Sunday, September 21, 2014

GeoPolitics: the Game (working title) Brainstorm

Latest brain storm: a game, board/computer variety (worker placement???), that is based in geopolitics, but uses nation-states as background "non-player" characters. The players: non-governmental agencies, mostly w/ commercial interests, such as Disney Corp. or Siemens GmbH, but others may be non-commercial such as Medicines sans Frontier or Harvard University. Each playable group will have their own abilities and ways to score victory points. Each player has a hand of cards which is their "airport" : those influential people in organizations that have significance, if not the cohesion and global reach of those that make the list of playable NGOs, that rub shoulders with your agents.
Starting map variable. Non-Variable Map Portions include: 1) a map of Earth 2) divided into cultural and historically political and linguistic regions 3) with symbols denoting certain key words and phrases that the rules can reference 4) and numerals that denote the default ratings for when such territory is not a part of a major nation-state.
Variable Map Portions: 1) Major nation-state markers 2) that denote a) major nation-state allegiance b) cover default ratings for a non-aligned state. Marker positioning would be determined by dice rolls of 1) a ten-sided die 2) and based on a) a schedule for that specific region or zone, and b) marker state of other regions within the same zone.
Ratings for nation-states and non-aligned regions may include 1) Pliability 2) Taxes 3) Military 4) Wealth.
Players Place (workers) Agents 1) on board, when influencing a non-aligned state, or 2) on a card which represents a minister in the government of one of the major nation-states. 3) Only one agent can be on a location or minister at once, a) thus multiple players may be influencing the same major nation-state, but from different aspects of its government.  b) Offices are: i) Executive, ii) Foreign Minister, iii) Military Minister, iv) Finance Minister, and v) Interior Minister.
Government Post Abilities:
1) Executive : a) Replace a minister
2) Foreign Minister: a) Vote for United Nations proposals, b)
3) Military Minister: a) Prosecute war (results dependent on nation-state, e.g. United States places military bases, while Slavic Federation assimilates territory), b) raise or lower Military rating.
4) Finance Minister: a) Raise or lower Taxes rating
5) Interior Minister: a) Raise or lower Pliability rating, b) raise or lower Wealth rating if Taxes rating is higher.
Please, provide feedback in comments. Thank you.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

We Need More Science (Fiction), part 1

Recently acquired Terra Mystica and have been celebrating it both when in front of me and not like a strong infatuation. If not familiar: it is a board game. What makes it so great is the gameplay; as for the premise, the narrative backdrop, I rewrite it in my head as the struggle of different post-human races a la John C. Wright's Count to a Trillion series.
Meanwhile, I just finished a fantasy novel, the Pilgrims,  while Christina is reading the first of Count to a Trillion and  find myself criticizing 'Pilgrims for how it isn't 'Trillion. *sigh* What is one to do? One, when one equals moi, makes...
A Science Fiction Inspired Board (Computer) Game

Friday, June 13, 2014

Culture of Knowledge: Isolation or Not

In Neal Stephenson's Anathem the backdrop of the narrative is an institution of scholar monks. This institution has many campuses around the world, each only connecting with the outside world at the same time in specific time intervals.
Imagine a community focused on learning, discovery, and general intellectual persuits separated from cultural shifts and political pressures. But to do so they would need to be self sufficient, producing their food, clothing and shelter. Material resources would need to be grown and mined on the land enclosed.
I don't know that I have ever lived in, or been a part of a focused community, one of a particular reason d'etre. College seemed very focused on being able to get a good paying job or an otherwise pleasant one. Boy Scouts was probably the closest I've experienced. Far from the Amish or other cloistered groups. Have any been self sufficient for even a year at a time?
There is a very strong movement in the opposite direction. Using the Internet to make information freely available. Making universities more accessible and less of a community. And doesn't having an Internet of searchable information make us more intelligent, more capable?
It isn't a matter of possible, humans can push themselves to do extreme things, and dropping out of society happens regularly enough to not be uncanny. But would preserving a language and living without personal possesions and transcribing books and teaching in classrooms with hands on primary sources be good for humanity?

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Dystopia of Post Modernism

In classic speculative fiction works Metropolis, A Brave New World, and 1984, which inspired THX, Logan's Run, and Vurt, an important element is that the workers, the common people, don't know they are living in a dystopia. In Metropolis the resistance is mollified by Christianity, in Brave New World its sex and drugs, and in 1984 it is safety and comfort. By being duped the people continue to maintain the order the elite wish, presumeably one the commoners may not want themselves. As a mental exercise let's ask ourselves, "are we living in a dystopia?"
First, there is not a single social order, even a single government, for the world, so let me point out I am talking about the United States, and those other countries called "the West" in so much as conditions are significantly analogous. As far as being pacified, the largest passive endeavor has been television watching which doesn't inspire viewers to even move, although it encourages the other major phantom pacifier: consumerism. It has greatly waned, only being taken up by Internet usage, which although diverse, the amount of passive and quasi-passive useage such as videos a few minutes in length to short text often within 140 characters is dominant. This quasi-passive portion is most fascinating because the feeling of interaction and agency allows the user to be social and maintain relationships, however they leave many feeling lonely as they are ranked and compete for attention.