Lizards and cack

My favourite episode of Star Stories is probably the one 'by' Simon Cowell: 'I had invented the TV talent show! .. I had invented the TV talent show AGAIN!!'.

It could quite possibly be Max Temkin's favourite too. Who? He's one of the eight creators of Cards Against Humanity, the game that took the award-winning Apples to Apples, wrote words like 'bottom' and 'willy' on the cards and decided that was a new game.* At least – unlike the 'inventor' of Othello – they had the decency not to attempt to patent it,** and it's available as a free print-and-play version rather than paying them. (Not that that stops people from doing so in large numbers, alas.)

His latest (re)invention with others is a hidden personality game, Secret Hitler that's quite a bit like The Resistance. Nominally set in Weimar Republic Germany, some players are 'liberals' and some 'fascists' with one being Hitler, but most players don't know where the loyalties of the others lie. Each turn, a small elected subset of players does something that will help one side or the other, and depending on which side gets the most of those, one team will win. Gosh, it really is a lot like The Resistance, even if most of one side is given complete info about everyone else's personality and this breaks the game.

There's a history of taking other people's ideas in this genre and slapping a price tag on it: Werewolf has been thoroughly commercialised, for example. They also have a free print-and-play version again. So even though they have a licence that stops anyone else commercialising anything they produce, I'm not so upset by that as by the graphical choice to have the fascists be represented as lizards rather be humans like the liberals.

On the one hand, ho ho ho, it's David Icke time. On the other, the other-ing of fascists ignores the way that they are within us. The game is set in an era where plenty of people were prepared to carry out genocide without being forced to. One of the lessons of the Holocaust isn't how hard it was to make it happen, but how easy: logistics was much more of a problem than finding people to do it. Pretending otherwise, that it wasn't ordinary Germans and others, makes it easier to do again.

Interestingly,*** I wouldn't have complained if they did an updated version with Democrats and Republicans and called it 'Secret Trump'…

* One reason for me thinking of it as 'CAH Cards', or 'Cack'.

** Perhaps the timescale, just over a decade, meant they couldn't get away with it. The 'inventor' of Othello waited until over eighty years after the invention of Reversi before making his one small change.

*** And hypocritically! Perhaps lizarding Trump makes it topical satire.

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