How Politics Affects a Turn-Based Strategy Game: What Your Game Designers need to Know?

Turn-based strategy games like chess, checkers and go have been popular for centuries because they pit players against one another in a fair competition where skill is the predominant factor. This genre follows rules, not personal or political agendas.

In What Way Do Politics Affect Turn-Based Games?

Every player has equal opportunity to win and lose, regardless of gender, race, religion or other factors that affect real-world outcomes. In politics, there’s an old saying about putting your own house in order before you criticize someone else. This applies to game designers as well as politicians.

In any game you create with political implications — whether it’s a medieval fantasy world with elves and dwarves or a modern military shooter — you need to consider how your game will affect the people who play it during an interesting mode in a turn-based game.

Politics and Game Theory

A political game is one that is either overt or covert in its political messages. Political games are on the leading edge of game design and are often controversial due to the nature of the topics they explore. 

Game theory extends beyond politics to psychology, economics and philosophy. In its simplest definition, game theory is a way of understanding human behavior through the lens of games.

Political Ideologies in Games

In a game, you can communicate a political ideology in many ways. You can communicate the game’s politics via art, narrative or mechanics. For example, you could put a player in a position where they have to make a political choice, such as choosing to solve a conflict with diplomacy or violence.

A political ideology is like a lens that you view the world through. It’s something you believe in and it informs your beliefs, thoughts and actions.

Gender Representation in Games

Games have historically had male protagonists, and this has spawned a lot of debate. On the one hand, there are people who claim that male characters are necessary to drive the narrative, while on the other hand, there are people who claim that female characters would be just as effective.