More on New World

Bill White talking about the forthcoming “New World”

I am pulling together some ideas for a role-playing game to be called The New World. It will be a colonization game, but it will the antithesis of games like Civilization IV and those of its ilk, which read history as a story of constant technological progress and civil advancement. I’m going to borrow from places like Jared Diamond’s Collapse and recent ethnohistorical accounts of pre-Columbian and early post-contact America to write a game that’s about a “New World” that emerges at the intersection of multiple “Old Worlds,” European, African, and Native American. I’ll rely on the notion that, in the early days at least, many colonies failed, with survivors returning home or making new homes in native societies. I have this vision of the game playing out in five-year turns against a backdrop of societies on both sides of the Atlantic under different levels of stress of one sort or another, with your role-playing of significant moments for your character within that turn serving to exemplify, embody or instantiate (um, represent and resolve) the larger socio-political and economic changes.

So over the course of the game, your character can be shipwrecked, go native, return home, accompany an expedition back to the “New World,” and die in a massacre, and that will represent the trends in the larger narrative at hand–trends which don’t necessarily map on to teleological narratives of American history (e.g., Manifest Destiny), but which should be fun to explore.

One Response to “More on New World”

  1. Adrian Wood says:

    What a fascinating idea for an rpg! Despite being a sometime player of Civilization, I know exactly what you mean about seeing the clash and change of cultures in a very different, more Diamond-esque way.
    I will be interested to see how the game pans out. My only reservation is that it would seem to be a much more difficult task to set such a game in the real world, which if I understand your posting correctly, is what you intend. Attempts to set Civ games in the real world come across all sorts of obstacles and ugly compromises easily avoided in a ‘made up’ world.
    All the best and let us know how it is going!
    A. Wood

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