With the seemingly never-ending construction around Montreal, it was a matter of time before someone made a board game mimicking it.
The game is called Construction and Corruption and it’s the brainchild of David Loach, a multimedia editor, and board game enthusiast. He and a friend came up with the idea while they were doing something so common to many Montrealers.
“We just were stuck in traffic again,” he laughs.
They joked about it at first but later, Loach gave it serious thought and realized it just might work. He thought about how people have gotten so used to construction around town that for some, it’s become a joke, and he figured his friends might get a kick out of the game.
“This game is part of that, it’s just making humour out of the whole situation,” he said.
This is how it works.
Each player (from three to seven) can vote for a mayor and is given a construction contract for a zone in the city. But even if the work isn’t completed at the end of the turn, the player still gets another contract on the next turn, and gets paid again.
“So the incentive,” Loach explains, “is basically, if you don’t finish the job, you get paid more and more.”
The player with the most money at the end of the game wins. It means there is a lot of negotiating, bribing and shifting of alliances.
“It’s enjoyable,” laughs Justin Lee, a board game enthusiast who sells Construction and Corruption. “You know it’s wrong, but it’s enjoyable.”
But the aim, says Loach, is not necessarily to reward wrongdoing.
“If you’re just turning your back on everyone every time you make a deal, then nobody’s gonna work with you. But if you’re always reliable and always going by the book, then people are probably gonna use you,” he said.
What helps, he says, is knowing how to negotiate. The game takes up to two hours to complete, depending on how much the players argue.
Dmitry Feoktistov, another fan of the game, is thrilled with the social dynamic between players.
“I think the favourite aspect of the game is the voting because you have to buy the votes, you make little contracts and somebody might backstab you,” he said.
Lee agrees. “It’s a joke on Montreal, but it’s a good joke,” he said.
“It’s so ridiculous, but we enjoy it at the same time.”
Loach wants to start a crowdfunding campaign in the coming days to see how many pre-orders he can get via Kickstarter. After that, he’ll see what’s next. For now, he’s just having a blast turning frustration into fun.
For more about the game, visit the Construction and Corruption website.