Modern Living: The Black and White Game

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Boardwalk. Park Place. Ventnor and Atlantic Avenues, not to mention Marvin Gardens. The streets of Monopoly are places of childhood dreams and opportunity, open to anyone with the luck of the dice and a fat enough bankroll to buy there. But not Grosse Pointe and Shaker Heights, Bethesda, Georgetown and San Clemente. They are parts of a new and different game, one in which the color of a buyer's skin may well shut him out of the property he wants, and even drive him off the board.

The game is called "Blacks & Whites," and it is unmistakably derived from Monopoly. Its object: to capture enough complete neighborhoods to drive competitors into bankruptcy. Each player decides at the outset whether to compete as a white or as a black (though the directions specify that "whites are never the minority"). Blacks start with $10,000 in paper assets, whites with $1 million. As many as nine players move black and white pawns according to the throw of the dice, collecting cash ($50,000 for whites, $10,000 for blacks) every time they complete a circuit of the board. They pay fines (of equal amount, regardless of color) and draw "opportunity" cards from the top of separate, unequal stacks.

The board is divided into four sections: the Ghetto Zone (including properties like Bedford Stuyvesant, Watts and Harlem), the Integrated Zone (Ann Arbor, Berkeley, Atlanta and Greenwich Village), the Suburban Zone (San

Clemente, Levittown, Burbank and Great Neck) and the Estate Zone (Grosse Pointe, Palm Beach, Newport and Nob Hill). Whites may buy in any and all sections. Not so blacks. Welcome to buy and pay rent in the Ghetto or Integrated Zone, a black player must have $1,000,000 in net assets before buying into the Estate Zone. And he is blocked from ownership in the Suburban Zone—unless he either finds a white owner ready to sell privately ("perhaps," as the rules suggest, "at a premium"), bids highest at a white's bankruptcy auction, or lucks onto an opportunity card that opens the suburbs to him. He may, of course, run into another sort of op portunity card. One that says, for ex ample, "Mayor Daley reelected. You are picked up and taken directly to the police station for interrogation." Or "Draft call. Roll dice. If you roll an even number, you are drafted and sent to Viet Nam—sell all properties . . ."

Helpful Hints. The game, produced by Psychology Today Games (an off shoot of the magazine) now on sale ($5.95) at major department stores, was developed at the University of California at Davis by Psychology Department Chairman Robert Sommer. It was conceived as a painless way for middle-class whites to experience—and understand—the frustrations of blacks. In Sommer's version, however, the black player could not win; as a simulation of frustration, the game was too successful. Then David Popoff, a Psychology Today edi tor, redesigned the game, taking suggestions from militant black members of "US" in San Diego. The new rules give black players an opportunity to use—and even to beat—the System.

They are allowed to give extra bonus cards to a soul brother or sister. They are provided with helpful hints: "When a group of players get together as a community, swapping property and making personal loans, they become invincible."

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