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Saturday, October 25, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 58.0° F  Fog/Mist
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Protest in a box: Scottyopoly brings anti-Walker foment to the living room
The game exhaustively catalogs the governor's wrongs.
The game exhaustively catalogs the governor's wrongs.

Because one can only have so many clever Koch Brothers bumper stickers, pop-culture-loving opponents of Gov. Scott Walker have embraced everything from Wisconsin-politics-themed Christmas carol rewrites to a diorama that depicts the Capitol protests with marshmallow Peeps. Yet even those creative acts of obsession fall short of Scottyopoly, a Monopoly parody complete with properties, play money and potentially interminable round-and-round play.

Scottyopoly, subtitled A Game of Power and Influence, sells for $30 at Sales benefit the Dane County Grassroots Network and Boscobel's InHealth Community Wellness Clinic. The creators had 1,000 copies manufactured at Roto-Graphic Printing Inc. in Wausau last summer, insisting on an American-made product. The game had sold more than 800 copies as of late February.

"Does this take four hours like regular Monopoly?" my friend Chris jokes as we open up a copy. We must first sort unwieldy mounds of play money from the Cheesehead Bank, whose bills depict Walker as Mad magazine might. We find ourselves disappointed at the player tokens. Rather than offer witty variations on Monopoly's fleet of thimble, shoe, wheelbarrow and the like, Scottyopoly settles for primary-colored Sorry! pieces. Instead of tiny plastic houses, players accrue little circular "influence chips."

The spaces and game cards represent a scramble to exhaustively catalog the governor's wrongs, like lefty protest signs try to do with slogans. The game presents events in chronological order as you move around the board. It must have been a chore to remember on just what date people began ordering Ian's Pizza deliveries for protesters.

The subtitle hints that players will experience the vicarious thrill of back-room politics, but in practice they'll simply be brushing up on their early Walker administration timeline. Many "properties" are milestones of the first 100 days of the protests: This-or-that number of demonstrators assembled at the Capitol, and so forth. A Monopoly player is a budding tycoon out to corner the market, but a Scottyopoly player is what - a lobbyist, campaign donor, activist? It's never clear.

A couple of the board's corner spaces capture the madness with witty ease: "Caught speeding the Scotty Bill through the legislature - go to court." "In Court (Just Visiting)." Still, maybe it's because of the design's bright colors, or even the cute, fattish font, but the game feels a step removed from political fury. It's even calming, and that is one of its virtues. Though arguably less diverting than real Monopoly, it doesn't call upon players to just stagnate in their outrage.

That's a relief, because playing a round of Scottyopoly could very well take four hours.

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