Scramble scramble

https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/vb9gd9/a-cancelled-board-game-revealed-how-colonialism-inspires-and-haunts-games

So, this has been lighting up sections of the BGGverse for the last week… in case you have not heard, or are trawling through this blog years from the time it was posted:

  • GMT Games put up for P500 a game called Scramble for Africa in February. From the ad copy, it seems to have been in broad terms a “3X” game (Explore- Expand-  Exploit) as opposed to a “4X” game ( -Exterminate) where European powers enter the Dark Continent, found colonies, interfere with each other, etc.
  • After GMT posted the developer’s notes at the end of March with some more specifics, it emerged that this game was shall we say a bit light on historical accuracy and completeness – the native population was more or less the background on top of which the players drew their designs.
  • An increasing amount of adverse commentary on Twitter, Facebook, Boardgamegeek, and other spots led GMT to pull this off the P500 list, with a very measured and reasonable explanation and apology from the publisher.

People are still yelling about it, but more in defence of or offence against their own straw men. Some decried it as bowing to the mob, erasure of unpopular opinions, censorship, my god this is the beginning of the end what’s next erasing the Nazis soon they will come to pry all my wargames from my overheated flabby hands… never mind, you can imagine all this yourself (and if you can’t, there is a thread on BGG that is over 1,000 posts long now, counting the unusually large fraction of ones deleted for personal attacks and abuse).

Others had more measured and thoughtful responses. The link above is a much better explanation of the event and what it means than I can write; go have a look. It also gives due credit to the thoughtful games GMT can and does produce. Colonial Twilight, Navajo Wars and Comancheria all get praise for handling complex issues well, as do Freedom: the Underground Railroad and This Guilty Land, two games by other publishers.

Again, I did not have a chance to learn very much about the game, but it seems it was too cavalier and light a treatment of the topic to be appealing to the strong-history crowd, and not satisfying enough for the theme/history-be-damned, strong-play crowd. So, a sound business decision, and one that is GMT’s and only GMT’s to make.

We should not shy away from historical controversy, for that is the most direct way history teaches us it’s still there and still valuable. But it has to be done in a productive way, that advances the state of play. Obviously, this game did not do that.

Probably more than a few people have commented that if the game were rethemed and placed on a distant planet as “Scramble for Afraxic”, they might have  had a goer on their hands… sometimes that works. GMT has a few of these 4X in space games in their stable, and they sell very well… I suppose they are good games too, but I don’t play much science fiction stuff anymore. But the point is that there is sufficient distance from what is going on, even more so than the usual abstraction of playing a game about something, to not bother people.

 

 

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The Player’s Aid: Best 3 Games with… Designer Brian Train!

 

Oh my. I really did not expect this.

Grant Kleinheinz has written a really nice post about three of my designs he’s had the most fun with:

  • Winter Thunder
  • Binh Dinh ’69
  • Colonial Twilight

I’m touched by this, and happy that he’s enjoyed my work enough to write such nice things about it. Thank you Grant!

Go have a look….

https://theplayersaid.com/2018/01/05/best-3-games-with-designer-brian-train/

Wowsers! Look what came in the mail today!

coltwibox2

One of the very first copies of Colonial Twilight! GMT sent me an advance copy, just in time for Consimworld Expo. The rest of you will have to wait a few more weeks, please be patient…

Not going to do an unboxing video, but I am very very pleased with the quality of the components. And nothing has been changed on me without my knowledge or consent.

VERY happy! Can’t you see?

Just a few more days to get your P500 order in – pay only $52 now instead of $75 after! 1,448 other chums can’t be wrong! You don’t want to be wrong, do you? Preorder at the link below:

http://www.gmtgames.com/p-548-colonial-twilight-the-french-algerian-war-1954-62.aspx

New Post on InsideGMT: Colonial Twilight Force Pieces and Structure

GMT_CT_MAP_071616

Near-final map. Art by Mark Simonitch and Chechu Nieto.  Lookin’ good!

Over at the InsideGMT blog, about 2,000 words on the different wooden bits in Colonial Twilight and what they represent.

http://www.insidegmt.com/?p=11853

COIN Day in St. Paul!

Poster by D. Dockter. Carbine by Inland Division of General Motors.

The redoutable David Dockter has alerted me that next next next Saturday will be COIN Day, sponsored by the 1st Minnesota Historical Wargaming Society! Games to be played include the entire GMT COIN series (Andean Abyss, Cuba Libre, A Distant Plain, Fire in the Lake) as well as some great oldies such as Bloodtree Rebellion (an SF game by Lynn Willis that’s actually about Vietnam, and one of the best insurgency games I’ve ever seen) and 1776 (yes! it was an insurgency!). So, if you’re anywhere in the neighbourhood, drop in and see what’s up!

RBM bnr of ADP re SFWkly-MS

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Thanks Rodger!