Censorship also for boardgames

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Polish board game Queue was taken out of Russian stores, with Russian authorities alleging the game disseminates anti-Soviet content. In Queue players experience shopping in communist-era Poland, where they attempt to track down the items on their shopping list from understocked shops or the black market. Russians had allegedly been filing complaints to the Russian State Office for the Protection of Consumer Rights “Rospotrebnadzor“.

The that the game contained a negative description of the communist system as  well as implied that the Soviet Union had forcibly installed a communist regime into another country.  Queue was released in Poland in 2011, with the Russian version hitting shops in November of  2015.

Some months after going on sale in Russia, Rospotrebnadzor contacted Queue’s publisher TREFL with a requirement to change the historical content or the game would be removed from shelves. The Polish historical institute responsible for the game, IPN, refused to make the required changes and Queue was removed from Russian stores.

 

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The Queue Board Game: How It Works

Excerpt from the TREFL Website :

We say NO to the machinations of the speculators!

The Queue is a board game that tells a story of everyday life in Poland at the tail-end of the communist era. At first glance, the task of the 2 to 5 players appears quite simple: they have to send out their family, which consists of 5 pawns, to various stores on the game board to buy all the items on their randomly drawn shopping list. The problem is, however, that the shelves in the five neighborhood shops are empty…

The players line up their pawns in front of the stores without knowing which store will have a delivery. Tension mounts as the product delivery cards are uncovered and it turns out that there will only be enough product cards for the lucky few standing closest to the door. Since everyone wants to be first, the queue starts to push up against the door. To get ahead, the people in the queue use a range of queuing cards, such as: “Mother carrying small child,” “This is not your place, sir,” or “Under-the-counter goods.” But they have to watch out for “Closed for stocktaking” and “Delivery error” cards, and for the speculators – black pawns standing in the queue. Only those players will come home with full shopping bags who make the best use of the queuing cards in their hand.

 

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On the product cards there are photos of sixty original objects from the communist era. The merchandise includes Relaks shoes, Przemysławka eau de cologne, Popularna tea, as well as other commodities that were once in short supply.
Though the neighborhood also has an outdoor market which sells everything, the prices there are steep – unless, of course, you manage to strike a deal with the market woman. In this historical board game you really have to be savvy to get the goods. Are you brave enough to confront the everyday life of the 1980s?

 

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