Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Monopolizing The Rules

Ok, I call shenanigans on this shortest possible game of Monopoly since these rules seem nutty to me.  I mean, I have NEVER heard of this nonsense about rolling doubles and not acknowledging the outcome of the roll.  Doubles means you roll again, obviously, but in the case of the Player 1, Turn 1 scenario, the player would get to buy the Electric Co. or Illinois Ave.  The player wouldn't just be forced to keep rolling and rolling ad infinitum until they either stopped rolling doubles or until the sun exploded. 

For all I know, maybe this "nonstop doubles" rule is actually on the books.  I've never actually read the official rules of Monopoly, just had the game explained to me, folklore style.  You might think it's odd never to have read the rules, but let's be honest, MOST people never read the actual rules of Monopoly.  This leads to countless arguments when you play the game with friends, all of whom have their own variations based on "oh, this was how my family always played it."

My family's little Monopoly quirks that have been disputed in other games…

* when you have to give up money due to a Chance or Community Chest card, that money goes into the middle of the board.  If you then land on Free Parking, you get all of the cash that has collected in the middle over the course of the game.  This is a HUGE game-changer in some cases and it really adds an extra thrill to a game that can quickly become predictable as soon as someone gets a set of properties.  The way some people play it, Free Parking is just a free space that has nothing attached to it whatsoever.  This is nonsense.  Do you really need a break?  You just had one on the jail spot ten spaces prior.  These killjoys also just put the Chance/Community Chest fines directly into the bank, which doesn't make sense since it's not like the bank needs any more cash.

* if you roll doubles while in jail, you get out, and then move ahead the number of spaces that you rolled in your doubles.  In some variations, the doubles just gets you out and your turn then ends.  So, going by the first quirk, if you're in jail and roll double-fives, under my family's rules you'd get out of jail and hit Free Parking all at once, going from prisoner to possible tycoon in one fell swoop.  (We should probably call this the Andy Dufresne rule.)

* when a player lands on a property and can't pay, they're bankrupted and eliminated from the game.  Under our rules, the bankrupted player would pay the property owner any remaining cash they had and the bank would cover the rest of the debt.  All of the bankrupted player's properties would then go back on the open market, they would NOT go to the original property owner as a way of paying back the debt.  Opening up more properties late in the game creates more excitement, and giving a player that many extra properties just seems unfair, and yes, I realize the name of the game is literally "Monopoly."  Man, you know you're a left-leaning family when…

* if you have a full set and want to build houses, you have to build them one at a time on each property in the set per turn.  Like, on the turn that gets you that third property to make your set, you can put one house on each lot.  Then on your next turn, you can get up to one more house on each lot, so it takes you up to five turns to get a hotel.  Some mad people play the game with a willy-nilly housing situation where you can buy any number of houses on any given turn and not even stagger the houses evenly amongst each lot.  So for instance, if you're playing under these madcap rules and you have the yellow set, you can put immediately put two houses on Atlantic, nothing on Ventnor and a hotel on Marvin Gardens.  It's lunacy!  My family's slow, measured approach to property development gives the building inspectors time to make their rounds and make sure everything is up to code.

* the 'Get Out of Jail Free' card is currency within the game and can be included in possible trades.  Apparently most people don't play this way; the card is your card only, and non-transferable.  I once offered to throw my GOOJF card into a deal during a game and my would-be trade partner couldn't have been more stunned if I'd offered to throw in a foot massage to seal the deal.  (That came later..I really needed that fourth railroad.)

Even though my family's way is right and all y'all are crazy for playing it differently, I don't mind these little rules disputes.  It's kind of awesome that everyone plays Monopoly in their own way, yet another reason why this is one of all-time great board games.  My love of the game was cemented when I once had the opportunity to play against the world Monopoly champion.  I am dead serious here, it was the actual world champion, though sadly he didn't have a title belt with a diamond-studded image of Uncle Pennybags on the buckle plate.  Anyway, the champ said the key to winning was to try and secure the oranges and I was all like I KNOW, I'VE BEEN SAYING THAT FOR YEARS!  It was like having Gary Player compliment your golf grip.

And don't get me started about the iron piece being replaced by a stupid cat.  For shame.

No comments: