This is a question we get a lot. The good thing is people think they know who merchants are, well they at very least want to think they know who merchants are. In truth merchants are very different in their habits, approaches and natures over the course of time, right. You could never expect a street peddler in Rome to accept Credit Cards, or an Ancient Sumerian to understand the coins in your pockets. Yet Romans had banks (look up A for more information, or read the history of banking on Wikipedia) and Sumerians still had objects of value (see B or more history of Banking and Money).
Freeburg is nowhere, and Freeburg is everywhere to every human that ever was or will be. Freeburg is a dilemma and a goal. Freeburg is a balance of many players. It is the big question for all people and peoples. When we declare and defend one’s independence and the independence of our neighbors and our neighbors’ neighbor, this is the discourse that must take place. When we reaffirm our loyalties or seek to expand or limit the powers that be, this is the discourse that must take. When we question the point and efforts of government and the market, this is the discourse that must take place.
Merchants of Freeburg is a tool to talk about the heavier issues that we in our living rooms could never feel we had the know how to talk about with comfort or enough relevant information. Merchants of Freeburg is a Board Game first and foremost! It is about living out the choices and lives of the countless unsung heros of the Merchants in a Storybook Esque Fictional Town. What makes Freeburg a worthwhile experience is unlike any other medium of art, it will let you toy with ideas about government and the market. And it is a board game, so nobody will ever learn of your exploits, no matter how morally questionable, in the game, unless you choose to share them.
A better question for Freeburg is; When is Freeburg? While it is clearly a Western European Settlement, The best players of this game will tell you that is its setting in time. Back before our industry, Back before our Enlightenment, back before our Reformation, Back before our Rebirth, back in “highest of societies” in the late Dark Age of Western Society. Yet in this game players may have a chance to see the light at the end of this period of the shared history of our common language. And while this is a game set in the simple words of our shared language’s common history, the mechanics of this game can be set anywhere in time or cultures.
This is the game in the minds of every protester, every armchair thinker and every armchair tinker in the realms of all parts of society. The real question of any interest is Why Merchants and Why Freeburg.
Merchants are the feet of the world. Without them ideas would never move between cities. Without them Government have no revenue. Without their acceptance world leaders are just talking heads. Historical change is up to them. In our Game Merchants of Freeburg, we use a very wide definition of the word Merchant. In general, in the game a merchant are all people who choose to do things without being the sovereign of a total group of people. So in English my merchants aren’t just salesmen and women, but independent farmers, righteous thieves, outspoken clergy, union leaders, protest leaders, dissenters, envelope pushers, visionary inventors and the millions of the unsung heroes of history.
Freeburg is the choice every merchant needs to make. Remain “Free” to do as they please, or build a little bit of the “Burg” to remain safe to live to next big profit. This is the ultimate change of statecraft as noted by state crafters throughout Humanity. From Benjamin Franklin’s “They who can give up essential Liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety” (see part C for more) to the very different challenges of Tecumseh “Let us form one body, one heart and defend to the last warrior our country, our homes, our liberty and the graves of our fathers” (see part D for more). This is the central tradeoff between all individuals within all societies. When to act freely and When to act in our common good. The challenge in our game is to play the game from the perspectives of merchants and work together and apart to see who can win that particular game. The uniqueness of our design and mechanics is in the fact that never will you have a game that will be similar to the ones you had before, and all the times you play this game the trusted mechanics are as much or as little as you and your group feels it can handle.
Stay informed about the continued development cycle of this game and others we design by reading this Blog. Coming Sunday is a Blog about the current state of our Illustration and a more indepth look about our selected artist, Anna Hollinrake. You can see more about her previous work from her website, here http://anna-hollinrake.tumblr.com/.
Links for your idea surfing pleasure:
H Temporini, W Haase. Principat, Volume 8. Walter de Gruyter, 1977. ISBN 3110073374.
More Quotes on Liberty http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/liberty.html
More Quotes on Security http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/security.html