No matter how old school board games and the like may seem these days, they just won’t seem to go away. Even with the amazing experiences we get on mobile and how far developers can take realism in the AAA console space, there’s just something about those vintage tabletop games that continues to bring friends and families together. While it has certainly been a while since we saw some kind of interesting innovation in the cardboard dice-rolling world, these new internal CIA training board games certainly caught our attention.
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The CIA has been creating top-secret, classified board and card games to test employees for years now. In fact, we know a Senior Collection Analyst at the CIA by the name of David Clopper has created three involved board games since 2008 for this very purpose. While these games were never necessarily meant to ever see the light of day, journalists got a chance to give one of the games a go at SXSW 2017. At the time, there were no images allowed of the game or its assets, but certain individuals were keen on getting their hands on all of the details.
That’s when Douglas A. Palmer’s Freedom of Information request was presented to the CIA regarding the details of the games and their assets. Surprisingly enough, Palmer’s request was not denied, making the information on the games available to anyone. From there, game development company Two Bats (among others) took it upon themselves to begin recreating the games.
There are 3 (or more) games in question as far as we can tell. Two Bats and others now have all of the details regarding game assets, rules and more to re-create at least 2 of the games in their entirety as well as a third being refereed to as Kingpin: The Hunt for El Chapo.
First up, Two Bats took it upon themselves to re-create Collection, a game similar to something like Pandemic which forces players to manage a crisis as its spreads across the globe. By the looks of it, Two Bats had to literally re-create every aspect of the game using basic white paper details from the FOI request. The company said the game is actually quite fun despite being tuned for a training scenario rather than a fun game night with friends and drinks.
Another one of the games to come from the FOI request was referred to as Collection Deck. Details are thin here but it looks like a sort of Magic-type game based on gathering intel. It’s hard to say if the Two Bats version will ever see the light of day with any wide-spread release, but we do know other companies have taken to crowdfunding platforms with games based on Clopper’s work and the FOI request details. Here’s to hoping they aren’t all that much different so players can get a taste of secret agent training from the CIA.
In the meantime, check out this short review on Collection courtesy of Two Bats gaming:
We review Collection, a recently declassified board game designed by CIA analyst David Clopper.