A huddle of exasperated men in suits: the UK Prime Minister complains that his Chief Scientist has gone rogue, trading technologies with Japan against explicit orders not to do so. Other world leaders chime in that their scientists have grown similarly unruly. Looking over at the cheering crowd gathered around the Science Control table, I am not surprised to see my own scientist frantically rolling dice at the center. A gregarious party-pusher, he had pulled the international research community into a fraternity of mad science, freely trading tech against the wishes of their governments, in the pursuit of clean energy and a trip to Mars. I feel a hand on my shoulder. “Mr. President,” my VP whispers as she pulls me aside, “the aliens have landed in Mexico.”
For an entire Saturday on July 26, I was President of the United States in Watch the Skies, a megagame of alien invasion. Part board game, part roleplaying game, the daylong megagame attracted about 50 people to gather in Manhattan’s AlleyNYC co-working space in teams representing the countries of the world, the global media, and the mysterious alien invaders. It was model UN meets XCOM, and one of the most exhilarating days of my adult life.