When we talk about games the first one that comes to mind is definitely the game of chess, and on closer inspection. Chess has long been considered the quintessential game. The profound impact and significance that they have had and continue to have in modern society deserves a little insight.
Chess presumably originated in India around the 7th century, but leaving aside the legend of the famous reward in grains of wheat impossible to meet, chess in its most common form represents the reproduction of a miniature battle. At that time in battle the Indian army used elephants, mounted warriors, troops on chariots, troops on foot and the prince with his generals, and this was reflected in the shape of the pieces and their movement. Later the game spread to neighboring Persia (Iran) and became part of princely and courtier education.
Again it spread to China and to Arabia and finally to Europe. It is noteworthy that each culture made changes to the rules and appearance of the game’s pieces to better reflect its own “vision” of the world i.e., to make the game more in keeping with its own cultural reality and identity.
In this sense, however, what has never changed is that the game represents a clash that develops slowly, from a phase of relative tranquility, of exploration of the territory, and soon turns into a bloody battle for survival that inevitably ends with the defeat of the opposing army and the death of its commander-in-chief.
The game therefore provides the best example of what it means to confront two cultures represented by the two opposing players, not coincidentally nowadays identified by the colors black and white. Two clashing minds, two different worldviews, two different lifestyles. It is therefore evident that in the small board of 8×8 squares the different philosophies of life of the two contentendents come to develop in the course of the game, representing quite clearly the character and inclinations of both.
Here one can easily distinguish, those who play offense or defense, the strategists and the wait-and-seekers, the rear-guardists and those who fight in the trenches just to give a few examples.
Are you beginning to see the parallels with Azad ?
Two strategists and two strategies, a battlefield and two armies waging war.
The game of chess has evolved over millennia and still undergoes changes inevitably due to the changing and evolving cultural context that changes with different generations of practitioners.
What will the game of chess be like in another 2,000 years ?
Will it still be sufficient and satisfactory to represent two opposing factions for the sole purpose of making war on each other ?
Will it still be sufficient and satisfactory to use a chessboard of 8×8 squares to represent a simple terrain or area of confrontation ?
If we think about the games that have developed in recent decades, it is easy to see how the intent of these games has expanded considerably. Modern games are often simulations of far broader contexts than simply two contenders equipped with pawns.
Today we want and need to measure ourselves against broader elements and concepts of greater scope. Today we want to recreate and master the smallest minutiae that draw on a clash that itself is reductive in intent, because today we want to “conquer and expand.”
Land, resources, space, value, game elements, everything.
And it is in this context that Azad can be understood, the attempt to soddify this need by recreating a miniature no longer just the clashing field of two armies, but the entire existence of two contentors and their nature.
Azad claims to be able to recreate and simulate life itself, as it unfolds in its daily routine, the continuous struggle of every living being to survive in society, from simply feeding oneself to aspiring to a better position, from forming friendships (the alliances) with those who can benefit us, to betrayals, from trying to influence events with our actions, to personal growth and maturation that leads us toward a greater awareness of our abilities and possbilities.
Azad is the evolution of chess intended to broaden the playing field (clash) by using the entire life and society in which we live as a battlefield.
Here we cannot pretend or hide, here we can only succeed or fail, because our own fate in life depends on the results.
Let us remember that in Azadian society our social position, our jobs and our earnings depend on our skill in the game.
There are no alibis or excuses, only the best advance and survive, on the other hand the empire does not discount anyone, that is why it is so important to know how to play the game well and that is why there are schools and institutions to teach the game to all the people since childhood.
Everyone can and should be measured and compared, because life as well as the empire does no one any favors, either you are able and willing to risk everything every time a piece moves, or you will forever remain on the fringes of society forced to live a life made up only of dreams never realized.
And you every morning as soon as you open your eyes to the new day, you immediately start thinking about the war that awaits you as soon as you get your feet out of bed.
This is AZAD the holy game, are you ready to fight ?
As always awaiting your comments and opinion.
4 thoughts on “Involutional Expansion”
I suggest thinking in terms of Warhammer, DnD, and the Sid Meiser’s Civilisation series, anlong with chess, in term of multiple overlapping levels of depth, the ability to play simple versions in two person and yet be scalable to huge days or weeks long multiplayer events without loosing the feel of the samegame being play at either end of the spectrum
Hello Peter, thank you for your comment. I agree with You, the games you mentioned are much closer to Azad than chess. I had however made a brief mention of the latter at the beginning of the post. In any case, my intent in this post was to draw attention to the importance in society of a game that has had a millenary development like chess. In this sense it is the only game that can represent a parallel with Azad unlike the others which are of very recent development. I hope you will continue to follow the development of the game and look forward to your further comments.
I would argue that it is barely like chess in that is has been around for a long time, Go even longer, yet unlike Azad, these games have remained mainly unchanged, where as one of the fundamental features of Azad is that is has grown from something simple and enthusiastically so. Thats why I suggest that comparing Azad to a relatively simple game such as chess doesn’t help develop you game in any helpful way.
You are absolutely right and in fact the development I’m carrying out of AZAD is not based on chess but on the games that were available at the time Iain M.Banks wrote the novel and certainly Civilization is one of them.
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