Letter to the Editor


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A new game, Caucus-opoly, is flying off the shelves in Iowa and predictions are that its popularity will soon be spreading to other states such as New Hampshire and South Carolina under various names such as Primary-opoly and Campaign-opoly.

Players must first select a game piece. The options are a miniature staffer with an ear bud, a small, constantly ringing telephone, a patriotically decorated tour bus, a tiny TV screen with a political ad, and a talking head. Game developers considered another game piece, the ballot, but decided it would be irrelevant due to few players actually getting that far.

The game begins with all pieces being placed in the starting corner called "The Feasibility Study." Players supposedly use this square to decide if they are really going to play, but it's merely a formality as all will continue around the board and try to win the caucus vote.

As in all 'opoly' games, players throw dice to advance around the board and draw cards with positive or negative instructions which cast their fate. Advancements usually follow cards being drawn from the "Endorsements and Experience" pile and players will be directed to make robo-calls, appear on media talk shows, and make campaign stops to speak to 100 people in a location that seats twenty. Setbacks always happen with cards drawn from the "Negative Ads and Scandals" pile. Pulling a card from this pile may result in moving back several spaces or even falling off the board entirely because of a fate such as "Lack of funding," "Old Girlfriend Speaks," or "Debate Blooper."

While advancing around the board, players may land on the first corner called "The Latest Scandal." If trapped here, pieces can only be released with a card called, "Voters Forget." The second corner, "The Latest Spin," may direct players forward or backward, depending on whether the media or political advisors put them there. The last corner, "Conflicting Poll Numbers," is the most difficult hurdle in the final lap to winning the game as the directions may confuse players.

Caucus-opoly is wildly popular and being played at dinner tables and lunch counters, as well as break rooms and faculty lounges, across Iowa. However, analysts tell us sales have peaked and the game will soon be forgotten as Iowans turn to placing bets on groundhog shadows and bowl games.

Bonnie Ewoldt