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Playing Machiavelli in the Middle East with “Conflict” (2014) (jasonlefkowitz.net)
67 points by smacktoward 11 days ago | hide | past | web | 8 comments | favorite





At the bottom of the article: UPDATE (November 7, 2019): Thanks to the wizards at the Internet Archive, you can now play Conflict: Middle East Political Simulator right in your Web browser. https://archive.org/details/conflict_201509

You can also check Abandonia.

I loved that game. It was a great tool to learn about real-politic and cost of surviving in a hostile environment. Other great games were Hidden Agenda https://archive.org/details/msdos_Hidden_Agenda_1988 and Stalin's Dilemmna https://www.mobygames.com/game/stalins-dilemma/

> It was a great tool to learn about real-politic and cost of surviving in a hostile environment

I've tried to play a game now. The game is a political statement in itself: it assumes that if you try to keep good relationships with everybody, they will be trying to destroy you anyway. I really don't see why.


Because the other states are also not that friendly to each other.

If you try to have friendly relations with two countries that are at war with each other, it makes sense that both will say "hey, why are you friendly to our enemy?".


Because the options of the game are, in part by necessity, extremely simplistic. If there are tensions between states, you can be friendly or hostile towards either or both, but you can also try to understand why there is a conflict and try to defuse it- encouraging diplomacy between them, pressuring allies to do the same, asking for economic support in exchange for peace, etc. There are many more options than just "be friendly/ hostile" to one or the other.

I wonder whether the author of Conflict was trying to make an uber-realistic simulation, or a fun game. If the latter, the game was a great success, it's a fantastic game. At some point you have to let chess be chess, you shouldn't add in all sorts of "realistic" rules about how the bishops can try to convert each other using theology or how the king can steal a knight's horse, turning the knight into a pawn but increasing the king's movement range, etc. etc.

I remember playing this game for hours and hours as a little kid, on an old DOS computer. A fun meta-game is to try and just keep the game going as long as possible, which means trying to find the right balance of keeping at least one competitor strong enough to survive but too weak to go to war with you or someone else. And hope you don't die in a nuclear holocaust caused by some non-neighboring nations like Iran and Iraq.



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