The "Historically Rich" game

Music, books, movies, TV, games, hobbies, food, and potent potables. And forum games! Pour a drink, put on your smoking jacket, light a pipe (of whatever), and settle in.
User avatar
Jennifer
Posts: 24362
Joined: 28 Apr 2010, 14:03

The "Historically Rich" game

Post by Jennifer » 10 Jul 2019, 19:17

There is a little game I like to play (or train of thought I'll ride, or whatever label/metaphor you choose), especially when I'm reading or watching well-researched historical fiction or non-fiction (or, when I find a really stupendously amazing bargain in a thrift shop or whatever): imagine you're going back to live in a certain historic era, and you are going to bring with you various items from our modern time so that in the past, you can sell these items and get rich. What items do you buy now to sell then?

However, the game of course has rules: whichever time period you choose, you can only bring items that actually existed back then -- no bringing plastic or artificial fabric to Shakespeare's England, and things like solar-powered lanterns are absolutely verboten. You can't get rich by "inventing" something before its time, only by selling already-existing expensive things. (The one exception is: you can bring modern versions of things whose modern-ness is NOT detectable by ordinary human senses, only via scientific testing which didn't exist then. For example: you can have linen or silk cloth dyed with artificial modern dye to reproduce Tyrian purple or other super-expensive natural dyes, because fake vs. real Tyrian purple dye can only be detected via chemical testing which people back then wouldn't be able to do anyway. If you're going to a time where transparent glass existed but was very expensive, you CAN have modern mass-produced glass provided it looks and feels identical to the super-expensive stuff Venetians were producing, even though modern glass is made by a different process and likely has some detectable chemical differences as well.)

You're limited to spending $1,000 in our time buying things to take back. However, you cannot spend more than $50 on any one item or "type" of item -- like, if you're going back to Elizabethan England, you'll definitely want to bring some black peppercorns, since they were literally worth their weight in gold ... but you can't spend more than $50 on pepper or "spices" in general.

Also, for purposes of the game, you only need to focus on "things you will sell to get rich," NOT "things intended for personal use." The thousand dollars does not cover your personal clothing, food, furnishings or medicine; assume THAT is already taken care of.

Things you can legally acquire for free (via Craigslist, roadside garbage salvage and the like) CAN be added to your list without counting against your $1,000 spending limit. (When I lived in Leesburg, I remember one of my neighbors once threw away a broken dresser with one of those big rounded unframed beveled-edge mirrors. The mirror had many chips along its edges, which makes it garbage by modern standards -- but if you went back to a time after perfect glass mirrors were invented but were still hyper-expensive luxuries, you could take that chipped mirror, use a glass cutter to cut it into perfect smaller pieces, and add the mirrors to your list without counting any of it against the $1,000 spending limit.)

(Also, confession: I've never played the game to the full extent of mapping out a complete list of at least 20 different items plus freebies -- it's more like "I'm really enjoying this well-researched novel about life in an early Mesopotamian Bronze Age city ... hmm, if I went there to live I'd bring $50 worth of pre-1982 copper pennies -- that alone is enough scrap copper to set me up VERY nicely in an early Bronze Age city. Technically, any such pennies I find in the street don't count toward the $50 limit either. Also, $50 worth of rough lapis lazuli from one of those online gemstone / geology wholesalers... or should I buy $50 worth of tumbled-gemstone lapis lazuli beads instead?")

So .. what sort of el cheapo or even el free-o modern items would you bring back to various time periods?
"Myself, despite what they say about libertarians, I think we're actually allowed to pursue options beyond futility or sucking the dicks of the powerful." -- Eric the .5b

User avatar
Jake
Posts: 2766
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 18:38

Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by Jake » 11 Jul 2019, 01:49

Can I bring cheeses? Whatever cheeses are super new and super sought-after in the time period. Plus, you know, sometimes I want a snack, even if it is against the rules.
"Facebook is like a locker room with all the players screaming at each other how much they have to win and then forgetting they have to take the field and actually play the gawddamn game." -- D.A. Ridgely

User avatar
Warren
Posts: 26975
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 17:03
Location: Goat Rope MO
Contact:

Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by Warren » 11 Jul 2019, 01:54

My spice cabinet
THIS SPACE FOR RENT

User avatar
Mo
Posts: 24678
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 17:08

Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by Mo » 11 Jul 2019, 06:59

If I'm going to the 17th century, I'm taking $1,000 in pocket mirrors. Fuck you Venetians!
his voice is so soothing, but why do conspiracy nuts always sound like Batman and Robin solving one of Riddler's puzzles out loud? - fod

no one ever yells worldstar when a pet gets fucked up - dhex

User avatar
Jennifer
Posts: 24362
Joined: 28 Apr 2010, 14:03

Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by Jennifer » 11 Jul 2019, 07:04

Mo wrote:
11 Jul 2019, 06:59
If I'm going to the 17th century, I'm taking $1,000 in pocket mirrors. Fuck you Venetians!
Except that breaks the rules -- you can only take $50 worth of mirrors (though you can wiggle around that via loopholes like that broken mirror my neighbor discarded). Same goes for Warren's spice rack: you can only bring $50 worth of spices with you.

If I'm going back to any time before 150 years or so ago, I'll include $50 worth of carpentry nails in a variety of sizes.
"Myself, despite what they say about libertarians, I think we're actually allowed to pursue options beyond futility or sucking the dicks of the powerful." -- Eric the .5b

User avatar
Jennifer
Posts: 24362
Joined: 28 Apr 2010, 14:03

Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by Jennifer » 11 Jul 2019, 07:20

Jake wrote:
11 Jul 2019, 01:49
Can I bring cheeses? Whatever cheeses are super new and super sought-after in the time period. Plus, you know, sometimes I want a snack, even if it is against the rules.
Cheese you bring for your own personal consumption doesn't count against your $50 budget anyway, so you can snack all you want. And you're certainly free to bring modern cheeses to sell in earlier times that had them, according to the rules of the game -- but I don't think that would be a good idea because, while food today is much cheaper than it was in historic times, it's not SO much cheaper that you can buy a mere $50 worth now, and sell it then for what would've been a life-altering sum of money. (One reason I set the $50-per-item-type limit is to focus on things that are very cheap or even worthless today -- like my old neighbor's chipped-edge mirror -- that were still mind-bogglingly valuable in times past.)
"Myself, despite what they say about libertarians, I think we're actually allowed to pursue options beyond futility or sucking the dicks of the powerful." -- Eric the .5b

User avatar
Mo
Posts: 24678
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 17:08

Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by Mo » 11 Jul 2019, 07:36

Can I bring technology that didn't exist then to have my items keep or to make something that existed then, but much more cheaply? I.e.can I bring back $50 of ice cream to the 19th century and bring a freezer or can I bring an ice maker that I use to make ice cream using raw materials from the era?
his voice is so soothing, but why do conspiracy nuts always sound like Batman and Robin solving one of Riddler's puzzles out loud? - fod

no one ever yells worldstar when a pet gets fucked up - dhex

User avatar
Jennifer
Posts: 24362
Joined: 28 Apr 2010, 14:03

Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by Jennifer » 11 Jul 2019, 07:47

Mo wrote:
11 Jul 2019, 07:36
Can I bring technology that didn't exist then to have my items keep or to make something that existed then, but much more cheaply?
No -- where stuff you sell to get rich is concerned, you acquire it here but sell and store it there under whatever circumstances existed at the time. (However, where stuff you personally consume is concerned, there are no limits. If you need modern medication, you can visit our time every day if necessary to get it, and none of that counts against your $1,000, nor does any of the food you personally eat -- though where "stuff you sell to be rich in the past" is concerned, you have to take the full $1,000 worth plus freebies with you from the beginning -- no frequent visits to the present to get fresh perishable items to sell, for example.)
"Myself, despite what they say about libertarians, I think we're actually allowed to pursue options beyond futility or sucking the dicks of the powerful." -- Eric the .5b

User avatar
Mo
Posts: 24678
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 17:08

Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by Mo » 11 Jul 2019, 07:53

So you could bring dyed clothing, but not dye solids to mix and make you own dyed clothes?
his voice is so soothing, but why do conspiracy nuts always sound like Batman and Robin solving one of Riddler's puzzles out loud? - fod

no one ever yells worldstar when a pet gets fucked up - dhex

User avatar
Jennifer
Posts: 24362
Joined: 28 Apr 2010, 14:03

Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by Jennifer » 11 Jul 2019, 08:00

Mo wrote:
11 Jul 2019, 07:53
So you could bring dyed clothing, but not dye solids to mix and make you own dyed clothes?
Only if the dye solids are such that someone living back then would think it was the real thing. I mentioned Tyrian purple in my first post -- I don't know what the natural dye looks like before applied to cloth. But if modern artificial Tyrian purple you can buy today looks like "real" Tyrian purple from ancient times, you can have it. You don't have to fool a modern lab technician who can detect the difference between real and fake antiques -- but you DO need to fool the people you're actually selling to in the past.
"Myself, despite what they say about libertarians, I think we're actually allowed to pursue options beyond futility or sucking the dicks of the powerful." -- Eric the .5b

User avatar
Jason S.
Posts: 105
Joined: 21 Feb 2013, 22:11
Location: the home of the steamers

Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by Jason S. » 11 Jul 2019, 08:08

Scrap aluminum would certainly be on my list.
"I'm sure Jason S. is a fine fellow..." -JasonL

User avatar
Jennifer
Posts: 24362
Joined: 28 Apr 2010, 14:03

Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by Jennifer » 11 Jul 2019, 08:14

Jason S. wrote:
11 Jul 2019, 08:08
Scrap aluminum would certainly be on my list.
I was just discussing aluminum with someone yesterday -- specifically, discussing an article talking about what would happen to the economy if asteroid mining suddenly made gold dirt-cheap, and I mentioned that something similar already happened with aluminum -- it would be VERY valuable during the brief window between that 1850s Paris Exhibition when it was first presented, and the 1880s when someone figured out how to make it dirt-cheap.
"Myself, despite what they say about libertarians, I think we're actually allowed to pursue options beyond futility or sucking the dicks of the powerful." -- Eric the .5b

User avatar
Aresen
Posts: 15991
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 20:18
Location: Great White Pacific Northwest

Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by Aresen » 11 Jul 2019, 10:23

1) Spices would definitely be on my list.
2) So would gold - in terms of relative purchasing power, it would be worth more back then than now.
3) Silk is another thing that was known, but relatively more expensive.
4) Not sure if a modern spring watch would qualify. Spring driven watches were known in the 17th century, the only thing that has improved is the precision of the movement. However, the bi-metallic strip was invented somewhat later and I think some of the metals used in the strip weren't discovered until the 19th century.
5) Compasses are much cheaper now than back then.
If Trump supporters wanted a tough guy, why did they elect such a whiny bitch? - Mo

Those who know history are doomed to deja vu. - the innominate one

Never bring a knife to a joke fight" - dhex

User avatar
dhex
Posts: 16024
Joined: 05 May 2010, 16:05
Location: 'murica

Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by dhex » 11 Jul 2019, 10:32

50 bucks worth of black pepper and reap all the syphillict handys I can stand before dying of a paper cut.
"i ran over the cat and didnt stop just carried on with tears in my eyes joose driving my way to work." - God

User avatar
Ellie
Posts: 12471
Joined: 21 Apr 2010, 18:34

Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by Ellie » 11 Jul 2019, 10:40

$50 each of a bunch of different medications, $50 of honey, beer, other liquids. Crush up medications into liquids. Sell as miracle drinks. E.g., one teaspoon of the Viagra honey as miracle boner juice.
"2019 has got to stop injecting dmt straight in the dick hole." - dhex

User avatar
Jasper
Posts: 3216
Joined: 27 Apr 2010, 07:56
Location: Newyorkachusetts

Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by Jasper » 11 Jul 2019, 11:24

Warren wrote:
11 Jul 2019, 01:54
My spice cabinet
Chicken dinner.

You could get very wealthy by local-time standards bringing $50 worth of 20 cheap-ass supermarket spices back with you.

There's that historical rumor that Roman legionaries were sometimes paid in salt, so a $50 sack of salt would probably make you pretty damn rich.

(Our inventory management system says we currently buy salt at $0.115 per lb.)
"i'd like to move toward not combusting except on special occasions like arbor day." - dhex

User avatar
Warren
Posts: 26975
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 17:03
Location: Goat Rope MO
Contact:

Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by Warren » 11 Jul 2019, 11:45

Jasper wrote:
11 Jul 2019, 11:24
Warren wrote:
11 Jul 2019, 01:54
My spice cabinet
Chicken dinner.

You could get very wealthy by local-time standards bringing $50 worth of 20 cheap-ass supermarket spices back with you.

There's that historical rumor that Roman legionaries were sometimes paid in salt, so a $50 sack of salt would probably make you pretty damn rich.

(Our inventory management system says we currently buy salt at $0.115 per lb.)
Yeah. In Renaissance Europe, $50 worth of black peppercorns alone could net you the hand of a nobleman's daughter and half a dozen mistresses.
I skimmed over the dried basil and ginger root are considered the same thing clause.
THIS SPACE FOR RENT

User avatar
Ellie
Posts: 12471
Joined: 21 Apr 2010, 18:34

Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by Ellie » 11 Jul 2019, 11:48

And honestly, that's the reason I'd have no interest in going back to the past (my imminent death from diabetes aside). Even if I could be the wealthiest person on the planet, I'd have to spend so much of my wealth just to get access to a quarter of what I can get at the spices aisle in the supermarket, there'd be no point. I refuse to live in a world where I can't have chili or curry any time I fucking feel like it. :lol:
"2019 has got to stop injecting dmt straight in the dick hole." - dhex

User avatar
D.A. Ridgely
Posts: 18833
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 17:09
Location: The Other Side

Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by D.A. Ridgely » 11 Jul 2019, 12:03

Ellie wrote:
11 Jul 2019, 11:48
And honestly, that's the reason I'd have no interest in going back to the past (my imminent death from diabetes aside). Even if I could be the wealthiest person on the planet, I'd have to spend so much of my wealth just to get access to a quarter of what I can get at the spices aisle in the supermarket, there'd be no point. I refuse to live in a world where I can't have chili or curry any time I fucking feel like it. :lol:
Yep. No sane person would want to live in a world without electricity, modern plumbing, toilet paper, etc., etc., no matter how rich they were in that era. Coming up with 20 items you could sell or trade for something you could bring back to the present is an intriguing idea. Having to stay there with your peppercorn fortune and nothing really worth buying with it would just suck.

User avatar
Warren
Posts: 26975
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 17:03
Location: Goat Rope MO
Contact:

Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by Warren » 11 Jul 2019, 12:07

Who was it that noted that even poor people in the 20th century ate better than the crowned heads of Europe in centuries past?
THIS SPACE FOR RENT

User avatar
JasonL
Posts: 24207
Joined: 05 May 2010, 17:22

Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by JasonL » 11 Jul 2019, 12:51

I always think about dentistry.

User avatar
Warren
Posts: 26975
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 17:03
Location: Goat Rope MO
Contact:

Re: The

Post by Warren » 11 Jul 2019, 12:56

JasonL wrote:
11 Jul 2019, 12:51
I always think about dentistry.
I lump that in with medicine in general.
Even compared to just a generation ago, things have gotten a lot better.
Pre vaccines, things were pretty bleak. Pre antibiotics, even bleaker. And pre germ theory, downright horrifying.
THIS SPACE FOR RENT

User avatar
Jasper
Posts: 3216
Joined: 27 Apr 2010, 07:56
Location: Newyorkachusetts

Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by Jasper » 11 Jul 2019, 13:01

Peppercorn Fortune is the name of my next band.
"i'd like to move toward not combusting except on special occasions like arbor day." - dhex

User avatar
lunchstealer
Posts: 17410
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 17:25
Location: The Local Fluff in the Local Bubble

Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by lunchstealer » 11 Jul 2019, 13:35

Jasper wrote:
11 Jul 2019, 13:01
Peppercorn Fortune is the name of my next band my stripper name.
C'mon be honest.
"The constitution is more of a BDSM agreement with a safe word." - Sandy

"Neoliberalism. Austerity. Booga booga!!!!" - JasonL

"We can't confirm rumors that Lynndie England is in the running to be Gina Haspel's personal aide." - DAR

User avatar
Warren
Posts: 26975
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 17:03
Location: Goat Rope MO
Contact:

Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by Warren » 11 Jul 2019, 14:07

lunchstealer wrote:
11 Jul 2019, 13:35
Jasper wrote:
11 Jul 2019, 13:01
Peppercorn Fortune is the name of my next band my stripper name.
C'mon be honest.
Spicy!
THIS SPACE FOR RENT

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 11 guests