German board game publisher Hans Im Glueck is scrapping the production of The Voyages of Marco Polo after the game's designer used a racially insensitive word on his Facebook page. The social media manager for Hans Im Glueck, Frederic Diebold, posted the company's statement on the matter to BGG on Monday 18th January 2021.
Other companies, such as Board&Dice, have also responded by distancing themselves from the designer in question.
The cause of the situation appears to be a post made by the Italian designer of The Voyages of Marco Polo, Daniele Tascini, regarding the ongoing discussion of fantasy races and their potentially harmful use of racial stereotypes in tabletop games. At one point in the text, Tascini appears to be using a slur to describe his black friends, prompting outrage from the board game community online.
It was this outrage that has prompted the statement from Hans Im Glueck in which they say:
"There is no reason, for using certain words. Every apology to do so, regardless, only serves the protection of white privilege."
Although Hans Im Glueck will no longer be publishing Marco Polo or any other games created by Tascini, they have asked that fans still purchase the game to help out retailers who may be struggling with the ongoing pandemic. HiG has also said that they'll be donating all future profits from already produced copies of The Voyages of Marco Polo to various anti-racism charitable courses.
Hans Im Glueck Isn't the Only Company Responding
It's safe to say that Hams Im Glueck isn't the only company that has noticed the backlash to Tascini's words. Board&Dice is another European board game company that has dropped all future collaborations with the designer after outrage at what he said reached a peak.
Tascini did attempt to apologize for his action on his Facebook page, saying, "I am deeply ashamed of what happened earlier today." In their statement, HiG responded to this apology directly, denying it was good enough to warrant forgiveness:
"Mr. Tascini’s attempt at an apology unfortunately shows, that this acceptance is not present and that he does not/does not want to understand that the problem is rooted in white everyday racism."
Right now, it seems like the production on The Voyages of Marco Polo will stop completely, and the future isn't bright for Daniele Tascini's future in the board game industry if more companies refuse to work with him.