Are slaves OK in board games?

Another old timer, and this time a game that was for a long time considered the best board game ever by the board gaming community hit the table at our Wednesday group. The game is Puerto Rico where you have to build up your plantation and the town around it.

You invest in buildings and plantations. You use, what is described as colonists, as workers in the fields and in the buildings. In reality they are slaves (and I think they were defined as that back in 2002 when the game was released. They do not require pay, and come in on the colonist boat (read slave boat).

Your plantation manned by slaves/colonists.

Actually I am in a bit of a dilemma here. I do not in any way support slavery, and I have two very strong beliefs. One is in equality for all and the other is in human rights; I also believe that the old Tintin in Africa should not be changed because it shows how people in Europe perceived coloured people. The same in a game that is all about running a plantation in the times of old. There were no colonists working the corn plantations, harvesting coffee or sugar, there were slaves.

Is it ok to depict this or is it comparable to producing a board game about running a KZ camp (which I would find greatly offensive)?

The building board of Puerto Rico.

Sorry about that, back to the game. The game is very simple. You choose from different roles, e.g. the craftsman lets you produce the products of your plantation, and it allows for all to do this. If you choose the role for one turn you get an extra benefit. Then the next player chooses a role that all are allowed to use and so on.

It is no surprise it is ranked so high. The game is really really good, and the winner was decided in the last round, and won by only one single point.

This I will probably try and get my kids to play this weekend.

The game flowed fast, and with rules explanation we finished in under two hours. We had time for one more game, and the choice (described elsewhere on a previous session) is a game type that is one of my favorites; tile laying; and to make matters even better; in the Scottish Highlands.

The scoring board of Isle of Skye

The game is Isle of Skye. A game simple and yet complex with a great variation from play to play. Have tried it with two players, and now four. The game changes and is still amazing. Where I won Puerto Rico with the single point I lost this game by a mile. Never got my strategy up and working.

A fun night that suddenly also posed an in-depth moral dilemma about terminology vs. board games.


Am I alone in growing older and thinking more about these things?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s