Like most good games you’d expect to find a theme and in most cases this theme would be symbiotic to the mechanics of the game. With that being said, what makes a bad game, is it the theme? Or the mechanics? Maybe both?
An interesting debate occurred last night on twitter when, game publisher, Artipia Games tweeted the box cover art of their new game, due for release at this years Essen convention.

Lap DanceI get that the theme of Lap Dance is pretty out there, compared to Artipias’ other titles, it certainly got the board gaming community a tweeting. With the majority very quick to write this off as distasteful and misogynistic. Comments that predominantly came from men.

It got me thinking of the mechanics involved in this game, of which as of now I am un-aware of. If the mechanics support and work along with the theme of the game I see no overall issue with Lap Dance. People have to remember board gaming’s popularity is on the increase, but will forever be second string to video games. With that said publishers have to try to mix it up a bit by producing games that may not necessary appeal to hobbyist, but grab the attention of others.

When I talk to my work colleagues about my board game hobby they instantly dismiss it as boring and un-cool. If I turned up with Lap Dance, I’m sure they would be intrigued enough, by the theme, to give it a go. Then who’s to say that if Lap Dance was enjoyable enough, that the pre conceptions of board games are broken enough to leave people more open and susceptible to trying other games, that aren’t so controversial in their theme.

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I for one welcome different themes in gaming, especially if the game itself is good and enjoyable to play. I find this no more offensive than some of the content in Cards Against Humanity, which I also enjoy playing.

What do you guys think to the theme of Lap Dance and other games, that are out there at the moment ? Please leave comments below.

  • Andy R

    I’m a firm believer that anything can be funny when presented in the right context, so nothing can be “inappropriate” without looking further into it.

    If a game is entitled “All Jews Must Die” then I’m sure it would cause immediate outrage, but I can think of at least one way that could be an acceptable title to me. Example:

    A game about political advisers and campaign slogans, that would be one of the ridiculously bad cards.

    Of course, the title would’ve obviously been chosen to create a buzz over its controversial nature, but I don’t have too much of an issue with that.

  • Rekeiji

    In my book, if it pisses off the Daily Mail like Cards Against Humanity its a good thing.

  • Whatever does it for you. If the games great, peeps will buy and it’ll do well. Then everyone can run grab their soapboxes and we can have our controversy. Looking on BGG it was originally puerto rico like, and actually sounded like it might have been entertaining, however it has since been completely redesigned as a 30min card filler. I smell quick cash in on the hoped controversy.

  • Beresford Quimby

    I’m not entirely convinced that propagating the hobby is a sufficient price to pay for compromising one’s principles (assuming one’s principles include a rejection of the casual objectification of women). In this specific case, I’ve no idea whether the game is any good or not, but I would observe that in other media (video gaming, for example), historically, poor technical executions and uninspiring content have frequently been masked by “controversial” or so-called “adult” themes. Personally, the theme leaves me cold – lap-dancing seems a pointless and sterile activity to me (why have intimate contact with someone who cares not one jot about you?), so I wouldn’t play it anyway, but as a general point I’d argue our (comparatively) nascent hobby can ill-afford to pursue a strategy of courting controversy, at the risk of alienating more people than it attracts.


    • I understand what you mean. In this case though they do show male lap dancers and female audience members. So I don’t think it’s fair to say this is objectifying women. As a female, I find it balanced and there for inoffensive.

      • Beresford Quimby

        Well, I’d say that balancing the objectification doesn’t mitigate the underlying problem if one thinks that objectifying human beings is a bad thing…and it’s the *woman* who is (literally) front-and-centre on the box art. Additionally, I’d argue that it’s somewhat disingenuous of the publishers to include the man – he’s pretty much tokenistic here, (and a cynical attempt to deflect criticism, I would suspect) since it’s indisputable that the overwhelming majority of lap-dancing clubs have women dancing, and men watching.

        The underlying question you posed, though, is: is it worthwhile using “controversy” as a means to attract publicity to tabletop gaming? I’d say no. I’d say that as broad a potential support-base as possible is the ideal for the hobby, since it’s (at this point) comparatively marginal in terms of participants. Now, any theme you can think of *might* offend somebody, but here we’re talking about a theme that a significant number of people would have a problem with – some because of the “morality” of sex-work, some because of the perceived exploitation of women (and men) in the sex-work industry. And sadly, it doesn’t take much for the media to latch on to something like this and use it to throw mud at a pastime or its followers in such a way that leaves a lasting impression on the public consciousness (Sega Night-Trap, I’m looking at you!).

        YMMV 🙂


        • I’ll just be blunt here

          Have you ever thought that maybe sometimes people want to give lapdances and maybe sometimes people want to recieve them and they both like it? Just saying. If you dont like it, dont play it, but dont tell others not to.
          tbh I’m more intregued by games that are completely controversial. If I want to play something, I dont want to play something boring, I want to play something that has a flare of controversy in it. Like cards against humanity. I’m not going to settle for a watered down apples to apples.

  • Abhuman Aux.

    They’ve gone to lengths to show a male lapdancer too… I see no problem really, sometimes the world of board games can be a little dry and repetitive. Is it slightly bad taste? Possibly. Does that mean it shouldn’t exist? Certainly not.