SPIR608 Political Simulation and Gaming/2013/Week 5

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Monday 11th February


Week 5 Discussion of Brian Train, Red Guard; and Anders Fager, Comrade Koba.

Red Guard!:
Red Guards
Brian Train
Game of the Chinese Cultural Revolution
Wikiversity Image credit:
Comrade Koba:
Anders Fager

Satirical game about Stalin's purges
Wikiversity Image credit:


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

Pieces are too small, hard to see at a glance where pieces are and belonging to whom on the table.

Pieces need to be more differentiated so that you can make out the pieces from across the table.

Game is a card game, in some sense the small pieces sizes work as it means that you can see who is straining your eyes from across the table to survey for your forces.

Pulling pieces out of the bowl as reinforcements was random, and the starting amounts were also random, leading some players to have effectively lost from the get go.

Good that the varying factions were weighted differently.

Is the game enjoyable and sociable to play?[edit | edit source]

The game involved a lot of player interaction, but was at some times confusing for some players.

Winning players tend to get ganged up on by the other players, winning must occur randomly on the death of Mao.

Players who risk their chances and strength are rewarded.

What techniques does the game use to model its chosen subject?[edit | edit source]

Purge and subvert - two forms of attack and defence, reminiscent of Valkyrie film of a bureacratic war.

How does the game combine abstraction and realism in its workings?[edit | edit source]

It's very abstract, lack of a map of China, involving the ministries and assets of the Chinese state.

Attempt to abstract the different factions seizing power during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, ending in Mao's death.

Mao's chit placement on the game board represented his favoured faction of the time.

Rules were too expansive - the key to any good game is the rules are on the board (as much as possible).

How accurately does the game simulate the decision-making processes faced by the real-life protagonists of its chosen subject?[edit | edit source]

The game tries to do too much, if it focused on what it's good at, the war between the institutions for example, and leave out trying to simulate various other elements such as Mao's random death.

Accurately simulates the chaos of Chinese politics during the Cultural Revolution.

What political lessons can people learn by playing the game?[edit | edit source]

Nothing to do with Marxism, all about power.

Importance of institutions, and what they represent, making up the state.

How would you improve the structure and mechanics of the game?[edit | edit source]

Cards and pieces could be bigger and better designed.

Fewer random elements, Mao's death etc.

Improve or remove secondary objectives, players very rarely achieve them.

Note[edit | edit source]

We didn't use the Chaos Index.

Links[edit | edit source]