This month on the Space-Cast!, we’re investigating a difficult topic — the representation of slavery in board games. To help navigate these waters, we’re joined by Patrick Rael, Professor of History at Bowdoin College, to discuss how board games have depicted slavery in the past, what they’re doing right now, and how we can use them to learn about sensitive historical issues.
I don’t make suboptimal moves on purpose. Okay, that’s a lie. If I’m teaching a game, or a friend seems like they need a win, or the current best move will just piss off everyone at the table, then sure, I’ll intentionally make a less-than-ideal move now and then. Just to keep things breezy. But not when I’m playing solo games, because nobody will get angry because I’m winning or store a grudge for next game or flip my handcrafted game table. When I’m playing alone, there’s simply no reason to take any move other than the best one I can see at any given moment.
That is, until I played Freedom: The Underground Railroad. Let me explain.