At last Christmas we wrote: “So imagine Rulers of the Sea launches in December 2022 (now that would be a great Christmas gift!), just in time for Christmas!”
Theoretically that would have been possible but I don’t think even then we imagined that a very likely scenario, we hadn’t even begun the community campaign yet at that point, let alone that we had started looking for investment.
We might not have expected adequate funding in the first half of 2020 but we certainly didn’t expect a pandemic. And the sad news is, it’s likely going to be with us for most of 2021 too.
Most governments are optimistically predicting relief in early 2021 because of the various vaccines, just like they optimistically made promises during the entire year of 2020. But we know vaccinations are huge operations that take a long time. We know that a lot of people don’t trust the vaccines yet due to their short test trials. We know that the virus is continually mutating. So these predictions of relief are the best case scenario’s. The pandemic is likely with us for most of 2021.
It wasn’t any different in history. The (ineptly named) Spanish flue was also downplayed in 1918. It ended up infecting about a third of the world population and might have killed around 100 million people. We’re lucky that COVID-19 is nowhere near as deadly. Earlier in history, all the way back to the 18th century, disease was rife and by today’s standard there were many epidemics. Average life expectancy was around 35 years (and 25 years in Africa), as opposed to the 70 to 75 years of today.
People knew all about infectious diseases in 1750, they knew the stories of the black death that killed nearly a third of the world population. Measles, Smallpox, Diphtheria and Yellow Fever erupted into epidemics regularly. The Great Plague of 1738 and the 1743 Sicily plague epidemic (Bubonic plagues) struck fear into people. No-one downplayed epidemics in 1750.
Epidemics and Pandemics will be part of Rulers of the Sea! Diseases can strike your crew, your soldiers, your staff, and as you travel with them they might spread it to other ports. Trained Surgeons, Hospitals and good infrastructure and sanitation can provide ways to control the outbreaks but it takes investment to keep those countermeasures in peak condition. Will the gamer-run governments in Rulers of the Sea make these considerable investments? Or will they downplay the epidemics? Simply ignore them and accept a higher death toll? A higher death toll might be cheaper than investing all that tax money which otherwise can be invested in the economy. In a world with low wages people are easily replaced, although training and developing them might have cost you a lot of time, you might even feel attached to some of your most loyal followers that you’ve been through hardships with.
So if we overcome the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021 and all turns to normal again, rest assured that the dilemma’s that it presented for our governments will come to life again in Rulers of the Sea. Albeit in a simulated world.
One thing we don’t simulate in Rulers of the Sea is the loneliness some people feel in the Christmas and New Year times. This period is a challenge for many people at the best of times, as not everyone is as fortunate to have a nice family to spend the time with. But this year even those that have might not be able to be with their loved ones. And that is tough. If Rulers of the Sea was live we could have set up some Christmas parties in the port Taverns. Or Christmas balls at the Royal Palaces in the capitals. Would nations at war declare a Christmas truce so that it can be celebrated together?
2020 will possibly be the strangest Christmas in living memory for many. There is not much to be done about that. But as part of the community of Rulers of the Sea you should know that in our thoughts we are with you. Your sharing our dream has given us a lot of hope for this project.
If you are looking for some distraction in the coming days, do drop us a line. We’re always happy to hear from you.
Merry Christmas from the Deadeye Games Team!