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Things Are Not Looking Good For Dicebreaker, One Of The Few Good Board Game Websites

'I would recommend archiving your work if you haven’t already, just in case'

IGN's purchase of the Gamer Network last month--which included outlets like Eurogamer, Rock Paper Shotgun, GamesIndustry.biz and VG247--brought with it both the expected layoffs and the resulting lament over the future of video game journalism. What wasn't so widely discussed was the future of another Gamer Network site, Dicebreaker.

Dicebreaker is (was?) a website dedicated to independent, serious coverage of the board game industry. Unlike video games, where (even if it's been on the decline lately) we're used to it, that's not a common thing in board games! You can count the number of credible outlets on one hand, which is why first the silence, and now the layoffs at Dicebreaker are especially shitty.

As BoardGameWire--one of those remaining fingers on the hand--report, after weeks of silence from IGN regarding the future of the site, Dicebreaker's editor-in-chief Matt Jarvis, senior staff writer Alex Meehan and head of video Michael Whelan have all now been made redundant.

Since the sale in May, Dicebreaker--normally an active website that updated several times a week, covering not just the industry but the culture surrounding board games--had only published a single article, which was basically a sponsored ad. Not a great sign!

In an email to remaining staff sent earlier this week, obtained by BoardGameWire, Jarvis said:

I’m not able to say exactly what the future holds for the Dicebreaker website and wider brand – mostly because I am now not in the position to know myself.

My understanding is that the website will remain live for the time being. Needless to say, I would recommend archiving your work if you haven’t already, just in case.

Thank you for helping create what I honestly believe was a place that represented and championed the best that tabletop gaming journalism and coverage has to offer, all while bringing deserving, welcoming work to as great an audience as possible.

I hope you’ll all remain as proud as I am with everything you brought to the site and the success and reputation Dicebreaker built in the industry and beyond thanks to your hard work.

A particularly huge thanks to Chase [Carter], Jason [Coles], Alicia [Haddick] and Caelyn [Ellis], whose monthly coverage across news, MTG, Yu-Gi-Oh! and Warhammer was consistently outstanding and helped take the site in directions it would’ve never travelled so ably without your expertise and efforts.

I really can’t thank you enough for everything you did over the last few years. You are as much a part of the Dicebreaker team as anyone.

That does not read like a farewell email for one person. That reads like a eulogy for a website.

This fucking sucks, because as an industry that continues to grow--despite the world's best attempts to slow it down--board games need independent, critical voices now more than ever. Yet in 2024 it's a scene whose idea of "media" is usually friends playing games around a table and filming it for YouTube, and who for the most part are so cosy with publishers that they essentially serve as a marketing arm for the industry.

(I actually went on a podcast last year just to talk about this, since the idea that board games need actual journalism can be so weird to some board gamers!)

If you want to continue supporting independent voices in the space, please try checking out the aforementioned BoardGameWire, watch Shut Up & Sit Down on YouTube and/or, if you're more into tabletop RPGs, then you must also subscribe to Rascal

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