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Abstract

The 1996 Donald Duck Holiday Game is a role-playing variant of the historical Game of the Goose, involving characters with unique attributes, event squares, and random event cards. The objective of the game is to reach the camping before any other player does. We develop a Monte Carlo simulation model that automatically plays the game and enables analyzing its key characteristics.

We assess the game on various metrics relevant to each playability. Numerical analysis shows that, on average, the game takes between 69 and 123 rounds to complete, depending on the number of players. However, durations over one hour (translated to human play time) occur over 25% of the games, which might reduce the quality of the gaming experience. Furthermore, we show that two characters are about 30% likely to win than the other three, primarily due to being exposed to fewer random events. We argue that the richer narrative of role-playing games may extend the duration for which the game remains enjoyable, such that the metrics cannot directly be compared to those of the traditional Game-of-the-Goose.

Based on our analysis, we provide several suggestions to improve the game’s balance with only slight modifications. In a broader sense, we demonstrate that a basic Monte Carlo simulation suffices to analyze Game-of-the-Goose role-playing variants, verify how they score on criteria that contribute to an enjoyable game, and detect possible anomalies.

Abstract

The article is dedicated to exploring the relationship between board games and cultural memory, the board game in question being a version of Monopoly which was published in Yugoslavia in 1986. To address this question, I conducted several interviews with interlocutors who used to play the Yugoslavian version of Monopoly and grew up in the eighties or in the nineties. Apart from exploring Monopoly as a metaphor and showing the specifics of the Yugoslavian version, the article aims to outline the potential of a board game to reproduce traces of cultural memory and how these traces are interpreted differently according to the generational and socio-historical background of the interlocutors included in my research. Moreover, the purpose of my article is to show that board games should not be analyzed only in terms of their physical attributes, fields and the playing cards they include, but also with regard to their reception.

Abstract

While Monopoly is still one of the best-known board games in the United States today, increasing attention is paid to The Settlers of Catan, a mid-1990s German immigrant to the United States and a mid to late 2010s staple in popular culture and on store shelves. However, the one place where Catan has seen a drop in popularity over the past decade is in its first world, that of hobby board games. With so many new and innovative games and mechanics flooding the hobby market each year, Catan struggles to find a place. This struggle is due in part to its lack of innovation, attempt to keep pace with game trends, and seemingly, a reluctance to buy into the popularity of app-supported games (though solely mobile versions of Catan exist), crowdfunding, and new mechanics. This research explores Catan’s history in the United States to illustrate the paradox of its growing popularity with the general public while also experiencing a downturn in accolades from within the hobby, all while functioning as a barometer against which we can measure trends in the selling and playing of hobby board games.

Abstract

Games deeply informed by history are not merely games. They may not be detailed simulations, but, nevertheless, they are conscious or otherwise expressions of historiographical viewpoints. This paper examines the historiographical perspectives of nine board games, published between 1974 and 2019, all on one or more aspect of the Saratoga Campaign (1777).

Abstract

A large chess variant with 52 pieces originally described in a 1800s Ottoman Turkish book as šaṭranǧ-i kabīr, or great chess, appears under various names in a number of subsequent Western sources, including authoritative works on chess history and variants. Game rules as presented in the latter are seriously flawed though, with inaccuracies regarding pieces array and moves. Over a period of more than two centuries, baseless assumptions, misreadings of previous sources and outright errors gradually accumulating in the literature have changed the game almost beyond recognition. With some of the game’s aspects not covered even by the original Turkish source, reconstructed rules are suggested and discussed, as well as a reformed variant.

Abstract

During the first half of the 19th century, liberal and nationalist uprisings erupted in all corners of Europe. While militant revolutionaries fought against restorative monarchies for more tolerant legislation or even full national independence, their countries slid into turmoil. In this European struggle, which set parts of Germany, Poland, France and Italy aflame, Ludwik Mierosławski (1814–1878) was one of the key insurgents. Besides being a keen partisan of Polish independence, Mierosławski enjoyed thorough military training and proved himself an astute theoretician of military strategy. It might be argued that he was probably one of the most inventive minds of his time, creating among other things an early tank vehicle and a bulletproof knapsack that could be used as a shield.

This article brings a hitherto unknown invention of Mierosławski to light: A strategy game depicting military maneuvers on an abstract map. Defying complicated rules and adhering to pure simplicity, the game was both fast-learning and captivating. Moreover, contemporary critics praised its way of introducing players to the fundamentals of strategic thinking and military geography. Several matches were even played at the French military academy at St. Cyr in 1858. The extensive research of this article not only reveals the background of Mierosławski’s invention but also his methods of making the complete game public. The last chapter of this contribution contains a summary of the game rules, enabling the readers to bring this invention to life by themselves. In the end, the study of his game allows us to approach and discover Mierosławski’s ideas and ways of thinking, thereby shedding further light on this complex personality.