July 2, 2009
Board Games That Don't Bore Me: Monopoly
Some people find Monopoly boring, but I don't. It has always seemed fun to me! Well, for as long as any game I've played has actually lasted. In fact, I don't think I've ever played a game of Monopoly to its very end... Not for lack of trying, mind you. See, I've had the misfortune of being surrounded by people in my life who find it VERY boring and don't have the patience required to play it all the way through. Much to my dismay!
"Let's see... Boardwalk, with 1 house and 1 hotel is...
WAIT! Who let you build both a house AND a hotel
on this property?! You're in violation of Monopoly
building codes, sir!"
Contrary to popular belief, Monopoly was NOT invented by Charles B. Darrow. He only revised and improved upon a much cruder early version of the game, and then managed to strike a deal with Parker Brothers in 1935. It was originally created, and then patented under the name, The Landlord's Game, by a woman named Lizzie J. Magie in 1904. She spent many, many years trying to get it off the ground, but to no avail. Her main intent for the game was for it to become popular as an educational tool, not just a way for her to get rich. So, I don't think it bothered her too much that it didn't make her a millionaire. What DID bother her, was that she felt cast aside and unrecognized as the game's real inventor, convinced it was due to the fact she was a woman. And, back then, she was probably right! Women were the victims of sexism quite often, in those days. Not that it doesn't still exist, today...
If only you could spend this pile of "cash" at the mall...
Then again, in today's economy, it would probably only
get you a sweet roll at Cinnabon and a smoothie drink
at Orange Julius!
A virtual rainbow of real estate!
I think what I like most about this game is all of the accoutrements. There's something about getting a Title Deed card for every property you purchase, and they're fun to keep organized in neat rows of matching colors. Alongside the railroads and utilities, of course! Exchanging the money is quite pleasing, too. The bills are nice colors, and the print design for them is cleverly simple yet functional. Then, once you own a monopoly, it's time to BUILD! I just love those little green houses and red hotels. But let's not forget one of the best things about this game... The player tokens! I prefer the old classic ones over any of the modern replacements. And I always choose either the dog or the race car. I guess that the top hat would come a close third, but neither the wheelbarrow, cannon, flat iron, thimble or horse & rider ever get my selection. There is a train token, too, but not in any of the editions I have. That one would probably trump the whole lot of 'em, if I had the option! All together, I'd say that I find Monopoly to be a very satisfying tactile experience in addition to being a visual delight. I particularly find the game board itself to be a good example of elegant simplicity at its best! That might seem a bit over-the-top to you, but I get excited about these things.
A study in green.
Pretty, but I would arrange all of the houses
in a STRAIGHT line!
As if I wasn't enamored enough with the classic design of this game, I've also recently discovered a couple of excellent reinterpretations that I want to share with you. The first one is a different take on the game board, a Helvetica Revival version by graphic artist Florent Guerlain. And the other one is a beautiful repackaging that was imagined, as well as created, by graphic artist Andy Mangold.
Helvetica Revival Monopoly, by Florent Guerlain
Monopoly Repackage (closed box), by Andy Mangold
Monopoly Repackage (open box), by Andy Mangold
Monopoly Repackage (out of box), by Andy Mangold
Pretty great, huh? I love it when artists mix things up like that. I just wish that I could own one of each of those! They're certainly leagues better than most variations, like Cat-opoly, Wine-opoly, or the dreaded Pink Boutique edition.
Thanks for "playing" along with me! Maybe, someday when we all have a few hours to kill, we can get together and play an entire game, from start to finish?
All images via Google Image Search