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Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar» Forums » General

Subject: Help! My parents think this is an occultic/demonic game! rss

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David Lim
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Hi guys

So, a little backstory. I come from a Christian family, not an extreme conservative one; in fact we're quite liberal. I purchased Terra Mystica and subsequently enjoyed a good five months of playing over a hundred games of it with my siblings. However, one day my mother picked up on the fact that a few the factions' illustrations were somewhat scary-looking in nature. She showed the pictures to my father, and they both agreed that the game seemed to have demonic undertones. (Admittedly, I personally do not like the artwork myself, but during the game, who is going to have time to admire the artwork when they are busy concentrating on winning?) Result - they banned it for about a month or so, during which they considered whether or not to allow the game to stay in our house, and whether or not we would be allowed to play it.

Slightly before this problem, I had ordered from Amazon the Fire & Ice expansion to the game, as well as Tzolk'in, thinking that as a deep strategy game it would be great for us to play. It arrived before the issue was settled, and I explained to my parents how I had bought the games before the situation had cropped up. They finally decided that Terra Mystica, plus expansion, was okay for us to play, because they were no other demonic aspects to the game besides the artwork, such as sacrificing things/worshipping gods/performing rituals/etc. But - Tzolk'in, as it contained a description of 'worshipping the gods' on its back cover, was deemed unsuitable and had to be returned to Amazon.

Now, we live in Singapore, so after finding out that the shipping cost back to America would not be practical, we decided that it wasn't worth it to send the game back, and we would just forfeit the cost. So, the game is still sitting on my table, unopened, gathering dust.

I would like to be able to convince my parents that the game is not demonic in nature; and in fact, it is absolutely harmless past the theme. Is anyone out there able to help me out on this point? If there are any Christians particularly who have played and experienced this game and are able to comment on its nature, that would be very helpful!!!
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They are aware that this is no longer the Middle Ages and things like monsters and demons don't actually exist, right? There have never been any substantiated reports of anyone becoming possessed or joining a cult* just by playing a boardgame. Not even by using an Ouija board. In fact, the only offensive thing about the theme of Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar is that it uses the Aztec calendar.

*Certain meet-up groups may seem cult-like by outsiders but are usually harmless.
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Magic Pink
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ilikeeatingpizza wrote:
I come from a Christian family, not an extreme conservative one; in fact we're quite liberal.


I feel this may be incorrect.
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Ken Thibodeau
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I refuse to think this post is not pure fiction and trolling.

Please.
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Jonathan Maisonneuve
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Is this serious? I refuse to believe it is.
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Dennis
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Yeah. If your parents think there is such a thing as a "demonic boardgame", then they're not liberal by any stretch of the word.

That's deeply conservative, but more importantly, it's not rational. There have been exactly zero cases of demonic influence through boardgames (or anything, really).
Which means that there is no possible rational argument to convince them otherwise.

I feel for you, but there's not much to be done. If provably false opinions could be changed simply by proving them false, the world would be a better place...
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Paul Wise
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So far I have chuckled to myself twice reading this post and replies to it.
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Mauricio Montoya
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Sadly, I know some people that are almost as insane as that, even if the original post may be trolling us.

If it's real, then you're gonna have to stick to abstract games and 18XX (railroad and economic games) until you move out from your parent's house, because if they seriously consider that a game with a little scoring mechanism loosely based on centroamerican historical and cultural elements is "demonic" just because it makes passing mention of their gods, you are not gonna have much luck with most games out there (or history books other than "the good one", or newspapers, or tv series, or having a normal life outside your religious community, because the demon lurks everywhere when you live in constant fear).

Luckily, you can always try your hand at wargames, because killing thousands of your fellow men in creative and painful ways just because they think a little different has often been seen as a righteous and God-approved enterprise.
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Stephanie Prince
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As ancient Mayans, the workers in the game would have had no exposure to European missionaries or Christianity yet.

Also, there are several routes in the game to gain points. You can choose whether or not to build monuments to the gods.
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Karl Bunyan
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Maybe you could give it to someone else in the BGG Secret Satan.
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Bryan Thunkd
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Tzolk'in is a game loosely based on the historical Mayan/Aztec civilizations and the religions that those people followed. That's neither occult nor demonic.

I suppose some Christians might be bothered by the thought that it somehow celebrates the worship of other deities? But honestly, it doesn't. Playing the game as one of these tribes and attempting to advance on the "god tracks" doesn't mean you're worshiping those deities by any stretch of the imagination. At worst, you're acknowledging that those religions existed.

A game that includes historic religions can't be more problematic than a game where you play fearsome creatures and strive to build temples and sanctuaries to increase your number of non-christian priests who are then sacrificed to increase your standing with a religious cult. Seriously, if they're bothered by Tzolk'in how did you ever get them to approve Terra Mystica!?!?

If it helps, just explain to your parents that all religions are simply the fanciful imaginations of people attempting to find solace and certainty in an uncertain universe. That ought to solve all your problems.

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Brian Bowles
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Wow, I thought this kind of stuff went out in the 70's with Dungeons & Dragons!
Tzolk'in is not demonic but it is based on the real life culture of the Mayan tribe where they worshiped multiple Gods.

I don't know what to tell you dude. Personally, if you are able to play the game and not strip down to a loin cloth and run around worshiping Kukulkan or Quetzalcoatl(Yes I know hes the Aztec serpent God)I think you are fine.
Growing up I knew some parents like yours and there was just no reasoning with them. They made up their minds that D&D was Satan worship and that was that. The kids still played it, they just had to sneak off, hide and lie about it. So, instead of playing games at the house where the parents knew what was going on, the kids hid out and usually ended up sneaking other things like drugs.

My best advice is to give the game to a friend and play it at their house. As long as you understand the're just games, you probably will not end up summoning demons in your basement!devil
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Sean Tompkins
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I know there are probably cultural differences here, so my experience is of limited value - but I grew up in a similar type environment. As a kid in my parent's home, Tzolkin would have been on the questionable list because it involves making sacrifices to "gods". I don't have a problem with the game myself, and understand it as theme and story, not reality - I'm not actually sacrificing anything or paying tribute to gods, just like I'm not actually starting a business and transporting goods in "euro" type games - it's just the story laid on top of the game. However, I know many people who still wouldn't play the game even with that line of thinking.

On top of that, you're going to open the box and pull out the bag of crystal skulls - I don't know what reaction that will have in your culture, but if I had convinced my parents on a thin margin to give the game a chance, the skulls would have raised the "warning" flag back up high!
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Michael Groll
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You could also retheme the whole game with alternate artwork (showing Christian themes from the biblical ages) and play it that way .

But maybe the suggestion of giving it to a friend (or a local board game club) is the best way out of this for you.

Or put it up for sale here on the Geekmarket. Maybe someone in Asia wants to pick up a copy and would be happy to buy it from you.
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Nick Case
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I'm guessing the Harry Potter books got burn't too. Get old enough to leave home quickly. Such censorship and attitudes are not healthy nor rational.
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Mauricio Montoya
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seanp wrote:
On top of that, you're going to open the box and pull out the bag of crystal skulls - I don't know what reaction that will have in your culture, but if I had convinced my parents on a thin margin to give the game a chance, the skulls would have raised the "warning" flag back up high!


Funny, because the crystal skulls as offerings are the only fictional and totally fabricated element included in the game, and has no historical connection with the real Mayas. Yes, for years they were believed to be mayan and aztec relics and settled themselves in popular culture as part of the whole myth, but they were actually a hoax by some cheeky 19th-century archaeologists and european dealers that sold "ancient relics".

The centroamerican cultures had a thing for skulls and death, as we all do, by they didn't create or use crystal skulls in any ritual. However, modern mexican christians have a centuries-old tradition of decorating clay and sugar skulls with colorful patterns to honour their departed family members' souls as part of the Dia de los Muertos celebration, so the skulls are probably the more christian element in the whole game.
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Russ Williams
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You might try asking your parents if they are worried that you'll become a mafia gangster when you play a mafia-themed game, or if they are worried that you'll become a pirate when you play a pirate-themed game, etc. And if they are not worried about those, then ask them what is the difference with a Mayan-themed game: why are they worried that you'll become a Mayan-god-worshipper (or whatever it is they are worried about).

But it sounds like your best option is indeed to give the game to a friend and play with the friend.

PS: Their attitude seems extremely conservative and irrational.
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Steve Valladolid
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Their house, their rules.
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Bryan Thunkd
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russ wrote:
You might try asking your parents if they are worried that you'll become a mafia gangster when you play a mafia-themed game, or if they are worried that you'll become a pirate when you play a pirate-themed game, etc.
It's not entirely implausible that parents that are worried that Tzolk'in is a bad influence on him would find problems with the morality of mafia gangsters and pirates.

I doubt that the fear is that he'll directly become a gangster, so much as it is that he'll become more comfortable with 'immorality' and more likely to engage in 'immoral' acts or make 'immoral' choices. The "being exposed to depictions of violence makes you more likely to be violent or view violence as a possible solution" type of argument.
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Russ Williams
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Thunkd wrote:
russ wrote:
You might try asking your parents if they are worried that you'll become a mafia gangster when you play a mafia-themed game, or if they are worried that you'll become a pirate when you play a pirate-themed game, etc.
It's not entirely implausible that parents that are worried that Tzolk'in is a bad influence on him would find problems with the morality of mafia gangsters and pirates.

I agree, but it's at least the best hope I can imagine of rationally convincing the parents to let him play the game.
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Sean Tompkins
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mearendil wrote:
seanp wrote:
On top of that, you're going to open the box and pull out the bag of crystal skulls - I don't know what reaction that will have in your culture, but if I had convinced my parents on a thin margin to give the game a chance, the skulls would have raised the "warning" flag back up high!


Funny, because the crystal skulls as offerings are the only fictional and totally fabricated element included in the game, and has no historical connection with the real Mayas. Yes, for years they were considered as antique mayan and aztec relics and settled themselves in popular culture as part of the whole myth, but they were actually a hoax by some cheeky 19th-century archaeologists and european dealers that sold "ancient relics".

The centroamerican cultures had a thing for skulls and death, as we all do, by they didn't create or use the crystal ones in any ritual. However, modern mexican christians have a centuries-old tradition of decorating clay and sugar skulls with colorful patterns to honour their departed family members' souls as part of the Dia de los Muertos celebration, so the skulls are probably the more christian element in the whole game.


Agreed - but the reaction here is largely an emotional decision instead of a rational one - and "skull = scary" is pretty ingrained in the conservative American tradition. I love the Dia de los Muertes tradition and art, but even that gives people pause when they aren't familiar with it.
 
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Kristo Vaher
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Magic Pink wrote:
ilikeeatingpizza wrote:
I come from a Christian family, not an extreme conservative one; in fact we're quite liberal.


I feel this may be incorrect.


Bingo.

It's a game.
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Geki
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If that might help, I teach Ethics and Theology, often at Christian colleges.

PM me, I'll give you my email and you tell them to write me an email, I'd be glad to answer with an endorsement for the game.
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Mark Jackson
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There are definitely games I could see even a liberal Christian household having issues with thematically (Chaos in the Old World, Letters from Whitechapel, ie games where one or more players are murderers or spreading corruption through the world or what have you). Tzolkin to me does not fall under this umbrella though. It is loosely based on a historical context where Christianity would not have been introduced yet, and it doesn't depict you doing anything evil or immoral. The plain existence of other religious beliefs throughout history doesn't seem like it should be a problem area?
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Don Lynch
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So I wonder how the parents would feel about "Lucifer", a network TV show.

Or even "Banshee", a cable show that featured an Amish gangster character.
 
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