Adventures in Narcissism

Most of us won’t recall it, but on February 7, 1989, the Milton Bradley Corporation proudly announced the launching of its newest board game.  Modeled roughly on the buy-and-sell machinations of “Monopoly,” this new game was based upon the cult following and commercial exploits of then New York real estate tycoon Donald Trump.

We’re not making this up.  The box containing the game featured a photograph of The Donald himself, looking shrewd and confident, and its snappy, in-your-face tagline was:  “It’s not whether you win or lose.  It’s whether you win.”  Ah, yes, so wonderfully Trump-like.

Hoping to benefit from the success of Trump’s recently ghost-written book, “The Art of the Deal” (1987), the board game was called simply:  “Trump: The Game.” Although serious “gamers” found it a bit too complicated and tedious (the instruction booklet itself ran to 12 pages), its suggested retail price was $25.

In fairness to Milton Bradley, it’s rare for a newly introduced board game to navigate its way into the hearts of America’s serious gamers and amateur enthusiasts.  Because the board game market is so wildly unpredictable, all a company can do is launch its product and hope for the best.  Accordingly, “Trump: The Game” was a bust.

But in 2004, a new opportunity presented itself.  In the wake of Trump’s surprisingly successful TV reality show, “The Apprentice,” the game was reissued in a slightly modified (simplified and…

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