The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

War on Terror: the board game

Readers probably know that I'm a big fan of board games -- we recently posted about the strategic (dis)advantage of the Middle East in Risk -- and I play the great game Settlers regularly with friends in Cairo (you know who you are.) I've also loved monopoly since I was a child (I would often play by myself when no one was around) and collect classic versions of the game. So I'm eagerly signing up to order a copy of War on Terror, a controversial new British board game (it was recently branded as "sick" by the British press and a 7/7 survivor) that pits suicide bomber against neo-cons. Obviously, it's full of black humor (the best kind, really) and is going to upset the usual bunch of people who take themselves too seriously (like Bush supporters and Bin Laden supporters). They may even be coming out in Arabic. Here's what it's basically about:

The goal of War on Terror, the boardgame is to liberate the world, ridding it of fear and terrorism forever. Naturally, only the biggest and strongest Empires are up to this task and so a certain amount of dominance needs to be shown. Alternatively, you can play as the terrorists, fighting for a world without empires.

. . .

Empires soon strike up alliances and the propaganda war is in full flow - secret messages have been sold for over 100m in previous games. The games sway between paranoid pacts and all out war. Nukes get dropped and Empires soon find that sometimes you need to fund a bit of terrorism in order to eradicate a greater threat. Terrorists start to spread across the planet ... dirty bombs are detonated ... oil gets destroyed ... the world slowly becomes a dangerous, radioactive mess.
Here's what the boxed game looks like:
 Imgs Gallery Thebox

From its board (below), it looks a bit like Risk.

 Imgs Content Board-Shot

To give you a taste of what it's all about, check out some of the game's playing cards below:

Card SuicidebomberCard Regimechange
Can't wait to start playing it.