Recommend
21 
 Thumb up
 Hide
72 Posts
1 , 2 , 3  Next »   | 

Mombasa» Forums » General

Subject: The Corrosive, Passive Bigotry of Mombasa’s Failed Thematic Perspective rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: OP_DELETED [+] Why_was_this_locked? [+] unfun [+] [View All]
Clyde W
United States
Washington
Dist of Columbia
flag msg tools
Red Team
badge
#YOLO
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Agree. Thank you for this post.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Josko Tosic
Croatia
Sibenik
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I feel sorry for you. You must be spending a lot of time analysing books, films, theatrical plays with "inappropriate" themes. It's certainly difficult to find some spare time to play board games with all those activities.
Now, off I go to my living room to play Mombasa with my wife and our two guests, both of them African Americans. They have been introduced to the theme and haven't found it disturbing or insulting. They might not be as politically correct as you are but as artists who are travelling around the world and participate in children's festivals, they are definitely more open minded.
68 
 Thumb up
0.01
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David B
United States
Virginia
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Extremely well written viewpoint Stefan. I hope you design a game some day. I'll buy it.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Don Smith
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I respect your sensitivity to this one (of many) dark (no pun intended) chapters in human history.

I would guess that 90%+ of people realize "It's just a game" after briefly recognizing the veneer of "theme" and move on.

I play games where millions are slaughtered in the trenches, people get sent to the guillotine, billions die in pandemics, indigenous people get rolled over by imperial designs etc...Real life history is all these things. Is playing a game based on the Crusades as Saladin anti-Christian? Is playing as the Europeans anti-Muslims?

I don't play games based on "current events" where the "terrorists" are the "bad guys". The real world is far more nuanced than good guys and bad guys. This is contemporary propaganda - not gaming.

Mombasa is a pretty good game and is only slightly more offensive to my sensibilities than, say, Puerto Rico.

I respect your position but prefer to play games, both Euro and others, which are based on historical situations rather than bland generic cube-pushers.

Finally, yes, I would NOT buy a Eurogame which rewards their players for being the most efficient at delivering "cargo" to extermination camps. So there is a line which each of us will not cross. Yours is just a little more tightly defined than mine.
31 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
trevor

Missouri
msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I do enjoy Mombassa, but I love reading these self-important, hypocrytical, soapbox speeches by social justice martyrs more.
38 
 Thumb up
0.02
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
joe dagostino
United States
estero
FLORIDA
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for braving your anticipated fears and articulating your well-thought out position.

I'd like to add a few thoughts based on my love for historical board games. Thematic implications are a recent idea for me. All my life I've pretty much ignored the moral problem of playing the Nazis in WWII war games or playing the "wrong" side in any game. So far no game has gone so far as to offend me in playing the theme.

I've read about a solo game where one plays the Nazi responsible for delivering the victims to Nazi death camps where the author was discussing theme. That might do it. I'm interested in the game based on the Underground Railroad. That sounds quite interesting.

I have read a book this year about the cotton economy in the USA and I think a game based on that might open peoples eyes to how that industry, slavery, capitalism, and land speculation was responsible for the establishment and growth of Alabama and Mississippi, as well as the creation of the Texas Republic and its eventual union with the USA. I'm sure you might find this sort of game a problem if it only addresses the success of the plantation owners regardless of how abstract the use of slave labor might be in such a game.

Again, thanks for posting.
8 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nick Case
England
Epsom
Surrey
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
https://www.facebook.com/amuse.ment.92
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
An articulate tirade against the history which is the backdrop to this game. It would be wrong to disagree with your conclusions that the exploitation here in Mombasa was extreme and wrong.

However where I think you need 4 pints of perspective is an issue that you address yourself, “Who are we here?”. We are the players of the board game Mombasa and not sympathisers with oppression and cruelty. We are 21st century board games enthusiasts looking for social face to face entertainment. The board game Mombasa may well be themed on a dire period of human history but it does not glorify it or sanction it.

I continue to be stunned and saddened when people seek out reasons to be offended by a particular board game. Whilst they may well have a games cupboard exclusively containing neutral abstracts, I am yet to meet anyone who was offended by Chess or took to the internet to rail against war games. These examples being pastimes whose very core is the destruction of their opponent.

I can see no moral connection with a board game and the historical coat hanger it swings from. Enjoying Hannibal Rome vs Carthage, does not mean you agree with the vices of Rome, non-smokers can play Peurto Rico without endorsing the tobacco industry and Brass players do not agree with child labour.

Playing Mombasa does not mean you agree with what happened. However vilifying the game out of respect for those who suffered and died is just brushing history under the carpet.
  • [+] Dice rolls
joe dagostino
United States
estero
FLORIDA
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
A point that I believe the OP was making that I believe you missed is that the game glorifies the capitalist colonist not simply for the pain and suffering and injustice inflicted but simply for the uncritical use of the ideology to define success. A video game first person shooter where you are a bounty hunter and win for collecting the most bounties, dead or alive, might be a parallel example of that point, if I understood the OP correctly.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United Kingdom
Hinckley
Leics
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I can't say it troubled me at all - it's a game. ISTR there are wargames where the baddies can win ...

there's a lot more to worry about that you can actually do something about #brexit #trump
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Armand
United States
Los Angeles
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I get where the OP's coming from of course.

But here are two pairs of things that have nothing to do with each other:

Pushing cardboard doodads around a table and exploiting a land and its people.

Judging and insulting people you don't know online and doing something real to reduce the amount of actual suffering in the world that exists outside your front door.
12 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
trevor

Missouri
msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
These posts do get tiring. Just another "I'm always right, you're always wrong" post


If you don't get offended by what I'm offended by, you're wrong
If you get offended by something I don't get offended by, you're wrong.


Human nature I guess....
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matthew M
United States
New Haven
Connecticut
flag msg tools
admin
8/8 FREE, PROTECTED
badge
513ers Assemble!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Antagonistic, insulting, or otherwise disruptive comments ARE NOT welcome here.

Please use the
icon when you see disruptive or antagonistic comments or any other violations of the Community Rules. This serves two purposes:

1- using the
icon will bring that post to the attention of forum moderators so they can deal with it appropriately. We prefer that you not respond to the post directly. Responding invites the offender to continue, and if you respond aggressively you may end up dragging yourself down with the offender.

2- if enough users flag a post using the
icon then that post will be hidden from general view, preventing others from being exposed to it.

Thanks!
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United Kingdom
Hinckley
Leics
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Octavian wrote:
Antagonistic, insulting, or otherwise disruptive comments ARE NOT welcome here.

Please use the
icon when you see disruptive or antagonistic comments or any other violations of the Community Rules. This serves two purposes:

1- using the
icon will bring that post to the attention of forum moderators so they can deal with it appropriately. We prefer that you not respond to the post directly. Responding invites the offender to continue, and if you respond aggressively you may end up dragging yourself down with the offender.

2- if enough users flag a post using the
icon then that post will be hidden from general view, preventing others from being exposed to it.

Thanks!

I saw only robust and healthy debate. Only the Victorians thought robust discussion could frighten the horses.

Isn't there some kind of age check on BGG sign-ups? I mean we're all adults, at least age-wise, aren't we? We can all accept robust debate, can't we?

5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David B
United States
Virginia
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
enoon wrote:
Octavian wrote:
Antagonistic, insulting, or otherwise disruptive comments ARE NOT welcome here.

Please use the
icon when you see disruptive or antagonistic comments or any other violations of the Community Rules. This serves two purposes:

1- using the
icon will bring that post to the attention of forum moderators so they can deal with it appropriately. We prefer that you not respond to the post directly. Responding invites the offender to continue, and if you respond aggressively you may end up dragging yourself down with the offender.

2- if enough users flag a post using the
icon then that post will be hidden from general view, preventing others from being exposed to it.

Thanks!

I saw only robust and healthy debate. Only the Victorians thought robust discussion could frighten the horses.

Isn't there some kind of age check on BGG sign-ups? I mean we're all adults, at least age-wise, aren't we? We can all accept robust debate, can't we?


A couple of the posts went out of their way to be on the personal side rather than presenting a dissenting view.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matt D
United States
Peachtree corners
Georgia
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
enoon wrote:

I saw only robust and healthy debate. Only the Victorians thought robust discussion could frighten the horses.

Isn't there some kind of age check on BGG sign-ups? I mean we're all adults, at least age-wise, aren't we? We can all accept robust debate, can't we?

It's possible (likely?) that the posts Octavian was posting his warning about are the same posts that the OP seems to be referring to with regarding histrionics and defensiveness. I see none here, so my assumption is that Octavian stepped in, placed his warning, and those users removed their posts. I could be wrong, but that's my guess.

With regards to the OP's point, I can totally understand it. I don't necessarily agree that we need to completely bury all dark chapters of human history, lock them away, and never discuss them, but certainly there are good and bad ways to go about doing that.

That being said, while I understand that the theme and topic of the game represents a difficulty for the OP, I think that he errs in calling to task anyone else who would play the game. You may think that playing such a game is tantamount to being the oppressor of indigenous populations, but to others it is literally just a different way to push cubes around. Your criticism of them is, I feel, is misplaced.

To be quite frank, your missive should be directed at someone who has more direct control over the content of the game -- the publisher. If a publisher feels a theme is too controversial, or morally ambiguous, it's pretty easy for them to say, "Convert your game to a more appropriate theme and we'll gladly publish it." This could have been done here.

I don't think people pick up this game because they want to oppress and exploit native populations. They pick it up because the mechanics seem interesting.

I could care less about delivering pepper and silk and gold through Asia, but I really enjoy The Voyages of Marco Polo. If it was a game about 18 wheelers traversing the United States paying for tolls and getting gas, or about the Romani bringing their wares about Eastern Europe, I'd probably play it just the same.

So I understand your point. But I think to hold the players of the game responsible is misplaced responsibility. That's all.
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
reaching out from the in-between spaces...
United States
Baldwin
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
enoon wrote:
Octavian wrote:
Antagonistic, insulting, or otherwise disruptive comments ARE NOT welcome here.

Please use the
icon when you see disruptive or antagonistic comments or any other violations of the Community Rules. This serves two purposes:

1- using the
icon will bring that post to the attention of forum moderators so they can deal with it appropriately. We prefer that you not respond to the post directly. Responding invites the offender to continue, and if you respond aggressively you may end up dragging yourself down with the offender.

2- if enough users flag a post using the
icon then that post will be hidden from general view, preventing others from being exposed to it.

Thanks!

I saw only robust and healthy debate. Only the Victorians thought robust discussion could frighten the horses.

Isn't there some kind of age check on BGG sign-ups? I mean we're all adults, at least age-wise, aren't we? We can all accept robust debate, can't we?


There was a comment that didn't talk about the game, but instead attacked the OP. Octavian comes out when things get personal. Focus on the game and not the OP and no moderation comes about.

@OP

What these games do well is remind us of some of the things that have happened in the past. There is so much human history and just not enough time in schools to go over it all that they get selective.

So this subject matter may be offensive, but it also helps to open up discussion on what has happened to those, like me, who know nothing about it.

Jorune
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David G. Cox Esq.
Australia
Lighthouse Beach
NSW
flag msg tools
badge
Do what you can, with what you've got, where you are.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Should vegans playing Agricola consume their animals?

Should wargames be able to use nuclear weapons?

Is it really okay to kill zombies?

It is a game. I suspect it is a bit tongue in cheek.

Personally, one of the things I like about games is that they allow me to do things that I can't do as part of my dAily routine at work.

11 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United Kingdom
Hinckley
Leics
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Should the threat of the ban-hammer have a chilling effect on robust discussion amongst adults?
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United Kingdom
Hinckley
Leics
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
minorweavers wrote:
That collective indifference is what deflates me.
As a fellow EU citizen you will know well enough how much the collective indifference of 500m people represented by the unelected Kommissars in Brussels affects our everyday lives.

There are better battles to fight with your excellent command of rhetoric and language.

PS: My last ban was 14 days; I have no idea how many days I am risking by even posting in this thread.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ryan
Canada
Ontario
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Calling this game's theme corrosive seems like more than a stretch to me.

I mean, I own hundreds of games and I can't even think of another one off the top of my head that goes out of its way on the front page of the manual to suggest readings for those more interested in the history of the theme.

I think you can make a stronger connection to possible human and environmental exploitation of the production of the game than you can of its exploitative theme.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Adam Kazimierczak
United States
Falmouth
Maine
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
If Mombasa the game never existed then this discussion would in turn not exist. To be disappointed in a designer or publisher because they are part of such a game is ascribing an ideological stance to a blanket group of people and holding them to a different standard than their peers.

The more games we have about dark aspects of history, the more likely we will recognize parallels in our current political milieu. While some may take a heroic slant such as Freedom: The Underground Railroad, resource exploitation and war make for good virtual conflicts so I can see the appeal.

Couching all of our in game conflicts in safe fantasy and sci fi themes restricts designers and publishers to the same tropes and makes gaming decidedly more juvenile in theme (not that I mind 90% of the time) and alienates those grounded a bit more in reality.

A little more dialogue and a little less judgement make the world/internet a better place.

Personally I'm still holding a torch for all those independent contractors who died on Death Star 2....
11 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Everett
United States
Presque Isle
Maine
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Should we just ignore a part of history and pretend it didn't exist? I see no problem with this. Don't like it (and admittedly I don't. It is a little unsavory.), then don't buy it.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Virginia P.
United States
Bronx
New York
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hear hear, I love and agree with your post!
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matt D
United States
Peachtree corners
Georgia
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
minorweavers wrote:

First of all, I am not an OP. My name is Stefan. I'm right here. Hello!

Sorry, I was posting from my phone and after having hit "quote" to reply, it didn't show me the post so I didn't have a reference point to your name. That said, I was under the impression that using "OP" to refer to the original poster of the thread was a common occurrence on the Internet these days, and not something taken in any sort of pejorative sense. If that offended you, I apologize.

minorweavers wrote:

Second of all, I thank you. You've finally given me the sort of reasoned, carefully articulated rebuttal I can appreciate and respect, even if I disagree with your characterization of a number of my arguments.

It's not so much a characterization of your arguments. I fully understand your arguments. I am reframing what you are saying to demonstrate my opinion. It's not a lack of understanding, it's a difference of ultimate opinion.


minorweavers wrote:

And that's exactly my point. I'm not concerned about virulent racists playing this game. Instead, I'm more than a little disturbed by how so many perfectly decent and pleasant board game geeks can passively shrug away any and all moral compunctions about playing a game in which thematic ugliness earns one victory points. That collective indifference is what deflates me.

My point was basically that you seem to suggest that playing a game with a particular theme implies consent with the nature of the theme.

I'm suggesting that most board gamers don't look beyond cubes. As richly thematic as Lords of Waterdeep is, I still look at and see orange and white cubes, not warriors and clerics. And I think for the vast majority of board gamers, that's all it is.

6 
 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
minorweavers wrote:
My goodness. This is infuriating. Everybody seems to think my thesis is "This subject makes me uncomfortable therefore I want to ignore it altogether and go play games about benevolent fairies."

What I'm trying (and apparently repeatedly failing) to explain is that if you're going to bother dealing with a "dark chapter of history" in the first place, then go all the way. Actually address it. Actually confront it. Don't bring it up in a Wikipedia manual summary and then completely disregard the implications of your chosen theme when it comes to mechanically deciding how, and for what, victory points will be allocated. Mombasa chickened out. Period.

Colonial profiteering. A "little" unsavory? Jeez. Bit of an understatement, don't you think?

This discussion is beginning to feel rather surreal to me. I expected to be outnumbered, yes. Par for the course. But I didn't expect to have my comments misinterpreted and misunderstood from so many different angles, post after post after post after post. Half of you don't find a theme predicated on colonial exploitation to be objectionable at all. The other half agree that it's admittedly offensive but you don't mind because you're just having a bit of fun for an hour or so.

I'm gobsmacked. I know (I'm positive!) there are others out there who agree with my sentiments. I really wish some of you would speak up. This discussion has become so miserably and misleadingly distorted.

Yes, you are kind of doing it badly.

Your thoughts are sort of clear but you use a lot of hyperbolic language in what might not be your first language?

So maybe not entirely your fault. But you ALSO in the first post, and many after, lament people flaming you for your views which is a little silly to do right away. Yeah, yeah, we know how it goes. But I think a well thought out post wouldn't get that as much.

I don't know the game so i can't really respond to you one way or the other, but also after reading your post I still don't know anything about the game.

I think starting off with the cover and using that as a frame for your argument which is about perspective, if I'm reading right, would be the best way to finely tune this essay of yours. (Just curious, how many times did you edit it before posting?)
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2 , 3  Next »   |