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by Shannon Wand

Have you read the rules to Monopoly lately? It’s pretty ruthless. If you didn’t know that young children play this game on a regular basis, you might mistake the rules sheet for something more serious.

Let’s start with the object of the game. It is to become the wealthiest player through buying, renting and selling property. The wealthiest player? Is this the best image we want kids to learn? In order to win, you must beat everyone else and buy their homes and then sell them. Leave your friends homeless and run away with your newfound wealth. Don’t forget to point and laugh.

The Bank has some funny practices. It collects all taxes, fines, loans and interest, and the price of all properties which it sells and auctions. That all seems fine, but the next part worries me a little. The Bank never “goes broke.” If the Bank ever runs out of cash, it apparently can just make up some more on plain white paper with the amount written on it. It’s as though the Bank has an unfair advantage over the players. Just like the banks in real life.

Now when it comes to crime, the placement of your piece determines whether you have to go to jail. If you land on the Just Visiting portion of the square, you aren’t officially in jail but your friends will look at you differently while you are there. The question begs answering: Who exactly are you visiting? Now, to go to jail, all you have to do is roll doubles three times in a row or land on the wrong square. Something that you have no control over decides your fate. No lawyers, no phone call—you do not get two hundred dollars if you pass Go either. It’s a shitty rule.

What about the Community Chest cards? The one in particular that I am thinking of is the prestigious, “You have won second place in a beauty contest.” Then you get a lousy ten bucks. Whoop-tee-do! I am insulted by not winning the stupid beauty contest and then I get slapped in my second-place face with my ten-dollar winnings. It’s a terrible prize, leaving you wide open for more jokes about your “prison boyfriend” leaving you for “First Place Bruno.”

Here’s the sad thing, though. I love the damn game. Winning at Monopoly is better than any other board game. You have all of the money and you have devoured your pitiful competition, leaving them broke and homeless. It’s all about good times!
Is the game aimed at teaching kids to have fun while managing their money? Or is it really about having control and power over your family and friends? Personally, I don’t care as long as I win win WIN!




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