How to play

Glasnost the GameTM was invented by Dr. Yiannis Laouris, in 1989 while he was employed at the Department of Physiology of the University in Arizona as a Research Assistant Professor. Dr. Laouris studied medicine in Leipzig, East Germany at the time, and has witnessed the effects of the cold war. Glasnost the GameTM was, originally conceptualized, while he was playing with his little daughter Romina and watching TV in West Germany, where he was specializing in neurophysiology, just before the fall of the Berlin wall. Little Romina was annoyed by the numerous wars and suffering of people all over the planet. Therefore, one day she asked her father to help her construct a game, which would be won by the player who manages to disarm the earth. Playing and testing several ideas, they together developed a game, which they have been playing in their free time. When Dr. Laouris moved to the States, his new friend George Vakanas was fascinated by the idea and contributed to the formalization of the rules and the design of a pre-marketable product.

[Extract from Laouris interview in local news in 1990]

What was the trigger for you to invent Glasnost the GameTM?

We live in a society in which “truth” has little value. Everything, not just Eisntein’s theory of relativity, literaly everything is being disputed: truth about democracy? Truth about freedom; Truth about political systems; Even scientific “truth” is manipulated by those who dominate a field.

In 1974, I was a teenager, a young fellow full of dreams and energy to materialize them, when war broke in my country, Cyprus. My immature mind was suddenly full of blood and hatry. I hold the whole society responsible for what happened to my family and my country. I never had the time or opportunities to reflect and clear up my thoughts as to what features of society were responsible for what happened. I gratuated school and joined the army. Only thereafter, I was allowed to live Cyprus and go to a university. However, my family had no money after the war. I was one of the lucky people to be awarded a scholarship. I ended up studying medicine in East Germany. When I first arrived, I was so confused. It was as if they put me in a room, where everything was upside down and somebody in the room (who was not upside down!) was trying to convince you that everything is in the right orientation. Newspapers were advocating freedom for people, a beautiful world yet to come in some distant future, disarming and peaceful co-existance of all countries on earth. And before I knew it I was arrested! I remember going to neighbourhoods with friends, sticking posters on the walls requesting: “No more rockets.” The police did not wait. They were not polite. They arrested all of us. My German friends went to prison for a while. I was released because I was foreign and because I was top student. They gave me an explanation: “American rockets kill people; Russian rockets bring freedom and peace to nations.” I never understood the meaning of those statements. If our poster said “No more American rockets,” we would be safe.

I am telling you all this to help you understand something about me. Let me now jump a couple of years and take you in Göttingen, in West Germany, where I moved to specialize in Neurophysiology with a famous group of people who have also been here a few months ago: Professors Hans Dietrich Henatsch, Uwe Windhost and Jestus Meyer-Lohmann. Many times after work, I used to turn on the German TV and enjoy with my daughter Romina and my wife Joulietta. Almost every night they show killings in “distant” places followed by peace negotiations in Geneva; A disgrace; then come Mikhail Gorbachev. Everybody, including me, was fascinated by his books Peristroika and Glasnost.

Romina keeps asking questions: “Why do we have so many wars daddy? Who is this guy on TV daddy? Why is he on TV every night? Will he stop wars daddy? Why do they kill children daddy?” Other nights we play Monopoli, or Mensch Urger Dich Nicht or Antimonopoli. Romina likes Antimonopoli, but she doesn’t want the bomb to move towards the end of the spiral. When I do it on purpose, she starts crying. Then I try to explain that real life is like that;that we have to face reality; we have to “see” as they are; we have to adopt the “Glasnost philosophy.” One night she said: Why don’t we make a Game like Antimonopoli, in which we have no armies anywhere in the world?” I tried to explain that we couldn’t have a world withour armies. “Ok,” she said, “lets have a world with armies and get rd of them. Let’s do it Yiannis, pleeease???” (this is how she calls me). I guess that’s the story (smile); we sat down and create it. In one night, we had the concept and we even played it.

The production and marketing of Glasnost the GameTM

The production of Glasnost the GameTM was done as a family business. Laouris’ friend George Vakanas took a few months off his studies at the University of Arizona and tgether with Laouris’ father, mother and brother, Chris, Artemis and George and many family friends, produce, packaged and sold 4,000 copies of Glansnost. A company named YL Games Ltd. was registered for that purpose.