The logs of another dice chucker
Gaming, ranting, bitching, and moaning

Religion And Games

So I’ve been away for a little bit, sorry about that. I’ve been dealing with some stuff and getting my life sorted out so I haven’t really been able to focus on this thing for the last several weeks. Anyway; I’m back and with a very touchy discussion that I certainly hope doesn’t spark a shit-storm like I think it might if I had more readers: religion in gaming. I’m not talking about religious people gaming, I’m talking the presentation of religion in gaming.

Generally religion is kind of put on the back burner, unless it’s a completely fictional setting where you can make up all the crazy faiths you want and it isn’t a big deal how you portray them. The main thing I want to discuss is the portrayal of actual religions in tabletop gaming; mainly between the games Hell Dorado and Infinity.

Now Infinity may not seem to come off with strong religious tones, but when you read the Pan-O fluff it’s very clear that they’re pretty hyper religious. Hell you can field Joan of Arc as a model in your army. Pan-O is presented as both a massive financial powerhouse, and also as the Catholic Church with power armor. Haqqislam is also religious(both armies feature the highest percentage of models with the “religious troop” special rule), but presented in a different way. Obviously Islam and violence is a touchy subject because there’s apparently more close-minded dolts than there are rational people on this planet these days, but Infinity presents them as enlightened and highly intelligent. They present this New Islam in a very positive light, and I like that. But still; religion isn’t a major part of the game. The back-story touches on it and there are religiously themed units(all the Knights, for example), but it’s never really overt about it.

Hell Dorado, on the other hand, is very overt about it since it’s entirely about a literal holy war against the forces of Hell. So there’s very overt religious themes going on in this game, especially since faith and religion are stats and keywords for units. It can be a very touchy subject when you have a band of Muslim warriors from the Ottoman Empire fighting against fallen angels, or even worse against Florentine Christians. Things can get very touchy and if not handled properly your game can suddenly be presenting one religion as better than another. I think Cipher Studios(the folks who make Hell Dorado) do a good job at keeping the game from devolving into a “which faith is better?” debate with every match. Still; stupid people will do and say stupid things(like the one goon in a  batrep who, when asked who he’s playing, replies with “I’m playin’ tha mooslims!” in a think southern drawl like the hillbilly he is).

So should faith be avoided in games? No. There are very few things I think are off limits, and religion is not one of them. Look; any game set on Earth is going to have the question of religion come up because, let’s face it, there’s a whole lot of religious people on this planet. So long as the game handles it tactfully and doesn’t make it into something bigger than it needs to be then I fail to see any problem. And we, the gamers, can’t let our beliefs dictate how and what we play or how we treat our fellow gamers. So no; it doesn’t make someone a bad Catholic for playing Haqqislam.


No Responses to “Religion And Games”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: