Once again I went spelunking in the warehouse area of the shop and I found THIS little gem… The NORTHWEST PASSAGE Game!!!
In those kinder gentler days of 1969… twenty years before the “Exxon Valdez” tanker struck Prince William Sound’s Bligh Reef and spilled 11 to 38 million US gallons of crude oil..Impact Communications Inc. / Promotional Laboratories Inc. produced a fun gam about Oil transportation, via tanker, called NORTHWEST PASSAGE!!!
The game could be played by up to six and the object was (this is a quote from the rules, which are printed on the inside of the lid) “to see who brings the most amount of oil to HUMBLE CITY. The oil is brought in from the ALASKAN OIL FIELDS via the NORTHWEST PASSAGE.”
The name “HUMBLE CITY” is a direct reference to “The Humble Oil Company” (famous for their “Put A Tiger In Your Tank” ads in the 1960s) which is featured prominently throughout this game. The cover illustration Humble’s tanker “S. S. Manhattan” (Which features their “ESSO” logo on the rear stack as that was one of the many names their products were marketed under after the company was acquired by “Standard Oil” in 1959 (the company would change its name to “EXXON” in 1972)) and the company mascot (the tiger) in the lower left corner indicate that the company was definitely involved in, if not the marketing, at least the licensing of the game.
This is a simple and fun little game that was easy to play and entertaining as well as competitive for players of just about any age. I think if the game were released today there would probably be some “oil spill” and “fined by the EPA” spaces. Who am I kidding, this would never be released as a board game today…But can you imagine what a gread Video game this would make…frought with adventure, exploration, and danger. Who do I call??? I just got me a Million Dollar Idea!!!!