Linda Look, the originator of the Cosmic Karma board game, began hiring me as a consultant and game tester some two years ago. My job was to evaluate the game's content based on my knowledge of reincarnation and karma, to make the game as true to these concepts as possible. Creating a perfect working analogy of something as complex as the law of karma is impossible, but I feel we ended up with a very close model.

An example of one of the issues that was debated was, "Can you give someone else bad karma?" We know that you can give someone suffering, which tends to erase their bad karma. And we know that people pick up bad impressions from other people by association. But can you give someone bad karma?

It occurred to me that, in a sense, you can--because you can trick or seduce someone into doing something bad, thus inducing them to give themselves bad karma. If you do that, you accrue bad karma yourself, of course, but does the person you have tricked also accrue it? Perhaps not if they were 100% innocent, but what if they have a "little bit of larceny in their own heart"--what then?

These nuances were interesting to discuss, but at a certain point, we let the rather intricate mechanics of the game stand rather than totally disrupt them to adjust for one issue. My job, as I saw it, was to prevent errors where possible, while resisting the temptation to nit-pick the game to death. When the dust settled, the game remains about 95% true to all sub-laws of karma that I am personally aware of. (I've studied the subject for about 39 years now.)

The result is a game which is amazingly true to the genuine concepts of karma, however deeply one delves into it. But all of this is in the background--you don't realize how much you're learning while you're enjoying playing it.

This game has been thought out and tested in great depth, not only for concept, but for strategy, artwork, presentation, playability and fun. For a strategy game it has a surprisingly low learning curve. That's no accident--Linda put a good twelve years into its development, with extensive play-testing. I've personally played it dozens of times, and I have never tired of it. I've gradually gotten better--though the man who developed the strategy, an Italian named Tomasso, remains pretty-much unbeatable, I can still beat Linda occasionally, which also isn't easy!

So it's a fun game--but one is learning real principles of karmic law as one plays. A person who has never studied karma before in their life can get a pretty solid introduction just by playing this game.

I will add the disclaimer here that while I am not on retainer for this company, nor do I receive any royalties for game sales, I continue to be an unofficial part of the team and could gain from its success in the future. But though it has been a side-income for me, I was happy to contribute to the project as part of my efforts to bring a better understanding of reincarnation to the public.

--Stephen Sakellarios