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GameTalk: Propaganda!

Started by bayonetbrant, February 02, 2015, 03:30:54 PM

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The key to surviving this site is to not say something which ends up as someone's tag line - Steelgrave

"their citizens (all of them counted as such) glorified their mythology of 'rights'...and lost track of their duties. No nation, so constituted, can endure." Robert Heinlein, Starship Troopers


That's a tough one. I haven't really played any games with a real propaganda component. With the Heart of Iron series, propaganda took the form of events sometimes. In Victoria, you had a jingoism value within your national politics, where you could push your country to be more accepting of war (but its still extremely abstract). In order to make propaganda something real with a game, you probably need a game specifically about politics. As George RR Martin would write "Words are wind", so finding a place within the war game genre for propaganda is a little tricky.


Yeah, tricky one. How do you measure it and apply any effects to a battlefield situation, be they either negative or positive. I can see they would be more relevant in a strategic level game but maybe not so much at tactical level.
'We few, we happy few, we band of brothers'

'Clip those corners'

Recombobulate the discombobulators!


Well, you know I've done a few games where propaganda makes an appearance...

In the family (roughly speaking) of strategic-level insurgency games I have done (Tupamaro, Shining Path, Algeria, Andartes, Kandahar, EOKA), propaganda is a mission either side can take, to either raise their own or lower the enemy political support level (this being the oxygen they need to carry on, in one way or another). Certain events (like riots in urban areas) can have effects on this as well.

In the GMT COIN series of games there is some kind of mechanism for each side to contest whether the population in a given area of the map Supports or Opposes the government. Build Support by Pacify/ Civic Action etc., reduce and or flip it by Terror, Agitate, Sharia etc. - term depends on the game. This is differentiated from Control of an area.

I have a system with several modules, as yet unpublished, where both sides try to build Social Infrastructure units among the population - these can be attacked separately from the enemy's armed units, and having them in an area gives you one kind of points: this represents not only having tax collectors, spies, administrative people, but also the effectiveness of your penetration into the social fabric of the area. Again, this is distinct from simple physical domination of routes and locations.

In Green Beret, a game I did on Special Forces in the Central Highlands of Vietnam in 1963-64, there is a Psychological Warfare Phase where the control of an area changes slowly due to the presence of one side or the other's units - whoever had more Control Points gets things to move his way, and the more political units exert more of these Points (VC Cadres and A-Teams exert more than antipathetic-to-Montagnards ARVN regiments, etc.). If you have Control of an area you can recruit new units in it, your patrols work better (or not as well if the enemy has control) and it makes it possible for you to ambush the enemy (friendly locals give you the intel or guide you).