My editor, Mark Rosenzweig, sent me a link to a Wall Street Journal article that touted offbeat games. Lab Wars, created by a pair of scientists in the United Kingdom, was among the mix. According to the article, players control a team of professors, postdoctoral fellows and Ph.D. students and amass scientific equipment and publications (journal articles and books). Whichever lab attains the most “impact points” wins the game. A clever sabotage element converts the game from a simple race into a contest that also involves deducing and interfering with the other labs’ strategies.
The designers, Caezar Al-Jassar and Kuly Heer, state that the game cards are based on real life events they, as scientists, have encountered, heard about or researched. Al-Jassar has a B.Sc from Cardiff University in Pharmacology and a Ph.D from Birmingham University in molecular and structural biology. He works at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge. Heer has a B.Sc in Psychology from Aston University and a Ph.D in Psychology from Birmingham University.
On the Lab Wars website, the duo notes: “Being a difficult and laborious industry, some famous and/or dodgy scientists have often [resorted] to underhanded tactics to get ahead of their peers. Using this as the driving force we decided that we should create a game around this concept so that players could be devious against one another with a science theme.”
Let’s just hope this doesn’t go the way Pokémon has and we find players roaming around labs trying to capture scientists and besmirch their reputations for real.
Traci Purdum is Chemical Processing’s senior digital editor. She is not roaming the streets of Cleveland looking for Pokémon but she does play the Punchbug game on the road. You can email her at [email protected]