DIALECTICAL MARXISM
The Writings of Bertell Ollman
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Class Struggle Board Game Rules < DIALECTICAL MARXISM: The Writings of Bertell Ollman Class Struggle Board Game

©1978, Bertell Ollman

BEGINNERS RULES

OBJECT OF THE GAME
"Class Struggle" reflects the real struggle between the classes in our society. THE OBJECT OF THE GAME IS TO WIN THE REVOLUTION . . . ULTIMATELY. Until then, classes—represented by different players—advance around the board, making and breaking alliances, and picking up strengths and weaknesses that determine the outcome of the elections and general strikes which occur along the way.

    PLAYERS
  1. "Class Struggle" can be played by two to six players.
  2. THE REAL PLAYERS IN "CLASS STRUGGLE," HOWEVER, ARE CLASSES, not individuals. Workers (those who produce shoes, cars, houses and so on) and Capitalists (those who own the machines and factories with which these things are produced) are the Major Classes. Farmers, Small Businessmen, Professionals (doctors, lawyers, professors, etc.) and Students are the Minor or Allied Classes. In the game, the hammer symbolizes the Workers, the top hat—the Capitalists, the tractor—the Farmers, the cash register—the Small Businessmen, the brief case—the Professionals, and the mortarboard—the Students.
  3. ONLY THE WORKERS AND THE CAPITALISTS CAN WIN OR LOSE IN "CLASS STRUGGLE". The Minor Classes can only participate in winning or losing through their alliances with one of the Major Classes (see Rule 12).

    DICE
  4. Individual players cannot choose their class. In real life, this is usually determined by the kind of family into which one is born. In "Class Struggle" too it is chance that decides. THROW THE GENETIC (OR LUCK-OF-BIRTH) DIE, THE ONE WITH THE SYMBOLS ON IT, TO SEE WHO PLAYS WHAT CLASS. It is important that Workers and Capitalists be represented in the game, so if there are only two players these are the classes they should play.
  5. Again, to be true to real life, where the Capitalists' wealth and power over people and factories give them many unfair advantages, THE CAPITALIST CLASS IS THE FIRST TO THROW THE NUMBERED DICE. They also decide whether the order in which the other classes take their turn at the dice proceeds from their left or their right.
  6. Classes now throw the numbered dice and move forward as many squares as the number shown. IF A CLASS THROWS A DOUBLE NUMBER, IT GETS AN EXTRA TURN AT THE DICE, and this rule holds for as long as any class throws double numbers.

    ASSETS AND DEBITS
  7. Capitalists get points (plus points are called "ASSETS" and minus points are called "DEBITS") only if they land on Capitalist (blue) Squares, which list the strengths and weaknesses of the Capitalist Class in the real Class Struggle. Workers pick up points only if they land on Worker (red) Squares, which list the actual strengths and weaknesses of the Working Class in this same struggle. As part of their unfair advantages, the Capitalists decide which of the other classes should do the hard but necessary work of handing out assets and debits, that is of taking care of the "BANK".
  8. The MINOR CLASSES PICK UP ASSETS AND DEBITS whenever they land on either Capitalist or Worker Squares until they enter an alliance with one of the Major Classes, after which they get points only from squares that carry the name of their ally. (See Rule 12).

    CHANCE
  9. When landing on a Chance Square, Capitalists pick up a CHANCE CARD from the pack marked "Capitalist", and Workers from the pack marked "Worker".
  10. Until they enter into an alliance with one of the Major Classes, the Minor Classes can take their Chance Cards from either pack. After an alliance, they must pick their cards from the same pack as their Major Class ally. (See Rule 12).
  11. TRADE UNION AND WORKERS' POLITICAL PARTY CARDS: if the Workers or their allies land on squares 11 or 52, they receive a Trade Union Card; landing on squares 16 or 56 earns them a Political Party Card. Minor classes can acquire these cards only while they are allied with the Workers, and must return them should this alliance be broken. (Rule 12)

    ALLIANCES
  12. Squares which read "Chance for an Alliance with the Farmers" (or Small Businessmen, or Professionals, or Students) permit the Major Class which lands there to enter into an alliance with the Minor Class named there. Each Minor Class has a CLASS ALLIANCE CARD which it gives to its new ally to seal the alliance. Like the player pieces, Alliance Cards can be mounted on the blocks of wood which are provided. Though EACH ALLIED CLASS RETAINS ITS OWN ASSETS AND DEBITS, their points are counted together in any future "Confrontation" (See Rule 19).
  13. WHEN THERE ARE LESS THAN SIX PLAYERS IN THE GAME, a Major Class which lands on the Alliance Square of a Minor Class that is not represented by a player still receives the latter's Alliance Card and a bonus of five assets.
  14. MINOR AS WELL AS MAJOR CLASSES HAVE A CHANCE TO ENTER INTO ALLIANCES if they land on an Alliance Square. If a Minor Class (say Farmers), which is already allied to a Major Class (say Capitalists), lands on a square that makes possible an alliance with the Students, the latter automatically becomes an ally of the Capitalists as well. In this way, the Minor Class allies of each major class can pick up alliances for their Major Class ally.
  15. IF A MINOR CLASS IS NOT ALLIED TO EITHER OF THE MAJOR CLASSES, IT CAN STILL ENTER INTO AN ALLIANCE WITH ANOTHER MINOR CLASS. In this case, the two Minor Classes have made themselves doubly valuable for the first Major Class to enter into an alliance with either of them; for—given the alliance of the two Minor Classes—to ally with either one of them is to ally with both.
  16. After two Minor Classes enter into an alliance with a Major Class, their special relationship comes to an end. Thus, if the other Major Class forces either of these Minor Classes to change alliances, its one-time partner is unaffected.
  17. CHANGE OF ALLIANCES: if an alliance between a Major and a Minor Class already exists, the other Major Class can force a change of alliance if it or any of its allies land on the appropriate Alliance Square. For example, if an alliance between Capitalists and Farmers already exists, and the Workers (or any of its allies) lands on the square which says, "Chance for an Alliance with the Farmers", they can ask the Farmers to break their alliance with the Capitalists and ally with them. If the Farmers think they stand a better chance of winning allied to the Workers, they will agree. If not, and the Workers insist on forming an alliance with them, the Farmers and the Workers throw the dice and the class throwing the higher number has its way. In case of a tie, they throw the dice again.
  18. If there are less than six players in the game, forcing a change of alliances with a Minor Class that is not represented by a player is simply a matter of transferring the Alliance Card and the five assets which came with it from the old Major Class ally to the new one.

    CONFRONTATIONS
  19. There are six Confrontation Squares—Life in the factory, two Elections, two General Strikes (when all the workers lay down their tools) and the Revolution. If either Major Class or its allies lands on a Confrontation Square, it has a choice whether or not to call a Confrontation. Non-allied Minor classes cannot call a Confrontation, and only the Major Classes (not even their allies) can call the final Confrontation, which is the Revolution. In a Confrontation, each side adds up its assets and debits (allies are counted together), and the side with the highest number of assets after debits are subtracted wins. IN THE CASE OF THE ELECTIONS AND GENERAL STRIKES, WINNING THE CONFRONTATION SECURES THE VICTORIOUS MAJOR CLASS THREE FREE THROWS OF THE DICE, improving in this way its position in the overall Class Struggle. Rule 6 regarding double numbers does not apply to these three throws. IN THE CASE OF REVOLUTION, WINNING THE CONFRONTATION IS WINNING THE GAME. To keep opponents guessing as to whether they can win a Confrontation, each class should keep its own assets and debits securely covered.
  20. TO LAND ON THE REVOLUTION SQUARE, A CLASS HAS TO GET AN EXACT NUMBER ON THE DICE. If it is two squares away, it has to keep throwing the dice until it gets a two. If it is only one square away, it throws only one die.
  21. IN REVOLUTION, THE POINTS OF ONE'S ALLIES ONLY COUNT IF THEY HAVE ARRIVED IN THE REVOLUTION SQUARE. A Major Class which needs these points to win should not call this Confrontation until its allies have joined it in the final square. Until then, any class (Major or Minor) which has arrived in the Revolution Square can use its turn at the dice to help move its allies forward on the board, indicating before each throw the ally it intends to move.
  22. If the Capitalists land on square 81 this triggers off NUCLEAR WAR and brings an automatic end to the game. If the Workers or any of its allies land there first, the power of the Capitalists to start such a war has been voided for the remainder of the game. (See Rule 34 of the FULL RULES and number 81 of the "WHY?" section of the accompanying booklet for the explanation).
  23. Having played "Class Struggle" a few times by these simplified rules, you are ready to play by the FULL RULES. Go ahead—try it!