I hate Monopoly. I’ve always hated Monopoly. It takes 3-4 hours to finish a game, and the last 1-2 are simply a slow decline as the clear winner drains all the last pennies from the losing players. Yes, it was originally intended as a parody of capitalism. No, it’s not real money so I shouldn’t really care that I’m losing everything to some lucky git who rolled a six at the beginning and bought all the best property. That’s no excuse for making me sit there slowly dying for two hours when it’s 11pm and I just want to go home. It’s not fun.
The next time anyone makes me play Monopoly, I’m going to make it interesting.
For that first hour of the game when it seems like anything is possible, I’m going to be a little over generous with money. When paying rent, I will smile and say, ‘keep the change.’ Little good deeds to win over my compatriots.
The first time a player is close to going bankrupt, I’ll bail them out so that they can stay in the game – on the condition that we start a housing co-operative together. We pool our resources to buy houses, maybe even to buy streets and hotels. Rent is shared equally between us.
As the game progresses, I will remind those players who are not in the lead that they are likely to be destroyed by the wealthiest landowner. They can sit around and get squeezed like a lemon, or they can join our cooperative and destroy the nasty land baron. Eventually they have to choose to join the cooperative or go bankrupt.
In the end we will all join together, using our combined resources to buy hotels and create traps for the aristocratic devil to fall into. We will bleed the landlord to death and share the spoils together, then drink fine Vodka and sing songs about our victory.
And if the banker tells me that cooperation is against the rules of the game, then I will tell him he is an enemy of the people. The banker’s game mechanic is deliberately skewed to create a performative fictional economy without agency, without hope, without joy. The fictional economics of Monopoly set up a dream of actively creating our own fortune, and then force us into a position of passivity. How can anybody believe that this is fun?