Rise Up

Look out for a boardgame about organizing protests

I work, live, and study in Washington, D.C.—undoubtedly one of the world’s most political cities. Here reside the highest stratum of politicians, lobbyists, and corporate cash-mongers. Here, too, live the downtrodden, the marginalized—systematically oppressed people of varying color, socioeconomic status, and gender identity who the government promised to uplift, but, in effect, did quite the opposite. It only takes one stroll through Georgetown to understand how economically and racially segregated this city is. Washington is the world’s welcome mat to the United States: a city that is supposed to encompass all that America loves and strives for. And it does…


A boardgame about climate change that melts as you play

The world is warming up. This we know. Over its long, long life, the Earth has gone through multiple cycles of cooling and heating up again, or glacial advance and retreat. These are largely attributed to small shifts in the Earth’s orbit, which change the amount of solar energy received by the planet. To find reasons for the current heating up of the globe, however, we must look to no one but ourselves. As we pump greenhouses gases into the atmosphere, wrapping ourselves in a giant, insulating, carbon dioxide blanket, the sea level rises and the ice sheets shrink; the…


Star Wars Rebellion breaks the canon … and itself

Fantasy Flight’s space opera tactics game Star Wars: Rebellion is a seemingly brilliant mashup of Star Wars canon. Classic elements from the original Star Wars trilogy are here—Hidden Rebel Base! A Death Star! Han Solo frozen in carbonite! A reconstructed Death Star!—but inventively recombined. Rather than send Princess Leia to steal the Death Star plans, send Han Solo or Lando Calrissian. Push Grand Moff Tarkin out to Nal Hutta to stop a Rebel Sabotage mission. Freeze Mon Mothma in carbonite. Star Wars is in the box, but it’s served via blender. Rebellion is nothing if not epic. The box comes…


This Go student has become the Go master—and it’s a computer

If Go is mentioned in the US, it’s in the context of complicated games, or hard games, or games with some element of “purity.” It’s just white stones and black stones on a nineteen by nineteen board. You play by putting stones down, not moving them, if you surround your opponent’s stones they are “captured,” and that’s more or less it. Ostensibly, no game could be simpler. But if you’ve ever tried to learn how to play Go, you’ll know it feels a lot more like the spoiled-for-choice paralysis of staring at a blank page The board has 361 spaces,…