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Subject: An atheist's view... rss

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Wulf Corbett
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This one looks rather interesting to me. rather like a companion piece to Promised Land: 1250-587 BC... There's just a hint of genuine history in there, with the list of Kings, and I'm happy to play a game based on any mythology, be it Norse, Greek or Judeo-Christian, so that's no problem to me. I've read the rules as currently posted, they look interesting (like Pandemic with the disease 'Evil'... )

I just wondered, is this game aimed at a Christian audience, or does it just make for a good topic?
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Lance Hill
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Hello Wulf!

I designed Kings of Israel to first function as a fun game and secondly as something that might be useful for some Christians or Jewish people to learn something, primarily geography. The game itself does not do any preaching in it, I guess maybe a little if a person likes to worship the gods Molech or Baal. There are two types of event cards, Blessings and Sin and Punishment cards, and at the bottom of each is flavor text taken from the Bible which is where the card name and theme comes from. That is about the extent of Biblical quotations in the game, the rest is just a list of the kings and the locations in the region which are based on actual trade routes in Israel at roughly this period of time.

I knew going into this that some gamers might be concerned about the theme for either preachiness, or just the Biblical game association since Biblical themed games are almost always universally bad. So to make sure I had a "neutral party", if you will, reviewing the game I sent a copy to Richard Ham who does the "Rahdo Runs Through videos". Richard is an atheist and I figured that he would be a good person to review the game, in addition to a couple other reviewers I have lined up. Richard was interested in taking a look at it so a copy was sent to him.

Anyways, I thought it was just a time period that has not really been touched much and the disease spreading mechanic of Pandemic got me thinking of ways to translate it to the spread of evil instead. I did not want to make the game just a "Pandemic in Israel" so I incorporated numerous changes and additions that I feel are very thematic, such as idols, altars and their use for sacrifices to clear out evil (sin cubes), and adding events that occur based on whether a good or bad king is reigning over Israel that turn. I think the end result is a fun, and very difficult, game that can be played by anyone.

Hope that answers your question!

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Evan Dunn
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Out of curiosity, which Torah translation did you use for the quotes?
 
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thebrainy wrote:
...to make sure I had a "neutral party", if you will, reviewing the game I sent a copy to Richard Ham who does the "Rahdo Runs Through videos". Richard is an atheist and I figured that he would be a good person to review the game...

That was a brilliant move, Lance! Almost (dare I say it?) inspired?whistle
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I'm not sure how the designer would feel about this comparison, but the first thing I thought of when I saw your question was Lords of Waterdeep.

Sure, it's a game that some people will gravitate toward just because it's a D&D theme, but you don't have to be a D&D fan in order to enjoy that game because it has good mechanics and game play. I think that generally the same will be true here.

You won't have to believe the Bible is true in order to enjoy the game and, frankly, you'll probably appreciate that all of the Blessing and Sin and Punishment cards make sense in the context of the source material. There won't be any saying, "Where did he pull THAT out of?" or "That doesn't fit with the theme!" It appears he has been able to take examples out of the Bible and apply them to game events that fit in with the overall theme.

I've been following the development of this game for a while, and have been looking forward to the Kickstarter campaign, which is finally coming up at the end of this month!

Oh, and if you want another game that has an Old Testament-era theme, Kingdom of Solomon is a pretty good one. I don't think it's nearly as thematic as Kings of Israel is going to be (and doesn't have nearly the amount of history involved), but it's still a pretty good game set in that time period.
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Wulf Corbett
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thebrainy wrote:
I sent a copy to Richard Ham who does the "Rahdo Runs Through videos". Richard is an atheist and I figured that he would be a good person to review the game, in addition to a couple other reviewers I have lined up.
Good move, good choice.
Quote:
I did not want to make the game just a "Pandemic in Israel"...
It's not, but it uses a familiar, very visible, and simple mechanism to display impending doom. And I look forward to playing as your version of the Bio-Terorist devil
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Hope that answers your question!
It does, thanks.
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I'm glad you asked this question, Wulf. Lance sent me a prototype, and I'm working on a review to have ready when it hits Kickstarter. I'm a Christian, though, and one question I sort of had in my mind was how non-Judeo-Christians would take the theme.

As Lance said, there's nothing overtly preachy in the game at all. The concept is that you are prophets preaching to the Israelites to remove sin (in the form of little black cubes) from different cities. But even with that, you're not proselytizing or anything; thematically, it's Israelites preaching to Israelites.

So my impression is that it would not be offensive to anyone not looking really hard to be offended. Like you said, if you're not a believer, it's really no different than playing a game based on Egyptian, Norse, or whatever other religion/mythology.

And Scott - You're spot on. Again, as a Christian and an avid boardgamer, the first two Biblically-themed games I'd point people to right now are certainly Kingdom of Solomon and now Kings of Israel.
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quietcorn wrote:
Out of curiosity, which Torah translation did you use for the quotes?
Lots of comments, I love it!

For the translation I used King James. I myself am most familiar with NIV but it is the 1984 version which is no longer used anyway. So I decided to go with King James because:

1. No copyright issues. Always nice.
2. Pretty well accepted by various denominations. It might not be what they use day-to-day, but usually they don't have a problem if someone quotes from it. The translation has been around for awhile.
3. King James has a nice punishing sound when reading for bad events. I don't know why but that is a plus.

And finally, all the quotes used in game should not cause controversy, I believe, by which translation is used. King James says "brimstone and fire" instead of "fire and brimstone" in another translation. I think most people will be fine with those kinds of differences.
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amacleod wrote:
thebrainy wrote:
...to make sure I had a "neutral party", if you will, reviewing the game I sent a copy to Richard Ham who does the "Rahdo Runs Through videos". Richard is an atheist and I figured that he would be a good person to review the game...

That was a brilliant move, Lance! Almost (dare I say it?) inspired?whistle
Thank you! It seemed like a good idea and Richard was willing.
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Wulf Corbett
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kilroy_locke wrote:
I'm glad you asked this question, Wulf. Lance sent me a prototype, and I'm working on a review to have ready when it hits Kickstarter. I'm a Christian, though, and one question I sort of had in my mind was how non-Judeo-Christians would take the theme.
Yeah, well, I was kind of hoping to raise the issue sort of on behalf of those who like the idea but don't want to put their toe in the font...
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univac528 wrote:
I'm not sure how the designer would feel about this comparison, but the first thing I thought of when I saw your question was Lords of Waterdeep.

Sure, it's a game that some people will gravitate toward just because it's a D&D theme, but you don't have to be a D&D fan in order to enjoy that game because it has good mechanics and game play. I think that generally the same will be true here.

You won't have to believe the Bible is true in order to enjoy the game and, frankly, you'll probably appreciate that all of the Blessing and Sin and Punishment cards make sense in the context of the source material. There won't be any saying, "Where did he pull THAT out of?" or "That doesn't fit with the theme!" It appears he has been able to take examples out of the Bible and apply them to game events that fit in with the overall theme.

I've been following the development of this game for a while, and have been looking forward to the Kickstarter campaign, which is finally coming up at the end of this month!

Oh, and if you want another game that has an Old Testament-era theme, Kingdom of Solomon is a pretty good one. I don't think it's nearly as thematic as Kings of Israel is going to be (and doesn't have nearly the amount of history involved), but it's still a pretty good game set in that time period.
I think that is a good analogy and what I am trying to accomplish. Thanks Scott!

And I do want to play Kingdom of Solomon too, and it has been on-and-off my wishlist at various times. I think the biggest stopping point for me is that I have multiple unplayed worker placement games that I have on the shelf and I am hesitant taking on another one now.

Who am I kidding, I have over 200 games anyway. Kingdom of Solomon is back on the wishlist.
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kilroy_locke wrote:
I'm glad you asked this question, Wulf. Lance sent me a prototype, and I'm working on a review to have ready when it hits Kickstarter. I'm a Christian, though, and one question I sort of had in my mind was how non-Judeo-Christians would take the theme.

As Lance said, there's nothing overtly preachy in the game at all. The concept is that you are prophets preaching to the Israelites to remove sin (in the form of little black cubes) from different cities. But even with that, you're not proselytizing or anything; thematically, it's Israelites preaching to Israelites.

So my impression is that it would not be offensive to anyone not looking really hard to be offended. Like you said, if you're not a believer, it's really no different than playing a game based on Egyptian, Norse, or whatever other religion/mythology.

And Scott - You're spot on. Again, as a Christian and an avid boardgamer, the first two Biblically-themed games I'd point people to right now are certainly Kingdom of Solomon and now Kings of Israel.
Thank you for the approval Chris and for trying both my beta version and my demo version of Kings of Israel! I am sure you have spent a good chunk of time playing and analyzing my game and I am very thankful for your work and kind words!
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Quick update, "Rahdo Runs Through" did his review of Kings of Israel and it is now live! You can see the geeklist item here. Richard is an atheist and is my "neutral party" for reviewing the game, in the sense he is neither Jewish or Christian.

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Wulf Corbett
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Seen it, watched it, commented on it. Looks solid. map looks a bit confusing, maybe due to the shallow camera angle - looks like not enough space to separate cubes between some of the closer towns. Otherwise looks good.
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Wulf Corbett wrote:
Seen it, watched it, commented on it. Looks solid. map looks a bit confusing, maybe due to the shallow camera angle - looks like not enough space to separate cubes between some of the closer towns. Otherwise looks good.
The games looks absolutely solid and, of course, the theme I will personally enjoy. However, I echo Wulf's thoughts that the board looks a little confusing - maybe a little small. I'd love to see a clearer board for this type of game.
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JoffW wrote:
Wulf Corbett wrote:
Seen it, watched it, commented on it. Looks solid. map looks a bit confusing, maybe due to the shallow camera angle - looks like not enough space to separate cubes between some of the closer towns. Otherwise looks good.
The games looks absolutely solid and, of course, the theme I will personally enjoy. However, I echo Wulf's thoughts that the board looks a little confusing - maybe a little small. I'd love to see a clearer board for this type of game.
Quick update on the map! I do agree that the board is tightly congested in places and can be hard to differentiate things at first glance. I have been holding off on additional expenses until I got a better feel for demand, but I feel pretty confident about Kings of Israel hitting its Kickstarter goal so I am having another artist take a shot at the board. I have been in contact with Matt Ebisch who did the Ability cards, Starting Player card, game box and a few other things, and he is on board to give the map a shot to clarify and enhance things.

I will update as things progress!
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I am a proud Christian and an avid boardgamer as well! The game looks great...I hope it funds and you can make more Christian themed games Lance. I don't personally like co-op games.....maybe next time you will develop a head to head type!


Great that you sent it to Richard as well...I watch everything of his...he is a great reviewer and has a passion about it.....that's what great, I am a proud practicing Christian and Richard is an atheist and by no means are we ever going to meet...( although I would love too) we both love games.....regardless of what our personal beliefs are....

And that my friends is what is important!


Wish you the best of luck!

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thebrainy wrote:


For the translation I used King James. I myself am most familiar with NIV but it is the 1984 version which is no longer used anyway. So I decided to go with King James because:

1. No copyright issues. Always nice.
2. Pretty well accepted by various denominations. It might not be what they use day-to-day, but usually they don't have a problem if someone quotes from it. The translation has been around for awhile.
3. King James has a nice punishing sound when reading for bad events. I don't know why but that is a plus.

And finally, all the quotes used in game should not cause controversy, I believe, by which translation is used. King James says "brimstone and fire" instead of "fire and brimstone" in another translation. I think most people will be fine with those kinds of differences.
I can understand that. Although in general, the Artscrolls translation is preferred, as the King James has a christian slant to it.
 
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quietcorn wrote:
thebrainy wrote:


For the translation I used King James. I myself am most familiar with NIV but it is the 1984 version which is no longer used anyway. So I decided to go with King James because:

1. No copyright issues. Always nice.
2. Pretty well accepted by various denominations. It might not be what they use day-to-day, but usually they don't have a problem if someone quotes from it. The translation has been around for awhile.
3. King James has a nice punishing sound when reading for bad events. I don't know why but that is a plus.

And finally, all the quotes used in game should not cause controversy, I believe, by which translation is used. King James says "brimstone and fire" instead of "fire and brimstone" in another translation. I think most people will be fine with those kinds of differences.
I can understand that. Although in general, the Artscrolls translation is preferred, as the King James has a christian slant to it.
Hmm, I was not familiar with the Artscrolls translation but thank you for alerting me on that! There would be the copyright issue on that one but I would wager the translation would work fine for the game too. I would say in general there would be few translations that would really hurt the quotes used in Kings of Israel because I don't think there would be many prophecies or things on that line that originate from the quotes used. If that makes sense to you!

Thank you for the Jewish perspective on translations!
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I'm sure it's fine either way. It's a game after all.
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thebrainy wrote:
Quick update on the map! I do agree that the board is tightly congested in places and can be hard to differentiate things at first glance. I have been holding off on additional expenses until I got a better feel for demand, but I feel pretty confident about Kings of Israel hitting its Kickstarter goal so I am having another artist take a shot at the board. I have been in contact with Matt Ebisch who did the Ability cards, Starting Player card, game box and a few other things, and he is on board to give the map a shot to clarify and enhance things.
Pleased that you are on to this. One of the things that I think Pandemic suffers from is tight board locations. If the Pandemic map were slightly bigger it would ease playing no end (this was certainly true for the first edition with the oversized pawns). One thing I do like with the Pandemic board though is that the actual locations themselves are pretty clearly marked (albeit close together in places). The current KoI map locations are not as clear at first glance and I think this can be improved upon. Let me say that this is not a deal-breaker for me; I will be one of your happy backers whatever you decide. My church game group will love it!

thebrainy wrote:
Kingdom of Solomon is back on the wishlist.
And it needs to be. It is a clever worker placement game and I think that Minion Games done a great job with it.
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