SCAM : The Game of International Dope Smuggling

SCAM: THE GAME OF INTERNATIONAL DOPE SMUGGLING. Berkeley: Brown Bag Enterprises, 1971.
34 ¾”h x 23”w game board printed in colors on coated stock with metal spinner mounted at center; “Connection” cards printed on blue card stock; “Paranoia” cards on red stock; square “tokens” printed in colors representing varying quantities of pot (green), hashish (brown) and cocaine (blue); sheets of ersatz money in denominations of 50-100,000; plastic playing pieces; tiny die; and original sheet of rules. With original cardboard shipping tube in a printed paper wrapper bearing the image of a mammoth joint. One end of tube removed—as usual, as it was necessary to open the game—but retained. Playing cards, tokens and “money” with light soiling, creasing and dog-earing. Still, considerably better than usual for a game intended for hard use by stoners.

An amazing artifact from the year Nixon declared war on drugs. In Scam: The Game of International Dope Smuggling, players drop out, start dealing and try to be the first to make $1,000,000.

I am hopelessly ill-qualified to catalog this item—too straightlaced, and the wrong sort of writer to do justice to its exuberant, irreverent Cheech and Chong vibe. So I will just quote the first paragraph of the rules:

“Generally SCAM goes like this: you begin on the drop out of college square and keep moving around the AVE until you have collected enough money and CONNECTIONS to get off the AVE. You then work THE COUNTY and NEW YORK until you get enough money to put together a smuggling SCAM. That involves FLYING to MEXICO, AFGHANISTAN or SOUTH AMERICA, buying dope, SMUGGING BACK TO THE States, and selling in NEW YORK (where there’s more money) or in the COUNTY (where there’s less PARANOIA). To win the game you have to make ONE MILLION DOLLARS. If any of the following rules seem vague, unclear or stupid, feel free to change them to suit yourself.”

Oh, and the game board features maps of sorts, including Mexico, South America, Afghanistan and India, with a cameo appearance by Uranus in the upper-left corner.

Given Scam’s obscurity I have found no standard “collation,” in particular how many playing cards, tokens and faux bills were present in a complete set. Thus the set offered here may or may not be complete as issued, but it is certainly more than ample for play.

Scam seems to have become scarce, and the BoardGameGeek message board features numerous messages seeking “spare parts” or complete games. A second “Scam Deluxe” edition was also issued in 1971—though in a box rather than the fantastic “joint” tube, and facsimile sets can be found on the Internet. The latter lack the 1971 copyright statement on the playing board.

References #25897. OCLC 987881863 (Library of Congress only). OCLC 1197075410 (Univ. of Illinois) and 987881863 (Library of Congress).