Superpowers battle for Antarctica

By Robert Janelle

Global warming has melted the polar ice caps and the layout of the world has changed forever. With more of the population moving to Antarctica, which is now a livable continent, the world’s superpowers are fighting for control of it.

This is the premise of a new war strategy board game called Antarctica: Global Warming, designed by the Kingston father-and-son team of Peter and Frank Zuuring.

The pair had participants at Queen’s University draw them a map of what the world would look like if the ice caps melted.

In the game, similar to other war strategy games such as Risk and Axis and Allies, players play as either North America, South America, Europe or Asia.

All are fighting for control of Antarctica and the other continents. The first player to take over Antarctica and two continents wins.

Peter Zuuring said the premise is interesting because it’s close to what could happen in the event of a global warming disaster.

“If land becomes scarce, countries are going to say ‘hey, that’s mine,’ ” he said, standing in Minotaur Games and Gifts.

The game has been four years in the making. Frank, who was a casualty of the recent layoffs at the Bell Canada call centre, was inspired by his love of strategy games, but always felt there was something missing.

“There would always be elements we’d like to change,” he said. “We looked at ideas to make it different from other games.”

One of those elements is a rotating clear layer over the board that has weather fronts painted on. It’s rotated every turn and if game piece ends up in the weather front, that player rolls the dice to find out if their piece has been destroyed or is just stuck for a turn.

“It’s a nice random element,” said Minotaur Games and Gifts owner Justine Scala. “Your best laid plans can go wrong.”

Peter was a computer game designer before venturing into the world of board games. “It was wonderful because board games have a shelf life,” he said. “With computer games, you’re fighting new technology every six months.”

To get their vision off the ground, the pair needed hundreds of thousands of dollars. They entered the 2005 First Capital Challenge business plan competition put on by KEDCO and were finalists.

Although they didn’t win, they still came out with a solid business plan that they were able to pitch to local investors and secure funding.

They have 1,000 units made of the first edition of the game, with another 3,000 units on order.