Monopoly: Slice of Life #sol19 9/31

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.

25 thoughts on “Monopoly: Slice of Life #sol19 9/31

  1. I love your description. My family is similar with Trivial Pursuit. It is a marathon, usually over two or three nights. We learned long ago that mom is the Monopoly master. We had to even the playing field!

    • I always think Monopoly is more a game of luck than strategy, but my son literally ALWAYS wins. And sure, there are some “sweet mom deals” but he has a definite strategy in terms of how he plays, and it seems to pay off every game! I used to love playing Trivial Pursuit, even though I was never very good at it.

  2. WOW… daily monopoly might throw me over the edge. I LOVE how you have captured this moment with your family. It won’t last forever, but you’ve done a wonderful job with everyone’s personalities. By the way, I play just like you!

  3. I was just thinking about The Book of Awesome! This is a great reminder of another great resource. My kids sometimes play Monopoly (ironically, the cat version) and they love it! I usually don’t have the patience for Monopoly but I love playing games with my kids. My favorites to play are Tenzi and Uno right now.

    • I don’t think I own The Book of Awesome. I need to get a copy! AND THERE IS A CAT VERSION OF MONOPOLY? I need to go to Google right away! I should pull out our Tenzi game too. I liked that one. A lot better than Monopoly. But then, I think I like every game except Candyland better than Monopoly!

  4. I love how each of you has your own strategy. What a great way to spend time together as a family. I admit that I never really learned how to play Monopoly effectively. Now Clue, that’s a different story.

    • When I was a child and played Monopoly, we never even improved properties with hotels and houses. I just thought you marched around and around the board until all the properties were bought, then counted up who had the most to determine the winner!

  5. Clearly I’m living in a vacuum because when you tell me y’all are playing Monopoly, I’m seeing Park Place with a little shoe sitting on it or Baltic Avenue with a little green house perched on the name. Your version sounds much more interesting! (I still don’t think I could do even a FUN Monopoly for so many hours!) And there is a CAT VERSION??? Wow!

    • If you have to play Monopoly, it should definitely be in Middle Earth! I’m not even a huge Lord of the Rings fan, but it’s an improvement on the original game for sure! (I’m definitely going to look out for a cat version!)

  6. Remember when you thought I was being charitable with the stinkbugs a few slices ago? Well, 3 hours of Monopoly, even with loved ones would likely send me over the edge. But playing board games would be a welcome change to our routines. My husband and I play Scrabble from time to time and my son (used to like Monopoly but has moved on) can sometimes be prodded to play Labyrinth or another game with me. Your descriptions are wonderfully vivid and relatable.

    • Ha, I totally hear you! I know I’ll get a lot of sympathy from my mom when I text her “Guess what? We’re playing Monopoly again.” We have several games I enjoy much more than Monopoly but I know my son likes that it lasts so very long!

  7. Carefully constructed description of Mnopoly ala you. It seems many play in their own versions and time. I haven’t played in a long while, perhaps a specialized version would encourage me.

  8. Daily Monopoly? You are a saint. Maybe you could try to slip in some games that are, um, more fun? Like The Castles of Mad King Ludwig or Forbidden Island (which is cooperative). And your descriptions here are great – I laughed and cringed and generally felt that I was right there with you – especially when you wanted to go bankrupt!

  9. This was a great slice! I love the idea of taking a picture of the game board to set it up the same way the next day! WHen I would play this as a kid, my sister and I would slide the game board under the couch to resume the next day! Love this tradition, and kudos to you for doing it daily! You know it means a lot to your son! 🙂

  10. I love this description of your family Monopoly sessions. It had never occurred to me to photograph the board so we could put it away and start again later. My son figured out Monopoly at 5, even though he needed help with the math and the words. His attention always drifted away after 45 minutes to an hour though, so we’ve never played a game with him until its end. (On the other hand, there is a lot less cutthroat competition while he still does not know that you actually win by taking away all of the other players’ money!)

    • Ha! My son LOVES taking away all the other players’ money!! My husband has a few Monopoly hacks so we can play a shorter game, but my son doesn’t seem to mind ending mid-game as long as everyone will concede that he’s winning and will definitely keep winning if we keep playing, LOL.

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