Space-Biff! on Bloc by Bloc (3rd edition)

kent state disturbance playset

(image: National Lampoon, ca. 1971)

Thankfully, Bloc by Bloc isn’t ideologically agnostic. It’s radically and refreshingly committed to egalitarianism, clear-eyed about the contradictions that tug at modern efforts to effect change, and both deeply angry and hopelessly idealistic.

Oh, Daniel Thurot just keeps swinging and hitting them wayyy over the fence… what a nice surprise today to see that he has written a piece on the new edition of Bloc by Bloc: Uprising. It is the third edition, coming soon on Gamefound and I will be there for it, just as I was when the game was first noised about on Boardgamegeek.

Bloc by Bloc: compelling subject matter, good presentation, and genuinely interesting mechanics for both cooperative (Kumbayah) and semi-cooperative (duelling agendas) versions. One of the more inspiring things I’ve played in years.

The point is, change begins somewhere. The bug of hope must first be contracted. Whether it speaks of suffrage, liberty, civil rights, opportunity, or true equality before the law, Bloc by Bloc is no mere polemic. It understands its contradictions and grapples with them. It speaks a message while remaining playful. Most importantly, it instills a yearning for something better.

February 15, on Gamefound!

Bloc by Bloc: The Insurrection Game

Foucault in the Woodland, Part 3


Dan Thurot, lui-meme de <<Space-Biff!>> continues his series of commentaries on Root and Foucaultian biopolitics. This instalment is a comparison of the Marquis machine and its opponent the Woodland Alliance. A good quote:

Every so often I’ll meet somebody who can’t or won’t overlook the ugliness that takes place beneath a wargame’s resolution; say, the atrocities that appear on every single card in Twilight Struggle or one of the volumes of the COIN Series. By rewriting these atrocities in the language and imagery of fable, Wehrle degausses that resolution even further. One can make-believe that the inhabitants of the Marquise’s sawmills and workshops aren’t staffed with children, or that they’re safely evacuated before the Woodland Alliance puts them to the torch. That despite the blood frenzy of the moment, the line between forced laborer, reluctant collaborator, and enthusiastic participant is clearly drawn.

The Story So Far:

Civil Power: correction on ADS


Erratum for Civil Power:

I have been informed that the Active Denial System (ADS, colloquially known as the “heat ray”) described in the game does not emit microwave energy. The system emits millimeter wave energy at the very high frequency of about 95 GHz, and so its ray does not penetrate skin and flesh to the same degree that microwave energy does (a microwave oven emits at about 2.45 GHz).

I apologize for my technical ignorance and misrepresentation of this non-lethal weapon system. Players should change the word “microwave” to “millimeter wave” in section 8.3 of the rulebook.

Civil Power: unboxing video

The notorious “Stuka Joe” does an unboxing video of Civil Power. Unusually, the box cover art features a background image of a large gas mask, where the examples I’ve seen and own feature a large fist. Joe said he got this directly from CSL so maybe they have made some changes. The inside components are all the same, and the “fist” motif is on the cover of the rulebook.

It’s an unboxing so he thumbs through the component and interesting sections of the rulebook, but he seems enthused by the topic and the treatment! I hope he will have more to say about this game later.

Interview: designing political-military games

Last year I did an interview about my games and thoughts about game design with the group “Anti-Imperialist Action Ireland” (because they asked nicely). I prefer to do interviews by email but they would have liked a live event, so we compromised by having a computer voice read the transcript quickly while a Terry Gilliam drawing wobbled its jaw up and down.

If this is too alarming an image for you, you can read the transcript at