Friday, April 20, 2007


Chris over at Mazurland posted a link to another post (here) describing the oft-abused official rules and subsequent "house rules" that result in games of Monopoly taking way longer than they should. He also presents some advice for successful strategery (buy red and orange, mortgage early if you have to) that I will probably follow the next time I play.

My in-laws are shameless tabletop-gaming cheats. From weird house rules (first time I ever heard of the "once-around-the-board-before-you-buy" rule was from them) to feigned ignorance (my mother in law Blanca is particularly notorious for this, and when she gets called out after a particularly audacious violation, she'll simply respond that she'll "play it right next turn", and then proceeds to act deeply wounded if you make her play by the rules this turn), I have to stay on my toes to keep them playing straight. My wife, who fortunately does not suffer (as far as I can tell) from this affliction, says that's how they've always played games of any sort.

And that also got me thinking -- am I the only one who thinks the proliferation of various -opolies has gotten a bit out of hand? Every major university has one. Every professional sports team, too. Most big cities as well. I think the trend has reached its zenith when the "property" concept is replaced completely arbitrarily with some other category -- the dogs of Dogopoly, for example. At this point, the game loses all meaning. Are we supposed to believe that we are paying rent and building houses on breeds of dogs? Unless the player tokens are in the form of ticks, fleas, and other canine-inclined parasites (I can just imagine me and my siblings arguing over who gets to be the heartworm!), they've really gone too far. Seriously, we need to step back, take a deep breath, and rein ourselves in.

My title, I think, describes the ultimate logical end -- a Monopoly board whose properties are other variants of the Monopoly game! That, or a Monopoly game based on magnetics.

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Anonymous Chris said...

Thanks for the link, Ben.

Speaking of cheating at table games, I developed a trick for Battleship that seems to work. Let's say your opponent guesses "B-5" (which is a miss on your board). You then say, looking at your board and pretending not to have heard him correctly, "C-5" (which is also a miss on your board). Now, here's where the all-important timing comes in. Just as your opponent is saying "No, B-5" you say "Hit". But, as it comes out of your mouth, you pretend you now "realize" he actually said B-5, so you insist on playing that, since it's what he actually said, and you tell him it's a miss. Of course, next turn he guesses C-5, and then you tell him it too, in reality, is a miss. This results in either a good, shared laugh, or him beating you up. If it works, it'll only work once, but it's a great way to gain a free turn, which could be decisive in a closely fought match.

Believe it or not, I was only seven when I dreamed this up. It helps if your opponent is also seven.

11:26 AM  
Blogger Benjamin said...

When I was seven, I'd just move my battleship and say "miss". I was a rotten little kid. I also stacked the deck in Candyland one time so I drew the "best" card in the deck on the first time. I still feel guilty about that.

2:02 PM  
Anonymous Marty said...

I remember when Chris first pulled that one on me (I must have been 8 or 9). He caught me. I thought, for the first time ever, that my pliant, doe-eyed, little brother was in reality a Machiavellian genius. I was so non-plussed by this maneuver that I tried it on him, on the very next move! And I was surprised that it didn't work! (I never had Chris's timing, comedic or otherwise.) I wisely determined at that point that Chris was better as an ally than as an object of my wrath (Luckily, by that time in our lives, we already had a convenient whipping boy in Paul.) It was only much, much later, when Paul's late-developing talents became evident (I think it was some time after we freed him from his basemement imprisonment), that we joined our talents to become the triumvirate that is the engine behind Mazurland Blog.

4:12 PM  

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