Monday, April 17, 2017

REPOST - From Poland.... With Miłość


Happy Śmigus-dyngus. In celebration of Dyngus Day I decided to re-post my story about the game Kolejka. Also if you are so inclined you can check out our review of Taste of Poland. Have a great week everyone.


At the beginning of the year, I became obsessed with acquiring a game called Kolejka. For those of you that do not know, it's a game made by the Institute of National Remembrance in Poland. Its main responsibilities include taking over and providing access to the archives of Communist repressive apparatus. 

The IPN is not just the largest Polish archive. It is also a major educational and scientific institution, where nearly two hundred historians are involved in reserch of the recent history of Poland. The IPN`s Public Education Office is the one of the largest publisher of historical books and exhibitions. In 2009, the Public Education Office started to publish a series of educational board games. They have several games, but Kolejka was the one I wanted. Here is a sum up of Kolejka:
Get in a queue with your family in front of a store and experience a rush of genuine emotions!
The board game Kolejka (a.k.a. Queue) tells a story of everyday life in Poland at the tail-end of the Communist era. The players' task appears to be simple: They have to send their family members out to various stores on the game board to buy all the items on their shopping list. The problem is, however, that the shelves in the five neighborhood stores are empty.
The players line up their pawns in front of the shops without knowing which shop will have a delivery. Tension mounts as the product delivery cards are uncovered, and it turns out that there will be enough product cards only for the lucky few standing closest to a store entrance. 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", "Delivery Error", and for the black pawns – the speculators – standing in the queue. Only the players who make the best use of the queuing cards in their hand will come home with full shopping bags.
On the product cards are photos of sixty original objects from the Communist era. The merchandise includes Relaks shoes, Przemysławka eau de cologne, and Popularna tea, as well as other commodities that were once in scarce supply. The neighborhood also has an outdoor market, but the prices there are steep – unless, of course, you manage to strike a deal with the market trader. In this realistic game you really have to be savvy to get the goods.

Are you brave enough to confront the everyday life of Poles in the 1980s?

This game came on my radar because it was banned in Russia. Well, that was more than enough for me to seek it out!

After getting my Polish set, and making paste up for the cards so they would be easy for everyone to use, I decided to make my own event card. I made card about Pope John Paul II's visit to Poland, and put it on BGG. I used Google Translate on the first card, and it was quite a hack job of my ancestors' language. I was also talking to the game designer Karol Madaj, and he informed me that they do a monthly contest for the best custom card. And I was encouraged to enter. Lucky for me, someone in Poland was able to help me not only with the translation and the history of the visit, but the overall impact of the visit.

Now, I will be honest, when I started writing this, it was going to end with the big finish about how I won the contest and received 3 free games from the Institute of National Remembrance, however as I am writing this article, what I am most happy about is the fact that this game taught me about Poland, the hardships they had to endure, and connected me to my ancestry in a way I did not think a board game would ever do.

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