Article: How Civ consistently fails Gandhi

Uberfrog

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I enjoyed this article that was published on Rock Paper Shotgun earlier today: How video games consistently fail Gandhi by Nikhil Murthy.

https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2020/04/22/how-video-games-consistently-fail-gandhi/

Obviously the main focus of the article is the most famous appearance of Gandhi in a game — all 6 editions of Civilization.

This quote stood out to me as the main point:-

If, like Louis XIV, the player is to be the state, then Gandhi can only ever be positioned against them. If a game is to include him, it would have to be leading populist movements against the player. You would see him protest your war-mongering or call for the boycott of your industrial goods. You would see him fast for the independence of the nation you conquered 30 turns ago.

A lot of us here find Nuke Gandhi a meme that has been done to death, and others object to him ruling over ancient India, or any India at all given how he was never Prime Minister in real life.

But the real issue is that depicting Gandhi (perhaps the most successful pacifist anti-colonial activist) as leader of an ever-expanding empire will always fail to capture the man’s most famous attribute. It would be like having Alexander or Genghis Khan as mayor in a peaceful city-builder game.

I think it’s well past time to drop him as a leader. But it raises interesting possibilities for internal resistance guiding the development of your empire beyond general unhappiness or disloyalty. A little like Tropico’s political factions, this could make interesting revolutionary moments within the game.

Any thoughts?
 

PhoenicianGold

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I think Ghandhi just barely fits the expansionist model, given his ideals for Indian unification were generally to push the agenda of a Hindu state over the regional interests of Pakistan and Bangladesh. Nationalism, particularly across large, diverse regions, is just one step away from imperialism, really.
 

Zaarin

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I think it's time for Gandhi to go because India deserves better, not for anything related to Gandhi's philosophy.

It would be like having Alexander or Genghis Khan as mayor in a peaceful city-builder game.
Alexander founded a ton of cities (and promptly named them after his favorite person: himself). I'd have no problem with Alexander as a mayor in a peaceful city building sim. :p

But it raises interesting possibilities for internal resistance guiding the development of your empire beyond general unhappiness or disloyalty. A little like Tropico’s political factions, this could make interesting revolutionary moments within the game.
Endless Space 2 has this, but the idea could use refinement. It could be interesting if done right, though.
 

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Uberfrog

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Alexander the Great founded, or substantially re-established, or renamed, several towns or cities.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cities_founded_by_Alexander_the_Great

Yes, of course. But while many would become great cities, like Alexandria-by-Egypt, they were initially little more than defensive garrisons. Alexander only stayed in Egypt for six months due to his relentless conquering schedule, so I'm not sure we should place too much credit at his feet as far as civic planning goes.

Certainly he does not fit the peaceful part of the SimCity-type :lol:
 

linaker

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Some rulers are not leaders and some leaders are not rulers. Civilisation has included a number of non rulers: eg Joan of Arc, Boudica. Catherine de Medici ruled through her sons; she was never officially the monarch. I see no problem with including leaders like this. For all leaders the game is asking what if... Who knows how Alexander would actually have governed Greece in the 21st Century? What matters is that leaders should be fairly consistent with what we know about them. So Gandhi should get bonuses that encourage peaceful play, Philip II a religious bonus, Ghengis a bias towards cavalry warfare... Maybe leaders like Roosevelt, Churchill, Gandhi shouldn't be able to choose an autocratic government, have greater loyalty but can't easily declare war and Genghis, Alexander etc can't operate a democratic government have less loyalty but have war bonuses.
 

Zaarin

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While I hate Firaxis' portrayals of Boudica, in what sense was she not a ruler? She was queen-regnant of the Iceni who led a revolt against Rome that, while ultimately disastrous, briefly made Rome consider abandoning Britannia.

Maybe leaders like Roosevelt, Churchill, Gandhi shouldn't be able to choose an autocratic government, have greater loyalty but can't easily declare war
Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Roosevelt and Churchill preside over the largest war in human history? :p Also, Roosevelt was elected four times, declared the only issue in the election to be himself, and stacked the courts and bullied Congress to get his agenda passed. If any American president can be described as an autocrat, it's Franklin Delano Roosevelt. :p
 
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Roosevelt and Churchill preside over the largest war in human history? :p Also, Roosevelt was elected four times, declared the only issue in the election to be himself, and stacked the courts and bullied Congress to get his agenda passed. If any American president can be described as an autocrat, it's Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

FDR was at the end of the period where the USA went from regional power to world power having only no economic equals and only one military. That the USA is still a democracy is something he should be given credit for - but history doesn't record what could have happened, only what did.
 

Zaarin

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FDR was at the end of the period where the USA went from regional power to world power having only no economic equals and only one military.
That happens when all your competition has been so courteous as to bomb each other's infrastructure to dust, not once but twice in four decades. :lol:

That the USA is still a democracy is something he should be given credit for
He died shortly into his fourth term; Truman lacked FDR's charisma and strength of will--not to mention the fact that FDR kept him completely in the dark about policy, leaving him woefully underprepared to take command after FDR's death.
 

linaker

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She was queen-regnant of the Iceni.
She was Queen, not Queen Regnant.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Roosevelt and Churchill preside over the largest war in human history?
What has that got to do with it? Neither were the agressor. As for Roosevelt being an autocrat, I don't recall that he abolished Congress or set aside the Constitution.
 

Zaarin

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She was Queen, not Queen Regnant.
She was queen-regnant after the death of her husband.

Moderator Action: Removed trolling. leif
 
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leif erikson

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Naeshar

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But the real issue is that depicting Gandhi (perhaps the most successful pacifist anti-colonial activist) as leader of an ever-expanding empire will always fail to capture the man’s most famous attribute. It would be like having Alexander or Genghis Khan as mayor in a peaceful city-builder game.

I think it’s well past time to drop him as a leader. But it raises interesting possibilities for internal resistance guiding the development of your empire beyond general unhappiness or disloyalty. A little like Tropico’s political factions, this could make interesting revolutionary moments within the game.

Any thoughts?

The article didn't really bring anything new for me. Gandhi's life was one of leadership, however he was leading the people against oppression, not leading them as country. I do not think Gandhi had any plans what to do after the liberation is achieved. Would he still be an active pacifist? Would he prevent the split in three states? We will never know.

Perhaps there could be another representative of pacifism. Like those appeasement politicians from before ww2... wait

Mechanically removing war and aggression from 4x game seems impossible, just look at how Gandhi is depicted and the picture is failing.
 

Saint Leibowitz

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I think my main beef with Civ Gandhi is how he usually just crowds out other fascinating historical leaders of India who deserve a chance at the game.

Like take Ashoka for example. You could do a lot with him as a religiously focused leader.
 
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I don't necessarily see the problem of removing Gandhi in a game of "what if America was a Civilization from 4000 B.C." or "what if Sumeria survived into 2050 A.D. and lived on Mars."
We won't ever know what would happen if Gandhi wasn't assassinated, but the point is he did lead a nationwide movement and was poised to possibly lead them so I would put that in the same scenario as "what if Gandhi survived?"
This is the exact reason why I would be okay with Eva Peron for Argentina.

Now on the topic of there are other interesting leaders for India, I agree. I don't think we need to remove Gandhi permantly to show that as Civ 6 has shown with alternate leaders with Chandragupta, which I applaud.

Besides when, and if, they finally decide to "deblob" India who would lead the modern-day Republic of India? :p
 
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