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Bugs: Recent Topics Paging, Uploading Images & Preview (11 Dec 2020)

Recent Topics paging, uploading images and preview bugs require a patch which has not yet been released.

× Talk about Eurogames here.

"Atlantic" article on colonialism in board games

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23 Jul 2021 09:44 #324845 by jpat
Sorry if this is a duplication, but I came across this this morning while I was reading a different article.

www.theatlantic.com/culture/archive/2021...lism-problem/619518/

It offers a fairly quick and somewhat selective overview of colonial themes in Euro games. I wish it had touched on at least "Endeavour: Age of Sail," which, however you feel about it in practice, does overtly acknowledge slavery and may punish players for becoming slavers, but many of the usual suspects are here.
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23 Jul 2021 11:49 #324849 by Gary Sax
Seems on point to me, and I think the last five to ten years have seen a reappraisal just as the author does. Good read and I think a lot of people here will have grappled with these arguments already and decided on their line.

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23 Jul 2021 13:13 #324859 by jason10mm
I'm curious where this movement ends. Is Axis and Allies going to have to automate the German/Japanese factions? Is EVERY historical themed game going to have to abstract/fantasy itself into oblivion? I can't think of ANY historical topic that can't be deemed "problematic" with a bit of research and a well crafted denouncement.

"Hey, we threw off the yoke of european colonialism!"
"Hooray! does that mean we can go back to slavery, human sacrifice, and cannibalism?"

"This is a game about victorian era fashion and choosing the right hats!"
"Uhh, you do know where the expression 'mad as a hatter' comes from, right? Poor working conditions with total disregard for labor rights!"

Most of the games mentioned in the article have a very loose connection to an actual historical event. In the game world of Puerto Rico the island apparently WAS uninhabited and if those discs are called "colonists" then I guess they are willing colonists. It isn't really depicting the actual timeline of events like a Twilight Struggle type game. We are all about disregarding actual historical accuracy here, right?

The author correctly deduces that the theme of most of these games is almost entirely superfluous and even if it is prominent in the art and actions, it still falls away under the mechanics of actually playing so I don't really think PR is actively attempting to hide the true events of that time.

I can certainly understand why actual Puerto Ricans might perhaps have issue with the game, thus a retheme for that specific market (as is done with many media products for international release) would make sense if that market could support it. The internet has done a lot to both encourage and inhibit efforts at localization.

Anyway, under the guise of "international marketing" I suppose theming games in an attempt to capture as broad a market as possible makes sense, though I suspect this will lead to a period of strangely converging themes as art departments flail a bit to try to latch on to something that will have curb appeal but survive twitter scrutiny. Lots of anthropomorphic animals is my guess :P

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23 Jul 2021 13:22 #324860 by ChristopherMD
Is base Catan actually colonialist? I know they added barbarians in the Cities & Knights expansion but I don't recall mention of inhabitants on the island in the base game.
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23 Jul 2021 13:37 #324862 by hotseatgames
I don't think problematic themes will entirely disappear. If anything, I hope some people take it upon themselves to create games that tackle the issues head-on. Some of this has already started to happen.

If a game has a theme such as Puerto Rico, it needs to be thoroughly acknowledged in the game itself, not the "hey we just borrowed from the parts we wanted."

I can not stand it when games (mostly video games do this) call the Nazis the "Axis" or "the Germans" or anything other than what they are, which is fucking Nazis.

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23 Jul 2021 14:28 - 23 Jul 2021 15:51 #324866 by DarthJoJo

ChristopherMD wrote: Is base Catan actually colonialist? I know they added barbarians in the Cities & Knights expansion but I don't recall mention of inhabitants on the island in the base game.

I think Bruno Cathala got that started. He wrote on his blog a while back that, unlike German and English, French doesn’t have different words for ‘settler’ and ‘colonist’, so I guess it was something of a joke in the French gaming community to ask where the native Cataners are. Which may be why the fourth edition is just Catan and ducks it entirely.
Last edit: 23 Jul 2021 15:51 by DarthJoJo.
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23 Jul 2021 15:01 - 23 Jul 2021 15:02 #324868 by Not Sure
I saw this on Twitter, which means I also got to see this pretty predictable take as a reply to the article:



Great. Enjoy your Kickstarter moneys.
Last edit: 23 Jul 2021 15:02 by Not Sure.
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23 Jul 2021 17:41 #324877 by themothman421

Not Sure wrote: I saw this on Twitter, which means I also got to see this pretty predictable take as a reply to the article:



Great. Enjoy your Kickstarter moneys.


Looks like he already deleted it LOL. God what a clown.
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23 Jul 2021 17:43 #324878 by n815e

Not Sure wrote: I saw this on Twitter, which means I also got to see this pretty predictable take as a reply to the article:



Great. Enjoy your Kickstarter moneys.


This guy should just design games with his kids and stay away from the public.

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23 Jul 2021 18:14 #324879 by Jexik
Article reminded me that Spirit Island exists and sounds cool.
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23 Jul 2021 18:31 #324880 by dysjunct

ChristopherMD wrote: Is base Catan actually colonialist? I know they added barbarians in the Cities & Knights expansion but I don't recall mention of inhabitants on the island in the base game.


The idea that there exists a rich uninhabited land, ripe for settling by a medieval-ish culture, is pretty much the core myth of the colonial era, since "uninhabited" meant "uninhabited by anyone important."

As for difficult themes, I am not bothered by them for the most part, but if I'm playing with someone who has an issue with a game for whatever reason, then I'm fine with playing something else. Not like there's any shortage of options in this day and age.
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23 Jul 2021 18:56 #324882 by Gary Sax

Jexik wrote: Article reminded me that Spirit Island exists and sounds cool.


My ~120 plays of it confirm this.
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23 Jul 2021 20:14 #324887 by Sagrilarus

hotseatgames wrote: I can not stand it when games (mostly video games do this) call the Nazis the "Axis" or "the Germans" or anything other than what they are, which is fucking Nazis.


Some of this is to make the games legal for sale in Germany.
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23 Jul 2021 20:15 - 24 Jul 2021 08:48 #324888 by Sagrilarus

”Hey, we threw off the yoke of european colonialism!"
"Hooray! does that mean we can go back to slavery, human sacrifice, and cannibalism?"


.
Last edit: 24 Jul 2021 08:48 by Sagrilarus.
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23 Jul 2021 20:38 #324891 by hotseatgames

Sagrilarus wrote:

hotseatgames wrote: I can not stand it when games (mostly video games do this) call the Nazis the "Axis" or "the Germans" or anything other than what they are, which is fucking Nazis.


Some of this is to make the games legal for sale in Germany.


Interesting, I had always thought they only had to exclude the swastika, I didn't realize they couldn't even say Nazi. Either way, I get that game makers don't want to make players be Nazis, but it feels weak to let people just think they are playing the "not Allies".

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