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1970s BP-Branded Board Game Turned Offshore Drilling Into Child's Play

BP's Gulf blowout turns an old offshore drilling board game into a coveted novelty item. The game, BP Offshore Oil Strike, has players race for profits, with dangers like damaged rigs and oil slicks in the way.

We know this blog probably hasn’t been your cheeriest news source of late—at least, not if you care about what’s going on in the Gulf—but here’s a bit of offbeat news related to BP and offshore drilling:

According to Britain’s Metro newspaper, a rare board game from the 1970s called BP Offshore Oil Strike has turned up in England’s largest toy museum. The game, made by the Scottish company Printabox, is adorned with an old British Petroleum logo and allows four players to compete in oil exploration, platform building and pipeline construction. And true to life, the game is driven by profit--first player to make $120 million wins.

But watch out for those “hazard cards,” one of which states: “Blow-out! Rig damaged. Oil slick clean-up costs. Pay $1 million.”

(As we’re well aware, cleanup for BP’s Gulf blowout has cost a lot more than that. The current bill stands at more than $3 billion. Not to mention the other real-life costs: 11 lives, the local economy, and potential long-term effects on the oceans, the environment and human health.)

When I called to ask, a BP spokesman told me he wasn’t familiar with the game.

CNN reported that since news reports first picked up on the game, more of them have been put up on eBay, but when I checked, alas, there were none to be found. (One of @ProPublica's Twitter followers, however, says he had that game. Won't lie, we're jealous.)

Oh well. At least there’s still this auction of vintage Minerals Management Service gear. (The new name's something crazy, like Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement.) Apparently, today’s the last day of the auction, so move fast if you want a Department of the Interior Pocket Ethics Guide at the bargain price of $25. Proceeds go to the nonprofit grou, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.

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