Still trying to figure out what to give the equivocating elected official, demanding developer, or recently-indicted construction company executive on your holiday list? Perhaps a newly created board game, “Construction and Corruption,” is the answer.
The brainchild of Montrealer David Loach, “Construction and Corruption” is a negotiation game where players compromise, bribe, sabotage and cajole each other through four phases of interaction: contract creation, construction, mayoral election, and federal investigation. The primary goal is to maximize profits by delaying the actual completion of a project. No promises or bribes are binding.
You may have some difficulty purchasing the game in time for this holiday season. While there is a prototype available at a premium, Mr. Loach and his partners have begun a Kickstarter campaign with hopes of having a $70 (Canadian) version on the market in the near future. [You can read a December 19, 2017 interview with David Loach on CBC radio’s “As It Happens” by scrolling down and finding the heading “Montreal Construction Game.”]
Me, I’m going to wait for a game that better reflects the true extent of the tawdry world of land use development. Mr. Loach presents a street-level view of construction-related shenanigans. I’m more interested in a realistic, multi-dimensional playing field where major developers provide sizeable donations to not only city officials, but to state executives and federal officials as well, and are rewarded with huge projects, a free-pass on environmental review, and, to the most-connected pillars of society, brownfield tax credits. It’s a world where longtime political foes can be silenced by sweetheart deals, zoning laws are deceptively written to empower developers and weaken the influence of city residents, and media publishers treat gentrification – the displacement of less-affluent residents – as “wholly desirable.”
In the immortal words of Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) to his sister Connie (Talia Shire) in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather Part III: “All my life I kept trying to go up in society to where everything higher up was legal, straight. But the higher I go, the crookeder it becomes. Where the hell does it end.”
With All Due Respect,