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Reframing Language: “This Game is Crazy!”

One of the most said lines from board game reviewers and board game content creators I hear is: “This game is crazy!” Besides not knowing what the reviewer even means by this statement, ‘crazy’ has very apparent ableist connotation. The same goes for insane, mad, madness, madhouse… you get the point. Crazy is one of those words that has snuck into our everyday vernacular and we use it for a variety of meaning. We need to be more intentional about our language and strike ‘crazy’ from our vocabulary! I have created a quick guide for board gamers for words to use instead of crazy.

“Did you mean…?”

“This game has a busy board and a lot of components!”
There are many games when you open the box and first look at the component and board, they look very busy. I understand how a player can look at a busy board and feel overwhelmed. Upon reading the rules and playing the game a couple of times, the seemingly busy board may make more sense. But why use the word crazy to describe it instead of intentional words? I think a better AND more descriptive way to describe such a game could be… “Upon opening the box, I felt overwhelmed by the busy board and the amount of components in the box! But after playing, everything is pretty intuitive.” Not too hard and much more helpful to someone trying to learn about the game.

“This game is really complex!”
Many games have complex rules and it is probably a good idea if you are a reviewer to talk about the complexity to your viewers. Gamers have different tastes in games and some gamers might stay away from games with a lot of rules or a lot of layered strategies. But call it as it is… a complex (or heavy as folks in the hobby say) game. And further, what makes the game complex. Is it the ruleset? Is it the different mechanism that come together in the game? Does it have the player doing a lot of math?

“This game is very chaotic and random!”
We have games that have literally zero luck in them and we have those chaotic and random games. These ‘random’ games can be tons of fun and provide us with a lot of laughs. This is a good thing for our hobby and we need those types of games in order to introduce others to the hobby or to break up the monotony of playing other genres of games. Reviewers and content creators should discuss how random the game is and how random it feels, but they need to do so in those words, talking specifically about the mechanisms.

“This is a real time game and I feel frantic while playing it!”
This may be the context I hear ‘crazy’ in the most when someone is talking about board games. This pops up particularly when folks are talking about real-time games, where players have a time limit to complete a task. This usually pumps up the pressure for players to perform in order to win the game. While players may feel frantic or stressed while playing the game, there are no good reasons why to describe the game experience as ‘crazy.’ Use different words that carry emotion and feeling in them about the gaming experience.

“This game is one of the best games I have ever played!”
I have heard ‘crazy’ used in this context MANY times on video reviews and in podcasts. Please simply state that this game is one of the best and it is highly recommended.

If none of these situations apply, I would suggest replacing ‘crazy’ with one of the following words or phrases: wild, intense, out of this world, innovative, unique, surprising

Nothing is ‘crazy’ about these situations, just a misuse of language rooted in ablism.

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Discussion

3 thoughts on “Reframing Language: “This Game is Crazy!”

  1. Great post. I have not thought about the use of ‘crazy’ everywhere. I admit I would have used it several times as well. It sure is a slaughter on the language. Words like ‘cool’ and ‘awesome’ for every question asked is a slaughter as well. RIght?

    Like

    Posted by Resh Susan @ The Book Satchel | August 31, 2016, 12:40 PM

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