The protagonist in this case, founder of a successful, privately held tabletop board gaming company, has to make some tough decisions about whether to move forward with two of the company's board games. Recent years had seen a renaissance for board games and their audience, and the board game market, driven primarily by millennials, was estimated to be worth roughly $12 billion dollars by 2023.
The decision is whether to print a second run of Taming the East or to publish a new game, Sixth Panzer Army. Both games had controversial elements. Taming the East, despite its wild success, had been the focus of some criticism because it involved maintaining a player's empire through often unsettling means: ruling through intermediary and puppet governments, adopting imperialist and colonialist tactics, and putting down rebellions, particularly in Asian countries, through suppressive, often strong-arm tactics. Although a bit more of a traditional game, Sixth Panzer Army nonetheless involved World War II combat and battles and prominently featured German soldiers, including some SS troops, many of whom had, in reality, been convicted of war crimes. It also referenced some horrific events, such as German soldiers massacring American POWs, and included war crimes as a playable event.
While the gaming industry was no stranger to controversy, with a number of well-intentioned and even popular games attracting criticism for violent, sometimes atrocity-laden themes, this was still a tough decision. The protagonist, already conflicted about the nature of both games, will have to explain the decision to commission a second print of Taming the East, and likewise no doubt face criticism about going ahead with Sixth Panzer Army. The public and the gaming press would weigh in about the final decision, and not necessarily in a kind or understanding way.