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BP, The Board Game

Tuesday, 6 Jul 2010 | 11:49 AM ET

In the "I'd never believe it if I didn't see it with my own eyes" category, BP once released a board game called "Offshore Oil Strike".

The game was developed in the '70s, hoping to give players "the thrills of drilling," along with its "hazards and rewards".

Nearly 40 years later, life is imitating art.

BP Offshore Oil Strike board game
Source: eBay.com
BP Offshore Oil Strike board game

The Metro UK web site published a copy of the game's original box.

Look familiar?

The only things missing are artistic renderings of dead pelicans and oil billowing out of the ocean floor.

The article says the game allowed four players acting as "would-be tycoons" to compete for oil, "building platforms and laying pipelines to their home countries."

Apparently not many of the BP games sold.

Oh, really? I can't imagine why.

Who wouldn't want to "lay pipe" instead of play Battleship, Risk, or even The Game of Life?

Speaking of the game of life...

In what may be the most ironic part of the story, "Offshore Oil Strike" reportedly included "hazard cards", like one which says "Blow-out! Rig damaged. Oil slick clean-up costs. Pay $1 million."

If only...

BP has so far spent over $3 billion on the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe.

Can you imagine any such corporate board games today?

How about Microsoft's "Windows of War", where players attempt to take over every computer on the planet, turn every apple rotten, while trying to avoid blue screens of death? Or GM's "High Gear", in which players try to build a better car at half the cost and no benefits.

As one reader commented, "It is a reminder of the days before the internet, when, if a multi-national corporation wanted to show what an exciting caring company it was, then commissioning a 'roll-and-move' boardgame was the best option."

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  • Based in Los Angeles, Jane Wells is a CNBC business news reporter and also writes the Funny Business blog for CNBC.com.

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