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; 27 “Connection” cards printed on blue card stock; 24 “Paranoia” cards on red stock; 100s of square “tokens” printed in colors representing varying quantities of pot (green), hashish (brown) and cocaine (blue); 100s of sheets of ersatz money in denominations of 50-100,000; four plastic playing pieces; and two tiny die. Also, one small red velvet bag with silver ties, presumably added by an owner to house the many pieces. With original cardboard shipping tube in a printed paper wrapper bearing the image of a mammoth joint. Minor soiling to cards &c, tube a bit bumped and rubbed and missing one endcap. Missing sheet of rules, though a copy (pictured) will be provided. See below for a note on completeness.

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.” Aside from the missing sheet of instructions, the set offered here may or may not be complete, but it certainly appears ample for play.

Scam appears to have become rare, though not long ago a more-or-less complete set changed hands in the map trade for several thousand dollars. 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, I believe, the copyright statement on the playing board.

References #25897. OCLC 987881863 (Library of Congress only). Rare Book Hub has no record of the game appearing at auction, though not long ago a copy changed hands in the map trade for several thousand dollars.