Friends of history, board games, and history in board games! Last year, I started a series called „Century of German History“ covering Germany’s turbulent 20th century. For every decade, I picked one crucial event (that happened in the year ending in a 9), placed it into the wider context, and illuminated it with exactly one board game. Now those of you who counted might have noticed that I didn’t finish this series in 2019. One event was missing – that of 1919. You might blame that on my laziness, but I swear, this time, that’s not true. The defining event of 1919 is the Treaty of Versailles to end World War I – and I wanted to cover that with the upcoming Versailles 1919 (Geoff Engelstein/Mark Herman, GMT Games). However, while I was ready for Versailles 1919, Versailles 1919 was not ready for me yet. Now, the game is about to go to the printers, and I can write about this intriguing design which made it to my list of most anticipated historical board games to be released this year. We’ll talk about the powers involved in the peacemaking at Versailles, the process of negotiations, and what became of it. Continue reading
Wargaming is one of the traditional sub-sections of boardgaming. It’s not hard to see why. By definition, games need to be interactive (that is, the game state changes according to the actions of the players, in contrast to, say, a puzzle) and provide struggle (that is, non-trivial effort is required to achieve the goals). Conflict between players provides amply for both, and one of the prime kinds of conflict is that of a military nature. Games with a historical theme are no exception, depicting wars from antiquity to our age. However, the popularity of wars and military conflict as a subject for historical games is not without problems. It overshadows other areas of human enterprise (and conflict). In addition, many wargames present a de-contextualized version of war. Therefore, it’s easy to live within a military bubble as a gamer. This article will explore these problems, but also look at the solutions already being implemented to deal with it.