Canada’s newest contribution to the cannabis culture is the Grow-Op Game. Launched in 2004, the goal of this board game is to raise $100,000 by growing pot in Vancouver. Players must rent properties, buy equipment and grow out their crop while avoiding being busted by the cops.
The game’s creator, known only as “Rabbit,” came up with the game concept while serving jail time for his grow. Although superficially similar to Monopoly, the game is actually fairly complex and will take a few sessions for players to master the best strategies.
The Grow-Op Game received a great deal of publicity during its Christmas release, with dozens of articles in Canadian and US media, including angry quotes from the RCMP complaining that the game makes growing marijuana seem like fun.
“Do they make drunk driving games?” an RCMP spokesman asked the media. “Are they including also about the murders and assaults? It’s not a game.”
The Grow-Op Game was kicked out of the New York Toy Fair in February, with officials claiming it would send “the wrong message to children.” Yet ultimately the controversy only helped to sell more copies of the ganja-themed game.
The Grow-Op Game is fun to play, although it can be frustrating as the rules accurately reflect the many dangers and setbacks involved in growing pot. Strategy and patience are required to master and win this game.
After playing the Grow-Op Game, we at CC decided to clean out our closets and find other ganja games we’ve played in the past. Here’s a selection of new and old pot-related board and card games to help keep you and your stoner buddies amused for many smoky evenings.
Feds ‘n’ Heads
This classic board game was printed in Playboy magazine’s September 1971 issue. Written and illustrated by Gilbert Sheldon, creator of the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, the aim of the game is to score a kilo of grass and get back home. One fun feature is that once the dice have been rolled, the player can choose in which direction they which to move.
This game is simple, with only six rules, perfect for stoners who want a quick way to spend an hour or so amusing themselves. The draw cards include intricate art and actions like “You accidentally smoke some plastic imitation marijuana leaves. Go to Free Clinic,” and “Hose to hookah clogs, lose one turn.”
Although this game is over 30 years old, the relevant issue of Playboy can easily be acquired on eBay for around $5.
Weed! The Card Game
This simple game has players using cards to fill their “garden” with plants. The game entails multiple rounds, with players scoring each round based on how many buds they were able to grow.
Weed! is very easy to learn and addictive to play. Some of the play cards include stealing plants, sticking dandelions in your opponent’s garden, and the Potzilla card which completely destroys one player’s crop. Although there’s no educational aspect, this game provides quick entertainment for a fun evening.
Weed! comes from the same people who brought you the card games Beer! and Gay Sex!
From the creators of the popular Fluxx card game, Stoner Fluxx follows the same basic formula, with the rules of the game constantly changing as cards are played. This game is easy to learn and stays fun over repeated plays. The theme is very potcentric, with the 84 cards having names like “Special Brownies,” “Loaded Bowl,” “The Bill of Rights,” and “Snack your way to Victory.”
Even though this game comes from a mainstream gaming company, and is not a one-shot from stoners like the others, it still has the most activist edge of them all. The game cards include one promoting NORML, an essay against prohibiton, and a dedication to some well-known deceased pot activists. Further, the creators have pledged $1 per deck sold to a variety of activist groups like the Marijuana Policy Project and the Drug Policy Alliance.
Pot Smugglin’ Blues
Based around smuggling boatloads of bud into the US from the Caribbean, this game is drawn from the true-life experiences of the creator, who designed the game while serving time in US and Colombian prisons.
Although highly realistic, the game is also complex and best suited for serious gamers who enjoy detail and accuracy in their rules. But for the heavily stoned, just figuring out how to play could be too much work.
Instead of dice, the game uses a spinner which determines the wind direction, placement of the coast guard and customs agents, and special events. The game has great production values, with the boats, spinner and game board being well-designed and solid. This game could be fun, but is best for the dedicated gamer who is willing to put in the intellectual effort to master the rules and then explain them to everyone else.
This is a great game. It’s easy to play, has great art and is lots of fun. The goal is to raise one million dollars through buying, growing and selling weed.
The rules are simple yet clever, and the game lends itself to repeated play. Players travel around the massive board, seeking chances to buy or plant some buds, in the hopes they’ll be able to resell at a profit before being caught by the cops. Risk cards add to the fun with the possibility to rip off other players, buy buds at a discount, or get busted by the cops.
Players can deal in Grade “A” or Grade “B” buds, and also have the option of growing their own. Created in 2001, Weed Wars is clearly destined to become a classic cannabis game that no bored stoners should be without.
The Official Dealer McDope Dealing Game
With art by the late great Dave Sheridan, this 1971 game may be the most famous pot-related board game of all time. Players travel the board, buying and selling bud, hash and cocaine in an effort to raise one million dollars.
The game reflects the smuggling culture of the 70’s, with players able to buy drugs in places like Acapulco, Kathmandu and Beirut, and sell their product in locales including London, New York and San Francisco.
The rules aren’t simple, but can easily be mastered without too much effort. Karma cards, Bust cards and Deal cards round out the game. No longer available in stores, Dealer McDope can usually be found on eBay for around $120 by the dedicated game collector.
Created during the 1980’s, this game sold well in Canada but was essentially banned from the US market during the Reagan era. Now the game has been reprinted and should once again be available at a headshop near you.
This is a game for three to nine people, with players taking on the role of one of eight dealers, including Reefer T. Johnstone III, Zerox Roachoid, and Biff Splif, with one player becoming the Narc, Dick Gumshoe.
The object is to become the “Traffic King,” by being the first dealer to sell a kilo of marijuana before being busted by the Narc. Three busts and you’re out of the game. If the Narc succeeds in eliminating all the dealers then the Narc wins the game.
The game board is beautifully designed, with illustrations by Canadian canna-cartoonist Roddy Heading, best known for his work in the classic grow book Grow Yer Own Stone.
This card game has also become a stoner staple since its launch in 1979. Still available at most fine headshops, the goal of Grass is to make a bunch of money by dealing marijuana, while messing up your opponents’ success. Players try to play “Peddle Cards” while avoiding being busted by various Heat Cards from other players.
The rules might initially seem daunting, but are actually quite easy to master. The fat stack of 104 full-color game cards comes in a burlap “baggie” which resembles hemp. The cartoon art on the cards is entertaining and adds to the fun.
One sad aspect to all these games (except Grass) is that every single one mentions in the instructions that they do not advocate any illegal activities, and that you don’t need to smoke pot to enjoy the game. The warning on Grass is different, reminding gamers that “Smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease and emphysema.” It’s unfortunate that even games about ganja, made by stoners and for stoners, still require this kind of hypocritical notice.
WIN A GANJA GAME
You could win your own great ganja game! The creators of the Grow-Op Game, Stoner Fluxx and Grass have each donated six copiesof their games to be given away to Cannabis Culture readers. We’ve also got two original copies of Feds ‘n’ Heads to give away too! Just send us a letter, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, telling us why you deserve to win one of these games. We’ll arbitrarily pick the best entries received before July 4, and send off games as prizes!
? The Grow-Op Game: www.growopgame.com
? Weed!: www.khepergames.com
? Stoner Fluxx: wunderland.com/LooneyLabs/StonerFluxx
? Pot Smugglin’ Blues: www.potsmugglinblues.com
? Weed Wars: www.weedwars.com
? Trafficking: www.trafficking.com
? Grass: www.eurogamesny.com