I like boardgames. I’m probably not what you would consider a board game geek, but the statement “KIRK I TRADE WHEAT FOR SHEEP” makes me laugh. I like to think that I can enjoy any reasonably good game.
When I was but a we lad I had a friend who loved to play Monopoly. I would spend the night at his house on weekends, and I always knew that before we built forts or watched movies or played video games or rode bikes, that we would first play a game of Monopoly. And by “play”, I mean that I would be dragged through a game of Monopoly. It would take hours. It seemed interminable. After the third hour I would begin to beg him to take all my properties at a deep discount and let me simply remove myself from the game. Only occasionally would he take pity on me.
So it was with great interest that I read this article about Monopoly. In it, the author claimed that the reason most people hate Monopoly is because most people play it with house rules that cause the game to go on forever. He flat out says, “Monopoly does not take substantially longer to play than most other board games.” He lays out his thesis rather well.
Being a self-professed fan of games, and priding myself on a willingness to admit that I was wrong (sometimes), I though it might be fun to have another go at Monopoly. After all, some people do seem to like the game, so there must be something to it.
I mentioned this to my boss, who is also a big gamer. A few days later he told me that he told me that he had foundÂ a copy of Star Wars Monopoly in the bottom of the trunk of his car. We decided to get a game together soon.
“Soon” came last night. My boss, his wife, my girlfriend, a coworker, and me. We went to my boss’ place and got going. At first, things looked like they were going pretty quickly. Money was changing hands, but we weren’t flooding the game with cash. Property was being bought up left and right. I was impressed. My coworker went out first. I followed him a short time later. Monopolies had been established. When I went out, I left a massive pile of property and some cash in my boss’ hands. I had been mortgaged to the hilt, and couldn’t pull it off. Oh well. A few more trips around the board and my boss’ wife went out. He also got her property. Now it was down to my boss and my girlfriend. My girlfriend had one monopoly (the orange ones, just before Free Parking) and two other properties. My boss held most of the other property on the board, but almost all of was mortgaged, except for the three yellow properties just before Go To Jail. And that’s where the death march began. My girlfriend was able to elude my boss’ property often enough to no go broke. He was unable to get enough money to get his properties out of mortgage. Around and around they went. It was funny at first. After 15 minutes it was amusing. After 30 minutes it became tiring. After about 45 minutes of this I was quite alarmed. What happened to the short game I had been promised? What was going on here?
I have no answers. The combatants were finally persuaded to call a draw (no small task considering that both of them take their games very seriously) and everybody went home. I had hoped to have a fresh start with Monopoly. I had dreams of adding another game to my usual rotation. Those dreams evaporated last night, melting away like fog in the morning light.