The Upshot

'70s-era BP board game foreshadowed current oil-spill crisis

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bp board game

You have to wonder if this is how a young Tony Hayward got his start.

Recently a British game collector made a rather startling donation to the the House on the Hill toy museum in Stansted, Essex: a near mint-condition copy of “BP Offshore Oil Strike,” a rare “exciting board game for all the family” manufactured 35 years ago that promised players “the thrill of drilling.” Its cover features an oil rig amid stormy seas with an ominous black sky lurking overhead.

According to the UK Metro, the game allows “up to four would-be tycoons" to "compete at exploring for oil, building platforms and laying pipelines to their home countries.” And just like real-life offshore drilling, the game has its pitfalls in the form of “hazard cards,” one of which reads, “‘Blow-out! Rig damaged. Oil slick clean-up costs. Pay $1 million.”

Only one million dollars for a blowout resulting in an oil spill? Boy how times have changed!

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