The latest board games scam is in and it looks like Jim has abused some goodwill.
For the uninitiated, BoardGameGeek.com is the best (English speaking) place on the web for all things related to tabletop board games. It is a close-knit, hobby obsessed community where designers, publishers and gamers get together to share the love of plastic and cardboard. Unlike many corners of the web, good-will is abundant and gamers seem to genuinely care about one another. Charity auctions are held, lost loved ones are mourned and new babies are celebrated collectively among these geeks, and it’s generally a pleasant place to spend one’s online time.
All these truths are what make Jim Fleming’s (Flartner? Jobin13?) actions so frustrating and so stupid. The gist of the scam is that he emailed a bunch of small, hobby board game publishing companies a sob story about how he had his car broken into and a bunch of his board games stolen. He goes on to ask that the small publisher might be able to help him out with a replacement copy. In any other industry, the companies involved would politely decline to help and perhaps refer him to a local retailer to purchase a replacement. These small publishers aren’t really in it for the money, and so a great number of people thought they could help cheer poor Jim up with a free copy of their latest board games as an act of goodwill toward the community. 3 pages, dozens of publishers, and some internet sleuthing later and we see that Jim has managed to amass a decent collection of board games only to sell on Ebay, Craigslist, the BGG marketplace and who knows where else.
We, as gamers, like to imagine that our hobby is different, that our hobby is somehow special. That we can exist believing that our fellow gamers are good people, and I hate to think that Jim has the power to change this. That one person could so effectively turn our community from what it was to what it could possibly become. The next time a gamer is down on his/her luck, these extremely generous small publishers will likely hesitate before helping out their fellow hobbyists. The next time a Geek shares a story, the first response may be cautious rather than comforting. Innocence lost is never good, but I hoped it wouldn’t happen to my community.
Thanks a lot, Jim!
If you want to help, head on over to the original story, and take note of which publishers took it upon themselves to help a guy they believed was down on his luck. Pay extra attention to their projects on Kickstarter and pay extra attention to the board games they release. If those board games look interesting and you’re on the fence about whether the game is for you, go for it! Show these small publishers that the goodwill they generate with their faith in gamer-manity is worth more than the cost of a few free copies of games to a scammer. Make the statement that the gamer community thrives because of their goodwill rather than withers.
Link to Article: “Jim’s Stolen Games”