Colonialism in Board Games (AV Club #2)
April 2nd, 2023
58 mins 53 secs
About this Episode
- "Kary" is a teacher from North Carolina
- She found out about Board Game Faith through Facebook!
- Game she's digging: Played "Sequence" for the first time and really enjoyed it.
- What is awesome about her? Waking up at 5 AM!
- Why do you listen to BGF? The awesome hosts. 🙂
Terra Nullius – a null land, or "nobody's land"
TOPIC: Playing Colonialism – Board Game Ethics on the Homo Ludens YouTube Channel
OVERVIEW OF VIDEO
- Hosts: Fred Serval & Luis Aguasvivas
- Mary Flanagan, co author of the book, "Playing Oppression"
- Brian Train - War game designer
- Cole Wehrle - Root, Pax Pamir
- Jason Perez - Shelf Stories, consultant for Puerto Rico 1897
- Topic: Exploring problematic but common theme of colonialism in board games – going to "exotic lands," "exploring them," "exploiting them" - creating illusion that lands are empty and/or that indigenous people are resources to be used, without agency.
WHY IS THIS A SPIRITUAL MATTER?
- God is concerned with questions of justice. Liberation Theology - Gustavo Gutierrez. "God's preferential option for the poor."
- We want to play games that don’t promote hate, racism, or injustice.
- We can play games that invert power and domination, or question it – games as morality and learning
THE INTERCONNECTION OF MECHANISMS & THEME
- Mary Flanagan - you can't just retheme these games. The mechanisms themselves are not morally neutral. They were developed to simulate colonialism.
- Are game mechanisms every morally neutral? What about abstract games?
- “There is a hunger for nontraditional narratives” – Jason Perez
ERASURE AND AGENCY
- Whom are we erasing for the sake of an abstracted game mechanism? For example, in Ticket to Ride, we are erasing Native American population cleared out for these railroads, we are erasing the workers.
- Who has agency and how can we represent them? Brian Train talked about this.
- Cole Wehrle - Giving tribes agency in Pax Pamir
- _Spirit Island _doesn’t question the whole system, it just reverses it.
- Jason Perez – Giving agency to the "little person." This is certainly in keeping with religious teachings across the board, including Jesus.
WHAT IS HELPFUL AND UNHELPFUL IN THE DEBATE?
- Ask questions – is this a game that teaches something contrary to my beliefs? Ali Karar spoke of not playing games that promote wine-making and alcoholic drinks.
- Jason Perez - It does no good to call people "bad people." He said, "these are generally nice people who are relying on tropes to sell products." Instead, ask, "how can we broaden sales? How can we appeal to an even wider audience?"
- Amanda Ripley - High Conflict. "It does no good to humiliate others." Humiliation always leads to high conflict.
- What are common goals that we can all agree to?
- This takes hard work and creativity.
NEXT EPISODE - "SPIRITUAL LESSONS FROM NEGOTIATION GAMES"
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