Space-Cast! #28. Land and Conversation

Wee Aquinas feels as though the world has left him behind.

The politics of the Spanish Civil War are complicated — which only makes it all the more impressive that Alex Knight’s Land and Freedom distills them so elegantly into a three-player scrum for control of the Second Republic. Today, Alex joins us to discuss the genesis of his game, including how he solved the semi-cooperative problem with a silk bag, evolving the card-driven formula so popular in wargames, and the factional politics behind the gameplay.

Listen here or download here. Timestamps can be found after the jump.


00:45 — getting to know Alex Knight
6:36 — the mile-high pitch for Land and Freedom
11:13 — solving the semi-cooperative problem with the bag of glory
25:07 — changing the card-driven formula with tableau building
31:00 — the factional dynamics of Land and Freedom
45:37 — depicting political tensions in a board game
1:00:24 — Alex’s personal message


(If what I’m doing at Space-Biff! is valuable to you in some way, please consider dropping by my Patreon campaign or Ko-fi.)

Posted on April 18, 2023, in Board Game and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Jesús Couto Fandiño

    Very very interesting interview. I… I’m not going to lie to you, but probably this is the less relevant thing in the conversation; Alex Knight saying he went to Venezuela to check on the Chavista “revolution” was putting me in a weird mental space…

    See, I’m a dual citizen of both Spain and Venezuela, I left the country when Chávez won, I’m “opposition” in the sense that I would like the country to have a average liberal democracy with a socialdemocratic government if possible, please… which puts me in the “escuálidos” category – Alex for sure knows what that is. I left Venezuela a few years before he decided to check that, absolutely decided to NOT have to check what was going to happen there in my own flesh and that of my parents. I gather that by using “revolution” with quotes and his own admision he got dissapointed in it and would love to hear more about it… or not. I can get a bit emotional about all that, to say the least.

    I really hope we could, in theory, just sit and compare notes and find common ground on it. Not sure if he follows Venezuela still, but given that right now it seems to have become a small layer of anarchocapitalist orgies on top of widespread misery, we can at least be sure none of us got what we hoped …

    Anyway, the interview is incredibly interesting in all levels, from game design (hey, I got it right, design is in part solving the “who plays the bad guys” problem!) to political ideas. I really enjoyed it.

    On the issue of Falangistas vs Carlistas… eh, not really, they werent that in sync. The Carlistas were, as mentioned, ultraconservatives, reactionaries, but even more than the “average”; after all, they started 3 civil wars before the Civil War on the nominal issue of “my Borbón has more right to the throne as it has a penis or is the son of the one that had a penis when you put a WOMAN in the throne”.

    Thankfully, and if you are wondering like Alex if they still exist… they are a shadow of a shadow today. I think the most I’ve seen of them is a Twitter account that has move followers willing to laugh at them than to listen to them. Not that the rest of the far-right is “good”, but this branch of lunatics is mostly over.

    The Falangistas were different; they had the idea that they, too, were going to do a “revolution” for the benefit of the working classes and in fact had a very strange relationship with the Anarchists, half hate half feeling of fraternity; to summarize it in a person, the brother of famous anarchist leader Buenaventura Durriti, Marciano Durruti, left the anarchist side and moved to Falange, and tried to get Falange and the CNT to “talk”. And was then shoot by orders of Franco in a purge of “left”-leaning sections of Falange.

    Falange was, originally, not exactly but kinda closer to the kind of far-right-worker-revolution ideas in the SA, to make a comparison. But between their leader José Antonio Primo de Rivera dying very early in the conflict and Franco basically taking over it and “taming” it into just the hip (for the time) face of his regime, they became just that, a “modern” coat of paint saying “modern” mass movilization stuff to make Franco’s reactionary regime looks like a cutting-edge thing for the 30s-40s. That was, mainly, Franco’s biggest achievement – he took all the different right wing movements that could be at odds, Falange, Carlistas, “Alfonsistas”, etc and managed to cut any kind of independence or political weight to them, transforming them from potential bulls into just oxens to pull his cart, if you pardon the testicle-centered metaphor.

    All of them would end up realizing that they would never achieve their objectives and that Franco was now the one to decide everything; the Falangist revolution was not going to come, the Carlists branch was out of succession, the Alfonsinos would have to wait till he died because he wanted to “raise” the heir himself… but well, most of them didnt complain much as the end result made the important things, like the supremacy of the Church or the properties of landowners, safe. But not all, some still complained, to no effect.

    Ok sorry for the brick 🙂

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