Remember all of those family holidays before the smartphone epidemic, when the want to be tycoons of the family settled in anticipation for what would be an epic board game battle of buying and selling lavish properties and valuable utilities, and driving the rents to crushing heights?
Toy manufacturer Hasbro has not forgotten the marathon grueling competitive evenings pitting daughter against father, son versus mother-in-law, and grandchild battling the duo of the grandparents, as the company offers an expanded selection of unique versions of the game reaching out to every imaginable genre and segmented market.
The Possibilities are Endless (screen grab courtesy of Hasbro.com)
The crossover to the entertainment industry is understandable and in true spirit of the game, however, doing a quick internet search reveals that reasonable mainstream profit generating versions (The “Game of Thrones” edition stands out) are layered over bizarre and strange impossibilities, when considering the economics and politics. Hasbro gets itself into trouble, when offering a format that is customized to a city or geographical region. Sure the state of Alaska set-up is straight up cool, and the National Parks design does not require words, but in crossing borders and boundaries, the lost in translation style of the Moscow and Chinese editions are simply the tip of the iceberg in a journey to strange and incomprehensible mutations of the free market represented by board games.
“Moscow Auction” ups the ante on the Hasbro attempt at targeting a multi-lingual audience and adds the dangerous elements of espionage and corruption in the race for cornering the black market and literally eliminating opponents. The template for the game was allegedly and ironically smuggled under the Iron Curtain and into the USSR before the wall came down.
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If Leninist dogma is not enough, the Peking inspired game features the superficial overlay of Capitalism in ultimately bowing to the constraints and policies of the Communist party. Fortunately for the sake of humanity, board game designers have not yet drafted plans for a Venezuela or Caracas design, pitting hard working against the evil government forces in attempting to earn vital supplies and food, while the liquid gold from the oil fields is squandered for the diamond encrusted helicopter of Maduro. Another tasteless, but though provoking idea, would be the development of a US politician edition featuring the current figureheads of government from both sides of the ledger, along with related non for profit (for profit) organizations. Board sections would include “social network posts”, the “pc” jail, CNN, Fox News, and a medical facility featuring rehab services and gender reassignment procedures. It’s hard not to envision that all out WWE style family brawl would break out in just minutes, on an otherwise peaceful and joyous Christmas Eve.
The sky is merely the limit when indoctrination is achieved through the premise of classic American board game. Did I mention that Monopoly is a popular download on smartphones… Yikes!