Boardgames are legion, but when you boil down to the essentials behind them all you find a few key themes. Conquest is the big one – be it through an army (Risk), good business acumen (Monopoly) or Shakespearean anti-hero (Othello).
Slaughtering all opposition in the name of wholesome family fun might make you pause to think about the real messages we are sending to children, but even so, it is still JUST a game.
Another thing that is presented to children and is seen as the non-evolved backbone of the family unit is Religion. Unlike board games, the desire to conquer that comes with viewing some people as against everything you stand for is very much real. And bloody.
Which is why I think new indie board game Playing Gods: The Boardgame of Divine Domination is one of the coolest and most important things to happen to parlor games since they released the NHS edition of Operation – a game which could takes months to complete, depending on the length of the waiting list.
Players can choose to be one of five major world deities – including Moses, Kali and a machine-gun wielding Buddha – whose aim is simple: take over the world with their religion.
To do this you have to build up your number of devotees (represented through coloured markers) while smiting or converting your opponents’ followers.
Add in wrath cards to bring down your heavenly fury and Conversion cards to boost your box of divine tricks and you have a game so addictive you’ll steal a TV to buy the extension pack.
It’s the creation of Ben Radford, 38, managing editor of Skeptical Inquirer magazine.
Aware that much of the world’s violence comes from the source of eternal love, Radford realised that mocking various images of God and their faithful adherents would “make more social commentary” and “pierce the pretensions of extremist religious zealotry with humor.”
That it does wonderfully, passing many hours in the entertaining pursuit of monotheism.
Someone should really distribute this game to all the world’s spiritual leaders so they can settle their differences without destroying us in the process.