Now I know what I want for Christmas! I’m indebted to Rachel, not only for mentioning me in her blog but also for drawing my attention, in a comment to another post here, to what looks like my sort of game;
Everyone starts with the best intentions. Then things start to get cramped. Then you notice your neighbour has more oil than you. Before long, war is waged, nukes are dropped, revolutions are fought and terrorists are doing your dirty work, before turning on you…
War on Terror, the boardgame: A quality boardgame for 2 – 6 players, lovingly illustrated and politically correct (in a very literal sense). Playing it will bring out the nastiest, greediest, darkest, most paranoid aspects of your character. It’s all great family fun.
It appears to be on the same lines as Risk, only sort of … erm.. asymmetrical and satirical, and comes with a black balaclava for the person playing the Evil Empire to wear (selected, apparently, by using the Axis of Evil spinner).
It might be considered in poor taste — The Sun clearly thinks so, which is doubtless why it appeals to me — and the designers do address this in their explanation of they came to create it:
Back in 2003, we were shouting at the TV. We weren’t drunk and confused (actually, that’s maybe a lie), we were incredulous and angry.
The invasion of Iraq was imminent and in preparing the public for a war of dubious legality, various government representatives from both sides of the Atlantic were mentioning ‘terrorists’ and ‘Iraq’ in the same sentence. It was increasingly evident that ‘terrorism’ was a handy and powerful tag that any world leader could place on a troublesome spot and ensure the rest of the world would immediately line up behind them, no questions asked.
No one mentioned how one-time allies can turn into terrorists overnight simply because they stop playing ball. It felt like a game. A bizarre and macabre game where lying, duplicity and inconsistent morals are the instruments of winning and the rules made up by those in the lead.
Wouldn’t it be funny, we thought, to make a game based on the War on Terror. We didn’t actually think it would be that funny until we had a vision of the Axis of Evil being a spinner in the middle of the board. This summed up perfectly for us the arbitrary labelling of ‘bad’ and tactical finger-pointing that underpinned world politics. War on Terror, the boardgame was born…
Meanwhile, on the subject of poor taste, I discovered Kuma/War: The War On Terror,
a compilation of missions that recreate critical battles in Iraq and Afghanistan. Visit the frontlines of the War On Terror, as you get on the ground in real military hot spots. Comes with FREE month of Kuma/War online service – 3 new missions delivered each month
and all for free. They’re working on — I swear this no word of a lie, and you can visit the site to see for yourself and play a beta version — Assault on Iran,Part III, but in the meantime, you can download and play
Fallujah Vigilant Resolve – As part of the First Marine Expeditionary Force, you and your troops move into the flashpoint city of Fallujah, Iraq and tactically maneuver a “cordon of death” operation. Encircle the insurgents and advance strategically, using improved fighting positions, sniper overwatch protection, wall apertures, and well-placed fighting holes
Baghdad: Mahdi Army Assault – You are a member of the Army’s First Cavalry Division in Sadr City, Baghdad, and your most stubborn enemy is the swarm of Mahdi Army militiamen loyal to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Having seen more than 80 straight days of combat, you set out on June 29th to patrol the slum with your Bradley Fighting Vehicles. You must navigate the waves of Mahdi Army insurgents who are targeting you with IEDs, trying to incapacitate your transport and lure your men out into the open
and soon they’ll have available
Baghdad, Iraq—August 24, 2005: Insurgents launch stunning acts of violence against soldiers tasked with the most dangerous of operations: roadside checkpoints.
US soldiers and Iraqi police regularly face suicide bombings and ground assaults while conducting routine checkpoints across the nation. Using vehicle-borne IEDs, insurgents unleash their wrath with a deadly charge that ignites police and civilian vehicles all around, wounding and killing soldiers, police, and innocent civilians.
In western Baghdad, Iraqi Police manning a routine checkpoint are cornered after insurgents in ordinary vehicles approach the roadblock and launch a barrage of machine gun fire, rocket propelled grenades and hand grenades. Vehicles are on fire, the populace is hysterical, and there are dead and wounded everywhere.
In the playable mission, lives depend on your intuition and training as you control the checkpoint operations in Baghdad. Can you determine if an incoming vehicle is friend or foe? There are civilians, so move with caution. Insurgents attempt to make devastating suicide runs, but they also launch vicious ground assaults on your position. You must keep one eye on the road.
And one hand on the trigger.
For a less technically advanced, though, I fear, ultimately more realistic version of all this, though, I commend September 12:
This is not a game.
You can’t win and you can’t lose.
This is a simulation.
It has already begun.
The Rules are deadly simple.
You can shoot.
This is a simple model you can use to explore some aspects of the war on terror.
tag: War on Terror, Games, Board Games, Kuma/War on Terror, Satire, Newsgaming.com, September 12, Simulations