When Freedom of Information Act enthusiast Douglas Palmer used public records requests to explore the games that the CIA uses to train its analysts, he laid the groundwork for republishing these games for general use.
That's because works created by the US government are automatically, irrevocably in the public domain, meaning that anyone can adapt, improve and/or publish games like "Kingpin: The Hunt for El Chapo" and "Collection Deck."
That's just what Techdirt is doing! They're Kickstarting a commercial, playable version of "Collection Deck" under the new, snappy (and much more accurate) title "Collect It All." They want to raise $30K to produce a single run of the game at scale, with no intention of making it available outside of the crowdfunder, meaning that this is your only chance to get a copy.
$10 gets you a playable, printable PDF; $29 gets you a handsome boxed deck that's ready to play. All crowdfunders are a gamble that the founders will actually use the money they raise to do what they said they'd do, but I trust Mike Masnick and the Techdirt folks implicitly.
We've already been working with Randy Lubin of Diegetic Games on a few different projects (including Working Futures and others you'll need to stay tuned for). So, we started talking about making a version of the CIA's game to play for ourselves. And everyone we mentioned it to wanted to play as well. And the more we looked at the details, the more we realized that we could make a much nicer version (while paying homage to the original and its route through FOIAdom) that was playable, and maybe even offer some changes, fixes and alternative rules. We decided to name our version, "CIA: Collect It All." Not only does "Collect It All" spell out CIA and pay homage to the CIA's "Collection Deck" name, "Collect It All" was also General Keith Alexander's surveillance motto that we roundly mocked due to its inherent conflict with the old 4th Amendment. Anyway, this seemed like a way to take back the phrase a bit.
And that led us to Kickstarter. We're using Kickstarter in the real original sense of Kickstarter. We had an idea that we thought was pretty damn cool that we wanted for ourselves. And we want to see if others want it as well so we can produce it at scale. If people want it, awesome. We'll make a bunch. If we're wrong and no one really wants it... well, we'll probably still make a copy for ourselves, but you're on your own, working with redacted photocopies.
CIA: Collect It All [Mike Masnick/Kickstarter]
The CIA Made A Card Game... And We're Releasing It [Mike Masnick/Techdirt]