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.