Maria Heller – Snakes and ladders og varianter af Matador (Monopoly)

Mandag d. 5/2 var jeg var på en forelæsning på instituttet om spil set i et historisk/sociologisk perspektiv holdt af Maria Heller . Fokuset var mest på brætspil og det var specielt interessant at høre om spillet Monopoly (Matador /Monopol) der ifølge Heller var forbudt i Ungarn under det socialistiske regime. Det blev, ikke fejlagtigt, set på som et spil baseret på kapitalistisk verdensbillede. Desværre for ungarske myndigheter var det er vældig populært spil trods forsøg på at introducere en erstatning baseret på socialistiske værdier. I det alternative forslag kan man ikke købe hotelgrunde og indkassere leje fra uheldige medspillere der lander på ens hoteller på de dyre grunde, men man kan “economize wisely” med de midler man har til rådighed. Jeg gjorde et søg på “economize wisely game” på Google og fandt denne tankevækkende beretning af David Stark ved Columbia Universitet om “Economize Wisely” og Matador i Ungarn (mine udhævninger):

Fathom: Is there a way you could sum up the postsocialist condition today?

Stark: In the 1990s, a friend in Budapest told me about a board game he had played as a child during the socialist period. Prior to the Second World War, Hungarians had played Monopoly, known there as Kapitaly. But this competitive, capitalistic game was banned by Communist authorities, who substituted another, Gazdalkozde Okosan!, or Economize Wisely! In this Communist version, players tried to get a job, open a savings account, and acquire and furnish an apartment. My friend was too young to have a Kapitaly board, but his older cousins knew the banned Monopoly game and taught him the basic rules. They quickly saw that Monopoly was the more exciting game. So they turned over the socialist board game, drew out the playing field from Start to Boardwalk on the reverse side, and began to play Monopoly–using the cards and pieces from Economize Wisely! But the specifics of the rules were unclear, and the memories of the older cousins dimmed, so the game developed its own dynamic, using the cards and pieces from the “other side.” Why, for example, settle for simple houses and hotels when you could have furniture as well? In what situation would a Prize of Socialist Labor release you from or send you to Jail?

The idea of playing capitalism with Communist pieces seems like an apt metaphor for the postsocialist condition. The political upheavals of 1989 in Eastern Europe and 1991 in Russia turned the world upside down. Misled by an apparent tabula rasa, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Western advisers issued instructions for the new “rules of the game.” But the game was played with these remnants of the past; they may limit some moves and facilitate other strategies. Firms responded to these uncertainties by exploiting the uncertainties, using these networks that linked statist institutions and “privatized” firms. There are creative organizational solutions that are evolving, and they show that the most dynamic sectors are likely to be arenas where public and private are closely intertwined.”

(Fra “Hungary in transition”, session 3: “Transitions in Postsocialist Eastern”, http://www.fathom.com/course/10701019/session3.html)

Med dette eksempel på hvordan spillerne skaber sit eget spil og på et spil brugt som “sum up”-eksempel i forbindelse med en beskrivelse af store samfundsomvæltninger venter jeg hellere til en anden dag med at skrive om “Snakes and Ladders”.


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