ASPEN - Aspen has evolved into a hub of Colorado's marijuana industry, at least in a homegrown board game called Colorado Cannabis Craze.
The game was created by two partners in Louisville-based Hilljack Entertainment LLC on April 20, 2011, but sales didn't really light up until after Colorado voters passed Amendment 64 last fall, legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, according to co-owner Mike Ginwright.
"We've had an uptick in sales since November," he said.
They've sold about 50 games since legalization. They sold 120 the entire previous year.
The board game sends two to six players on a journey around Colorado while rolling dice. They must acquire six strains of cannabis from eight eligible cities and towns - including Aspen - so they can sell to a dispensary in Denver and make their way to Denver International Airport with $1 million. There are pitfalls along the way, including stops by the "Colorado Highway Patrol" and rivals' raids on their stash.
"It's really a game of strategy," Ginwright said.
Due to Aspen's affluence, players can buy the five most expensive strains of pot in the town, but the least expensive strain cannot be found. (Some might say art imitates life.)
Ginwright, 46, said he and business partner Robb Deeter, 43, worked on the concept of the game for years. They were both board-game fans while growing up and continued their passion in college, where they played favorites such as Dungeons and Dragons and Deal McDope. Their board game in Colorado Cannabis Craze features landmarks, celebrities and challenges they or friends experienced in the state. For example, a friend of theirs once received a jaywalking ticket in Glenwood Springs, so - sure enough - that is a fate that befalls players who land on the Glenwood Springs space in the game.
And like in real life, game players can land in prison in Canon City or win a jackpot in Cripple Creek.
The fake money includes a $50,000 bill featuring a smiling John Denver.
While a game about buying and selling marijuana might not be considered wholesome by everyone despite Colorado's legalization of recreational use of pot, Ginwright said it's got its advantages. It gets people off their mobile devices and off social media so they communicate in person.
"The objective is to get back to the original social network, which is sitting around a table playing games," Ginwright said.
Insiders say the joke is that no one maintains their concentration long enough to finish the game.
Colorado Cannabis Craze usually sells for $49.95, but there is a special this month for $42. The board game is carried exclusively in Aspen at the One Love Aspen smoke shop.