A few days ago the game studio Double Fine launched a widely successful Kickstarter campaign to help fund their next project Massive Chalice, a fantasy turn-based tactics and strategy game that focuses on ‘feudal’ bloodlines.1 Unlike many game campaigns on Kickstarter, which post their project close to the release date, Double Fine decided to launch Massive Chalice with little more than idea and a bucket-load of enthusiasm; this invitation to actively involve the supportive gaming community in the pre-production process (called ‘backers’ on Kickstarter) has not only spurred skyrocketing pledges (currently $877,750 at the time of this post), but also conversations among backers and bloggers regarding how to build a medieval-like social system that incorporates twenty-first century liberal values: namely, gender equality and gay rights. It is with the structures and histories of medieval manorialism, in other words, that seem to be the space to explore current political and civic issues—and, I might add, accomplished with crowdsourcing funds from individuals rather than (or in addition to) major investors.

This post departs somewhat from the usual fare on L&L, but I’ve been following the threads of the conversation closely over the past few days and it is really neat to see how people ‘deal with’ the Middle Ages, especially when perceived political structures are no longer ‘politically correct.’

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  1. The $750,000 campaign reached its goal within five days. []