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      Representations of Colonialism in Three Popular, Modern Board Games: Puerto Rico, Struggle of Empires, and Archipelago

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          Abstract

          With all its intricate processes, colonialism, both as an ideology and a historical period, has been a rich source of inspiration for contemporary popular culture, whether in the form of movies, novels, digital games, or analogue games. This article presents a critical analysis of colonial representations in three examples of the latter: Puerto Rico ( 2002), Struggle of Empires ( 2004), and Archipelago ( 2012). These three games are simulation, strategy type Eurogames, with rules designed to emulate and reproduce two time periods: first-wave European colonialism ( Puerto Rico; Archipelago) and 18th-century European colonial expansion ( Struggle of Empires). On BoardGameGeek.com, where users have ranked more than 87,000 board games and extensions, these three are in the top three-hundred overall, with more than 3,000 votes each. Building on John McLeod’s definition of colonialism and interpretation of colonial economies, Edward Said’s theory of Orientalism, and Gayatri Spivak’s theory of subalternity, this comparative study examines representations of: a) the otherness of colonial subjects in relation to colonisers; b) indigenous peoples’ agency and subaltern voice; c) expressions of the indigenous culture; and d) Eurocentrism. The analysis investigates the denotative and connotative meanings of game rules, game mechanics, artwork, and tiles, critically assessing how these might influence the player’s cultural, social, and aesthetic experience of the ideological and historical context. In so doing, the article attempts to raise awareness about how these games (mis)represent colonial realities and relations.

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          Most cited references 23

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          Video Games and the Future of Learning

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            The Question of Narrative in Contemporary Historical Theory

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              Blackless Fantasy: The Disappearance of Race in Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                2056-6700
                Open Library of Humanities
                Open Library of Humanities
                2056-6700
                10 April 2018
                2018
                : 4
                : 1
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Independent researcher, NO
                [2 ]UiT (University of Tromsø) – The Arctic University of Norway, NO
                [3 ]Nofima, NO
                Article
                10.16995/olh.211
                Copyright: © 2018 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

                Product
                Self URI (journal-page): https://olh.openlibhums.org/
                Categories
                Postcolonial perspectives in game studies

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