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. Doctor Evil

    The clean-up costs? ONE MILLION DOLLARS...

    July 6, 2010 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
  2. greekguy9999

    All I can picture are the BP execs rolling dice and basing their actions on the game. Whoever thought that Milton Bradley would be the Nostradamus of the 70s?

    July 6, 2010 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Phillip Bell

    Join our Facebook boycott of BP:


    July 6, 2010 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ralph

    The game was sent from the future. Probably was meant for John Connor.

    July 7, 2010 at 12:51 am | Report abuse |
  5. buddysattva

    Check out ancient Hopi prophecies. One of the last signs that we are entering "the purification" and the ending of a major epoch or cycle is "when the seas turn black."

    July 7, 2010 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
  6. buddysattva

    Search: adam dodson card game

    July 7, 2010 at 1:17 am | Report abuse |
  7. GamesRus

    The Illuminati card game also has the oil spill card, the twin tower explosion card and the bombed Pentagon card. It came out in the early 90s. The developer was arrested and his computers taken. He had to fight them in court. He won and launched the game in 1995. Coincidence, but odd that the twin tower explosion was in the deck. The oil spill card is a coastal oil spill card, with an oil covered bird pictured on it.

    July 7, 2010 at 1:22 am | Report abuse |
  8. jayman419

    Let's hope "Fortress America" isn't predicting the future. Fun game, though. Like Risk, but angrier.

    July 7, 2010 at 1:25 am | Report abuse |
  9. Janissarius

    "The cleanup bill was $1 million (in the game), which we now know isn't nearly enough..." In todays dollars that would be just over $5.6 million. Still not enough. In the end, $56 billion would probably be closer to the mark but, in 1970, people wouldn't be able to rap their heads around the concept of a ten billion dollar cleanup.

    July 7, 2010 at 1:36 am | Report abuse |
  10. Phil

    Oh, I got this one beat by a long shot!
    What we have in the Gulf is actually a 1958 movie with Steve McQueen in "The BLOB!
    You young'en can find it and the remake on the net.

    July 7, 2010 at 1:42 am | Report abuse |
  11. jesse

    that game looks more fun than any nerdy video game!! they should re-release it! i would buy it!

    July 7, 2010 at 2:17 am | Report abuse |
  12. Dacques

    I once played a game called "Life". It predicted the future. I went to college and my sister did not. I made more money than her and have a bigger house. Eerie Huh?

    July 7, 2010 at 2:30 am | Report abuse |
  13. dj

    June 3 1979. Exploratory well Ixtoc 1 blew out releasing 140 million barrels into the Gulf of Mexico. Not well publicized since it was a Pemex well and the crude didn't hit shore, but it is the fourth largest spill. Once again the BOP failed to work. This isn't the first time and probably won't be the last.

    July 7, 2010 at 2:40 am | Report abuse |
  14. d

    what's a board game?

    July 7, 2010 at 3:11 am | Report abuse |
  15. Adam

    When art imitates life...

    July 7, 2010 at 3:17 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8