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Chris Crawford on Game Design by Chris Crawford

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The Wheels of Commerce

Fernand Braudel, the great French historian, wrote a book with this title in which he explained how mercantile capitalism developed in Europe during the period 1500–1800. It's a fascinating book, although perhaps a little too eggheady for most people. I think that it provides the basis for a great game. The mechanics of trade back in those days were nowhere near as well developed as they are today, and the legal structures to support trade just didn't exist, so merchants were (metaphorically) more likely to pack a six-gun than a briefcase.

The player in this game would have to make choices as to the type of merchandise to deal in and where to get it. Your ship leaves Amsterdam with its load of textiles and sails for Sweden, ...

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