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Subject: Nazi imagery in game artwork rss

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Todd V
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I just recently came across the Kickstarter and BGG listing for this game. The psychedelic R.Crumb-inspired artwork and the blacklight poster colors looked cool and an art style I hadn't seen in other board games. Gameplay looks like it could be interesting as well, so I contributed to the Kickstarter for a copy of the game. I followed the link from the KS page to the artist's site to see more of his work, and look at the Dungeon Degenerates miniatures for sale there.

After checking out more of the artist's work (magazine covers, posters, and other merch), I'm digging the retro/weirdo/lowbrow whatever you want to call it art style...but then I'm noticing a recurring theme of fetishized Nazi and German militarist symbolism, iron crosses, swastikas, SS insignias...and I'm reconsidering whether this is someone I want to support.

A quick Google search of the artist shows that he's been called out before for using fascist imagery in his magazine and other artwork. He specifically talks about his use of Nazi symbols on his site here:
http://goblinkomegamall.com/pages/not-suitable-for-squares
and
http://goblinkomegamall.com/pages/the-pork-faq

From his comments online, I'll take the guy at his word that he is not actually a nazi sympathizer. But for me, the 60s biker look with German helmets is one thing, or the iron crosses which are all over the game artwork, but art with barely hidden swastikas and SS insignias is just not something I'm looking to display on a table in my place or with a gaming group. So I decided to cancel my Kickstarter pledge for the game.

some examples from the Dungeon Degenerates section of the artist's site:

Morbad Fighter poster (swastikas on shield):http://goblinkomegamall.com/collections/dungeon-degenerates/...
Porc Fighter poster (ss insignia on WW2 officer style hat): http://goblinkomegamall.com/collections/dungeon-degenerates/...
Necromancer poster (swastika in lower left): http://goblinkomegamall.com/collections/dungeon-degenerates/...

It's not prominent, but it's there. In other products for sale on the site it's a lot more obvious. I'm curious how much of the other artwork in the game itself contains stuff like this, and what other backers/BGG folks think. Is this stuff out of place in a fantasy RPG? is it just being trying to be "punk"? is it part of the theme? didn't notice/don't care?




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I'm an autistic computer geek and I never understand art. I didn't notice any of that specific stuff, I just thought the game looked interesting and different and, well, cool. People see Nazis as being evil and demons are evil so why not blend them together. Won't stop me from backing or playing any more than the Nazi symbols in a war game.
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Honestly, I hadn't noticed it, but I was wondering why the project hadn't hit $50,000.

As a want-to-be-artist, I was thinking more Basil Wolverton for the style, and love it.

I see your point, and don't really want to answer, because you can be jumped on for any style of response.

If the monsters have it, meh, they're monsters.

If the heroes have it, maybe the murk gets deeper.

Most of it I just see as biker stuff and nothing to do with Nazis.

The SS and swastika, hmm, maybe like the n-word, maybe it's time for them to be eroded in negative power? (I'm not an expert, but I think the Nazis stole the swastika from the gypsies - a good luck symbol?) That said, I'm not going to use or say any controversial ethnic or racial terms. In hate or the disempower the symbols/words.

Should I buy a game with them in it? It's a tough question, but I didn't really notice any of it until you pointed it out.

I feel like I remember Gahan Wilson having Nazis in his artwork too - black comedy. Does it make it okay? I don't know.

I guess I'm not cancelling at this point, but I'd like to see others ideas.
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I just looked at the cover and heroes and only spotted an iron cross on the arm of the corpse burner (plague, not Holocaust). ((And maybe the double meaning of that character name and the iron cross shouldn't go together? But people can overthink everything.)

I think it's more the style of the art, like you would see lightning in a scary movie?
 
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Until you pointed this out I didn't notice. I guess it's because I was looking at the artwork as an overall presentation instead of focusing on the individual parts that make up each image.

I checked out Äaberg's blog and FAQ. I think he explains his point of view clearly. As he said "not suitable for squares".

The game is edgy and I'll support an artist that doesn't compromise his work to fit into our world's current PC focus. I've noticed many publishers are increasingly playing it safe with their game art. Making sure it's more cartoony, clean violence, less sexy, generic themes, etc.

I understand your point of view and if those types of images make you uncomfortable then you have every right to not purchase it. And anyone that finds anything in a game offensive should not buy it, whether it's blood, sex, drugs, etc. What I don't like is when people bully publishers into making changes based on their own worldview. There's no one forcing you to buy a game. Look at each game you are considering and decide for yourself if it fits your own personal values.


EDIT- I just noticed a backer in the project comments today mentioned he cancelled his pledge based on a character smoking weed. Good for him, if that made him uncomfortable, then he should definitely not back the game. We all have our limits.
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sonambulo wrote:
I just recently came across the Kickstarter and BGG listing for this game. The psychedelic R.Crumb-inspired artwork and the blacklight poster colors looked cool and an art style I hadn't seen in other board games. Gameplay looks like it could be interesting as well, so I contributed to the Kickstarter for a copy of the game. I followed the link from the KS page to the artist's site to see more of his work, and look at the Dungeon Degenerates miniatures for sale there.

After checking out more of the artist's work (magazine covers, posters, and other merch), I'm digging the retro/weirdo/lowbrow whatever you want to call it art style...but then I'm noticing a recurring theme of fetishized Nazi and German militarist symbolism, iron crosses, swastikas, SS insignias...and I'm reconsidering whether this is someone I want to support.

A quick Google search of the artist shows that he's been called out before for using fascist imagery in his magazine and other artwork. He specifically talks about his use of Nazi symbols on his site here:
http://goblinkomegamall.com/pages/not-suitable-for-squares
and
http://goblinkomegamall.com/pages/the-pork-faq

From his comments online, I'll take the guy at his word that he is not actually a nazi sympathizer. But for me, the 60s biker look with German helmets is one thing, or the iron crosses which are all over the game artwork, but art with barely hidden swastikas and SS insignias is just not something I'm looking to display on a table in my place or with a gaming group. So I decided to cancel my Kickstarter pledge for the game.

some examples from the Dungeon Degenerates section of the artist's site:

Morbad Fighter poster (swastikas on shield):http://goblinkomegamall.com/collections/dungeon-degenerates/...
Porc Fighter poster (ss insignia on WW2 officer style hat): http://goblinkomegamall.com/collections/dungeon-degenerates/...
Necromancer poster (swastika in lower left): http://goblinkomegamall.com/collections/dungeon-degenerates/...

It's not prominent, but it's there. In other products for sale on the site it's a lot more obvious. I'm curious how much of the other artwork in the game itself contains stuff like this, and what other backers/BGG folks think. Is this stuff out of place in a fantasy RPG? is it just being trying to be "punk"? is it part of the theme? didn't notice/don't care?






Interesting topic.

On the one hand, I share a lot of the artist's beliefs about free expression and resistance to the needlessly politically correct.

On the other hand, if you are invoking controversial imagery, such as Nazi symbolism, I believe that you had better be using it for something more than "shocking the squares," which I don't see happening here. It's so innocuous in the artwork related to the game that it's pointless other than to be provocative. That strikes me as juvenile.

It's a shame, because the concept of the game sounds very interesting.

One last point after having read the statement about their use of Nazi symbols: I find it hilarious that they link this to being "punk." I was raised by 1st generation punks. I was in a punk band as a teenager. Almost anyone in punk culture using Nazi imagery was someone who believed in skinhead ideology. Punk culture was full of ANTI-Nazi imagery. Definitely not a great defense for thr artist's stated position.
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Todd V
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ScottE wrote:
Until you pointed this out I didn't notice. I guess it's because I was looking at the artwork as an overall presentation instead of focusing on the individual parts that make up each image.

I checked out Äaberg's blog and FAQ. I think he explains his point of view clearly. As he said "not suitable for squares".

The game is edgy and I'll support an artist that doesn't compromise his work to fit into our world's current PC focus. I've noticed many publishers are increasingly playing it safe with their game art. Making sure it's more cartoony, clean violence, less sexy, generic themes, etc.

I understand your point of view and if those types of images make you uncomfortable then you have every right to not purchase it. And anyone that finds anything in a game offensive should not buy it, whether it's blood, sex, drugs, etc. What I don't like is when people bully publishers into making changes based on their own worldview. There's no one forcing you to buy a game. Look at each game you are considering and decide for yourself if it fits your own personal values.


EDIT- I just noticed a backer in the project comments today mentioned he cancelled his pledge based on a character smoking weed. Good for him, if that made him uncomfortable, then he should definitely not back the game. We all have our limits.


Looks like he is self-publishing this one so I doubt anyone is going to bully the publisher/artist into changing his work, nor should they. I 'm not looking to bully or censor anyone, and I wouldn't want to even if I could. My only power is, as you said, to choose to buy that game or not if I disagree with part of it. And to discuss my opinions with people here.

I also didn't notice these details until after seeing other work on the artist's site which has much more overt nazi symbols. And yes, he does clearly explain his point of view in including this stuff in his work. Personally, I find his rationale to be some pretty weak sauce.

My personal opinion is, that these symbols have a lot of historical weight and meaning attached, and if you're going to use them you should at least justify that weight by saying something with it. Someone can't just handwave that away with "it doesn't mean what you think it means".

If an artist is using fascist icons to to make an anti-fascist statement I can respect and support that. But in this case the motivation seems to be just what you said, trying to be edgy and shock some squares. Then claim to be a victim of persecution by the PC police if someone disagrees. Using blood, gore, demons, drugs, whatever for cheap shock value, whatever, I may not want to always buy that, but it's not the same kind of issue for me. And I was totally onboard with backing this game because of the subversive/punk/psychedelic/dark fantasy aesthetic, if it weren't for the hidden fascist BS.

Thanks for the reply Scott, it's pretty cool to get the opinion of a designer I massively respect for making some of the greatest CRPG classic games I grew up on.
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Thanks for pointing this out, I definitely had not noticed.

I just don't understand why they are making all the swastikas so inconspicuous if they are so comfortable with those images as they state in the FAQ. The artist is free to express themselves as they see fit, but it seems pretty "WEAK-ASSED" since nothing else about the art is subtle.
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sonambulo wrote:
ScottE wrote:
Until you pointed this out I didn't notice. I guess it's because I was looking at the artwork as an overall presentation instead of focusing on the individual parts that make up each image.

I checked out Äaberg's blog and FAQ. I think he explains his point of view clearly. As he said "not suitable for squares".

The game is edgy and I'll support an artist that doesn't compromise his work to fit into our world's current PC focus. I've noticed many publishers are increasingly playing it safe with their game art. Making sure it's more cartoony, clean violence, less sexy, generic themes, etc.

I understand your point of view and if those types of images make you uncomfortable then you have every right to not purchase it. And anyone that finds anything in a game offensive should not buy it, whether it's blood, sex, drugs, etc. What I don't like is when people bully publishers into making changes based on their own worldview. There's no one forcing you to buy a game. Look at each game you are considering and decide for yourself if it fits your own personal values.


EDIT- I just noticed a backer in the project comments today mentioned he cancelled his pledge based on a character smoking weed. Good for him, if that made him uncomfortable, then he should definitely not back the game. We all have our limits.


Looks like he is self-publishing this one so I doubt anyone is going to bully the publisher/artist into changing his work, nor should they. I 'm not looking to bully or censor anyone, and I wouldn't want to even if I could. My only power is, as you said, to choose to buy that game or not if I disagree with part of it. And to discuss my opinions with people here.

I also didn't notice these details until after seeing other work on the artist's site which has much more overt nazi symbols. And yes, he does clearly explain his point of view in including this stuff in his work. Personally, I find his rationale to be some pretty weak sauce.

My personal opinion is, that these symbols have a lot of historical weight and meaning attached, and if you're going to use them you should at least justify that weight by saying something with it. Someone can't just handwave that away with "it doesn't mean what you think it means".

If an artist is using fascist icons to to make an anti-fascist statement I can respect and support that. But in this case the motivation seems to be just what you said, trying to be edgy and shock some squares. Then claim to be a victim of persecution by the PC police if someone disagrees. Using blood, gore, demons, drugs, whatever for cheap shock value, whatever, I may not want to always buy that, but it's not the same kind of issue for me. And I was totally onboard with backing this game because of the subversive/punk/psychedelic/dark fantasy aesthetic, if it weren't for the hidden fascist BS.

Thanks for the reply Scott, it's pretty cool to get the opinion of a designer I massively respect for making some of the greatest CRPG classic games I grew up on.

I certainly understand your point of view and it is problematic in today's atmosphere using certain symbolism. To be honest, I really debated about responding originally since this is such a controversial topic and no matter what anyone said, it could just make it worse.

If it was a title I was producing, I'd have a hard time deciding what to do. I wouldn't want to censor the art, but I might feel compelled to do it anyway. I've been in similar situations in the past on various video games when we censored art for either being too sexy or using religious symbols that some found offensive (like the pentagram).

We were discussing the TV show "The Strain" the other day. One of the vampire villains was a Nazi Officer and they show flashbacks quite often. It's all pretty horrifying. They don't pull any punches showing what he did or what was done to all the victims in those camps. Is that right for a scifi/fantasy TV show to display such realistic and offensive scenes including the various symbols? I'm sure there's some lost viewers from that.
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Desferous wrote:
The SS and swastika, hmm, maybe like the n-word, maybe it's time for them to be eroded in negative power? (I'm not an expert, but I think the Nazis stole the swastika from the gypsies - a good luck symbol?)


Not the gypsies but you're right about good fortune. The symbol (or at least a version of it) is quite old and even has roots in Buddhism.

The swastika sign – a symbol of Buddhism or Nazism?
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Ugh, I (almost) wish I hadn't found out about this. I love the art, and the game looks great, and the theme is right up my alley.

But Nazi swastikas? That's awful. (and from the economic angle: can't be sold in Germany. why even do this?) Reading their blog, I see they note their art "INCLUDES SKULLS, DRUGS. WILD ANIMALS, MONSTERS, MARGINALIZED SEX ACTS, GALLOWS HUMOR, WEAPONS, THE OCCULT, LEGIONS OF HELL & NAZI IMAGERY"

Which one of these DOES NOT FIT THERE (to adopt their rather hard-to-read, screaming all-caps style...)?

I'm definitely not a square, I'm definitely not "weak assed" (see aforementioned blog), but I am put off by their explanation and the way they go about rationalizing their use of the swastika. I'd like to emphasize here: the ONLY thing I find offensive about the imagery is the swastika. It simply has no place in a fantasy game, and doesn't capture any of the thematic elements they're going for. In fact, it's quite jarring to see. I am not at all put off by the militaristic uniforms, or deaths heads or really anything else that evokes Nazi-style militarism. Just the swastika.

Full disclosure: I'm half jewish, and my wife is jewish. Her father was born in a concentration camp where her grandfather was murdered, and her mother's family fled Poland before the war. Dozens of my wife's family members were killed in concentration camps. The image of a swastika holds a very real, visceral sensation of dread and evil for me - I feel sick to my stomach writing this out. It's a symbol of the people who murdered my people. Plain and simple. (and here in this game, it is clearly mean to evoke evil, monstrous villains - these are not used to symbolize good fortune or well being as might be construed in the Buddhist sense.)
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Who knows what the intent is, but from the style of art I'd wonder about an homage to early underground comix art, of which a guiding aesthetic was "offend under any and all circumstances."
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So, just to be clear- you guys feel better about perpetrating violence & genocide against monsters that *arent* wearing swastikas? now I'm starting to suspect your motives!!

But seriously, there are no nazis in Dungeon Degenerates, although the methods of the daemons & orcs armies are similar (ever read Tolkein?) & use the imagery to indicate this. Watch a Ralph Bakshi movie sometime.

The 'iron cross' is a symbol of the church & hence is used everywhere in the style of medieval Europe. The corpse burner has it branded on him as an employee of the church.

The swastika is a pre-Christian magic symbol from all over the world & does not belong to any political movement, just like silly moustaches.

Im not sure if there's a special word for when you insinuate that someone is a nazi & find out they're Jewish & have relatives who died in the holocaust but there's that too. TBH it is a bit offensive.
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cultofmars wrote:


Im not sure if there's a special word for when you insinuate that someone is a nazi & find out they're Jewish & have relatives who died in the holocaust but there's that too. TBH it is a bit offensive.


It is a bit offensive, but I've got a very high threshold and am not insulted at all. I still think your game and your art style is extremely cool.

I just don't get why swastikas are in there.
 
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cultofmars wrote:
So, just to be clear- you guys feel better about perpetrating violence & genocide against monsters that *arent* wearing swastikas? now I'm starting to suspect your motives!!
But seriously, there are no nazis in Dungeon Degenerates, although the methods of the daemons & orcs armies are similar (ever read Tolkein?) & use the imagery to indicate this. Watch a Ralph Bakshi movie sometime.

The 'iron cross' is a symbol of the church & hence is used everywhere in the style of medieval Europe. The corpse burner has it branded on him as an employee of the church.

The swastika is a pre-Christian magic symbol from all over the world & does not belong to any political movement, just like silly moustaches.

Im not sure if there's a special word for when you insinuate that someone is a nazi & find out they're Jewish & have relatives who died in the holocaust but there's that too. TBH it is a bit offensive.

There was a Russian fan novel a while back retelling the story of Lord of the Rings from the perspective of the orcs. In that story, Mordor is an advanced scientific civilization, struggling for survival against feudalistic elves who dominate anyone opposing them with ancient magic, and 'orc' is a racial slur used by the elves to demonize the people of Mordor. It opened my eyes to the history of anti-orc racism, and I'm strongly anti-orc genocide.

But seriously, you're right that the iron cross is a very old pre-nazi Teutonic/German symbol. And yes, the swastika has a long history in Native American, Hindu and Buddhist cultures. Outside of the context of Nazi Germany these symbols had totally different meanings, for sure.

So let's look at how your game bravely reclaims these symbols from their genocidal context and gets rid of all those problematic associations in an original totally not-at-all-referencing-Nazis fantasy world. Let's see...you've got World War era German helmets, WW2 officer hats with death's head symbols, iron crosses, SS insignias, swastikas, in a fantasy realm called the Würstreich with cities that have German-sounding names. Yeah dude, seems fine, nothing to see here...

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I think I was 8 or 9 when I first saw Ralph Bakshi's "Wizards" - in this Dark Fantasy movie the bad guys discover WWII Nazi propaganda & use it during the final battle to disorient the good guys & defeat them in battle. In Wizards it is a form of Black Magic. I had also discovered Bakshi's Lord of the Rings at about the same time & watched & loved Fritz the Cat when I was older. By the time the 80s were rolling along - sexuality, symbolism & fetishism had changed but a lot of the stuff I saw that was leftover from the 70s included this weird mix of BDSM, Leather, Nazi Fetishism, Drugs, Satanism & the like. In the 80s this was still a part of Bay Area street culture & as a young Punk Rocker this bled into the places I would go to find "cool stuff". As part of the aesthetic I've been working on for over a decade I include this hodge podge of 70s tropes that had largely been erased from the public consciousness by the cleansing that happened in the 80s. Most of this stuff came to me via the San Francisco gay scene - I think my first exposure to Nazi Fetishism was through Tom of Finland - it was just background noise & I didn't get it. Then in Punk - original Punk uses Nazi imagery in the same way as one uses anything taboo - it's playing with fire. I understand why people are offended by it & why swastikas are upsetting - & they aren't a central point to the game or the art or anything, they're background noise. That's why they're not "front & center". Just as low-key pervy sexuality & drug use are part of the game - but it's not the point, it's not about hitting you over the head with it, it's to increase the feeling of degeneration & decay - the feeling I had about the 70s when I was a kid. So - this isn't about trying to legitimize or reclaim or promote any of these things, they are elements of the aesthetic that are necessary to communicate the over-all feeling that I am trying to convey. That said - most of the art that is being commented on is work that was done as preliminary work for the game theme before we had any concrete plan on what "Dungeon Degenerates" would turn into. I can give you a list of cultural reference points if you're interested in further research on the subject.
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Todd, I very clearly stated that fascist imagery is used on the badguys, as a symbol of villainy.

My statement about swazis being a magic symbol is a separate point, sorry if that wasn't clear.

Also i recommend reading the actual Lord of the Rings, keeping in mind the author's life, which you can look up here on the internet.

Most importantly, don't suggest someone is a nazi unless you know them because you might be talking to someone whose family died in the holocaust. IS THAT CLEAR?
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We all have our own lines drawn in the sand where we feel offended or not.

Interesting discussion about the artwork. I don't feel it is promoting evil in any way, so I'd potentially be ok with it. On the other hand, why continue the legacy of any murderous organization in art or otherwise? I believe we should forget the names of mass murders, to perhaps lessen the power of their real-life actions.

 
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Thanks Adam,
the 'daemons in German gear'theme is a very small part of what Dungeon Degenerates is, but it gets a bigger reaction than all the other stuff. That ingrained revulsion you feel when you see the symbols is exactly why it works slapped on a daemonic army.
'Why continue the legacy'... are you also applying this thought to every WWII game and movie ever made? Would you prefer Saving Private Ryan without all the nazis? woulda made a boring movie let me tell you..

adamredwoods wrote:
We all have our own lines drawn in the sand where we feel offended or not.

Interesting discussion about the artwork. I don't feel it is promoting evil in any way, so I'd potentially be ok with it. On the other hand, why continue the legacy of any murderous organization in art or otherwise? I believe we should forget the names of mass murders, to perhaps lessen the power of their real-life actions.

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sonambulo wrote:
...what other backers/BGG folks think. Is this stuff out of place in a fantasy RPG? is it just being trying to be "punk"? is it part of the theme? didn't notice/don't care?


To answer your question, I like it and backed purely because of the art; I also ordered the Morbad poster and a few other bits separately on the website.

It reminds me of the lousy, early GW games I played as a kid and the few Rat Fink/Weird-Oh bits my dad had from his youth - it combines a bunch of nostalgia hits in one convenient package!

I'm 99% sure that the game is not something I'll play more than once, if at all, but that's ok - I don't want to stockpile or play Fighting Fantasy books anymore, or GW games, cheesy fantasy RPGs etc but I do want that fuzzy feeling of "oh I remember playing this kinda stuff back in the 80's during the school holidays" or thumbing through my dad's old monster magazines from the 60's and 70's. In fact, the only thing that this game seems to be missing is the crazy-ass adverts for a child's first hunting rifles, live pet primates, X-ray specs and Sea Monkeys.

As much as I personally enjoy the art, I knew it was just a matter of time before threads would start springing up on BGG about it though. Which is kinda odd, as the characters with the Nazi stuff are clearly villains, they're not asking players to be champions of fascism, purging the Reich of undesirables for the glorious goblin master race or anything, your job is defeat them...
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Todd V
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cultofmars wrote:
Most importantly, don't suggest someone is a nazi unless you know them because you might be talking to someone whose family died in the holocaust. IS THAT CLEAR?

I don't think Sean is a nazi, and I said that in my original post. It's clear from his comments that he's not trying to push that ideology, and I appreciate him coming on here to reply and talk about where he's coming from and some of his background inspirations.

I think the counterculture vibe comes through incredibly strong in the art for the game, and I get what he's saying about the BDSM/leather culture background and that nazi fetishism has sometimes been wrapped up with that, with the hats, helmets, uniforms, etc. I just disagree about whether hiding tiny swastikas or SS logos in the corner adds anything meaningful on top of that. What it does add is that I'd have to defend to my friends or game groups why those symbols are in the game I bought and asked them to play, and I'm not going to defend that.

That's just my choice, Sean is free to make his art and I'm free to have an opinion on it. I'll just leave it at that.

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Matt Price
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I appreciate the thoughtful replies on everyone's part, particularly Sean's above.

sonambulo wrote:


...

I think the counterculture vibe comes through incredibly strong in the art for the game, and I get what he's saying about the BDSM/leather culture background and that nazi fetishism has sometimes been wrapped up with that, with the hats, helmets, uniforms, etc. I just disagree about whether hiding tiny swastikas or SS logos in the corner adds anything meaningful on top of that. What it does add is that I'd have to defend to my friends or game groups why those symbols are in the game I bought and asked them to play, and I'm not going to defend that.

...



This quote here sums up my perspective too. The swastikas just feel very out of place, and seem an odd choice given the whole package. I'm even down with the Nazi-like uniforms and headgear - but they're not Nazis, they're fantasy creatures. So why invoke the swastika in a fantasy world adventure game? The two have nothing to do with each other.

I love the crazy, over-the-top art style, but this isn't something I'd want to try out with my buddies either, for that reason only.

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For me personally I found it kind of awesome that it conjured this train of thought where perhaps this setting is actually an apocalytpic view of the future where Nazi symbolism and elements still exist and are the powers of evil. In hellboy and many other similar fiction, Nazis experiment with the otherwordly unleashing daemonic and eldritch horror into the world as they try to harness it. I think it adds to the game and people should see it as a work of fiction and expression of the creators' vision for their universe.
2c.
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Jonan Jello
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mattprice wrote:
So why invoke the swastika in a fantasy world adventure game? The two have nothing to do with each other.
Just from what I have read in this thread, the film Wizards seems to be an influence on the artist and his game.
Spoiler (click to reveal)



As well, Aaberg's style is very much in line with the underground comix no-holds barred, very explicit work of guys like
S. Clay Wilson
Spoiler (click to reveal)


and Robert Williams
Spoiler (click to reveal)



I completely understand why gamers or their curious-to-gaming friends would not want such a symbol in their game, but if the art style of Dungeon Degenerates is big draw for these potential pledgers, they may be letdown if they're not much underground comix fans to begin with.

As well, the game does not seem as 'in-your-face' as underground comix, shocking the audience with ultra-violence, sex, blood, gore, crimes against women, children and elderly, so I can understand how folks would see the swastika symbol as being out of place for this project.

It's a tough one, but either people back it or they don't.


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Dominic B
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This is a very interesting discussion here. I completely respect and mostly understand the arguments of every side here.

In my case the Nazi-imagery will probably keep me from backing the game in the end, even though besides those symbols I think the artwork is very cool. I like this gritty retro style which looks like a weird drug trip.

The problem I see is that the whole concept about also having Nazi symbols in the images is not really thought through.
It seems to me more like the explanation is just " this is offending imagery because we want to offend - this is punk after all". There is no backstory of the game mentioned about a parallel universe in the future or anything like that. There is no concept of pro- or anti- fascism/nazi ideology. The swastikas and SS insignias are just there, bled into the artwork and they seem to have no purpose other than to offend or shock or just being there supporting the atmosphere (in a strange way then).

This is what I dislike about it the most, the whole use of those symbols seems unreflecting to me. I know that many of those symbols have there roots in different cultures and meanings, but the Nazis used them for their cause and changed how we look at them completely. This just is a topic and every artist who uses Nazi imagery in any way has to face that problem and I think also address it in my opinion.
Just to call it "punk" is an issuficient explanation for my taste and I also know some punks who would resolutely disagree.


ok... long post, sorry.
But a whole other problem arises in a legal way. In Germany as far as I know it is forbidden to produce or sell print media containing Nazi imagery in any way. I know every german translated Captain America comic I saw with Nazi stories had to censor the swastikas and other isignias. There have to be a lot of regulations for that and exceptions and I don't know how it works in the end. But for good reason (i.e. sad and cruel history) Nazy symbols fall not under the freedom of speech in Germany. Other countries may have similar laws.
Did the designers ever considered this could be a problem or informed themselves about it?

I know the chances that the customs office opens a package and looks through all the cards to find a small swastika is zero. But I still think that game publishers who also want to sell their game in European countries should know how to handle this case.
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