: Kolejka - a fun and absurd boardgame about PRL (Polish People's Republic)
Kolejka (Queue) is a lightweight but fun game prepared by IPN (Instytut Pamięci Narodowej). The organization may sound dull and pompous, but it can't be denied they got the game Right.
While the game exists to illustrate dull and depressing times of the late PRL, it feels more like the brilliant absurd comedies by Stanisław Bareja, which satirized PRL. Yes, it's bleak, it's about poverty and a system falling apart. But the competition is so fierce and so absurd it's much more amusing than depressing. Like the protagonist of "Miś", players in "Kolejka" exploit the system to the fullest. It's quite tragic and still funny.
The goal of the game is to complete your randomly chosen shopping list. For instance, sending kids to vacation requres lots of clothes, some food and other misc items.
Mechanically, it's a variation of worker placement. Each day of the week, you place a couple of people (Your family members) in queues to various shops. The shops are pretty much empty. Then, AFTER placing your people, you learn which 2 of the several shops got goods this day. It could be clothes shop and food shop, for example.
Each player gets his 3 trickery cards. Players take turns playing one of them, or they may pass. For example one of cards is a friend in a PZPR comittee, so you can peek at the top 2 cards in the Delivery pile. Or you could play Criticism of the State, which causes a chosen person to be checked by Milicja. They leave him alone, but he goes back 2 places in his queue. Or you borrow a toddler because people with toddlers can buy without standing in queue. Or you get under-counter wares. Or you play a card that causes groceries to be mistakenly delivered to a tool shop...
Aside from pawns from players, each line also has a sinister black figure - a profiteer. They don't buy wares for themselves, but to sell them on the bazaar. Those goods then end up in the special bazaar shop, where barter exchange takes place.
Every 5 rounds there's Saturday, which is a major restocking event.
There's more information on Boardgamegeek, including photos, forums and other reviews.
What I particularly like about this game is how much the mechanics are tied to the theme. You can't just reskin the game into something else. It really IS about PRL, queues, shops, profiteers, and the absurd struggle for scraps.If you plan to buy the game, you may want to get the International edition. It comes with a big set of stickers to stick on your cards (in several languages)