Thousand Arrows and Sensitivity, Part II: Dragon King's Gambit

I hope you enjoyed Part I of my series on Thousand Arrows, sensitivity, and respect. Here, Part II addresses issues specific to our 900-backer stretch goal, “Dragon King’s Gambit.” In this campaign, a sea monster attack in December 1592 forces the Imjin War’s Chinese, Korean, and Japanese combatants to work together against a common enemy. It draws on historical, literary, and religious sources: I wouldn’t call it fantasy, but it features folkloric and legendary entities important to East Asian religious practice.

While we’re unlikely to unlock DKG, its subject matter has generated some concern above and beyond the core game. My previous post on best practices for historical gaming governs my take on the Imjin War. But I want to go a little further and break down some of the reasons why folks might worry more about DKG than about core Thousand Arrows, as well as why I think DKG is important nonetheless.

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Best Practices for Historical Gaming

I’d like to share some principles I follow when I work with historical and real-world settings, either in play or in design. For shorthand, I’m going to refer to them as “historical,” but many of these principles also apply to games set on contemporary Earth. This article refers to choices I made in Thousand Arrows, but it isn’t really about Thousand Arrows, so you still get a proper Imjin War-focused Part II later on.

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Thousand Arrows and Sensitivity, Part I: the Core Game

So, Thousand Arrows is on Kickstarter! Thousand Arrows is a tabletop role-playing game about samurai action and tragedy in the Japanese Warring States Period, powered by the Apocalypse. I’ve gotten some questions from the Internet about sensitivity, respect, and appropriation in the game. I’ve broken my answers into what I project to be two blog posts. This first one addresses issues which affect the core game of Thousand Arrows.

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