Thursday, October 27, 2011
Jillian Rayfield October 27, 2011, 5:55 AM 4300 69
There is no “Go” space in the anti-welfare board game “Obozo’s America,” but rest assured — you can still collect welfare benefits as you pass the “First Of The Month” space.
The game is called “OBOZO’S AMERICA: Why Bother Working for a Living?” with the tagline “The Most Timely and Original Board Game of the Decade!” The website describes it as “a fun fantasy board game based on the preposterous notion that a Marxist clown, running on the vague and shaky platform of hope and change, could become President of The United States.”
The object is to keep collecting benefits while avoiding the “Working Person’s Rut.” From the rather embarrassingly low-tech website:
Get your initial $1,000 cash grant at the First of the Month, then maneuver along Obozo’s Welfare Promenade. Get cash for your out-of-wedlock children. Draw from a stack of Welfare Benefit Cards. Get extra cash from Saturday Night crimes: Gambling, Armed Robbery, Drugs, and Prostitution. Play the lottery and the horses. Get your live-in a job on the Government Cakewalk. Experience the Jail Jaunt. Avoid landing on one of those dreaded “Get a Job” blocks forcing you onto the Working Person’s Rut (Somebody has to pay for Obozo’s Welfare Promenade). 50 Welfare Benefit Cards. 50 Working Person’s Burden Cards. Lots of funny money.
The site features the game’s mascot “Obozo The Marxist Clown” — who also graces the game’s fake currency — and boasts of the “welfare benefit cards” like “you lose perspective and apply for a job, but are denied it. Oboze says: Scream ‘racism’ until welfare lawyer gets you $1,000 settlement.”
In the Economy version of the game, you get “a stack of over a half-a-million dollars in play money (we’re talking serious welfare fraud here), 50 Welfare Benefit Cards, 50 Working Person’s Burden Cards, 30 Out-of-Wedlock Children.” The Deluxe version has a spill-proof surface and the out-of-wedlock children are easier to cut out of the paper they’re printed on.
Here’s the play money:
And the board game:
You can see the full-size board as a pdf here.
The game was created by Ron Pramschufer and Bob Johnson, who run Hammerhead Enterprises in Maryland, and was originally released in 1980 as “Public Assistance: Why Bother Working for a Living?”
“We didn’t invent this game, government liberals did,” Johnson said then. “We just put it in a box.”
In a press release Wednesday, Johnson announced that the game was coming back, claiming it “was forced off the retail market in the 1980s by government officials working with the NAACP, NOW, and other welfare ‘rights’ groups.”
“We intended the game as a parody of government liberalism, with a special focus on the able-bodied loaferism, welfare fraud, and social chaos its domestic policies promote,” Johnson wrote in 2009. “Threatened by the game’s popularity, embarrassed liberals successfully implemented a nationwide government plan to ‘remove the game from the marketplace.’”
The game was entangled in a number of lawsuits after several government officials and the NAACP criticized it as racist and sexist for its depiction of “welfare queens” and other stereotypes. Pramschufer and Johnson first sued (sub req.) a New York City official who sent a letter to retailers urging them not to sell the game, saying “keeping this game off the shelves of your stores would be a genuine public service.” They lost the case and their ultimate appeal was rejected by the Supreme Court, but they also filed a suit against the NAACP and NOW, according to the AP (sub req.).
But in the 90s when they re-released the game — complete with a new “Criminal Justice” side of the board — and claimed it had been banned, the Attorney General of Maryland said there was never a ban on the game. “The state wouldn’t have had the authority to ban this game whatsoever,” then-AG Kathy Schultz said (sub req.), according to the Washington Times.
Via Ashley Lopez of The Florida Independent.