Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life: Game on! .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Game on!

There's a new game in town, and it's a hoot. Although it pokes fun, it's a serious statement on the state of our union.

It's a Monopoly-like game called " Patriot Act: The Home Version".

Instead of losing cash for landing on certain squares, they lose civil liberties. And the "Mr. Monopoly" character at the center of the board is replaced by a scowling former Attorney General John Ashcroft.

The object of the game is to be the last player with any civil liberties left. The "Go" space has been replaced with "Bring It On", in reference to Bush's challenge to the insurgence early in the Iraq war.

Players roll the dice to determine how many civil liberties they start out with, accumulating them from a variety of categories: U.S. citizens get 5; non-citizens 1. Whites and Asians get 5; Arabs 1. Ultra right-wingers get 6; Democrats 3 or 4.

Instead of landing on, say Oriental Avenue, players land on a color-coded spaces corresponding to the national terror alert. A player who lands on a red space loses one civil liberty, as does anyone else within five spaces. A player who lands on an orange space gets to designate another player to lose one civil liberty.

"Chance" cards are now "Homeland Security Cards," with orders such as, "FBI wants you for questioning; Lose one turn;" and "You provide the local authorities with speculative information on your next door neighbor; Collect one civil liberty from each player."

The game's creator, Michael Kabbash, is a graphic artist and civil rights activist. He obviously has a sense of humor, but also a message to get across.

"I've had people complain to me that when they play, nobody wins. They say `We're all in Guantanamo and nobody has any civil liberties left,'" he said. "I'm like `Yeah, that's the point.'"

The game board and cards can be downloaded for printing at

Kabbash says his next project will probably have something to do with the National Security Agency's domestic eavesdropping program. He is reasonably certain "there's a file on me somewhere."

Asked if the FBI keeps a file on Kabbash, a bureau spokesman refused to comment.

Game on!


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