A board game about standing in queues? Sounds at first like a rather British invention. Far from it.
It was in fact designed and first launched in Poland, in 2011 by Karol Madaj, who wanted to show young Poles how difficult it was to buy everyday supplies such as sugar, bread or furniture during Poland’s bleak 1980s. His idea was then picked up and developed by the IPN, Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance, which funded its release. Polish historian Andrzej Zawistowski supervised the game’s design for historical accuracy.
“Some young Poles don’t believe there were queues in those days,” said Madaj. “You can see it written on the internet forums. They think queues only started when department stores began the sales.”
The premise of the game is simple: each of the (up to five) players is handed a shopping list, and the winner is the first person to gets their hands on all the goods on their list.
Each round comprises three stages: strategically placing your family members in queues at the various shops (and you never know which shops will have any goods that day), jostling for position in the queues once goods have been delivered, then trading any surplus goods you do not need at the Bazar (where there are more products available, but at a higher price).
It sounds rather dull, but is in fact very addictive. It gets very tactical, and knowing how and when to best use your queuing cards to get the best possible position in a queue takes some mastering.
Initially meant to be little more than a worthy yet small-scale project, the game has been a bit of a smash: more than 100,000 copies have been sold so far and it can be purchased in a number of translations: English, German, Spanish, Japanese, Russian and Romanian.
You will find it on Amazon or similar resellers.