Soviet Board Games Repackaged by the Western Bourgeois

(Repackaged in the West as “Monopoly”)

litbonanza.jpgOBJECTIVE: To make it through the game without harming any one, while providing for your loved ones.

PLAY: Players take turns rolling dice and moving the corresponding number of squares. If you land on a Wheat Square and you are hungry than you may partake. If someone you care for is hungry than he or she may eat. If you and yours are satisfied you pass the dice on.

WESTERNIZATION: Parker Brothers took the basic concept, plowed the fields and encouraged massive construction despite the existence of not more than a handful of players. And so Monopoly was released.

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SOVIET GAME: “Fishing”
(Repackaged in the West as “Battleship”)

OBJECTIVE: To encourage a feeling of brotherhood amongst comrades and sense of pride in the waters of the Fatherland.

PLAY: Each player sets his Boat somewhere on the board. Your opponent places Fish surrounding your boat. The winner is the boater who is able to place the maximum number of fish in the boat. The loser, who possess less fish, should yell, “Enjoy the Fish!” Players should take turns being the loser, so as to encourage both the strong sense of being provided for and a sense of humility.

WESTERNIZATION: Milton Bradley took the basic concept of “Fishing” partitioned off the board and loaded up each boat with enough firepower to destroy themselves a hundred times over. The loser is supposed to declare, “You sunk my battleship.”

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SOVIET GAME: “Axis and Allies”
(Repackaged in the West as “Axis and Allies”)

OBJECTIVE: To capture enough enemy territory and be declared victor.

PLAY: Each country is given a turn to make economic and strategic decisions. A role of the dice determines the success of decisions. The map is rearranged based on the outcome.


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(Repackaged in the West as “Operation”)

OBJECTIVE: To be the first player to accept the loss of a patient.

PLAY: The only equipment is a board with a very, very unhealthy man on it. Players take turns deciding if this one person is worth the resources of the collective.

WESTERNIZATION: Encouraging a specialization on the part of the doctor and an unhealthy attachment to the individual in the form of a patient, Milton Bradley took the basic concept of ‘Triage’ and turned it into a game of skill, where the object is to save the patient.

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SOVIET GAME: “Escape the Police!”
(Repackaged in the West as “Chutes and Ladders”)

OBJECTIVE: To escape the police and allow players to learn the highly arbitrary factors which will affect you and your loved ones, when trying to save your own skin.

PLAY: Each player spins the spinner and moves a corresponding number of squares. If you land on a trap door you must follow the trap to the square below. If you land on a square with an escape rope, you must climb to safety, even if it means leaving your friends behind. If you land on a square where there is neither trapdoor nor escape rope your turn is over. Unless you are able to rip the spinner away from one of the other players. The person who makes it to the last square–Freedom– is the winner. The remaining players did not survive and are losers.

WESTERNIZATION: In an effort to further delay the age at which children become adults, Milton Bradley decided that kids age 4-7 aren’t ready to deal with life in a police state. Trap doors are replaced with ‘Chutes’ and escape ropes are replaced with ‘Ladders’, providing kids with a context to go up and down the board for no apparent reason. Way to go Milton Bradley.

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This piece was originally published at The Edward Society

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