Snakes and Lenihan: the new board game Namarama allows players to experience the travails of being a property developer

A new board game that satirises the quest of developers to find their way into Nama has just been launched.

At a time when you're nobody in the development game if you don't owe a billion, the new board game is designed to give citizens the opportunity to don the clothes of a desperate developer trying to find his way to the "nirvana of Nama".

Launched last Tuesday night at the Ormond wine bar in Dublin city centre, Namarama is loosely based on snakes and ladders, although snakes might appear relatively harmless compared to the sharks which infest the property game.

Namarama is the brainchild of conservationist Ruadhan MacEoin, who devised the game in response to the establishment of Nama last October, of which he has a jaundiced view.

"I began working on it around the first week in November and it developed on from that," he says. "It's all about getting to the nirvana of Nama. In the old days, the game used to be to get property. These days it's to get rid of property."

Apart from the board itself, the game pack includes a large brown envelope which contains the "tribunal cards", which in turn mark players' progress through the game. The rules are similar to other board games, with a few variations.

"Namarama is played like snakes and ladders, but with tribunal cards," the rules read. "And just like the property people want to get rid of, any tribunal cards picked up during the course of play must be got rid of before the player can finish the game. To begin, players take turns with the dice, counting the 'Go' square as the first space for their counters. Apart from the blank squares, there are three different action squares, coloured just like a traffic light."

Many of the squares have catchy names like "Corporate welfare", "Juicy state contract" and "Marry a tribunal lawyer", the last of which is a great boost to players as it allows an advance of 20 squares.

The tribunal cards include the following: "Return the helicopter you never use to the hire purchase company and gain favourable media attention as a born-again green developer. Advance two spaces." And: "Cut down domestic expenses and also make a small profit from selling your daughter's wedding photos to a 'celebrity magazine'. Advance two spaces."

The instructions for the game conclude with wishing all players well. "May the most skilful, the most devious, the most cunning of them all, fare accordingly," it writes.

A limited edition of 200 copies have been produced, but depending on the success or otherwise of the real thing in the new year, there may well be a demand for many more attempts to follow the route into Nama nirvana.