13 August 2018
Thin White Dukes
There’s no question that David Bowie is one of the greatest rock stars that ever lived. Which Bowie was best, though? Now, that’s a different question – and one that doesn’t come with an easy answer.
Like any good debate, the best way to settle the matter is with a card game (obviously). Enter designer Daniel Bullock, the creator of free print-and-play card game Bowie, which pits all of Bowie’s various alter egos against each other in a battle to prove they’re the best Bowie around.
First of all, though, they’ll need to survive the 1970s: a decade of cocaine, occult figures and other threats that can risk wiping out the personas before they have a chance to cement their legacy. And, of course, this means that all the other alter egos and their controlling players also lose – because, y’know, they’re all the same person.
Whether they’re The Thin White Duke, Ziggy Stardust, The Man Who Fell to Earth or Aladdin Sane, players’ Bowies can establish their musical greatness by cutting records, heading to the right location (such as London, Berlin and the USA) and paying for the cost of creating iconic albums and singles from throughout Bowie’s career.
Bowie(s) can also take on managers to reduce the threat of drugs and dark forces, and employ the special powers of the personas to help them avoid the potential pitfalls of fame and rock ‘n’ roll.
At the end of the game, the Bowie with the greatest legacy (represented by – what else – Aladdin Sane lightning bolts) wins.
Bullock has clearly crafted the game with a deep reverence for Bowie and his music, grounding every card in the musician’s real-life experiences during one of the self-confessed darker periods of his life – even the occult threats are inspired by Bowie’s interest in the supernatural during the time, alongside his struggles with drug use, reflected by The Thin White Duke’s contribution to the threat phase of the game and highest risk of danger.
You can download and print Bowie for free via BoardGameGeek, where Bullock has hosted all the rules and files required to play – many of which include the striking artwork from the records. As for the soundtrack – that's covered.