Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Conspiracy Theories, Board Gaming and Trolling before the Internet


The Dice Tower, a pretty reliable source of information most of the time, tweeted this rebuttal from "Gary F. White" regarding a scathing review from a young Alan R. Moon. The board game being reviewed was Mr. Trucker, and the reply from Mr. White is hilarious in its magnitude.

Link to the tweet

Here's the letter in it's entirety:


It's easy to forget that before the Internet, most of the information in this letter would be impossible to check. You wouldn't be able to easily find Garry F. White unless he also included his phone number in the letter. You wouldn't easily be able to look up statistics in Toy & Games magazine.

There are a few obvious "calling cards" that this entire letter is a Discordian fabrication.

1) The word "fnord" substituted for "ford." Fnord is a word invented in the Principia Discordia for exactly the purpose it is being used here: to be mingled into the word gibberish of a crank letter sent to an unassuming publication.

2) The word "megabuck" is used to describe the list of branded corporate logos printed on the cover of Mr. Trucker.

As everyone knows, megabucks are the official currency used in Steve Jackson's classic card game Illuminati.

It's easy to forget that before Munchkin, Illuminati was SJG's best-seller by far. First published in 1982 in black and white, then finally getting a deluxe color edition in 1999 (this is the version I have). Take a look at the Steve Jackson Games website and its still mostly conspiracy stuff, because darn it...the Illuminati are fun!

There's probably even more I'm not seeing. Certainly, all of the statistics sound completely made up. There's no way Mr. Trucker has possibly beaten Trivial Pursuit in any category. It's impossible Gary would have received 10,000 letters when its very likely less than 10,000 copies of Mr. Trucker were ever made.

The Conspiracy Goes Deeper

In fact, I have a hard time believing editors for a gaming publication would fall for this, and find it highly more likely they were in on the joke.

1) I find it suspicious that Mr. Trucker has zero reference to this article on BGG. Until today, that is. This tweet from The Dice Tower appears to be the first evidence of an Alan Moon "Mr. Trucker" review ever to make an appearance online.

2) I have no evidence Games International was even a real magazine. There's no evidence of it easily google-able. I suspect we are all being played, here. Supposedly Games International was in London, and this is a regional game published in Canada about trucking.

Either way, this makes me want to bust out some Illuminati. And I an incredibly grateful for the Dice Tower supplying me with this bizarre gift to roll around in my head over the lunch period.

4 comments:

  1. Well you might be on to something, but the magazine IS real. I'm holding it right now. And it's full of stuff that seems real.

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  2. Thanks for the reply, Tom! I am glad to know the magazine exists. But I am less sure about the "Marketing International Corporation.". This is one of those rabbit holes, you can keep going down and never hit the bottom.

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  3. Marketing International Corporation appears to have published Mr. Trucker as their name is on the side of the box of the current copy available on ebay. I haven't been able to find any other information on the company or the author of the letter. A trademark application I found didn't help. Interesting mystery. Perhaps someone can reach out to Mr. Moon for comment?

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    1. OTTObox, sounds like Marketing International is real too. I agree, it would be interesting to hear from Alan Moon. If it turns out I'm crazy, I guess I'll have to eat my hat on this. Luckily due to a weird personal foible on my part I use donuts as hats. I actually ate 2 hats yesterday for basically no reason.

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