A couple of months ago, I released a Call for Blog Posts that invited scholars and students of antiquity to submit a blog post on any subject that connected the ancient world with games. We’ve had various submissions and I’m happy to share these fascinating texts with you all. I’m also thrilled to announce that we’ll be publishing not one, but two separate blog post series. All information can be found below.
Series #1: The Mechanics of Antiquity Games (weekly on Tuesday)
Our first series will focus on the mechanics of, primarily, mythologically inspired antiquity games. Julie Levy will kick things off with a survey of modern antiquity/archaeological games that instead of allowing (or forcing, depending on one’s point of view) the player to fight their way throughout antiquity, take a different approach by having the player solve riddles in ways that remind one of real-world archaeology. Julie ponders what antiquity games could do more, and her post serves as a nice introduction to the series.
Julie’s post is followed by two case studies that share the same premise, but differ in approach. Kira Jones zooms in on the highly popular and widely acclaimed game Hades (2020, Supergiant Games), a roguelike video game that stars Hades’ son Zagreus on his quest to escape the underworld. Specifically, she discusses the mythological inspiration behind the game’s portrayal of the god Poseidon and the divine “boons” he offers Zagreus. Next, Maciej Paprocki sheds light on his experience as a writer and mythology consultant for the game Apotheon (2015, Alientrap), an action platformer role-playing game set after the Iron Age of Greek mythology. In his post, Maciej talks about how the team of developers went about creating the mythologically inspired status effects in the game, not only noting the intricacies and challenges of this process, but also reconciling the game’s story and progression with both ancient mythology and subsequent mythology theory.
I believe that these two posts work nicely in tandem with each other; similar in subject but different in perspective. Both approach their case studies as game researchers, but Kira’s perspective is that of the player, whereas Maciej’s is that of the writer.
Series #2: Britannia on the Board (weekly on Friday)
In our second, more historically oriented series, video and board game designer Maurice Suckling will describe the design process of his board game Rebellion: Britannia. His four posts not only showcase the game, but also detail how the gameplay mechanics relate to the historical sources on the Roman conquest of Britain in the first century CE.
In his first post, Maurice gives an introduction to the game, as well as an example of what a play session of Rebellion: Britannia would look like. The second one recounts the history of Roman Britain that inspired the game. In the third post, Maurice discusses the historicity of the game design, i.e. the many ways in which the rules and overall structure of the game shows similarities to and was inspired by what we know from history. Finally, the fourth and final post is dedicated to the problems of the game’s historicity, i.e. the features or facts of the history of Roman Britain that were transported more difficultly into the game. The last post also includes an invitation for people who would like to playtest the game.
Both series will be published in a weekly format: the first on Tuesdays, and the second on Friday. That gives the following schedule:
|Series #1||The Mechanics of Antiquity Games||Series #2||Britannia on the Board|
|Oct 5||Julie Levy||Oct 8||Maurice Suckling #1|
|Oct 12||Kira Jones||Oct 15||Maurice Suckling #2|
|Oct 19||Maciej Paprocki||Oct 22||Maurice Suckling #3|
|Oct 29||Maurice Suckling #4|
However, before we kick off our blog series, we will first have another Paizomen update, which is long overdue but will finally arrive on October 1st. As teased in the previous update notice, this update will officially be the Asterix update, adding (among others) the many antiquity games that were inspired by the famous Asterix comics by Goscinny & Uderzo. Also, this update will give all the necessary information on our brand new Discord server, which I invite you all to join if you would like to talk about antiquity games, historical games, or other stuff with like-minded people.
I hope you like all that’s coming!
All the best,