Go Directly to Iraq; Do Not Pass Afghanistan, Do Not Collect Bin Laden

Austinites' board game does what Bush cannot

Go Directly to Iraq; Do Not Pass Afghanistan, Do Not Collect Bin Laden

From the look of things, Carmen Sandiego has fallen in with some real creeps. That's judging by the name of an incendiary new board game produced right here in Austin. Just in time for the fifth anniversary of 9/11, that catalyzing event and major motion picture tie-in that "changed everything" (except for the 30% of Americans who don't know what year it occurred, according to The Washington Post), two local sisters have unveiled Where on Earth Is Osama bin Laden? This tragically hilarious board game chronicles the hunt for the bearded bogeyman who, like some Jihadist groundhog, pops up every two years for election season before falling back down the rabbit hole.

Players set out from Washington, D.C., looking for the mass murderer and terrorist financier, but, as Donald Rumsfeld says, "stuff happens." As you travel around the board, players draw up cards (see illustration) detailing the Bush administration's various blunders: "If you draw a card detailing efforts to find bin Laden," reads one instruction, "you'll get to move forward. If you draw a card with references to Iraq, Saddam Hussein, WMDs or other crazy stuff about the illegal war against Iraq, you'll have to go backwards." Just like real life. The first player to Osama's cave in the Khyber Pass wins.

"Last year as we passed the fourth anniversary of 9/11, we started wondering – what ever happened to all this 'wanted dead or alive' talk?" asks Tina Williamson, co-creator of the game with her sister, Rita. Distraught that their country was mired in Iraq while 9/11's architect continued to roam free, the politically active sisters (Tina lobbies Congress on behalf of medical privacy, after an advertising and dot-com career; Rita previously served on the board of Amnesty International) cooked up the board game after "more than a couple" of glasses of wine.

Williamson credits the game's use of humor to "help diffuse some really horrendous stuff" related to terrorism and Bush's botched handling of the threat – like the recent disbanding of the CIA unit devoted to hunting bin Laden. "We're fighting the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time," Williamson says, "and five years out [from 9/11], we can't find the guy that did it."

For more info, and to order the game, visit www.whereonearthisosamabinladen.com.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

War on Terror, 9 / 11, war in Iraq

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