With Filibuster having folded recently, and with John
Marsden unlikely to be doing anything about re-housing this particular game as he knows
what has been going on, I suppose its time that the hobby learned just what this
infamous game was all about. I was one of the people instrumental in setting up the game
so I suppose I should put the record straight.
For those readers who have never heard of this particular game, I should explain that
it featured seven rather strange individuals, some of which wrote even
stranger letters to Filibusters editor Adrien Baird. The game itself also had
some odd moves, plus an attempted convoy from Smy to StP via fleets of almost
every player. It fizzled out with virtually every country in anarchy.
The story behind the game began at one of the Red Lion Hobbymeets that used to be hold
in Nottingham every month. Clive Booth suggested that we set up a hoax game with seven
players playing under false names and using accommodation addresses, and have some fun at
the expense of an established editor. We decided that it wouldnt be fair to involve
a new editor, or to involve anyone who believed they were playing in a genuine game.
Adrien Baird and Filibuster were selected, mainly so that Clive could invent a
character with which to perplex Adrian. My task was to ensure that Adrian accepted the CGS
game that I offered him. Having learned to lie convincingly over the phone (a spin-off of
playing Diplomacy for eight years) I succeeded in selling the game to Adrian and so the
stage was set.
Five other conspirators were roped in; Tom Tweedy, John Lee, Dave Pollard
and two more that I cannot recall, and Clive set the ball rolling with issue 1 of a
mini-zine entitled Ooh you are awful. The idea was that one player would decide on
the moves for each of the players, and send a copy to each player so that he could write
out his orders and send them on to Adrien. Several ideas were mooted; the convoy from Smy
to StP being one, Russia growing rapidly to 17 centres and then being knocked
down to 1 centre, everyone handing over their units to a certain player during
one season, everyone NMRing at the same time, and so on. The following season
another player would decide on the moves, and the rota would continue as long
as the game continued.
Initially the hoax began well, but unfortunately it started to fall apart after a few
seasons and it soon became apparent that something strange was happening. The first
problem was that not enough thought was put into the moves, and often units
were misordered or left unordered. There was no overall policy and the game took on the
appearance of a horse designed by a committee. The final failure was the Smy to StP convoy
that failed due to an NMR.
The second problem was that Clive Booth really did overplay his character. OK, so Clive
wanted some fun at Adriens expense, but to invent a six and a half foot
semi-literate West Indian from Ilkeston who was in trouble with the police and asked
questions so silly that novices dont normally ask them, did tend to give the game
away. To give him the name of Rufus Kinton didnt help either. Perhaps the funniest
moment was when Rufus intimated that he and his friends steel band might descend on
Adrien and Co. during a houseboat con in Ashby. Overall Rufus was just too ridiculous to
Eventually Adrien smelled a rat, so naturally he phoned me and I pleaded
ignorance and that if the game was a hoax then, some genuine players were being hoodwinked
as this game included my brother-in-law. (I didnt tell him that my brother-in-law
was my alias, and that the address was my accommodation address.) It seemed that my
ability to tell lies was still pretty good as Im confident I convinced Adrien that I
too had been fooled if the game was a hoax.
It was shortly after that that the convoy failed and then the game began to fall apart
quite rapidly. Most players lost interest (myself included) and the majority of the
countries went into anarchy.
As a hoax, the idea was excellent. Unfortunately, not enough thought or effort went
into the scheme, which was disappointing. I hope Adrien will not be offended at what has
happened - if he had turned the game down originally I could be apologising to Pete Birks
now. I doubt if this kind of hoax will ever be repeated - its so difficult to set
up, and just as difficult to maintain. Once again - sorry, Adrien.