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Store:  Strategy Games
Theme:  Government

Public Assistance

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Product Information

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4 in 1 review

A very odd stop on the board game timeline
October 05, 2002

Public Assistance is a *very* strange and unpolitically-correct game. Made in 1980 by Hammerhead Games, Public Assistance asked players 'Why bother working for a living?'. In this game, a pseudo-parody of the game of 'Life,' players move along one of two tracks: The 'Working Person's Rut,' or the 'Able-Bodied Welfare Recipient's Promenade.' In the latter, players have illegitimate children, sell drugs, partake in prostitution, gamble, commit armed robbery, draw 'Benefit' cards, and engage in other seedy activities. In the former, players work, pay taxes, pay bills, draw 'Burden' cards, and generally suffer through their mundane middle-class life.

Here's two examples of 'Benefit' cards an Able-Bodied Welfare Recipient might draw:

'While in welfare office parking lot, you syphon gas from social worker's Pinto into your Lincoln. Collect $20.'

'Your great-aunt Sophie dies. You don't report her death, and bury her in the basement. Collect her $500 welfare check each time you reach the first of the month.'

On the contrary, Working Person's might draw the following 'Burden' card:

'You are up for a high-paying promotion, but Government Affirmative Action rules require that a 'disadvantaged' minority, homosexual, Buddhist female be promoted over you. Lose $500.'

And so forth. As stated, Public Assistance was NOT a politically correct game. But it is rather funny.

As far as gameplay goes, players roll three dice and travel around the board. Each rotation equals one month. He who has the most money at the end of twelve months is the winner.

I believe this game may have been sued out of production, but I am not positive. Today it is somewhat rare, and can fetch high prices.


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