What is the Postmodern game?
Colleen
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Before beginning here, I must clearly define what we about talking about and dispel some myths surrounding the notion of postmodernism. I must also admit my love affair with postmodernist Mikhail Bakhtin so that I don’t confuse my fellow philosophers with my choices here.

Some say that postmodernism is nothing, or some pursuit towards nothing, a void of meaning. Postmodernism is reevaluation of truth as subjective, a rethinking of our current social structure, and a method of self-reflection.

Postmodernism tends to refer to a cultural, intellectual, or artistic state lacking a clear central hierarchy or organizing principle and embodying extreme complexity, contradiction, ambiguity, diversity, and interconnectedness or interreferentiality.

Most of the entries on this list illustrate a mechanic of postmodernism, although I wouldn’t necessarily define the game as postmodern.
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1. Board Game: 1000 Blank White Cards [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:2832]
Colleen
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Nothing

This is the game that inspired this list. I consider this to be the iconinc postmodern game. It has no rules, no definition, and changes with whoever authors the cards.
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2. Board Game: Junta [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:949]
Colleen
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Deconstruction

Games that attempt to subvert the current social hierarchy fall into the category of deconstructionist games. This can be accomplished by using a game theme or mechanic that exposes a social structure and allows us to manipulate that hierarchy as we see fit. Of course, deconstruction continues indefinitely because once the hierarchy is subverted, it then creates a new hierarchy that we must remove.
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3. Board Game: Apples to Apples [Average Rating:5.90 Overall Rank:3144] [Average Rating:5.90 Unranked]
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Language constructs our reality

This game illustrates the pliability of language. Language constructs our reality. We only know the world surrounding us through an understanding that comes to us through language; therefore, language comes closer to truth than anything.
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4. Board Game: Imperial [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:140]
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Shifting Power

Stability falsely unites the people and alienates individuals from their own identities and the surrounding world. It is only through moments of chaos can we be free to be individuals. Within these moments there is a great shifting of power. The postmodern game will illustrate the chaotic shifting of power.
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5. Board Game: DVONN [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:345] [Average Rating:7.44 Unranked]
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Abstract

Pieces devoid of meaning, no theme, no purpose. A game for gaming's sake.
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6. Board Game: Once Upon a Time: The Storytelling Card Game [Average Rating:6.46 Overall Rank:1278]
Mendon Dornbrook
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Kellian Postmodernism

We are defined by our experiences. As the fullest amount of investigation of another's experience is bounded by the capacity for language of the experiencer and capacity for empathy of the investigator, there is no objective way to know another's experience. Ultimately, we are all story tellers, sharing in one great story, molding and shaping it as we see fit to give it meaning. We define ourselves and others through our language but cannot contain them. Our stories are intricately interwoven, unrelated at the same time, and consistently seek alternative outcomes.
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7. Board Game: Checkers [Average Rating:4.86 Overall Rank:15297]
Preston Fuller
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Post-PostModern

The pendulumm swings. People/society can only exist in so much relativness, uncertainty and deconstructed paradigms before the Leviathen is recreated, the city state is reborn to protect us against unbridaled freedom

The masses cry for recontruction, a return to normalcy, concrete thinking and a black and white world full of borders and right angles. A populous is formed, postmodern is cast aside creating a vacume for order and Reagan is elected.
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8. Thing: N/A
Scott
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One of the best definitions I've heard of post-modernism came from an art-class setting:

Student: "What is post-modernism?"

Teacher: "Uh...it's what comes after modernism. Moving on."

Sometimes it seems like the emperor has no clothes. Maybe thats the point.
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9. Board Game: Fluxx [Average Rating:5.69 Overall Rank:6614] [Average Rating:5.69 Unranked]
Lars Nelson
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Fridley
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I do not envy you the headache you will have when you awake, but in the mean time, rest well, and dream of Large Women.
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Things Change

Whatever is normal (Draw 1, Play 1), or seems to be true, or is considered to be real changes periodically, or even constantly, and it can be different for you than the next guy.
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10. Board Game: I'm the Boss! [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:930]
Paul Billingham
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St Albans
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Anti authority, individualistic, the masters of our own universe. "I'm the Boss!...No...I'm the Boss!" I think this game represents this postmodern theme and is characteristic of postmodern attitudes.
 
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11. Board Game: Nomic [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:6647]
Bruce Baskir
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Missouri
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A game in which the rules are amended as you go along...unless you amend the rules so that you can't.
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12. Board Game: Space Dealer [Average Rating:6.58 Overall Rank:1624]
Colleen
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Natural unordered existence

In Space Dealer, everyone moves at the same time. The postmodern feel develops from the notion that an unordered universe is a more natural state for humans. The game removes order and inserts time in its place. This mechanic is a leap forward in postmodern game design.
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13. Board Game: Class Struggle [Average Rating:4.88 Overall Rank:15043]
Breno K.
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Brasília
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And, of course, there are those who deny any actual existence of post-modernism, that it's just a convenient cultural development of post-industrial capitalism that gives the middle-class everyman the illusion that he is free to find his own identity and place in the world, when it all comes down to obeying the laws of the market and such and such... something like "you can be whatever you want, as long as you show up for work on time and don't demand a better wage".

I'm not entirely on these guy's team, but I do find some merit in a few of their conclusions.

It's really too bad that Bakhtin lived in Soviet Russia. I would've loved to read what he would have to say about capitalism and its cultural developments (Adorno's too negative for my taste).
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14. Board Game: Gay Monopoly [Average Rating:3.70 Overall Rank:14443]
Carol Carpenter
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From Michel Foucault, the idea that sexuality, specifically the binary of homo/heterosexual is a construct. Some time in the 1800s people started being classified as "homosexuals" rather than people who perform acts classified as "homosexual." The distinction is that power (which is everything with Foucault) has created "truth."
For an extension of this, Judith Butler declared that gender is also a construction. Borrowing Pierce's ideas on "performative" language (words that call something into being such as "I do" creates a marriage or "I swear on the Bible" creates an oath), Butler says that gender is performative (much too complicated to get into here.....just see the book "Gender Trouble" if you're interested).
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15. Board Game: The Ungame [Average Rating:2.85 Overall Rank:15292]
P. Al Williams
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16. Board Game: Eleusis [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:3839]
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This was what I first thought of in terms of a postmodern game. It fits Lyotard's "incredulity toward metanarratives" criteria pretty well. The game clearly comes from reconsidering the very idea of what a card game can or should be. The eclecticism of the elements in the game also fit postmodernism as an artistic movement, if not necessarily as a philosophical one.
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17. Board Game: Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Trivia Game [Average Rating:4.49 Overall Rank:14607]
Harry-Pekka Kuusela
Finland
Espoo
Finland
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, all in the game.
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RPG:s

Dad: Who wins this game?
Child: No-one.
Dad: Where is the board?
...

Not enough?

A game about a game. A game with a winner about a game with no winner, that you can`t win unless You have played the game with no winner(as the DM).
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18. Board Game: Modern Art [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:227]
Andrew Nichols
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Houston
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The value of something is purely determined by the collective will...
 
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19. Board Game: Flux Wargame [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
pronoblem baalberith
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Is it just me or do my balls itch?
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20. Board Game: Signs [Average Rating:7.50 Unranked]
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Is it just me or do my balls itch?
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21. Board Game: Heraclitus: The Meta Game [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Richard Hutnik
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The idea here is that there is the base rules for an abstract strategy game. The initial player may tweak almost all the game conditions for all sides, and a version of the pie rule is applied in order to have the other player pick what side they want to be.

It is part of the Games on Half a Checkerboard Series (Game #29). It has the potential to forever change and evolve, with it never reaching a final state being part of its reason for being.
 
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