Thursday, February 25, 2021

Christmas is better with Tom Vasel’s YouTube board game reviews

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It’s the holiday season. Time of relaxation, gifts, love, appreciation — and most importantly — board games.

“More like bored games” I hear you whisper under your breath and snicker with your cool friends.

How dare you, dear reader? This is my turf, where we play by my rules. So let me be crystal clear: board games are awesome.

Board games are like a warm embrace of delightful nostalgia, an oasis of calm in our screen inundated lives. They’re an opportunity to crush your loved ones and establish dominance over them in a miniature alternate reality, represented by colorful tokens, cards, and figures.

There’s nothing that says ‘Christmas‘ more than that.

The thing about board games though is they’re a tricky social contract to navigate, even during the holiday season, as they hinge on the collective ∼ v i b e z ∼. If one person isn’t ‘feeling it’, the whole experience falls apart.

While I thrive when solving trivial challenges — I’m a big brain boy — not all my friends and family are as gifted. That’s why researching games before buying and forcing them on your ‘simpler’ family members is crucial for a successful night of festive board-gaming.

That’s where S̶a̶n̶t̶a Tom Vasel comes in.

Credit: The Dice Tower

If you look up reviews of board games, more likely than not you’ll come across a video from The Dice Tower with its main star: Tom Vasel.

When I first started looking up these types of reviews, I got kinda annoyed the same dude kept popping up no matter what game I searched for.

His way of speaking, fashion sense, and vast knowledge of niche geeky stuff brought back painful memories of my interactions with ‘alpha nerds’ when I was a kid.

I was always fascinated by all things nerdy, but I remained an observer and never took the plunge into those fascinating worlds.

Part of that was due to the cabal-like aura that hovered over nerd shops before nerd culture was mainstreamified (it’s a word, don’t look it up) by Lord of the Rings and Marvel movies.

I remember looping around imposing boys, who spoke only in anime quotes while tipping their fedoras to each other. While they were several social rungs below me out in the real world, I had undeniably stumbled into their turf, where they reigned supreme wielding their superior nerd knowledge.

But as I kept searching for good board game reviews, I couldn’t ignore Tom Vasel any longer.

He’s reviewed pretty much every single board game out there — which maybe isn’t that surprising considering he’s been doing this for over a decade now. And while he’s got an alpha nerd vibe to him, he’s a damn good reviewer.

Credit: The Dice Tower

His videos usually follow the same formula:

  • Super quick intro about today’s game
  • Provocative shot of him chaotically emptying out the contents of the game (monster)
  • Walkthrough of the games’ rules and mechanics
  • His verdict and discussion on who the game is for

He does a great job summarizing the key elements of the game and what kind of players it fits. His immense library of reviews also provides a key ingredient: context.

As you get to know him and his preferred games, you can start matching that to your own tastes and experience — until finally, your brain and Tom Vasel‘s merge into a shimmering ocean of pure ecstasy…

So put your trust in Tom Vasel and start forcing your friends and family to play board games this holiday season. While my friends resent me for it, I’m sure yours will love it.

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