Andy, Andy and Tom
Fight the War on Terror - in your living room
Liberate the world, fund terrorists, even be the terrorists. We talk to the Cambridge boys behind the controversial, satirical board game War on Terror.
To some it's at the the tip of the sharp tongue of satire. To others it's an example of an attempt at funny going too far.
For the three creators of the game, Andy Sheerin, Andy Tompkins and Tom Morgan-Jones, it's a brand new way to question the powers that be.
The boys on their Zavvi escapade
"We were pretty kind of incredulous and frustrated about this war that was happening that no-one we knew, and it seemed most the country, didn't want to happen," says Andy S.
"So we had this idea of making a board game with the axis of evil being a spinner in the middle of the board."
The war he refers to of course is the Iraq War, or Gulf War the Second. The dawn of the military campaign provoked unprecedented protests across the country - and as the struggle continues the debate rolls along with it.
War on Terror: The Board Game takes that debate to the next level. Composed of a world map playing board, terrorist cells, an axis of evil spinner and other geopolitical references, it mocks the apparent simplicity with which governments label our international struggle.
As the game's rules explain, if you get the conveniently basic division of good and evil in Star Wars, you'll understand what politicians tell us in the news.
The other Andy explains why their format works: "You've got families playing it with their kids and suddenly they're having conversations about what is a terrorist? And what are these labels?"
For every person who has praised the game's creativity and anti-establishment stance, there is somebody else ready to condemn it to the bin marked "distasteful".
The Sun went with the headline "War on Terror game slammed" while The Daily Mail preferred "Fury over ‘war on terror’ board game".
Sometimes any publicity is good publicity, but not always.
War on Terror: The Board Game
"Automatically people jumped to the worst possible conclusion. The game was branded "sick" I guess because it was using humour in a game to tackle a very serious subject," says Andy S.
Tom, who designed the lush artwork for the £30 board game, continues the defence: "I don't think it's offensive to victims of terrorism, it's having a go at the world leaders and the system they've created.
"For us to be going against that voice, we're just some kids from Cambridge. No, we're not. It does effect us as much as it does anyone else."
If anything, the story of these three local lads is one of the little man against the big man. A news story about Kent police confiscating an "evil" balaclava that comes with the game actually raised the team's stock.
The balaclava has achieved cult status
While a dispute with high street record store Zavvi, which saw the shop buy a batch of the games and then decide to not sell them, ended with the War on Terror designers keeping a stash of the product which they gave away outside Zavvi's flagship outlet.
"That was just mayhem," explains Andy S. "We rounded the corner with all these boxes and realised there were loads of people on Oxford Street and thought this was a really bad plan."
Tom jumps in as if on cue: "But all those people were waiting for us and a little cheer went up."
Andy T completes the tale: "Then there was a great English queue around the corner."
Listen to our full interview with the team from TerrorBull Games here.
last updated: 13/10/2008 at 17:40
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