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[Yugoslavian Anti-Russian Political Board Game for Children]



An uncommon anti-Communist political board game for children, was printed in Yugoslavia in the Informbiro period. 


This unusual geographical game for children was published in Yugoslavia in 1952 and shows the country with Slovenia in the north and Macedonia in the south. It was supposed to educate the youth about the current political situation, which changed drastically after the WW II.

The time, in which this game was made, was a very unstable time of so called Informbiro  – the years between 1948 and 1955. In 1948 the Yugoslavian leader Tito had a serious fallout with Stalin, breaking the tights with the Soviet Union and all the neighbouring Communist countries, putting Yugoslavia outside the Eastern bloc. After Stalin’s death in 1953 Khrushchev reconciled with Tito, but Yugoslavia never re-joined the Eastern bloc and became an informal NATO member.

During the Informbiro period, people were forced to forget the alliance with the Soviet Union, which lasted throughout all the WW II and the years after. All the USSR sympathisers were supressed overnight and children had to learn the recent history anew.

This game starts in the lower left corner, where children start their new politicaly correct journey. The road takes them to the “Pioneer Train”, which takes them to listen to the speech of Marshal Tito. Afterwards they cross Slovenia, go to admire a newly built fair in Zagreb in Croatia, they stop at a pro-Socialistic-Yugoslavia meeting, admire the newly built factories, play football with Russia (where Yugoslavia wins 3:1), fight off (Communist) Romanians, who were provoking at the border, and then they fight off the (Communist) Bulgarians, who started sticking their noses into Yugoslavia. Afterwards they have a dance of friendship with (non-Communist) Greeks, and rescue a friend, who was wounded by (Communist) Albanians. After solving all these problems the players do some pro-Yugoslavian activities in the center of the country, where at the end, they are greeted by the Slavic version of the Father Christmas, Dedek Mraz. 

The football match refers to the match on July 22, 1952, at the Olympic Games in Finland, when Yugoslavia won 3:1. The match was one of the most famous ones of the 20th century. It meant not only a sport event, but a fight for the honour of both political leaders, Tito and Stalin, who both pressed on their teams. After the first match, which ended with an amazing result 5:5, Yugoslavia won the second game with a flawless game 3:1. The defeat hit Soviet football hard, and as a result in the same season CDKA Moscow was forced to withdraw from the league and was later disbanded.

The game was designed by a Slovenian illustrator Janez Trpin (1908—1973). He was schooled in Germany before WW II, and worked as poster designer and book illustrator in Yugoslavia, from 1940s on.  Especially famous were his mid-century posters for tourist attractions of Yugoslavia.

The board game was published by the newspaper Slovenski Porocevalec. Ljubljanski dnevnik, which started during the WWII as an underground Partisan newspaper.

References: Prelovšek, Damjan: Trpin, Janez (1908–1973) Slovenska biografija. Slovenska akademija znanosti in umetnosti, Znanstvenoraziskovalni center SAZU, 2013. http://www.slovenska-biografija.si/oseba/sbi725925/#slovenski-biografski-leksikon (15. februar 2017) Slovenski biografski leksikon: 12. zv. Táborská – Trtnik.Alfonz Gspan, Fran Petrè et al. Ljubljana, Slovenska akademija znanosti in umetnosti, 1980. http://russianfootballnews.com/ussr-yugoslavia-the-story-of-two-different-football-conceptions/


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