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Wednesday November 12, 2014

Corruption is the name of the game in Spain


A new board game aims to keep Spanish politicians on their toes

In an attempt at transparency, Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has apologised publicly for the wave of corruption scandals to hit the country involving members of his People’s Party (PP). The latest concerns the former interior minister, Angel Acebes, over allegations of a party slush fund having been formed. With perfect timing a new tongue-in-cheek political board game entitled Corruptopolis has been created by 22-year-old Spanish student, Marina Belda, in which players lie and cheat their way along the gold–paved streets to the heart of ‘Corrupt City’.

In the satirical game, players take on the personas of those involved in major corruption scandals over the years in order to achieve their goal, at the same time offering them an opportunity to experience the murky patterns of behaviour of corrupt officials through role play. Marina Belda is hoping to launch her game with the support of Verkami, a crowd funding site which has so far helped her to raise €3,412 of her €6,500 goal.

In its Corruption Perception Index 2013, Berlin based anti-corruption organisation Transparency ranked Spain 40th in the honesty stakes out of 177 countries with the UK and US holding more respectable positions at 14 and 19 respectively. Denmark and New Zealand were considered to be the least corrupt countries while Somalia, Afghanistan and North Korea proved to be joint losers at the bottom of the league.

Some might say that Marina Belda’s board game could adapt easily to embrace other countries with perhaps an Italian edition giving the Mafia and the Vatican star billing while a US version could include the CIA, FBI and NRA. A Russian edition might happily reignite the Cold War with a prominent role for the politburo and defunct KGB.

Of course this isn’t the first time a satirical political board game has been conceived. For example, the game Corruption allows construction company owners to bribe government officials for lucrative building contracts and in Banana Republic players use money to bribe voters in order to gain power while using the services of killers, bodyguards and journalists to affect votes. Meanwhile Junta with its Republica of Los Bananas involves a race for presidency with assassinations and deadly deeds along the way and in Tammany Hall, immigration groups in New York City are pitched against one another in a game of political power.

It’s doubtful whether Mariano Rajoy or any of his political colleagues will be coughing up euros to assist Marina Belda in her fundraising bid to launch Corruptopolis on the public stage. All the same should it ever see the light of day, she can but hope that he and his political opponents will be good enough sports to play the game.





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