Today after watching my nephews at swimming lessons, the older one, Riley (9 yrs. old) reminded me that he had finally behaved well enough to be rewarded with a game of Monopoly with his Aunt Jules. So after lunch, we set up the game on the floor of the family room and I set about the usually arduous task of playing Monopoly with a child.
I really don’t like playing Monopoly. I much prefer games which rely on my skill or knowledge, so Tetris and Trivial Pursuit are much more my cup of tea. So I have devised a system to play Monopoly, a system that allows me to relatively enjoy myself without going crazy from boredom.
I buy as many properties as I possibly can, as soon as I can. This accomplishes two things: first, I run out of money fairly quickly and second, my opponents land on my properties and have to pay me rent, causing them to run out of money fairly quickly. Then the game is over. It usually works. When I played Monopoly a couple of months ago with my other nephew, Tannen, he beat me soundly, because I ran out of money. It did not work today.
Riley and I began our game at 12:30. By 12:45 I had purchased Baltic Avenue, Vermont Avenue, the Electric Company, States Avenue, Tennessee Avenue, and the Short Line and Reading Railroads. And every time Riley landed on a space, he would say “Nope, gonna save my money!” And every time I landed on a space and proceeded to buy it, he would say, “Oh, Julie, you’re wasting your money. I can’t believe you’re spending all that money.” Imagine the judgment passed upon me after I had acquired States, St. Charles, and Virginia Avenues AND had the poor financial judgment to actually put houses on them! (However, for all his saving tendencies, he offered me $500 for Baltic Avenue, which I thought was a little ridiculous. We settled on $200.)
By 1:30, I had purchased 19 properties in all, and Riley had purchased three. Unfortunately, since he was so miserly with his money and I owned half the board, neither of us were anywhere close to bankrupt. But his luck started to change, and he was down to under $1,000 so I really thought the end was in sight.
This is where Free Parking turned into the leviathan that would not die. I had suggested that we play house rules Monopoly, where money from luxury tax, income tax, and anything owed from Chance or Community Chest cards go into the middle, and whoever lands on Free Parking gets to take the wad of cash. After an hour of play, no one had landed on Free Parking, and I guess about $4500 had amassed in the Free Parking kitty. Riley landed on it, collected that cash, and then proceeded to land on it four more times in the next hour and a half, funding his constant rent-paying to me, and allowing him to buy up all the green properties and Park Place and Boardwalk.
For those of you not keeping score, that means Riley and I played Monopoly for two and a half hours. On the floor. I am still unfolding my joints and walking like cro-magnon man from that silly decision. Endless sequences of rolling dice, moving around the board, collecting rent, going to jail passed, and we finally ended because my other nephew wanted to watch a movie. I beat him handily as I owned both utilities, three railroads, four full sets of properties with hotels on every space, plus had about $7,000 cash. Although, to hear Riley tell it, he won the money part, and I won the property part, which really means that he won, because I was so foolish with my money. Whatever. I didn’t argue at all, because I could tell the world here that I finally won a Monopoly game, and because letting him think he won meant the game was over. Sweet relief.