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Civ 6, in Eurocentric cultural analysis

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by Verenti, Oct 10, 2016.

  1. Verenti

    Verenti Chieftain

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    Having seen the Polish nationalist thread, I decided to run the numbers based on representation of cultures within culture groups, as determined by me:

    Tier 4 (Arguably Tier 1)

    Latin - 3 Primary (Spain, Rome, France), 1 Secondary (Brazil), 1 Periphery (Greece)

    Latin is the most populated category, if only by the virtue of the Greeco-Roman relation. I would not feel a "Greek" or "Byzantine" group would be fair and I think "Mediterranean" is both too broad and making Greek as seen as extra-European instead of making it unique within Europe. A good spread within the group accommodating mostly everyone in the New World (together with the Germanic group).

    Tier 3

    Germanic - 3 Primary (Germany, Britain, Norway), 1 Secondary (USA)

    Without Greece, Germanic peoples account for an equal number of civilizations as the Latin group. Again, three and a secondary European culture (USA). Norway is, maybe, a bit surprising, as Britain is a sea-faring Germanic culture. Maybe Vikings are popular right now?

    Tier 2

    East Asian - 2 Primary (Chinese, Japanese)

    No surprises here.

    Mesopotamian - 2 Primary (Scythia, Sumeria)

    We always see a few ancient civilisations from this part of the world.

    Middle Eastern - 2 Primary (Arabia, Egypt)

    It's a bit weird to choose a Greek lady to rule over Egypt. Weirder yet that they have her speaking Egyptian? Maybe it isn't. Antiquity isn't my thing.

    Tier 1

    Meso-American (Aztec)

    Almost as much of a mascot as Gandhi.

    Slavic (Russia)

    Honestly, I would have excepted a second Slavic civilisation, but I'm not surprised that there isn't.

    South Asian (India)

    Gandhi is a sort of mascot, but its a shame he is included. I've heard people use the argument that he's simply the most recognisable Indian on the world's stage Moderator Action: snip
    Please read the forum rules: http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=422889
    . These games should be used to educate people, not only children (like Civ 1 did with me and my friends) but people who like strategy games, but may not be super keen on history.

    Sub-Saharan African (Congolese)

    Token black empire? Yep. Arguably, there are much better selections for the role of "token black empire", but I suppose if these games are educating people (they did educate children in the 1990's), it wouldn't hurt to get more African civilisations that haven't been included yet.


    Verdict: I need a verdict? I suppose my verdict is that the distribution is as you would expect in mostly giving people from nearly anywhere someone to play as. This roster doesn't break new ground and that's probably not terrible.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 13, 2016
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  2. Halcyan2

    Halcyan2 Emperor

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    Not weird at all. Historically, LOTS of female rulers were actually born/raised in another culture.

    For example, Catherine the Great of Russia was originally Prussian.
    And Catherine de Medici was Italian.

    At least Cleopatra's family had several generations of ruling Egypt (unlike Catherine and Catherine).

    In the context of other Civ VI leaders, Pedro II was Portuguese and Saladin was Kurdish.

    And some forumites have complained about choosing Mvemba a Nzinga as leader of Kongo since he adopted "Western" customs (i.e. Christianity).
     
  3. Sonereal

    Sonereal ♫We got the guillotine♫ Supporter

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    Gandhi is not a sort of mascot. I would argue nuke-wielding Gandhi is *the* mascot of the series because from the get-go, you have everything you need to know about the game. Civilization is a trip through history that doesn't take itself *too* seriously.

    I really hope to see DLC and mods flesh out the current roster. Civilization V, between mods and the official civilizations, has an absolutely amazing stable of fleshed out, balanced civilizations. I feel like Civilization VI will be the same way a year from now.

    Biggest surprise on this list is Brazil, a civilization added in the last game's expansion. Didn't realize Brazil had earned itself such a favored position in the pantheon. I'm somewhat less surprised by the lack of Venice, which I feel would be extremely interesting showcase for Civilization VI's new systems, but lacked as strong an identity as Brazil.

    Overall, a very safe roster. The Kongo, even if there are arguably better selections, is at least interesting in execution on paper and has me itching to try them out.
     
  4. fay902

    fay902 Chieftain

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    I think Kongo kind of filled Venice's role as a niche unique civ. They both have a UA that changes their play-style somewhat radically (with Kongo it completely blocks them out of a victory path), and they both rely on other civs to prosper (with Venice it was setting up trade routes, and with Kongo it's hoping other civs spread their religion).
     
  5. nzcamel

    nzcamel Nahtanoj the Magnificent

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    So your tiers are based on the number of Civs inside them? I find that confusing re tier 4 & 3.
    Nice to see a deeper breakdown though that actually looks at the divisions inside Europe rather than merely complaining about too many Europeans.
     
  6. D712

    D712 Queen

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    Cleopatra speaking Egyptian (does she speak Egyptian or does she speak Arabic in her dialogue? idk it myself) isn historically sound since she's hailed by many historians for having adopted the culture of the Egyptian people (that is, she was culturally Egyptian but likely racially Greek meaning white).

    Other than that you're right, the roster is the typic civ white-fest. I wish there was more of an effort to, if not reduce the number of European civs, then to simply boost the number of non-European civs at launch. Put in an equal amount of work on the groups instead of tokenizing with the implicit promise of more to come.
     
  7. Civciv5

    Civciv5 Grand Emperor

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    You forgot:
    Tier 0:
    -Native American
    -Oceania
    -Southeast Asia
     
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  8. jekke

    jekke Warlord

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    I have seen this argument a number of times now, and I couldn't help but wonder where does it all come from. I understand you would like video games to educate people, but what other than your desire makes you think that the games should do it? It is written somewhere in the manifesto of game designers, or did at least someone from firaxis speak about it?
     
  9. randomwalker

    randomwalker Chieftain

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    because (if done right) it adds value to the game without taking away anything.

    Also: "but mom, it's educational" has always been a good argument for being allowed to play just a little longer (and if my own kids were into civ instead of pokemon, they'd know it still works).
     
  10. rreebb

    rreebb Chieftain

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    Isn't there some good background info on the civs in the Civilopedia? I also saw a "Biography" button for great people, which incidentally no streamer I saw ever clicked ;)

    Other than that, the priority is on enjoyment (and sales, for Firaxis). If including Brazil helps drive sales and make more expansions possible, why not.
     
  11. randomwalker

    randomwalker Chieftain

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    Aside from the fact that it is a big market for firaxis, Brazil is a large modern economic power (in the top 10 by total gdp) which warrants a place in the game. It is also the dominant country in a continent that would otherwise be represented only by the Aztects, and an area not covered by any other civ in the game.

    I was more surprised to see Scythia. I absolutely see the role for a rapid conquest civ but expected mongols.
    Norway is also somewhat surprising, but vikings are popular and norway fits the niches of ocean exploration and coastal raiding much better than the other nordics. (But despite being norwegian myself, I wouldn't mind seeing the civ renamed as 'the vikings' using Norse city names rather than the modern ones).
     
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  12. randomwalker

    randomwalker Chieftain

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    Re: Eurocentrism

    to the OP: is the perceived issue that people want to play their own country, or that western society has a too euro-centric view of world history?

    I have always looked at the civ roster as having the following categories:
    1-ancient 'superpowers': greece, rome, egypt, china, babylon, carthage...
    2-medieval and colonial age great powers: england, france, spain, germany (and venice, vikings, dutch, etc), china, russia, japan, mongolia, aztecs, incas, india,...
    3-modern important countries: us, china, germany, uk, russia, france, brazil, india, arabia,...

    One problem with the 'balance' is that china and india cover millennia of history in huge areas, while the corresponding 'european civilization' is represented by 8-10 civs. Unfortunately, just like EU has 4 of the 10 largest economies in the world and china only 1, there's not much to do about that.

    The other problem is that the ancient and medieval lists are euro-heavy.
    In the colonial age most people will agree that the world was pretty euro-dominated, but in the medieval and ancient it obviously wasn't and the reason for euro-centrism have to do with perspective: western civilization has always been more concerned with our own history than anyone elses, and off the top of my head I can tell you lots of european history but simply can't name many medieval east asian and sub-saharan great powers.
    Here Firaxis obviously have a great chance to educate us, but at the risk of upsetting various nationalists by not choosing them first...

    The long-term solution for that bit is of course to introduce lots more civs to make everyone happy.
     
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  13. nzcamel

    nzcamel Nahtanoj the Magnificent

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    And given that in the 1st and 2nd of the 3 examples you provide at least, they never got past Chiefdom on the Civics tree; maybe there is a good reason for that...

    I think Sid has said as much himself ;)

    Still - what impact has Brazil had on the world outside of football? Name me something the wider world owes to them. I think there's a far better case for the Incans being the most dominant South American Civ of all time; even if the Aztecs were South American (they're not).

    Very well said.
     
  14. Uberfrog

    Uberfrog Deity

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    It clearly is hugely eurocentric, but inevitably so: Europeans and their formerly colonial descendants make up a huge proportion of the audience, a majority of the developers, and for various historical reasons the predominant group in determining the modern understanding of history and the very concept of "civilisation".

    I would argue that even your analysis is eurocentric :p. You appear to distinguish "cultures" in Europe by linguistic groups. Why do we have separate categories for Germanic, Slavic and Latin, but one lump category for China and Japan? :p
     
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  15. Couch Tomato

    Couch Tomato First Tomato Emperor

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    I personally have never really bought in to the whole "Eurocentrism" complaint. The reason Civ is Eurocentric is because the world as we know it is essentially Eurocentric. Much of the military conquests, science, and culture comes from European powers who have made much more impact "per capita" than most of the rest of the world. Of course you have major non-European powerhouses, which are mostly represented (China, Japan, India, Egypt, the Mesopotamian civs, etc). And if you want to talk about proportions, China and Japan make up a massive chunk of people.

    There's still a lot of major civs that haven't been represented -- it's just the vanilla game (we're used to it by now) -- but by the time everything is said and done, Civ VI will represent a vast majority of the historical world powers and cultures, and it's really just a matter of bringing in civs who objectively and not Eurocentrically had much less of an impact on the world, but at least bring something to the game diversity and "what if" potential.
     
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  16. randomwalker

    randomwalker Chieftain

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    I was thinking more about the simple facts that it's the 5th largest country, 9th largest economy, Sao Paulo used to be the largest city in the world and Rio is one of the culturally most iconic. But i'll try to answer (from my eu-centric layman perspective):

    The main impact on the rest of the world is likely coffee (and other foodstuffs), football, tourism, samba and ecological awareness (and maybe gemstones?). In science/tech at least hot air balloon (and maybe aircraft), some some deep-sea oil drilling tech, pharmacy advances (from rainforest research) and nanotech, but the impact seems mostly cultural. Historically the main impact has been to make europe wealthy, but last 100 years they have spearheaded south america from underdeveloped to modern society.

    So, while Brazil historically has had little direct influence on the 'development of western civilization', except as a trading partner and resource producer, it has played an important role in the development of the world economy in the last 50 years.


    that said, i'm perfectly fine with the argument that Incas should be in the game as they were the dominant 'original' civilization. You can have both rome and spain, so why not brazil and inca. The reasons for Brazil over Inca I believe is simple marketing strategy - brazilian nationalism sells more games than ancient history.
     
  17. nzcamel

    nzcamel Nahtanoj the Magnificent

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    Because for most of their existence, even though they have different racial groups & cultures inside them, Japan and China have largely been unified countries, even if ruled by different entities... Harder to separate them out into different Civs than the Europeans given ironically their success on that level.

    I'm pretty sure coffee is a South American thing in general, and was around before the nation of Brazil. As to the rest, it's far too generic to really make a good case for Brazil to be in the vanilla release of the game.
    Brazil is there largely thanks to the Olympics methinks (good one Greece...and France lol). Though you're right that Brazil will sell quite a few more copies.
    In the end I like that Brazil are in Civ, just would've preferred the Incans in the Vanilla release.
     
  18. Uberfrog

    Uberfrog Deity

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    Oh I agree, my point was rather in grouping civs into categories, the OP showed a eurocentric bias in distinguishing between "Slavic" and "Germanic" civs (linguistic groups), and not China and Japan, despite these being at least as (if not more) divergent culturally (and linguistically).

    Actually, coffee originates in Africa (the Ethiopians claim it, but I don't know what the historical record shows), and its consumption predates the European colonisation of the Americas.
     
  19. nzcamel

    nzcamel Nahtanoj the Magnificent

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    Yes, but that's because there have been different competing civilizations rise up out of the Slavs and the Germans etc. By and large that hasn't happen in Japan or China as they have stayed unified over the centuries despite their differences.

    Thanks for the info re coffee. Just another nail in Brazils coffin in terms of impact and originality.
     
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  20. MistyRonin

    MistyRonin Warlord

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    Universal History, has mainly been written by Western European descends, specially during colonialism. So it's kind of logical that Civ devs present history that way.

    Is the modern World West Europe-centric?

    In a way yes, for good or for bad Europe had a lot of influence on how the World has been shaped politically.

    I'd have choosen another rooster, but I understand them.

    Where were the Aztecs from then? Asia? :)

    I guess you meant that Southern and Northern American Natives are missing.
     
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