The Watchtower of Destruction: The Ferrett's Journal - Monopoly Sucks
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For 99 cents, I bought an iPhone game of Monopoly. The official Parker Brothers version.
Wow, I forgot how much this game sucks.
It's got all of the classic board game mistakes: too much emphasis on randomness, an interminable end game, constricted strategies. (I'm told that there are strategies in Monopoly - favor the railroads, natch - but they all depend on either getting lucky and landing on the right spaces, or having people stupid enough to trade badly.) So I'm looking at this game and wondering why it hit so big - were board games so bad in 1934 that this was the Half Life of modern-day board games? Hell, I see from the Wikipedia page that Monopoly is the end line of a bunch of games involving land development... God, how terrible must those early games have been?
I wish there was a blog from a devoted gamer who played 1920s-style games and critiqued them from a modern perspective. I'm not that big on board games, but Monopoly makes the constricted end game of Settlers of Catan look like wide-open fields.
But rather than discuss how much Monopoly sucks, let's instead hold a vital poll on the most important part of any Monopoly game:
The Most Vital Part Of Monopoly
Open to: All, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 338
Which is the coolest piece in Monopoly?
| 17 (5.1%)
| 13 (3.9%)
|The top hat
| 82 (24.6%)
|The schnauzer doggie
| 83 (24.9%)
| 35 (10.5%)
| 18 (5.4%)
| 26 (7.8%)
| 22 (6.6%)
|Apparently, there's a horse and rider, though I've never seen it
| 38 (11.4%)
I've seen the horse & rider... I'm pretty sure our Monopoly set is intact... if so, I'll take a pic for you ;)
The Horse and Rider were in the original set, but discontinued along the way. Then in the mid 1980s they released a "Classic" version of the game that included the Horse And Rider again.
My family has one of the original sets and when the Horse And Rider got damaged we originally wanted to get another original one to replace it but found out that collectors had priced them into the stratosphere, so we settled for buying a classic edition and using the vastly inferior Horse And Rider from that set.
These old board games are so bad, and are what people think of when I say "board games", they make me not want to tell people that my favorite hobby is board games.
I have to use terms like Eurogames (as some of the best board games in the world all from from Germany and other over sea countries), or I have to say I play war games.
I wish we could re-brand board games to be a term used for better games than monopoly, life, and Parcheesi.
About the only game old board game (other than stuff like Avalon hill games), that I have respect for is Clue.
Parcheesi is just a way to teach children the skills they'll need for Backgammon, which is one of the best games ever created.
Also, the "buy the railroads strategy" is an amateur mistake - though one I'm glad people make because it makes for easier trading.
The way to win at Monopoly is to buy the light blues (which nobody wants because the rents are low and they forget that statistically these are the most landed on properties in the game and the cheapest to build on) and the yellow properties which are the second most statistically hit on properties in the game.
Avoid the greens and Boardwalk/Park Place at all costs because they cost a fortune to build on and the combination of cards that send you to "Go" and the "Got To Jail" space means that statistically they are the places people are the least likely to land.
heh, i always like to own one of each of the dark blue & greens to prevent other jerks from putting hotels on em, but i don't generally collect & build on em. i always liked the light blues and yellows too, though i didn't know the statistics of it.
always the tophat, i like to keep it classy. when i was little i liked the dog though. it's the longest game ever.
we'd play boardgames at my dad's when i was a kid, and lyn (my stepmom) loved monopoly.... but she played for blood lol. i was very young and it took so long that by the end of the game i was exhausted, up way past my bedtime, and slowly melting down into a sniffling mess.
ahhh fond family memories.
i haven't ever played it with my kid.... in fact, i took the back to start card out of candyland... neverending games with little people aren't fun. lol
My boyfriend's 5 year old niece makes Candyland pretty fast. She draws all the cards, she tells you where to go and then when you pick up the piece, she goes "NO no no!" and moves your piece to wherever she feels it's appropriate for it to go, cards be damned. Somehow, she always wins.
Also, as someone who has played all sorts of games from throughout the years, Monopoly is much, much better than its contemporaries.
My family has had a summer estate in New Hampshire since the last 1700s. As such it has collected children's games dating back through it's entire existence. (Every generation of kids brings new games and when they grow up leave the old games there. There's everything from hand made wooden games from the early 1800s up through Playstation 2.)
While the older games are really fun, the games from the generation of kids from the late 20s/mid 30s are astoundingly weird and often boring.
The best example of this is a game called "Let's Furnish A House" - in which you roll dice and move around a board to buy an ice box, a sofa, a radio, etc... complete with places you can land to "ask for an additional allowance from your husband.)
You just know there is some older person who fondly remembers playing "Let's Furnish A House" for hours on end.
|Date:||May 3rd, 2011 04:05 pm (UTC)|| |
I read somewhere that Catan was developed *because* Monopoly sucked.
I have Pokémon Monopoly. Still don't play it any more than regular Monopoly, but golly the pieces are cute!
We had Star Wars Monopoly. In addition to the usual paper money, there were five 1000 credit coins which were shiny and weighty and, to children, highly desirable.
My little brother and I used to play with the sole aim of getting to 3000 credits first and thus acquiring more shiny coins than the other player (for some reason, no-one else ever wanted to play with us). These days, I have a hard time remembering what the real goal of Monopoly is.
Its a weird game because in certain games, you can play forever, technically-sometimes people win because the other people just get tired of playing.
|Date:||May 3rd, 2011 04:29 pm (UTC)|| |
One very boring summer when both our best friends were shipped off to relatives, my brother and I kept a game going for the better part of a month. We played in the evening, then stacked everything carefully away for meals.
(I choose the thimble because I sew.)
|Date:||May 3rd, 2011 04:17 pm (UTC)|| |
The horse and rider has been my favorite since I was a little kid because it was the easiest to pick up and move - no fumbling, it was tall and skinny.
And in true only-child fashion, I used to play Monopoly by myself.
I like playing Risk by myself. Still, even though I have friends now.
|Date:||May 3rd, 2011 04:18 pm (UTC)|| |
Also, I have Star Wars Monopoly, although I keep trying to get rid of it but no one will take it.
I have Star Wars Monopoly in storage at my parent's house.
I used to play using a small miniature TARDIS model as my playing piece.
The top hat wobbled. The dog was too small, and the car was weird-looking.
BUT I HAD THE GAME SEWN UP WITH THE THIMBLE, BITCHES!
|Date:||May 3rd, 2011 04:33 pm (UTC)|| |
Please say you at least bought Dead Space during that $.99 sale. I mean, EA does actually have some games that are fun, but Monopoly is not one.
They have dead space on the iphone?
I work for an ambulance service in Connecticut. Two months ago, my partner and I were sitting in a parking lot, tuned into the radio channel for Yale Children's Hospital when we heard this gem.
Ambulance: "Good evening Yale Pediatric, this is Charlie 26, we're coming in with a three-year-old male status post choking, child got into a Monopoly set and swallowed a piece. Breathing is fine, unable to visualize the obstruction but lung sounds are clear and the patient is stable, coming in for evaluation per the family's request, do you require any further information?"
Yale ER Nurse: "Was it the hat or the car?"
Ambulance: "Neither. Battleship, ma'am."
The Battleship 'cause that's how I roll.
And I still like playing Monopoly. For me part of the fun is that it's avery social game that doesn't depend on a lot of strategizing and brain power.
I can see how this was popular during the depression: You had no TV, there were a lot of folks who didn't even have radios. This is an age where almsot everyone learned to play some sort of instrument because that's what you did to entertain yourself. And entertainment was a social thing, it was something you did with friends, families and neighbors.
I even think the whole idea of your fortune depending on chance would have resonated with depression era Americans.
Monopoly, no matter how much I like it *is* an anachronism.
|Date:||May 3rd, 2011 05:32 pm (UTC)|| |
Rita Mae Brown's Six of One is set in the Depression. One chapter features a group playing Monopoly with real money. The $1500 starting stake was huge then...
I quite like the wheelbarrow. It was fun to pick up the teeny handles.
I also would remind you that there was no television, and your choices for evening indoor activities included variations of chores(woo!sewing!woo!knitting!), reading, staring out at the darkness, etc. Try playing Monopoly whilst listening to a radio play. Much more interesting.
Actually the fun part of monopoly is the trading and the bartering, which is why it's so important to play it with nice people willing to do it.
If not it turns into the most dreadful board game experience ever.
|Date:||May 3rd, 2011 07:12 pm (UTC)|| |
Ahh. Sorry, but for most dreadful board game experience ever, I'll suggest that 'Diplomacy' played for the first time with a group of people who aren't in any way going to cut you any slack for it being your first game, and some of whom will crow loudly at each mistake you make beats it hands down.
Not that I'm bitter, or anything. Or that I've ever played Diplomacy again.
Monopoly is great fun when you are playing against people who don't know what they are doing cause it's almost impossible to lose. Though that obviously wears thin.
The biggest problem with Monopoly is that almost no one plays it right. It's actually a pretty decent game if you play it properly and it usually ends in a reasonable time.
The things people do to screw it up are ignoring that it is a closed system. If there aren't enough houses to go around you don't get to use pennies or any other substitute, and you can't bypass having 4 houses to get hotels by just building it all at once. It's totally possible to cut off everyone else from ever developing if you just max out on 4 houses a pop and never build hotels, cause no one will be able to develop to your level or above, then barring any ridiculously bad luck the game should just wind down from there. The same applies to money.
The other thing people do is put money on free parking this also screws up the game a lot.
Also if you have debts to pay you can't just IOU you have to sell and mortgage everything till the debt is paid that's how you actually get bankrupted.
So many people ignore all these things and that is precisely why their games last so long.
Even with those proper rules being enforced the game can come down to die rolls and luck, especially if everyone knows how to play properly.
/horse and rider
and if you elect not to buy a property (as the first person to land on it) it is immediately auctioned to the highest bidder.
the game is over when the 1st player is bankrupted (not the last)
My family were all card players. Heck most of us learned to play poker and pitch before we started school.
And of course we learned some real interesting words along the way ;)
The Wild Granny (my mother) used to have 2 matched sets of rocks. Wicked cool way to play pitch and if you fling your hand at someone it left a helluva mark.
Monopoly can't be translated directly to an iPhone version, not without some intelligence. The game is terrible straight out of the box. But... if you're a wheeler and dealer, it's a lot more fun.
One way to make it more interesting: buy options from other people's landings. Tell a player that you'll pay them $X now, if they give you the option to buy Park Place when they land on it. If you can get all the options from all of the players for a set of properties (yeah, that's going to happen...), you've guaranteed a monopoly.
Steal other ideas from the stock market and real estate. Start up a partnership with another player. Create insurance. Create insurance scams. If you can reproduce Enron accounting in the game, you definitely win.
My strategy was to steal from the bank when no one was looking. It almost always worked. ;-P
In this respect it is a good simulation of real life!
Also notable - if two people join forces right near the start, essentially creating a single player with two turns and double the starting cash, they will crush any opposition that doesn't do the same thing. We also allowed other people to join our syndicate at any time; the game ended when everyone was part of the same large co-operative organisation. Communism beats Capitalism, in Monopoly!
I would like to see a battleship.
I have two general strategies for Monopoly.
1. BUY EVERYTHING. Doesn't matter if it makes sense, go for broke, and then see what happens (you lose, but quickly!)
2. CHEAT. Cheating is fun! Stealing money from the bank is fun, and it makes the game more entertaining to see how long you can get away with it before everyone else notices. This is actually a time-honored Monopoly tradition in my family.