SPIR608 Political Simulation and Gaming/2013/Week 2

Monday 21st January


Week 2 Discussion of Bertell Ollman, Class Struggle.

Is the design of the game's mechanics (board, pieces, cards, etc.) fit for purpose? edit

Based on the traditional goose game design, of a spiralling trail leading to an end point in the centre of the board.

The game is not complicated to play when you get the hang of it, but 30 pages of rules is off putting for a beginner.

Game engine and board were felt to be too simplistic.

The cover of the game with Marx and Rockefeller wrestling is fantastic.

The player tokens, and the board token in general were not very attractive – simple pieces of card.

Trade Union and Party special cards had no specific rules or obvious meaning.

Use of D3s instead of traditional D6s to prolong the game, keep the pace.

Is the game enjoyable and sociable to play? edit

Yes its basically sociable because you need to cooperate to play.

The dynamics of cooperation are more complicated than the rules would suggest of natural alliances, as players need to build rapport with other players in order to trust them.

Trust is important in this game, especially for the confrontation rewards – players in our game who were allied with one of the major alliances for the majority of the game despite not being traditional class allies left the alliance because of unfair distribution of rewards, despite the players being the Workers!

Our social behaviour was more aggressive than was during monopoly.

The alliances force players to cooperate – this is the game's primary mechanic.

The game was not enjoyable for some players as they landed on unrewarding squares with no chance for alliances and credit, they were soon in the weakest position – same as monopoly.

What techniques does the game use to model its chosen subject? edit

Linear form – goose game style.

Alliance building – socialisation.

Diadactic, made to teach about the basics of the class struggle, to identify the minor classes, the professionals, the petit bourgeoisie etc with their overuling shared idealogue, capitalism. It is educational. Educational in such a way that a similar game has been made for the French revolutionaries to teach citizens to see allies in the revolutionary militias etc.

Confrontation reflecting instances of the class war.

How does the game combine abstraction and realism in its workings? edit

The game reflects the real struggle between the classes in our society.

The game accurately reflects the classes and alliances in society.

The realism in building alliances as the primary job of any resistance activist.

What political lessons can people learn by playing the game? edit

Importance of alliances – popular frontist.

You have to organise for the revolution!

There are two real players – which are the Workers and the Capitalists, this is the lesson of the game, the diadactic educational message, to teach players this critical binary.

When one side begins to win, the Workers in our case, they hit more confrontation squares and snowball towards the end – this makes other minor classes want to tag along and join their side through the attraction of winning as part of their struggle.

How would you improve the structure and mechanics of the game? edit

We would place the 'natural alliances' below the class name on the player token if a minor class.

New pieces and board and player tokens are needed, they are unattractive, but the underlying game itself is quite good.

Rewrite the rule to be more friendly to beginners, and structured because the rules are all over the place. Introduction of player elimination perhaps – losing.

Introduction of a fascist faction, and updating the game to include less revolutionary elements of the working classes.

Links edit