Pestilence Card (A)
On the way home from France we passed through a place called Bazas. While we were there a man became ill. He was a sailor who had just come back from a trip to Sicily. He had been feeling ill for a couple of days before we arrived. He complained of giddiness, shivering, vomiting and pains all over his body. Then lumps appeared under his arm. Red things they were. Well, they were red at first, then they got bigger and darker. He also had a lot of small spots all over his body. The thing I remember most of all was the terrible smell. It seemed that he was rotting to death. Before he died, people all over Bazas began complaining of feeling ill. Our commander decided to get out of the town as soon as possible. After leaving Bazas we went to Blaye. No one here had the disease but sailors from Blaye told stories of how villages all over Europe had been destroyed by the disease they called the pestilence.
Pestilence Card (B)
I was in Tonbridge yesterday when all of a sudden, the town was swamped with visitors. Most of them had come from London. Others had come from villages south of the city. The people said they were fleeing from the pestilence. One man told me that the streets of London are full of dead bodies. Many people had stories to tell of the disease. One young woman told me that that she was the only one from a family of eight who had survived. Another man, a pedlar, told me that the disease was all over England. He said that it had spread through the West Country, then London, and was now heading for Kent and Sussex. When I heard that I decided to get on my horse and head back to Yalding as fast as I could.
Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (often referred to as the Four Horsemen) are figures in Christian mythology, appearing in the New Testament's final book, Revelation, an apocalypse written by John of Patmos, as well as in the Old Testament's prophetic Book of Zechariah, and in the Book of Ezekiel, where they are named as punishments from God.
Revelation 6 tells of a book/scroll in God's right hand that is sealed with seven seals. The Lamb of God/Lion of Judah opens the first four of the seven seals, which summons four beings that ride out on white, red, black, and pale horses. To Zechariah, they are described as "the ones whom the Lord has sent to patrol the earth" causing it to rest quietly. Ezekiel lists them as "sword, famine, wild beasts, and plague."
In John's revelation, the first horseman is on a white horse, carrying a bow, and given a crown, riding forward as a figure of Conquest,  perhaps invoking Pestilence, Christ, or the Antichrist. The second carries a sword and rides a red horse and is the creator of War.  The third is a food merchant riding upon a black horse, symbolizing Famine.  The fourth and final horse is pale green, and upon it rides Death accompanied by Hades.  "They were given authority over a quarter of the earth, to kill with sword, famine, and plague, and by means of the beasts of the earth." 
The Christian apocalyptic vision is that the Four Horsemen are to set a divine end time upon the world as harbingers of the Last Judgment.  
Pestilence Cards - History
The Illuminati Card Game and the Rapture
This article is an excerpt from the FREE prophecy book
. As you see the ultimate goal of their plan is to create a situation in which the world will readily accept the antichrist as the world ruler. After the decimation brought to the world--unleashed in the first 5 seals-- through the power of satan and his evil cohorts, the world will be ready for a solution. They will be ready for someone to bring peace to a war torn world, for someone to restore the economy, for someone to put food back on the table. The antichrist will present himself as the savior, the messiah. Unfortunately, the world will be lured into his trap.
The Proof is in the Cards
We have discussed several aspects of the plan of the Illuminati to take over the world and usher in the antichrist as their leader. Their plans have helped us to gain insight into formulating a proper chronological scenario and understanding of prophetic events listed in scripture. We have also examined several events that will transpire during the antichrist's reign and we have seen that he and his kingdom will come to swift and decisive end.
Many readers may think this is a fantastic scenario, but unlikely to occur. I want to present one last piece of evidence I hope will get your attention.
In 1990, game inventor Steve Jackson of S. J. Games started working on an Illuminati role playing card game called "Illuminati New World Order." This card game details events that the Illuminati want to bring about in order to establish the New World Order. He revised and published the game in 1995. White magic occultist David Icke has pulled out the most pertinent nine of the 100 cards in the game to tell the story, which was on his web site, for many years.
Rewriting History : The first card depicts academic books being thrown in a trashcan. It represents the use of the public school system by the Illuminati to weaken and control people through false teachings such as evolution, abortion, acceptance of gay lifestyles, and so on.
Terrorist Nuke : This card depicts one of the World Trade Center buildings being destroyed by an explosion in the exact spot that one of the planes hit. The image on the card is an unmistakable representation of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.
Pentagon: This card depicts the Pentagon on fire. It represents and was fulfilled on the 9/11 attack of the Pentagon.
Note: The three cards thus chosen by David Icke have been fulfilled and in the exact order as depicted.
Population Reduction: This card depicts a picture of New York City with black smoke over the whole city in the shape of a skull. It is a representation of one of the goals of the Illuminati, to reduce the population of the earth. They feel that there are too many people and want to clear the globe of the excess. They will accomplish this through wars, famine, pestilence, and terrorist actions.
Center for Disease Control: This card depicts a scientist creating viruses. It represents the notion that the evil entities will be used in the future to inflict diseases upon a people group or the world.
Epidemic: This card depicts a pile of dead bodies, blackened from death, and some medical paraphernalia such as gloves and a mask. The word Quarantine is written over the picture. It represents plagues that the New World order will use to lessen the population.
Combined Disasters: This card depicts people running in fear due to buildings falling down around them. It represents the fact that they will combine several disasters at the same time to invoke great fear and thus create an atmosphere conducive for the acceptance of antichrist.
Goal: Kill for Peace: This card depicts hippies, one holding a peace sign, standing over a policeman, who is on all fours in a begging position. The Hippies are poised and ready to kill him. It represents the killing "for peace" that will happen to people who will not go along with the New World Order and its plans--namely, Christians and Jews. A peace sign is an upside down broken cross and also speaks of the destruction of Christianity and its followers at this time.
Tape Runs Out: This card depicts a reel-to-reel audiotape machine with the tape running out. Behind it is a picture of the world being split in half. Under the picture is written "When the rapture comes" This card represents the Day of the Lord and rapture of the church.
The order of these cards as presented by David Icke is very interesting. Cards 1-3 have already been fulfilled, and in the exact order as depicted. Cards 4-8 parallel very closely the first five seals as recorded in Revelation. Seals 1-4, as we have already discussed, foretell war, famines, economic collapse, diseases, and so on, and parallels cards 4-7. The fifth seal involves the persecution of Jews and Christians, which parallels card 8. The last card in his list is the rapture. He has placed the rapture occurring last in all these cards and immediately following the card that depicts the "killing for peace" initiative. This is exactly the order that the Bible gives us--the rapture after the first five seals. The existence of these cards should also help prove to you, if you do not believe it yet, that the Illuminati indeed have a plan to take over the world and are in the process of carrying it out.
There are two other noteworthy cards in the deck that I would like to mention. These cards refer to conservative talk show hosts being used by the Illuminati to mislead political conservatives into accepting the Illuminati agenda. These "weapons of mass instruction" give out 98.4% truth and 1.6% error. The problem is that since they give out so much truth, very few are discerning enough to detect the error. It is similar to rat poison: 99% food and 1% poison. This is one way that the Illuminati can get some of their programs such as NAFTA, GATT, Patriot Act I and II, and The Military Commissions Act passed without much conservative opposition. I am not suggesting that all talk show hosts fall into this category, but I admonish you to beware of them. They are smart enough to know about the conspiracy of the Illuminati. If they deny the existence of such a conspiracy, then I believe that it may be a sign that they are part of it. Unfortunately, some are so enamored with these talk show hosts because they promote conservatism that they cannot discern the truth about these individuals.
We have examined some aspects of the plan of the Illuminati to take over control of the world and institute the antichrist as the leader.
Pestilence Cards - History
The town of Coimbra (Portugal) having been visited by a violent pestilence, the nuns of St Clare offered their prayers in the following form, whereupon the contagion instantly ceased. This ancient holy prayer, left to the above-named monastery, has preserved many places from contagion where it is recited daily with confidence in God and the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It has arrested this scourge in many places.
The Star of Heaven that nourished the Lord
drove away the plague of death which the first
parents of man brought into the world. May
this bright Star now vouchsafe to extinguish
that foul constellation whose battles have
slain the people with the wound of death.
O most pious Star of the Sea, preserve us from
pestilence hear us, O Lady, for Thy Son honours
Thee by denying Thee nothing. Save us, O Jesus,
for whom Thy Virgin Mother supplicates Thee.
V: Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.
R: That we may be made worthy of the promises
Let us pray
O God of mercy, God of pity, God of benign clemency,
Thou Who hast had compassion on the affliction of Thy
people, and hast said to the angel striking them, “Stop thy
hand” for the love of this glorious Star, whose breasts
Thou didst sweetly drink as antidote for our crimes,
grant the assistance of Thy grace, that we may be safely freed
from all pestilence, and from unprovided death and mercifully
save us from the gulf of eternal perdition: through Thee,
Lord Jesus Christ, King of Glory, who livest and reignest,
world without end. Amen.
“It’s All in the Cards”: A Compendium of Ancient Civilizations of the Middle East’s Cards: Chapter Three, Part One – Disasters Both Natural & Manmade
W e continue our sojourn through the cards of GMT’s upcoming, now P-500 listed, second game of the “Ancient Civilizations” series: Ancient Civilizations of the Middle East (ACME) GMT Games – Ancient Civilizations of the Middle East [the first game of the series is Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea GMT Games – Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea (ACIS)].
ACME’s selection of “Regular” cards provides instruments which inflict benefits, sometimes at the expense of another Civilization and then there are cards which singularly direct pain. These represent the Ancient World’s ways of damaging a Civilization, sometimes fatally when multiply applied, in the form of disk loss and/or the erosion of its wealth (mina).
This article focuses on those cards which, when one Civilization plays upon another, deliver mostly negative results… and, of course, when players each control a Civilization… that’s when the “take that” nature of the game comes to the fore… which in Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea brought forth ire and/or mirth, depending on players’ attitudes. This is also the case with Ancient Civilizations of the Middle East.
It IS all about CHAOS – both Inflicting Chaos upon others and Surviving Chaos
Readers should take pause if presuming ACME’s chaos isn’t deliberate. First, the players take on the role of the gods themselves when inflicting all manner of disasters upon one another. To learn more of this facet of the design, please reference: Ancient Civilizations of the Middle East Design Background and Differences from Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea Part 2: Playing Your Role – Inside GMT blog This contributes to ACME being an historical simulation. For that, kindly reference: Ancient Civilizations of the Middle East Design Background and Differences from Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea Part 4 of 4: The “Real History” Behind the Game – Inside GMT blog Can your Civilization survive and perhaps even prosper during “The Bronze Age Collapse”? Play ACME and find out!
Cards are generally played sequentially by Civilization after the Deployment Phase which places disks upon the map. For an explanation and example of game Phases leading up to the Card Phase, see: Ancient Civilizations of the Middle East (ACME) Example of Play Part 1 of 3: Game Set-Up through Growth Phase – Inside GMT blog As to the Card Phase itself, see: Ancient Civilizations of the Middle East (ACME) Example of Play Part 2 of 3: Card Phase through Competition Phase – Inside GMT blog Do recall play of any of these cards can be negated through an appropriate NEGATE card.
So, with all background references complete, to hopefully help better appreciate what these cards represent… let the disasters of fire, brimstone, air turbulent, water and the evils of man commence! Here’s an image of Ancient Civilizations of the Middle East’s map to help appreciate the grief these cards can inflict.
The Roiling Waves… Both the Sea & Riverine Varieties:
For every two Sea Areas a Civilization occupies, it gains one disk of Growth in preparation for the Deployment Phase. Furthermore, an adversary, or potential adversary Civilization with nautical disks can use their Areas as a bases to expand into adjacent Sea Areas, or worse, encroach into adjacent Land Areas to either expand into unoccupied Areas or threaten those of you and/or your allies.
Therefore, eliminating another Civilization from a Sea Area can have an effect far beyond that one disk’s removal… and these are the cards which can do that!
Shipwrecked, East Wind Rains, and Sink into the Seas. Note that two of these, cards #49 & 50, allow the player to select a Sea Area and then eliminate (“remove”) a disk from that Area and then one disk from each adjacent Area… so if inflicted on Sinai Sea or the East Caspian Sea there would be FIVE Areas, and five disks could be eliminated… including your own! (The Sea is dispassionate, eh?) There is a way to mitigate these cards’ worst effect… have more than one disk in a Sea Area (normal maximum stacking is two disks to an ACME Sea Area)!
A Card that Provides You Gain with Two More Cards Your Opponent Civilization(s) Won’t Like:
We’ll start with a benign good card for whichever Civilization plays it – Canals & Qanats. For Areas under your Civilization’s control it can be sweet indeed to receive 4 disks and a mina.
Then there’s Covet thy Neighbors which is a card allowing a Civilization to launch a kind of two disk amphibious invasion from a Sea Area it controls. Then, if willing to expend a mina to encourage reinforcing and/or expanding that new beachhead, two more disks can be added.
Another card which can provide a surprise presence in a part or parts of the map which appeared quiescent or subject to what seemed one-sided Competition is Royal Roads. Being able to shift 4 disks from the far corners of your empire is a nice ability: particularly if you have one or more good Competition cards for the upcoming struggle: “It’s All in the Cards”: A Compendium of Ancient Civilizations of the Middle East’s Cards: Chapter One, Part Two – Great Person Competition Cards – Inside GMT blog & “It’s All in the Cards”: A Compendium of Ancient Civilizations of the Middle East’s Cards: Chapter Two, Part One – Competition Cards – Inside GMT blog .
Evil Land Tidings… From Bad to Worse:
These cards simply remove disks from the map, and on the scale of “evil things which could happen” in a game of Ancient Civilizations of the Middle East these could almost be considered routine: A Plague of Locusts, Earthquake, and Famine & Pestilence.
While losing a few disks from the preceding cards could be tolerable to a well-established Civilization with some disk reserve and/or mina resilience, these next two are more serious matters. They are so awesomely catastrophic that they’re dubbed “Biblical”. When played, these cards are set aside… not to return for potential replay until the game’s next Epoch. The first is Biblical Earthquake. Then there’s Biblical Plague. These can ravage the heart of a Civilization.
Imagine if the glorious Fertile Crescent Akkadian Civilization (Ancient Civilizations of the Middle East: Meet the Akkadians – Inside GMT blog) is struck by a Biblical Plague? The below ACME map section shows the 8 disk loss which could befall it.A Biblical Plague smites the proud Akkadians! In ACME game terms this could remove 8 of their yellow disks from the map (indicated by “X’s”) and result in no Victory Points, rather than seven, being garnered at turn end for their former Cities! Oh the woe!
Evil Watery Tidings… from Bad to Catastrophic (One of which is “Noah’s Ark Biblical”):
Make a Plan – and Hear God Laugh!
There are three of these in the game with two of such severity that they’re set aside for possible reselection until the next Epoch. It should be remembered that when playing any “evil” cards described throughout these InsideGMT articles that ALL CIVILIZATIONS in the target area are affected… including your own! These ACME Fate cards can be two-edged swords indeed!
A quick aside regarding an ACME rule which a Civilization can use to mitigate or completely forestall the removal of its disks from the map. Whenever a card (or Competition for that matter) calls for the removal of a disk, the Civilization can sacrifice, that is eliminate, any one card from its hand or a mina from its treasury. As written previously… it’s good having money in the world of Ancient Civilizations of the Middle East!
Furthermore, if worse comes to worst and your Civilization is laid low to the point it is no longer viable, ACME, being a game, allows a player to abandon a Civilization and start anew to seek vengeance and a kind of fresh start with another non-active Civilization on the playable map with that player’s Victory Points accrued to that point of the contest intact. This is the Gilgamesh Rule. More on that aspect of the game with a future InsideGMT article.
Each of these “watery death” cards require placement of one of the game’s wooden cylinders to indicate its “ground zero” from which further grief emanates. The first card is River Overflows Banks and then Coastal Flooding, which is a magnitude more severe and is taken out of the game until the next Epoch after its been played. Examine the ACME map and you should be able to discern where these cards could inflict maximum damage.
However, the ACME Fate card arguably the most powerful in the game for potentially scourging a great quantity of disks from the map is the aptly named 40 Days & 40 Nights. The below map section again has Akkad the center of attention… but note the wide swath of devastation the 40 Days & 40 Nights card can wrathfully inflict!40 Days & 40 Nights drowns the proud Akkadians and any other Civilization(s) whom ill fortune places within the realm of the Tigris and Euphrates! Readers should use their imaginations to calculate just how many disks could possibly be removed from the ACME map through this.
This concludes Part 1 of this series’ Chapter Three encompassing mostly cards inflicting disasters of natural (some in the spirit of the game could purport “supernatural”) causes. Part 2 will present pains inflicted on the game’s Civilizations which are entirely of human-made origin and could be sub-titled “Oh the evils that men do!”.
Until then, please use this Ancient Civilizations of the Middle East article’s InsideGMT ability to convey any comments and/or questions.
Bubonic plague is an infection of the lymphatic system, usually resulting from the bite of an infected flea, Xenopsylla cheopis (the Oriental rat flea).  Several flea species carried the bubonic plague, such as Pulex irritans (the human flea), Xenopsylla cheopis, and Ceratophyllus fasciatus.  Xenopsylla cheopis was the most effective flea species for transmittal.  In very rare circumstances, as in septicemic plague, the disease can be transmitted by direct contact with infected tissue or exposure to the cough of another human. The flea is parasitic on house and field rats and seeks out other prey when its rodent hosts die. The bacteria remain harmless to the flea, allowing the new host to spread the bacteria. Rats were an amplifying factor to bubonic plague due to their common association with humans as well as the nature of their blood.  The rat's blood allowed the rat to withstand a major concentration of the plague.  The bacteria form aggregates in the gut of infected fleas and this results in the flea regurgitating ingested blood, which is now infected, into the bite site of a rodent or human host. Once established, bacteria rapidly spread to the lymph nodes and multiply. The fleas that transmit the disease only directly infect humans when the rat population in the area is wiped out from a mass infection.  Furthermore, in areas of a large population of rats, the animals can harbor low levels of the plague infection without causing human outbreaks.  With no new rat inputs being added to the population from other areas, the infection would only spread to humans in very rare cases of overcrowding. 
After being transmitted via the bite of an infected flea, the Y. pestis bacteria become localized in an inflamed lymph node, where they begin to colonize and reproduce. Infected lymph nodes develop hemorrhages, which result in the death of tissue.  Y. pestis bacilli can resist phagocytosis and even reproduce inside phagocytes and kill them. As the disease progresses, the lymph nodes can hemorrhage and become swollen and necrotic. Bubonic plague can progress to lethal septicemic plague in some cases. The plague is also known to spread to the lungs and become the disease known as the pneumonic plague. Symptoms appear 2–7 days after getting bitten and they include: 
The best-known symptom of bubonic plague is one or more infected, enlarged, and painful lymph nodes, known as buboes. Buboes associated with the bubonic plague are commonly found in the armpits, upper femoral, groin, and neck region. symptoms include heavy breathing, continuous vomiting of blood (hematemesis), aching limbs, coughing, and extreme pain caused by the decay or decomposition of the skin while the person is still alive. Additional symptoms include extreme fatigue, gastrointestinal problems, spleen inflammation, lenticulae (black dots scattered throughout the body), delirium, coma, organ failure, and death.  Organ failure is a result of the bacteria infecting organs through the bloodstream.  Other forms of the disease include septicemic plague and pneumonic plague in which the bacterium reproduces in the person's blood and lungs respectively. [ citation needed ]
Laboratory testing is required in order to diagnose and confirm plague. Ideally, confirmation is through the identification of Y. pestis culture from a patient sample. Confirmation of infection can be done by examining serum taken during the early and late stages of infection. To quickly screen for the Y. pestis antigen in patients, rapid dipstick tests have been developed for field use. 
Samples taken for testing include: 
- Buboes: Swollen lymph nodes (buboes) characteristic of bubonic plague, a fluid sample can be taken from them with a needle.
Bubonic plague outbreaks are controlled by pest control and modern sanitation techniques. This disease uses fleas commonly found on rats as a vector to jump from animals to humans. The mortality rate hits its peak during the hot and humid months of June, July, and August.  Furthermore, the plague most affected those of poor upbringing due to greater exposure, poor sanitation techniques and lack of a healthy immune system due to a poor diet.  The successful control of rat populations in dense urban areas is essential to outbreak prevention. One example is the use of Sulfurozador, a fumigation chemical used to eradicate the pest that spread the bubonic plague, in Buenos Aires, Argentina during the early 18th century.  Targeted chemoprophylaxis, sanitation, and vector control also played a role in controlling the 2003 Oran outbreak of the bubonic plague.  Another mean of prevention in large European cities was a city-wide quarantine to not only limit interaction with people who were infected, but also to limit the interaction with the infected rats. 
Several classes of antibiotics are effective in treating bubonic plague. These include aminoglycosides such as streptomycin and gentamicin, tetracyclines (especially doxycycline), and the fluoroquinolone ciprofloxacin. Mortality associated with treated cases of bubonic plague is about 1–15%, compared to a mortality of 40–60% in untreated cases. 
People potentially infected with the plague need immediate treatment and should be given antibiotics within 24 hours of the first symptoms to prevent death. Other treatments include oxygen, intravenous fluids, and respiratory support. People who have had contact with anyone infected by pneumonic plague are given prophylactic antibiotics.  Using the broad-based antibiotic streptomycin has proven to be dramatically successful against the bubonic plague within 12 hours of infection. 
Globally between 2010 and 2015, there were 3,248 documented cases, which resulted in 584 deaths.  The countries with the greatest number of cases are the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, and Peru. 
For over a decade since 2001, Zambia, India, Malawi, Algeria, China, Peru, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo had the most plague cases with over 1,100 cases in the Democratic Republic of the Congo alone. From 1,000 to 2,000 cases are conservatively reported per year to the WHO.  From 2012 to 2017, reflecting political unrest and poor hygienic conditions, Madagascar began to host regular epidemics. 
Between 1900 and 2015, the United States had 1,036 human plague cases with an average of 9 cases per year. In 2015, 16 people in the Western United States developed plague, including 2 cases in Yosemite National Park.  These US cases usually occur in rural northern New Mexico, northern Arizona, southern Colorado, California, southern Oregon, and far western Nevada. 
In November 2017, the Madagascar Ministry of Health reported an outbreak to WHO (World Health Organization) with more cases and deaths than any recent outbreak in the country. Unusually, most of the cases were pneumonic rather than bubonic. 
In June 2018, a child was confirmed to be the first person in Idaho to be infected by bubonic plague in nearly 30 years. 
A couple died in May 2019, in Mongolia, while hunting marmots.  Another two people in the province of Inner Mongolia, China were treated in November 2019 for the disease. 
In July 2020, in Bayannur, Inner Mongolia of China, a human case of bubonic plague was reported. Officials responded by activating a city-wide plague-prevention system for the remainder of the year.  Also in July 2020, in Mongolia, a teenager died from bubonic plague after consuming infected marmot meat. 
Yersinia pestis has been discovered in archaeological finds from the Late Bronze Age (
3800 BP).  The bacteria is identified by ancient DNA in human teeth from Asia and Europe dating from 2,800 to 5,000 years ago. 
The first recorded epidemic affected the Sassanian Empire and their arch-rivals, the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine Empire) and was named the Plague of Justinian after emperor Justinian I, who was infected but survived through extensive treatment.   The pandemic resulted in the deaths of an estimated 25 million (6th century outbreak) to 50 million people (two centuries of recurrence).   The historian Procopius wrote, in Volume II of History of the Wars, of his personal encounter with the plague and the effect it had on the rising empire. In the spring of 542, the plague arrived in Constantinople, working its way from port city to port city and spreading around the Mediterranean Sea, later migrating inland eastward into Asia Minor and west into Greece and Italy. The Plague of Justinian is said to have been "completed" in the middle of the 8th century.  Because the infectious disease spread inland by the transferring of merchandise through Justinian's efforts in acquiring luxurious goods of the time and exporting supplies, his capital became the leading exporter of the bubonic plague. Procopius, in his work Secret History, declared that Justinian was a demon of an emperor who either created the plague himself or was being punished for his sinfulness. 
In the Late Middle Ages Europe experienced the deadliest disease outbreak in history when the Black Death, the infamous pandemic of bubonic plague, hit in 1347, killing one-third of the European human population. Some historians believe that society subsequently became more violent as the mass mortality rate cheapened life and thus increased warfare, crime, popular revolt, waves of flagellants, and persecution.  The Black Death originated in Central Asia and spread from Italy and then throughout other European countries. Arab historians Ibn Al-Wardni and Almaqrizi believed the Black Death originated in Mongolia. Chinese records also showed a huge outbreak in Mongolia in the early 1330s. 
Research published in 2002 suggests that it began in early 1346 in the steppe region, where a plague reservoir stretches from the northwestern shore of the Caspian Sea into southern Russia. The Mongols had cut off the trade route, the Silk Road between China and Europe, which halted the spread of the Black Death from eastern Russia to Western Europe. The epidemic began with an attack that Mongols launched on the Italian merchants' last trading station in the region, Caffa in the Crimea. 
In late 1346, plague broke out among the besiegers and from them penetrated the town. The Mongol forces catapulted plague-infested corpses into Caffa as a form of attack, one of the first known instances of biological warfare.  When spring arrived, the Italian merchants fled on their ships, unknowingly carrying the Black Death. Carried by the fleas on rats, the plague initially spread to humans near the Black Sea and then outwards to the rest of Europe as a result of people fleeing from one area to another. Rats migrated with humans, traveling among grain bags, clothing, ships, wagons, and grain husks.  Continued research indicates that black rats, those that primarily transmitted the disease, prefer grain as a primary meal.  Due to this, the major bulk grain fleets that transported major city's food shipments from Africa and Alexandria to the heavily populated areas, and then unloaded by hand, played a role in the transmission effectiveness of the plague. 
The plague resurfaced for a third time in the mid-19th century. Like the two previous outbreaks, this one also originated in Eastern Asia, most likely in Yunnan, a province of China, where there are several natural plague foci.  The initial outbreaks occurred in the second half of the 18th century.   The disease remained localized in Southwest China for several years before spreading. In the city of Canton, beginning in January 1894, the disease killed 80,000 people by June. Daily water-traffic with the nearby city of Hong Kong rapidly spread the plague there, killing over 2,400 within two months during the 1894 Hong Kong plague. 
Also known as the modern pandemic, the third pandemic spread the disease to port cities throughout the world in the second half of the 19th century and the early 20th century via shipping routes.  The plague infected people in Chinatown in San Francisco from 1900 to 1904,  and in the nearby locales of Oakland and the East Bay again from 1907 to 1909.  During the outbreak from 1900 to 1904 in San Francisco is when authorities made permanent the Chinese Exclusion Act. This law was originally signed into existence by President Chester A. Arthur in 1882. The Chinese Exclusion Act was supposed to last for 10 years, but was renewed in 1892 with the Geary Act and subsequently made permanent in 1902 during the outbreak of plague in Chinatown, San Francisco. The last major outbreak in the United States occurred in Los Angeles in 1924,  though the disease is still present in wild rodents, and can be passed to humans that come in contact with them.  According to the World Health Organization, the pandemic was considered active until 1959, when worldwide casualties dropped to 200 per year. In 1994, a plague outbreak in five Indian states caused an estimated 700 infections (including 52 deaths) and triggered a large migration of Indians within India as they tried to avoid the plague. [ citation needed ]
The scale of death and social upheaval associated with plague outbreaks has made the topic prominent in many historical and fictional accounts since the disease was first recognized. The Black Death in particular is described and referenced in numerous contemporary sources, some of which, including works by Chaucer, Boccaccio, and Petrarch, are considered part of the Western canon. The Decameron, by Boccaccio, is notable for its use of a frame story involving individuals who have fled Florence for a secluded villa to escape the Black Death. First-person, sometimes sensationalized or fictionalized, accounts of living through plague years have also been popular across centuries and cultures. For example, Samuel Pepys's diary makes several references to his first-hand experiences of the Great Plague of London in 1665–6. 
Later works, such as Albert Camus's novel The Plague or Ingmar Bergman's film The Seventh Seal have used bubonic plague in settings, such as quarantined cities in either medieval or modern times, as a backdrop to explore a variety of concepts. Common themes include the breakdown of society, institutions, and individuals during the plague, the cultural and psychological existential confrontation with mortality, and the allegorical use of the plague about contemporary moral or spiritual questions. [ citation needed ]
Some of the earliest instances of biological warfare were said to have been products of the plague, as armies of the 14th century were recorded catapulting diseased corpses over the walls of towns and villages to spread the pestilence. This was done by Jani Beg when he attacked the city of Kaffa in 1343. [ citation needed ]
Later, plague was used during the Second Sino-Japanese War as a bacteriological weapon by the Imperial Japanese Army. These weapons were provided by Shirō Ishii's units and used in experiments on humans before being used on the field. For example, in 1940, the Imperial Japanese Army Air Service bombed Ningbo with fleas carrying the bubonic plague.  During the Khabarovsk War Crime Trials, the accused, such as Major General Kiyoshi Kawashima, testified that, in 1941, 40 members of Unit 731 air-dropped plague-contaminated fleas on Changde. These operations caused epidemic plague outbreaks. 
Substantial research has been done regarding the origin of the plague and how it traveled through the continent.  Mitochondrial DNA of modern rats in Western Europe indicated that these rats came from two different areas, one being Africa and the other being unclear of a specific origin.  The research regarding this pandemic has greatly increased with technology.  Through archaeo-molecular investigation, researchers have discovered the DNA of plague bacillus in the dental core of those that fell ill to the plague.  Analysis of teeth of the deceased allows researchers to further understand both the demographics and mortuary patterns of the disease. For example, in 2013, archeologists uncovered a burial mound to reveal 17 bodies, mainly children, who had died of the Bubonic plague. They analyzed these burial remains using radiocarbon dating to determine they were from the 1530s, and dental core analysis revealed the presence of Yersinia Pestis.  Other evidence for rats that are currently still being researched consists of gnaw marks on bones, predator pellets and rat remains that were preserved in situ.  This research allows individuals to trace early rat remains to track the path traveled and in turn connect the impact of the Bubonic Plague to specific breeds of rats.  Burial sites, known as plague pits, offer archaeologists an opportunity to study the remains of people who died from the plague. 
Another research study indicates that these separate pandemics were all interconnected.  A current computer model indicates that the disease did not go away in between these pandemics.  It rather lurked within the rat population for years without causing human epidemics. 
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Cartouche - Plagues, Pestilence, And A Pyramid Of Cards
Sometimes I just don't have the time to set up a huge Heroscape war, defy the Great Old Ones in Arkham, or protect Fortress: America from the rest of the world. It's times like this that I look to Small Box Games for a quick card game that doesn't require hours to play or set up. Today's entree into the world of fast card games is Cartouche, the latest Pure Card Line game from Small Box. It's a deck building game where players vie for control of Egypt, attempting to create the greatest Dynasty in the known world. Now, I'm going to put out there that there are very few deck building games that I've ever really liked, including Dominion which I got rid of a month after buying, although Smallbox was the one that made me a believer in the genre when I played Bhazum, which I still play quite a bit.
The concept of the game is that players call upon Egyptian deities in order to build their decks into more valuable cards and combinations of cards, and at the end of the game, when two of the Deity decks are out of cards, the players score their Dynasty deck based upon the types of cards they've won. In theory, it sounds to be simple, but Cartouche is not for the faint of heart the rules, while diminutive, are very hard to understand until you've played a couple of times, and the iconography is such that the game takes you a good long while to actually figure out. This isn't to say that it's a bad game, it's more that it's got absolutely no text on any given card and so there's a lot of icon memorization. Think Race for the Galaxy, but harder.
When you open the box, which is two standard size poker decks wide, you're met with the rulebook, which is larger than Small Box's usual size, and 144 half sized cards. Of those cards, there's only four cards that are not used for gameplay, and those are the reference cards. The art on the cards is pretty and definitely recreates the hieroglyphics that it is clearly trying to, although the folks I played with thought it to be bland. I was an Egyptian history enthusiast at one point of my life, and I went to school next to the San Jose Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, which is the coolest museum in the area for all things Pharoah, so maybe I'm biased.
Setup of Cartouche is pretty simple, but sorting the cards is a bit of a pain since they're so small and there's so many of them. Luckily, though, there's little color coded cartouches on the sidebars of the cards that allow for quick recognition and sorting. Anyhow, to set up the game, hand out the reference card to each player and then sort all the cards into six stacks based on the color of the deity cartouches. Once the stacks are made, hand one card from each stack to each player, so everyone starts with six cards. As per what Small Box Games has started to do to mitigate luck of late, there's then a draft round where each player, in turn, takes one card from their original hand, places it face down in front of them, and then passes their deck to the left until it's rolled around six times and everyone has six cards. Shuffle your 6 cards, place them face down into your Dynasty deck, and then draw the top 4, placing them in front of you as your Staging Ground. Once you're there, you're ready to build your Dynasty.
I'd get into the nuts and bolts of how to play the game, but this game is very complex by my standards, so instead I'm going to simply give a short summary of what the basic premise is. Each round consists of four steps, starting with the Choice step, where you decide whether you want to play with what you have in your Staging Ground via a Standard turn, or you can alternatively choose a Shuffled turn, which allows you to take a card from the Exodus deck, which is non-existent at the beginning of the game, and discard it and then shuffle the Dynasty, Discard, and Staging Grounds together to create a new Staging Area, although you get to only play one card because you shuffled, and your Staging Area will only have three cards in it rather than the normal four.
After you've chosen your type of turn, you move to the Blessing step, where you take cards from the appropriate Deity decks, based upon the icons at the bottom of cards in your Staging Ground. If you have pairs of matching deities on your staged cards, you can take the top card of that deity deck and place them on the bottom of your Dynasty Deck. This is a major way to get new cards into your Dynasty, although because you place them on the bottom of your deck, you may not see them for a while.
Next is the Development step, where the meat of the game really happens. Depending on your choice during the Choice step, you can play either one or three cards from your Staging Ground. This consists of either discarding a card from your Staging Ground and taking two new cards from the Deity deck that matches the minor deity at the bottom of the played card, moving one of them to the Exodus deck and the other to your Dynasty deck. Now alternatively, you can play the card ability icon instead of using the deity icon, and this allows you to use the card's ability, which varies with the type of card ability icon. Card abilities can be used in conjunction with other cards you have in play to augment the cards, such as having an Armory card and a Soldier card in your Staging Area and playing the Soldier card to gain the War ability, thus stealing a card from an opponent. In short, the game is about creating combinations of card types to stomp the piss out of your opponents, forcing them to discard allowing you to gain cards either from the various decks or from the opponents themselves. Unlike Dominion, this is a very backstabbity game, and I think this is what really separates it from other deck building games of this type.
The last step in a player's turn is the Replenish step, where you simply draw up cards into your Staging Area until you either have the maximum of four, or are out of Dynasty cards, in which case you'll probably want to play a Shuffled Turn next round to re-up. Cartouche, in a nutshell, is about getting your Dynasty deck trimmed to the best combinations of attack cards and points cards as possible, so that you don't get stuck with cards that are essentially useless or not good combinations in your Staging Area. It's not "mathy" or anything like that, and there's twelve different card ability types, so it's not like there's a huge amount of possibilities. The "mathy" part comes at the end of the game, when you do the scoring.
The game ends when two Deity decks are gone, and it comes a lot sooner that you'd think, especially in three or four player games. Scoring was a little wonky for me every time I've played, but it gets more intuitive over time. Essentially, each Person card is worth one point, and for every three of a card type you have, if you have a matching Progress card type, you get to score that Progress Card too. The player with the highest score wins, goes onto become Pharaoh, and his distant heirs end up having their firstborn killed off by the Angel of Death! Some legacy, huh!
Why Cartouche Makes Frankincense:
- The game has a LOT of cutthroat, which I always enjoy
- Smart players can quickly figure out what the best combinations are, making it interesting and competitive
- Short playtime allows for several plays in a night or allows Cartouche to be a warmup for some Ameritrash later in the night
What Mummifies Cartouche:
- The amount of iconography makes Race For The Galaxy look like tiddlywinks
- The scoring is overwhelming, even after a couple of plays
- I'd give my left nut for Small Box Games to make Quick Reference Guides, because there's a lot of stuff going on here
Cartouche is a pretty complex game with a ton of options and excels at player interaction and smart combination building, but the artwork is really only appreciated by those who like the sort of Egyptian artwork that is exhibited. Further hampering the game's appeal is the fact that the icons are plentiful and can be completely overwhelming, meaning you must refer constantly and copiously to the rulebook, which can slow gameplay down. Even after several plays, I still had to go back to the rulebook several times during my turn, and so did everyone else at the table, meaning that the rulebook essentially acted as a player turn marker.
That being said, we enjoyed Cartouche fairly well, and the one guy in my group that digs Dominion said that although it was more complex, he really liked the idea and gameplay of the game. So, in short, if you like deck building games, you should certainly try Cartouche, especially if you think that these kinds of games should have more interaction and less multiplayer solitaire. Cartouche is heavy on interaction and when you get past the intial information overload, it's a neat little game.
To learn more about Cartouche or Small Box Games, check out www.smallboxgames.com
Small Box combines shipping, so check out some of my other Small Box Games reviews, such as Bhazum, Irondale, and Politico: Fall of Caesar and see if you want to get a couple at the same time.
Note: The Superfly Circus has officially received Porkinz' Stamp of 4pproval. If you weren't aware, it is a highly coveted prize, and I thank Porkins kindly for his acknowledgement of the skill and talent of the Superfly Circus Staff. w00t!!
Pestilence Cards - History
Decaying corpses were stacked all over the burial ground and the streets were littered with the dead. When trains arrived at railroad stations, they had to be cleared of dead and dying passengers. The microscopic killer that lashed the face of America in 1918 and 1919 was Spanish influenza. In the U.S., more than 500,000 people died, mostly young adults!
Recently developed methods of travel permitted the swift distribution of the disease and with the First World War in progress, soldiers were transferred all over the world.
In some American cities all public meetings were illegal: schools, churches, lodges, theaters, etc. Some cities were closed down while others made it illegal to be in public without wearing a mask. There were so many deaths the undertakers could not keep up with the burials and asked volunteers to dig graves. Other cities dug massive holes and buried everyone together without coffins. Morgues were overwhelmed and they stacked bodies like firewood in the corridors.
Since health officials were not much help and knew little about the flu, concerned people tried their grandmas’ prevention remedies such as eating raw onions, keeping a potato in their pocket, or wearing a bag of camphor around their neck.
There are no reports of any success from such practices but the raw onions might have kept the infected at a safe distance.
Some experts think the disease started in the U.S. at Fort Riley, a Kansas army camp, when a cook was infected. Within a week the pestilence was in every state because of the transfer of soldiers. The disease then jumped the Atlantic Ocean to cut down millions and infected about a third of the world!
It marched into India killing 17 million people! Total world deaths are estimated to have been up to 100 million people (3% to 6% of the world population) and it killed 20% of those infected. This pandemic has been called “the greatest medical holocaust in history.” It hit every part of the world.
Laura Spinney wrote in Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World, it was the “greatest tidal wave of death since the Black Death, perhaps in the whole of human history.”
More people died as a result of the Spanish flu than died in World War I and II–on both sides! During the Crimean War (1854-56), ten times more British soldiers died of dysentery than from all the Russian weapons combined! Moreover, 50 years later, during the Boer War, there were five times more deaths from disease than from enemy fire.
From the dawn of history, mankind has experienced times of sickness, sorrow, and suffering. Often, times of pestilence were mysterious, sudden, and without remedy. Lack of knowledge, superstition, and poor sanitary conditions often contributed to the progress of the pestilence. Men often felt that God was visiting them with plague as punishment for their evil deeds. The disease was usually dreadful, devastating, and deadly and often left as quickly and mysteriously as it appeared.
Now, we face another deadly possibility: the coronavirus that experts think was caused by eating bats and other dirty creatures.
Additionally, there are Islamic terrorists with the ability, equipment, funds, and commitment to wreak destruction, disease, and death on a massive scale. Whatever the threat, it is folly not to be prepared.
Throughout history, people often reacted out of fear and ignorance, and that only compounded the problem, extending the pestilence. They ran from the towns, but found that when they arrived in their safe haven they were met by the same pestilence! Of course, the pestilence had been a traveling companion.
Recent news reports reveal that 5 million citizens fled Wuhan, China just before it was locked down by the government leaving 9 million people to fend for themselves. About 19 Chinese cities have been quarantined and no one is asking how they will get food to stay alive. The Communist government doesn’t really care after all, they have a population of 1.5 billion. Citizens, thought to be infected, have been arrested and placed in what The New York Times called, “quarantine camps” against their will.
Our present threat could come from the coronavirus, an EMP blast, poisoned water or food supply, or biological agents sprayed over a metropolitan area.
The further one goes back into history, the less reliable are the numbers of dead, and the less knowledge we have of the pestilence that took them however, it is a fact that mankind has suffered far more from bugs than from battles, more from viruses than villains.
We can pray (atheists can hope) that the coronavirus, like Ebola and other killers, will fizzle and fade and become only a momentary concern until “the really big one” shows up.
However, like the Chinese, most Americans will not be prepared to face it.
Good Mogg, Mad Drafting
At this same draft, I ended up drafting a primarily red aggressive deck with some white creatures to supplement my burn plan. After first-picking a Sulfuric Vortex from a pack of Scourge, I knew that I had to see how the Cube all-star performed in Limited. The red cards were flowing from both directions, though I was inexplicably a little light on creatures.
Round two, I sat across from my buddy Margot, who laid down a turn-one Goblin Arsonist into a turn-three Mercadian Masques Arms Dealer.
So that's where my creatures went! And what a snazzy, synergistic set of first plays!
Delightful! This is totally fine and certainly not a sign of bad things to come.
I am on actual fire and all of these Goblins are now unblockable.
Several Goblins and sacrifice triggers later, I had been run over by what can only be described as an explosive history of Magic's tiny green critters. It turns out Arms Dealer was Margot's first pick, and the pack that contained the dastardly Pestilence from before also had the Goblin King.
Lesson learned: while safe fundamentals can take you far in Chaos Draft, don't be afraid to take risks on synergies that reach across sets. In Margot's case, this meant going in on tribal interactions from one of the most prevalent creature types in the game, but there are plenty of other game mechanics that work across Magic's history. Sultai delve cards from Khans of Tarkir are happy to see Golgari dredge creatures, and the metalcraft on Rusted Relic doesn't care if your artifacts were printed three months ago or ten years ago (here's looking at you, Icy Manipulator).
The flip side of this lesson is that it's best to avoid cards with mechanics that have a narrow focus. While constellation creatures like Oakheart Dryads were great in the enchantment-themed Theros block, they become much less exciting when your deck might only have a few (if any) enchantments in it&mdashPacifism and friends aside. If you do decide to go in on constellation cards, or infect creatures, or splice onto arcane spells, recognize that they might have to be a sub-theme to your deck rather than the key strategies from their original Draft formats.
And a pro tip to those setting up a chaos draft: help your playgroup avoid these kinds of scenarios by limiting the number of packs you include in your draft from "small" Magic sets that came out later in a block's life cycle. Often as a block goes on, its individual sets become more insular with themes and mechanics, which makes for fun and unique play experiences but often a frustrating chaos draft.
There's plenty more to discuss about this Draft format, but hopefully I've done enough to pique your interest in Chaos Draft. There are few things in Magic that require as much improvisation and nimble thinking, and it makes for an experience like no other. At the very least, you won't look at Shock Troops the same way again.