Sunday, February 18, 2007

King Oil

Dad worked for many years in the oil industry. Lavie's father did as well.

Just about everything we had growing up was paid for by the income our parents earned in their long careers with local oil companies.

Even today, my brother works for an oil company and my dad still does consulting work in his "retirement" years.

So it is safe to say that we were both surrounded by oil-insiders and it pervaded much of our childhood years.

This morning I was cruising the web and came across a game over on Retro Thing that jogged something in my brain: Retro Thing: Tug Boat Board Game.

Now, we didn't have the Tug Boat board game, but the mechanical-type design instantly, reminded me of an oil-themed board game named King Oil.

King Oil - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It was really fun.

There were a set of three stacked platters under it that each had holes. Before the game started, you would spin each platter setting the holes randomly. They clattered quite loudly as they spun.

As the game progressed, you would buy land, spend money to drill holes. Then came the best part.

There was a large plastic "oil-derrick" that you would place in a hole you intended to drill. Depending how the hidden holes in the platter lined up, a metal rod would be able to drop clear through resulting in a dry well, to it not getting past the top platter resulting in a "gusher".

The tiny plastic 3-D pieces were really fun. There were sheds and well caps and oil derricks. There were pipelines to set...all kinds of stuff. Pictures via Board Game Geek

It was a lot of fun and we played it a lot. I even remember playing it in the backyard some days.

GamePart sells the whole game now for $75, as well as assorted parts. (Sold out currently. Don't know if eBay has it....)

Seems kinda dated now in light of our current PC attitudes to the oil industry. Can't imagine this game making a popular appearance at the toy-store shelves.

It was more a game of the times, when the oil business still had a bit of "glow" to it and less the complicated love-hate affair it seems to have become.

I wonder if mom still has it somewhere....

Obviously, it didn't indoctrinate me at all as I didn't choose to go into the "family business." But it was a lot of fun, and I can see why my parents would have picked it up off the shelf.

A Grandpa Story

Which then reminds me of a fond story about Grandpa.

He owned a super-big, bright-red early 70's Lincoln Continental with a bright white vinyl roof. Lots of chrome, of course. He would always wear a straw cowboy hat and wore boots on his feet. And he loved wearing "bolo" style neck ties.

He looked like a "King Oil" Texan if ever you saw one on Dallas.

One day he was driving around and someone pulled up next to him and was obviously impressed by his look.

Through the window of their car they asked him if he owned any oil-wells.

Grandpa says he just looked over at the other driver and slowly raised his hand. He spread apart three fingers wide and clear and just grinned as he slowly pulled away.

Grandpa never owned any oil-wells, but he loved Texas and a good joke.

Other oil-games

Big Oil: Build an Oil Empire for PC - Oil exploration and production SIM game. Didn't get a great review on this site.

OIL: The Great Adventure - Very "old-school" style boardgame. Very detailed and according to the web-site author, provides a pretty realistic (for the 70's) review of the oil production process. Surprisingly, it seems to have been originated in Sweden and manufactured in Australia.


1 comment:

TxGoodie said...

I've got oil in my veins too. My daddy's daddy was the first Sec./Treasurer of Standard Oil of NJ, my daddy worked for Humble/Exxon Pipeline for over 40 years, my uncle and my husband worked for Exxon Pipeline and both took early medical retirements and one of my brothers retired from Exxon out of Bayport several years ago. In fact, if it wasn't for the Thrift Fund I'd be living under an I-45 overpass right now.... my motto has always been "As Exxon goes, so goes the nation!"....