History of the game
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.
A bizarre and macabre game where lying, duplicity and inconsistent morals are the instruments of winning...
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...
We didn't actually start making a prototype until 2004, but in the summer of that year, we had a working model, rules about 16 pages long and a willing guinea pig (official War on Terror illustrator, Tom Morgan-Jones) to test it on.
That first game had to be called to a halt at four in the morning after 9 hours of continuous play and the end no where in sight. Tom wanted to carry on. We knew we had something pretty special, we just had to make sure it could be finished in an evening. Easier said than done; the following year was agonising...
After 2 years of testing, refining, testing again and refining some more, and about 70 games later, we finally had it: a funny, creative, compelling game that worked just as well with 2 players as with 6. At the same time, it made, we feel, a very valid point.
There was then the small matter of raising enough money to get it made. We were very lucky to find a few understanding and trusting investors who helped us with many things, but most importantly provided the cash. We finally released it in November 2006. The response so far has been brilliant, overwhelming and puzzling in almost equal measure.
We want to get this out in the shops and we want people, through playing this, to reclaim the language of manipulation and fear that is currently reserved for politicians and the media.
Order your copy now to make sure you're among the first to get War on Terror, the boardgame.