Had one had the opportunity to enquire of Mr. Khrushchev or, later, Mr. Brezhnev, as to whether or not there were significant differences between East and West in the years, now long gone, before the collapse of the 'Iron Curtain', then one would have been foolish to anticipate any other answer than that the Soviet Union and its satellites, The Peace States, of which Hungary was but one, were superior in every way.
|a colourful and entertaining game for the entire family - suitable for all ages|
And could this superiority be better demonstrated than to take the example of a game happily played by contented comrades the length and breadth of The People's Republic of Hungary?
|everything for an evening's enjoyable entertainment is to be found here|
But let us digress for one moment, and place this within a context. 'Monopoly', the board game, is today known worldwide. In it participants, capitalists to a man and a woman, acquire property and money usually in direct competition with and at the expense of their fellow beings.
'Gazdálkodj Okosan!', the Hungarian version of the 1960s, differs only slightly in that there is no accumulation of wealth, no building of a personal fortune, but rather the unparalleled joy of furnishing one's State apartment with kitchen cupboards, the latest in the way of a vacuum cleaner [no 'Hoover' here] and sewing machine, and the crowning glory of a sitting room complete with a black and white television. Happy, happy families indeed!
|all the pieces complete from the 1960s including the rules to be followed|
Where 'Monopoly' relies on 'Chance' and 'Community Chest' cards, so the Hungarian game seeks to promote the better qualities of socialism where the players are not exhorted to 'Pay School Fees' but to 'Read books! Reading is a pleasant, useful and cheap entertainment'. Doubtless the government of the day could suggest which books!
|a 'Community Chest' card which extols the benefits and pleasures of reading|
We are reminded of all this when, a few evenings ago, friends Viktor and Zoli unearthed from the basement a splendid edition of the game in near perfect condition. And as we pushed our miniature workers around the board, we could not help but reflect on the changes of a lifetime.
P.S. We are grateful to Szabó Viktor for taking the photographs on our behalf, all of which may be enlarged at a click.