We consider ourselves, not only a company, but also a global actor.
It is also in the nature of our products, which bring people together and are intended to create positive experiences. And of course, it is also our personal conviction, which clearly condemns all forms of inequality.
Although boardgames bustle about every imaginable subject area, those areas may never provide space for racism, exclusion, xenophobia, sexism, homophobia or the like.
We set out to actively confront grievances such as racism and sexism, which are still rooted in our society. Part of that is, closely paying attention to these topics. We too, often view the world from a white, male perspective. This makes it even more important, to raise our own awareness and the awareness of others for these everyday issues. Thus, we strive to step by step represent the actual, diverse society and see to more visibility and representation in our work.
Design and Gendering
In doing so, of course the design of and communication in our games play an important role. Sadly, we may have neglected the representation of BIPoC or other groups, genders, etc. in past products. We have started to tackle this some time ago, as you can see, for example, in the distribution and design of the cards in our game Hadara. Needless to say, we are also working on ensuring a fair representation of all groups in future products.
Oftentimes our games are set in a historical context (Carcassonne = medieval times; Russian Railroads = Industrialization; etc.). This means managing the balancing act between obviously non-realistic figures and ensuring necessary respect. It would be, for example, highly unrealistic, if an indigenous group from America paid a visit to medieval Carcassonne. However, a scenario with dragons and fairies does leave room for the appearance of female knights.
As our job is to make rules as easily understandable as possible, we do struggle a lot with using terms such as der*die Spieler*in, ein/e andere/r, or Spieler:in, etc. (in our German rules) at all times.
This is why we have started using 2 forms of gendering, the so called generic feminine and the gender-star, in our rules.
We will use the gender-star *, when addressing all players and the so called generic feminine when one particular person is being addressed - this means, that we will write " die nächste Spielerin” instead of “der nächste Spieler”.
Our English rules have been gender neutral for some time (using “they”).
We are aware, that this, however, still excludes certain groups. We apologize and hope for your understanding.
After having been thinking about this topic for some quite time (and seeking professional advice from Dr. Jasmin Siri, a sociologist teaching at LMU Munich and Erfurt University), we came to the conclusion, that a one-size-fits-all approach is not possible regarding this issue.
Language is always changing, and we will keep on educating ourselves regarding this topic.
As probably not everybody is familiar with the structure of HiG, we want to tell you a bit about it.
So, basically, we are like a spider in its web – we are where all strings run together, yet we are still a relatively small company. This is why we have outsourced all production and also distribution processes, which are handled by other companies.
Roughly speaking, how it works is that we convince our international distribution partners to sell one of our games in their territory. They proceed to place an order with us, and we then order the production at an external production company. Once they are produced, we buy those games from the producer and sell them to our distribution partners, who publish the game in their country.
Also the designer gets their fair share from the profit.
This means, that we do not sell nor store our games ourselves. And by the way, also our own online store cundco.de buys our games at our distribution partner Asmodee. Cundco.de is its own retailer and strictly speaking not Hans im Glück.
As we believe that the economy, but also consumers play an important role in fighting global warming and inequality, this is an important concern regarding our production processes. Only if we treat all actors in our supply chain fair, can we expect being treated the same way.
This is why, for several years now, the biggest part of our games (min. 95%) is being produced in Europe, at production companies, which we know well. Occasionally, there are some projects or select parts, which we produce in China. Those, however, only make up for a minor part of the big picture. Also, with those productions, we ensure, that the required certificates are provided and that the producing company has a good reputation.
Only recently, we have started to produce a large amount of Carcassonne base games in the United States to be sold in the US-market. We have decided to do this, due to less containers having to be shipped across the Atlantic Ocean and to shorten the routes of transportation in the US. This makes sense here, as the number of games had reached a point, at which an own production is justifiable. Unfortunately, this is not possible in every economic zone.
This is a short overview of our production companies and the respective products:
- ASS Altenburger, located in Germany, produces the largest amount of our games – amongst others the Carcassonne base game, My First Carcassonne, Carcassonne Hunters & Gatherers, but also Hadara, Citadels or Paleo.
- Ludo Fact, also located in Germany, produces the games of the Stone Age series, Carcassonne expansions or the Marco polo series, for example.
- NSF, based in the Netherlands, has produced the Carcassonne Big Box, and some special orders, such as Carcassonne Amazonas.
- Ludo Fact, in the USA, has produced, as mentioned above, most of the English Carcassonne base games.
- Panda, based in China, will likely produce part of the Carcassonne anniversary edition and maybe also take on a few more, smaller project. Also, here, logistics play an important role, as being able to produce at this location, prevents us from having to ship huge amounts of goods around the globe.
Moreover, we also pay close attention to using sustainable resources. As of now, not everything is perfect, but for a few years now, we have been working on reducing plastics step by step and using wood and cardboard more efficiently.
This is why 99% of our pawns have always been made out of wood (and have mostly been produced by a German producer, a family-run company called “Seidenstücker”) and we are not planning on switching to plastics.
We have also been attending to the matter of outer packaging of cards and boxes, zip log bags and plastic inlays for some time now. This is why, in the future you we will use even less plastic in our games. Although, alternatives do not come cheap, we do want to take responsibility instead of keep “littering” our games with plastic.
Should you, as a person affected by or just aware of discrimination, notice something about our products or presence, that we should change, please let us know!
We would also welcome it, if you as fans of our games also stood up for a fairer and more equal world. Let’s walk this often-uncomfortable road together. Only this way, will we achieve a better future.
At the same time, we ask everyone, who cannot identify with an openminded society (which accepts all forms of sexuality, gender, religion, ethnic and social background and skin color as equal), to refrain from buying our games!
We believe that those issues do concern us all, which is why we do take social responsibility, as you can read here.
On that note, we do wish you a lot of fun with our games, hoping that we can bring together people all around the globe.