being less of a minority by positive normalization.

As of this write-up, AEG’s Women Game Designers Wanted is still open (until the end of November 2018). I encourage everyone who can apply to apply. And if the listing doesn’t apply to you, share it with a friend.