Images Of 1980’s Welfare-Themed Board Game Resurface On The Web

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A defunct Maryland-based board game manufacturer known for crafting satirical and anti-liberal board games in the 1980s recently became a topic on social media channels after images of its most-infamous title resurfaced via the Internet. The game, Public Assistance: Why Bother Working For A Living, was released by Hammerhead Enterprises back in 1980. The company alleged that the game was intended to be a spoof of the welfare system, and after a complicated court case with New York officials calling for a ban of the game, Hammerhead Enterprises triumphed  based on constitutional laws.

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The jarring images open up with the front cover of the game’s box, featuring an urban setting and instances of individuals loafing about or not contributing positively to society. The company wisely used figures of vague racial origin to represent folks stealing from stores, shooting dice, and working in prostitution in a brazen attempt to be tongue-in-cheek.

Styled similarly to the famous economically themed board game Monopoly, the game used dice and board spaces to advance players in the “system” as it were. Although racial terms are never used, in several instances the word “ethnic” is applied to describe a lawyer or congressman, for example. Further, featured on a wild card is the term “welfare comrade,” which makes a dig at a lawyer of color getting a huge settlement for an accident victim who takes their winnings to spend on “Welfare Promenade.”

Hammerhead Enterprises made another attempt within the board game biz with the title Capital Punishment, which was essentially a sarcastic attempt to lambast the legal system and was released in 1981. A second edition of Public Assistance was released in 1990.

View more images, including the rules of the game in the gallery below:

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