Polish board game mocks communist rationing system

AP News
Posted: Nov 17, 2014 12:26 PM
Polish board game mocks communist rationing system

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — A new Polish board game that ridicules the communist-era rationing system was launched Monday, with high school students straining their brains and then laughing at their own wins and losses.

The system was used in Poland in the 1970s and '80s to keep prices under control and fight speculation with food and goods that were difficult to get hold of.

"Regulation. The Coupons Game" was introduced by the state-run National Remembrance Institute, which records and teaches about Polish history.

In the board game, invented by Karol Madaj, up to five players are tasked with duties like cooking a dinner, organizing a home birthday party or doing the washing. In line with the regulation system, they receive rationing coupons for random goods and need to cleverly trade them to be able to buy the necessary products before they run out.

During the game's presentation at the communist-era Universam shopping mall, the head of the institute's public education section, Andrzej Zawistowski, said state rationing of goods was generally introduced at times of war or crisis. It was last used in Poland in the '70s and '80s during the waning days of communism because of a shortage of food, fuel and other staple goods.

The first winner of the board game, Arkadiusz Flak, 18, said the game was very interesting but "stressful."

"You need to act fast because the others may lay hands on the goods that you need," Flak said.

He also said the advantage of a board game over a computer game is that you meet with friends.

The institute's earlier game mocking shopping lines under communism was a great success.