Today’s Slice is inspired by a prompt in Linda Rief’s The Quickwrite Handbook. In an excerpt from The Book of Awesome, Neil Pasricha writes about how awesome it is when you’ve just improved one of your Monopoly properties and somebody lands on it on their next turn.
We play the Lord of the Rings Trilogy version. I am always Legolas. My son is always Gimli. My husband alternates between Gandalf and Aragorn. The pieces reflect the gender imbalance in Tolkien’s world: if you feel like playing a female`character, Galadriel is your only option. Neither my son nor my husband has ever chosen to be Galadriel.
The game lasts for hours. We finally call it at dinner time. We pack up each person’s money and properties and take a photo of the game board so we can resume tomorrow.
My son goes through phases with things, and right now he is in a Monopoly phase. That means he wants to play every day. We play for the spare hour we have after school and chores are finished and before basketball practice begins. On weekends, we’ll have a leisurely game lasting for three hours or more and sometimes actually finish with a winner.
I used to hate Monopoly and groan inwardly (and sometimes audibly) whenever the box came out. But I’ve learned how to multitask in between turns. I prepare dinner and bake treats. I fold laundry. I reorganize my shelves.
Every day I tell my son in my most competitive voice that today’s the day, I’m feeling it, I’m finally going to crush him at Monopoly. But we all know I’m going to lose. I always do. It might be the sweet mom deals I cut him (“My three horses for Bag End? Sure!”). Even though I’ve made my peace with Monopoly, going bankrupt feels like winning to me, especially when we’re entering Hour Three.
Much care has been taken to create a satisfying Lord of the Rings experience within the game. The properties progress around the board in roughly the same order they appear in the book, Bag End to Mount Doom. You improve your properties with strongholds and fortresses, not houses and hotels. The People and Events cards are all related to the story. A winged Nazgul attack sets you back 150. Sound the Horn of Gondor, and collect 45. There is even a ring that moves around the board with a special dice roll and gets you free property and double rents when it lands on your space.
We each have our own style of play. My husband is careful and methodical about collecting properties and reserving money to improve, and then he blows all his cash on strongholds and fortresses. I buy everything I land on until my money runs out and I never have enough cash left to improve. My son is convinced he can make the dice roll in his favor, and it’s uncanny how often he calls the number before it lands. Many times in each game he calls which space he wants to land on, then rolls exactly that number with the dice. Never go to a casino, we beg him. He obsesses over the horses and fumes whenever anyone else lands on one and purchases it. “It’s good trade value,” we argue. “I’m NOT trading with you!” he yells—repeatedly, for the first half or so of the game. He really hates making trades, even when they’re absurdly lopsided in his favor. Sometimes I come up with outrageous deals to offer him just to amuse myself at his “NO WAY!” At least once in every game, my husband or I pick up the box and read aloud in an exaggerated voice, “Monopoly: The Property TRADING Game.” Although he’s a cutthroat player and will do anything to win, he’s also very generous when he’s comfortably ahead, forgiving debts and giving away cash and properties to keep us in the game.
“No thank you,” I sometimes say when we’ve reached the third hour and I’m more than ready to go bankrupt.
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