bluegargantua: (africa is screwed)
[personal profile] bluegargantua

So this weekend I was in a LARP about peace negotiations over the Darfur region in the Sudan. A game like that has a lot of potential to really explore a thorny issue. It also has the potential to go really, really badly.

The game was...problematic.

Here's the deal. I was the Chinese ambassador. In real life, the Chinese give money/weapons to the Sudanese government in exchange for lucrative oil deals and they generally support the status quo. They do this both to maintain their lucrative oil deals and because they've got their own human rights issues so they're touchy about the idea of a sovereign nation being "interfered" with by outsiders.

That right there is more than sufficient to be a base on which to portray a character and present a viewpoint. But apparently not enough for the author. So things got..."juiced up".

So now the Chinese are running a pair of top-secret projects in the Darfur region. The first is an autonomous robot drill that can dig a pipeline into neighboring Chad and steal their oil. The second is a mind-control device.

Yeah. A mind-control device. Which we're testing out in Darfur.

And this project is so top-secret that lots of people know about the mind control device and probably the robot drill. Oh, and the robot drill achieved singularity thanks to a virus piggy-backing on some porn downloaded by a research scientist and the robot made a cyberwar attack on China and...

Yeah. Problematic.

I haven't even mentioned the rebel leader who was hit by mind control and thought he was Klatuu from "The Day the Earth Stood Still", or the Janjaweed leader who was a psychotic cannibal or the Russian official who was a super-spy with a stealth jet pack and a space laser and....

Yeah. Problematic.

And then there's the thing I'm not even going to mention.

I do think there's a very good game to be had out of this. People game out all kinds of crisis situations and they can be useful in better understanding something that gets glossed over. This just wasn't that game.


Date: 2010-03-15 05:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Wow. Just... wow.

Date: 2010-03-15 07:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I think you should counter by taking the most UTTERLY BORING base setting you can think of, and cranking it up as absolutely over the top as you can.

I'm thinking like Little House on the Prairie or something, that somehow turns into Armageddon with Aliens...

What I'm getting at here is that their mistake could be an enjoyable premise for a game, if you just take it to ludicrous levels.

But, yeah, it sounds like they took a premise that had plenty to go on and made it silly.

Date: 2010-03-15 08:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm thinking like Little House on the Prairie or something, that somehow turns into Armageddon with Aliens...

That pretty much describes Agricola with the X-Deck expansion.


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