WARSAW, Poland – You won't get to build hotels or collect rent in a new Polish board game reminiscent of Monopoly. In fact, you may be lucky even to get a pair of shoes.
Poland's state-run National Remembrance Institute has created the new game — called "Kolejka," which means queue or line — to help young Poles understand the hardships of life under communism.
In the game, players are tasked with buying a number of goods, but a lack of deliveries, shortages and the connections competitors have to communist authorities turn the task into a string of frustrations.
"We want to show young people and remind the older ones what hard times these were and what mechanisms were at play," said Karol Madaj, the game's creator.
Players try to buy basic goods but food supplies run out before they reach the counter. If a bed is needed, they may be offered stools instead. Players needing the shop's last pair of shoes can get edged out by someone holding a "mother with small child" or "friend in government" card.
"We want to show how it was when you lost your chance because someone with high connections jumped the line," said Madaj, a 30-year-old who still remembers spending long hours with his mother in lines.
"We may laugh at it today, but it was not funny for them, when they were wasting their lives in lines."
Madaj says the game is best played by members of various generations because it evokes emotions in older players who start to talk about their experiences.
Poland shed communism in 1989, going on to develop a successful market economy. It joined the European Union in 2004.
The gray board, evocative of the mood of communist times, is accompanied by a documentary film and an article by a historian talking about the realities of communism.
Some 3,000 games will go on sale Feb. 5.