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Subject: Thinly-Veiled Satire rss

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Craig McRoberts
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A post over in Recommendations not long ago got me thinking about something. They were looking for a deck-building game with a religious theme. I'm a hobby designer and it doesn't take much for design ideas to pop into my head. The completely terrible idea that appeared with this was a DBG wherein players were compiling a religious text to try and gain the most followers, while avoiding targeting specific groups or making contradictions.

For obvious reasons, this could raise the ire of a number of people of many different backgrounds, despite being non-specific satire. So what's the line of satire that shouldn't be crossed? Is there one?
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Joe Kundlak
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I say political corectness is bull****. Design what you want and go from there...

If someone cannot see past a mild conflict of his own religion with other beliefs in a BOARD GAME (I am not talking about a christian insulting an islamist on a card directly, that is of course a low blow), then I do not know anything anymore...
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Boaty McBoatface
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None, and no.

I am also going to make an RSP prediction, about 5 pages I should think.
 
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There is no line. Some people will be offended just because religion is involved, and making fun of one group of superstitions makes people very defensive of their own.
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Craig McRoberts
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I tried to word things in such a way to avoid RSP. I'm not trying to make a statement here. This is an important thing designers need to think about, I believe.
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Boaty McBoatface
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imprimis5 wrote:
I tried to word things in such a way to avoid RSP. I'm not trying to make a statement here. This is an important thing designers need to think about, I believe.
I also may have been wrong, the fourth post strays rather nicely into RSP.

Like humour, it does not matter what you say, what matters is how people respond.
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Craig C
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imprimis5 wrote:
For obvious reasons, this could raise the ire of a number of people of many different backgrounds, despite being non-specific satire. So what's the line of satire that shouldn't be crossed? Is there one?


I think it could be an interesting game, but why would it be a satire? I suppose if anything would draw ire, it'd be a game that mocks religion instead of a "build the most successful religion" type of game.

I think that a game where players tried to create the largest following by piecing together a coherent and appealing philosophy would be pretty entertaining to play.
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Craig McRoberts
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bird94us wrote:
imprimis5 wrote:
For obvious reasons, this could raise the ire of a number of people of many different backgrounds, despite being non-specific satire. So what's the line of satire that shouldn't be crossed? Is there one?


I think it could be an interesting game, but why would it be a satire? I suppose if anything would draw ire, it'd be a game that mocks religion instead of a "build the most successful religion" type of game.

I think that a game where players tried to create the largest following by piecing together a coherent and appealing philosophy would be pretty entertaining to play.


Well, the idea that a religion can be "built" with human hands could seem plenty repulsive to some. But I do agree it seems like fun. A different take on civ-building.
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peter jackson
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If you're concerned about offending folks, just theme the game around tenets of religions that have relatively few followers--like Egyptian, Norse, Greek, and Roman mythologies, for example. You could still use philosophical or theological concepts from currently popular belief systems like Islam, Christianity, and Buddhism, but by wrapping them in the guise of "archeological" religions, I think you could avoid the sort of offense that's causing you concern.
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Craig McRoberts
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woooooober wrote:
If you're concerned about offending folks, just theme the game around tenets of religions that have relatively few followers--like Egyptian, Norse, Greek, and Roman mythologies, for example. You could still use philosophical or theological concepts from currently popular belief systems like Islam, Christianity, and Buddhism, but by wrapping them in the guise of "archeological" religions, I think you could avoid the sort of offense that's causing you concern.


I'd actually like to avoid any real-world religion at all. I think it would be at its best with a humorous theme. "All followers required to wear galoshes in the shower," sort of thing. The thought (and title of the thread) are references to the fact that it's a pretty naked jab at the idea of religion, not a particular group.
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Forest Cole
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Actually I think as a game idea it could be good. I wouldn't be offended, and depending on if I liked the type of gameplay itself I might even want to get it. But at the same time I can see what you mean by the potential to stir things up. Still could be worth pursuing to see what kind of game comes from it.
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Craig McRoberts
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simply4est wrote:
Actually I think as a game idea it could be good. I wouldn't be offended, and depending on if I liked the type of gameplay itself I might even want to get it. But at the same time I can see what you mean by the potential to stir things up. Still could be worth pursuing to see what kind of game comes from it.


Thanks for that input. I was actually leaning away from i, but maybe I'll give it a go. It's likely to be a PnP thing, if it ever happens, so I'm sure it'll be here.
 
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chris leko
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imprimis5 wrote:
simply4est wrote:
Actually I think as a game idea it could be good. I wouldn't be offended, and depending on if I liked the type of gameplay itself I might even want to get it. But at the same time I can see what you mean by the potential to stir things up. Still could be worth pursuing to see what kind of game comes from it.


Thanks for that input. I was actually leaning away from i, but maybe I'll give it a go. It's likely to be a PnP thing, if it ever happens, so I'm sure it'll be here.


Something silly like that sounds like it'd be fun. I like lighthearted games like that sometimes.
 
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Hello!

Sticking with satire sounds like a good idea. However, you may inadvertedly touch some real-world religions by having similarities with some obscure/high level variants (I for one could not name all the rules and intricacies of Roman Catholic clergy if you really went into all the details). So, you will always be treading dangerous terrain.

Yours,
Deathworks
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Brian Fong
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Can you make a religious themed game? Yes
Will it be popular? Possibly
Will somebody complain? Probably
Will it sell everywhere? No

In a global economy, many global companies (globals) want to sell in as many places as possible. There are some boundaries they don't cross and some they just skirt around.

Making fun of another religion: causes enemies and generally not looked on well by globals.

Making fun of a minor global power: issues can be skirted around.

Remember that freedom of speech laws are not universal, not even in America.
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James
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One really difficult problem will be that you won't be able to create a game with any meaningful content relating to religion in a vacuum. You'll have to pull from known religions and no matter how abstract you make those elements, people will see themselves in it. There will always be a geographic setting or a set of clothes or something that points toward a familiar reference. The idea that their ideas are contrived in order for themselves to be manipulated will irk some. For others, just depicting figures in a humorous fashion (or perhaps just depicting them at all) that seem to be based on their holy figures will be an insult.

I don't think it's a bad idea - fairly clever, actually. I am just saying that in the eyes of many you will be picking a fight with them, so you'd want to be ready for that. Personally, I just wouldn't want the bother.

On the Cthulhu Wars KS page a backer brought up the idea of game about managing an evil cult. If you didn't want to deal with pushback I discussed earlier, an idea similar to this (not necessarily Lovecraftian - the market is glutted now) could incorporate much of what you may find attractive in your proposed idea as it could be pulled off in a much more cartoonish fashion.
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Craig McRoberts
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There are some really great ideas in here. Honestly, it's making me want to give it a go. I'll probably push some boundaries in doing so, but I can deal with potential backlash.

One of the things I'm curious about is how abstracted satire needs to be to have wide appeal. For example, Credo!: the Game of Dueling Dogmas, while not being satire, seems to hit on a potentially touchy aspect of religion (somewhat similar to what I'm thinking of, actually) while still managing to have fans from either side. How does it manage that?
 
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Brian Fong
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You can't really argue with historical based games. You can argue what was said but you can't really change the final outcome.

It's like making a game on the Titanic. Either one of two things occur:

1) it sinks, or
2) it doesn't

you can put religious context to it if you wish, but it doesn't change what happened. it's not like its making fun of it, but rather allowing a game to simulate a process that has been understood to work for that time period and in that context.

as long as you aren't:

1) denouncing any particular religion
2) violating any of the basic tenants of said religion

you should be good.
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Nate K
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Eh. If there's a market, go for it.
 
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Devin Pike
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I am a little bothered by people's responses. I see a TON of posts asking whether or not a certain game is sexist or if gender specific characters are inappropriate or if if large-bosomed barbarians are insulting to women. These are often responded to with a hearty chorus of (in many cases rightful) disapproval. People jump to criticize games that may or may not marginalize or generalize women but as soon as the group being targeted is a religion it is suddenly "Screw it! Do whatever you want!" Now I think that the OP's idea would make for an awesome game and would be downright hilarious! It reminds me of Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett. Various churches, cults or mysticisms all trying to gain the largest following is a great idea. I just don't like the fact that people think it is not ok to insult one group but ok to insult another group.
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Craig McRoberts
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Edit: I changed my mind on this post. Verging into RSP territory.
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Devin Pike
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To be clear, I don't think that your idea is inappropriate. I just think that people's "stick it to the man" view of religion is a little disturbing. People should respect each other regardless of what they believe, where they live, what they look like or what they do in the privacy of their bedrooms. Respect does not mean support or agreement. We need to acknowledge that people have differing views and that we can agree to disagree without being jerks.
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Craig McRoberts
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dpike2 wrote:
To be clear, I don't think that your idea is inappropriate. I just think that people's "stick it to the man" view of religion is a little disturbing. People should respect each other regardless of what they believe, where they live, what they look like or what they do in the privacy of their bedrooms. Respect does not mean support or agreement. We need to acknowledge that people have differing views and that we can agree to disagree without being jerks.


I'll drink to that.
 
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dpike2 wrote:
I am a little bothered by people's responses. I see a TON of posts asking whether or not a certain game is sexist or if gender specific characters are inappropriate or if if large-bosomed barbarians are insulting to women. These are often responded to with a hearty chorus of (in many cases rightful) disapproval. People jump to criticize games that may or may not marginalize or generalize women but as soon as the group being targeted is a religion it is suddenly "Screw it! Do whatever you want!" Now I think that the OP's idea would make for an awesome game and would be downright hilarious! It reminds me of Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett. Various churches, cults or mysticisms all trying to gain the largest following is a great idea. I just don't like the fact that people think it is not ok to insult one group but ok to insult another group.



I tend to agree on your points. I played Ladies & Gentlemen the other night and i found it incredibly gender-biased (men work while women stay at home and spend money to look pretty; supposed to Victorian, but it still left an aftertaste in my mouth).

Now, I distinguish between premises and artwork. If somebody claims that artwork is too risque, then i say don't buy the game or, better yet, find a way to make a variant artwork set that you like. If somebody claims that the premise is too controversial, then accept it and either play or don't.

Many societies accept a premise of women as less than men (Not saying I do, but other societies). This is why the subjugation and/or objectivization of women seems to be less argued than the misrepresentation and/or bastardization of a culture or religion.
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Craig C
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dpike2 wrote:
I am a little bothered by people's responses. I see a TON of posts asking whether or not a certain game is sexist or if gender specific characters are inappropriate or if if large-bosomed barbarians are insulting to women. These are often responded to with a hearty chorus of (in many cases rightful) disapproval. People jump to criticize games that may or may not marginalize or generalize women but as soon as the group being targeted is a religion it is suddenly "Screw it! Do whatever you want!" Now I think that the OP's idea would make for an awesome game and would be downright hilarious! It reminds me of Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett. Various churches, cults or mysticisms all trying to gain the largest following is a great idea. I just don't like the fact that people think it is not ok to insult one group but ok to insult another group.


My speculation on why this is deemed ok is twofold: perhaps it's viewed as less offensive to take a shot at a relatively faceless group, like a culture or a religion instead of taking a shot at a specific person.

Or it may be that people are more ok with insulting a group that they're not actively trying to get a date with.
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