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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 92 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [Carry] Controversial?  (Read 4337 times)
JC
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« on: July 10, 2007, 01:57:14 PM »

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Nathan P.
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« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2007, 07:29:36 AM »

Hi there JC,

Great question.

I'm gonna start off with my general reply, but there's a couple specific things in your post that I'm gonna address as well.

carry works the way that it does because of the cultural context the majority of players bring to the game. It's written by an American, for an American audience, because, as a nation, we have a shared "memory" (memory is in quotes because it's mostly formed by our fiction about the event, not actual memories of it) about Vietnam, which includes this:

when I say controversial, I mean the fact that Vietnam was (or at least is seen by some as) an imperialistic war, whose justification is hotly debated (or at least that's my impression, but feel free to correct me)

So, when I sit down to the game with a bunch of American players, we all have a sense of certain things, like that many of the soldiers probably don't want to be there; that when they get home, they'll probably be villified even if they did nothing but good things; that there are strong forces at work that will influence them to commit, or try to avoid committing, atrocities. The tension of men being in a war that they do not understand, or that they do not want to be in, is powerful and, more importantly, easy to create in the fiction. The mechanics of the game are all about exploiting tension and creating a fruitful divide between fictional events and mechanical actions, so starting from this baseline helps the game flow as you play it.

So, in this sense, the "controversy" of the war is pretty important. As I've said when people ask me "how easy is it to port to other settings," the baseline is having men be in a war that they don't understand.

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I was initially struck by the idea of setting the game in Iraq, partly because I think the modern setting would make it seem more real for my (French) players, even if they've all seen Platoon and Full Metal Jacket, and partly because it would make it more controversial

I had a conversation at Origins about setting the game in Iraq, and I think, if everyone is on board with that, it would be totally appropriate and probably not a little powerful.

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then I went one step further, and thought: why not set in the Algerian war, which is kind of taboo in France, or at least very controversial?

which brought me to: how important is that controversy to Carry?

I think that that would certainly be the most direct parallel. I only know a little about the Algerian war, but my understanding is that it occupies a similar place in France's history and cultural understanding that Vietnam occupies in America. I think that doing it in Algeria for a group of French players would be totally appropriate and work very well.

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I get the impression it contributes to the game's tension, but I may have misread the whole thing

don't get me wrong: I don't think it's absolutely necessary; I just thing it would add to the experience

As I said, the "controversy" of the subject matter definitely creates a baseline of tension, based on the shared cultural understanding of the event. That's why I think Algeria would work better for you than Vietnam, because (I expect), everyone would start out on the same page in terms of "this is what that was like".

Now, that said, I don't want to give the impression that the game is 100%, all-the-time, creating hardcore tension and breaking everyones spirit with horrible atrocity. The game only goes as far as it's players (which is what the up-front lines and veils discussion is about), and while that baseline of tension is, I think, necessary, it's only a baseline.

In any case, I wish you luck finding players, and I really look forwards to hearing about your game, especially if you put it in a more meaningful setting for you! If you have any questions about how to port the squad over to another setting, or anything like that, don't hesitate to ask!

Oh, and I can get all "lit-crit" about this stuff....lemme know if I actually answered your question.
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Nathan P.
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Also | carry. a game about war.
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JC
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« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2007, 04:20:13 AM »

that\\\'s exactly the kind of answer I was looking for, thanks

as for players, I\\\'m trying to find some here in Paris, but my best chance might be online in the end

that would nix the Algeria angle, but I still feel your explanation about the game\\\'s underlying controversy (maybe not such an appropriate term... touchiness perhaps?) will help me play better

cheers!
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