With tadcan giving a rundown on the upcoming third edition of Blue Planet and the expected rules changes (partly inspired by our differing opinions about some of those), I feel once more like talking about some of the features of this incredible game myself.
Even though it has nothing to do with the rules, tadcan’s article in a strange way did remind me of a peculiarity which I think will remain a constant also in the third edition.
I am talking of the role of Northern Africa and the Middle East within the setting.
Other near future games of a similar vintage (and also younger ones) do not often stress this region or even remove it from the equation altogether in Middle East Meltdown-affairs. (Some exceptions, such as When Gravity Fails or the Caliph timeline from GURPS Alternate Earths go to the other extreme instead.)
Now, I am not claiming that in 1997/2000 Blue Planet foresaw the Arab Spring or anything like that. But the setting did impart the region with the powerful presence it seems to so often to be missing – and which is also easy to miss in Blue Planet (the second edition at least) itself if one does not read carefully.
On a close look, though, the background reveals two out of the ten named Incorporate States – the game’s megacorporations – to be based in Lebanon and Morocco respectively, while out of the remaining three or so independent world powers (those which are directly mentioned at last) one turns out to be the so called United Islamic Republic.
I wonder whether we will see this aspect get further explored in upcoming products for the third edition.
I for one am looking forward to dig into it a bit deeper in one of my next campaigns and probably I will also dust off one or two other older (near) future concepts dealing with the region – after all, as the saying goes, one leads to …