BP: Putting the “Fun” in Dysfunction

Talk about creepy foresight meets dark humor: The UK Metro unearthed a 1970s board game marketed by BP, “Offshore Oil Strike.” The game’s tag line, “The thrills of drilling, the hazards and rewards as you bring in your own …” seems somewhat regrettable given the company’s current situation.

Metro explains how the “exciting board game for all the family” works:

Up to four would-be tycoons can compete at exploring for oil, building platforms and laying pipelines to their home countries.

But BP Offshore Oil Strike players must also avoid the dreaded ‘hazard cards’, which state: ‘Blow-out! Rig damaged. Oil slick clean-up costs. Pay $1million.’

Unhappily for BP, that is just one per cent of the amount it has spent each day tackling the very real Deepwater Horizon leak, which has seen millions of barrels of oil gush into the Gulf of Mexico and hit the southern US coast.

The House On The Hill Toy Museum in Stansted, Essex, is the proud owner of a mint-condition game. “The parallels between the game and the current crisis… are so spooky,” museum owner Alan Goldsmith told the paper. Spooky indeed that simulated blow-outs were once BP’s idea of family fun.

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  • Kate Sheppard was a staff reporter in Mother Jones' Washington bureau from 2009 to 2013. She is now a senior reporter and the energy and environment editor at The Huffington Post. She can be reached by email at kate (dot) sheppard (at) huffingtonpost (dot) com and you can follow her on Twitter @kate_sheppard.