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"Your 'reality', sir, is lies and balderdash and I'm delighted to say that I have no grasp of it whatsoever."
— Karl Friedrich Hieronymus, Freiherr von M√ľnchhausen

How to Wreck a Nation

It's not often you can lambaste President Bush while talking about gaming news. But today, I have the opportunity to do just that.

Wreck the Nation, the "Game of Political Misbehavior", is a new board game designed by Julia Carson and Jennifer McGlynn designed to satirize the cronyism and irresponsibility rampant in the neoconservative empire that is the Bush administration.

Players start out with a few hundred billion dollars of government money and try to spend it on pork barrel projects, political dirty tricks and homeland security and the player who gets rid of the most cash first wins....

In fact, game cards offer directions such as "Be the only government in world history to grant a tax cut to citizens during a major war effort. Pay $200 billion" that are based on real-life Bush administration snafus.
But despite being cited by the Chicago Tribune as one of 20 cool board games you might not know about, the geek reviews overall are not good, the most often-cited reason for the negativity being the sheer lack of strategic options. Despite being clever and topical, there is little involved beyond roll, move, take a card, and do what it says. One of the only positive reviews I could find online was a highly suspect post on, written by someone with the same last name as one of the creators.

I applaud anyone using games as an artistic medium, and Wreck the Nation obviously has something to say. But a game can't be all theme and no fun. In the end, it seems that Wreck the Nation is an amusing footnote in the history of both politics and gaming, but serious gamers need not apply.


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The Red Bull Diary is the personal pulpit and intellectual dumping-ground for its author, an amateur game designer, professional programmer, political centrist and incurable skeptic. The Red Bull Diary is gaming, game design, politics, development, geek culture, and other such nonsense.