Uncharted territory

I met Joel in person for the first time at Gen con 2012. I was running demos of Robinson Crusoe. I knew him as a YouTube reviewer and was very excited when he came to the booth to learn the game. He didn’t say a word for the whole game, and frankly speaking, I was terrified. He was really silent during the game, and I was pretty sure he was bored to death with it. After the game ended, he said he loved it, congratulated me, and left. 

I think the word that describes my feelings at that moment is “perplexed.”


I met Joel the very same day, in the evening. I was invited by fans to play a football board game and when I came, I realized that Joel was invited too. I sat next to him. We played.

He was calm with his emotions again but opened a little more. And he regaled me with super funny comments about football and the game through the whole night. His sense of humor was right at my alley. That game night was a blast. It is still one of the highlights of all my gaming.


I mention Joel today because last week, he recorded a new episode of his vlog, a celebration video – it’s been 10 years since he started his channel. Quite the anniversary! It’s one of the most respected review channels in our hobby, with a great audience. Joel doesn’t go for clickbait content, doesn’t run to review all the hotness; he does his thing, deep, thoughtful reviews of games he plays. I respect that a lot and love the content.

In the anniversary video, he said words that struck me, and I wanted to follow up today on what he said – that is how discovering new games and genres is an important part of our hobby. It’s the search for the spark, as Joel said, it’s entering the uncharted territory as I’d describe it.  

I remember myself in 1993 when I read about RPG for the first time. Had no clue what it was, but it sounded so amazing and was like nothing I saw before. More than a year later, after long months of reading about it and trying to figure out how to play RPG, I finally played it, and it changed my life. I fell in love and became obsessed with RPG. And then I discovered something called Warhammer Battle, and that was a new uncharted territory. I discovered miniatures, terrains, rulers, and all that jazz. And then I discovered board games. And then I discovered historical war games. Each step in these unknown territories was like a beginning of an epic adventure, it was Sam leaving the Shire, it was the beginning of something new. 

You’d say I saw it all. You’d say there is no uncharted territory anymore. You’d say it is over.

You’d be wrong. 

The spark is here. It’s called Rangers of Shadow Deep, I discovered thanks to Joel’s channel. It’s called Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective, I discovered thanks to Grant Rodiek. It’s called Risk Legacy I discovered thanks to Rob Daviau. It’s called The Mind. It’s called solo gaming and Arkham Horror LCG…

Been in gaming since 1993. Thanks to brilliant designers, I’ve been exploring uncharted territories for all that time. 


Remember the movie you saw last year? The one you didn’t like? Let’s face it. You will never have a chance to meet its director and tell him that he let you down.

And the book? Remember the book you read a few months ago? You’ll probably never meet the author of this book. You will never be able to discuss with him or her what you liked and what you didn’t like about it.

BTW: the game you played last week and you didn’t like? Go to GenCon or Essen and tell its designer what you think.


Of course not every designer attends GenCons. Not every designer is easily approachable. Not every designer is so open as to discuss and hang out with the fans. But many of us are. Many of us meet you—players—at conventions, hang out with you in pubs and talk vividly on social media platforms.

We love interaction, we love you and your feedback.

And we don’t want to fail you.


I always say that I am responsible not only for every game I’ve designed, but I also take full responsibility for every game Portal has ever published. I put my name—the Portal logo—on it and this means I fully recommend this design.

For years I’ve been building trust, I’ve published one title after another and I’ve never ever let myself disappoint you. I want you to know that if a game was published by Portal Games, that means I personally accepted it and I personally recommend it.

It takes years to build trust. It takes dozens of designs published year after year to build this repeating recognizable pattern of well-playtested, engaging, challenging games.

These days more and more often I read comments like ‘It’s a game from Portal Games so it tells a great story” or ‘It’s a game from Portal Games so I know it won’t disappoint me.”

It took years to build reputation and trust.

And you know what? It would take a second to lose it. But don’t worry. I put my name on these boxes. And trust me, I wouldn’t put it on anything less than the best…


Edited by Piotr, thank you!

I am hater!

HATERSI am hater. Not this jerk who attacks other people in the Internet. Not that anonymous troll who destroys lives of sensible people. Not that fucking idiot who gives thumbs down on every video with cute baby cat he can find. I am not that moron.

I am different breed.

I hate Monopoly.I hate it with my whole heart.

Every minute of my life is dedicated to promote modern games. I design them. I write about them. I spend almost every single weekend in different places promoting games. Just this weekend I spent 2 days in mall in my city where I ran event dedicated to board games. We were trying to show board games to average people who never heard about modern board games. It was hard but rewarding. People discovering Mysterium. People discovering that board games can be fun!

Yeah, that stuff.

Every minute I spend promoting board games though is confronted by every single copy of Monopoly sold. This old game that teaches you that board games take 4 hours. This old game that teaches you that either you screw opponent with unfair deal or he will screw you. This old game that is basically one huge game play issue.

This one. Sold every day in every city on this planet. Every copy sold will convince people that board games are long boring activity with no actual strategy, emotions or fun involved.

I love board games. I love them with great passion. And that love fuels my hate for Monopoly. I hate it with my whole heart, because I love board games with my whole heart. And since you guys know how much I love board games, you can imagine how devoted hater I must be…

The hater.


Yeah, all of this is because I read that Andrew Niccol writes screenplay for Monopoly movie. The guy behind Truman Show, one of the best movies ever is taking this stupid board game and makes a movie about it. Monopoly will get some hype again. Will sell some copies again. Will sabotage my work again.

#Ihate #monopoly #monopolymovie #WhyAndrewWhy