Thank you for the discussion on Rocketmen as a title for our game, and for sharing your concerns. I don't have time to write often nowadays but I thought we need to address them.
There was one inspiration, and one inspiration alone, behind Rocketmen: the billionaire space-race of the present day. Could I say it was something else? Sure I could! But that wouldn't be honest. So, yes, it's true: the game idea sprouted to life when I read about the race between these wannabe spacefarers. In the original USA-Soviet space-race, the competition was fueled by political ambition; today, it's three men wanting the honour of saying his corporation was first to the stars. If you don't like the game's inspiration, well, we'll have to live with that. Mind you, I think I can name at least one other game inspired by a man of a much more shadowy nature than these people, who achieved astounding commercial success. Sure, our three billionaires may not be very much liked by some of our contemporaries; but we figured the nature of their competition is a great theme for a game! Martin liked it, too, since the setting allows competition between players to be structured along different lines than that of the space race of the 1960's.
The game can be played with up to four players, and it's up to them to decide who they represent, and what their names, gender, and political or social views might be: 'cause the game won't tell you! All you know is is that you're playing one of the richest people in history. But how will you play that person, fictitious or otherwise? Will you concentrate on the ego-driven race; or will you try to fight the ominous Threats and win popular support? Oh, yes, for those who didn't know, Martin has created a number of Threat cards - threats as perceived by a contemporary 21st century person, i.e., us. So those of you who think Climate Change shouldn't be there, well, it's there because it seems to be important to a many (even if not all) of us. Feel free to neglect the issue if you'd like, since life and every game is about making your own choices. Rocketmen will not preach to you.
The working title was 'Elon', but (no surprise) we had concerns of a legal nature. So we changed it to 'Entrepreneurs'. That described the nature of the game; but one day, I came across an article on the subject titled, 'The Rocketmen', and we switched to that, later dropping 'The' on Martin's suggestion. Looking at it from my perspective (that of a multi-lingual person), the whole discussion regarding the game's title is somewhat hollow. For me (and many others, I believe), 'men' in English means people, humans. It's just the same word for our species as the word for its male representatives. It's the same case in a lot of other languages as well. In Latin-based languages, we find humanite/humanidad/humanidade; or umanita/umanitate, which may leave one with the impression that 'humanity' would be a better choice than 'mankind', which is true....if one ignores the Germanic languages, of which English is a member, where 'man' or 'men' is pretty universal as part of the name of our species (the German word for humanity is 'menschheit', to give one example). One could possibly even say, that 'man' is derived from 'human'; but I'm not a linguist, and wannabe linguists quite scare me (name a self-made linguist responsible for millions upon millions of deaths and you'll know why). I do have a friend, though, who has studied Anglo-Saxon (or Old English) who told me that the word 'woman', is derived from 'wifmann', which means 'a man [in the universal sense of the word] who is a wife'! Etymologically speaking, the 'wo-' part of 'woman' implies that the only purpose for a woman is to be a wife! So if one wishes to be offended by language, it is the 'wo' in 'woman' that is sexist and derogatory towards 'female men', rather than the 'man' part of the term, which recognises the entire species of which we all are part.
Regardless, here at PHALANX, we have (and demonstrate) great respect for women. Hey, the majority of our crew are women! Customer service, financial operations, logistics, marketing, sales? All looked after by PHALANX' female staff.
And they seem to be OK with the game title. Maybe because our last three game-covers show women:
Martin Wallace's remastered bestselling classic, Nanty Narking :
Freedom! - a woman on the cover representing freedom, one of the very few (light) wargames with a woman on it:
Europe Divided - again, a woman representing a divided Europe in a game on the present political struggle in Europe (it even has a Brexit-like event, too, for those who are interested):
PHALANX is also a family company; and making sure all of our staff has time with their family is a high priority for us. In fact, we grant time off for such things upon request and without questions. And, male or female, if you're lucky enough to work for PHALANX, one day you may even find yourself with a cup of coffee like this!:
Finally, a personal note on being inclusive. You may rest assured that as a father of a child with a disability, I certainly recognise the need for inclusivity; but that has to be balanced with the fact that I was born and raised in Poland at a time when Orwellian thought-control was being practiced in almost every corner of my society. The pressure to change the way we talked and thought was too hard to bear sometimes. The philosophy behind it was that if one could change the way people spoke, it would result in their way of thinking changing, too. Turns out people don't work that way. I've always thought that beauty is found in diversity, and in taking pride in being different: non-conformity. So, in today's world, I may not get why we need to conform. There's nothing wrong with being a man, or playing a man, in my book; or woman, as shown above. Our species is at its best when we work together.
Last but not least, while PHALANX may disagree with some of the comments we receive, we usually act upon those which we find reasonable. Just a few examples from many: we've changed the language of some of the cards in Europe Divided to be more neutrally worded for our Russian friends; we've added historical notes to 1941 Race to Moscow; and we've changed a term and a miniature in Nanty Narking in response to popular demand.
If you want to support someone who needs help, here is one of the ways to do so:
(Thank you for all your help; and I'm sorry the website doesn't get updated much.)
And now, the last moment to support Rocketmen on Kickstarter:
And to show we are truly inclusive, don't forget to subscribe for game inspirations and manicure hints? Our games unboxings are proudly presented by our PHALANX staff.
Thank you, and happy gaming!
05 Feb 2020
- [+] Dice rolls