Showing 1 of 6 conversations about:
johnbujalski
4
Nov 12, 2016
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A game which lets you play as the Confederacy trying to prevent the Union from ending slavery which doesn't frame the conflict as having a morally superior side?
This is disgusting.
Nov 12, 2016
Miserendino
62
Nov 12, 2016
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If you read deep into the politics of the Civil War you'll find that many in the North were not fighting to free the slaves but to save the Union. Even Lincoln himself wasn't initially in favor of emancipation until he saw it as a means to an end (defeating the South). At one point he talked about paying the slave-owners for the value of their 'property' as part of returning to the Union. In the 1864 election the Democrats tried to portray Lincoln as willing to sacrifice thousands of (white) lives in his mad quest to free the slaves (one of their nicknames for him was 'Abraham Africanus the First').
The military leaders in the North often felt the same way. Sherman, in his march through Georgia and the Carolinas in the winter of 64-65 abandoned thousands of 'contrabands' that were following his army. At a river crossing he had his engineers cut the bridges stranding thousands of ex-slaves to the pursuit of their owners and Confederate cavalry.
No my friend, the North was not united in some holy crusade to free the slaves, the Abolitionists got a lot of press, and that might make you think it was a universal feeling north of the Mason-Dixon Line but no. Read James McPherson's 'Battle Cry of Freedom' for a balanced account on the 'slavery question' during the war.
Nov 12, 2016
ir1337
87
Nov 12, 2016
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We have a lot of "adapted history" being taught by public education. I am not sure what moral implications should a game about tactics endeavor to explain. I can think of scores of 4X games on boards and bits that don't delve into the moral issues inherent in exploitation. This is a "Marvel: What If?" kind of experience; not a "MORAL OUTRAGE" game. Those don't sell.
Nov 12, 2016
johnbujalski
4
Nov 12, 2016
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@Miserendino I'm not trying to say that the North was great or even supported emancipation. I understand the history - everyone was very racist. Everyone in this country is still really racist. But a game which allows the player to indulge the fantasy of the South winning and maintaining slavery is definitely morally repugnant.
@ir1337 If a game of tactics chooses a subject as loaded and relevant as the Civil War and the issues of race therein, it must take a moral stand. Being "neutral" is itself a moral stand - and I am not okay with people who are "neutral" about slavery. And there are a lot of shitty colonialist/racist 4X games out there.
Nov 12, 2016
ir1337
87
Nov 12, 2016
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"Everyone in this country is still really racist"
And we're done. There's nothing that can be said that will sway you from your absolute statement. The United States citizens are all racists. I humbly disagree.
Nov 12, 2016
johnbujalski
4
Nov 12, 2016
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@ir1337 It is rude to want to stop our conversation and to simultaneously preemptively accuse me of being unwilling to listen to reason. Perhaps even hypocritical. You also twisted my words, changing "everyone is racist" (an adjective, a descriptor) to "United States citizens are all racists" (a noun, an identity).
How would you define the term racist? Do you have different definitions for the noun and adjective forms? I don't think our conversation can be productive if we disagree on semantics, and to me there is a big difference between describing people as racist and defining them as racists.
Nov 12, 2016
Miserendino
62
Nov 12, 2016
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Did you ever play a WW2 board game where the Nazis game out on top? Is that wrong too?
If you want to accurately portray the re-creation of a war you have to allow the chance that either side could come out on top - however 'morally repugnant' that may be. To unbalance a game design to the point that the 'Good Guys' always win is to do a disservice to history, as well as makes for a boring game if you have to play as the 'Loser'.
The South did have a chance to win the Civil War, several times. After the string of Union defeats in the early years of the was there were many in the North who were ready to throw in the towel and let the South alone. They came close to European recognition of their place as a sovereign nation, an act that would have led to Southern independence.
If Lincoln had not won re-election in '64 then the Peace Democrats (with former General George McClellan as their candidate) would have called a truce and tried to negotiate a peace with the South. Historians doubt whether the war could have been won, or even re-started, at that point resulting in a divided country.
If Hitler had knocked England out of the war in '40-41, instead of invading Russia, there's a chance that Nazi Germany may have won the war in Europe. Heck, even if he had listened to his generals instead of running the war himself they may have had a shot at victory.
Is slavery wrong - yes it is; so is racism, sexism, religious intolerance and other forms of bigotry. However studying history requires that you put aside your (our) modern viewpoints on things and look at the actions of people based on the beliefs in place during their lifetimes. Judge them, and their actions, based on the mores, morals, and laws that existed at the time they were alive.
Nov 12, 2016
johnbujalski
4
Nov 12, 2016
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You don't have to unbalance a game in favor of the "good" side to be respectful. I'm not advocating for the game to be unbalanced - the South did have and should have a chance of winning, as did the Nazis in WW2. I am not against accurate portrayal of the facts of history or interesting and balanced game mechanics.
To address your example - have you ever played a WW2 board game that didn't depict the Nazis as evil, even in victory? I wouldn't want to play a board game which let people gleefully play as the Nazis in WW2 or the South in the Civil War without being honest about the moral angle of that history - there has to be a sense of weight and dignity when you are dealing with that kind of tragedy and violence.
Our understandings of history are always connected to moral assessments. Slavery was and is wrong. Genocide was and is wrong. To not acknowledge those truths is to allow them to be questioned. The description of this game says, "North or South: Choose Your Side" as if it is acceptable to have differing opinions about how the war should have ended. That's just a bit too neutral on a moral stance I can't be neutral on.
Nov 12, 2016
Swayne
53
Nov 12, 2016
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...it's a board game. Or, maybe the makers are entrusting parents to lecture their children for an hour on the horrors of slavery before asking one of them to dutifully take up the role of the moral oppressors in order to engage in a historical reenactment. Of course, said child would be duty bound to lose; this could be covered in the lecture. "No, Jimmy, you won't really lose! We'll all win!"
Nov 12, 2016
johnbujalski
4
Nov 13, 2016
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@Swayne What is your point? It seems like you are mocking me for having an opinion you disagree with?
Nov 13, 2016
Swayne
53
Nov 13, 2016
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My point? It. Is. A. Game. A game which I won't be buying because it only allows two players and promises to take two hours, not because it centers on a historical event. I only noticed this after looking back at the product description after looking (in vain) at this discussion board to see if anyone actually knew anything about the game.
Not everything needs to be a platform for platitudes - that's probably how they become platitudes in the first place.
But, lest I offend or mislead, I'm not in favor of slavery. I'm also pretty sure that no one who uses Massdrop is either.
Nov 13, 2016
ggghost
5
Nov 13, 2016
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The question of agency, morality, and representations thereof in games is an interesting one, but I don't think the answer is as cut and dry as you're suggesting. Have you played many wargames? AHD is a light strategic-level wargame, great for an introduction to the genre. However, wargames generally don't make explicit judgments on the belligerents portrayed because the focus is on the military strategy and tactics rather than the surrounding politics (To answer your WW2 question - I haven't played a WW2 -wargame- that depicts Nazis as evil, only ones that depict Nazis as soldiers. Not even Memoir '44, the most likely WW2 wargame to be played by non-grognards, does this). If what you're looking for -- and this is fine -- is a section in the rulebook that says "by the way guys, you're about to suit up for the grays, so remember: slavery was wrong", you probably shouldn't look at wargames as this type of game is about military history.
For further "reading", a good game that takes a focused look at slavery is Freedom: The Underground Railroad. This one is a co-op game, so you aren't even given the option to play as an anti-abolitionist -- this is a conscious moral stance taken by the game designer that you may appreciate. Another game you may find interesting in its design is Here I Stand, which is a wargame that attempts to model not only strategic military operations during the Wars of Reformation, but also the political, diplomatic, and even religious influences on what conflicts were even being fought. My last suggestion for you to look at is Labyrinth: The War on Terror - this game takes a particular tack in representing the US and Jihadi factions by speaking from their respective viewpoints rather than using the players as outside observers.
Oh, and Brenda Romero's game Train, of course.
Lastly, I take issue with your statement that "to not acknowledge those truths is to allow them to be questioned". The moral and ethical arguments against genocide, slavery, rape, etc. are very strong and well-trod. Stopping discussion doesn't stop opinions from forming, but it does stop the scrutiny of those opinions, which in this particular case is an opinion that is extremely easy to debunk. In other words, someone who thinks that e.g. the United States should return to antebellum slavery is probably not going to be swayed back by anti-slavery rhetoric in A House Divided -- this rhetoric is taught in elementary schools when covering the ACW, and reinforced through every level of education. This isn't to say that games can't or shouldn't take sides (games with opinions are some of my favorites even if I don't always agree with those opinions -- see the games of Phil Eklund for example), but to say that games do exist within the context of our society at large and that taking the purpose of a game into account informs how the design treats the subject matter.
Nov 13, 2016
ChuckDee
1812
Nov 13, 2016
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There is a time and place for all discussions under the sun. This is neither the time, nor the place. Though I'm sure, if you endeavor to search, you will certainly find a more appropriate one.
Nov 13, 2016
johnbujalski
4
Nov 14, 2016
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@Swayne If your argument is that we shouldn't care about the messages media send, I humbly disagree. If your argument is that I am taking this too seriously and/or you don't care, then why did you respond? You've joined a group of people who seem bent on shutting me up. If my opinion bothers you, why not just go away?
@ggghost As a game designer and player of many wargames, I object to your rulebook footnote idea - there are far more effective and subtle ways to address these issues. I also strongly disagree that Memoir '44 does not depict the Nazi forces in a negative light - the box art depicts a heroic Allied soldier charging into battle, while the Axis forces are shown in a much less flattering light. It's almost cartoonish and heavy-handed in the case of Memoir '44. Not saying that's a good or bad thing - it just is.
I've played Freedom: The Underground Railroad, but not the other games you mentioned. I'll check them out.
Oh except for Train - which I played with Brenda herself watching. A very interesting piece of art, but certainly not the light entertainment expected of most board games.
I don't necessarily disagree with your last point - I think you misread my intent. When I say that not acknowledging a truth allows it to be questioned, I was not implying that dissent or discussion should be censored. What I mean is that it is healthy to express distaste at a game (and especially the marketing copy on this page, jfc) that is neutral about something so ethically and emotionally charged. I'm not calling for this game to be censored - I just don't want to buy it.
On a final note, I will say this - I far less afraid that this game would fail to sway the minds of racists than I am of this game normalizing racism as one side of a debate where both sides should be treated equally. Anyway, thank you for your invigorating and productive discussion.
@ChuckDee Oh look, another person jumping into a discussion "they don't want to have" to tell me to shut up! Guess what I am not going to do? Your comment is unproductive and annoying. If you have something interesting to contribute to this conversation, then say it. Otherwise, please go away.
Nov 14, 2016
ChuckDee
1812
Nov 14, 2016
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You misunderstand me. I'm not telling you to shut up. I'm asking you to be respectful of the purpose of this area of conversation. If you choose not to, then that says something about your level of respect for others, and the purpose of your conversation, i.e. not to talk about slavery or the morals of it- but just to be heard and make themselves appear to be diverse. Your comments are the ones that are unproductive and annoying. This is an area to talk about peoples experience with the product in question, and the merits or not of the drop as a commercial enterprise. Your comments are in the wrong place. I'm sure in the vast internet, you can find somewhere that is more appropriate for your righteous outrage.
Nov 14, 2016
johnbujalski
4
Nov 14, 2016
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The merits of the drop as a commercial enterprise - this game is problematic and the marketing copy is really gross. Those are my opinions on this drop. If you are saying that I shouldn't express them here, you are telling me to shut up, just in more words.
Nov 14, 2016
Swayne
53
Nov 14, 2016
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But it's not the media, it's a board game. And telling someone to "just go away" is about the same as telling them to shut up. If you want me to "go away" (or shut up), stop using "@Swayne" - it sends me an email with your response.
Just remember, to quote Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, "From the ashes of disaster grow the roses of success!"
Nov 14, 2016
johnbujalski
4
Nov 14, 2016
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@Swayne Board games, like films, music, video games, paintings, etc are part of the category which I referred to as "media" - I was not referring to the press. I apologize if that was unclear. I strongly believe that it is essential and enjoyable to be critical of all forms of art and media - board games, books, films, music, video games, paintings, journalism, writing, any intellectual property you consume should be as aggressively analyzed and understood as possible!
As for the issue of "shutting up" - I am not the one who has claimed to or wants this conversation to end. I have not told anyone to shut up or tried to silence anyone's opinions. On the contrary, I'm quite enjoying myself! I especially enjoyed my conversation so far with @ggghost, I do hope that they respond. This is the most interesting conversation I have had on this website by far.
When I tell someone that they should go away, I'm simply giving advice on what they should do if they want to not engage with my opinions. They should leave, not try to silence or censor someone they disagree with. That seems to me the more polite and reasonable course of action.
And if you don't respond to this message, I won't send another response, in which case you will not receive another email. If your ego compels you to keep trying to have the final word, that's your problem, not mine.
Nov 14, 2016
Swayne
53
Nov 14, 2016
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No, I apologize if I was unclear - I probably shouldn't have abridged these lyrics:
Every bursted bubble has a glory! Each abysmal failure makes a point! Every glowing path that goes astray, Shows you how to find a better way. So every time you stumble never grumble. Next time you’ll bumble even less! For up from the ashes, up from the ashes, grow the roses of success! Grow the roses! Grow the roses! Grow the roses of success! Oh yes! Grow the roses! Those rosy roses! From the ashes of disaster grow the roses of success! (spoken)Yes I know but he wants it to float. It will! For every big mistake you make be grateful! Here, here! That mistake you’ll never make again! No sir! Every shiny dream that fades and dies, Generates the steam for two more tries! (Oh) There’s magic in the wake of a fiasco! Correct! It gives you that chance to second guess! Oh yes! Then up from the ashes, up from the ashes grow the roses of success! Grow the roses! Grow the roses! Grow the roses of success! Grow the roses! Those rosy roses! From the ashes of disaster grow the roses of success! Disaster didn’t stymie Louis Pasteur! No sir! Edison took years to see the light! Right! Alexander Graham knew failure well; he took a lot of knocks to ring that bell! So when it gets distressing it’s a blessing! Onward and upward you must press! Yes, Yes! Till up from the ashes, up from the ashes grow the roses of success. Grow the ro Grow the ro Grow the roses! Grow the ro Grow the ro Grow the roses! Grow the roses of success! Grow the ro Grow the ro Grow the roses! Those rosy ro Those rosy ro Those rosy roses! From the ashes of disaster, grow the roses of success! Start the engines! Success! Batten the hatches! Success! Man the shrouds! Lift the anchor! Success!
Nov 14, 2016
ChuckDee
1812
Nov 14, 2016
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You're obviously twisting words and meanings to make yourself have the moral high ground. I'm sure that you're even cognizant of that. Or you have some severe dissonance going on. But have fun with that. I was just pointing out the obvious, and it seems that you've gotten it/knew it and choose not to be respectful of that. Cool. Have fun.
Nov 14, 2016
johnbujalski
4
Nov 14, 2016
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@Swayne Now you're just being rude. You must really enjoy these email notifications!
@ChuckDee Your comment is full of common sense fallacy - you have not demonstrated how I am "twisting words and meanings" or how you are "pointing out the obvious." You accuse me of "severe dissonance" with no evidence or logic to back up that claim either. Just because you say it is so does not make it true. It seems that we disagree about the proper usage of this space, but neither you nor I are the final arbiters of that judgement. Regardless, feel free to stop responding to me whenever you tire of our correspondence. As I said to @Swayne (who is either still enjoying this thread or didn't get the message) if your ego compels you to keep trying to have the final word, that's your problem, not mine.
Nov 14, 2016
Swayne
53
Nov 14, 2016
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@johnbujalski You're possibly the first person I've met who found Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to be rude. Most people find that song quite encouraging. With standards that high, you were never going to be pleased with this board game or any other.
Nov 14, 2016
johnbujalski
4
Nov 15, 2016
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@Swayne You could have posted a YouTube link - it's a great song! I just didn't appreciate you attempting to mock me by posting the entire lyrics.
Nov 15, 2016
Swayne
53
Nov 15, 2016
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See, this is just what I'm talking about! A YouTube link would have been fine, but posting the lyrics is attempted mockery? Board game designers simply cannot keep up with this kind of consumer caprice.
Isn't it ironic that this no doubt apocryphal quote is attributed to the very man who presided over A House Divided! ¡Qué casualidad!
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Nov 15, 2016
johnbujalski
4
Nov 15, 2016
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You are really enjoying yourself, aintcha?
Nov 15, 2016
Swayne
53
Nov 15, 2016
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Yes... but what does that have to do with anything?
Nov 15, 2016
johnbujalski
4
Nov 15, 2016
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Just surprised you're still responding.
Nov 15, 2016
Crayonmuffin
2
Nov 16, 2016
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This is one of the best troll threads I've found on the internet recently. Glad I stumbled on this. (If it isn't a troll thread, then it's a cuck thread, and godspeed)
Nov 16, 2016
Swayne
53
Nov 16, 2016
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And I'd be surprised if a still responded!
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All in good fun, sir, but I shall acquit myself now. Best wishes. Just remember what someone once said, "If your ego compels you to keep trying to have the final word, that's your problem, not mine."
Nov 16, 2016
johnbujalski
4
Nov 16, 2016
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I said that!
And I'm well aware of my ego.
Regardless, I'm still having fun, so sad to see you go.
Nov 16, 2016
Idontmuchcareforit
0
May 15, 2017
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2017: the year boardgames became racist.
May 15, 2017
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