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Subject: Looking for a rulebooker reader - Colonization rss

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Adam Hutto
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Hello

I am looking for a rule book reader for this board game I am making. I made this thread explaining the premise of the game, so I won't repeat it here.

https://boardgamegeek.com/article/28780648#28780648

Otherwise, I am asking for some blind reads of the rule book. I will add pictures of the map later. I will just note I have broken the the necessary parts of the rules up into various sections just for the sake of making it easier for now. More looking into seeing if you can figure out what you would be playing based on this and if you spot any huge massive errors I've overlooked somehow. This version of the rules is the result of play testing.

Otherwise I welcome brutal honesty. Thanks for your time and input.

EDIT:

I am adding pictures of the map. Keep in mind that the map was originally drawn with a grid tile system, however that will be erased, and as can be seen on the plastic covering, there will be a territory system instead. the grid tile system was just to cumbersome for gameplay.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/77owflmevfwl9m6/colonize%20game%20...

EDIT 2:

rules got updated thanks to quite a bit of help

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1JwHf06JJRr3Z76KWQvRnjsVM...

EDIT 3:

I updated the google doc link thanks to seeing the Loop game and seeing you can share and allow people to comment without actually editing.

I figure this would make more sense.



 
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Hi,

I read a few of your documents. If anyone else is going to read them, start with the Rules of Colonize9.pdf. I think that is the best start (but please correct me if I'm wrong).

That said, I don't think this is a game that will attract a lot of players. It's very complex. That can be your cup of tea, but definitely not mine. I would advise you to make a prototype of one or two factions, far more limited types of units. Try some mechanics and start from there. Maybe your game will be a lot different because some things just work better an other way around. Now you might have to rewrite quite some pages if some parts change.

Regards,

Mike.
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Adam Hutto
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SimpletonGamer wrote:
Hi,

I read a few of your documents. If anyone else is going to read them, start with the Rules of Colonize9.pdf. I think that is the best start (but please correct me if I'm wrong).

That said, I don't think this is a game that will attract a lot of players. It's very complex. That can be your cup of tea, but definitely not mine. I would advise you to make a prototype of one or two factions, far more limited types of units. Try some mechanics and start from there. Maybe your game will be a lot different because some things just work better an other way around. Now you might have to rewrite quite some pages if some parts change.

Regards,

Mike.


thanks for reading....and yeah that is correct start with rules of colonize9.pdf

that said....I have been attempting to simplify it down a bit. any suggestions there? I am open to ideas.

as for limited types of units....there are 3 boats and 4 land-units. you only get more during the war of independence, which thinking about it now are really just stronger versions of the current units except for the man o wars.

were the rules at least understandable in what you read? any fat(aka extra gunk) worth cutting out in your opinion?
 
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Patrick Brennan
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Adam, I sent you a geekmail last week offering help ... not sure if you saw it or not?
 
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Adam Hutto
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I updated the OP with a more slimmer and streamlined version of the rules, with less fat bogging it down.

PBrennan wrote:
Adam, I sent you a geekmail last week offering help ... not sure if you saw it or not?


thanks, I didnt see it, but I see it now and replied

 
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Maybe I should explain how I'm currently designing a small card game myself. That might give you some inspiration for your own.

I first wrote about three pages of rules. After writing those rules down, I started calculating; this game would have two types of cards and each type would hold about 100 cards and I would have 4 classes that players could become and how they would level up. This game would take about 30 minutes to play. That was far too big to play test in the beginning, just making the cards would take me quite some time and what if I found out some parts didn't work.

So I started small; I cut down a three pieces of paper into about 30 cards. And divided this in two small piles of two types. Then I simply wrote what the lowest classed cards would do (what a beginning player would be able to play). I tested the game with my rules and found out in 5 minute of game play it was too difficult.

So I changed some rules and played again. In 5 minutes of game play I was through the decks, but the game ran a lot more fluidly. So now I'm going to upgrade the game, I made the cards a little better (I printed them this time) and wrote down the current rules for a 20 cards game. Now I can ask someone else to play this game. It will take them 5 minutes and I can get direct feedback if they feel the same about this approach as I do.

Then I can upgrade the game again to hold maybe 40/50 cards and get the gamer out of the beginning phase. Just too see if the game still runs fluidly at that level. It might take me 10 minutes of game play, but this will give me a lot more info compared to make one big game, that took hours to make a prototype where the basic mechanics simply don't hold up.

Last 2 cents; In your case, I would probably get myself an old map and test some unit movement. Or I would simply start with one city/capitol, some land with/without crops and then check how the upkeep phase (getting those coins) and building expansion buildings would hold up.
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Marcus Elghag
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I've just read some lines in the introtext, buy did I understand it correctly that players are eliminated during the game? Like in Risk? Does people really want that type of game now days?
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Daniel Connaughton
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This appears to be pretty intense. Do you have a component list (and what they are used for) to reference while reading the rules?
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Adam Hutto
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jakoseto wrote:
This appears to be pretty intense. Do you have a component list (and what they are used for) to reference while reading the rules?


hey sorry for the delayed replies guys.

I was going through some stuff, that said personal excuses aside, thanks to help of some great people here, the rules were getting a revision in presentation.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1JwHf06JJRr3Z76KWQvRnjsVM...

 
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Adam Hutto
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SimpletonGamer wrote:
Maybe I should explain how I'm currently designing a small card game myself. That might give you some inspiration for your own.

I first wrote about three pages of rules. After writing those rules down, I started calculating; this game would have two types of cards and each type would hold about 100 cards and I would have 4 classes that players could become and how they would level up. This game would take about 30 minutes to play. That was far too big to play test in the beginning, just making the cards would take me quite some time and what if I found out some parts didn't work.

So I started small; I cut down a three pieces of paper into about 30 cards. And divided this in two small piles of two types. Then I simply wrote what the lowest classed cards would do (what a beginning player would be able to play). I tested the game with my rules and found out in 5 minute of game play it was too difficult.

So I changed some rules and played again. In 5 minutes of game play I was through the decks, but the game ran a lot more fluidly. So now I'm going to upgrade the game, I made the cards a little better (I printed them this time) and wrote down the current rules for a 20 cards game. Now I can ask someone else to play this game. It will take them 5 minutes and I can get direct feedback if they feel the same about this approach as I do.

Then I can upgrade the game again to hold maybe 40/50 cards and get the gamer out of the beginning phase. Just too see if the game still runs fluidly at that level. It might take me 10 minutes of game play, but this will give me a lot more info compared to make one big game, that took hours to make a prototype where the basic mechanics simply don't hold up.

Last 2 cents; In your case, I would probably get myself an old map and test some unit movement. Or I would simply start with one city/capitol, some land with/without crops and then check how the upkeep phase (getting those coins) and building expansion buildings would hold up.


i appreciate the response and should have gotten back to you sooner.

your last idea of just testing one city/capitol is something i had been thinking about doing, and I'll probably do that soon.

but in general what I have written has played well enough, it's just a matter of simplifying, reducing the moving parts, and making sure folks can understand it. nothing has been seriously broken.

while i agree starting small would have been the better approach, and something if I could start over, I may do it that way, but thats not how this came into existence for better or for worse. I could have and maybe should have tested individual parts of the game, piece by piece instead.

in any event, as stated in my other reply, there is a newer, leaner version of the rules ripe for any feedback.

much appreciated.
 
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Brendan Riley
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Hi Adam,
If you're still looking for folks to read and help, I'm happy to do so if you can do the same for me.

Here's the thread for my rulebook:
[WIP] In the Loop - Rulebook read requested (quid pro quo offered)
 
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Adam Hutto
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wombat929 wrote:
Hi Adam,
If you're still looking for folks to read and help, I'm happy to do so if you can do the same for me.

Here's the thread for my rulebook:
[WIP] In the Loop - Rulebook read requested (quid pro quo offered)


hello

and yes I am certainly still in need of any and all readers and will look at yours. I need something else to read other than mine for the 345345435th time lol

I will also be updating the rules again here shortly with some changes, based on play testing and general reading and fixes. it will be at the same link as in the OP.
 
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Daniel Williams
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I have had a read and you seem to be able to do quite a lot on your turn which sounds like an awful lot of downtime for the other 3 players. Maybe you could take a cue from Civilization:NewDawn and make turns shorter so play moves fast around the table. I do you like your idea though and the book reads well.
 
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Adam Hutto
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valenswift wrote:
I have had a read and you seem to be able to do quite a lot on your turn which sounds like an awful lot of downtime for the other 3 players. Maybe you could take a cue from Civilization:NewDawn and make turns shorter so play moves fast around the table. I do you like your idea though and the book reads well.


thanks for getting back to me and reading it. I am unfamilar with Civilization New Dawn? what do they do exactly?

this is a fair point and arguably one the main weak points of the game, that is why I put in the rules the suggestion that people calculate some of this stuff during their down time. will everyone do that? who can really know that, but ideally if people calculate their stuff during their downtime, they will actually have downtime while the game actually ends up moving faster.

I've noticed once people know what they are doing and don't just BS around turns can move a lot faster than they might appear....but I am well aware that if put in the hands of the masses, it could be quite different and this is a potential weak point. I just don't know how to address it beyond that, as I've been trying to cut out any and all fat and get straight to the game's main point.
 
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Adam Hutto
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I updated OP with Edit 3
 
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Brendan Riley
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I've finished posting my comments. You can see the detailed responses throughout, but I have a couple broad comments as well.

First - this game has a ton of nested rules and corner case rules that will make it incredibly hard to learn well enough that you don't need to consult the rulebook a lot. I know sometimes that's the experience you want, one that involves checking stats and so on, but many people will see this game as pretty clunky for all that. I would see where you can standardize the experience in order to speed it up, and ways that you can use iconography and graphic design to reduce the amount of time people will have to consult charts and whatnot in the rules.

Of course, there are many people who enjoy this kind of granular simulation, so if those folks are your target you're probably fine.

Second - As the previous poster said, this game feels like it will have a ton of down time for each player. One thing to consider is whether you can break apart the long chain of phases in any way so that people can do them simultaneously or in turns, rather than doing a whole turn all at once.

In the action sequence, do you have in mind a way to track which units have acted and which have not?

Third - I find the use of Indians in this game pretty insensitive. Given the legacy of European powers murdering and exploiting the indigenous people of the Americas, it's not ideal that they are rendered, in the game, to a kind of pest on the edge of the colony. While that may have been the way the colonizers thought of them, this game is being made in the 20th century when we recognize that there are ethical and moral problems with that kind of behavior. I would much prefer to see a variety of options made available to the player, from opening trade negotiations to outright hostility, but mechanisms that take into account that the native americans of the era were technologically less advanced, but still people in their own right. Perhaps as the colonies move further inland or take up more land, they encounter occupied places that must be attacked and then they raise the ire of the first nations people and earn stronger resistance or something.

It's a tricky nut to crack to figure out how to address it ethically but also historically, but I encourage you to do so rather than minimizing the place of the people who lived in the Americas from the story of the colonizing of the Americas by Europeans.
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Adam Hutto
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wombat929 wrote:
I've finished posting my comments. You can see the detailed responses throughout, but I have a couple broad comments as well.

First - this game has a ton of nested rules and corner case rules that will make it incredibly hard to learn well enough that you don't need to consult the rulebook a lot. I know sometimes that's the experience you want, one that involves checking stats and so on, but many people will see this game as pretty clunky for all that. I would see where you can standardize the experience in order to speed it up, and ways that you can use iconography and graphic design to reduce the amount of time people will have to consult charts and whatnot in the rules.

Of course, there are many people who enjoy this kind of granular simulation, so if those folks are your target you're probably fine.

Second - As the previous poster said, this game feels like it will have a ton of down time for each player. One thing to consider is whether you can break apart the long chain of phases in any way so that people can do them simultaneously or in turns, rather than doing a whole turn all at once.

In the action sequence, do you have in mind a way to track which units have acted and which have not?

Third - I find the use of Indians in this game pretty insensitive. Given the legacy of European powers murdering and exploiting the indigenous people of the Americas, it's not ideal that they are rendered, in the game, to a kind of pest on the edge of the colony. While that may have been the way the colonizers thought of them, this game is being made in the 20th century when we recognize that there are ethical and moral problems with that kind of behavior. I would much prefer to see a variety of options made available to the player, from opening trade negotiations to outright hostility, but mechanisms that take into account that the native americans of the era were technologically less advanced, but still people in their own right. Perhaps as the colonies move further inland or take up more land, they encounter occupied places that must be attacked and then they raise the ire of the first nations people and earn stronger resistance or something.

It's a tricky nut to crack to figure out how to address it ethically but also historically, but I encourage you to do so rather than minimizing the place of the people who lived in the Americas from the story of the colonizing of the Americas by Europeans.


i do appreciate you taking the time to write all that, and I did your comments. I will have to really take a look at them as they were quite thorough.

as for the nested and corner rules, I am trying to minimize those where I can without sacrificing the entire game in the process. though yes i recognize that can be two different types of games, but still, it is a point well taken. I'm just not sure this kind of game can all together avoid that without breaking its spirit.

no I do not have a way of tracking what units have attacked. Is this necessary? In a game like risk there is no way to determine what has attacked beyond the players themselves paying attention? one idea I have heard is to use tiles for units, maybe if the tile is flipped over then it has attacked?

as for simultaneous turns, it seems possible in every phase except for the action phase and the eventual independence phase. maybe I am wrong and I am curious to hear others comment if they want too, but would that be too awkward and jarring to take the turns all at the same time except for the action phase and eventual independence phase? There are clearly others here with more boardgame experience than I, so maybe that kind of thing works and isn't as bad as i imagine it?

as for the Indians...while I accept that people will take offense to basically everything these days, this game is based on the perspective of colonizing the americas and america declaring it's independence. It is essentially a survival of the fittest in a race for independence. right, wrong, or indifferent, the Indians and Europeans largely did not get along. and historically speaking the Indians sided with the Tories during the war of independence. This game is also inspired by the computer game Colonization where the Indians in that game were as you put it, pests. Even that game they were far too annoying often randomly attacking for no reason at all.

it should be noted that they do not attack you until they have been attacked, and the french special ability plays on that even further.

I also do not subscribe to the poor innocent Indians belief, because they were not all that innocent either. I also believe the Europeans did mistreat them. That said, wars do happen. My game merely reflects upon the war aspect between the two. Is that the right answer? I don't know. However short of not including them, I do not know what else to do.

I will say they are not a push over, the treasure cards you can draw by defeating them, can potentially screw you over but they can also make you quite rich. it is a gamble. Thinking on it now, there is a founding father card I will likely add that will let you make peace with them where they are not attacking you.

as for the term Indian itself, the game is thematically set in older times, the term Native American simply did not exist back then. The term was Indian, so that is term I am using. In the various card texts I have also tried to use older words when I could. One of my goals for the game is to include a quick little encyclopedia for each of the founding father cards, and the general setting of the time where I would probably explain, briefly, what happened between these two people. I am first still trying to get the game play tested properly and functioning, I do think it is close.

I don't mind the criticism, it doesn't hurt my feelings. So I appreciate the thoughts on that matter, but I want my game to be as thematically and historically accurate as possible(obviously sacrifices for gameplay are made here), and in that sense the Europeans and Indians fought a lot. The Indians would eventually lose, and back then the term Native American or Indigenous people did not exist.

SO I hope people find my game fun enough and don't get to hung up on this Indian/Native American/Indigenous people matter.

as for the trading idea.....the original version of this game was much more like the computer game that inspired it, and in that you had several types of resources you had to gather, while this game functioned, it was extremely complex. as i attempted to simplify the game a bit, the only resource that survived was liberty bells as that fit the whole go for independence theme which is at the games core. I just don't know of where I could even begin to add trading with them without complicating the game further? And would that even be a good thing?

in any event, this got a bit long, but thanks for the comments, I appreciate it. Criticism does not hurt my feelings.
 
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Brendan Riley
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Colonization wrote:

no I do not have a way of tracking what units have attacked. Is this necessary? In a game like risk there is no way to determine what has attacked beyond the players themselves paying attention? one idea I have heard is to use tiles for units, maybe if the tile is flipped over then it has attacked?


I think flipping the tiles sounds like a great solution. If they had a different color or pattern on each side so that when you can easily see when all are flipped, that would be cool. I thought it might be a worry since each battle is a one-unit versus one-unit fight. If you get into larger skirmishes, it might be easy to lose track of whether all eight infantry attacked, or if you only did seven. Since I haven't played the game, this might not actually be a problem, of course.

Quote:
as for simultaneous turns, it seems possible in every phase except for the action phase and the eventual independence phase. maybe I am wrong and I am curious to hear others comment if they want too, but would that be too awkward and jarring to take the turns all at the same time except for the action phase and eventual independence phase? There are clearly others here with more boardgame experience than I, so maybe that kind of thing works and isn't as bad as i imagine it?


This will bear itself out in playtesting.

Quote:
as for the Indians...while I accept that people will take offense to basically everything these days, this game is based on the perspective of colonizing the americas and america declaring it's independence. It is essentially a survival of the fittest in a race for independence. right, wrong, or indifferent, the Indians and Europeans largely did not get along. and historically speaking the Indians sided with the Tories during the war of independence. This game is also inspired by the computer game Colonization where the Indians in that game were as you put it, pests. Even that game they were far too annoying often randomly attacking for no reason at all.


I don't really want to get into a political debate with you, but I'll offer one more note. Whether the people who lived in North America were aggressors or not is immaterial. They only had to be because Europeans showed up, built colonies, and took the land they'd used for centuries. The history of this has been written by descendants of colonists, mostly, and has consistently described them using words like "savages" and essentially treating them as if they were subhuman. To me, it's not a matter of worrying about whether people will get offended, it's a matter of an accurate depiction of the era. The usual narrative of Indians-as-pests is the European version of history.

As for your game, you're not locked in by history at all. You have a setup where the Dutch or the Spanish could revolt against their King and set up a new country here, yes? And the only thing holding you to the inspiration of the game Colonization is your choice to be beholden to it. (Which reminds me -- if you aren't licensing the rights to this video game, you may want to pick a different title. History is, of course, open for all to use. But the game title may be trademarked and you could be setting yourself up for pain later. Worth looking into.)

I'd urge you to think about whether the game would be more interesting--and more respectful to the memory (and descendants) of the people who lived here when we arrived--if the interactions with the Native Americans had a bit more nuance. What if you can make a treaty with them and get them on your side? What if you can get them to attack one of the other colonies? Both of these things really happened too.

Anyhow, best of luck with your game.
 
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James O'Grady
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To be fair to Sid Meier's Colonization, the rule book was fairly down on genocide, and I believe the player lost points for any native american settlement destroyed by any colonizing power.

The video game also let you choose how to co-exist or not. The Spanish got an advantage in not co-existing. The French got an advantage as "alarm", the unease generated by your colonists building forts and factories and so on, rose more slowly.

In the original game, especially on the higher difficulties, management of relations with the native americans is important. They are MUCH more effective than you in combat unless you have cleared the forests, and if they keep raiding you can indeed be a pain. On the other hand, friendship and trade can be much, much better off for everyone. You can trade with them, arm them to fight other powers, send missions to convert them to Christianity (which then gets you super-colonist units) and ask them to train up colonists too.

Some of it does depend on which cultures you end up next to. Some are more flexible than others, which can be downright hostile.

Not sure how well that kind of complexity would work in a boardgame, so it is a tricky one.

I know that Sid Meier wanted the trans-Atlantic slave trade in there too, and that was vetoed.
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I'd like to read the rulebook. But I can't access Google Drive. Perhaps you can put the revisions you've done so far onto Dropbox.

Also, I'm glad you're keeping it strictly historical and apolitical, aviding revisionist history.
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Paradox Games wrote:
I'd like to read the rulebook. But I can't access Google Drive. Perhaps you can put the revisions you've done so far onto Dropbox.

Also, I'm glad you're keeping it strictly historical and apolitical, aviding revisionist history.


All games that include history are to some degree "political" by default. He just said the Atlantic slave trade was "vetoed." Here in the States, that's political. That's about as political as it gets.

But I understand why they did this, to paraphrase a previous poster, "To cast a better understanding of Native Americans and their memory." According to whom? Native Americans remember things differently, depending on which nation or tribe you ask. I was schooled by the child of an Ameri-Indian chief family (many N.Americans still call themselves "Indians," as a courtesy to general Euro-ignorance and as shorthand slang) for my Dances with Wolves-ish depiction of their culture along the Columbia River. And also, if you open the door to an "accurate depiction" of slavery, something I've always wished were part of 4x/17xx style games in general, you have to also open the door to the Pacific Slave trade, as run by mostly Arabic and Ottoman rulers, since the founding of Islam and even long, long before.

And if you're going to open the door to that, you have to open the door to how the brutality and ruthlessness of slavery actually worked, and how it came into direct conflict with Christianity and Islam themselves (they both had their versions of liberation theology and abolitionism), how slavery differed in the brutal Empire of Benin* vs. the Tigris-Euphrates and post-Carribbean plantations of the South, and so on.

At some point you have to ask, "Ok, at what point does this stop being a 'game?'" I think these things should be included, but people signed up for a specific experience, and research can only tell so many stories on a single interface. That's what modding and expansions are for, I suppose.


* now South Nigeria, nothing to do with Benin, the coastal sliver down the sand. It became quite wealthy and intimidating until finally succombing to a post-slavery Britain. At its height it had a standing army of 20,000 men; they were apparently well-equipped with European weapons, but it hardly matters, the figure demonstrates the stability and power they exerted in the area. It was not a good place. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_the_Kingdom_of_Benin.
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Interesting commentary that raises some excellent points. What's also interesting is that games can present the history without the commentary, and simply depict events as they are, and be a great teacher of history and politics at the same time. I was not clear in my wording. By saying "not politicizing" a game, I didn't mean by any means that equates that the game is apolitical in nature. "Politicizing" meant in my previous post the use of a game as a vehicle to push a political agenda.
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