I recently sat down to play a solitaire boardgame about the Ottoman Empire in World War I, which would seem like the most random damn thing ever. I don’t have any context for a game about the Ottoman Empire. They’re the ones that had the scripted bankruptcy in one of the Europa Universalis games, right? An expansive, centuries old empire in the predominantly Arab world that couldn’t sustain itself because, uh, well I guess you had to read various histories to answer that. If I recall correctly, Paradox just hardcoded into the game that the Ottomans would fall apart because, you know, that’s how it really happened. You have to work hard in a Europa Universalis game to build up your own blob. You can’t just take someone else’s blob and run with it with impunity.
So here’s a solitaire boardgame about the last days of the Ottomans and I’m eager to play it precisely because I know nothing about the last days of the Ottomans. I have no reason to care whether I win or lose. I have no context for this. But I’m happy to have the numbers and rules show me the way, to have them create narratives to pique my interest, to cultivate in me some sort of curiosity. Let’s see what happens.
After the jump, a tabletop adventure starring Peter O’Toole, Mel Gibson, and the enormity of the Armenian genocide. Continue reading →