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Subject: Historicity and interaction rss

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Gabriel Conroy
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This seems a very nicely designed game with a fascinating subject. I find the look and feel quite thematic, but I've heard people say that the theme comes through particularly strongly in the game's mechanisms. However I'm curious about this, as it seems to me that the game provides the two countries with much more control over each other's internal politics and economy than was historically the case. I'm thinking in particular of the ability to place internal protest markers and disrupt specific industrial facilities.

Is there a historical justification for this aspect? Obviously there were agent provocateurs and spies but surely not direct influence on this scale.

I assume this is design for effect, or even a purely gamey element, which is fine but for me would put the game in the space of historical themed (but not simulational) games like A Few Acres of Snow, 1775, or one of the designers' previous games like Maria. Interested to hear anyone's thoughts.
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Martin G
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I'm no expert, but the (excellent) TV drama Deutschland 83 featured a Stasi agent undercover in the West who was involved in organising peace rallies protesting the Western government.
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Чебурашка, ты настоящий друг!
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I think games in general provide you with much more control than historical decision-makers had. It's part of the trade-off between something that is fun to do and something that tries to depict a past event.
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Larry Haskell
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Salo sila wrote:
I think games in general provide you with much more control than historical decision-makers had. It's part of the trade-off between something that is fun to do and something that tries to depict a past event.


I think this is a fairly common design trait of games in the last 10-15 years. Where older games would rely on a die roll for "random" events to thwart a player, in more recent games, such power is given to a player's opponent. In such a design, players are cast in sort of a dual role: you are not just the leadership of West Germany but also "Nemesis", the unseen forces of fate and history that seem to conspire against the East. The West doesn't actually control where protests break out, rather the West player gets to place protests in the worst possible place for the East. A similar design can be found in Combat Commander -- a Defensive player has the ability to place wire or a hidden unit in response to an opponent moving a unit. Obviously, combat leaders wouldn't have this ability, but it simulates, for the offensive player, the friction of combat, the sense that, yes, in fact, the world IS conspiring against you.

While such designs may give a player unrealistic agency, I think they make up for it by presenting the opponent with a more compelling narrative. Or as Salk Sila says, more fun.
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Larry Haskell
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qwertymartin wrote:
I'm no expert, but the (excellent) TV drama Deutschland 83 featured a Stasi agent undercover in the West who was involved in organising peace rallies protesting the Western government.


A thumb just for mentioning Deutschland '83, which invariably puts me in the mood to play WSdV.
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Gabriel Conroy
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qwertymartin wrote:
I'm no expert, but the (excellent) TV drama Deutschland 83 featured a Stasi agent undercover in the West who was involved in organising peace rallies protesting the Western government.


Yes indeed, as I said I'm sure there were such agents, perhaps more from the East than from the West. But the game enables each side to interfere directly on a much larger scale than this.
 
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Gabriel Conroy
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Salo sila wrote:
I think games in general provide you with much more control than historical decision-makers had. It's part of the trade-off between something that is fun to do and something that tries to depict a past event.


Agree it's often a decision designers make. However I don't see why those things, fun and depiction of the past, should necessarily be in opposition. I find chaos in games can often increase my enjoyment, and more control sometimes just means more difficult decisions and more bad feeling between players.
 
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Russ Williams
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achates wrote:
Salo sila wrote:
I think games in general provide you with much more control than historical decision-makers had. It's part of the trade-off between something that is fun to do and something that tries to depict a past event.


Agree it's often a decision designers make. However I don't see why those things, fun and depiction of the past, should necessarily be in opposition. I find chaos in games can often increase my enjoyment, and more control sometimes just means more difficult decisions and more bad feeling between players.


Well, enjoyment is subjective of course - certainly many people find random chaos to decrease their enjoyment.

I'm not sure how more difficult decisions in a strategy game would be a bad thing...?

Nor how in the world more control would cause "more bad feelings between players" in a 2-player game like this... unless you are a "care bear" who doesn't like any "negative interaction" in a game and gets upset if you opponent "hurts" you in the game. But this game is already surely not good for such players.
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Gabriel Conroy
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russ wrote:
achates wrote:
Salo sila wrote:
I think games in general provide you with much more control than historical decision-makers had. It's part of the trade-off between something that is fun to do and something that tries to depict a past event.


Agree it's often a decision designers make. However I don't see why those things, fun and depiction of the past, should necessarily be in opposition. I find chaos in games can often increase my enjoyment, and more control sometimes just means more difficult decisions and more bad feeling between players.


Well, enjoyment is subjective of course - certainly many people find random chaos to decrease their enjoyment.

I'm not sure how more difficult decisions in a strategy game would be a bad thing...?

Nor how in the world more control would cause "more bad feelings between players" in a 2-player game like this... unless you are a "care bear" who doesn't like any "negative interaction" in a game and gets upset if you opponent "hurts" you in the game. But this game is already surely not good for such players.


How about we keep the discussion at a grown-up level and avoid disparaging names.

You ask whether increasing the number of difficult decisions in a game could ever be bad. Clearly, presenting players with difficult decisions is something most strategy games will want to do. However it's possible to have too many, such that the game slows down, becomes too puzzly or too much of a chore to play. Chess is not everyone's favourite game; many people prefer a balance between decision making and events which are unpredictable. Purely as a game, I think WSDV does actually provide such a balance.

Similarly, just because negative player interaction can be enjoyable, it doesn't follow that there is no limit to how much a game should have. The social aspect of games is an element in their design. Again, I think WSDV provides a good level of player interaction as a game. My question was about the historicity of its mechanisms.
 
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Russ Williams
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achates wrote:
How about we keep the discussion at a grown-up level and avoid disparaging names.

Sorry, no offense nor non-"grown up" discussion was intended. Some people use "care bear" not as an insult, but simply as a ordinary shorthand label for people who don't like negative interaction, e.g. Rahdo (who I just listened to today, so he was in my consciousness, and "care bear" was the concise label which popped into my mind).
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John McD
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russ wrote:
achates wrote:
How about we keep the discussion at a grown-up level and avoid disparaging names.

Sorry, no offense nor non-"grown up" discussion was intended. Some people use "care bear" not as an insult, but simply as a ordinary shorthand label for people who don't like negative interaction, e.g. Rahdo (who I just listened to today, so he was in my consciousness, and "care bear" was the concise label which popped into my mind).


I think vegans are allowed to call other people care bears.whistle
 
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