Monday, March 22, 2010

More on controversial topics

My earlier post covered the game Train, about the Holocaust, which is an unusual choice of topic for a game.

Via BoardgameNews, there's this article in the Providence Journal about a game about a war 335 years ago that's making some descendants of the Native American participants unhappy. The game allows a player to "be" the Indians, and presumably allows the Indians to win. So it's not as though the overall object of the game is subjugation of Native Americans, unlike Train (discussed in the last post), where the goal is (most bluntly put) to facilitate the murder of Jews. However, there's no question that the European settlement of North America, and incidents like King Phillip's War, represented a painful time for Native American population, replete with many atrocities and acts of evil, acts not perpetrated only by the colonists, though the Native Americans lost far more.

Does representing this difficult time in a game trivialize the suffering of the Indians? Or could drawing attention to this era actually educate people about the violent history of the founding of our country? That's hard to say, and the answer likely depends on your heritage and your view of the past. More evidence that topic choices are tricky, and that controversy is hard to avoid, even if the events you're drawing from happened centuries ago. Interesting, though, that the article ends with the question, "Would we play a game called The Holocaust?" Turns out, thanks to Brenda Brathwaite, some people have come pretty close.

One unrelated point from the article - who know that Red Sox pitcher (and bloody sock wearer) Curt Schilling designed games? I saw him in person playing for the PawSox. Pretty neat.

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