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Modern Mindfullness vs Historical Baggage

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Juzek
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I have an interesting conundrum that I never anticipated with making games.

I am working on a card game involving composers of the early romantic era, and I currently have 6 composers that players can choose to play as. (it is only a 4 player game, but it is nice to have options for everyone)

By what method should I chose which composers to highlight by my inclusion into the game?

I am most tempted to do the 6 most famous, that way anyone with the knowledge of romantic era music would be most likely to recognize them, and understand why Franz Liszt and Frederic Chopin were kind of frenemies and why the game has mechanics that reflect that.

But what about Richard Wagner who is well know (Ride of the Valkyries) and definitely a great composer, but when doing research on him, I found out that he was publicly expressed antisemitic sentiments, and was beloved by the Nazis. Perhaps he shouldn't be included...

Also there are female composers in the early 1800s too! But very few people are even aware of them. (Let me know if you have heard of Emilie Mayer, Eliza Flower, Fanny Mendelssohn, or Clara Schumann)

Who should I honor by highlighting them in my game? Would people be interested in playing a game where they know nothing about the people they are playing with?

questccg
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Some additional thoughts

Think about the "audience" of the game. Is it supposed to be "learned" people who are historical buffs of the Renaissance or is it "supposed" to be for the average person who knows very little about that historical period and possibly even less than the most known composers.

Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, and Vivaldi.

Those are the six (6) that I put as being the most FAMOUS. If you want the game to appeal to the average person, then history lesson aside, it should be about the MUSIC! I know you can't possibly include Music in a game... But you can include titles they produced and the most FAMOUS SONGS will still pique the interest of younger players (who may not even know these composer either).

Personally, if it's about composing and music, I would treat it as such and choose the most FAMOUS six (6) and make the game around their compositions. I'm not sure HOW to play your game. So, I'm just talking in general terms: I'd rather design a simpler game that appeals to A LOT of people than something designed for history aficionados.

But hey, that's just my opinion TBH.

Note #1: You may well be MORE interested in more "historical accuracy" ... But I still think even in that case, you would still want the most known composers ... Because even if you do CATER to the aficionado-crowd, people with more general knowledge in music will no doubt know the most famous ones too... So the trick is to use something that most people know and make some obscure references that only the history buffs may know or understand the meaning of... Cheers!

let-off studios
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Yep

questccg wrote:
I'd rather design a simpler game that appeals to A LOT of people than something designed for history aficionados.
I think this is a great point, and/but so is questccg's point regarding your intended audience.

If you really don't intend to seek out a publisher for this (in other words, if you intend to self-publish), then make it about whichever composers tickle your fancy. However, to appeal to publishers and the general buying public, go for the well-known names, and simply amplify or fabricate the rivalries as needed.

Personally, I'd love to see a game about Clara Schumann, but maybe that's for an expansion. :)

evansmind244
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Definitely

This is something that you would definitely not want to defend. Especially NOW with Racism and Sexism at boiling points. There is no need to defend your game by having an accused Anti-Semite or no Women on the list of players. This is the reality of today, and not my personal opinion.

On that same "NOTE" I definitely think that you should add the female composers to the list of players 4 male 2 female for several reasons.
-There will definitely be females playing the game. (Husband & Wife)
-Most people have no idea that there were female composers of that era (an era known especially for sexism etc...) Very cool fact which could cause a revival of their music and talent
-It's politically correct and also a boiling point these days.. so it can only enhance your game, and leave you free of any Sexist criticism.

In my opinion educating people on composers of the romantic era is barley a side "NOTE" of the game. People will pick a composer based on Sex or Looks if they know nothing of the composers works. If they know the composers they won't have an advantage in the game right? I'd say use the composers with cool the coolest back stories or rivalries

This game idea has given me a very powerful Children's game idea.

evansmind244
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Masterpiece

One of my favorite games is called Masterpiece which was the inspiration for Holiday Fever. It had about 20 or 30 different famous works of art from the different styles. The game was a roll and move but it was very cool to get to know the different masterpieces. You didn't get any advantage by knowing anything about the art or the artist but it still added a very cool aspect to the game, and had a little note on each piece of art that told you about it.
This is way out of left field but perhaps the players could be "Unknown composers" basically just blanks. On the back of these blanks could be a section of songs by the composers in the game. Like a legend. Players who choose any song from the legend on any game. So some players may be going for the same song in the beginning of the game.
During the game you work out a song by a composer putting the notes together, and some of those cards are composer cards which are needed to finish any composition. Like the final piece of the puzzle. You don't really know who composed the song until you get enough of a song to realize who composed it, ending when you finally get or use the last card which has the composer on it. Anyway....the game play is sort of like the difficulty a composer faces when he finds a note in his/her head, and has to put the rest together in a famous composition.

questccg
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Again ... something to consider

What I find sexist is trying to be too "politically correct" and have women play female composers and men play male composers. If you have the six (6) most popular composers (and they are all male), what is WRONG with females playing the role of a male composer?!?!

It's all this "politically correct" that says you need 1 Indigenous person, 2 African people (preferably one male and one female), 1 Asian person, etc.

Enough already. Ask yourself have you ever HEARD of the composer??? If you don't recognize the name, ask yourself can you name one of his/her most famous works?? If the answer is no to both ... well this is NOT one of the most famous composers. It's a simple as that IMHO.

Being "PC" just for the sake of being "PC" to me is irrational.

Granted had we heard of a Clara Schumann (which is ironic because I did some searching and found a Robert Schumann -- a relation perhaps IDK). I'm all for celebrating diversity ... However in this case, we are talking about POPULARITY which will influence SALES. Unless you intend just to make a game for yourself and your friends, choose whomever you like (like @let-off suggested).

But if you want a viable product to sell, go with the famous composers. WHY? Because they were FAMOUS! And most people can cite at least one song each one of them composed (like Vivaldi's Four Seasons or Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker, or The Turkish March by Mozart or Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven, The Fugue by Bach)...

And just to soften things up a bit. It's not like it's WRONG to have the six (6) most prolific men in history. What is wrong with someone's wife playing one of them? You see how Trump is "PC", right??? Enough said...

Note #1: To end on that ... I just wanted to say: "Choose what works best for YOUR game." Don't worry about offending anyone, just do what works for you. Maybe consider what some of us have said (If you self-publish choose whomever you like or if you want to KS or find a Publisher go with the more known composers) ... but ultimately it is YOUR game and solely your decision. Cheers!

questccg
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Classic vs. Romantic

Since I'm not a classical music enthusiast (but I do like many classical songs -- I'm just not technically versed in everything music of previous eras) ... I think I have mixed composers from BOTH Classic and Romantic eras.

Bach, Beethoven and Mozart were Classical era composers. And Chopin, Tchaikovsky and Vivaldi where Romantic era composers... Just wanted to make the clarification. Sometimes Google is NOT 100% accurate. Again this may be a very important categorization for your game (Romantic vs. Classical). Your list of composer would definitely be different from those that I have suggested.

You live and learn every single day. That's why I really enjoy Game Design. It allows you to choose from all kinds of themes and work out what kind of game will it be... And it can be rooted in History (like composers) or be completely imaginative (like space battles).

What six (6) were you interested in choosing???

evansmind244
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questccg wrote:What I find

questccg wrote:
What I find sexist is trying to be too "politically correct" and have women play female composers and men play male composers. If you have the six (6) most popular composers (and they are all male), what is WRONG with females playing the role of a male composer?!?!

It's all this "politically correct" that says you need 1 Indigenous person, 2 African people (preferably one male and one female), 1 Asian person, etc.

I like your Style Quest!!! ...but the people who feel differently do not play fair PERIOD. They are willing to deface, destroy, rip down, and defame anyone or anything who would say something similar to what you said, and then call you Racist. I definitely don't see a major issue here with the development of said game, but this issue isn't about ration or reason..............

let-off studios
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Wut

questccg wrote:
What I find sexist is trying to be too "politically correct" and have women play female composers and men play male composers.
...Does this actually happen? Anywhere? I can imagine young children that direct others to play like this, but an adult game group? Never saw it in my lifetime. And I've been playing games for a while.

questccg wrote:
If you have the six (6) most popular composers (and they are all male), what is WRONG with females playing the role of a male composer?!?
If those are the only options, then sure, everyone will need to play like that, by definition.

However, in reality, not all composers are white males. If you want to appeal to a broader audience than exclusively to white males, then you can increase your chances by being inclusive and have other types of characters in your games.

Last I heard, there's been some research that provides evidence about how both children and adults feel inspired, feel like they belong, feel like they are empowered, when they see people they identify with in roles of power and prestige. A conclusion is that by including characters of these different backgrounds and types, a game is inclusive and provides an opportunity for a wide(r) variety of people to find a game fun, engaging, and inspiring.

Personally, I think a wise game designer keeps this in mind when they develop their games for a broader audience. It makes good business sense to be inclusive, in my opinion.

...Oh yeah, and when you consciously decide to be inclusive, you can avoid the ire of various interest groups who would rightly criticize you for having a game whose playable characters are depicted exclusively as white males. Again, personally speaking: not being inclusive (when there is ample opportunity to do so) is lazy.

AdamRobinGames-ARG
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I agree with @questccg here

It's a loud vocal minority who is overly sensitive about this crap. Make the game you want with the composers you know. If that includes females, great, if not, great. They may call you racist or sexist, but call them what they are, fascists. Don't cower over what some childish loud mouth might say. Stand strong and don't apologize. When they realize they can't bend you to their will, they'll move on. Look at Ben Shapiro, Candice Owens, Larry Elder, Lauren Chen, Tim Pool, Steven Crowder, Andrew Klavan, Bill Whittle, Dennis Prager, etc.

As for Wagner, it's a historical composer. There is a game called Secret Hitler, where you can literally play as Hitler and the fascists.
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/188834/secret-hitler
Real gamers will get the context and not care. It's the fascists who will try to shut you down and we can't let them have the satisfaction.

let-off studios
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Big Leaps Here

AdamRobinGames-ARG wrote:
It's a loud vocal minority who is overly sensitive about this crap.
I agree with you up until the point you mention the word "crap."
AdamRobinGames-ARG wrote:
They may call you racist or sexist, but call them what they are, fascists.[...] It's the fascists who will try to shut you down and we can't let them have the satisfaction.
One can call out another for being racist or sexist, but that certainly doesn't mean that by doing so they are a fascist.

The difference between the titular character of Secret Hitler and a person pointing out someone's racism or sexism is legion. They are not one and the same, though according to historical record Hitler was a fascist, as well as being sexist and racist.

Secondly, I maintain that it makes good business sense to remain inclusive whenever possible. This is not quite a fascist policy, either. It actually seems to me that by being inclusive when possible, one avoids being branded a fascist... or even the milder pejorative of "jerk."

Whatever, though. I am getting the feeling that these comments might simply be defending things as they are, instead of considering other possibilities. So it goes. I'm not in charge of the game publishing industry.

AdamRobinGames-ARG
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To Clarify

I'm talking specifically about the "progressives" who engage in changing definitions of words like "racism" and/or insist that a person who is not being actively anti-racist is a racist. (Same for sexist.) These people are using fear and intimidation to achieve their goals. These are tactics the actual Nazi's used which gave rise to Hitler. So yes, THIS vocal minority is engaging in fascism.

I am NOT saying anyone who expresses an opinion that including a female or minority is engaging in fascism. By all means, if you feel like being more inclusive makes better business sense, it's a valid opinion. Please don't go to the extreme. It's when someone calls a person racist or sexist just because there happens to be no diversity that bothers me. If it's historically accurate, it should not be an issue.

If you don't like the word "crap", I apoligize. But that is the polite way of saying what I think of this PC, censorship and cancel culture. It is important to bring all ideas into the daylight to expose evil and hate, and to highlight good. Democracy dies in darkness. We need to be able to challenge all ideas, and our culture is right now trying to suppress ideas that don't align with this progressive-oppressive movement.

Hope that clarifies. Again, not trying to rile anyone up.

questccg
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Also ...

AdamRobinGames-ARG wrote:
It's a loud vocal minority who is overly sensitive about this crap. Make the game you want with the composers you know. If that includes females, great, if not, great...

Exactly. If you want the most famous composers of the Romantic Era ... Well figure out whom YOU would like to see as being on the list. If it turns out the top six (6) or even eight (8) or maybe even ten (10) composers are males don't be "afraid" to choose the six you prefer.

Again not in terms of racism or sexism or anything like that... You'll probably find 4 males for every 1 female in this era of Romantic composers. The question you need to ask yourself is: "Do I want the most popular ones? Or do I want to make it 'sort of' a cultural experience??"

What I mean by a 'cultural experience' is what everyone is talking about "inclusion". Would you include some of the less known composer for the sake of enlightening the players to become more aware of the other composers of that era. Sort of like learning as you play...

Or maybe you make you game ENTIRELY with LESS known composers (male and female) and make it about THEM "trying" to become MORE famous and earn more recognition... This IMHO could work and be more inclusive (as an example).

But please don't worry if you go the opposite direction that you choose the top six (6) composers and they are all males, that you need to adjust or rectify the distribution... Because this is historically accurate...

That's all I'm saying. You have many options in front of you:

+ Six (6) most famous composers: go with the ones that everyone knows.

+ Six (6) lesser known composers: make the game about trying to become the next Beethoven...

+ Six (6) rivalries of composers: figure out whom competed against whom else. Augment the duality of your composers.

And I'm sure there are others... We don't need to enforce gender biases or notions of being more "PC". Depending on the nature of the game, the composers will naturally select themselves IMHO. That's all I'm saying. Don't make the game for a minority, make it so that everyone who plays it enjoys the experience.

I was a bit "discouraged" when I read (my own interpretation) what Evans wrote... "My wife wants to play a female composer..." And I thought "boy now that IS sexist". And point in fact it is. I know people talk about "inclusion" and I've stated some examples that do this... But this may NOT be the direction for this game.

I would suggest as I have pointed out... Figuring out WHAT you want this game to be about. Rivalries, most Famous, lesser Known and from there I think you'll have a more definite picture into what will work best for you and your design...

questccg
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Something else...

About Clara Schumann was a very known German Pianist and was MARRIED to another COMPOSER Robert Schumann. Since both were "in the business" ... I'm not sure who is the bigger "personality". Is it Clara or Robert. This IDK. I have not read their entire bios to figure out which is which. But this is something for @Juzek to research and determine... Maybe instead of just RIVALRIES, he could have TEAMS of composers...

IDK ... Just throwing out the idea. If two (2) player's play the Schumann's they get some kind of SHARING power, LOL.

From what I gather there are TONS of ways this design can go. IMHO, I would choose the "lesser" known composers and make it a "competition" of trying to be the NEXT "Beethoven". This will allow you to include both genders as the position of "Top Dog" is not limited to one sexe or the other.

Note #1: About Clara Schumann... It turns out that she was caught in a bit of a "Love Triangle"! Johannes Brahms (another more famous composer) was in love with Clara. But she was married to Robert Schumann, one of Brahms' best friends. Talk about controversial!!! There could be some duality between Robert and Brahms over the love of Clara...

Juzek
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All good input

Thank you all for your input! I have made some decisions and updated my prototype. It can be accessed here:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1tYpeyy46B5nGX-Ze4hO9DR3pcEOOF5No/view?u...

I would deeply appreciate any feedback or play tests that this group could provide.

questccg wrote:
So the trick is to use something that most people know and make some obscure references that only the history buffs may know or understand the meaning of

I thought that was a great idea!

So I went with some of the most famous of the time period, some in the middle for the history buffs, and one so obscure that it may incite people to look her up.

By the way, the obscure one is Emilie Mayer Who seemed to have a rough battle with sexism and getting known as a composer, but was prolific, and wrote 8 symphonies and listening to one of them I decided she is a new favorite of mine, and more people should know she exists.

So, 4 male, 2 female, all fantastic, dramatic, and contemporaries.

My game idea is more showcasing the lives of the composers and their inspiration rather than the music. That is why though I think Wagner is a great musician, I was uncomfortable about including him.

Note:
The composers are absolutely fascinating to learn about. The ones I selected more or less all knew each other, and were Similarly aged. At this time period, (the romantic era) everyone was deeply interested at putting complex and powerful emotions into music, which was a break from the previous music of the time.
They are all so dramatic, and I think I want to amp up the melodrama in my game.

History Lesson:
Robert and Clara Schumann were very happily married, and had an excellent relationship. They took in Brahms who showed up on their doorstep with a letter of recommendation to study music with them. Brahms definately Robert suffered from some severe mental health issues, and for Clara's safety admitted himself to a mental asylum in his 40s and died two years later. Clara would live another 42 years past her husband composing and performing into her 70s. I selected Clara over Robert for the game because she seemed to have a bigger influence even if she was less famous (and having two with the same last name would be confusing).

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