Game Design Log Phase 4

Game Content Scouting Process
The reason I chose persecution of Christians in China as the theme of the board game is because it touches upon two things that are very important to my life, Chinese and Christianity. I have grown up as a Christian in a Christian household, and in my high school years, I attended a Christian school. Earlier in my life, when I was 4, I lived in Taiwan, an island off the coast of mainland China. What little I remember of those years, I remember them fondly. Once I was asked to design a game based on something important, I decided to design a game based on these two themes put together, Ministry and China. The theme that draws these two together is persecution. I was already quite aware of the persecution that happened (and is still happening) in china thanks to a book called The Heavenly Man. It included examples of raiding House Churches, tearing down crosses, and arresting and imprisoning people just for not conforming to the Three Self Church, the “official” Christian Church in China. My research for this game largely consisted of looking for examples of persecution today on the internet. I used mainstream news sources, such as the BBC and Time, as well as sources whose specialty is on persecution, like Open Doors and China Aid, a “non-profit, Christian human rights organization committed to promoting religious freedom and rule of law in China.” Also, because of the nature of my game, I needed to know the Provinces of china, so I had to look those up as well.

Game Content
The main thing I want players to learn from this game is that even in our modern era, a superpower like China still persecutes and restricts people based on their faith. The very existence of this game, to me, is like a starting point for a conversation. “Do you want to play this game?” “What is it about?” “It’s about religious persecution in China.” “There’s still religious persecution in China?” and so on. Also in the game are bonus cards that sort of show some of the human rights abuses that the Chinese government has inflicted upon its people of faith. Tearing down church crosses, turning an area next to a church into a dump, restricting what can be taught about the Christian faith, like the Resurrection. Through this, I want players to realize a couple of things. 1) how lucky they are to live in a country with religious freedom, 2) that persecution still goes on, and 3) I want people to ask themselves what they are going to do, now armed with this new information.

Game Design Process
From day 1 was very hostile towards the idea of making a game. the idea of making a game was not the problem. If I could make any old game I wanted, I’d pour so much time and effort into the world of lantavia, where the knights of Arcus must protect the King from the invading mushroom people. Of course, that wasn’t the assignment at hand. the assignment was to create a game that would make the player understand something. I thought that was kind of dumb. In my blog, I wrote about my thoughts at the time “’why does my game have to be about something? lots of games aren’t really about anything.’” But I ate some humble pie and then considered the prompts given to me by experts who clearly know what they’re doing, or they wouldn’t be teaching. The very first prompt was the most important one, since once I figured that one out, the rest just fell into place. “What are you passionate about?” The answer to this question took 3 tries. My first answer was apologetics, that is the defense of the Christian faith. I was having a hard time coming up with any game mechanics for that so I decided to move on to a topic a lot more fun, Power Rangers. That certainly answered the first prompt but another prompt got in the way of me making my super cool Power Rangers game. “What do I want people to understand?” my flimsy answer to that prompt was “I want people to understand why power rangers makes me happy.” Once I was told by my professor that, I’m paraphrasing, “that’s too vague”, I then settled on a combination of two things that matter a lot to me, Christianity and China. It was even better since I’m taking Chinese right now. Once I decided on that I needed a game. So, I decided to remake Risk in the image of China, since I found a good parallel between world domination and trying to suppress a religion.
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Game Mechanics
My game is essentially 2 player risk, with attacking, defending, building up Churches, fortifying your positions mostly the same. I also swapped out the territories for the provinces of China. I decided to use the game Risk as a base I fell that the theme of conquering the world by defeating your enemies and trying to destroy or co-opt Christianity in your country parallel quite nicely. I also wanted the communists and the Christians as opposing forces to highlight the fact that the two ideologies are at odds with each other. If they weren’t, the Christians would not be persecuted in the first place. While playtesting, I realized I had no way of incorporating what I learned about what the Chinese officials to suppress Christianity into the game. since I also did not want just a straight up rip-off of risk, I decided to add some new cards into the mix. These cards would either be a hindrance or a help to the person who played them. These cards would either show the power of the church, or it would show what the governing body does to restrict access to and the expression of faith. the colors of the pieces also have a meaning. Red represents the communist party, since its red, which is the color the communist party uses the most. The yellow represents the Christians, since I see yellow as a color of light. I tried to incorporate an element of surprise into the game through the aforementioned bonus cards.

Play Testing Reflection
My first play test for my game was a little weird. I asked my Dad to play with me, but he clearly wanted to just wanted to watch the game that was on Television. We played the game, but dad was really mostly there to remind me of the rules of original risk, since at the time, it was still only a carbon copy of risk. During this play test, I mainly focused on the 3 main parts of normal risk, which were getting troops, attacking and fortifying my position, since that is the fun part of Risk. It was during this play session I noticed that there was no way of incorporating the things I learned about the Communist party’s tactics into the game. that’s when I decided to come up with bonus cards that would either hinder or help you. I also decided to change the way you gain troops, since the number of pieces was a concern to me. So for my second playtest, I made sure the we focused on getting the bonus cards. In all honesty, the game played like a fairly standard game of risk.
My second round of play testing did not go so well. I realized I needed to add a few things to the rules. For one thing, I forgot to include a better system of how to get more troops. You put one of your pieces in each territory, taking turns till all the pieces are filled. Then every turn, you divide the number of provinces you have by three. That’s the number of new pieces you get. I also narrowed down my focus on what it is I am representing when I am playing with the pieces. The yellow pieces represent churches being built up and torn down. When you are attacking as the yellow side, you are really converting and putting up new churches in regions. With that, my play testing was done and now I can present it for play for you today.

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