Rising Chides: Backlash Against Z-Man Announcement

The Rising Tide game is coming, Z-Man announced that on Wednesday. But then something happened.

Sometimes in the gaming community, like any community, we get fired up. But sometimes, I believe, that passion is misplaced.

You may have missed it on Wednesday. Or you may not have. Either way, it happened.

Z-man games announced it’s new addition coming to the Pandemic family:

Pandemic: Rising Tide

And then something else happened.

The outcry.

People were offended. Very offended.

Just scrolling through the comments (I know… never do that), and statements ranged from

Umm… poor timing much?


Are you completely tone deaf???!


Totally not cool Z-MAN. Thousands of people are dealing with the floods in Houston and you’re putting out a flood themed game?!

I really have to hand it to the internet buzz saw… the outcry worked, Z-Man has pulled their announcement, and they are donating to disaster relief in Houston (which that part, no matter how you slice it, is very cool of them).

But….Can we just spend 2 minutes and take a step back. Isn’t the whole outcry a bit of an overreaction in the first place?

The Facts

The Texas Flood is a Horrific Event

This should go without saying. But I need to say it anyway: The weather events of epic proportion going on in Texas are devastating. 

As someone who has lived through a flood, who has gone through putting a lot of my earthly possessions on the curb, who has spent weeks living with family because my house had no power, no heat, and more than enough water damage, who has had sleepless nights wondering how my wife and I were going to pay for it all – trust me when I say I know that floods are no joke.

The people of Texas are in my thoughts and prayers. Some have weeks of recovery ahead, others have months, many have years. For me personally, even though I live in a new state, I still get anxious when I see water rising on our street.

My home in September of 2011 after the remnants of tropical storm Lee left our area under water for several days.


This Game Was Not Designed Last Week

It takes months, even years to design a game. Rising tide has been in the works for quite some time. In fact the date of this announcement was probably planned out weeks or months ago.

Z-Man Was Not Exploiting the Suffering of Others with this Announcement

As far as I can tell there was never any mention of: Hurricane, Harvey, Houston, Texas or otherwise in their release. I don’t know if they paid for a Facebook ad, but if they did, I’m going to guess it was targeted based on interest, and not geographic location or personal experiences.

The Game is in No Way Affiliated with the Texas Flood or Hurricane Harvey

Not even close. It’s about Holland….decades ago. It’s no more about Houston, Corpus Christi, or Galveston than a board game about the National Football League would be in any way related to anything going on in Ireland.

But I hear you…some of you may be about to strangle me through the monitor because you are thinking…


Actually, I’m not sure that is the case. It appears that it is more about flood prevention. Building pumps, dikes, etc. But for the sake of the discussion, let’s assume that floods and flood damage is part of the game play and dig a little deeper into the topic.

If you believe they should have pulled their announcement because the Texas flood was going on, then I want to ask you:

Does it only matter because it’s a flood in the US?

I only saw an outcry about the Texas floods. This is also evidenced by the reaction of Z-Man in their response by stating that they would be donating to the relief efforts in Texas.

Was no one outraged at the timing of this Game announcement because of the floods going on in India…where more than 1,000 people have died? Do only US floods matter?

Does it only matter because the flood is big?

There were 19 floods in the US in 2016. On average 86 people die in the US per year due to flooding. So how much time has to pass from a flood before it’s ok to release a game about flooding? What’s the size threshold for a flood being ok to put out a game themed around saving Holland from a flood?

At the risk of sounding glib (which is not my endeavor)  16,000+ people (according to a 2011 statistic) are murdered in the US every year. Average of 44 per day. Should Restoration Games stay away from the Clue licence? Or is that number not quite big enough?

Let’s Slow Our Roll

“Slow your roll” has become one of my favorite phrases lately. It’s something that I think we need to do more often. I think the reason there was the reaction to this release information is two fold:

1. We Struggle to Separate Things in Life That Should be Separate

The release of a game about the historical effort to save Holland from flooding should be a completely separate thing in our brain than the current flooding in Texas. It really should. I would submit that if this is not the case, then pretty much every non-fantasy, tragedy based theme should be off limits, always.

For instance, with more than 300,000 structure fires per year in the US alone, and 7 people dying per day in structure fires, games like Flash Point should never, ever see the light of day. Because, well, the timing just isn’t appropriate.

But for some reason, we are able to separate the fact that structure fires happen, to buying, and enjoying a game about structure fires.

Deadly pandemics sweep 3rd world countries, yet we have no issue buying, playing, and enjoying Pandemic. (In fact… I’d be willing to bet a good chunk of change that you, like me, have named the cubes after actual diseases that have killed tens of thousands of people).

Games, and life are separate. Games are even an escape.

I scrolled through another set of comments, these ones were on the Z-Man facebook page after they pulled their announcement. It was amazing to see the response, especially from those affected by the Houston floods. Here’s one of my favorites:

Michael gets it.

2. We Like to Get Offended

Please bear with me. I’m not accusing you of this. I’m accusing US of this. All of us.

We all have our buttons. It doesn’t matter what your political leanings are, it doesn’t matter where you live, It doesn’t matter how you were brought up or what you believe; we (at lease those of us in the United States) have our buttons that when pushed, will offended us. Lately, it seems like we’re adding more buttons to our repertoire.

Sometimes it’s good to get our ire up. But really, it should be reserved for the important things in life.

So let’s slow our roll.

Let’s take a second to look through the facts, take a minute to not get offended so easily and remember that this is JUST a game announcement. That’s it. It’s not related to any event going on in the world today. It is related to Holland, decades ago, but not to anything else.

And then by all means, let’s not waste our energy on being offended, but instead help those who are struggling right now, whether their in India, Texas, or right next door.

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4 thoughts on “Rising Chides: Backlash Against Z-Man Announcement

  1. Very well put. I know this was a little while ago now, but I only recently stumbled upon your content. Thanks for this, keep up the great work.

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