Don’t turn your back. Act!





English speaking geeks treat me super kind. With one or two minor exceptions, I did not meet any English speaking trolls and haters so far. I am like living in a dream where every person in the Internet is kind and nice. I know this is not true picture, I know that Internet sometimes is not a nice place, I know there are trolls and haters but well… I didn’t meet them. It’s like living in a fairytale.

What’s interesting, it is exactly opposite here in Poland. In Polish board games forum I am the most hated person. If you remember what was the reaction of people when they heard that Ben Affleck will be new Batman – that’s exact kind of reaction I get here in Poland each time I release new game. And you know, I am not exaggerating. Really, it’s super nasty here.

Last week I withdrew from Polish board games forum. I asked admin to remove my account. After nearly 10 years on the forum, I withdrew. Trolls and haters had their victory.


When you were a kid and saw one kid bullying other, you probably did stay in defense of bullied kid. When you see some jerk acting bad you of course act. When we see inappropriate behavior in real life, it is our natural reaction to act and defend person in need. To help people who need help is obvious and natural reaction.

It’s not a case in the Internet though. When we see troll bullying other person in the Internet, we rarely act. We think: ‘Oh, it’s just troll, just ignore him.’

Let me tell you – this ignore policy doesn’t help bullied person. It doesn’t stop troll or hater. It only makes him stronger. It let him think that he can do and write whatever he wants to and no one will stand against him. Bullied person in the Internet is alone. You face trolls and haters alone because others just ignore troll.

For the past few years, from the moment I published Stronghold I was bullied in Polish Internet with tremendous strength. Every week there were attacks, nasty comments and hate all over me, sometimes including even my family. I was fighting back, I was trying to defend, but for the most time I was alone.

There was me, haters and ignore troll policy. For years. Last week I gave up.


Board games industry is an amazing industry – there is no wall or something like that between customer and producer. We gamers can easily interact with many publishers and with many designers. They are active on game forums, they are active at conventions, they are within our reach. You can have Antoine Bauza sign your copy of his game, you can have cow sketch in one of Portal Games box, you can tweet to Eric M. Lang, you go to the pub and have a great time with Stephan Buonocore from Stronghold Games… This is one big family and I find it truly amazing. I love all people who work here. This is great crazy family.

Family that can very easily be attacked by trolls. We are so open to gamers, that some asshols just can’t wait to take advantage of that. So here is my honest request – when you see troll attacking our family, fight him back. He is trolling us just like bullying someone in real life. You wouldn’t turn your back in real life, wouldn’t you?

Don’t turn your back in the Internet too. Protect our family.

Don’t let haters win. Like they just did here in Poland.



14 thoughts on “Don’t turn your back. Act!

  1. hipshotau says:

    That is sad and disturbing, designers and blogger and creative innovative people should be openly accepted for trying to do something different. Something unique. Carry on the good work.

  2. peer says:

    I totally agree. People on Boardgameforums are (imho) quite careful, not to remove abusive posts. This is wrong. I am not speaking of censorship here, but the general rule is that if you wouldnt SAY something face to face, you shouldnt post it. And Non-Admins should tell the person off.
    With the internet its so easy to connect, which is great. But it is as easy to spread hate or lies and this downside can only be countered by the community together!

    (I was never victim of a personal attack -to my knowledge – at least nothing “serious”. Once on BGG someone accuse me of plagiarism though, just based on the paragraph of the general describtion on BGG. The rules (and the game were not published yet). I defended myself and the aother user argued “Ah! Where there is smoke there is fire!” and felt he was right. That was as bad as it got though).

  3. maggibot says:

    i’m so sorry ignacy! Sorry to you and your family for dealing with those awful people.

    i’m very glad you still have us crazy americans treating you well!

  4. Andrew Glass says:

    How could anyone hate Ignacy!

  5. Isuel says:

    This is really sad how much hate is still in our country… In most cases people probably are just jealous because you did something creative with your hobby – and they don’t have enough strong will to do the same with their lives. I will not lie: I’m not a fan of Portal Games , but this doesn’t give me a right to insult anyone. Especially your family. So don’t give these jerks satisfaction. There are many people in Poland who even if they disagree with you, still appreciate what you are doing for all gaming community. Wish you all the best! And yes, acting out and stopping trolling is important, so it’s good that you bring up this issue.

  6. Kelson says:

    I think this is why I like reddit more than typical forums, particularly /r/boardgames. Trolls can be downvoted by the community and removed from view, or moderators have the chance to step in. It’s not perfect, but it’s a fair sight better than open forums, which rely too heavily on moderation. It is awful that a culture of bullying has been allowed to persist on the internet and that it has affected you.

    You make really interesting games! I love Robinson Crusoe (I just can’t get it to the table because my group doesn’t like the ever present feeling of imminent death) and I am really looking forward to playing Imperial Settlers. It takes a lot of effort and guts to put your board game designs out there, and even if we are not fans of the game, that effort should be respected. Everyone should keep criticisms to the game and the game mechanisms/flow, and not redirect that criticism onto the designer personally.

  7. Kevin says:

    I am disheartened to hear of your bullying experience. The world is a cruel enough place, and it is made even more so within the anonymous confines of the internet. I have found the board game community to be accepting, helpful, and full of excellent people.

    However, there are always the exceptions, the few trolls whose voices ring out louder, filled with vitriol and negativity. Those trolls are just jealous of success, unhappy with their own lives, and closed-minded. Just know that there are more supporters than trolls, even though your supporters don’t speak up all the time.

    I wish you continued success. I appreciate your openness with your blog and games, thank you for sharing. Please keep designing awesome games that I can share with my friends and family.

  8. R. says:

    Hi Trzewik, I think that was good decision. We can’t explain all hate with phrases ‘ keep calm, haters gonna hate’. We don’t know who is the person on the other side. That person have feelings, he isn’t a robot. Ignore troll policy is very easy way to hurt someone. If we ignore the haters we become co-responsible for their actions.

    I have problems with my english. I hope, all you guys understood what I mean. I’m still learning.

    Trzewik, you’re doing a great job. We are with you 🙂

  9. Pixa says:

    I think that you are exaggerating – is it reaction to the discussion about Robinson Crusoe? Some people on the Forum said that one of the scenarios isn’t ballanced well and that sometimes it’s impossible to win it. They weren’t really nice, but I wouldn’t call them haters (they really like the game!) or trolls. They weren’t vulgar. They expressed their views in a normal, calm way.

  10. scafandr says:

    Ignacy, please tell who were those trolls, i’ll prepare my gun-machine for them.

  11. Templar-kun says:

    well, this is crazy…I thought board game designers treated like celebrities or something… (I know I would, I’m from Baltic, no celebrities here 😦

  12. Bill Carrigan says:

    Just an FYI that I replied on a thread at the Dice Tower forums where someone was criticizing Tom Vasel, and I think it contributes a tiny bit to what Ignacy wants us to do more of. I love Portal Games and think Ignacy is fantastic. I really can’t fathom why folks would attack him so much other than jealousy or desire to increase their own fame by attacking a successful designer and company.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s