“The War on Terror” by Hasbro

During the early nineties Hasbro executives, makers of games such as Trivial Pursuit and Monopoly,  were apparently summoned to the white house for what would be the creation of a new board game to be played by both democrats and republicans in their spare time between sessions in the senate, house of representatives and even in the white house. It was a strategy game created for up to eight players of which 4 were the good guys and 4 were the bad guys. The four good guys were the secretary of state, one CIA operative, one FBI agent and one politician. Players on the good team would be promoted to higher ranks depending on how many bad guys they caught but could also be demoted again as the game progressed and other players caught more villains. The pieces on the “good team” would collect cards which gave them tools such as handcuffs, short wave radios (to communicate with other players in other nations), warrantless arrest rights and other villain catching paraphernalia. On the bad side were four players whose goal was to infiltrate the US by air, sea or, in later iterations of the game, green cards. The bad guys were comprised of three men and one woman of middle eastern decent with their own card pile offering explosive devises, semtex, automatic weapons disguises, airplanes, ships and other terror creating materials. The objective of the game, based upon a board showing the world divided into countries whose colors were the patriotic red, white and blue was to move the pieces around and thwart enemy (bad guys) movement towards the US. The countries were divided into colors red being high risk, blue possible risk and white, US allies. The bad guys would begin playing from Red countries while the good guys would begin play from white.  Movement was by way of dice and cards were collected, held and used based upon the said movement. Initially the game was a great success and would be played for hours in the halls of the senate and over brandy at the white house. Copies of the game were quickly smuggled around the world and other governments commissioned their own versions of the original board game based upon similar strategies of thwarting the bad guys although, notably, in both known versions the roles were reversed and the US players were the bad team. Famous versions are Cuba´s “The five – Florida II” and North Korea’s “Journalist infiltration”.


Over several years though, it became apparent, at the start of a game, which players would feud over who would be the bad guys or the good guys. Apparently the bad guys had all the fun as they marauded around the world causing havoc while being chased by the good guys. In 2001 a man from Texas now in the white house decided to commission a new game which would be more exciting for the good guys. This new (and some say) more exciting version gave the good guys new powers. One of the original pieces was replaced (the politician) by a renegade EX CIA agent named Carriles and the playing cards now included sequester rights which allowed the good guys to apprehend the bad guys in any country and then fly them to white (ally) nations where they would be held indefinitely, essentially reducing the enemies abilities to win the game. The good guys were also now equipped with similar terror tools as the bad guys. Strangely the game play began not in Washington (as it had in earlier versions) but in Florida. No explanation was given for this change. In this new version now named “The War on Terror – Axis of Evil II” the bad guys also included two new pieces replacing the earlier middle eastern female and one of the other players with a Cuban National and, by all accounts, an Iraqi national who was based in a palace. This latest version allowed the good guys to carry out similar attacks on the bad guys including airline bombings, torture and entry by air and sea into bad guy nations (red countries). It is known that one of the most popular plays was to carry out such “preemptive” attacks in Cuba then move the good guys over to the Middle East. A reverse play on this strategy was also used on occasions.


Unsurprisingly, bootleg foreign versions of the game, all based upon the original good guy bad guy theme also become popular. The most celebrated being Cuba´s “The Five – Florida II” which was themed on thwarting attacks from the US, predominantly from Florida.


In 2009, it is suspected that the white house has summoned, yet again, a new version of the game. This new version is alleged to return to the values of the first iteration. Seemingly the Good Guys returning to limited powers of catching the villains through solely honorable (legal) methods while the bad guys remain unchanged. The good guys no longer have play cards which allow them to carry out offensive missions or direct attacks on the bad guys. It is not known if the original team of bad guys will be readopted thus dropping the inclusion of the Iraqi and Cuban national introduced in 2001.


We are looking forward to seeing this new 2009 version and, despite it lacking the excitement of the 2001 game for the good guys; it should assist the players in establishing core values upon which the original game was created. Curiously, this new game also makes a marked return to the values associated with the foreign iterations, noting a distinct about turn in play and game rules for the 8 players.


A return to the initial concept where those thwarting attacks be the good guys should also make the Cuban version more popular in Hispanic regions.

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