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War on Terror Board Game
I spent a few hours last weekend playing a board game "War on Terror". This is a game which to my mind is on a par with "Risk" or "Monopoly", There are very few games about which one can say that. And it is generally a quicker game than either.
The board looks fairly similar to the Risk board, except that the continent of "Nowhere" sits where Antarctica would sit, with sea links to Australia and The Falklands (part of South America). The game starts with every territory having an unknown value for oil reserves. The only way to find out is to move onto the territory and turn over the oil value counter which is face down until the territory is occupied.
Players roll dice to decide who starts. The players take it in turns to place 3 village counters, and see what oil values they have. They also take "Empire" cards, and pay the World Bank for the development they are doing. As in Risk one faces the dilemma of whether to spread oneself thinly or whether to concentrate in one area. The "Empire" cards have attributes like "War", or "Kyoto Agreement" where you can require an opponent to pay tax to the World Bank for every town and city.
Then you throw the dice for oil revenues. The territories have oil revenues from 3 to 12 (and a few Nils). Whoever has a territory with the oil value resulting from the dice throw earns money. If they have developed a town or city on the territory they earn more money. I quickly realised that a territory with value "7" earns more than one with value "12" because two dice produce a 7 far more often than they produce a 12.
After this first round players throw a dice to discover how many territories they can develop this turn -if they have the cash. Development can mean upgrading your villages to towns or cities, or speading into unoccupied territories.The special dice has other symbols on it for shuffling the cards, or for spinning the wheel to decide which is "the Evil Empire". Each player has coloured counters, and if the wheel turns to your colour you are "the Evil Empire". The positive element about being the Evil Empire is that in addition to your Empire cards you also draw "Terrorism" cards.which give you more opportunity to damage your opponents. The downside is that anyone who attacks an Evil Empire receives a modest payment from the World Bank.
The Evil Empire player wears a black balaclava with "EVIL" emblazoned on it. An enterprising Evil Empire or terrorist can negotiate with potential victims "Is it worth $200,000,000 not to be attacked this turn?" There is no way that these agreements can be enforced, biut people who habitually break agreements find that no-one will deal with them.
Easy to Purchase
How To Play
Each empire is trying to occupy entire continents. One cheap way to do this is to fund terrorists. You can keep them off the board in your training camp for future use, or you can place the terrorists anywhere on the board. Once placed, the terrorists are not in your control - anyone can stimulate them to activity. Terrorists interfere with oil revenues and can destroy or reduce towns and cities.
Unlike Risk or Monopoly, a player who is being squeezed out has the option to turn terrorist. They have no territory to defend, and can only be eliminated by destroying every terrorist in the world, including the ones you placed. The Empires are usually continuing to place terrorists in each other's territory because it is such an effective form of warfare. The terrorists work together in an alliance. Their aim is to liberate a number of continents from all the Empires.
Conflict with other players is inevitable.Sometimes one can have non conflict agreements with other players, which last as long as they are useful. However the immediate effect of such an alliance is the temptation for others to form a counter alliance.
The terrorists have very nasty cards, and the Evil Empire usually becomes quite powerful.
The game has nuclear weapons which wipe out a territory and empty those around it, and dirty bombs which only destroy one territory.
The game is lots of fun, and well worth buying.
Reflections of Real Life
The Americans supplied the Nicaraguan "Contras", who planted a mine that damaged a British ship and caused casualties. The Americans funded and assisted an armed invasion of Cuba and repeatedly tried to kill Fidel Castro. The Americans employed Saddam Hussain as a CIA agent, and of course trained Osama Bin Laden when he was opposed to the Russians in Afghanistan. And the Americans bombed Gaddafi and killed his two year old terrorist adopted daughter.
Recent relevations suggest the British and Americans colluded with Libyan Intelligence to help rendition of anti Gaddaffi opponents to be tortured and killed in Libya, and in return the Libyans gave information to help the Americans and British.
Truly in the War on Terror one sometimes has to deal with unsavoury people.
As for America
Louis XVI of France funded supplies of gunpowder and cannon to the Americans, and the role of LaFayette in the American Revolution is well known. The autocratic French King was not a supporter of democracy. He funded and encouraged the American Revolutionj to cause political difficulty and economic damage to Britain. An early example of an Empire funding terrorists to damage his opponents. And the Dutch,for similar reasons, aided the Americans.
It is relatively cheap to fund terrorists and insurrectionists. Without this help the Americans could well have lost the Rebellion.