The Economist has a board game titled, "Credit Crunch." And if the idea of playing a game, in which the last person to remain solvent, sounds entertaining, well, keep reading.
First, click here, and you'll not only be able to read more about the game, but it'll show you where you have to click, to get various PDFs. You have to print them out so you can have a paper board to play on, and there are financial risk cars and paper money to click on and the print out.
In other words, for a gag gift, you have to be kind of dedicated to pull this together. You also have to be giving this to someone with a dark sense of humor. For instance, when players land on a plus square, marked with a +, they collect money from the bank. If you land on a minus square, marked with a -, you pay the bank. But it's not just the bank that's your enemy. Since you want to be the last one solvent, you're encouraged to do everything you can to eliminate your competition.
Players who can't pay their fines are allowed to borrow from each other at any rate -- and they have three turns to pay the player back. If you can't borrow money from another player, you either go into Chapter 11 or are taken over. If you are taken over (go bankrupt) three times, you're eliminated from the game.
Boy, that sounds fun. Maybe I'll put this together for my kids.
Geoff Williams is a freelance journalist and the author of C.C. Pyle's Amazing Foot Race: The True Story of the 1928 Coast-to-Coast Run Across America (Rodale). Anyone from social services may be interested to know that he was just kidding about giving this game to his kids.
Perfect board game for the times -- and it's free