FEED Issue 15

13 STREAMPUNK Shut Up & Sit Down

We look at bringing digital video to the world of board games, tabletops and tokens with Shut Up & Sit Down founder, Matt Lees SLOW DOWN AND PLAY

Words by Neal Romanek

att Lees and his friends are online gamers. They stream their

Shut up & Sit Down, in keeping with its subject, has adopted a hand-crafted and highly curated ethos. In a hugely oversaturated market, the channel is about quality over quantity, presenting viewers with honest analysis of carefully selected games. The result is a very loyal audience and respect within the community. “Rather than covering more stuff, we cover less. We work out which games really matter, which games are really great, and try to promote them.” He adds: “We want to encourage people to spend more time doing things face to face and having social interactions with people.” SU&SD’s refined and controlled approach left their audience hungry for more frequent content. Rather than trying to churn out more of the same, the team decided to try a different format and began livestreaming. Every two weeks, SU&SD streams a show on Twitch. The flavour is different from the scripted format of the game reviews and allows for more spontaneity and live audience chat. Lees had previously tried video game streaming, but it didn’t appeal to him. “I found the mix of trying to be entertaining and insightful, while also trying to chat to people directly and moderating the chat, too, could be quite distracting and draining,” he explains. “And when you end up having community issues – which everybody in video games does, whether you like it or not – I found that quite draining as well.”

games live on Twitch, and the competition is fierce. But this isn’t esports: this is the real thing. This is board games. Shut Up & Sit Down started when some friends who worked in the video game industry decided that not enough people were talking about board games. Matt Lees, one of the founders, explains: “We thought they were really interesting and that it was a much more niche hobby than it needed to be.” They established a YouTube channel that focused primarily on in-depth reviews of board games. The channel has been a huge hit, with over 170,000 subscribers and some videos reaching over half a million views. Not bad for a ‘niche hobby’. “Since then, we’ve been growing and growing, getting more of an audience and getting better at what we do”, says Lees. “And it’s getting really big – board games are becoming kind of a cultural thing again.”

POPULAR CULTURE SU&SD’s YouTube channel more than 170,000 subscribers, and the most popular video on their channel has over 635,000 views


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