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An Infamous Traffic» Forums » General

Subject: Guangdong or Canton? rss

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Gerit Driessen
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If I understand it correctly, Canton is the older name for Guangdong. Would it not be better to use this name in the game?
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Cole Wehrle
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Canton was the capital city of the province. The cities in the game are not named or marked, only the provinces. The convention of call Guangdong "Canton Province" was mostly a western convention from what I can tell.
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Gerit Driessen
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I understand. Thanks for clearing that up Cole.
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Brian Train
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Cole, I notice the map image here has all the province names rendered in Pinyin.

That's the perennial question: what names to put on the map.
Do we use the linguistic form of the name a town had then, or the one it has now, or the name it had then but rendered in the language of the country that occupied it during the game?
Or alternatively, how it was referred to in English back then, bearing in mind that most gamer-customers are English-speaking?

I think in this case, since the game is about mixed Western imperialism and mercantilism strong-arming a weaker country, the distorted English-language names should deliberately be used, as in the Wade-Giles system (the first textbooks for which were first published about 30 years after the Opium Wars, but this was the first widely accepted method of romanizing Mandarin Chinese).

Kwangtung, Hunan, Fukien, Chekiang, Anhwei, Kiangsi, Kiangsu.

http://www.loc.gov/catdir/cpso/china.html




Brian
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Gerit Driessen
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I'm not sure I follow you all the way Brian, but the players being (English) opium traders and the game historical, I would go for 'how it was referred to in English back then', if this makes sense.
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Cole Wehrle
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This was something I spent a lot of time thinking about when working on Pamir and I ended up deciding that the naming conventions should follow a couple rules. They should be:

1. Communicative.
2. True to the perspective of the position the player's occupy.

These two goals are often directly at odds in the kinds of designs I work on. For instance in Pamir most players scarcely know anything about the setting, so the use of more accurate names would render the setting even more alien given the players position as political factions in the area in and around Afghanistan. So the use of modern names and spellings (Kabul) coupled with a couple archaic names (eg Persia) in the interest of making the players feel at home in the game's world.

Now, Infamous Traffic is a little tricker, because the players are now on the outside. This means I should probably adopt the Wade-Giles system. However, province names don't really matter as far as the players are concerned. The thing players mostly engage with are the supply lines which, if located in provinces, they go unnamed. The provinces are mostly used by the Qing (which come into play through the conspiracies and are heavily abstracted). Hence the Pinyin. Actually, originally I had the names rendered in Mandarin characters (which is why the regions were labeled with the large letters).

None of this is meant as a rebuke of your excellent point, Brian. I just thought I'd give you some of my thinking on the subject. Also, you've reminded me that I need to meet up with some of my friends who would in the history department and see what they think. I may come around yet .
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Brian Train
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Thanks for your thoughts Cole.

I suggested that the Wade-Giles be used for your second reason - trueness to player perspective - because if they are traders, they don't give a flip how their customers actually pronounce the names of their cities and provinces. Doubly so if there is no human Qing player.

Though I see your point; in fact, if there is no human Qing player, and the province names don't matter, then perhaps you could put them in Mandarin characters after all: to most players, it will look like incomprehensible alien squiggles, especially if you use the classic, non-simplified ones, and subtly drive home to them that they are the outsiders. But it's certainly not communicative in any other sense.

But perhaps I am overthinking all this.
I do wonder what your History Department colleagues will think.

Brian
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Wendell
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Cole Wehrle wrote:


Now, Infamous Traffic is a little tricker, because the players are now on the outside. This means I should probably adopt the Wade-Giles system.


If the players are the Europeans, I'd probably go with the names as used at that time. But either way, worth a designers note about the decision of what anglicization system of the Chinese was used, and why.
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Gerit Driessen
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I was already wondering what the large capital letters were for. For me personally, I am happy you did not use the mandarin. Though I understand it could add to the immersion in the theme, it could (and would for me) be the opposite. I would enjoy it more, and would be immersed more, to talk about Hunan, or Guangdong, than over region B or region F.

The reason I asked about Canton is because I saw it used by Julia Lovell in her book the Opium Wars. Canton speaks, together with Hunan, the most to my mind. Hence my post here. But of course I respect whatever solution you choose. Just wanted to give you my five cents.

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Mr Cricket
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To my mind, a reason for using Mandarin characters would be that they look beautiful - at least, I find them so - and they would therefore enhance an already attractive-looking board. So perhaps the large letters could be replaced with Mandarin while retaining the Pinyin?

Just a thought.
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Joe Kong
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TONi wrote:
To my mind, a reason for using Mandarin characters would be that they look beautiful - at least, I find them so - and they would therefore enhance an already attractive-looking board. So perhaps the large letters could be replaced with Mandarin while retaining the Pinyin?

Just a thought.


+1 thumbsup

Similar to the map of Sekigahara, both Kanji (漢字) and English names are used, which make it look beautiful.

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Lawrence Hung
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Certainly it was Canton back in 1833.

Guangdong is the Communist way of calling it.
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Cole Wehrle
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Lawrence Hung wrote:
Certainly it was Canton back in 1833.

Guangdong is the Communist way of calling it.


Really? I'd love to read more about this. I thought that it dated to the Song dynasty or earlier (though obviously not the Pinyin which is anachronistic).
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Brian Train
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I thought it was a matter of proper pronunciation, not ideology.

Did the characters used to write the name of the city change?

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Names_of_Beijing)

Brian
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Lawrence Hung
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Quote:
Did the characters used to write the name of the city change?


No, the characters are the same. Only traditional and simplified.
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Cole Wehrle
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Lawrence Hung wrote:
Quote:
Did the characters used to write the name of the city change?


No, the characters are the same. Only traditional and simplified.


Good to know.
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jumbit
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I would be very much in favor of the historical period names. It just looks jarring to see old places rendered in Pinyin.

It would also be helpful to have Chinese characters next to the historical names. I tried playing China Rails with some Chinese people, and they found it baffling because all the city names were in Pinyin. They couldn't read them, or found it very difficult. There was plenty of room to add Chinese characters, but the designer just didn't do it.

Usually the city and province names are only two characters, which is very dense and takes little room. Naturally, the characters used in this game would be Traditional, as the Simplified characters didn't come about until the 1950s and 60s. The font can be any of the brush fonts, which if done right can be light and airy and non-Chinese speakers hardly notice them (reduces visual interference), while they jump right out to native speakers.
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Cole Wehrle
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Okay, I've sat on this for a few weeks and talked out my ideas. I've decided to take some/most of your suggestions. Thanks again for offering them.

Here's the map:




For the native speakers espeically: Are there any errors? I can't read Chinese so I'm pretty far out on a limb here and found myself using wikipedia--(ahh!).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provinces_of_China

I will be submitting the final files this weekend so I've still got a little time to make adjustments.
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Rich James
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From the perspective of a non-Chinese speaker or reader, that looks great! To me, it makes it even more clear that these events are happening in China.

I only wonder about the accuracy of the characters used to name the locations. Jumbit said the names would usually be two characters. All of these are three. So are these correct names? And the 3rd character (reading top to bottom) is the same for all. Is that correct?

I'm really looking forward to the release of this game. It hadn't been on my radar until about three weeks ago and now it is near the top of the list of games I'm hoping to play very soon.

Edit: Hmm, looks like region A lost its "A".
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Brian Train
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The third character in each case is sheng, or "province".
So Fu-jian-Sheng, Fujian Province.

I wonder if an unanticipated political point is being made here, with the debate between traditional and simplified characters.

Traditional Chinese characters are used primarily by people of Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and overseas Chinese communities.
Simplified characters are used in mainland China, which country's children have been learning to write and read these characters for over 50 years, and internationally (e.g. at the UN).
Foreigners learning Chinese are normally taught the simplified characters.
My own provincial government offers official material and some webpages in both traditional and simplified characters.

There's a long-standing debate about this (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debate_on_traditional_and_simp... for pros and cons) (ahhh! again).

In Cole's latest map, he has used the simplified ones.
This way the map will be legible to both mainland and non-mainland Chinese native speakers, but he may give some inadvertent offense to people who were originally taught the traditional characters, or know enough about written Chinese to see that what has been used is not the form contemporary at the time.
I think this may be what Lawrence Hung was getting at.

On the other hand, using the traditional characters sends another kind of message: an attempt to use the written forms of the time period of the game might be misinterpreted as a swipe against the efforts of China's modernizers (since campaigns to simplify written Chinese long predate the People's Republic period)... oh, look isn't it quaint, like using black-letter fonts on maps of 18th century Germany.

Either way, I can see someone making comments pro and con.
Sorry Cole, but you know that's what happens you design a game - no one`s ever entirely happy with it!

Although, as I alluded some time ago, most of the people playing this game won`t have the vaguest idea between the two, and whatever character set you use will have only an aesthetic value for them... you might as well use grass calligraphy.

Just don`t use Chop Suey font!

Brian



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jumbit
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You don't need the third character "sheng". Everyone knows it's the provincial names. It's like saying "State of Texas", just saying "Texas" is enough.

The font appears to be the boring SimSun font that is used by default. It looks like something you'd see on a bus station or computer screen. Please use something more aesthetically pleasing. There are plenty of calligraphy fonts that look fantastic. People who can't read Chinese won't even notice them.

Definitely use the traditional characters. This is a period game. Simplified characters didn't exist 100 years ago, much less 200. Besides, most people can read traditional without too much extra effort. Well, the kind of people who play board games can read them, especially if they are place names. Although now that I read it again, Guangdong/Kwantung/Canton is in the traditional characters.

I would use Canton instead of Kwangtung. Even though it is technically accurate to say Kwangtung. I had to look that one up. I got it confused with Kwantung, as in the famous Japanese Kwantung Army. Canton is far more well-known and gives a nice period flavor.

Quote:
On the other hand, using the traditional characters sends another kind of message: an attempt to use the written forms of the time period of the game might be misinterpreted as a swipe against the efforts of China's modernizers


Dude LOL no. They're just characters on a game board. No biggie.

If the designer needs any hints or tips, please send a message, me and my army of native speaker friends would be happy to help. laugh
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Brian Train
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I didn`t make it clear in my message immediately above, but I did say earlier that I thought Cole should use the traditional characters!
For the reasons you stated, more or less... and you`re right, to most players they will just be aesthetic squiggles.

LOL indeed, but you wait, someone will say something... I made my best efforts with the map place names for Summer Lightning: The Invasion of Poland 1939 and Balkan Gambit and people still complained.
You. Just. Can`t. Win.

Brian
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Cole Wehrle
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jumbit wrote:
You don't need the third character "sheng". Everyone knows it's the provincial names. It's like saying "State of Texas", just saying "Texas" is enough.


I suspected as much but left in just in case there was some convention that might be important. (As I said, I don't really know what I'm looking at). I'll take them out when I get home.

Quote:

The font appears to be the boring SimSun font that is used by default. It looks like something you'd see on a bus station or computer screen. Please use something more aesthetically pleasing. There are plenty of calligraphy fonts that look fantastic. People who can't read Chinese won't even notice them.


Do you have a freely available type in mind? I believe I only have access to the defaults (SimSun), and know enough to know that I don't know anything when it comes to Chinese types. I'd be happy to take your suggestion.

Quote:
Definitely use the traditional characters. This is a period game. Simplified characters didn't exist 100 years ago, much less 200. Besides, most people can read traditional without too much extra effort. Well, the kind of people who play board games can read them, especially if they are place names. Although now that I read it again, Guangdong/Kwantung/Canton is in the traditional characters.


I had thought that all of the province names were being rendered in traditional characters. Please let me know if any of them is incorrect and I will change it.

Quote:

I would use Canton instead of Kwangtung. Even though it is technically accurate to say Kwangtung. I had to look that one up. I got it confused with Kwantung, as in the famous Japanese Kwantung Army. Canton is far more well-known and gives a nice period flavor.


I'm inclined to make this change just based on my reading of English sources. Though I have seen reference to Kwangtung, Caton is a little more prevalent.

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Rich James
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Cole, double check how you labeled region A. The "A" is missing.
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Cole Wehrle
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arjisme wrote:
Cole, double check how you labeled region A. The "A" is missing.


Thanks! I got that right after I looked over the jpeg (but then didn't bother to fix the export!).

Also re: a better type. Here's what I'm thinking:
https://chinesefontdesign.com/special-semi-cursive-script-wr...

BUT again, I really do have no idea what a "classy" and "nice" type might be. Opinions appreciated.
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