If you want to know the true nature of a person, suggest a game of Monopoly with them.
Every characteristic, good and bad, comes out in a Monopoly game. You will learn about their business acumen, their patience, their compassion, their tolerance level, and their favorite color. I like the reds… and I’m always the iron. Ironic, since I hate ironing. Ironic, too, that ironic starts with iron.
I’ve known people that consistently buy Baltic and Mediterranean Avenues, not because they are the best deal, or they like the color, but because they like the location: immediately after passing GO. You get your $200 paycheck and then you go home to your low rent apartment. Of course, buying these two properties and charging a measly $2 for rent means, in essence, that you are a slumlord. The houses you buy are actually shacks and the hotels are tenement housing.
You have to use your imagination, here. Just because the green and red cubes are the same ones you’d buy for Park Place, they cost less than a quarter of the price. That spells ghetto in any language.
Then you have the payers that dream of being so rich that Luxury Tax is just petty cash. I’ve always wondered why the Luxury Tax was paid by all passersby and not just the people that buy luxurious things: like the whole block of green and medium blue properties?
Of course, passersby would much rather land on Luxury Tax and gladly pay the $75 than land on Pennsylvania Avenue with a hotel.
I know people who want to be Railroad barons because they don’t want to figure the math on houses and hotels. These fanatics would trade Ventura Avenue and Indiana Avenue just to get Reading Railroad. If you’re the one who owns the other red and yellow properties, the railroad cartel people are your best friends.
Still they don’t make sense to me. Unlike other properties, every time you collect another railroad, your income goes up. But even if you get all four railroads, you still only get the equivalent of passing GO. Many of these demented railroad barons think that if they own all the railroads they have a safe place to go when the hotels go up; as if they will ever land on them again the entire game.
If you land on a utility that someone else owns, you have to roll the dice to see what you owe. Shouldn’t that be connected to how many houses you own? My electric bill is not a big surprise for me. It’s not a gamble, a roll of the dice. My water bill is only a surprise when someone forgot to turn the garden hose off for a couple of weeks. That could be considered a roll of the dice, I suppose.
Some players only want the properties that are mentioned on the Chance and Community Chest cards. They want to be the harbinger of doom for anyone who manages to tiptoe through all the hotel-ridden properties only to pick a card that sends the hapless traveler straight to St. Charles place with two hotels. Own it!
People like playing Monopoly because it gives us a feel for being high rollers with big bucks without risking anything. It’s an approximation of real estate deals in a 1901 economy, except for one thing. When one runs out of money and can’t pay the rent, there should be a “check’s in the mail” feature. This feature would include at least 4 or 5 rounds to evict a tenant who cannot pay.
To update the game to this millenium, they also need to include a Community Chest card that says “Government Stimulus Package.” It doesn’t do anything for anybody in real estate, but the bank won’t let you buy more property unless you provide them with your first-born son.
Laura Snyder is a nationally syndicated columnist, author & speaker. You can reach Laura at firstname.lastname@example.org Or visit her website www.lauraonlife.com for more info.