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Links: Damon Stone Takes You to Haiti, and Ian Livingstone Gets Knighted

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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• In December 2021, Inverse's Zeb Larson profiled designer Damon Stone and his game Liberation—Haiti, one of the Zenobia Award finalists for 2021 in an article titled "This Surprising New Game Wants to Fix the Worst Thing about Risk". Here's an overview of the game from the designer:
The French colony of Saint-Domingue produced more wealth than the rest of France's colonies combined. France chose to meet the demand for these labor-intensive crops by way of an explosive increase in slavery with nearly half a million enslaved West Africans working the Saint-Domingue plantations. The brutality and greed of the plantation owners and overseers, coupled with the extreme disregard for the enslaved Africans' humanity, set the stage for revolt. After months of hidden preparation, the signal was given following a secret Vodou ceremony. On the 21st of August, 1791, the fuse to the powder keg that was Saint-Domingue ignited with the flame of liberation.

Board Game: Liberation: Haiti

In the cooperative deck-building and strategic war game Liberation—Haiti, the players each control a geographical faction of enslaved Africans or those who escaped enslavement living in the French colony of Saint-Domingue during the early period of the Haitian Revolution, 1791 to 1793. These factions seek both the abolition of their slavery and social equality.

Before rebelling and fighting for your liberty, you need to recruit people to your cause, gather information, develop maneuvers, and stockpile supplies, all while the game is opposing your actions. You have to face well-armed colonial militia and foreign armies, navigate fragile or fleeting alliances, and overcome both political and environmental challenges to win freedom for your people.

The game is played in two stages: the Planning Stage and the Revolution Stage. In the Planning Stage, you use a deck of cards specific to your faction to acquire planning cards that represent intelligence, people, and materiel. Cards added to your pool will in turn help accumulate more and stronger cards of these types. In the Revolution Stage, you use your acquired card pool to overthrow the colonial slave system by deploying units to raid plantations, defeat enemy forces, seize control of strategic locations, increase the morale of your people, and meet political challenges.
The article goes into detail about how and why Stone developed the concept behind the game. A few excerpts:
Stone sees Liberation—Haiti as an opportunity to set the record straight on both the realities of slavery and Haiti itself, which he says only gets acknowledged by the rest of the world "when there is a disaster or national tragedy."
"I was watching Hamilton for the third, fifth time, and the idea that people were learning about this particular period of American history because it was made in a very accessible format was just something I was fascinated by," he says.

"I thought it would be fascinating to display the only successful slave uprising that resulted in the abolition of slavery for its people as well as the formation of a country in which the revolutionaries were still in charge."
Board Game Publisher: Board&Dice
• In a highly informative November 2021 post on BGG, Andrei Novac of publisher Board&Dice broke down the costs involved with a Kickstarted game to demonstrate how a game that bears a $100 price on KS will (perhaps) net the publisher $18 per game...before taxes kick in, mind you.

Ian Livingstone, co-founder of Games Workshop and co-creator of the Fighting Fantasy book series, has received the title "Knight Bachelor" from UK's Queen Elizabeth "[f]or services to the Online Gaming Industry", with him being one of 1,122 people on the New Year Honours List for 2022.

• Starting on January 21, 2022, gamers in Gloucester and Herefordshire plan to play the board game Dune from Gale Force Nine for no less than 85 hours continuously to land a spot in the Guinness World Records. The game(s) will be streamed on Facebook.
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