World revolution for children

Chemical War. Soviet board game by A. V. Kuklin. State Publisher, 1925

We have recently written about the Goose Game, the Renaissance ancestor of all European board games through whose labyrinth the player, moving ahead at the cast of the die and overcoming all the obstacles on the way, finally entered the Paradise. The game has preserved its popularity to this day, only the obstacles and the Paradise were regularly actualized according to the taste of the period. In Russia of the 1810s, as we have already seen, the victory over Napoleon was the desired Paradise. And a hundred years later, the world revolution.

This game with the inscription “LONG LIVE THE WORLD REVOLUTION” was published in 1925 (every board can be enlarged!). After entering it through the gate with the rising red Sun which was also included in the coat of arms of the Soviet republics, you can study while working, enroll in the Red Army, chase the bourgeois, join the anti-alkohol campaign. Production meetings, war aircrafts and breaking the chains of the workers can promote you by even twenty spaces, while bad health and living conditions throw you back by just as much.

Another version of the Goose Game with the title “For Healthy Life” was used from 1926 for health education.“Through making work and life healthier, ahead for the victory over social diseases!” proclaims the text of the larger V-belt wheel on a light background, continued by that of the smaller wheel on a dark background like a small print: “Making work and life healthier is the task of the workers themselves.” Each space impresses an important element of home and working place hygiene and healthy way of life in picture, text and diagram.

The various versions of the “Round Race” game differentiated by profession were published in 1924 with a similar purpose. „The board game «Round Race» was established by the Education Department of the В. Ц. С. П. С.  [Central Committee of All-Soviet Trade Unions] for the purposes of propaganda. Its use is primarily recommended in the sitting rooms of workers’ clubs. It can be also used in professional courses of an introductory type for the repetition of the acquired information.” – the users instructions write. The hundred spaces were associated with twice as many cards of questions and answers, each about a different passage of the Labor Code and the trade union regulations. After the cast of the die the player could advance to the corresponding number only if he answered correctly the question belonging to that number.

In the game “By plane through the Soviet Union”, published in 1924 the players had to visit the five cities allotted to them in the shortest route possible. One year later Soviet children could already go in this way from Moscow to China and in 1928 as far as the islands of the Arctic Sea.

Players could participate in increasing the wealth of the Soviet Union, in the electrification of  the country, in collecting recyclable scraps and in the industrial production as well.

“Traveling through the wealth of the Soviet Union” (1924)

“Electrification” (1928) – from Russian villages through the mountain auls of the Caucasus to the cities and industrial plants

“Let us give raw materials to the factories!” (1930) The recyclable scrap has to be found all over
the city
and delivered to the collection centers, in three different
operating modes: cart, truck, pioneer.

“The young friend of car building” – “From game to model, and from model to the study of modern automobiles” (1931)

“ABC of flag signals for the young water life saver” (1937). An осводовец was a member of the ОСВОД, the Voluntary Water Life Saver Society

The games naturally laid a special emphasis on the expansion of the military knowledge and moral of the youth. The State Publisher even dedicated a complete series of board games to the various military branches, of which the game “Chemical War” we have already seen above.

“Revolution” (1925). A. V. Kuklin, State Publisher

“Air War” (1925). A. V. Kuklin, State Publisher

Another “Air War”, this time with land-air rockets, also from 1925

“Reds and Whites. War game” (1929), in the spirit of the best Russian avant-garde graphics.
The red tank called “Ilyich” breaks through all obstacles!

“War of Tanks” (1930)

“Sea War. A new game” (1931)

“Manoeuvering. For pioneer groups, the young friends of ОСОАВИАХИМ [voluntary armed militia]” (1933, six years after the foundation of this paramilitary organization)

“Contemporary War”. Perhaps in 1933 cavalry charge did not belong to the most advanced
techniques of warfare any more, but it remained a popular motif of patriotic ads,
evoking the glorious cavalry of the civil war and, beyond that, the figure
of Saint George traditionally fighting for Russia on a white horse

The purpose of the “game preparing for war” published in 1938 and baptized simply “War” was to give an introduction to the large masses into the elements of modern strategy. This was indeed necessary at that time, for the professional men of this science were just being systematically liquidated by the Generalissimus right then, at the threshold of the war.

The professional character of these games is beyond doubt. And everyone growing up on similar games in the sixties and seventies will precisely know what an enormous effect these impressive microcosms can have on the young players. It was from such games that we have also learned by heart all the countries of the world, the animals of the sea and the Western makes of car in a period when we could have never got to know them personally, thanks to the world revolution.

4 comentarios:

Julia dijo...

Otra vez un cierre perfecto en el último párrafo. Todo el post me gustó mucho (¡qué trabajo, Tamás!), pero el verdadero chispazo cómplice llegó al final. Como también la sonrisa en el post previo por la aparición conjunta de las dos cabezas del simbiótico (¿monstruo?) studiolum en los comentarios. Saludos desde una Buenas Aires que no puede ser más otoñal (en los peores sentidos) ¡y a trabajar!

Studiolum dijo...


Laura Brown dijo...

I wondered if the typeface on the "Sea War" game could have been meant to mimick that on the Western Monopoly box, but it seems this game came out three years before Monopoly was introduced. It does look quite similar, though.

Studiolum dijo...

You are right. They are almost perfectly identical, even in the choice of color. However, I think it was just one of the favorite post-avantgarde typefaces of the period.