Background Paper 'Group Game'
The acronym BRIC is derived from Jim O’Neill’s, Chairman of Goldman Sachs Global Assets Management, document entitled ‘Building Better Global Economic BRICS’. In this paper he explores the rapid socio-economic rise of: Brazil, Russia, India and China; all seemingly in competition to exert their regional dominance through trade and politics. It was from this hierarchy of international states that the idea to develop a game based on socio-economic gain came about. What remains a vital factor in winning the game is the necessary need for multilateral trade, as is with global situation. Although each BRIC nation is rich in its specific natural or social resource; becoming a highly advanced country is founded on a level of interdependence. Each player will receive one of the four developing states card: Brazil, Russia, India or China detailing a specific key attribute e.g.: Brazil-Natural resources. At the beginning of the game each player will start with 200 points. The points received are used to negotiate trading resources needed in achieving infrastructure objectives. Once the required resources have been reached they are deposited into the bank, in return, the corresponding infrastructure piece is received. In developing this game out initial inspiration was drawn from the property-developing game Monopoly. Just as is with Monopoly there is the possibility to trade, bribe or manipulate a player(s) in order to obstruct the goal(s) of another. For example, should a player choose to over-price a commodity then other players have the opportunity to under-cut the market price. It was not until later in the module that it became apparent that our trading process strongly resembled Catan, in that trading natural resources was fundamental to reaching one’s objective. Where BRIC differs from Catan is in returning the resources back to their states after achieving the matching infrastructure piece. As with Catan the mechanics of the game focus in trade; where the players exchange their natural resource for an agreed upon price. For every infrastructural improvement gained the state becomes stronger, an essential factor in order to protect themselves from chance cars. Upon understanding the basic mechanisms integral to BRIC very little play-testing was initially required. Nonetheless, it soon became apparent that the numerial aspect would prove difficult in over-coming. By limiting the number of points, natural resources and requirements for infrastructure objectives it simplified the mathematical process, by working within a defined boundary.
Reflective Analysis Paper
Introduction: Game theorists in representation of games tend to seek to abstract the essential features from structurally similar but otherwise different conflict situations (Zagare, 1984: 12) This reflective analysis aims to give an insight on the different games partly based on my experience and perspective and further more drawing out the different theoretical approaches that apply to the games as well their history. Having played a few games such as Monopoly, War on terror, Game of war, Vietnam, the settlers of Catan, kingmaker and Modern society, War on terror and Monopoly tend to be interesting and engaging games, especially Monopoly which is fast and easy to comprehend. While others such as Vietnam, Game of war tend to lean towards the more difficult side. However, I will be focusing my attention on the four which I found challenging, interesting and how they should either be improved or not.
First and foremost, the game I would address is Monopoly, which was the very first game that was played. This game was created by Elizabeth J. Maggie Phillips with the hope of demonstrating the effects of land monopolism and the use of land tax, which she eventually achieved with time. One of the major reasons why Monopoly has been branded a major success is because it has been developed over the years. The game solely derives to point out the difference and hindrance it causes to put power into the hands of people, which would thereby result in a negative outcome. The game is supposed to help in explaining Henry George's theory of 'single tax' that held the rights of individuals to their own property. Monopoly was initially called 'the landlord’s game', this was meant to show that the idea of rent would only benefit the landlord, which is a way of depriving the tenant. The game was published in 1906 and has been a teaching tool amongst students who also helped in the improvement of the game as well as academics and professors. Phillips developed the game over the years however it was not until Charles Darrow became a success and regardless of opposition and competition, an important feature to all the various types of Monopoly is the struggle (Salen, 2006:3). As I recall, Monopoly tends to be one of the many and most popular games such as ludo, snake and ladder, chess which have been in existence for many years. Monopoly is easy and straightforward with all the guidelines and information supplied mostly on the cards and then on the board. These actually makes it fast to grasp the key elements of the game which is trading, however one can easily get carried away by greed especially if they have acquired so much money. Monopoly could be seen as a realistic game as it depicts real life in terms of capitalism. As stated earlier, the game engages the players through the use of trading, which is basically the buying and selling of properties as well stations and so on. It is a never ending game even when the players already know who is going to win; the will to give up is almost difficult. I classify monopoly as one of the best games as it is easy to follow without little or no difficulty even though it works on abstract. Although the positive outweighs the negatives, the main point of the game is to play wisely and avoid the act of being too greedy which hinders the chance of winning. People tend to focus on the rules of the game instead of what they represent and therefore forget the main aim of the game. The rules of the game are easy to adhere to and are simple, clear and concise. However this could be criticised by some as overly complex especially by the parker brothers.
Another game I would explore is the War on Terror, which is an abstract in its game play. This game was first created in 2003 by Andy Tompkins and Andrew Sheerin however in 2006 they collaborated with terror bull games, the game was produced and published. This game involves a lot of strategic thinking and it was inspired by the invasion of Iraq. The September 11, 2001 and the various wars in Afghanistan could be said to usher in a boom of sales for commercial market due to the creation of games resulting from the invasions and wars (Stahl, 2006:118). The focal point of the game is to be able to dominate the world without thinking of the consequences, it is said to be similar to monopoly and the settlers of catan. The approaches on War on terror have been described as a mixture of both European and American because of the player interactions and strategies. It has also been said to be one of the realistic simulations around. War on Terror is a very colourful and beautifully decorated game. The board had various maps which are quite interesting as well as confusing, just like the game of war, it involves strategic thinking although not as intense cause this is actually a more relaxed and fun game. Furthermore, there is too much information on the guidelines of the game and the rules are not quite easy to follow. It could become boring too easily as there many so many decisions to take and things to do at each turn of a player that others lose interest at a rapid pace. The game seemed somewhat complicated because with so many pieces and objects, it was not easy to comprehend what was going and who was buying or trading what. It depicts real life situations which could be said to be familiar to terrorist situations that some countries under go but in the game, its very easy to become a terrorist just by having a spin at the axis of evil spinner thereby making one wear the balaclava. This evil spinner was on e of the reason why the game was confiscated by the police, it is still not widely accepted as the game received a high range of criticism and was even deemed offensive to some. It did not receive a lot of support until 2008 when it was allowed into the imperial war museum amongst others.
The Game of War was created by Guy Debord, as a representation of the works of Prussian military general Carl von Clausewitz. Guy Debord is a French Marxist theorist and founding member of the ‘Situationalist International’. War, and the form which we give it, proceeds from ideas, feelings, and circumstances’ (Clausewitz, 2006:401)), the Game of War intends to incarcerate the realism of the battlefield on the game board by constructing an artificial reality; this had the opposite effect of limiting the player’s sense of self. The game is too tense and serious, it is no fun to play and there is no room for socialising as the main key points the players have to focus on is attack and defence. It has too many techniques and the calculations are not easy to understand, this game is not advised for those not good in mathematical equations. It is only for the intellectual mind, however the arrangement and setting on the board is good though it looks quite technical and advanced. It is a game that involves a lot of strategic thinking and keeps one on their toes and this could cause pressure, it is nerve racking. One of the major disadvantage is that there is also no room for private discussions in which the opponents are able to talk about and carry out their plans, they are thereby succumbed to writing on a piece of paper and passing it round in order for the other members of the team to become fully engaged. On a more positive note, a player is able to buy terrorists in order to protect its empire against any form of attack. However, terrorists could attack one even after trading with them; the use of blackmail depicts real life such as in the case of Al-Quaeda and the US. The game teaches the players about deals with terrorist as they are not to be trusted. Regardless of a pact they promise to keep, they would still turn around and attack. Strategic thinking is also an advantage of the game. The colours should be more distinct as the board and some of the pieces are of the same colour. The pieces should be more colourful thereby making it easy to identify and also a bit more pleasant to look at. The rules should also be broken down into simpler forms so there would be a fair advantage and chance given to everyone intellectual or not. Unlike monopoly which involves luck, this does not and the principles are realistic while the pieces are abstract. Furthermore, the game is solely based on war and teaches how one needs to be able to protect and defend their country most especially in times of war. In conclusion, the game of war is a very political game, makes one think critically, which is also one of the numerous tactics politics revolves around especially if it has to be implemented successfully. Politics is mainly about gaining power and using that power to exert control on others; this is another dynamic role of the game of war.
The term Kingmaker originated from the activities of Richard Neville, the 16th of Earl of Warwick during the wars of roses in England between 1455 and 1487. It was a civil war between families in rivalry for the rightful candidate to the throne. Kingmaker could be referred to a person or a group of people with influence be it in politics or royalty. The basic concept of Kingmaker is the tendency of one’s units to wander off on their own, a concept inapplicable in a military simulation (Corbeil, 1999:92). Andrew McNeil’s created the game Kingmaker and in this game, the person with the most prestigious points emerges as the victor. These prestigious points are earned in two ways either by supporting a candidate house and the actions of the player’s house. However, since the player’s royal family is not a possible candidate for the throne, the player must give his possessions to the right candidate who is viable. ‘We can only speak of war as a cultural function so long as it is waged within a sphere whose members regard each other as equals or antagonist with equal rights (Salen, 2006:71). Kingmaker involves strategy and conflict conducted on different levels through battle, diplomacy and politics, attempts to eradicate other player's factions, and gain control of one or more members of the two rival royal families, the House of Lancaster and the House of York. In the game Kingmaker, Parliament is the means by which a player who controls the King consolidates and strengthens his faction, which makes politics an important factor of the game. In the 15th century England, parliament existed and could be summoned under specific circumstances in the game. The game is very challenging and it could be said to be a contest of diplomacy. The association of a number of weaker players working together, as well as threats, promises and agreements can easily bring down a very strong player with a positive outcome without the use of force. It is very simple and during the game more power is distributed evenly, and this unavoidably gives more players a chance of making their mark. War’s technological and rhetorical trajectory in the 20th century can be thought of as a long process of integration of the home front and battlefield (Stahl, 2006: 117).
Clausewitz, Carl von. (2006). On War. Palgrave, MacMillan.
Corbeil, P. (1999), Simulation Gaming. Simulation & Gaming. Vol 30 (1) pp 93-95.
Salen, Katie; Zimmerman, Eric. (2006). The Game Design Reader: A Rules of Play Anthology. Massachusetts. MIT Press.
The Guardian. “Hard times turn to gaming, but not everyone will be a winner” <http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/jan/21/victor-keegan-games-mobile-phones> Accessed: 07/04/2011
Stahl. R. (2006), “Have you played war on terror”. Critical Studies in media communication. Vol 23. No 2. Pp 112-130
Zagare. Frank, (1984). Game Theory: Concepts and Applications, Sage University Paper,