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Nasella
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Sounds like a game about pillaging the land of indigenous people. Why is this such a popular theme in board games? Completely embarrassing.
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Some of these games are clever and make you realize how ruthless you are in abusing the natives. Then they make you think about how these bad things actually still happen in real life.

I watched the interview with the designer at trictrac and this is indeed the idea of the theme.

As the player you can actually choose the high road, where you cooperate with the natives. meeple
Or you can choose the low road, where "you go there to exploit all their resources, you don't care about the native population" etc etc. sauron

If you understand this French interview then you will understand that these guys are very much anti-colonialist. http://www.trictrac.tv/?video=445

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Nasella
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I wish it was that simple.
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Sdric
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In Archipelago, the local population can declare independence if you're not careful enough about their own needs and all the players lose in this case. If you are not keeping a look at the needs of the local population and the rate of unemployment in the colony, the number of "rebels" will grow...

There is also the possibility that someone picks the secret objective of independantist. In which case if the local population revolt, he will win. You also have another secret objective, a pacifist, where, at the opposite, makes the player win, if the local population are very happy.
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Nasella
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This is a painful subject and one that I hope people understand is hurtful to most of the world.
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clodius wrote:
I wish it was that simple.

I wish you could watch that interview so you could see the developer is anti-colonialist.

It's almost like the game War on Terror. It's not like the developers condone the things you can do in that game.
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Nasella
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Let me first say that they are probably great people with the best intentions.

They could win a prize for being the best anti-colonialists in the world, but it would still not make this game sit well with me or most of the world still dealing with the fallout of colonialism.

So as long as we take care of the population we have colonized then we win=good. They have still be colonized, that has always ended up bad for the indigenous people no matter how you spin it. None of my friends could play a game like this, because it could not possible be fun. What if the indigenous population revolts, what does that mean, that I have raped and pillaged everything sacred to them. I guess, if I lost the game, at least I could say that it was a game, but I know that is not true.
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Sdric
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A game about colonialism (as hurtful as he can be) could also be a good experience to understand how economic motivation forgetting about human being leads to drama.
* Experience, through a game, how cynical we can be when we try to optimize our economical performance, can help to understand.
* Understand the past to not redo the same mistake is a duty. Especially when an economic crisis could eventually lead to odious ideology forgetting human behind "an economic decision."


PS : The following try to justify colonialism by odious argument such as civilizing and evangelizing mission can not hide the fact of it leads to atrocities.
PPS : English is not my native language so excuse me if I do not use the appropriate terms and try to understand what I would like to say rather than stop on one inappropriate word.
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Nasella
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When the colonialists are considering the population (in game terms) they have colonized all the players have learned something? What have we learned? Colonization is OK as long as we are considerate?

I do not want people to learn that it is OK to colonize a population as long as you consider their needs. In order to colonize a civilization you have to be inconsiderate and consider the other population as subordinate. If you thought of them as equals, you would never consider colonizing them.
It is never a good thing to colonize and this game (according to what you have told me) condones colonization according to how you treat the indigenous group. The box art evokes the historical horrors of what has really took place.

A argument that condones colonization in any shape or form (considerate colonization) is indefensible.

This is only a game that could be played by people who have not been afflicted by this issue.

Note about me- I have the same problem with all of the other Euros that use colonialism or economic imperialism as a theme

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clodius wrote:
When the colonialists are considering the population (in game terms) they have colonized all the players have learned something? What have we learned? Colonization is OK as long as we are considerate?


I think it's too early to assume the game wants to teach us it's OK to colonize. That's not the impression I've got.

In playing a game like Imperial, you're not supposed to learn that your in-game actions are OK. On the contrary, you're supposed to think about how investors influencing governments is a very real thing, and that some your actions in the game can and do happen in real life...

In Labyrinth: The War on Terror, 2001 – ? or War on Terror you can play jihadists or exploitative governments. Are we taught that any of this is OK...? No, you're supposed to think about what, how and why these two "sides" do what they do.
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Nasella
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Lets assume that the game is trying to teach us something positive. My response to that is that it falls way to short.

The winner of the game is someone who is the better colonizer, defined in game terms as the colonizer that considers his population better. I am not sure how an argument can be made that can justify that as a good thing.

This is my last response in this thread, because I have repeated myself 2-3 times, unless a counter argument can be as to the positive implications regarding the "good colonizer."

I realize that most people do not give a crap about these issues, which i think is precisely the problem and is why we end up with themes like this. Maybe they are attempting to add some moral implication into this euro colonizing theme, but it falls way to short for my taste and is much more tangible than the other euro games which are seem to be far more abstract. In this game you are actually dealing with the people you are enslaving.
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clodius wrote:
Lets assume that the game is trying to teach us something positive.


Like I said, it's too early to assume this about the game. I've given examples of games that don't try to teach us anything positive.

Quote:
This is my last response in this thread, because I have repeated myself 2-3 times, unless a counter argument can be as to the positive implications regarding the "good colonizer."


I've repeated this 2-3 times: There is currently no reason to assume the game is trying to teach us there are any positive implications for doing anything in this game.

Just like the games I linked to.
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Nasella
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All of my arguments are to your first response in this thread which is the exact opposite to your last 2-3 responses. Your first argument was that this game is potentially trying to teach you to consider the population you colonize, which is a good thing. The last argument is that it is to early to make a conclusion about that and many games do not try and teach you anything about the topic.

You can't have both of these positions at the same time. They are both valid arguments(though I categorically disagree with the second argument), but make it very difficult to have a logical conversation because they are entirely opposite.

Either way, any game set directly into a world of colonization/imperialism is a huge step back.
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Look, all I'm saying is "wait and see, don't make assumptions."

clodius wrote:
Your first argument was that this game is potentially trying to teach you to be a good person.

Here's what I said:
Quote:
Some of these games are clever and make you realize how ruthless you are in abusing the natives. Then they make you think about how these bad things actually still happen in real life. I watched the interview with the designer at trictrac and this is indeed the idea of the theme.

Note how I'm not making any conclusions about the game. I'm saying it might not be what you seem to assume.

Quote:

The last argument is that it is to early to make a conclusion about that

Exactly. So why jump to these assumptions about what the game wants to teach us?
Why did you post this here rather than in a forum for a game like Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery? That's an existing, released game, and you could have a discussion there which isn't based on assumptions.


Btw, when Oliver Stone makes movies about the Vietnam War or Nixon, he's not trying to teach you to be a good person, or condoning any actions taking place in his movies.
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Nasella
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My response to the teaching aspect was entirely based on your fist response. I honestly don't particular care what the game is attempting to teach us. My concern is that European's + white people continually make games about colonialism, and that is disturbing. Somebody has to jump out here and say that. Most gamers think games are amoral, which is entirely impossible(from my point of view) because games are made by people who live in a morally and socially entrenched world. This game could not be made by a black or brown person, because of that it doesn't work for me.

Thank you for continuing this conversation. I understand that games are meant to be fun, but when they bring in historical and social concepts such as colonialism, war, slavery, and imperialism I will question the worth of such games and the effects they have on us(not the ones intended by the designers).

Since I am new to games, I generally have noted only the new releases related to such issues.

I am saddened that games related to colonialism are defended by many people on the geek(not talking about you, you are purporting a wait and see approach). My response to your wait and see plant: Why should games related to colonialism be given the benefit of the doubt. It is a just a game, when we bring in colonialism in any context we are talking about the destruction of many cultures and everything takes on a larger importance = it is no longer just a game. I would rather side with those people and refrain from supporting and making games that are offensive to people who have been afflicted by such atrocities. Precautionary principle.

Take care, additionally my strong language is not an attack on you, it is my passion for the issue.
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clodius wrote:
Thank you for continuing this conversation. I understand that games are meant to be fun, but when they bring in historical and social concepts such as colonialism, war, slavery, and imperialism I will question the worth of such games and the effects they have on us(not the ones intended by the designers).


Well, keep in mind when you post this topic in a game specific forum, people will tend to assume you are strictly talking about this game.

But as a general topic, then yes I think this could be interesting to discuss. Do some board games desensitize us to the actions we take in those games, such as invading foreign cultures?

Quote:
Take care, additionally my strong language is not an attack on you, it is my passion for the issue.

No offense taken, (I didn't think the language was strong) and take care.


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Fabrice Wiels
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Hem...

I can completely understand that this kind of theme cannot appeal to everyone, but since I personnaly know the author, I can say that I'm sure Chris certainly do not consider colonialism or imperialism as something that is "ok", whatever the treatment of local population.

It is true that the game mechanic is "realistic" in the sense that when local population needs are met, they are less prone to revolt. Chris allways try to fill his games with innovative game mechanics that will fit the theme, and Archipelago is no exception to that rule.

In Earth Reborn, there are "torture" rules, in Archipelago, there are rules about abuse of local population and in Dungeon Twister, people participating in a reality show are dying for the pleasure of their audience...

Of course that doesn't mean that the players of these games consider these concepts as acceptables. I certainly don't. When I play Archipelago, I try to maintain the "high road" described in this post, not because I consider it is "ok", but because I don't want to lose the game, and I certainly don't think this game is teaching me anything about real life.

The bottom line is: whether we like it or not, the world is not perfect, and the behaviour of humans is even less than perfect. Thematic games about human achievements reflect these imperfections, and I don't think it is fair to blame game designers or publishers about that.

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Mike V
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clodius wrote:
They could win a prize for being the best anti-colonialists in the world, but it would still not make this game sit well with me or most of the world still dealing with the fallout of colonialism.


As an ethnic native of a former colonial territory who spent my university days studying the history of colonization, and whose ancestors in living memory suffered from the fallout of colonialism, I can say I find games with this theme interesting and enjoyable. The OP can rest assured they need not feel embarrassed on my behalf.

Now, if I wanted to be offended, I'd point the finger at Chess, a game that idealizes monarchy, an institution that has caused untold grief and suffering for millennia longer than the existence of European colonialism.
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Matthew Tadyshak
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Who do people get so upset over European colonialism? It's not like it's unique among other bad things mankind has done in the past.
You can't play any game with this line of thinking. Twilight Struggle has possible nuclear war, Puerto Rico has slaves, Agricola is playing oppressed peasants, Through the Ages is about dominating other civs, Power Grid involves building evil polluting coal and oil power plants, Brass probably involves child labor. Gaming is evil!
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Jon Day
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Games with a historical basis add to my understanding of the incentives and motivations of the time and so increase my understanding and empathy.

They also enable me to see my own life and actions through a different lens and avoid the mistakes of the past.

I'll probably buy this game, I like the designer.
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Mik Svellov
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I wish the admins of this site would create a WARNING telling people who log into the site,
that they may encounter topics of a sensitive nature, and that they will have to live with it!
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Patar Absurdus the Shananigator
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"Gird Up Your Loins, Like a Man!" ~God to Job
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"We're put on this earth to do a job. And each of us gets the time we get to do it. And when this life is over and you stand in front of the Lord... Well, you try tellin' him it was all some Frenchman's joke." ~Betsy Solverson
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clodius wrote:
This is a painful subject and one that I hope people understand is hurtful to most of the world.


It does not seem entirely reasonable for one to presume to know what other people find to be "hurtful" particularly such a large group as "most of the world." I am not saying that you are wrong but it is pretty much unknowable if you are right or not. That makes this an unfair argument IMHO.

In general I think that strategy games teach us about strategy. The theme in them gives context for the motives of the characters in the game but they are not necessarily meant to teach anything about those motives. The strategy is what matters in the context of the game not the specific actions or motives of the in game characters in the context of the theme.
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Patar Absurdus the Shananigator
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KissaTaikuri wrote:
clodius wrote:
Sounds like a game about pillaging the land of indigenous people. Why is this such a popular theme in board games?


The simple answer:
Because simulated pillaging and oppressing of indigenous meeples for your own profit in a boardgame is clearly fun. Look at the popularity of wargames, both video and board. Simulated mass murder is fun too.

I'm looking forward to ravaging the local population when this game comes out. The indigenous populations just waste the land that they are on anyway. We exploit them to help them realize the error of their isolationist ways and teach them about global community. devil


That was wicked funny brother!
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James Clarke
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My Nation has a shameful and embarrassing colonising history. We've had Romans, Saxons, Vikings and Normans, to name but a few.

These fragments of history just seem to make great themes for boardgames.
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I just finished reading the rules, and I think people who tell they are disturbed by the theme should check them too.

Sure, the game claims to be about the history of colonization. Except in the game, things work a bit differently than in History.

At the start you start with a few meeples of your color, representing people coming from Europe, who start exploring. There they will meet locals which are available to work and what happens ? The population of the colony will grow either by hiring locals, and by reproducing with the locals, which will give your more meeples of your color.
Which means that once you are integrated in the colony, whether you started as a european, a native or the mix of both, you are a meeple equal to all the others, with the same rights and the same responsibilities.

Sure there are still people who wants freedom, but these are mostly the people who are not integrated in a colony, and thus cannot get their share of the wealth of their neighbours.

It would be like if Columbus or Cortez made the natives who participated in the new colony subjects of the spanish crown, with just as much rights as any spanish man. I guess colonization wouldn't be seen in such a bad way if it happened in that way.

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