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Have you ever heard of a game called Hidden Agenda (1988)? It reminds me of what you're talking about, in that it's the only "political" game I've played where the objective isn't to achieve political or military hegemony (due to the fact that you're the president of a tiny Latin American country, this is impossible), but to rule as best you can without getting overthrown or assassinated. This means that you're constantly trying to promote peace as much as possible, coming to terms with your people, your cabinet, and foreign nations while having little to no military clout.

Although this game is centered towards promoting peace and social justice as viable options, what the game does not lack is an ever-present sense of conflict, just like the more belligerent games out there; and, like those belligerent games, it's the conflict that makes things interesting and challenging.

Another game which seems to promote this idea of "PeaceCraft" you're talking about is Chris Crawford's classic Balance of Power, although I didn't find this game to be nearly as much fun as Hidden Agenda--mostly because Hidden Agenda makes you feel more like you're part of a story rather than running a statistical simulation.


the classic board game diplomacy was as much about, well, diplomacy as it was about replaying ww1. i remember wheeling and dealing for HOURS in that game.

the only other thing i remember is that Austro-Hungarian Empire NEVER won.


Typical peace type of games that I can think of are Simcity, Civilization, Colonization. In general, I got real bored with maintaining balance because it's too much like my job.

I think the key is to give the option and reward for peace, and likewise you'd have to give the option and reward for violent domination. Some recent games such as Knights of the Old Republic and Fable (even Black and White) have seen some success by allowing players to use their own judgment in developing their characters. You can save the old man from the evil bandits, or you kill the bandits and take their stuff, and then kill the old man, take his stuff, and stab his dead body repeatedly. In turn, your character changes to reflect your personality. By providing the options, you can appeal to everyone.

Mikko Saari

I recommend checking out Terra by Bruno Faidutti, published by Days of Wonder. It's a card game, so you'll find it at http://www.boardgamegeek.com/ or at http://www.terracrisis.com/

Players aim to save the world, while getting a #1 position while at it. Competing with the other players risks destroying the world, ending the game as a shared loss:

"Your goal is to save the planet from the crises that regularly threaten it by maintaining peace and the conditions necessary for a stable social and ecological environment. To win, you will have to collaborate to overcome these crises while balancing your own personal interest: There might only be one winner in the end, but you could easily all lose! You will score points from playing cards for the common good to put crises down, and by selfishly hoarding solution cards that, if all survive, will be worth individual victory points during the final scoring."


civ 3 is as much about buildiing and diplomacy and exploration as it is about conquest. and it definitely draws on the tradition of boardgames like diplomacy, in that success is only acheived by striking alliances, pacts, and non-agresssion treaties. and then, very carefully and selectively...breaking them.

Matthew Arcilla

I'm sure you've heard of Anti-Monopoly. It's a similarly subversive take on its ancestor, in which the default state of the game is not a free market but a monopoly, and the goal is for the players to liberate the properties from corporate control and back into public domain.

As for peace games themselves, I think they'd be fundamentally more interesting, if peace was the GOAL, but wasn't necessarily beneficial to the individual players themselves. What the players would have to do is find a way to maintain peace while accumulating private benefit without upsetting that tranquil little status quo.

Lisa Galarneau

One rather startling example of the kind of thing you suggest is the new educational game, Pax Warrior, in which players act as UN peacekeepers trying to curtail the Rwandan genocide:

Here's a BBC write-up...


I'm an Israeli guy and one of the "PeaceMaker" group, which is working on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict simulator mentioned above. All about political games and other interesting attempts to create video games with an agenda can be found on this forum -http://www.watercoolergames.org/ run by Ian Bogost and Gonzalo Frasca, two pioneers in the field (September 12th, Activism).
As ClockworkGrue suggested, we are trying hard to find a way to create a challenging game dealing with the struggle for peace. It is not only about maintaining low violence level or conducting sharp diplomacy.
We are trying to create a system of balanced risks on the way to achieve peace. It means for example that you might need to fight the enemies of peace by committing violent acts, while at the same time you need to balance it with peace offerings to the moderate leaders in the other side.
It might be that if you go too far and too fast, you might get assassinated or lose your position etc.
It is much like Prime Minister Rabin who was one of Israel's war heroes turned into a warrior of peace, won the noble prize and was assassinated on his way to peace. Same happened to Egyptian President Saadat.
Is this "struggle for peace" feasible? Imagine a synopsis on the back of the box:
PeaceMaker is a single-player simulation game of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Be the Israeli or Palestinian Prime Minister and make bold choices- risking it all to attain peace before your term is up. Extreme factions from both sides will kill and die- doing anything to stop you. You must win or you're damning two nations to another generation of living hell (courtesy of Brian Schrank).
Look forward to hearing your thoughts.

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