July 6th, 2010
03:29 PM ET

'70s board game contains eerie BP oil spill scenarios

The BP Offshore Oil Strike game from the 1970s has popped up on eBay recently.

A nearly 40-year-old board game is getting a lot of new attention because of eerie similarities between the scenarios of its play and the 78-day-old BP Gulf oil disaster.

The game BP Offshore Oil Strike, which came out in the 1970s and is adorned with an old BP logo, revolves around four players exploring for oil, building platforms and constructing pipelines - all in the name of being the first to make $120 million.

But like the real-life oil game there are some big hazards, too. Players have to deal with the possibility of large-scale oil spills and cover cleanup costs. You struggle with "hazard cards" that include phrases now part of our daily vernacular, including: "Blow-out! Rig damaged. Oil slick cleanup costs. Pay $1 million."

Sound a little familiar? The similarity has led to discussions all over the Web. It's prompted people to dig in their attics and put their old games up on eBay - many of which have promptly been snatched up.

One copy of the game was donated to the largest toy museum in England, the House on the Hill Toy Museum in Stansted, Essex.

The museum's owner, Alan Goldsmith, told CNN he was shocked when he saw the donated game.

"It was sort of uncanny how it was similar to what's happening really," Goldsmith said. "I thought it was odd that it was a game in the '70s, which has basically now come true. The interesting thing is that it was in dollars, even though it was a European game. The cleanup bill was $1 million, which we now know isn't nearly enough, but it is a weird colorful circle."

The game came out during the oil crisis of the '70s - and perhaps it was an attempt to drum up support for U.S.-based drilling.

Goldsmith said as a part of the game, players work to amass a drilling empire. But the game comes with all of the scenarios of the present Gulf disaster. Even the game board and cover resemble images from the Gulf these days - with rigs attempting to reach far into the ocean depths.

The game has many people online remarking about whether it eerily foreshadowed the current BP disaster.

"It's strange, you've got this fictitious board game with fictitious drama - but it couldn't be any closer to the reality of what's happening now," Goldsmith said.

The world of video games, meanwhile, appears to have a more direct link to the Gulf oil disaster.

In "Crisis in the Gulf," which an independent producer released last month for the Xbox, gamers use weapons to zap blobs of oil.

The game is available for purchase through Xbox's online marketplace.

soundoff (167 Responses)
  1. oink

    THey stop selling it when the 1979 gulf oil spill occured?

    July 6, 2010 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Debbie

    There were oil spills going on in the 70s, too. The game just reflected the current reality of the time.

    July 6, 2010 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. edlarson

    Yes, there were offshore rigs during the 1970s too. Imagine that? Al Gore didn't invent everything on the planet.

    Anyway, back in the 1970s it was discovered that we could extract oil from oil shale deposits. Now here we are 40 years later and we are still drilling offshore and doing nothing with our 4 trillion barrel supply of oil shale. Why is that?

    One thing to ponder, an oil shale mine cannot have a blowout and spew millions of gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

    July 6, 2010 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Clark

      The total carbon dioxide (CO2) emission from extracting and burning oil from oil shale is significantly higher than for conventional oil. We are already emitting way too much CO2 into the atmosphere (Fact: anthropogenic global warming is real). Shale and tar sands are not an answer to our current energy/environment catastrophe in the making.

      July 6, 2010 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • CNelson

      No, to get the oil from shale deposits, you just have to "frac" it, releasing lots of toxic byproducts into the groundwater and disturbing the streams and ponds for miles around. Really great tradeoff!

      July 6, 2010 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      Nothing? In PA they're drilling into the Marcellus shale...they'll start in NY soon, too.

      July 7, 2010 at 3:21 am | Report abuse |
  4. we

    There are plently of articles on BP and its use of Colombian militia throughout history, with this fact they should be outlawed to drill off our shores.

    July 6, 2010 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
  5. chris

    I should put my "DEFEND USA FROM THE MARXIST REGIME" board game on ebay. That's got some erie ties to current events.

    July 6, 2010 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • we

      Now your getting the point of the whole event in a nut shell.

      July 6, 2010 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • STUFF

      Marxist Regime.. hahaha you fail at this AND life. Better luck next time bub.

      July 7, 2010 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. we

    Because the reality is that they have almost destroyed our food supply temporarily, destroyed our economy on the shore lines, and put everyone and wildlife at risk for contamination on top of the fact that all of us will eventually be paying for their bad business decisions in the future at the pump.

    July 6, 2010 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Janet

    How about they bring back the game and 100% of the proceeds goes to the people most hurt by the spill - the people whose livelihoods have been destroyed. Maybe some game residuals will help more of them not lose their houses and cars.

    July 6, 2010 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. we


    she lost....get over it

    You missed the point completely it is called the BB association and if you still do not know what I am talking about then you are living under a rock. The ultimate control freaks of the world.

    July 6, 2010 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  9. we

    I know this has nothing to do with the oil spill but more on the marxist statement, I am just curious why we have Russians belonging to the free mason group in America. Ha ha Stalin knew what he was talking about when he said America will be destroyed from within.

    July 6, 2010 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • hank

      you do realize that our founding fathers were free masons, right?

      July 6, 2010 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
  10. D

    Has anyone ever noticed the chilling similarities between tick tack toe and the fall of Roman Empire?

    July 6, 2010 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • SLTsherey


      July 7, 2010 at 8:07 am | Report abuse |
  11. dave

    This isn't strange at all. The hazards of offshore drilling have been known for a long time, and the technology hasn't changed all that drastically since the 70s.

    July 6, 2010 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Brett

    My take-away is that the industry is a fossil, a dinosaur as antiquated as the compressed carbon remains buried deep beneath the Gulf of Mexico. Nothing has changed since the 1970s other than an exponential increase in hubris and greed from the oil industry, and BP in particular.

    July 6, 2010 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Boob

    Yes, that was interesting, let's play !
    Sorry you loose, and so do I .....
    unfortunately the planet is doomed once the oil stops leaking something will have to fill in the hole.
    Guess what it will be? a giant sink hole...... get it..... sink..... hole.......... hahahahahahahah

    July 6, 2010 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
  14. TyHouston

    This is relavant why?

    That's like saying Scuds comming down on the first gulf war and patriots shooting them down was for told by the game Missile Command.

    This isn't news...fire this person(s).

    July 6, 2010 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ChuckerB

    Finally, a game that Obama can win !

    July 6, 2010 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      Hey Chucker,

      We're all in this together, be a patriot and back YOUR President!

      July 6, 2010 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
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