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Tabletop Simulator Got Review Bombed Over Transphobic Moderation Allegations

Tabletop Simulator Got Review Bombed

Tabletop Simulator got review bombed over new allegations that its community moderation had a transphobic slant, leading to a cultural divide over the game.

The news that Tabletop Simulator got review bombed started later last year, where a user known as “Xoe” claimed they were kicked out of the game’s global chat because they are both gay and trans, alleging that the developer said both are not “family friendly.”

This didn’t blow up until the entire ordeal was allegedly documented by Zoe and then heavily shared on social media, prompting developer Berserk Games to respond.

“We do not censor, suppress or ban users for expressing their identity, race or orientation. We actively take measures to ban users for harassing members of the LGBTQ+ community. A user got timed out from the chat for what was deemed disruptive behavior by spamming different key words in an attempt to get flagged,” the developer said in a new statement.

They added, “This was misunderstood as punishing the user for expressing their identity. This was of course never the intent, and further confusion ensued in attempting to clarify the situation. Our policy is to keep the chat cordial, inclusive and for the most part on the topic of tabletop gaming.”

Developer Berserk Games then noted the game “supports the LGBTQ+ community including profiling games with LGBTQ+ themes, designers, and writers as well as having members of the LGBTQ+ community” so that they’re actually “working on TTS directly.” In short, the game is a literal digital tabletop games platform, so creators of all walks of life can create their own games and upload them for others to play.

In short Xoe notes whenever they join a new Discord or what have you, they introduce themselves as an “ADHD trans mom,” which after an exchange with in-chat moderator “CHRY” got them banned for repeatedly discussing “sexuality, fetishes, and politics” in a simulator about playing tabletop games.

This prompted Xoe to ask if “being trans is a fetish or political?” Users then began to review bomb the game on Steam in protest, which also prompted people to spam positive reviews to counterbalance everything. Access to in-game chat was also shut down while Berserk Games looked into the ordeal.

An earlier in-game post from Xoe said “I’ve read the rules, so if I’m understanding them right, there is nothing wrong with me expressing my trans-ness or gay-ness” to which another moderator replied “maybe you didn’t understand them correctly.”

To date Xoe claims they have not been contacted by Berserk Games, and they have switched to using Screentop.gg as an alternative.

The crux of the issue is that all of this was happening in global chat, the equivalent of global chat in an MMORPG (which tends to be filled with spam or trolls anyway).

Berserk Games noted global chat is a place to find games to play, not a place to discuss “sexuality, fetishes, [or] politics.” Moderation in the game, due to its large playerbase, is notably automatic and certain keywords “will result in bans” and “most of them are temporary.”

Zoe later wrote a detailed reply to Berserk Games’ statement, saying “you can’t ask for games with gay/trans representation” in Tabletop Simulator “because you will get kicked. It is considered against the rules.”

Another moderator from the game suggests “almost every instance of that kind of language in global chat” has been used “in a way other than what Xoe is advocating” and has led to topics falling into “not appropriate” territory.

It’s worth nothing Tabletop Simulator has been available since 2015, so it’s curious why these kinds of allegations are coming up now – over half a decade later. The game also sports over 3 million players and creators worldwide, with over 30,000 games that you can play.

Tabletop Simulator has been available for Windows PC, Linux, and Mac (via Steam).

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