Violence in games


I’m still working away on this tabletop game. Its theme is morphing, and its mechanics are streamlining, but one thing that keeps bugging me is that the game has a violent component.

As someone coming out of a pacifist tradition, I find this hard to reconcile. I want to tell a good story, one with conflict and emotional intensity; that’s one thing that games, particularly games involving violence, are good at. But I also don’t want to be complicit in the cultural myth that violence is the only path to excitement, conflict, conflict resolution, etc.

In the game itself, this is still an open question. I haven’t been able to work the violent aspect out of it entirely, and I’m not sure that I want to. I’m working on mechanics and situations that allow for a violent resolution, but ensure that the violent resolution is, more often than not, the most costly and least strategically useful option. For now I’m OK with that.

As I grappled with this, I stumbled across this piece on Board Game Geek:

While the writer here is arguing about a slightly different issue, it was encouraging to see someone else in the game-making and -playing community take such an honest look at these things that so many gamers are willing to gloss over.