In the tradition of Fort Sumter and Red Flag Over Paris (At the printer as of this writing), The Bell of Treason showcases a small footprint, fast-playing card game centered around a pivotal moment of conflict. These low-complexity and short duration games are a fascinating proposition for wargamers. They allow for the coverage of a niche topic that might not have the grandeur for a full-scale game in another system. The topics often place players on the precipice of disaster as in the case of the American Civil War (Fort Sumter), the 2-month fight for control of Paris (and by extension the future of France in Red Flag Over Paris).
The Bell of Treason takes us to World War II and the pivotal moment when Czechoslovakia (and the world) had to make a decision about the approach to handling Hitler’s diplomatically repugnant bullying in central Europe.
Prototype board courtesy of GMTGames.com
So much of the cause of World War II is presented to the public as a black & white Hitler was bad and the world had to deal with it. While true, games like this offer a needed lens into the discourse of the day, the major political figures involved, their political forces, and in a manner that addresses the central question of: If Hitler was so obviously bad, why didn’t anyone do anything meaningful about it sooner?
Playdek’s Fort Sumter in action
I wasn’t a huge fan of Fort Sumter. It was good, but nothing that like snatched my attention. When the masterful app from Playdek was released, I was more appreciative of the time it takes to play and the oddball scenarios that can arise as each player jostles to influence a particular constituency. These short games offer a fantastic opportunity for educator to explore in classroom settings the pivotal role of these moments when history hung in the balance.
Consequently, I am looking forward to The Bell of Treason.
What are your thoughts on this one?