|Once, when I was in high school, my three main friends
Chet and Tom Krayewski (twins who I reached at their mom's house in Hempstead
today) and Paul Kutz (with whom I haven't spoken since 1992--hello, Paul,
are you there?) tried to get me to play RISK, a board game of imperial ambition,
military strategy, and dumb luck which had often kept them up all night forging
alliances, breaking treaties, and battling to the last man. At the time,
it seemed too complicated and I lacked their boyish competitiveness and cunning.
But today, squaring off against my lovely pacifist girlfriend Sarah and
precocious 9-year-old nephew David (who had just received the game from
"Santa"), I was ready to assume the awesome mantle of responsibility that
comes with utter global domination. My relentless march to complete planetary
control would be for their own good, an object lesson in good planning,
preparedness, and total lack of mercy, compassion, and other such antiquated
||History is written by the winners. What does it
take to be a winner? You asked the right person.
Winners are not born (except in most cases, such as monarchies, oligarchies,
and the Walton family). No, winners are the result of luck meeting preparedness
and/or ruthless ambition.
RISK presents the proverbial "level playing field" in the form of a flat
board with poorly rendered colors and distended geographical representations.
Players begin by drawing territories at random, 14 apiece in the case of
a 3-way game. My aptly chosen Black Force (BF) lucked into a commanding position
in Europe, the very "cradle of civilization" you read about in high school.
It was as if God Himself wanted me to win. I wasn't about to let the Big
||Gathering intelligence was my first priority,
as this series of satellite photos shows. If the first one is blurry and
obscured, it's because one of my enemies waved his defiant 9-year-old arm
in front of the camera. He would soon learn to regret this impudence.
I initiated my drive to global dominance conservatively, almost amiably.
Surely those in the international community (IC) understood my people's need
for a unified homeland with vigorously protected borders. I defended BF's
liberty by annexing southern Europe away from the upstart Reds and massed
armies in the north to oust the out-of-place Blues.
||The rest of the IC had their own problems to worry
about--primarily territorial disputes with the neighbors.While they selfishly
haggled back and forth in the Americas, the Black Force behaved more
altruistically, bringing free market principles of competition and irresistible
force to the Middle East and Africa, which coincidentally had the exploitable
natural resources and markets BF needed to fuel massive production for the
spreading consumer economy.
But mainly we were there to bring Freedom.
||There were sacrifices made, sure. Lonely outposts
of BF colonies and expeditionary forces were overwhelmed by their jealous
neighbors or fell prey to acts of heathen terrorism. Though I lamented the
loss of these courageous, expendable soldiers, I knew that they would be
avenged by and by, their sacrifice commemorated by slap-on car magnets.
But BF stood by its bedrock values and geopolitical strategy of protecting
its core real estate with impregnable border installations. The IC understood
the need for strong borders and was by this stage in the game too scattered
and dissolute to protest very loudly at the creation of a peacekeeping buffer
zone in Greenland. As a show of good faith, BF pledged "not to bother" with
the only other consolidated global power at the time, the Blue's holding
of Australia and nearby islands.
||I'd say the turning point came in Central America,
but it was a pretty straight road to victory. There would be no turning point,
only victory upon vistory all in a line. Figures of speech aside, the jig
was up when the Reds encroached on Blue territory in North America. The Blues
begged for help to preserve their way of life, which is when Black Force
swept down from bases in Greenland to liberate the Blues from the threat
of Red invasion (by conquering them).
Meanwhile, in an awesome show of cooperation and coordination, BF simultaneously
massed an overwhelmingly reassuring armed presence in southeast Asia to protect
the peace of peoples there, whose confidence was being undermined by agitators
whose base of operations was reputed to be New Guinea.
||Well, no surpise here, folks. The forces of goodness
and fair play brought peace and "democracy" to every good little girl and
boy of Earth.
The bad little girls and boys were never heard from again.
Especially in New Guinea, which at the very end presented inexplicably stout
resistance thanks to several lucky "rolls of the dice." The lesson there
was hit 'em with everything you've got. And if that doesn't work, hit 'em
again. And again. And again. And again... As the Good Book tells us, "water
will wear down the stone."
And New Guinea will become a biological weapons test site.
WE'VE BEEN HACKED! FORCES OF THE NEW GUINEA UNDERGROUND (GOING BY THE CODE
NAME D9--as in DENYIN') INFILTRATED OUR SERVER AND
MALICIOUSLY ALTERED INFORMATION HEREIN CONTAINED.
IF YOU HAVE INFORMATION AS TO THE WHEREABOUTS OF THIS TERRORIST, PLEASE CONTACT
YOUR LOCAL AUTHORITIES IMMEDIATELY (AND PLEASE BRING A URINE SAMPLE--YOURS).