Ivo Antunic is a designer and publisher of the board game World Control (www.world-control.net). He received BSc in Architecture from the Technical University of Vienna and has become a student of Game Studies at Danube University Krems in 2021. World Control was introduced to him during an exchange year in the US by his host father, Michael Lee Cregger. After sailing the carribbean seas, the name of his boat – imago – lived on for his publishing venture when he crowdfunded WorldControl on Kickstarter in 2016 during the rise of the Trump-Phenomenon. Focusing on deeper, analog immersion, and themes that bridge over to current events with a Twitter-Bot, additional crowdfundings on StarNext took kept WorldControl a constant Work-In-Progress. The blurring of the real & the gaming world is what he calls „Playerism“.
Playerism – A broken Magic Circle, when the whole world is a game.
FROG 2021 – Talk
My entry into Game Studies stems from crowdfunding the board game “WorldControl” in 2016. It had been pieced together as a mashup of the board game classics “Risk” and “Monopoly” by Michael Lee Cregger in 1991, but remained unpublished. As an exchange student at the Cregger family in 2005 I got to know and love this forgotten game. Its story “in the future all governments have failed & a billionaire elite with corporate armies now plays for the world’s total ownership” seemed gloomy but visionary. So when a billionaire gameshow host started running for the highest office of the world’s most powerful army under a premise of “winning again”, it seemed the game of WorldControl was about to get real. The simple mixture of “Fight or Pay”, adding strategic elements to counter pure chance, gave the game a highly immersive gameplay compared to the known classics, while offering a familiar layout. But there was something about the original prototype that gave it that magic. A submerged central dice-rolling arena provided a feeling as if surrounded by James-Bond villains at Casino Royal. As a student of architecture I had always been fascinated by physical manifestations of these magic circles in the form of theaters, arenas and stadiums. It was not merely about the game, it was about making it bigger than life & immersing all of society into it. With permission to make something out of WorldControl, I poured all my love for design into carving an opulent board. Within 3 weeks a prototype and a campaign was set up without any advertisement, but since every friend called me crazy to believe that anyone would pay up to €230+ or more for a board game, I offered multiple versions. An overwhelming +75% of the backing eventually came from the design-editions. It was successfully funded on election-day 2016. The gameshow-host, trying to brake the rules of reality at every moment, became president & I was confronted with actually having to realize my modern Jumanji, with its immersive effect of braking into reality. The magic circle as a barrier seemed broken. This fusion of the real world and the simulated play world, is what I now call “Playerism”.