I recently came across what is now one of my favorite things in the Collection: a board game entitled “New Frontier.” This witty, politically-inspired game offers a spin on the popular Parker Brothers game MONOPOLY, complete with its own currency (Jack scrip), real estate (including “Humphrey’s Hot-Air Heating Co.” and the “Deficit Finance Co.”), and a GO square (here called the “Seat of Government”, where you “move fawhwad” through the “leadership gap” only by paying $2000 Jack in taxes).
The game was copyrighted in 1962, shortly after President John F. Kennedy took office on January 20, 1961, after winning a close election against Richard Nixon. Kennedy first used the term “New Frontier” during his speech at the 1960 Democratic National Convention. The term became a slogan representing the campaign and, later, the Kennedy Administration’s goals of eradicating poverty and propelling the space program.
The board game, “The Game Nobody Can Win” is the self-proclaimed “Funniest Political Game of the Century!” and game equipment includes a “Pad of paper to print your own money (There’s not enough Jack in existence to finance New Frontier).” This game speaks for itself—the instructions read, in part: “….An educational exercise for all registered voters…Under the New Frontier business profits are pitilessly taxed away and all players eventually go bankrupt and have their properties socialized…”
Ironic or simply hilarious, this game not only offers commentary on 1960s politics, but illustrates many parallels to current political debates in this presidential election year.
Click to enlarge rules
See the game on Collections Online.
Sondra Reierson, Collections Assistant