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Subject: If some people thought PR had objectionable subject matter... rss

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... how would they react to a game that had slavery as an actual option? (And from Joe's preview, it seems to be a pretty viable one at that.)

Struggle of Empires sounds like an extremely promising, heavyweight gamer's game. After the disaster that is Runebound, it would be a shame for Martin Wallace to come up with a game to rival Age of Steam only to have its brilliance overshadowed by reactionary fallout.

Anyway, this is going on my wantlist, or at least on my "extremely intrigued" list after Morgan's positive comments. cool
 
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Chris Dayley
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Re:If some people thought PR had objectionable subject matter...
Fawkes (#47072),
This sounds like a game based on history. Slavery is part of history. Let's not get PC. Hopefully this will be another great Wallace game.
 
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Geoff Brown
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Re:If some people thought PR had objectionable subject matter...
Warfrog games are based on History, and slavery was indeed a part of history. All of the major European powers invested heavily in it...they merely got out of it earlier than the US..

wWithin the game slavery plays a part, however, as far as the game goes it is a minor part. There will be objections I dont doubt, and in the end people will make their own judgements based upon their OWN morals, however, what would they rather we left it out all together and thus censored a very important part of history? Doing that would be MUCH worse than including something that is historically accurate but something that people find onjectionable.

geoff Brown (without his Warfrog hat on.....this is an opinion from ME)




 
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Ben Vögel
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I've been on this site for 15 years now, and I'm far from sick of games, but I think I prefer a better balance of favorites to new games. I'm also tired of playing 4+ hr multiplayer games, but I'll still happily play really long games 2 player.
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Re:If some people thought PR had objectionable subject matter...
"All of the major European powers invested heavily in it...they merely got out of it earlier than the US.."

Let's also not forget that Africans got rich and powerful selling off their fellow Africans into slavery. And let's not forget that slavery continues to this day in parts of Africa and other nations.

PC ridiculousness can ruin a great deal if left to run wild...

Game on.
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Pierre-Luc Thiffault
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Re:If some people thought PR had objectionable subject matter...
Fawkes (#47072),

Is Runebound all that bad? Cause even if it's from Martin Wallace, it's not a Warfrog game. So I wouldn't put it in with Liberté, Age Of Steam et Princes of Renaissance.
 
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Re:If some people thought PR had objectionable subject matter...
dwarf (#58995),

This is a better question to ask on the Runebound board, but for a short answer - if you liked Talisman there's a decent chance that Runebound might interest you. If you're a true-blue roleplayer who thought that Runebound is a decent substitute, you'll probably be very sadly disappointed.
 
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J. Turpin
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Re:If some people thought PR had objectionable subject matter...
Fawkes (#47072),

The 'pc-problem with pr' is that it actually has slavery in it, but it is not called slavery. The theme is hidden, and one could be critical about it.

Slavery (not only africa-> america) is a very important and very universal theme throughout the whole human history. To give it a place within a game is both fair to that history and to everyone who suffered from it.

Actually, a game about slavery might not be such a bad idea.
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Pierre-Luc Thiffault
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Re:If some people thought PR had objectionable subject matter...
Fawkes (#59028),

Never played Talisman, so I wouldn't know. About being a role player, I don't think so. Maybe, just maybe, when I was a kid, but not today.
 
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Inno Van
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Re:If some people thought PR had objectionable subject matter...
I read somewhere that "Bootleggers" originally started about running a plantation, and then got rethemed into the 1920s.
 
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kevin crog
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Re:If some people thought PR had objectionable subject matter...
In fact, debt slaves are quite prevalent in India. Creditors give people loans with rates that make them impossible to pay back, then force their entire family to work for them to "pay back the loan." On top of that, the debt is inheritable, so entire generations can be enslaved. I'ts good to talk about slavery to remember that it has never gone away, and needs to be dealt with.
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Pierre Philippe Goyer
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Re:If some people thought PR had objectionable subject matter...
dwarf (#58995),

Runebound is a good design but lack playtesting but if you have the time, you can repair it and it will be enjoyable. We played it many times and came up with our easy adaptable house rules that brings the best out of that game, at least we think...( shame )

From Montreal also like you, ( ben oui, nous autres aussi, héhé... avec les accents en plus)
Get the Owl's House rules in the article's list on the Runebound post. Also, you can find a solitary version of our rules. It's very satisfying.

Happy gaming on St Denis...

Owl
 
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Jason Sadler
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Re:If some people thought PR had objectionable subject matter...
People who entertain moral questions about gaming should pretty much steer clear of any conflict based games about the expansion of national borders. They should also steer clear of games in which the main goal is to make money.

Obviously, otherwise perfectly rational people will do terrible things to achieve an end they consider important. Where is the harm in giving a player access to immoral options to further their cause? It can certainly inform people why some of the questionable decisions in history were made.

Board games are about optimizing results by whatever means needed. Life is considerably different in that optimization must be balanced against actual consequences to other people.

Anyone who is offended by the presence of certain possibilities in games, please explain why you are bothered. I am not trying to troll. I am actually curious about the process that resulted in the concern.
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Yaron Racah
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Re:If some people thought PR had objectionable subject matter...
BeatPosse (#62692),

If any recreation of historical people trying to further their own ends is acceptable to you, I wonder if you'd be willing to play a little game I'm in the process of designing:

It's about Nazi officials trying to gain prestige and advance in the party hierarchy by exterminating the most Jews. Bonus points will be scored for Gypsies and homosexuals.

Not playing? Thought you wouldn't.

So, you see, we all draw our line somewhere. Some will only draw it at genocide, others will not play any game that is warlike, or ruthlessly capitalistic, and yet others will stop somewhere in between - say, slavery.
 
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Jason Sadler
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Re:If some people thought PR had objectionable subject matter...
yaron (#62741),

Did the Nazis kill Jews, Gypsies, and homosexuals to gain prestige and advance in the party hierarchy? It certainly wasn't an optimum choice militarily, financially, or for any other reason I can think of.

I would not play the game you describe because I don't think you could make a good game out of it. The actions you describe are not only immoral, but also nonsensical.

I have dropped nukes in Nuclear War and Supremacy. I have slaughtered prisoners I could not guard in several games. I fought against the morally "superior" but militarily inferior ZOB forces in the Warsaw ghetto in games of ASL. The list of things I would find reprehensible in the real world that I do repeatedly in games is endless.

I was hoping someone could explain in a little detail what feelings and thoughts informed them when they were offended by game content. Do you not seperate game choices from real choices? Do you believe that being willing to do it virtually is tantamount to being willing to kill or suppress?

If you need someone to playtest your game, Yaron, shoot me a line. I think it might be a hard sell, but I am sure you will find a market some where.

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Re:If some people thought PR had objectionable subject matter...
Actually the German regime *did* approach the issues of genocide as reasonable "solution". Only in historical hindsight does it appear irrational. The ethical coundrum in applying this to a game is that a game asks you to fill the boots of the historical participants as a derivitave of the role-playing inherent in them. You are asked to confront the same historical dilemmas as the historical participants. In Axis & Allies *you* are the commander of the entire Nazi military and economic regime.

But--conveniently and censoriously--the option to divert resources to the Holocaust has been edited out for you. Even though the historical goal of Nazi Germany was *both* a victory over the Allies *and* the extermination of the Jews. Most of the games you've played have already gone far down the road of being "pc". The victory conditions for the Axis do not include the same objectives the real participants believed in. The game judges victory from a far more sanitized perspective based on retrospective moral examination.

I've played some of the same ASL modules you describe and they are all prefaced with scrupulous descriptions of the greater historical context and strictly adhere to military obectives. They are as "pc" as they come. You do not have the option to terrorize civilians. There are not ASL modules in which you act as a concentration camp overseer.

There's nothing wrong with game theory in where you have to make choices of questionable ethical content; games are models for understanding complex human behaviour using abstracts.
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Bryan Johnson
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Re:If some people thought PR had objectionable subject matter...
Ok, here we go again with all the PC campaigning about what a game should or should not contain in its subject matter because it might offend someone. I personally have no problem with a game that involves slavery and slave trade. If others do, they can exercise their right to simply not purchase or play those types of games. I am looking forward to playing this one.
 
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Re:If some people thought PR had objectionable subject matter...
There is hardly a "PC campaign" going on.

The market is far more "pc" regulaory than any of these posts.

Imagine someone making a slavery game using examples from the here and now, like Indian children and families, Thai or Phillipino prostitues, or Sudanese peasants? Or how about a game of the Rwanda massare? Apartheid? Or flying loaded passenger jets into the WTC?

Would you buy these games, even if they had exemplary mechanics, balance and poise?

No, you would not. Mostly because they'll never get made as the market censors stupid concepts of questionable morality. Who--on both sides of the transaction--would be stupid enough to maim the memory of a 9/11 victim, a teenager in the sex trade, or child workers in the worst slums on earth?

Platitudes about being ethically agnostic masquerading as anti-"pc" really reveal the fact that the most "politically correct" mechanism is the free market where every product has and ethical attachment to something.

Slavery in a game as part of an historically abstract model of comparative economic structures is morally acceptable now and even intellectually stimulating. Game theory is largely based on historical example. Only a fool professes that there is no ethical conundrum in the portrayal of slavery in a game. Understanding that there is an issue absolves the foolishness.
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Yaron Racah
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Re:If some people thought PR had objectionable subject matter...
Aristophanes,

You seem to have addressed the issues raised by BeatPosse more eloquently than I could, so I'll leave it at that.

One question to you, though: I'm wondering whether you meant that the market produces an ethical ("good") result, or just that it makes ethical judgements, whatever their worth.

I would second the last assertion, but not necessarily the first. I'm sure there would be a market for an apartheid game in some sections of white South African society, just like there was a market for anti-Jew games in Nazi Germany (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/11102). Examples relevant for todays U.S. or Israel (where I live) can be thought of, sadly.
 
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Gerard Mulder
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Re:If some people thought PR had objectionable subject matter...
Aristophanes (#63077),
Sorry, books and games are freedom of press. I would certainly play a great game on any of the subjects you are referring to and I would have no problem with it what soever. Does it mean I am in favour of any of the practices you mention? No! Would I try to force people with gentler stomachs to play those games? No! Would I pass judgement on anyone playing or even inventing such games? No! Do I admire the commercial prudence of inventor of such games? No!

You are right on one thing, the cosumer will ultimately decide what they wil like or not. I think that is exactly where the decisions lie: the inventor invents anything he chooses and the public plays/buys anything it chooses. That is what freedom is about.

Gerard
 
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Re:If some people thought PR had objectionable subject matter...
Douwecarel (#63405),

You'd actually play a game about flying planes into the world trade center?
 
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Gerard Mulder
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Re:If some people thought PR had objectionable subject matter...
p0pcult (#63450),
Let me ask you a question that helps me make my point:

"Would you read a book about planes flying into the WTC?"

The answer is yes I would, it is after all just a game. It would depend on the way it was executed and how good I thought the game was if I would replay or even buy that game. But that is the same for any game I play.

Chances are that if the theme is gratuitous I would personally find it hard to enjoy playing the game but I do not in principle find it morally wrong to make or play such a game.

Gerard




 
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Re:If some people thought PR had objectionable subject matter...
Sorry, but books may have press freedom, but games do not qualify for that Amendment.

They are a product and may have "free speech" protection, but every court in every country has placed reasonable limits on those, especially limits on speech deliberately injurious to third parties, like, say, the widow of a 9/11 firefighter.

There are dozens of examples where publications have been restricted for content, such as pornography. Many countries have laws against material which promotes hatred or incitement, including the US. Anyone making a game in which Auschwitz inmates could be killed by camp guards who are excercising a "winning" strategy would be sued into oblivion. Civil cases define limiting standards.

Another example: a game that had Hamas as a contender and perhaps a victor, could very easily be construed as a recruiting or legitimizing tool for that banned terrorist organization. The Secret Service would be on the publisher in a minute. In fact, if BGG had that product on its website...

That is why video games which favour conflict against such groups (or in role-playing *as* those groups) use manufactured entities.

The market is ethically neutral, but eliminates "bad" products, as it should. There may be moral relativism in that different markets in different countries will have dissimilar standards (a video game promoting Hamas suicide bombers has been made in the Muslim world), but I've generally referred to "the market" as the one by which most BGGers receive product.
 
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Re:If some people thought PR had objectionable subject matter...
Douwecarel (#63463),

Reading a book about planes flying into the WTC does not generally involve participating in trying to achieve those goals.

Playing a board game, by definition, does (for at least one participant).
 
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Gerard Mulder
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Re:If some people thought PR had objectionable subject matter...
Aristophanes (#63536),
While I agree with you that freedom of press is limited in the united states aswell as in most other countries. I do not agree this is right, and certainly I do not agree there is a fundamental difference in this sense between games and books.

Naturally I do agree that a game or book explicitly inciting violence towards a person or group of people is questionable, perhaps it should even be outlawed. (I would not be too hasty, freedom of press is important, no? )

A game or book about violence that is allready occuring or has occured does not fall into this category nessecarily. Only if you score points for real life violence does the game incite you to violence. Otherwise a game is just a game.

A game about concentration camps could also help educate people to better grasp the horror of the holocaust. It all depends on how you make the game. Just like a book about concentrastion camps can educate people depending o nhow it is written. Like I said there is no difference between books and games.

A game about the collapse of the twin towers could be good too depending on how it is made. Making a game about a certain subject is not in automatically inciting violence.

The other case, hurting peoples feelings when they read a book or play a game is never a reason for stopping to write that book or invent that game. It can be a very good reason for not wanting to play or buy the game.

Best,

Gerard
 
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Re:If some people thought PR had objectionable subject matter...
Thorfin (#59085),

Boy, do I feel naive. I thought the colonists in Puerto Rico were just colonists, coming to the new world to seek a better future. This sure takes the fun out of the mayor phase.
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