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Svarog's Den - Board Games





Shut Up & Sit Down, Quinns Quest, and The Year Ahead

Tom: Hey folks! We wanted to kick off the year with an update that goes over what Shut Up & Sit Down is going to be up to in 2024. This is the kind of thing we normally reserve for the newsletter, but we wanted this to be broadly accessible so that everyone’s in the loop!

First off, Quinns is going to share an exciting new project he’s been cooking up! Then, afterwards, I’ll take you behind the scenes on what to expect from the site going forward! It’s a long one, so let’s get into it…

 

Introducing: Quinns Quest!

Quinns: So! My news, here goes….

I think the TTRPG scene is in a similar place to the board game scene in 2011. When we launched Shut Up & Sit Down it was with a sense of frothing confusion that board games were so good, they weren’t getting the attention they deserved, and at least part of that was because the kind of coverage we wanted to see just didn’t exist. So, we decided to try and make it.

Now I want to tackle that for tabletop roleplaying games, with an entirely seperate new programme I’m calling Quinns Quest. It’s me once again deciding to try and get a whole host of underreported, extraordinarily designers the attention they deserve, and helping everybody to have a bit more fun along the way. Shut Up & Sit Down is of course where I’ll cover board games whenever I feel the itch – and you can expect to see more of me on the new Top 100 Board Games feature – but Quinns Quest is where I’m putting my immediate focus.

This is a bit of a new chapter for me – and so I wanted to take a second to say thank you to the SU&SD community. You folks have been so generous with your attention over the years, especially in the earliest days of SU&SD when I had literally no idea how to be a presenter. I remember my loved ones giving me suggestions in 2012 along the lines of “What if you smiled when you were on camera?” and “What if you talked slower, so people could understand you?”. The fact that you folks stuck with me while I learned the trade, video by awkward video, has been life-changing, and I can’t wait to put all that learning into a new project that I’m more excited about than anything else right now.

But whilst I’m scaling down my role with SU&SD, I wanted to say how happy I am that the site has been in such capable hands!

Tom is editor-in-chief of Shut Up & Sit Down, but that’s been true for a while now. The guy’s a f***ing marvel, and – troublingly – he only seems to be getting better? Have you seen his video on John Company?? Apparently he plans to focus on making equally ambitious videos in the future??? The world isn’t ready.

Tom, you’re an extraordinarily rare talent. You’re hilarious, insightful, and technically-minded in a way I’ve never been (don’t know if you noticed this). But more importantly, you’re hungrier and more passionate about board games than my decrepit ass. Part of knowing when to step back a little is knowing when it’s time to make room for the next generation, and it’s past time I do that.

Matt- my time spent making 2-person videos with you is what I consider my most creatively fulfilling time with SU&SD. I have so, so many happy memories with you, not just of workshopping jokes in your living room, but just playing games with you.

In fact, if I had to name my favourite single instance of a game I’ve played, it would be the afternoon we spent playing head-to-head Tigris & Euphrates in advance of our marvellously unhinged review. London was caught in a sweltering headwave and sweat was literally beading on my forehead as we were locked in a near-silent, utterly intense battle, punctuated only by each of us complimenting the other’s move. You are the kind of collaborator a creative can only dream of, but you’re an even better opponent. You’ve made me so much sharper, in comedy, in editing, and in strategy. I have no choice but to be my best around you. I think you’ve even beaten me at a game once or twice.

And Emily! Holy kittens. Hiring Emily feels like going for a walk and finding a ruby on the ground. Her reviews are so good that it makes me ashamed of myself. It took me the better part of a decade to become as good a video reviewer as Emily was instantly. Emily, your future is inconceivably bright. I also understand you’ll be seeing more of the inimitable Pip Warr in the future of Shut Up & Sit Down, and nothing could make me happier. I also know nothing will make fans of the show happier, since one of the only pieces of feedback SU&SD fans were ever brave enough to give me in person – over and over again – was “More Pip”.

What a team. What an unbelievable, beautiful, side-splittingly funny clutch of folks.

Tom: Wahoo! Anyone who watched Quinns’ fantastic Get into RPGs video, or Alice is Missing coverage has probably felt this shift coming for a while now, and Quinns making a dedicated space for RPG fans is fabulous! We’re excited to keep working with him on the brand new Top 100 Series and any other board game shenanigans that take his fancy, and of course we can’t wait to see all the… roles he…. plays? Is that how it works?

Quinns: You’re sort of making it sound like a sex thing. It’s not a sex thing.

Matt: It’s definitely a sex thing.

Quinns: Shut UP!

Tom: And… sit……?

RIGHT! So! With Quinns taking on this new project, what’s happening with the rest of SU&SD? Let’s talk about the cracking year of board games ahead!

 

The First Ever Top 100

 

Tom’s New Hat

Tom: With Quinns formally changing his position within the site to ‘contributor’, I am taking up the mantle of SU&SD’s editorial lead, a hat you’ve already seen me sporting for the last year or two!

To address an obvious question about this change in role, though – “Why not Matt, apparent heir to the cardboard throne”? There’s one reason! It’s because he’s an incredibly talented creative with years of experience making brilliant work who, with all the love in the world, has the organisational talents of a level one goblin.

Matt: It’s true! I once accidentally put my passport in the bin. My wife rescued it for me.

Tom: He’s doing just fine, and we’re very proud. Me, on the other hand? I’m an organisation freak! I’m a dweeb! I like lists and bullet points and sorting my socks by colour! I’m the guy who likes packing away my board games into custom labelled bags. This one’s for me, gang!

Realistically, this expanded role does little to actually affect our creative output one iota – like I say, you’ve been watching this restructured SU&SD for the past two years! Matt and I are creative partners on most everything we put out – we’ve got workflows to help each other with edits, we love filming together, and we’re very much aligned on what we want the site to be.The studio is finally a place where we can easily film (don’t worry, it’s not replacing our classic “reviews from the living room”), and we’re going to get stuck right in, and bring our growing roster of contributors right along with us! It’ll be a treat, and I’m so excited!

Videos and Podcasts

We’ve got one main goal for this year, and it’s sustainability. We’re really proud of this website, and we want it to exist… forever? That might sound crazy, but we truly want the spirit of things to continue on even if the faces might vary. To that end, we’re pushing our resources in 2024 towards creating a dependable and stable slate of videos to gently branch out from.

The precedent set when SU&SD was growing the most was to upload a video every single week, no matter what. This (sometimes!) worked, but simply does not scale with the production values and ambition we’re looking for in videos these days. Attempting this approach in this more modern, less ‘handheld and poorly white-balanced’ era of SU&SD? It led to a whole lot of trying to make more elaborate and high production videos within a schedule that didn’t fit – and subsequently getting said videos delayed, pushed back, completely canned… or otherwise just completely knackering us.

We want everything we put out to be of exceptional quality, and we want to be energised by every project! So, in 2024, we’re shedding that old and often-missed schedule to instead focus on three videos per month, one of which will consistently be an entry in our Top 100 series. It’s not a huge change, but it’s a meaningful one.

Already this simple, semantic shift is making me feel better, more creative, and more in control of my work. I think this is an excellent baseline to work from, and I’m certain you’ll agree that the ‘fewer and better’ approach to video is going to result in some of the best work we’ve done in recent memory. I’m not going to spoil some of the chunkier projects we’ve got planned, but I think they’ll be exceptional.

What about the podcast? Exactly the same deal here. We never truly managed to sort out one a week, so we’ll take a week out for every three podcasts released from now on. I want to make sure those podcasts are of dependable quality – so nailing down our format to three games per podcast discussed by two hosts will be the norm. However, I do want to pursue more ‘topic’ episodes where we have wider conversations with more people involved – but I want to get a dependable offering running first!

 

What’s Going on with SHUX?

Goodness, deposits are just so expensive. We love it as much as you do, and we really want it to come back… it just might be a bit of a wait. When it does return, we want it to be as good as ever and to be in a position to run it in a healthy way that doesn’t obliterate the team completely! We’re going to be quiet on this front for a good while, but you’ll know about the future of SHUX as soon as we do.

Bonus Bits?

Everything with our bonus bits and donations will stay exactly the same. We’re going to shoot for monthly newsletters with a couple fun extra videos to go along with them. This month, we’ve got a video where I ramble about Shadow Gambit, and a Bonus Podcast! I’m also really excited about some potential weirder directions for this – we’ve heard you loud and clear that early access isn’t as exciting as odd exclusives, so I want to focus on making exactly that.

 

A Personal Note

Finally, I wanted to take a second to share something from the heart. Shut Up & Sit Down has been around for about thirteen trips around the sun, which is about eighty seven in ‘Internet Years’. Managing the trajectory of this creaky old ship is a real challenge – one that I feel in a uniquely odd position to tackle. I was a fan of the site before I started working here, watching videos whilst I was still in secondary school! I want to make sure I protect the soul of the thing that got me into board games, but I also want to make sure I’ve got my own voice within it. I want this site to be run in a way that’s healthy and exciting for everyone involved, without losing the spark that got me hooked.

But it’s often tricky to achieve that. Foundational to my role as the ‘new face’ on the site is a constant background radiation of comparison. That comparison starts in my own brain, and then takes up more and more room as the internet-at-large pumps air into it until it dominates my headspace and paralyses me to continue. I’ve always felt like there’s another pair of shoes to fill, that I’ll never quite satisfy people’s desire for something they can no longer have.

I’m pretty done with that thinking. 2024 marks a subtle new chapter for SU&SD, where we’re going to play to our tempo and make great work for the people who like what we do for what it is now.

I truly hope you’re as excited for that as we are!

Questions?

Of course there will be! What do you want to know? For a couple of weeks or so we’ll be keeping an eye on this page and will reply to queries to build up something of an FAQ for people to take a peek at when one of those ‘What Happened to SU&SD?’ Reddit posts inevitably crops up within the next… week? Day? Those things are maddening, aren’t they. Thanks to everyone who engages in those in good faith and can accept that we are only human, and that in 13 years, things do change. We’ll do our best to build and maintain a site you can love, and if you don’t? A reminder that we’re out there on the internet as well, and we’re human beings too!

Be gentle, folks, it’s been a mad few years but we’ve still got our whole hearts in this wonderful thing. If you do too, then everything we do is for you, and we hope you’re able to enjoy it with us in the years to come!

Big Love,
Team SU&SD

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