Friday, November 16, 2007


I guess you can't grow up anywhere in the western world without playing "Monopoly" at least once in your life.

My very first memory of the game is from when I was about five. I was far too young to play then, obviously, but I remember fondly sitting in my cousins' bedroom and playing with the little red and green houses (I was five, how should I have known the red ones were hotels?). Of course, sooner or later they would take them away from me and put them on the board - even though the streets I planned with them looked a lot better than that square.

When I was slightly older, they allowed me to tend the bank. I couldn't play with them then, but about seven was old enough to handle the money bills.

Later on I usually played with my father - we even tended to write up everything so we could continue a game later on.

From my point of view, "Monopoly" is ideal to be played at the computer. (And I still treasure my special edition "Star Wars Monopoly".) The computer is a perfect bank, it won't give you too much or too little money. And it keeps all the rules in mind, too. I like that. In addition, you can save such a game without having to write up in minute detail who owns which street, where houses and hotels have been build and how much money everyone has. That's great, too.

Now, "Monopoly" might teach people capitalistic values, but it's an interesting and taxing game for older children as well as for adults. And - given the fact that no two people I ever talked to about the game were playing by the same rules - there's a lot of varieties around, too. For example, we used to gather the taxes and other money spent on 'public services' because of the community and chance cards in the middle of the board so the first person landing on "Free Parking" would get the money. I still treasure the memory of getting thousands upon thousands after being the first to hit the space after we'd all been landing on the taxes and paying for our houses and hotels for ages. It was quite a sum and enabled me to make my streets far more dangerous by building loads of new houses. We also used to decide that you didn't have to own all streets of a set to build houses on them - and you could build houses irregularly and hotels without putting down the houses beforehand. Made it more interesting.

"Monopoly" can be a guaranty for a nice evening with friends or family - or for a row, if somebody's getting too much from the others.

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