History, Colonialism and Games

Date: Oct 24, 2021 2:10 am
Duration: 0:50 hrs
Liam Stevens, Tof Eklund, Hamish Cameron
Speaker headshots
All roleplaying games engage with history on some level. From explicitly Historical games that aim to simulate or represent a historical place or situation, to games that draw inspiration from historical cultures or events in the creation of fantastic settings, to games whose themes or conditions of creation position themselves within a political context with an inevitable history. This panel brings together three people whose different personal histories and connections to history (as an experience) and to History (as an idea), give them different relationships to history, games, and colonialism in Aotearoa New Zealand.

  • Hamish Cameron (he/him) is a pākehā tabletop game designer and academic. In game design circles, he is most well known for The Sprawl (2016) and Dinosaur Princesses (2019). In his academic work as a Lecturer in Classics at Te Herenga Waka | Victoria University of Wellington, he studies the history and geography of the Roman Near East, ideological representations of imperialism in classical literature, and the reception of ideas about the ancient world in modern analog and digital games. His current design projects include a board game on Romano-Parthian Mesopotamia and three tabletop roleplaying games, all of which relate to history in some way. You can find links to his game design work at Ardens Ludere, to his academic work on his VUW page and to his hot takes on Twitter @peregrinekiwi.

  • Liam Stevens (he/him) is a Māori/English game designer, cultural consultant and podcaster who claims whakapapa to Ngāti Kahungunu ki te Wairoa and is himself a product of colonialism. Primarily known for his involvement in the Mud & Blood podcast as well as projects such as Dissident Whispers (2020) and his sensitivity reading and cultural consultation in the TTRPG space. He is currently busy at work on his new game Fistful of Sixes and doing commission work here and there. Professionally Liam works in the health and wellbeing sector working with societies most vulnerable. You can keep track of everything he is up to at www.toatabletop.com or on twitter at @_Boganova_

  • Tof Eklund (they/them) teaches at AUT, where they’re engaged in critical and creative work in game narrative and queer subculture. They’re a dedicated Mop (Mom + Pop = Mop) to their children, something of an anarchist, a collector of small gods, and a few flamingos short of a flamboyance. Their viking ancestors helped teach the English how to invade and colonise other people’s homes, before converting to Christianity and adopting more “civilized” forms of theft, including real estate fraud and landlord-ship. They grew up in Southern California and lived all over the United States before immigrating to New Zealand. Tof has been playing RPGs since they were in primary school, has run games in a range of different systems, edited and co-authored the fantasy RPG supplement The Unconventional Dwarf, and is presently working on a RPG that grounds supernatural horror in American exceptionalism, white supremacism, and historical amnesia. Tof writes about videogames for Gamers with Glasses and occasionally posts on twitter @tofeklund.


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