Games people play

Traders rushing in Wall Street in 1929 as the New York Stock Exchange crashed AFP PHOTO
Traders rushing in Wall Street in 1929 as the New York Stock Exchange crashed AFP PHOTO

There are many reasons to play board games, not least the shared fun of gathering around a table to spell unusual words or amass a fortune through property speculation. But sometimes they capture the defining mood of a particular period of time so perfectly that they become quite the rage. Some say that Market Meltdown, a new board game that’s becoming increasingly popular in the UK, captures the zeitgeist of this century, so marked by trouble of various sorts but particularly the 2008 financial crisis.

In Meltdown – which is overtaking Monopoly in pre-Christmas sales in London – each player starts out with £900 million and a private jet and invests money on behalf of a bank. The goal is to stay solvent as players negotiate a thicket of threats – defaults, spiralling debt and, worse, bonus caps. For investment bankers and hedge fund managers, this is probably uncomfortably close to the game of life.

Published: December 20, 2014 04:00 AM

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