Guy Debord’s “le jeu de la guerre” part 1: interview Alex Galloway

Not that many philosophers have had enough interest in board games to make it a subject of their reflection. And that’s obviously even more so the case for wargames. So when I discovered that French avant-garde philosopher and filmmaker Guy Debord didn’t only work on board games but actually had made a war game, I was instantly fascinated.

Debord made a name for himself in the late 50s when he launched his very own left-wing philosophical and artistic movement: situationism. In 1967, he published the book and, subsequently, the film that would grant him worldwide fame: La société du spectacle.

What is not well known is that for a significant part of his life, he has been working on a complex chess variant in which he wanted to distil what was, for him, the spirit of warfare, as he was fascinated by military theory. This game was simply called: "le jeu de la guerre", in English, the game of war.

And it wasn’t just a side project. In his book Panegyric, he writes: "I fear it could be the only one of my works that anyone will dare to recognise as having some value."

So to learn more about this unique object, I invited Alexander Galloway, a philosophy teacher at NYU and the developer of a digital adaptation of Guy Debord’s game. Alexander dedicated an article in Zones of control to Debord’s "…

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