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Maori Wars: The New Zealand Land Wars, 1845-1872» Forums » General

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J Vomkrieg
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I've had a look through the materials available for this game online, and frankly I am concerned.

The maps are incorrect in many places, from place names to geographic locations. Some, like Upper Hutt are spelled wrong and in the wrong place.

Canoes? The term is "Waka" and I see someone has pointed that out. But Waka are a big thing in Maori culture, what original Waka your ancestors game from is a big deal among Maori. Whakapapa is just a big deal in general to a lot of Maori.

I would also be careful when using Ta Moko on anything, whether it is box art or pieces. Ta Moko are Taonga and using them without permission can be very problematic. Slapping To Moko on something and trying to sell it is bound to annoy some Iwi.

And finally, i'm just concerned that, based on things like the map, that the history will not be great.

I'm sure, as an American you would be suspect of a US Civil War game that had "Anti-tedium" and "Spaghettisburg" on the map, and in the wrong place.

If you plan on marketing this game anywhere near Aotearoa, I highly recommend consulting with an NZ historian, preferable two so you can get a Maori perspective as well.

It's a tricky topic, one NZ historians have been struggling with forever. And, as someone who's family were displaced during this war, it's a bit personal. So I hope you get it right.
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The Mirror
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Ithkrall wrote:
I've had a look through the materials available for this game online, and frankly I am concerned.

The maps are incorrect in many places, from place names to geographic locations. Some, like Upper Hutt are spelled wrong and in the wrong place.

Canoes? The term is "Waka" and I see someone has pointed that out. But Waka are a big thing in Maori culture, what original Waka your ancestors game from is a big deal among Maori. Whakapapa is just a big deal in general to a lot of Maori.

I would also be careful when using Ta Moko on anything, whether it is box art or pieces. Ta Moko are Taonga and using them without permission can be very problematic. Slapping To Moko on something and trying to sell it is bound to annoy some Iwi.

And finally, i'm just concerned that, based on things like the map, that the history will not be great.

I'm sure, as an American you would be suspect of a US Civil War game that had "Anti-tedium" and "Spaghettisburg" on the map, and in the wrong place.

If you plan on marketing this game anywhere near Aotearoa, I highly recommend consulting with an NZ historian, preferable two so you can get a Maori perspective as well.

It's a tricky topic, one NZ historians have been struggling with forever. And, as someone who's family were displaced during this war, it's a bit personal. So I hope you get it right.


As an American, I could care less if you called it Spaghettisburg, but you make a very interesting point.

I'm a recent convert to the world of war/historical games, in large part because of the rich context of historical weight possible. And to be creating a game about a marginalized group without respect for their culture seems immensely problematic. I want to be able to learn something of substance from the war games I play, or rather in the very least feel like the different perspectives are presented with respect and a degree of understanding. I'm very far from being an expert on this subject, but the suggestion that the Maori are not being presented fairly or with historical accuracy is making me reconsider supporting this game at all.

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Malcolm Cameron
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J,

It might be worth contacting the designer separately to provide any assistance you can in terms of helping to correct errors etc.

I am sure any help would be well received.

The designer is relatively active on BGG:

John Poniske

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Rich Lloyd
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Ithkrall wrote:
I've had a look through the materials available for this game online, and frankly I am concerned.

The maps are incorrect in many places, from place names to geographic locations. Some, like Upper Hutt are spelled wrong and in the wrong place.

Canoes? The term is "Waka" and I see someone has pointed that out. But Waka are a big thing in Maori culture, what original Waka your ancestors game from is a big deal among Maori. Whakapapa is just a big deal in general to a lot of Maori.

I would also be careful when using Ta Moko on anything, whether it is box art or pieces. Ta Moko are Taonga and using them without permission can be very problematic. Slapping To Moko on something and trying to sell it is bound to annoy some Iwi.

And finally, i'm just concerned that, based on things like the map, that the history will not be great.

I'm sure, as an American you would be suspect of a US Civil War game that had "Anti-tedium" and "Spaghettisburg" on the map, and in the wrong place.

If you plan on marketing this game anywhere near Aotearoa, I highly recommend consulting with an NZ historian, preferable two so you can get a Maori perspective as well.

It's a tricky topic, one NZ historians have been struggling with forever. And, as someone who's family were displaced during this war, it's a bit personal. So I hope you get it right.


Don't worry mate, it's being sorted. I'm in the playtest group and a while ago I sent off a annotated version of the map with a big bunch of corrections to the developer who has sent it to the artist to fix. The history probably won't be 100% as it is a game in the end, but any glaring errors are going to be rectified as I'm usually nagging the designer and developer about things

(Totally agree with you in regards to waka btw )
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J Vomkrieg
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Ah, sweet as Rich.

yeah, some of those sample maps were doing my head in. Glad to see it's got some Kiwi's doing the playtesting.

PS. Wal, Dog, PineTree, All Blacks banner. Could you get any more kiwi?
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John Poniske
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J. Vomkrieg, et al,

First, thanks for comments. I have no intention of purposefully promoting false history or denigrating anyone's culture or heritage. I will admit that earlier versions contained many errors - as you pointed out I am half a world away dependent on many resources that contradict each other. Also the related campaigns can at times be extremely confusing. On the other hand I have been open to receiving advice from your countrymen on 'where I got it wrong.' There have been many, many changes to the map, counters and rules to rectify the errors we have thus far identified, and I will continue to accept and implement them up to time of publication.

Understand that as a war gamer AND a teacher, my goals in war-game design are three-fold:

1)to promote knowledge about little known topics (or little known aspects about a well-known topic) and by so doing promote further interest and research into the topic. I have done so on Native American wars, Vietnam, the Philippine "Insurrection," Hawaii, numerous battles along with the political aspect of the American Civil War and a number of other topics. When someone tells me they have delved further into the historical situation I have chosen - THAT'S when I consider it a success.

2) to create a relatively simple approach to the subject requiring a minimal counter density, relatively simple rules, and a playtime of 2-3 hours. These are my personal preferences in gaming and I have noticed at many conferences it is the preference of the majority in our hobby.

3)to focus on fun as opposed to minutiae. Understand I am very interested in cultural background and include a sampling of cultural detail. I do not want to purposely mislead people. I want to whet cultural appetites but at the same time, it is a game, I do not want to immerse players in cultural details that will confuse them and deter them from further investigation in the subject. To that end I do include what-ifs into historical situations and play balance does have a role in my designs.

That said, I relish comments such as your own. I have been in the business long enough to know that I will never, never, never please everyone. I also know that no matter how careful I am or how careful the developer or publisher is, details will be overlooked and some errors will remain. I receive your honest comments in the light they have been given to prevent misunderstanding. I count them as a blessing because it is my hope to produce a product that will encourage further interest. Since, to my knowledge, New Zealand and the Land Wars have few if any predecessor war-game designs, I hope players across the world will take a magnifying glass to your country and your culture and reveal the richness of your corner of the globe, and that it will then encourage further - better games on the topic.

Note on Waka: I completely agree with you and have been urging my developer and publisher to change the reference. If unable to do so, know that at least some reference to Waka will be made in the rules. To that end, know that Kim and Randy are just as eager to 'get it right, as you are to see we don't get it wrong.

Re. Ta Moko: Understood. Despite it being such an evocative graphic We already decided not to use it.

Re: "Anti-tedium" and "Spaghettisburg" Agreed ... and that made me laugh.


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J Vomkrieg
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All good. My intent was never to scare you off doing this, but just some concerns. I'm reassured that you seem to be addressing them.

I am also a history teacher and a wargamer, my finding your game was prompted by some conversations with my mother about heritage as we just got a lot of family history done, and my family was in Taranaki during the wars. So, I was looking for a game set in the era.

This looks to be the only one that comes close, and, asides from the things that looked wonky to me, the concept seemed alright. Especially breaking it up into scenarios, as it really wasn't one big scrap.

Cheers for the reply and reassurance.
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John Poniske
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Thanks, mate.

As I have told many others. I was drawn to New Zealand because my father who was wounded on Guadalcanal began to recover under the care of a sheep ranching family in Hawke's Bay. My wife and I made a pilgrimage there in 2003 to meet the children of the folks who cared for dad. Super people - the best ambassadors you might have provided. Fell in love with North Island and the Maori culture, bought a number of books on the wars at your national military museum and started working on the game soon as I got home. Unfortunately it has traveled a rocky road since then.

Picked up a publisher within three years only to see the company disintegrate. Picked up by a second company which polished it ... only to fold shortly thereafter. It was then picked up by Legion who vetted it through the pre-order process and here we are now having it developed by Kim Kanger - a fine designer in his own right. The Maori Wars design is finally on the cusp of publication.

As I said I'm sure we will still have spelling and placement faux pas. but not because we haven't made a strong attempt to avoid them.

Would be interested in any stories your family has passed down about the Taranaki conflict.
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roger beatson
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Hi J Vomkrieg

Spotted this thread and just wanted to add that John has been very receptive to the input from those with knowledge of the New Zealand Wars and I'm confident our 'little war' is in capable hands.

With regards to the Taranaki Wars, not sure if you may have come across it already but 'First In Arms' by Murray Moorhead is a great read on the First Taranaki war. Although its focus is primarily on the Taranaki Militia and Volunteer Rifle units it gives some great insights into the problems facing the respective British commanders in the theatre, especially the Colonial Government's desire to keep the conflict confined to the Taranaki area. The govt didn't want to see the Waikato tribes becoming involved, fearing a widespread escalation of the conflict and the possible withdrawal of British forces. Consequently the British commanders were put in the unenviable position of having to appease the local settlers who wanted aggressive measures taken whereas the Government didn't want to overly antagonise the local Maori.

Also, if you're interested in the Maori perspective of those tribes who fought on the side of the Crown then I can highly recommend 'Kupapa' by Ron Crosby. Arguably one of the best books written on the New Zealand Wars IMHO.

regards
Roger

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John Poniske
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Hey, thanks, Roger. Good input.
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Björn Hansson
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I for one would definitely buy a game called "The battle of Spaghettisburg"
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John Poniske
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Manja, manja, my voracious rebel battalions !!!
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J Vomkrieg
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taragalinas wrote:
I for one would definitely buy a game called "The battle of Spaghettisburg"


You know, it's not actually that bad a name for a silly food fight style game. Or a lite-weight version of Food chain magnate.
 
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J Vomkrieg
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roughneck2 wrote:

Hi J Vomkrieg

Spotted this thread and just wanted to add that John has been very receptive to the input from those with knowledge of the New Zealand Wars and I'm confident our 'little war' is in capable hands.

With regards to the Taranaki Wars, not sure if you may have come across it already but 'First In Arms' by Murray Moorhead is a great read on the First Taranaki war. Although its focus is primarily on the Taranaki Militia and Volunteer Rifle units it gives some great insights into the problems facing the respective British commanders in the theatre, especially the Colonial Government's desire to keep the conflict confined to the Taranaki area. The govt didn't want to see the Waikato tribes becoming involved, fearing a widespread escalation of the conflict and the possible withdrawal of British forces. Consequently the British commanders were put in the unenviable position of having to appease the local settlers who wanted aggressive measures taken whereas the Government didn't want to overly antagonise the local Maori.

Also, if you're interested in the Maori perspective of those tribes who fought on the side of the Crown then I can highly recommend 'Kupapa' by Ron Crosby. Arguably one of the best books written on the New Zealand Wars IMHO.

regards
Roger



I might check those books out. I trained as an NZ History teacher, so i have a few NZ history books (King, Bellich, Moon and a few more) but it has never really been my forte, and I never taught that module at high school (NZ Search for security, Origins of WWI, that was more my speed)

Says a lot about NZ when a trained history teacher isn't that confident about their NZ history.
 
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Martin Gallo
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Ithkrall wrote:
taragalinas wrote:
I for one would definitely buy a game called "The battle of Spaghettisburg"


You know, it's not actually that bad a name for a silly food fight style game. Or a lite-weight version of Food chain magnate.
Sounds like something out of the old Space Gamer magazine.
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roger beatson
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J Vomkrieg

I know exactly what you mean about NZ history. When I was at High School (we are talking about 30 odd years ago mind you) NZ history consisted of Abel Tasman, Captain Cook, Hone Heke and the Treaty of Waitangi. I don't ever recall being taught anything about the wars at all to be honest. We were taught plenty about US and European history though. I have a feeling NZ history was still part of that whole 'cultural cringe' where we felt our own history just wasn't as important as that of other nations.

As much as Belich's work has been derided as revisionist history (and some of the criticisms are fully justified) at least it sparked plenty of debate and brought some long overdue attention to the NZ Wars. It was actually the TV documentary series based on his book (broadcast in the late 90's I think) which first sparked my own interest in the conflict.

I'm not sure what history is taught at NZ schools these days but I think that this boardgame would make for a great learning tool, both about the conflict itself and the nature of colonial warfare in general.

regards
Roger
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J Vomkrieg
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roughneck2 wrote:

J Vomkrieg

I know exactly what you mean about NZ history. When I was at High School (we are talking about 30 odd years ago mind you) NZ history consisted of Abel Tasman, Captain Cook, Hone Heke and the Treaty of Waitangi. I don't ever recall being taught anything about the wars at all to be honest. We were taught plenty about US and European history though. I have a feeling NZ history was still part of that whole 'cultural cringe' where we felt our own history just wasn't as important as that of other nations.

As much as Belich's work has been derided as revisionist history (and some of the criticisms are fully justified) at least it sparked plenty of debate and brought some long overdue attention to the NZ Wars. It was actually the TV documentary series based on his book (broadcast in the late 90's I think) which first sparked my own interest in the conflict.

I'm not sure what history is taught at NZ schools these days but I think that this boardgame would make for a great learning tool, both about the conflict itself and the nature of colonial warfare in general.

regards
Roger


I was briefly at Wellington College, which in year 13 does a lot of historiography for NZ history. Basically, here is what moon, bellich, King and a few other sources say about this. What do you think?

A lot of it is about looking at the conflicting views and sorting through it, which is solid history training.
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roger beatson
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Hi J Vomkrieg

Couldn't agree more, especially when it comes to military history. We need to look at the conflict from all perspectives and then weigh up the evidence.

My History tutors at Uni constantly reminded us to think about who was doing the writing, what was the purpose of what was being written, who was the intended audience and to also place it squarely within the context of the time/era it was written. That for me is the fascinating part about studying military history. Just when you think you know it all something comes along that offers up a completely fresh view. The NZ Wars in particular has so much to offer the military historian - it was certainly much more than just another one of Britain's colonial wars. Was it a war of Imperial conquest, was it a counter insurgency operation, was it a Maori civil war, was it simply just a land grab by a fledgling colony ? In reality it was a combination of all of these things.

What I have found very encouraging is the increased number of works (particularly of an academic standard) that are now being published about the New Zealand Wars. This can only help to broaden our understanding of what really took place all those years ago.

regards
Roger
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John Poniske
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My thanks to J. Vomkrieg for posting his initial concerns. They have generated renewed interest in the Land Wars topic. You, together with Roger, have entered into the kind of intelligent historical discourse that I had hoped the game would encourage. I reiterate that there will undoubtedly be errors in the overall design, but there will be far more historical fodder for players to latch onto and delve into than goofs. Shoot - anyone who has witnessed a haka should want to know more about its origin and its relationship to the warrior culture of the Maori. Thank you again, gentlemen. Look forward to hearing more from you in the future.
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Poniske wrote:
It was then picked up by Compass...


You're scaring me John. My pre-order is with Legion.

surprise
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John Poniske
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blushblushblushYou were the first to notice blushblushblush and now the last. blushblushblush As Maxwell Smart would have said, "Sorry about that, chief!" blushblushblush
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