Recommend
9 
 Thumb up
 Hide
167 Posts
1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5  Next »  [7] | 

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Gaming Related » General Gaming

Subject: Board games, colonialism, and white people... rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: RSP'd [+] [View All]
Adam Spragg
United States
Carlsbad
California
flag msg tools
I saw this recently on twitter...

https://twitter.com/radicalbytes/status/654841838663131137

"A staggering number of tabletop games employ colonialism in their theme and game mechanics. No wonder board game circles are so damn white."

What do you think about this?

EDIT -- I wasn't intending to endorse the quoted tweet, nor am I trying to start a flame war. I did think, though, that this could open up a mature, enlightened conversation about the role of themes, some of which are problematic in the 21st century, and how they are handled in board games.
11 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrew Brown
New Zealand
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
i think it's just a something someone is saying to try to rile people up.

and now it's reposted here..
64 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Benj Davis
Australia
Summer Hill
NSW
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I think it's more likely to be the other way around: It's still a pretty white-dominated hobby/industry, so it's less likely for problematic issues like these to get addressed.
19 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ian Taylor
United Kingdom
Epping
Essex
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Who would have thought that in a hobby that frequently draws on historical themes, 150 years of our recent history would sometimes be used as inspiration.
47 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris
United Kingdom
Birmingham
England
flag msg tools
badge
Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars, where you will be forced to drift aimlessly farther into the vast, empty abyss of space until a lack of food, water and oxygen causes you to succumb to Death's cold embrace.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
adman wrote:
I saw this recently on twitter...

https://twitter.com/radicalbytes/status/654841838663131137

"A staggering number of tabletop games employ colonialism in their theme and game mechanics. No wonder board game circles are so damn white."

What do you think about this?

I think you should've moved on instead of posting his guff here.
40 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rob
United States
Stephenville
Texas
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
This is troublesome news.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James E
Canada
Ottawa
ON
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Seems like an ignorant asshole who is attempting to make mountains out of molehills in order to get his crappy content noticed.
20 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrew Bartosh

Sunnyvale
California
msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It's not an unreasonable discussion to have. A lot of games do have a very Eurocentric view of history.

The problem is Twitter is a terrible place to have a discussion, since it naturally forces you to make broad, sweeping statements rather than explore particular nuances of the games themselves (how is the representation of colonialism handled, what does the game itself say about the subject, does it inform/mislead, etc), nor does it allow discussion of other games which are less Eurocentric in theme.

Basically, he's being doofy and clickbaity, but that doesn't mean people should totally dismiss the conversation potential. Just let more mature people handle it.
42 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ivor Bolakov
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
No shit.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Cook
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
flag msg tools
I think that you should not have brought this to our attention as this is a boardgame site, NOT a political site. There are a plethora of other web sites where this type of race baiting idiocy would be more welcome.
10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Justin R
United States
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
AndrewRogue wrote:
It's not an unreasonable discussion to have. A lot of games do have a very Eurocentric view of history.

The problem is Twitter is a terrible place to have a discussion, since it naturally forces you to make broad, sweeping statements rather than explore particular nuances of the games themselves (how is the representation of colonialism handled, what does the game itself say about the subject, does it inform/mislead, etc), nor does it allow discussion of other games which are less Eurocentric in theme.

Basically, he's being doofy and clickbaity, but that doesn't mean people should totally dismiss the conversation potential. Just let more mature people handle it.


The conversation potential is little more than frustrating oneupsmanship about who is the most sensitive d-bag in the whole interwebz littered with interspersed WTFs from the not-so-pitifully-thin-skinned. Personally, I'm not sure the fact that a group is predominantly white is a per se indictment of the defining trait, and as written, it seems like his feelings on the lack of diversity preceded his drawing a connection to imperialist themes.

By analogy, I grew fond of watching international cricket matches between the Pakistani and Indian national teams while an undergraduate (uncommon for an American). I group this guy with the kind of prick that might have remarked "why does cricket have to be so fucking brown?".
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Derry Salewski
United States
Augusta
Maine
flag msg tools
badge
I'm only happy when it rains...
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
WTF is staggering?

In the top 100 are . . .

Ignoring historical games that are making an attempt to study the subject and offer FAR more education and insight than that asshat ever will . . .

Ignoring Fantasy/SciFi that isn't obvious commentary.

-TTA. I assume has some in it. I don't know how abstract it is I haven't played it.

-PR. Brown cubes mildly staggering.

-Keyflower . . . I mean if you really want to push the limits.

-Five Tribes. Eh. Not sure where they got slaves from in that time period and they're something else now anyway.

-Nations. Are we just going to be staggered by every civ game existing?

-Concordia . . . meh, I doubt he's talking about the Roman Empire but we can include them as part of the history of eurocentric oppression of, well . . . people who are even more eurocentric.

- Imperial Settlers. fuck you. they're cute.

-Village . . . kind of spreads religion in the expansion? I've played it like once.

- Age of Empires III. You got us here. the tiles have little natives that tell you home many you have to kill with your soldiers to steal their gold.

- Sid Meyer's Civ . . has as many powerful non colonial powers as not.

So . . . people on bgg love Civ games, which are the only ones that tend to gloss over what actually happens when world powers expand and exploit.

And there's a few tasteless euros and a few more harmless ones out of oh, several thousand?

If that's staggering, I'm surprised any of us are still standing with how much crap in the world must be staggering us.
13 
 Thumb up
0.02
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
CHAPEL
United States
Round Rock
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
"that's a smith and wesson, and you've had your six"
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
A lot of games have an historical theme. History can be kind of shitty. I don't understand the issue?
48 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pete
United States
Northbrook
Illinois
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
adman wrote:
I saw this recently on twitter...

https://twitter.com/radicalbytes/status/654841838663131137

"A staggering number of tabletop games employ colonialism in their theme and game mechanics. No wonder board game circles are so damn white."

What do you think about this?
Most of the board gamers I know are squares.

Pete (means that in the nicest way)
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
JOE LIBRANDI
United States
Peoria
Arizona
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb

#meepleslivesmatter
14 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ivor Bolakov
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
plezercruz wrote:
Most of the board gamers I know are squares.

Pete (means that in the nicest way)


My group once started on the After Eights at 7.35. How's that for square!
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matthew S.
United States
Fairfax
Virginia
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
So, I want everyone to ignore the first half of that quote for a minute, and focus on "No wonder [X] circles are so white."

Guess what, it really doesn't matter what you substitute for X here:

http://slatestarcodex.com/2015/02/11/black-people-less-likel...

No boardgame-specific explanation is required for the whiteness of boardgaming, because minorities are underrepresented in EVERY subculture that isn't explicitly based around a minority ethnocultural practice.
13 
 Thumb up
0.02
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
C Bazler
United States
Bronx
New York
flag msg tools
"Come, and trip it as you go..."
badge
"...on the light fantastic toe."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Just out of curiosity (and not to stir the pot), if the tweet posted in the OP isn't true, how many games can you name that depict European conquest or colonialist history from the occupied side? Or a game that tells the story of indigenous people being pushed out of their land, from their perspective? Even in such a socially conscious game as Freedom: The Underground Railroad, well over half of the characters you can be are still white.



I literally can name zero games that represent these subjects from a non-Western/non-white perspective, but I'm sure there are some out there. Anyone?

P.S. And saying "this is not an issue" does not make the problem go away.
48 
 Thumb up
2.30
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mathew Spence
United States
Anchorage
Alaska
flag msg tools
badge
mbmbmbmbmb
Sometimes people are just going to look for things to complain about. Colonialism was a dominant theme in the past 400ish years. Having superior technology will always allow one group of people to dominate and exploit another group of people. This is not exclusive to Europeans. This is as old as time itself.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Larry L
United States
Stockton
California
flag msg tools
He who games with the most dice wins.
badge
I + I = 0
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
cbazler wrote:

I literally can name zero games that represent these subjects from a non-Western/non-white perspective, but I'm sure there are some out there.


Navajo Wars?
31 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
CARL SKUTSCH
United States
New York
New York
flag msg tools
Agricola, Sekigahara, Concordia, Innovation, COOKIE!!! (and Guinness)
badge
SANJURO: You're all tough, then? GAMBLER: What? Kill me if you can! SANJURO: It'll hurt.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Really? I mean, honestly, I'm one of the most liberal knee-jerk liberal people I know (Obama is too conservative for me. No, seriously, he is), and I don't see colonialism as central to the gaming world. I own a few games with a colonial theme (San Juan, Puerto Rico, Archipeligo) but the vast majority of my collection, and even more of the games out there, have nothing to do with colonialism. How about all my wargames that push for violence and destruction as solutions to problems? And here I am a hard-line anti-war lefty. I can reconcile that seeming contradiction because they're games, fer crying out loud!

This is click bait, pure and simple. I know I'm contributing to the problem by posting this but let's all calm down and treat this silly tweet with all the respect it deserves: none.

(That's not to say one couldn't have an interesting discussion on race and colonialism in gaming, but that tweet wasn't the way to start it and I don't see this as the proper forum.)
12 
 Thumb up
0.27
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Keith Sagers
United States
Gainsville
Florida
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I think the writer is self-loathing, because he was born white, d-bag who is trolling for an argument. Yes, that is what I think.

Look, most of the flags I see on BGG are from Europe, U.S. and Canada, as well as Australia and New Zealand. Hmmmmm, where do think a lot of the historical themes might be from?
We are seeing games, as well as gamers coming from Asia more and more which is cool. I have noticed quite a few Brazilian flags. Maybe we will start seeing some games from there. That would be cool. As the hobby goes more and more global (I hope it is...anyway) we should get differently themed games.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrés Santiago Pérez-Bergquist
United States
Mountain View
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Spirit Island is about repelling the colonists (whose pieces are white). Granted , it does sort of imply that the natives of the island can't defend themselves against the European invaders without the help of magical spirits, but history has borne that out to be mostly true. When a more technologically-advanced empire (who are carriers of diseases you've never been exposed to) shows up on your doorstep, you're in trouble…
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrew Bartosh

Sunnyvale
California
msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
cbazler wrote:
Just out of curiosity (and not to stir the pot), if the tweet posted in the OP isn't true, how many games can you name that depict European conquest or colonialist history from the occupied side? Or a game that tells the story of indigenous people being pushed out of their land, from their perspective? Even in such a socially conscious game as Freedom: The Underground Railroad, well over half of the characters you can be are still white.



I literally can name zero games that represent these subjects from a non-Western/non-white perspective, but I'm sure there are some out there. Anyone?

P.S. And saying "this is not an issue" does not make the problem go away.


Indie RPG Dog Eat Dog does it to my understanding, depending on how you count that.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joseph Anderson
Australia
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I think a lot of games depict historical grand strategy in some way or shape, war games, civ games and economic games. A lot of these will necessarily be colonial, or at least of nations that historically dominated military, technology and economy.
There are exceptions, but it takes a lot more research to do any justice to nations that don't have the weight of written history that the west has. I think that this trend is reversing but it will take time and people are always going to be interested in the ancient med, and medieval through to industrial Europe due to the scale of the events that happened there.

There have been bad choices in some games, but if you are dealing with history is it worse to omit or worse to include historical facts such as slavery? My problem with 5 tribes (for example) is not that slaves are in it, but they are a generic commodity. If you are going to tackle the concept of slavery I think you need to mechanically include some of the nastiness that is present when you have slavery.


4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5  Next »  [7] | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.