Monday, November 13, 2006

Board Game Teaches Suicide Bombing?

No, I'm not talking about the War on Terror board game, which is meant to be a parody/political statement.

Here is an article from The Independent:
It seems to be a simple board game that purports to be the Islamic equivalent of Monopoly. But one card in the game - sold as a family activity - invites players to "kill Western infidels".
This game is mentioned again here. But the name of the game isn't mentioned. Any ideas?

Not all Islamic games teach violence, of course. Muslim Toys sells the "Junior Quran Challenge Game", "Mecca to Medina", and "Race to the Kabah", the latter of which teaches the 99 names of Allah.

Another game that can shift your life, hopefully not towards suicide bombing, is Shift.

Shift seems like any other run-of-the-mill board game as far as mechanics go. Here's why I mention it, quoting the designer:
I've been asked many times what the motivation was behind my idea. At 25, I met Dorothy J. Divack who is a major proponent of the lessons in A Course in Miracles ... It was exactly what I needed to hear and the way I needed to hear it. I was finally open to listening and what I heard resonated with my soul.

The Course said that I was responsible for what I created. More importantly, the Course said that we are all perfect, whole and complete. Until then, I was pretty sure that I was just victim of the world and that I was unlovable or not good enough depending on the situation ...

It was the application of the lesson to everyday life that really made the concepts stick for me. I learned to witness my thoughts, to see what I was thinking in the moment, and saw my experiences as a direct result of my belief about what I was ... I started to see all of my experiences as gifts that held some lesson for me ...

I wanted to distill all of these universal principles into something that people who weren't lighting incense in Boulder or Berkeley could experience. Knowing that I was at choice and that I could choose my reality was the single most important thing I had learned in my life and I wanted to empower other people with that same knowledge. I wanted people who were in their twenties, who lived in Iowa, or who might not be exposed to that message to hear it, and I knew they would need the form to be hip and different than most New Age products. It took about six months for the concept to show up as a board game. And it took another three years or so to get the game dynamics right. I was trying to create something that conveyed these lofty principles in a really fun and cool way and getting down to simple was actually quite difficult.

Now, I don't know if the game's mechanics are any good. But shouldn't games be more than just about their mechanics? Can we really say that games are simply rules? Or math? Or challenges? "I was trying to create something that conveyed these lofty principles in a really fun and cool way ..."

If the lessons learned from the game really are valuable, and the game is at least not annoying, surely that counts as a game, as a challenge, and as a valuable use of your time.

You could win three hundred million by playing Baccarat. If you live in Korea. And pay an eight million entrance fee. That's in Korean Won, by the way, not U.S. dollars.

The Chamber of Commerce of Sheffield has released a card game, The Sheffield Trump Cards. The object is to apply beat-down to your opponent using local sites, bands, and sports teams. Power, toughness, and health are renamed wow factor, uniqueness, and investment opportunity. I don't know. The site where you can buy them is currently down.

Lastly, Yael, one of my favorite Israeli bloggers, has rounded up bloggers from across the Middle East in a new cooperative blog, Good Neighbors. I wish it success.



Anonymous said...

Games are to me is a leisure set of rules. What makes a game fun is the atmosphere of the game. Take for instance any Mensa award winning games. Abstract games.

Take old games like Checkers, Go, and even Yatzee. It is about the mechanics but the atmosphere makes it special.

It has always amazes me how readily and how easily people would follow rules of a world that fits in a box to the very letter.

I am glad to see that you are taking steps toward your gold Yehuda. Nice!

It is sad however how tradition and religions are grossly confused

Yehuda Berlinger said...

Ankabut: thanks.

Regarding religion, I don't equate Islam with suicide bomb teaching; the original reporter called the game an "Islamic version of Monopoly", and I wanted to contrast it by showing Islamic games that were not like that.

Anyway, yeah, it is sad.