This appears to be a game of Zionist tourism or return to the Promised Land. The box measures 19 1/8" by 9 5/8" by 1 3/4". It is finished in a diagonal woven texture in tan with some blue-gray highlighting. In the upper left corner of the lid is a glued-on label. The label depicts an oasis with several palm trees, green grass, a pool of water, and several people, one seated on a camel.
The label reads: "Game of OASIS (trade mark) The Romance of the Promised Land Copyright MCMXXXVII by Milton Bradley Co. Springfield Mass. Made in U.S.A. In the lower left of the label is the number 4029.
The mounted board measures 18 1/2" by 18 1/4". The board features a light-blue background. In the center is a round map of Palestine locating several cities, some settlements, and taking pains to point out a single "Electric Works."
A large circle fills most of the board. This circle is divided into three concentric rings with spaces, most of which are illustrated with detailed drawings of buildings, historic sites and other features of Palestine.
These spaces are divided into one yellow, one pink, and one green zone, divided by three equidistant "spokes" in blue. One of these spokes depicts the Mediterranean coast with several steamers approaching Haifa and Tel Aviv (this spoke is labeled "START").
A second spoke is labeled "Yarkon River," and the third, "Jordan River." Each colored zone has three blank white spaces, one in each of the three rings. The yellow and pink zones each have twelve colored spaces, while the green zone has fifteen.
Some examples of these zones (with drawings) include "Jaffa Namal, Pay 5 sh Mehes;" "Hotel--300 sh;" "Rachel's Tomb--Visit;" "Keren Kayemeth--Land Free--100 sh Dev.;" "Factory Site--100 sh -- 300 sh Dev.;" "Hulleh Swamps -- Contribute;" "Bialik's Home--Contribute Writer's Fund 5 sh;" "Herzl Forest--Plant Trees;" "Wailing Wall--Visit;" "Arab Land--40sh--100 sh Dev.;" "Hebrew University--Scholarship 50 sh;" "Hadassah Hospital--Contribute." There are many more.
The game includes four wooden pawns in green, orange, red, and white. The game also uses small dreidels, with green, orange, red, and white shafts, in place of dice. A very large number of die-cut card "shekels" in denominations 1, 5, 10, 20, and 50 are included, along with a set of 32 very sturdy green cards with text on one side (blank on back). These cards are as heavy as the old green "flags" that came with Tinkertoys fifty years ago.
Some examples of card texts: "If you have paid your dues and are a member of the HISTADRUTH (Federation of Labor) you may go to the Hadassah Hospital and receive Medical Care free of charge."
"This is the eve of Pesah (Passover). Cleanse your home of Hometz (Leaven) and move 5 spaces forward."
"This is the 13th day of Adar which commemorates the Yahrzeit (the anniversary of the death) of Joseph Trumpeldor. Go to Tel Hai and visit the grave of this great national hero who sacrificed his life defending Jewish settlements in Palestine."
"Go to Petah Tikvah to supervise a cooperative Pardess (orange grove). Collect 5 SH'KOLIM from each OLEH."
"Go to Jerusalem to the Immigration Dept. to obtain certificates for Halutzim (Pioneers) who wish to settle in Palestine."
Unfortunately, this otherwise well-preserved game was found with no rules. Attempts to find rules through the Milton Bradley rules site, and generally on the Internet, have proven unsuccessful. As an artifact, the game provides a fascinating glimpse into the aspirations of a people in the final years before WW II.
- Game of Oasis