• Svenia Nowak
4. semester, Kultur, kommunikation og globalisering, kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
Boardgames are a popular mean of entertainment and are widely enjoyed by people of all ages as a way of getting together as a group, have fun and relax. Even though they are commonly perceived as a medium that provides fun and engagement to its players, boardgames are also cultural texts that can convey underlying assumptions and views on the places, people and cultures that are represented in them. Therefore, boardgames should be examined continuously to uncover and examine the representations made in them. Boardgames belonging to the genre of Eurogames immerse the player into their narrative by providing a theme to the players such as Arabian, Roman or Jungle. In his essay “Postcolonial Catan” (2014), boardgame designer Bruno Faidutti remarked upon a lack of Postcolonial game design, which is taken as a point of departure for this thesis’ topic.
This thesis explores the meanings that the two boardgames, Five Tribes (2014) and Cacao (2015) convey under a Postcolonial perspective. While in Five Tribes the Orient is used as a theme, Cacao takes place in a jungle setting. Therefore, both games not only present Western target players with perspectives of other places, but they also signify power relations between the player and the perceived other and carry underlying assumptions about the people and places represented in them.
Two methods have been used as part of this Master Thesis. First, a social semiotic analysis was carried out on each of the two boardgames to uncover the (hidden) meanings inherent to the Eurogames under analysis. Then, two focus groups were conducted to gain insight into how players of Cacao and Five Tribes interpret the games´ themes and representations from their perspective. Each group consisted of three players, whereas one group consisted of people playing on a casual basis, while the second group featured participants who play boardgames on a regular basis. Before engaging into a discussion, both groups where presented with the games and played them. A thematic analysis was then carried out on the focus group transcripts to explore the participants´ views towards the games they played.
As a result of both of my analyses, I found that Cacao and Five Tribes adopt a discourse charged with stereotypical views of the places and people they represent and adopt a colonial gaze towards these people and places. Moreover, the games that were analysed in this thesis it put the player in a position of power where he or she is in charge of managing labour and life in exotic and faraway places, and act reminiscent of colonial times.
Udgivelsesdato31 maj 2016
ID: 234498420