Friends, Family Feared Dead at Hands of Gaming Cult

London, England

Report by Stewart Digger.

Eight members of the Karaoke Club, a bizarre cult known for playing eccentric board and card games, were for a time believed dead by friends and family members. The group were discovered sitting around a table in an Essex flat, unmoving and barely alive, late Monday evening.

The drama began when one of their number, Annie Shilabeer, returned from a short trip to discover an alarming email message waiting on her computer. Ms. Shilabeer had apparently been in Ireland to attend Meadcon, a gathering which combined game playing with rounds of heavy drinking. "It was a really great con!" Annie said "It took me a while to sleep off the last of its effects." This was no understatement as almost a month passed before she checked her email. "A chill went through me the second I saw the message. I couldn't believe that they would do anything like that." she said. "I wish I had been there for it."

The message invited Ms Shilabeer to join the Karaoke Club for an afternoon of games. The group had gathered at the urging of the man they knew as Sumo. The opinionated, tenebrous, some would say pixelated man would lead them to the very brink of destruction. One cultist, Mike Clifford, spoke with us. "We would pretty much play anything that Sumo brought along. We just didn't question his judgement. Until it was too late, of course."

The game in question was the latest creation by the Ragnar Brothers, most famous for their epic simulation of podiatry through the ages, History of the Foot. The Brothers had experimented for a time with a second design, History of the World, but were finding a lot of resistence. One of the Ragnars told us that "people just don't find the history of ancient empires as engaging as their own toes."

After the failure of their second design, the Ragnars took stock. The younger Ragnar posited that "perhaps it was those sticky bits of fluff that come off one's socks" that kept consumers coming back to their first game time after time. They decided that they would have to think bigger. They moved on to the ill fated History of the Universe, the game that very nearly cost the Karaoke Club their lives.

"It was a very engaging simulation," Mike Siggins, the man better known as Sumo, told us. "I really liked the way they handled the appearance of quarks after the Big Bang, and the aggregation into high energy particles is a stroke of genius. I have always admired God and have read every book ever written about Him and there I was saying 'Let there be light!' Its a fabulous game."

How could such a wonderful game come so close to killing its players? "Well, with almost eight hundred playing pieces, five thousand pages of rules, fifteen hundred dice, and a collectable card set comprised of over five thousand individual cards I would say the game is on the upper end of the complexity scale," explained cultist Alan How. "When Annie popped by it had been three days since Sumo completed his last turn and we'd all just been sitting there trying to take it all in. Hydrogen had just appeared and it was taking us a while to sort out our strategies."

Friends and relatives of the Karaoke Club members had been frantic with worry. None of them had been seen since the game began in late February. "The time just flew by!" according to Sumo. When Ms Shillabeer first discovered the club members seated around the table, still and gaunt, she feared the worst. "I moved fast and revived them with a quick round of Save the President," says Annie. "That always gets them going!"

Hopefully, Sumo's Karaoke Club will be sticking to rousing family favorites like Monopoly and Candyland from now on!

The Game Cabinet - - Ken Tidwell