Over the course of the nearly two years I have spent contributing to the Daily Worker Placement, I’ve seen all facets of my work evolve. No element has taken as many leaps forward as my photography skills.
During this time, I have mostly used my smartphone to capture images for DWP articles. However, I found myself growing frustrated with the limitations of that device. First, I picked up a small light to boost the scenery, and later, invested in an entry-level DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera. Photography has become a hobby unto itself, as I develop Little Thumbs, Big Thumbs as an entity outside of the comfortable DWP umbrella.
In November, I took on a photography challenge on Instagram, using the hashtag #10days10cards. Most of these photos involved elevating the featured card by placing a couple of dice underneath, allowing for that card to be ever so slightly more in focus, while also offering the opportunity to create some dramatic shadows.
Let’s take a look at the ten images…
For the first day of the challenge, it seemed fitting to choose a Canadian designer with a uniquely Canadian theme. Yukon Airways (Publisher: Ludonova) is designed by Al Leduc, and allows players to operate a small seaplane business, picking up travellers and bringing them to a variety of locations in the Yukon territory. The experience almost feels meditative, which is absolutely enhanced by the card artwork of Eric Hibbeler and David Prieto.
The vast majority of pro wrestling board games are terrible. Fortunately, Headlock Paper Scissors (Publisher: WizKids) is mostly the incredible Rock Paper Wizard donning some WWE cosplay, meaning that even if it doesn’t feel much like a wrestling game, it’s still a fun experience. The simplicity of the card design combined with the heavy reliance on the colour red made this game a prime target for the 10 Days, 10 Cards challenge.
Here we have the game that has tempted me to abandon all the other deck building games in my collection. Dale of Merchants (Publisher: Snowdale Design) is a perfectly bizarre experience of light strategy and mischief, wonderfully accented by the artwork (and game design) of Sami Laasko. The critters and their favourite possessions often encourage mild emotional reactions, which adds a lovely layer to this lovely game. Hopefully the photo captures a tiny bit of that loveliness!
Anyone who follows Little Thumbs on social media knows that I’m a bit of a Kids Table Board Gaming fanboy. Each subsequent game release managed to improve in nearly every measure, but I still regularly find myself returning to Problem Picnic. Somewhere in my childhood, I most certainly created a game that involved using dice as some sort of target practice, and this game tickles a deeply hidden memory that has no clear place in my personal timeline. Selecting this event card was an easy choice, as it both features the delightful artwork of Josh Cappel and captures the spirit of the game in one shot!
When making my pile of games for this photography challenge, this game was the first one selected. The Artemis Project (Publisher: Grand Gamers Guild) is a truly excellent game, with truly evocative artwork. For my personal tastes, the quality of in-game decisions and player interaction are the best of any new game that I played in 2020. I highly recommend pausing your read of this article right now, so that you can go track down this amazing game.
Personally, I find making lists of all-time favourite games to be a bit overdone and overrated. And despite that conviction, I declare that Rattlebones (Publisher: Rio Grande Games) is in my Top 5 games of all time. Not because it’s a particularly great game, but because my circle of gaming friends have helped me evolve the experience into something magical. I have access to multiple copies of this game, and occasionally orchestrate a multi-table simultaneous race, where the winner of the Rattlebones Challenge is the player who wins their table’s game first. It induces a mild panic in everyone, which winds up resulting in poor decisions and overlapping turns, and it all adds up to one of my favourite things!
My birthday actually landed in the middle of this challenge, and my lovely wife managed to surprise me with Cosmic Encounter Duel (Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games) as a gift. As a result, it actually wound up bumping another game off of the challenge list. The blue shimmer from the cards has something of a calming quality, which starkly contrasts with the aggressive player interactions of the game. Ultimately, I don’t expect this game to remain a permanent fixture in my collection, but the experience and the photo holds a great deal of sentimental value.
Very few games manage to exist both in the past and the present concurrently, but if someone told me that Wasteland Express Delivery Service (Publisher: Pandasaurus Games) was first released in 1997, I wouldn’t be surprised. Of course, the inclusion of the ridiculous Game Trayz storage system is the immediate reminder that this delightful meal of a game did in fact arrive 20 years later, in 2017.
As soon as I posted this photo from Reiner Knizia’s Modern Art (Publisher: CMON), I realized I had made a mistake. Not only did this one break from the dice-elevated card motif, but the card should have absolutely been framed by the kaboom box art in the background! I’ve forgiven myself for the failure, but I fully plan to take a corrective photo the next time Modern Art makes it to the table.
The final photo of the challenge! Practically any one of the cards from this family friendly debate game could have been selected as the focal point, as the artwork throughout is positively glorious. It’s not the easiest game to track down, but the way Champion of the Wild (Publisher: Big Imagination Games) allows players to argue about which animal would be most likely to succeed in a triathlon of ludicrous events is absolutely amazing.
Ten photos and 1000+ words later, we’re at the end of the 10 Days, 10 Cards challenge. It was a lot of fun to take these photos and now revisit them, and I’m now thinking about what board game photography challenge to take on in the new year. If you enjoyed this article, please let us know in the social media posts about it! Although Sean J is the all-pro photographer of the DWP, I’d be happy to write more about my own experiences with this branch of our wonderful hobby. Or if you’d simply like to follow along with my daily posts, please subscribe to Little Thumbs, Big Thumbs on Instagram!