Poland Releases Communist Monopoly Called ‘Queue’

A communist version of Monopoly has been developed by researchers in Poland, where players trade in bread and loo paper instead of hotels and houses

A new Monopoly-style board game aims to teach young Poles about life under Communism. It recreates the experience of going shopping for scarce goods. Photo: Karol Madaj/The Institute of National Remembrance

Poland has designed a new Monopoly-style game in which contestants have to queue to buy ten mundane items including lavatory paper, coffee and a guide to Bulgaria, the Spiegel (DE) reports.

But they face lengthy queues, competition from queue jumpers and the prospect of the shop running out before they are served.

The goal of the game, called ‘Queue,’ which will officially be launched on Feb. 5, is to show how hard and frustrating it was for an average person to simply do their shopping under the Communist regime in Poland.

The game has been developed by the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN), a Warsaw-based research institute that commemorates the suffering of the Polish people during the Nazi and Communist eras.

In the game contestants have to buy ten mundane items such a loo paper, coffee and a guide to Bulgaria, but face lengthy queues, competition from queue jumpers and the prospect of the shop running out before they are served.

“In the game, you send your family out to get items on a shopping list and they find that the five shops are sold out or that there hasn’t been a delivery that day,” said the IPN’s Karol Madaj, explaining that the game “highlights the tough realities of life under Communism.”

The game, which is called “Kolejka” after the Polish word for queue,  is aimed to educate young people who were born after the fall of communism to help teach them about life in the 1980s when an economic collapse lead to chronic shortages of basic commodities, and queuing became a way of life for the general population.

“Those who were too young to remember how it was back then will be able to play this game with their parents or grandparents and maybe talk about how things were for the older generation,” says Madaj.

There are many ways in which the game, builds frustration. Some rules allow other players to jump the line and get the last of a certain product, while others force players to give up their place in the queue.

Just like in the Communist era, players can leverage certain advantages to get what they need. The “colleague in the government” card is the equivalent of the famous “get out of jail free” card in Monopoly.

Any player lucky enough to have one of these beauties can secretly find out when the next deliveries will arrive in the shops. Mothers with children are allowed to jump the line as well.

The game was tested on 100 people during the development phase and approved as an authentic representation of the difficulty of doing mundane chores in Communist times. According to Madaj, the oldest tester was an 84-year-old man who said that, just like in the game, the longest lines were always at the furniture stores.

A game about waiting in line for scarce goods may sound rather depressing, but Madaj believes both young and old will have a laugh while playing “Kolejka.”

And just in case that doesn’t happen, the game comes with a book of jokes from the Communist era, as well as archive photographs of real people waiting in line and a booklet providing a historical overview.

The new game 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.

The original game of Monopoly was created in 1935 and have been sold 275 million times worldwide. The longest ever game in history lasted for 70 straight days, while the most expensive version — featuring a 23 carat gold board — was created for jeweller Sidney Mobell. [via Metro (UK) and Spiegel (De)]

Share this article

We welcome comments that advance the story directly or with relevant tangential information. We try to block comments that use offensive language, all capital letters or appear to be spam, and we review comments frequently to ensure they meet our standards. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Coinspeaker Ltd.