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Board Game: It's a Wonderful World
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Subject: It's a Wonderful Caucasian World? rss

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I'm thinking about kickstarting this game about a utopian future, but the majority of the art that I'm seeing is rather, um, how shall I say it, "homogeneous".

All the tokens. The cover art. The cards.

Can someone who owns the game verify if the visuals in the game offer more diversity? It would nice to see a future that's represented by more than just one ethnicity.

Also, I don't want this thread to go off the rails. If anyone has a counter point, please keep it constructive. This is a genuine concern. When I see the words "It's a Wonderful World" and only see caucasians, it's alarming.
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Rich P
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The game's name is ironic, it's not actually about a utopian future. If you read the Kickstarter updates, it's quite dystopian, but the in-game powers that be would like you to think it's utopian.
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I just looked through every card of the base game and could find only one non-ambiguous person of color on the cards: on the "Ark of the Covenant," a black man in a turban is helping two "Indiana Jones-looking" white men carry (=pillage) the Ark. It's very disappointing.

I suppose there are several racially ambiguous figures, and many who wear helmets or have their backs turned, but it's a little distressing that even on a card called "World Congress" there is only a single figure (foregrounded woman) who seems like she could be of a non-white origin.

This is a serious issue, but I'm afraid this thread won't turn out the way you want it, so I'd fully expect this to go off the rails (BGG users, according to skutsch's informal poll last year are at least 85% male, 90% heterosexual, and 90+% white).

There are many who support inclusion here, but there are also many who consider calls for diversity to be "pandering" (to non-whites) without acknowledging that games with all-white representation are themselves pandering (to whites). Here's hoping more discussions like this encourage change.
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Miguel Duran
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Ironic or not, the question about representation is legitimate. Minorities want to exist in game dystopias too. After all, they exist in our real ones. ;-P
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Benoit Bannier
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patox wrote:
I'm thinking about kickstarting this game about a utopian future, but the majority of the art that I'm seeing is rather, um, how shall I say it, "homogeneous".

All the tokens. The cover art. The cards.

Can someone who owns the game verify if the visuals in the game offer more diversity? It would nice to see a future that's represented by more than just one ethnicity.

Also, I don't want this thread to go off the rails. If anyone has a counter point, please keep it constructive. This is a genuine concern. When I see the words "It's a Wonderful World" and only see caucasians, it's alarming.
Do you have play the game?
May be you can answer at your question by your own by playing Leisure and decay campaign.

Since our first game we hard work to show half women, half men from different ethnicities (as in Outlive for example) in each game.
Furthermore, we represent Women in powerness position (military, ingenier, etc.)

SPOILER ALERT
Spoiler (click to reveal)
In Leisure and Decay there are a new token for "celibrities" who is a black women.
And since many of the cards in this campaign represent "people" and not "technology", we made sure to include people of color in many of the cards.


Best regards,
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Larry Snyder
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I just looked through the base cards, and there is only 1 card that has a person of color where you can see their face. The cards sort of fall into 3 general categories for me:

1) The vast majority of cards are of technology. Some skew towards war (not violent, but things like tanks and ships) other skew to either futuristic or ancient architecture.

2) There are some cards where the figures play a less prominent role and looking at them from behind, you may or may not be able to argue what race they are.

3) The smallest majority of cards are where the figures play a prominent role, and except the one mentioned, they are white only. This includes cards where they are on the beach, working as scientists, working as business people etc.

I will say for what it's worth, I feel that in game play the art has a small impact on the overall game, and you spend the majority of the time focused on the symbols of the cards and you then to cover up the primary image after building the card.

Just to compare in contrast, a game like Food Chain Magnate is much more obvious because you are actively playing as the white only society and each person is a member of your employment structure.

Here, the art is faded into the background of the game. That said, they did a great job of featuring women, making a female character the military leader and you often see a good mix of women and men on the cards about science or business. So it does make you wonder why they stopped there and didn't include any other people of color in roles like that.
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Interesting point. I just skimmed through the cards (except for the Heritage stuff, as I haven't played that, yet) and most of them don't feature humans at all. Some have crowds, on these I find it hard to distinguish at all whether they are male, female, caucasia, asian, african or martian looking (this might even be on purpose). But the few cards that prominently feature humans, depict caucasian ones indeed.

Now I can make out two reasons for this:

1. It was the kind of unconscious decision people make, especially when their main environment is caucasian. It's a kind of perception bias and often more thoughtlessness than actual malice.

2. A conscious decision: The game is in truth set in a dystopian future. Many scenarios of that ilk picture the leaders as white males, as that is often the reality today and seen in its natural continuance in a dystopian future, as the epitome of oppression, discrimination and abuse mostly found in these scenarios. One could argue that this is in itself again racist, as there are enough examples to show that tyranny can grow in practically any culture and regardless of skin colour. And being a gigantic a$$hole is no privilege of the White Man. But it is still a common trope, that the rule of the white men (sometimes women) is the way to go in Dystopia. So I lean towards this reasoning, especially as the guys form La Boite de Jeu have shown in Outlive that they are perfectly capable of depicting diversity.

That being said, the theme is not really prevalent anyway, it's more a kind of guidance for the overall art direction. So while I can totally see your point and would be happy to see an artwork of the leader of the Panafrican Union and his minions citizens, who could be easily recognized as such - and in general more diversity in the artwork - in a game with such thin thematic package I wouldn't put too much emphasis on any of this.

Happy gaming meeple
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Shelby Babb
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[q="LarDukeSnyder"
3) The smallest majority of cards are where the figures play a prominent role, and except the one mentioned, they are white only. This includes cards where they are on the beach, working as scientists, working as business people etc.
[/q]

Sincere question: how many of those cards are in a 1950's "future utopia"/"world of tomorrow" style of art? Because that stuff wasn't known for presenting a lot of minorities. Which, in hindsight, was kind of chilling... and perfectly sensible for a dystopic parody of that style.

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