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John Lamb, Published May 29 2010

Lamb: Fargo’s future found in the roll of the dice

With city elections coming on June 8, there’s been a lot of talk about the future of Fargo and who will take it in which direction.

But if you’re interested in getting a glimpse a little further into the future, say 1,040 years, the man you want isn’t on the ballot.

Erik Meyer is working on a game that will allow players to feel what life is like in a dystopian future Fargo.

The name of the game is “Fargone,” of course.

“If you’re going to create a pen-and-paper dystopian role-playing game, why not set it in a mythical place nobody actually comes from,” Meyer, a Wisconsin native, says.

The 29-year-old unveils a beta version of his game at 7 p.m. Thursday at Paradox Comics-n-Cards.

Think “Mad Max” rolling 20-sided dice with “Blade Runner.”

In “Fargone” the year is 2125. The United States has become a police state after nuclear skirmishes have destroyed some metro areas.

Trains and semis rolling in and out of town are subject to hijackings. In short, the Badlands are now in the Red River Valley.

Even inside the Fargo metro area, life is less than ideal.

South Fargo is reduced to slums. (I’m sure this is somehow blamed on Davies High School.)

North Fargo has emerged as the affluent part of town where housing developments are protected by domes. (Proof that the Fargodome is an influential architectural statement ahead of it’s time.)

West Fargo is over-populated with malls, and Moorhead has been left stagnant with a crumbling infrastructure. OK, so little has changed in 1,000 years for the latter two cities, but maybe that’s the scariest part of all.

I take that back. Apparently the Army Corps of Engineer’s proposed flood protection hasn’t worked and rising waters have forced the cities to, literally, raise streets and buildings, leading to a separate, old Fargo under ground.

Well, things aren’t all bad. Downtown is thriving again as the business and entertainment center of the area. Oh, and Fargo now has riverfront casinos, which I’m sure will be a popular tourism attraction for those plucky families who can drive the minivan through the gauntlet of hijackers outside of town.

“The future has flying cars,” a poster promoting Thursday’s event proclaims. “And rabies.”

And residents can be equipped with cybernetic implants to give them super-human powers.

There isn’t a finish line to the game, and you don’t really win. Meyer wants participants to stage their character’s actions and hopes that by having them physically involved they’ll think about what they can do now to prevent his dystopian future from coming true.

Or, if a wasteland ruled by thugs is more your bag, come June 8, vote Lord Humungus.


Readers can reach Forum columnist John Lamb at (701) 241-5533