Why Chris Hates Monopoly
I admit that the title is a bit like clickbait, but I think it’s about time that I spoke about just how I feel about Monopoly as a game. This post will, of course, include a very strong opinion as already stated in the title, so if you’re not a fan of opinionated posts then we have plenty more articles you can read. Also, unlike your average clickbait article, I’m not going to wait until the end of the article to explain why the game has achieved the status of hatred with me. Buckle up, this might get bumpy.
Dragged To Bankruptcy
Let’s start with the fact that no matter how many times I have played the game, with however many people, there comes a point where one player is looking to be a clear winner and the other players are dragged through the rest of the game. Slowly forcing them to sell their assets, putting them further and further into poverty and eventually bankruptcy. It’s a ridiculous mechanic with virtually no way to come back from. In my opinion it leaves players feeling helpless, unable to do anything to change their inevitable fate. If that was not bad enough, the rich players then have an open door to step in and offer large sums of money for properties, to gain yet more control of the board and then gain their own money back.
The Official Rules
It’s one of those games that always end up with a bunch of house rules to try and make the game either easier to consume, or more fun. I think I have played by the official rules just once and there are rules that always get re-worked. One is the property auction mechanic, which in my experience usually gets removed entirely. I think of all the things I don’t like about Monopoly, the auction mechanic is probably my most hated and I’ll try to explain why. The official rules state that any property that is on the market, and not purchased by a player when they land on it, goes up for auction. This then usually ends up with a player buying the property to then later sell it to a player who wants it, or the current rich player gaining a property for less than it’s original price. These auctions break the game. A property that would usually cost a lot more could be sold to someone, giving them a set that they need to then corner the market with very little recompense.
Staying In Jail
Monopoly might be the only game I have played that rewards you for being punished. Say you activate one of the conditions where you end up in jail. Now you can choose to sit in jail for two turns (getting out on the third) should you wish to. In the early stages of the game this might not be a wise choice (dependant on which rules you are playing). However, in the latter stages it’s actually the best location to be. Not only do you still get to claim rent from anyone that lands on your property but you also avoid landing on anything therefore saving you money. Yes, in Monopoly it can pay to do time behind bars and knowledgeable players will do exactly that.
There is a strategy that you can employ to play Monopoly, which is to aim for the properties that will be most landed on, or indeed have cards that specially send you to some of those destinations. Now I could go on a massive maths tangent here trying to prove that certain numbers are rolled more times than others, but I’m not going to because people like Matt Parker and Hannah Fry (see above) have already done this for me. The fact is, Monopoly already favours some properties over others and owning these key properties can give a player a distinct advantage.
I have memories of playing Monopoly as a child and getting very frustrated with it. I don’t think I was an angry kid, but if there was a game that was going to make me flip a table then this would be it. I think it made me cry more than once, because as a kid I found it unfair that one player got richer and others got poorer, even if I was the one in the rich seat. I felt truly sorry for taking all the money off my other family members. I know that my family hated playing, but they still did. It certainly caused a few arguments and accusations of cheating. I’d like to take this time to apologise to my parents if I ever made you play this awful game.
Game Length and Decreasing Level Of Interest
I think the last time I attempted to play Monopoly was for charity at a GeekOut Bristol session. It was chosen by a young gamer who wanted to play the Pokémon version, which we often have at our GeekOut Bristol Meets. Reluctantly we set up the board – it was for charity after all – handed out the money and explained the basic rules to the young gamer. I think we managed to play for about 30 minutes before the young gamer asked “how long does this game go on for?” to which I wanted to answer “longer than it needs to”, but I think eventually somebody answered “quite a while, why?”, to which the young gamer declared “It’s not very fun, can we play something else?”. Oh kid, you hit the nail on the head right there.
We could blame it on the attention span of today’s youth, which is obviously blamed on the presence of the internet and mobile phones, but let’s say we don’t do that. Let’s say we ask the question if Monopoly is actually fun? If it is, how long is it fun for? It certainly outstays it’s welcome in terms of game length and with more players, I believe the game just gets longer as each player is knocked out. As this happens, I have certainly experienced a decreasing level of interest. For young gamers this decreasing level of interest must activate a lot quicker than your average adult, who might continue to play out of politeness or good sportsmanship.
Overexposure to Commercialisation
I think Hasbro have been clued into what a licensed game can give you. I have to ask when is another version of this game one too many? Did we really need a Harry Potter, or Game of Thrones version, or are Hasbro just trying to revitalise a game off the back of a successful film or TV franchise? I would argue if the game was actually fun, then they would not need to dress it up in this way in order to sell a few more copies, only for them to sit in people’s game library unplayed for years. For me the tipping point was many years ago before they started on the movie and series tie ins. However, I was reminded of just how desperate they are with the release of the Millennial version of the game. We don’t need this Hasbro, it serves no purpose apart from if being another version of your terrible game.
Rant Almost Over
I’m going out on a limb to say that I believe that Monopoly just has no place in today’s gaming world. We have so much choice these days, that there is no need to play a game like this and it’s not because of the age. There are card games and board games, like chess, that are much older than Monopoly and they still serve a purpose and are still fun. It’s a board game that I never want to play again. If there was a board game Room 101, then I would want Monopoly to be in it. If you’re a person that likes Monopoly then that’s just fine; you’re wrong, but let’s not get into a conversation as to just how wrong you are. I think I’m done…
How about you tell me what game you never want to play again and why? I have a fair few games on my personal list which include Risk, Settlers of Catan and the Game of Life. Get in touch with us via the comments section or via our social media on Twitter and Facebook.