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Marshwiggle92Level 73

I am a Kansas farm boy, currently living and working in rural El Salvador.

I am primarily a solo gamer. I do enjoy playing multiplayer games, but, since having moved away from those I used to game with, I have turned more and more to solo gamer. As I have grown in my life as a solo gamer, I have come to regard it super highly. No longer is it merely a poor substitute for multiplayer gaming, but, almost, a preference. 

My main interest is heavier games that I can play solo. I am particularly fascinated by games with strong historical themes. My top 5 as of of the end of 2020 are:

  1. #Navajo Wars
  2. #1862: Railway Mania in the Eastern Counties
  3. #Pax Pamir (Second Edition)
  4. #Pax Porfiriana
  5. #Star Trek: Frontiers


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I love Paula's work. 

I don't know how many of you are aware of this. But, she, Matthew Jude, and Nick Murphy do a pretty funny podcast called, Death by Monsters. It is a "examination" of cryptids, UFO's, random strange stories, and audience stories. It's a pretty good listen. I will just mention, I think they are rated E for language and some gory stories.... So, be aware of that.

I appreciate that you brought up the potential language and cultural issues in the Tascini case. and I were messaging each other about this situation, and I wrote:

I don't want to judge Tascini to harshly. I'm not a linguist, but I do speak three languages, and am studying the fourth. And I do know enough to know that to judge to harshly what someone says in a language I don't know is foolish.

That being said, if he did say what it appears he said, some of it is deeply problematic. And, these are things that he doesn't publish in the rulebooks. It's a lot easier to enforce the underlying worldviews of the games designer if the designer doesn't explicitly explain what the underlying worldviews are.

Even if someone is fluent in Italian, and doesn't understand the Italian culture, it is still entirely possible that the situation looks quite a bit worse than it is. Now, I do believe that the situation here is incriminating. But, we do all need that reminder of the cultural and linguistic differences that do exist in this world.

Also, one other thing. Cultural things can be bad. And, we have to be careful that we don't excuse terrible ideas or behavior on the mere basis of cultural norms.

I thank each and every one of you who has responded thus far. But, as reminded me yesterday, I asked for your viewpoints without giving ya'll mine. So, I will do so here, now. But, before I give you my answer, I do want to give just a little bit of background.

I am a person who read a LOT growing up. In fact I averaged over well over 200 full length books a year until 2016, which was the year that my son was born. Something I always found very interesting, and even important, in books was to determine the worldview of the author. For me, analyzing the plot, the rising crescendo, the denouement, the whole fabric of the book is and was fascinating. I loved looking at the little literary devices that the author chose to use. But, for me, the most interesting part of reading was trying to determine what the worldview of the author was when he/she wrote the book. Reading does broaden one's horizon, in some very potentially helpful ways. And, it can change the way one thinks. I however have found that if one can identify the worldview, that does tend to armor you a bit against bad worldviews. I think most of us can do this to some point. For example, in my post I mentioned Mein Kampf which is Hitler's famous book wherein he lays out his views on all sorts of stuff. I will further mention The Communist Mannifesto the worldview in this book is super obvious. And, I think that most people with the bare modicum of logical thinking and historical knowledge won't have a problem reading it, they won't be swayed by it. They are aware of the worldview, usually before they even go and read it.

Why do I spend this time talking about books in a post about games? It is because I find many similarities between books and games. I do find that games are often, not always, expressions of a small part of the designers worldview. I think that it is a much more limited medium, but, in great games, there is often some sort of authorial intent behind the game. Again, this is a more limited medium than books, but, it is interesting to think of the authorial biases going into the design. If nothing else, even in the simplest games, there is interesting ideas of what the designer thinks of fun.


Why do I spend this time on this preamble? It is to explain why I really cannot seperate the art from the artist. I honestly don't believe that there is such a thing as a neutral medium. Any medium in which one communicates to another, be it books, or speech, or visual arts, or films, or etc.... is inherently subject to the biases and views of the communicator. Even if they are just "writing books for the money" the books that they write do give interesting messages about what they believe the masses want. The same goes for movies, or pictures, or, ..... Games.


So, if I cannot, or at the least find it very difficult to, seperate the art from the artist, what is my responsiblity in choosing where to spend my time and money when it comes to games?

  • I agree with that being informed is important. I think it is ok to call out bad stuff. I think it is even important to call out bad stuff. But, far more people pass judgment without understanding, or desiring to understand the context.
  • I will, almost necessarily, at a minimum, engage with people I disagree with in any medium I consume. This includes games. Of course, some games, were designed by people who's actions or worldviews whose views are actually repellent. I will  not find, I doubt that you will, find a game, or any other medium, whose creator(s) line up with your worldview.
  • G.K. Chesterton reminded us that "Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere." I do think that it is ok to draw lines and say that "everything on that side of the line, is something I won't touch." I don't think it is a problem to see cultural appropriation in Tascini's game, for example, and decide that you won't devote time or money to them. I, for example, have decided not to play games by Harry Wu A.K.A. John Bohrer because of the generally despicably way he has treated everybody in the game design industry who has worked with him. It is almost as if he really does see himself as adopting the worldview portrayed in one of his 18xx games.
  • Actively reject the bad. For instance, if you are playing a game by Eklund and you see racism, or you see praises for colonialism, reject it. Reject it personally, if you are playing with someone, point out the problem and dialog with it.
  • I think it disengenious to have huge problems with games that glorify colonial conquest, for example. But, then love a good fantastical or sci-fi 4x game. I recognize that there are some differences, in that in the colonial conquest one, real people were, and continue to be affected. That being said. Both games are representing and fostering the same worldview. I believe that you have a equal responsibilty to call out the problematic issues with the scifi game as with the historical game.


Do I think there is space for morally repungant games in my collection. I think, for me, yes. I cannot answer that question for you. I remember the first time that I toured the holocaust museum in Washington D.C. My overwhelming feeling was that real people, ordinary people, were the perpetrators of this atrocity. Ordinary people, conservative Christians, looked the other way during Hitler's rise to power, and they even enabled him, because he did institute effective economic reform. I was privilaged to speak with a survivor or Auschwitze one time. The stories he told were made even more chilling when I remembered that the horrors he saw and experienced were perpetrated by humans who were "merely doing their job." I do believe that this lesson is important. I don't think we are in some sort of special place in human history. I don't think that we are really at a higher plane than our slave owning ancestors, or our ancestors that enjoyed public executions, or our ancestors who viewed torture as the most expedient ways of arriving at the truth. I believe that when we lose sight of this fact. When we lose sight that we, as humans, are prone to ignore the suffering we are inflicting on others in the pursuit of our own good. For me, if I play a game that I violently disagree with, it does do a valuable service reminding me, that real humans perpetrated the problems I have with the games. We are often reminded that the slave trade was trade in humans. This is a lesson we dare not forget. But, neither dare we forget that this trade in humans was, in fact, perpetrated by humans. And, that, even people who rejected the slave trade, supported it by their tastes for commodities produced by slave trade. So, to the extant that games require me to examine my position, jostle my mind and remind me of a blind spot that I might have, than these games with problematic games can serve as a valuable part of my collection.

That being said, I would hesitate to play a game with problematic issues with, slavery for example, with someone whose life has personally been negatively affected by slavery or the after effects. I however would play it with someone who might be turning a blind eye to the after affects, and engage with them about it afterwards, to try to get them to see if they have some sort of complicity.

I almost picked up #All Bridges Burning: Red Revolt and White Guard in Finland, 1917-1918. I think it looks like a really interesting COIN, and the fact that it is only three player made it look easier to run bots in a solo game.

I keep on thinking about picking up #Trains. I hear that it is basically #Dominion with a board, and I love Dominion.


I am really eager to see the Oath solo play. It is zany enough that I think it might be great, or it might be a total bust. Either way, I am interested.

I assume the comment I made before you posted this counts?

Good deal, I am actually not on the P500. It had already made the cut when I found out about it, so I decided to get it in retail. 

For some reason I didn't know  this existed. I knew about #Unfair.... But, not this.

I really am interested in #The King is Dead: Second Edition. It's gorgeous, and the gameplay looks great.

I did pull up a game page this morning, even before seeing this, and I did notice it did seem faster, so, thanks. 

Several of these are very much games I'm interested in. 

#John Company (Second Edition) has been on my radar for a long time. I started wanting 1e about the time it was not available any more. I'm still waiting to see their final proposal and the price. But, I am nearly certain to back this when it hits Kickstarter.

Of course I'm excited for #Oath: Chronicles of Empire and Exile. But I'm scared it's not for me. I really need to see some more playthroughs, especially solo. I really can't get a good idea of this one from the rule book. 

#Tinners' Trail is something I'm quite interested in. I've long been intrigued by Wallace, but have yet to play any. I do believe this remastering will include a solo mode, so that is interesting for me.

#Burncycle the thing that scares me about this one is the cooperative aspect. I find myself leaning further and further away from co-ops.

#Terraforming Mars: Ares Expedition I'm sorta interested, but I am waiting to hear more.

Another game I'm super excited for is #Border Reivers. This is designed by Ed Beech, and is a bit of a continuation of the system he used in #Here I Stand and #Virgin Queen. It's a historical period and place I live. It supports solo play. And, it's a wargame with wooden animeeples.... What more could you want? 

Oooo, I love this sort of question. After a quick perusal of your collection, I think I would probably try to hold out for #Scythe.

It is unlike any other game in your collection. I don't know if your wife would like it or not, but especially if you can get your group interested in it.... That would be great. And, even for solo play, it's solid. The AI has a learning curve, but it's a good solid game. 

That is cool, I will have to check some of these out.

Way to go.

Also, a possible reason for the downtick in traffic has to do with people getting back to work after the holidays, and, in the US, preocupation with political climate.