Poland's communist 'Kolejka' version of 'Monopoly' game goes global, showing how they do it 'Socialist' Style.
Wonder what it was like to queue for hours for toilet paper or butter in communist-era Poland? Now you can experience the 'boredom' thanks to a foreign-language version of a hit Polish history-in-a-box board game.The new multilingual, Monopoly-style "Kolejka" or "Queue" was unveiled with fanfare -- and fun -- recently by the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN), a state office set up to document recent history and prosecute Nazi and communist-era crimes.
THE POLITICAL AND SOCIAL LIFE OF FOOD IN SOCIALIST POLAND
Kathy Burrell, De Montfort University
"Kolejka has been called 'the world's most boring game', but ask anyone who has queued in any communist country in the '70s and '80s and they'll tell you there's nothing more boring," joked IPN historian Tomasz Ginter.
"Waiting in line for six hours was normal for everyday food -- like, for example, steaks -- but if you were so unwise as to need furniture, it was a matter of weeks!" he said.
While Monopoly has taught the rules of capitalism to generations of players, Kolejka shows them how to survive in a planned economy where shortages were chronic, meat a rarity, oranges exotic and queuing up for hours, even days, was all too common.
To win, you must buy everything on a shopping list.
"But I can't buy because there's nothing in the bloody shop, is there?" said English teacher Barbara Stachowiak-Kowalska, 52, laughing and pounding the table as she tried out the game at the IPN presentation.
All 20,000 copies of the Polish version have been scooped up since the game came out a year-and-a-half ago. Another 25,000 have been printed for the multilingual version, in Japanese, English, Spanish, German and Russian as well as Polish.These included paying "standers" to queue on their behalf, or borrowing young children or disabled relatives -- mothers with youngsters and the handicapped were allowed to jump queues -- to reduce the wait.
"You feel the frustration. I got to the front of the queue, I was really excited -- and there was nothing to buy!" said Stachowiak-Kowalska. MORE