Best Board Game Media Personalities of 2020
by Dustin Staats
Every year we do a list of podcasts, games, or other forms of media and resources we discovered throughout the previous year. These lists are new-to-us lists, so you may have heard of these resources long before we have.
Because there are so many great personalities out there, especially so many great ones we have seen this past year, this list is in no particular order, and not limited to a top “five” like our other lists of 2020.
Below is our list of the top media personalities of 2020. Included in this list are individuals or groups that we have had the pleasure of working with, and include some personal stories. Others are groups or individuals we feel deserve some extra attention because of the amazing strides they have made in the board game space.
Check out our other lists:
- 5 Best Board Game Publishers of 2020
- Top 5 Board Game Websites (and adjacent resources) of 2020
- 5 Board Games that Taught Us Something This Year
Ferdinand Andrew Capitulo from the Board Game Reviewers and Media Group and The Cardboard Stacker
First on this list, and even though I said in no particular order, might be the most important! Ferdinand is the admin of the Facebook group Board Game Reviewers and Media and he has put together an excellent space for all of the below mentions and myself to be able to come together and collaborate.
Without this space, much of the opportunities we have had to collaborate would not have been possible. We want to thank Ferdinand, along with the moderators of the group (some also appear on this list!) – Stella, Martin, William, Moe, Josh, Eleni, and Chris for all of their support and guidance as board game hobby media content creators.
The Facebook group Board Game Reviewers and Media has really made this list possible!
Jesse, Jan, and the Quackalope Crew
Jesse and I first met online through the Facebook board game group Board Game Reviewers and Media (see a mention above on our list too). He provided some great coaching and insight on a project I was working on at the time. After chatting with him online, we finally had a chance to meet in person at PAX Unplugged in 2019! This was my first ever US-based convention, and a convention of this magnitude in general. It was something else to see Jesse in action! And also super cool to have him on the show as a guest!
Since then, the community at Quackalope has grown tremendously. Whether it be in their Discord chat, Facebook group, or their one helluva Thanksgiving Day convention. When you show up in their community, you feel like you’re showing up to your local “Thursday night game night” that you’ve been attending for years.
Whether it be in their Discord chat, Facebook group, or their one helluva Thanksgiving Day convention When you show up in their community, you feel like you’re showing up to your local “Thursday night game night” that you’ve been attending for years.-Dustin
And don’t get me started on Quackalope’s work ethic and quality content!
Check out a short glimpse of Jesse on the Board Gaming with Education Podcast when he showed up for a chat during PAX Unplugged 2019 here.
From Quackalope’s Website: “We began this journey one year ago with the aim to become one the best quality board game media channels anywhere.”
Kim Tolson from Tabletop Tolson
Kim’s board game channel is perfect for anyone who is looking for more media content that covers the intersection of board games and education/learning. And man, does she make it entertaining! She has a great ensemble of characters such as Barb, who represents “the teach” — a way to introduce a game to someone playing it for the first time.
She also has great content related to games and learning: PROFESSOR KIM TEACHES You How to Run GAME SESSIONS in the CLASSROOM with Wits & Wagers
Entertaining, Educational, and Informative content from a passionate gamer and educator!-Dustin
Check out the TableTop Tolson YouTube channel!
From Tabletop Tolson website: “I love all kinds of games and have had the gaming bug since I was a young girl. My adulthood has been mostly centered around academia, so some of my videos are educational and will benefit educators. I hope that you find my humorous videos informational, as well. Game on!”
Chris Goodlet from The Charity Boardgamer
Chris is doing some very excellent things in the board game space. Watching Chris combine his passion for board games and helping others has been really cool to watch this past year! He has a unique passion that is unrivaled in this space! He usually hosts weekly chats centered around what others are doing in the board game hobby and he usually follows up his interviews with a live game!
He is such a positive and enthusiastic contributor to the hobby!-Rodger
Chris, Rodger, and I all had a chance to chat about Board Gaming with Education, and a charity I highlighted, Mary House.
From the Charity Boardgamer’s Website: “Aren’t there enough Blogs and reviewers out there in the board game community already?” was the question I asked when I decided to get involved. I asked it a lot. People had asked if I was going to go this route and I thought, “No,” but then we thought about the charity side of what our community can do, we decided to look further into this. Well, with the encouragement of my family and friends in the board game community, we are jumping in the water.”
Girls Game Shelf
Girls Game Shelf is all about bringing a feminine voice to the board game hobby. They are a core group of gamers with loads of guest-featured posts and interviews that help highlight and uplift female voices in the board game hobby.
Girls Game Shelf does a video series entitled Bits & Bobs that “offers a tutorial, gameplay highlights, and review all in one episode!” Some of their segments include Fertessa Allyse’s Board Game Etiquette segment, Daniela Luna’s Community segment, and Sophie William’s Three Tips for Game Design segment.
Girls Game Shelf is all about bringing a feminine voice to the board game hobby.
Check out their YouTube playlist here!
From the Girls Game Shelf website: “Welcome to Girls’ Game Shelf! Where we bring you the feminine perspective on board games. Check out our videos section, where you’ll find our original series along with tutorials and general tips. Or head over to our blog where we’ll be reviewing games for players of all ages as well as featuring guest writers from time to time.”
Our Family Plays Games
Mik, Starla, and Grant from Our Family Plays Games make some fantastic content centered around the idea of bringing more diverse group of families into the board game hobby. Their channel is full of energy and useful insights into various modern board game hobby games. We also love that they are fellow Omahans! If you’re interested in a family perspective on games, this channel is worth a watch!
Their channel is full of tons of energy and useful insights into different games from the modern board game hobby!-Dustin
Check out Our Family Plays Games YouTube Channel.
From Our Family Plays Games YouTube Channel: “Join our family on our board gaming journey as we introduce families to new and exciting modern board games. We are on a mission to bring more families in general and families of color in particular to this ever-growing hobby. Over the years, we have found this to be a great way to bond with our children and to make friends with other families!”
Karl Rahenkamp from Purple Moose Plays
Karl, another fellow educator, has a YouTube channel all about solo board gaming! Because a lot of us are stuck at home, now is a perfect time as any to get into more solo gaming. If you’re at all interested in the solo side of the board game hobby, we recommend checking out Karl’s channel! On his channel, you’ll find play-throughs of solo games, reviews of solo games, and some unboxing videos!
If you’re at all interested in the solo side of the board game hobby, we recommend checking out Karl’s channel!-Dustin
Check the Purple Moose Plays YouTube Channel.
Ian Zang and his Twitch Channel Zangzabar
I had the privilege of meeting Ian online back in 2017! This was when Board Gaming with Education (named Board Gaming with English back in those days) was in its infancy! He was one of our first guests and has been a strong advocate for game-based learning and board games in education.
Since then, and this year in particular, Ian has created some very strong and engaging streaming experiences on his Twitch channel Zangzabar. One of my most recent experiences was watching his stream of the game MonsDRAWsity. His stream setup is phenomenal and his ability to pull in the audience as a part of the game experience is very refreshing! I highly recommend his Twitch channel for board game streaming (and some digital-based games as well)!
His stream setup is phenomenal and his ability to pull in the audience as a part of the game experience is very refreshing!-Dustin
Check out Ian’s Twitch Channel Zangzabar!
From Ian’s Twitch Channel Zangzabar: “I’m a board game designer who streams every weekday. Please check the schedule for what is happening!”
William Brown from The Hungry Gamer
William has been making content for his channel for over a year now, and we have had the privilege to work with him in the past! He produces quality and genuine review and unboxing videos for his channel. He is also very engaging and welcoming in the Board Game Reviewers and Media group. He posts his weekly videos to engage with the board game media community. This passion goes a long way to encourage a warm and welcoming space as media personalities in the board game hobby!
This passion goes a long way to encourage a warm and welcoming space as media personalities in the board game hobby!-Dustin
Check out The Hungry Gamer’s YouTube Channel.
From The Hungry Gamer’s YouTube Channel: “Honest reviews and previews about board games.”
Zdenek Lukas from Teacher Zdenek
Zdenek is doing some amazing things with board games media by creating engaging mini English language lessons about board games. He also runs English language classes using board games as the central focuses for learning and improving your English.
Zdenek is doing some amazing things with board games media by creating engaging mini English language lessons about board games.-Dustin
Zdenek also has an English language podcast– Zdenek’s English Podcast!
Oh! And check out his game: Kingdoms of Deceit!
Jeremy Howard from Man vs Meeple
Jeremey Howard of Man vs Meeple is very active in various Facebook groups and loves to provide an uplifting and positive experience to members of these communities. His attitude and genuine interest in bringing more people into the board game hobby is an amazing sight to see! He also does solo play Sundays on the Man vs Meeple YouTube Channel.
His attitude and genuine interest in bringing more people into the board game hobby is an amazing sight to see!-Dustin
Julie’s Game School
Julie has been putting together some excellent blog posts related to homeschooling and gaming. Her blogs give specific insights into incorporating games as a part of your homeschool curriculum. We highly recommend checking out her blog, especially if you are one of the many families who have recently moved to a homeschooled environment or are looking for ways to supplement learning at home.
Her blogs give specific insights into incorporating games as a part of your homeschool curriculum.-Dustin
Check out Julie’s Game School Blog!
From Julie’s Game School Website: “What if I told you that school doesn’t have to be sitting at a desk, reading textbooks, and completing worksheets? That’s right, there is another way. Incorporating games into your routine can make a huge difference in learning and retaining key subjects and social-emotional skills. Here, I will give you simple tips, game suggestions by age and subject, and reviews of many educational games on the market.”
Bez Shahriari from Stuff by Bez
Bez has been hosting several conversations around board games since the pandemic started (and beyond). It seems her content has really ramped up and she has been bringing some amazing conversations into various online board games space. There are several nuggets of wisdom in these conversations. I especially recommend checking out: BBBB #223: TIMING IN MARKETING with Dina
…she has been bringing some amazing conversations into various online board games space.-Dustin
From Stuff by Bez Twitch Channel: “Daily streams at 10am UK-time. Designer, developer, artist, consultant, speaker, now also a streamer. I LOVE GAMES! Made Yogi, the ELL deck, KittyCataclysm. Worked/licensed games for Gigamic, SSG, Kings College London, ITB games, Alley Cat Games. Let’s share some positivity. Keep it PG please.”
Brian MacDonald from Brains on Games
Brian is bringing an awesome perspective to the board game hobby. His channel provides videos that focus on the positive aspects of psychology and board games. He reviews various games and talks about what specific skills these games can help develop. If you’re looking for content related to board games and all the positive psychological benefits they can provide for both adults and children, then hands down, you must check out his channel!
Brian is bringing an awesome perspective to the board game hobby.-Dustin
Check out the Brains on Games YouTube Channel!
From Brains on Games YouTube Channel: “Dr. Brian MacDonald is a psychologist who loves board games. His practice focuses on supporting students with learning problems, and Brains On Games is about board games that require specific skills, allowing students to practice using games instead of drills.”