Have you ever dreamed of being a Conservative prime minister? No, me neither. However, Dave Morris and Jamie Thomson’s new gamebook gives you just that chance, an opportunity to lead our fine nation into the abyss/promised land (delete as applicable).
They know their readers are mostly forty-somethings who grew up on the back of the 1980s gamebook boom, hence the simple rules:
This is a gamebook in which the outcome is decided by the choices you make. You know the kind of thing.
Though the work of Remainers (like me), Can You Brexit? is actually a very fair book. Weirdly, after reading it, I started feeling sorry for Theresa May. This was shortly after I had been (metaphorically) knifed in the back by my own backbenchers for cosying up to our continental cousins.
Can you Brexit? is also extremely informative, explaining complicated issues in a very clear way. Morris and Thomson have clearly done bucket-loads of research, yet the gamebook is designed so that you can get as much or as little background knowledge as you like. I wish it had come out before the Referendum.
One problem is that as PM, you can’t handle everything yourself, which means that sometimes you have to put decisions in the hands of your underlings, and that’s where things get decidedly dicey:
Oh for more hours in the day so that you could personally oversee all aspects of the Brexit negotiations. Unfortunately, you’ve had to delegate a number of topics to your ministers – in particular the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU. Now see how much harm he and his cronies have done…
Dicey it may be, but you don’t need actual dice by your side. The game system is brilliantly flexible and easy to follow. You start with four attributes, all set at 52% (Authority, Economy, Goodwill, and Popularity).
Just as in reality, you can’t please your political allies at home at the same time as meeting the demands of the EU, so when one of these attributes rises, another tends to fall.
The end of the book allows you to assess the results of your Brexit on your party, and indeed, that long-forgotten elephant in the corner, the actual country. (Ending with an economy rating of 11%, I fear that I have left our once-great nation in ruins.)
Best of all, the book is fun, with a cast of fictional characters that are easily recognisable.
As usual the debate is hosted by ageless TV icon Martin Mugglemore and is being broadcast from some regional hellhole. The audience have the sour look of a crowd of Romans who haven’t been given their bread.
Alas there aren’t any images: this book is begging to be illustrated by one of Private Eye‘s top cartoonists. However, if there’s one thing I have learned from Can You Brexit?, it’s that you have to make savings somewhere.
Even more fun than reading the garden furniture supplement in The Daily Telegraph, Morris and Thomson have proved in Can You Brexit? that there is life in the old gamebook format yet.