I have been following the Hot Zone now for some time. This week Kevin Sites is reporting from Chechnya.
My thoughts, prayers and well-wishes to all those in war-ravaged situations or who have suffered because of such violence and trauma. I grew up playing wargames. Yet I always saw the cost of war.
Maybe it is time for other forms of socio-political games that don't necessary take the world to such desparate depths. Designing a "peacekeeping game" sounds intriguing to me now.
In fact, I'm in the R&D phase of this already. I am going to design a game to help explain how we can solve some of these problems using game theory.
Already I contacted another game publisher with more traction in the board game industry, and they liked the idea. I'll design it, and they can sell and market it through their channels.
Some day, I will present to you what I have planned. First I'd like to get the complete prototype put together.
I proposed this game even before the death of Slobodan Milosevic. It was in my head when I spoke to folks at the Shield Conference in San Ramon in February. I have to thank Chris Salander for the recommendation he gave me regarding taking the idea to the next level. Chris has odd and quirky ideas about wargames. After all, this is the fellow that wrote the miniatures army lists for prehistoric man.
Yes, from the dawn of time we have been fighting, killing each other and dying. We are simultaneously fascinated and disgusted with the idea.
For my own part, when I was doing research for this the other day at Hobee's, reading the articles about the death of the former Serbian leader, an ant was crawling upon my page. I was very careful about it, but it kept crawling under the page and back on it, and all over the place right where my arm could brush over it and kill it.
Now, this might sound odd, but though I have killed a lot of ants in my day, accidentally and on purpose, in this case, for whatever reason, I saw this ant not as a pest, and not even as a pet, but simply as a fellow living creature. Perhaps reading about genocide will make me care more for other living creatures.
As I sat there drinking my tea and getting my head around the timeline, tragedies and turmoil, I wanted this ant to live. Sadly, I then interceded in its life, trying to get it from being squashed accidentally under my arm.
My intercession, however, was indelicate. When I tried to put it down, I think I dropped it from too far a height. When I deposited it onto the place where I wanted it to be safe, it was crippled. I felt terrible! Nooo!!! I was trying to help. I didn't mean to hurt it!
I felt like Lenny Small from "Of Mice and Men." I pet it too hard.
I eventually put it in a planter outside, yet I realized that I had done too much to it. The poor thing was dead or near dead regardless of my intentions to help it out and protect it. What was utterly ironic was that, had I left it alone and not tried to move it, it probably would have fared far better.
In the overall karmic scheme of things it is, of course, "only an ant," and they eventually die anyway. Yet I felt how I caused it to suffer, against my intentions and cautions. Conversely, imagine how easy it could be to kill things if that was one's conscious intent? "It is only a Muslim." "It is only a Serb." "It is only a Croat." The division that led to such real-world disaster made them less than ants. They were "the enemy." There was a conscious plan to exacerbate the situation and alienate the enemy.
So today, while a man who never apologized to anyone for the death and suffering he caused to millions is mourned by loyal supporters who really didn't mind that he ordered or tacitly supported the commission of genocide, I feel remorse after killing an ant accidentally.
My proposition is that we can get our species to act less barbaric than our prehistoric ancestors. If we can evolve ethically as much as we have technologically, then humanitarian disasters can be minimized because of human policing against the most grevious of excesses of malice and violence.
As a game designer, my challenge is to create a game where peacekeeping, ethics, and morals are reinforced. At least for the basic game. In the "advanced" version, the players could be given the roles of those who are oppositely inclined: those motivated by power, domination, and darker passions.
For now, I'll keep the rest of the plan under wraps. It's something I'm thinking about in odd hours when I am not working or doing school work.
I'll be off to the GAMA Trade Show (GTS) in Las Vegas this week. Tuesday-Thursday. I'm hoping to get back in touch with folks I haven't seen or spoken to in some years. The last thing to report is that I've been in email contact now with Steve Gilbert, who I collaborated with back at West End Games on "Me and My Shadow Mark IV," for Acute Paranoia. It was great to hear from him again!