For less than $2 you can now relive the experience of fitness instructors-cum-alleged GRU agents Ruslan Boshirov and Aleksandr Petrov, as they set off from Moscow to the English cathedral city.
The makers of the new novelty board game, Our Men in Salisbury, say they were inspired to take a lighter tone by the media fallout and British “Russophobia” that followed the Novichok incident in March last year.
“We decided to make our humorous answer for our Western neighbors by creating a board game, where our compatriots walk freely in Europe and explore the sights,” Mikhail Bober, development manager at game maker Igroland, told Ruptly.
In the two-player game, the participants need to “move in tandem” and “avoid scoring too many penalty points” on their way to their final destination, as they travel through Geneva and Paris, which were also visited by the real-life spy drama protagonists in recent years.
Some media outlets have criticized the game for being insensitive, considering the medical impact of the alleged Novichok poisoning on defector Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, who are still reported to be recovering. Two other local residents, Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess, who died, were also indirectly affected after supposedly coming into contact with a discarded perfume bottle containing the nerve agent.
However, the manufacturers say the dice-based game avoids direct political commentary, and was merely meant to play up Russians’ love for European culture.
“Our idea was that there would be a symbolic bridge between Russia and Britain, the West,” said game designer Nikita Filipov.
Petrov and Boshirov became popular memes both in Russia and abroad following an RT interview in September, during which they rhapsodized about the architectural merits of Salisbury Cathedral, while reciting facts about the height of its spire.
The two men, who have been charged in absentia by British authorities, have categorically denied that they are Russian intelligence officers.