Captain America: How to Play the Outer Circle's Century Game
As 'Captain America: Cold War' heats up, learn the rules of the Century Game, which has used Steve Rogers, Bucky Barnes, and many others as its unwitting pawns.
The Outer Circle’s History, Revealed
Created by Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly, and Carmen Carnero, the Outer Circle debuted in CAPTAIN AMERICA: SENTINEL OF LIBERTY (2022) #2 and has served as that book’s primary antagonist ever since. Initially, the group’s origins were shrouded in mystery, but CAPTAIN AMERICA AND THE WINTER SOLDIER SPECIAL (2022) #1 changed all that by revealing some key parts of their history.
In 1922, following the devastation of World War I, five people formed the Outer Circle with the express aim of manipulating world events to usher in an age of peace. They saw themselves as a force outside of civilian, military, and government control—hence the name Outer Circle. That series of circles eventually became the group’s symbol, which was later imprinted on Captain America’s shield, as they intended to make him one of their agents.
Each of the group’s five members represents a different principle. Wulf Fortunov, AKA the Power, attempts to bring order to a chaotic world through force; Etien Argent, AKA the Money, puts his emphasis on industry and business; Ika Agboje, AKA the Machine, specializes in matters related to technology; and Ana, AKA the Love, focuses on aesthetics and beauty as a means of control.
Finally, there’s Gavrilo Princip, AKA the Revolution, whose murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand essentially started World War I. However, Princip’s role in the Outer Circle is different than his counterparts’. He acts as an antagonistic force looking to take the group down, as he believes their cabalistic machinations to be nothing more than a form of oligarchy.
Playing the Century Game
At the group’s formation, the Power explained that the Outer Circle was not involved in a conspiracy, but a game. This competition between the group’s five members thus became known as the Century Game, with the goal of ushering in a utopian future. However, like any game, there are rules.
The Century Game is turn-based, meaning players must act one at a time. In terms of player order, the Power goes first, followed by the Money, the Machine, the Love, and finally, the Revolution. When a player has decided on a move, they must announce what they’re doing to all the other members of the Outer Circle. One way of doing that, as revealed in CAPTAIN AMERICA: SENTINEL OF LIBERTY, was through a cipher broadcast on a numbers station. These actions may be accomplished with the use of starpoints, who are a select group of agents groomed to work on behalf of the Outer Circle.
The participants of the Century Game generally act in ways that reflect their noms de guerre, with the Money and the Machine, for example, manipulating financial markets and technology, respectively. However, it’s still possible for moves to conflict. In the case that happens, the Outer Circle leaves the decision about what will happen up to the rest of the world. Strictly speaking, the Outer Circle manipulates and engineers events to their liking, but those whom they’re attempting to control do still have a choice in how they react.
One important rule of the Century Game is that members may not attack each other directly. Princip, for example, attempted to assassinate the other members of the group on several occasions, though he failed. Due to their advanced technology and nigh limitless lifespans, such attempts are incredibly difficult to pull off. However, that doesn’t mean death is impossible. For instance, Princip engineered events so that Bucky Barnes, AKA Winter Soldier, would kill him and assume the mantle of the New Revolution, taking his place at the Outer Circle’s table.
There are also other ways to eliminate members. In CAPTAIN AMERICA: SENTINEL OF LIBERTY (2022) #11, Bucky engineered events so Rogers and his Invaders were able to apprehend the Power when he went to New York City to steal one of Arnim Zola’s neganite reactors.
The Outer Circle’s Century Game enters its next phase in CAPTAIN AMERICA: COLD WAR ALPHA (2023) #1, on sale April 12! The event will then continue in CAPTAIN AMERICA: SYMBOL OF TRUTH (2022) #12 and SENTINEL OF LIBERTY #12 on April 26 and May 12, respectively.
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