Saturday, November 26, 2005

FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY: New board game lampoons lawyers and litigation

Game mocks lawyers and litigationFrequent visitors to this blog know of my continuing interest in (okay, an admitted obsession with) depictions of attorneys and the law in contemporary Western culture.

Just in time for the holiday shopping season (for those of you who may not be familiar with American consumer spending habits, the holiday shopping season here in the U.S. constitutes that period between the Friday immediately succeeding our annual late-November celebration of Thanksgiving and mall closing time on Christmas Eve) comes So Sue Me, a new board game

where you can have hours of fun suing your friends and taking their stuff. A spin of the wheel or roll of the die and some clever negotiating help you acquire businesses, file outrageous lawsuits, and bluff your way to big bucks.
(Negotiators, check it out: take a look at the advice regarding settlement and the evaluation of your BATNA as a player in the FAQ section for the game’s web site.)

For a practitioner like myself who admittedly has an interest-based, non-zero-sum, “Getting to Yes” orientation to conflict, this is all a little amusing. No surprise that this game reduces the complexities of real-life disputes in the judicial arena to a zero-sum, winner-take-all, adversarial battle to the death. It’s what boosts sales, after all, during a holiday period which purportedly celebrates the birth of a guy who once observed that “blessed are the peacemakers”.

(Mediators should know that the same company which created So $ue Me (no, that dollar sign is no typo--it's how the title of the game appears on its packaging) has created Controversy!, a game which, based upon its description, is probably not about the constructive airing of diverse viewpoints—especially since its trademarked phrase is “Who knew being right could be so much fun?”)