Rolling the Dice in War on Terror

ByABC News
September 20, 2006, 5:35 PM

Sept. 21, 2006 — -- Let's face it. We don't live in "Candyland" anymore.

And in the daily "Scrabble" for existence, "Risk" is a daily assumption.

So what's a modern board-game player to do?

A pair of British board-game designers think they have the answer.

Slated for an October release, War on Terror, the Board Game, may soon be on the shelf next to Monopoly and Clue.

But the game is already raising the hackles of some in the United Kingdom who feel that it is less a game than a political manifesto in a colorful box.

Loosely modeled on the classic strategy game, Risk, each player takes on the role of an Empire and has to join up with others to gain access to natural resources -- or fight it out for them.

Players can use conventional methods to take on opposing Empires, but the rules state they can also choose to "fund a bit of terrorism."

In an e-mail, one of the game's creators, Andrew Sheerin, said the game was not "trying to point fingers" at a particular country.

He said, though, that the game implicitly touched on the charge that the CIA had helped create al Qaeda by funding anti-Soviet mujahedeen groups in the 1980s.

Reflecting this and "other examples of Western interference," the game's rules dictate that as Empires collapse, they join with the terrorists and turn on the original terror sponsor.

At that point, according to the game's creators in a news release, "the remaining Empires begin to wish that maybe they shouldn't have funded quite so much terrorism as they did."

And yet, Sheerin says to ABC News that he was certainly "guilty" of "oversimplifying a complex issue like terrorism."

In his defense, he said that the game was not intended as a political treatise, but as "satirical entertainment."

Satirical or not, real concerns have been expressed.

Ben Ramm, editor of the British magazine, The Liberal, said that, although he had not supported the Iraq war and "could see where the [game] makers are coming from," he thought the game's tone sounded "potentially misleading."