The “Communist Monopoly” Game

If you like board games, you’ll love the Waiting Game. Well, not sure that you’ll actually enjoy it (though you might!), but you’ll certainly learn something. As someone who grew up in a still socialist Bulgaria, I do remember the queues which are the pinnacle of this board game developed by a Polish research institute to inform young people about what life was like under state socialism before 1989. The game, called “Kolejka” (Polish for “queue”) is a modified version of Monopoly, in which players queues at shops to “obtain” scarce goods. (On deficit of goods, read this wikipedia article). They also have to put up with queue-jumpers and food shortages… unless they have a “colleague in the government” card! The game comes witha book of socialist jokes and a booklet with historical information and archival photos of…well, queues.

As Spiegel reports,

“”Kolejka” will have an initial production run of 3,000 and will be available to buy in stores at the very reasonable price of €10 ($13). And in case the lines at the shop are too long, it can also be purchased online.”

"Kolejka" - the new board game about shopping under state socialism. Funnily enough, "kolejka" means "female colleague" in Bulgarian. Tranlation across Slavic languages is a true minefield! PHOTO SOURCE: Spiegel.de

Is this the perfect present for your retired Polish aunt who used to be part of Solidarity? I think not. But certainly a fun present for people who don’t know much about everyday life before 1989. And if your play it with that aunt, she might actually tell you more about life under state socialism, which wasn’t all about queues. There were good things, too.


Categories: Rethinking The World, The Idle Ethnographer

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