I wrote this before the latest events, it’s possibly ill timed , but here it goes:
Republica de los Bananas
Hey, sometimes you got to take a humorous view on serious stuff. After all, there is going to be a dance called le Pickasseur anytime soon in the nightclubs of Abidjan.
There is this board game from the 70s called Junta. In it, players control important families in a fictional Banana Republic, aptly called Republica de los Bananas. The goal of the game is to put away as much money as possible into one’s Swiss bank account.
Each turn the president – El Presidente – chooses how much money to hand out to the other players, but there is never enough to make all players happy. Discontent players can try to vote out the president from power or start a coup and become rebels. All players can use all kind of dirty tricks including assassinations (the player that controls the secret police gets a free assassination – obviously).
Ivory Coast edition
I’ve been thinking, the world really needs an Ivory Coast version of this game. The game would start in 1995, and one would choose to play as Bedie, Ado, Gbagbo, Guei, or Soro. The goal would have to be modified to also include number of years as president (Gbagbo is leading that measure at the moment, followed by Bedie and Guei).
A politically correct version could have “good” players with the goal of installing democracy, and having the international community to play an important role. Political correctness kind of defies the purpose of Junta though.
Here are excerpts of the rules from the original boardgame:
A round of assassinations takes place. First each player chooses their location using the location tiles in a secret yet binding fashion. Locations are as follows:
- Home (causes the player to be killed if a “burglars” assassination card is played against him)
- Mistress (leaves a player vulnerable to a “character assassination” card)
- Headquarters (allows the player to start a coup without an excuse)
- Bank (allows the player to access their Swiss bank account, should they survive to the banking phase)
The Mistress location wouldn’t really work in the Ivory Coast. I believe almost all senior male politicians have mistresses (including each others daughters rumors have it) , so it wouldn’t be a big deal to be found out. So the Mistress location will have to be replaced by Cathedral (where I believe Guei was assassinated), but home and headquarters are sadly spot on.
The Rebel Phase
If allowed, any player may start a coup, thus becoming First Rebel, by playing a card to place units on the board, moving any unit or bombarding the presidential palace. The risk a player takes on in declaring himself the First Rebel is that he will also end up being the only rebel, and suffer reprisals in the wake of an unsuccessful coup.
If the President prevails, they may have any one rebel sent to the firing squad. In the case of a Junta victory, the rebels elect a new President.
Guei and Soro are clearly First rebels. Guei was a successful one in 1999, and arguably Gbagbo in 2000. Soro is only a partially successful rebel, but he’s got to get some points for becoming Prime Minister and kind of President for half the country.
A player may go into exile during the Location phase by placing a location marker on one of the embassies on the map, to indicate the country fled to. It is also possible to flee the republic during a coup, provided that the player controls an embassy with their forces.
A player in exile is safe from executions and assassinations, but is very limited in all but the social aspects of the game. A player may return from exile at any time, but normally the Minister of Internal Security may have the returning player executed by the secret police at will.
Guess this was much of Ado’s strategy early in the game, but Gbagbo and Bedie have also played the exile card.
Coup phaseThe majority of the Junta board is used only during a coup.
Coups are a tactical game within the game that may result in the replacement of the President and unfortunate players being sent to the firing squad. Which side a player supports is often unclear during a coup. A scheming player can benefit by concealing their true objectives to gain a favourable position to negotiate from. Others may find it easier simply being a turncoat.
Maybe Patrick Zasso has to be included in the game.