© Glendon Mellow, The Flying Trilobite

blasphemy, the game

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I don’t ask for much from my entertainments, but what I do ask for, I insist on. Among these are wit, intelligence, and most of all, originality. Favorite movies: Memento, Run Lola Run, Being John Malkovich. My favorite book is narrated by a fifteen-year-old autistic boy who tries to solve the pitchfork murder of a giant poodle. You get the idea.

So when I was asked to take a look at a new game called Blasphemy, I was hoping for something funny, clever, and out of the ordinary. And holy mother of pearl, did I ever find it.

A Faith-Off
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Blasphemy™ is an amazingly clever, well-made, and carefully-researched board game that manages to provide religious literacy and skewer the sacred at the same time. The game builds on the fact that there were many claimants to the title of Messiah in ancient Judea. Each player maneuvers one would-be Messiah through six phases in the life of Jesus. Whoever can attain baptism in the Jordan (you have to catch John the Baptist first), resist the devil in the wilderness (without losing all of your Faith cards), give the greatest sermons, perform the most impressive miracles, discredit his rivals, and make his way first to the cross wins the game.

Every last detail of the game has been thought out by someone with that rarest of combinations: biblical smarts and a sense of humor. Equally stunning is the craftsmanship of the game itself, from a gorgeous silk-screened cloth playing surface to the tiles, the cards, and the Messiahs. You’ll find yourself stroking the lovely little pieces as you play (a sin in 14 denominations). As for the cost ($99.99), the game’s website FAQ is absolutely correct: “It’s worth every shekel. The manufactured components for the game are both unique and top of the line. If you treat the game properly, it should easily last well over two thousand years.”

The Jesi
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Be advised: this is not a game for anyone who lacks patience, a sense of humor, or a high tolerance for complexity. Not difficulty — it isn’t difficult to play. But if you (or your teens) don’t like multifaceted, multilayered games with the potential to stretch into the wee hours of the night, this isn’t for you. If on the other hand that last sentence made you drool, and you think of sacred cows as excellent skewer-holders, this is the game for you.

If you do tend toward the opinion that religion should be protected from a good-natured ribbing, other games are more likely to be your cuppa. [Not sure where you land on the blasphemy tolerance spectrum? Here’s a test.]

Myself, I think a game built around the essence of a big idea is a delicious thing. Wouldn’t you love to see a game in which simple life forms compete and evolve until one of them ends up as Charles Darwin? Me too. In the meantime, have a spot of fun following the evolution of a Messiah.

website for Blasphemy the Game

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This was written on Wednesday, 18. June 2008 at 15:18 and was filed under humor, reviews. You can keep up with the comments to this article by using the RSS-Feed.

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  1. That sounds awesome! I can’t wait to play

    Comment: jcornelius – 19. June 2008 @ 10:26 am

  2. Looks fun! Oh, your “other games” link didn’t work. And I stared at the “test” image and I must be dense, because I didn’t get it. So I guess I’m not offended!

    A friend of mine loves the Buffy the Vampire game, which has its own complex set of rules and context. This looks to be similar. 🙂

    Comment: kathryn – 19. June 2008 @ 11:06 am

  3. Oh, never mind about the other games link. I tried the link from within Bloglines and see now that you corrected it and added more!

    Comment: kathryn – 19. June 2008 @ 11:08 am

  4. I stared at the “test” image and I must be dense, because I didn’t get it. So I guess I’m not offended!

    Becca didn’t get it either. Think Village People. Does that help?

    Comment: Dale – 19. June 2008 @ 12:18 pm

  5. It took me a minute, but I got it! (Before seeing your clue.) Such a rare occurrence for me that I have to share my excitement. But now I’ll have that in my head all day. Thanks… grr… 🙂

    Memento too, but that’s cool. Have you seen Sliding Doors?

    Congrats on the corporal punishment resolution!!

    Comment: Karen – 19. June 2008 @ 1:25 pm

  6. Have you seen Sliding Doors?

    I have indeed, and liked it, of course — especially the fact that the plotline that you thought was going to be dark ended up positive and vice-versa. All I want anymore from life is to be surprised.

    Comment: Dale – 19. June 2008 @ 1:36 pm

  7. I love the Buffy game. My wife and I played it over and over when we first got it. Haven’t played it much lately though.

    Comment: jcornelius – 19. June 2008 @ 2:13 pm

  8. Here’s the Board Game Geek link. (The ultimate board game site for reviews, ratings, photos, and heaps of other info.)

    http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/33125

    Comment: ThatAtheistGuy – 19. June 2008 @ 2:37 pm

  9. The guys playing pool in the ‘blasphemy’ title got me started, and I finished off with the tune, “It’s fun to stay at the Y…MCA…”
    Have you visited LOLTheist? Sometimes the blasphemy is very good over there…

    Comment: leslie – 19. June 2008 @ 4:38 pm

  10. Yeah, I get it now. *gasp* That is truly terribly funny. 🙂

    Comment: kathryn – 20. June 2008 @ 11:59 pm

  11. […] John Freshwater is still playing out some kind of Christian belief competition with word games, Parenting Beyond Belief has found a board game that’s more educational, a lot more fun, and without the actual smell of burning flesh: […]

    Pingback: Talk About Teaching the Controversy! « Cocking A Snook! – 23. June 2008 @ 11:32 am

  12. On CFI’s Point of Inquiry from July 4 2008, Ben Radford mentions his upcoming board game, Playing Gods.

    “Unleash floods and plagues on each other’s followers, while protecting your own flock. The god with the best strategy, skill, and luck shall rule the world….”

    http://www.playinggods.com/

    Comment: sphagnum – 08. July 2008 @ 9:43 am

  13. Have you ever given Munchkin a try? 😀

    Comment: lneely – 29. April 2009 @ 10:52 am

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