I was thinking about this ever since I mentioned trains yesterday. But there is a breed of games that are explicitly trying to communicate messages on a variety subjects.
#This Guilty Land by Tom Russell is nominally about the frictions in place before the Civil War in the USA. But, it also communicates, or tries to communicate, that the Civil War was inevitable, and that compromise in moral questions is not something we should consider.
#Meltwater: A Game of Tactical Starvation by Erin Escobedo is an interesting game with a number of arguments. She gives malthusianism a severe dressing down. And, she makes some arguements about the rank stupidity of war. This is a game that does not try to be fun. But it tries to give a message, a warning, and serve as a peace of satirical art.
#An Infamous Traffic by Cole Wehrle is a game that puts you in the Opium trade that Great Britain engaged in with China. It makes, from what I understand, arguments about the lengths that the British were willing to go to achieve respectabilty at home. Of course, that raises questions about what lengths we are willing to go to abroad, to achieve respectabilty at home. We, in the west, still seem to be willing to profit from other peoples misfortunes. The very technology that I am using to write this was produced in factories with less than ideal conditions in Southeast Asia.
There are a number of games, and a number of designers who do this sort of thing. Do you have this sort of game in your collection? Do you want your games to have a overt message? Do you like playing this sort of game? Do you admire them? Or do you wish that these sorts of games wouldn't be designed?