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


  1. Count me in for a full game! I LOVE Monopoly. Everything about it including my insistence on being the race car. No really, I HAVE to be the race car. I'm also famous for buying in the ghetto and building an empire (that's right, Baltic is my bitch).

    Sending you a big *Muah* for highlighting one of the alll time most fantastical board games!

  2. I have played the English, Australian and Monopoly 2000 versions but not sure if I've ever played the American one.
    I would also HAVE to put the houses and hotels in a straight line.
    I always think about this clip of The Young Ones (an English 80s comedy about 4 students) when I think monopoly:
    (Couldn't find a better quality one).

  3. That Young Ones clip is great! I'm sure Anthony would say I'm like the guy who keeps yelling about how BORING it is, and writing in more interesting consequences on the cards.
    ANTHONY, PLEASE NOTE: I believe a Christmas or two ago I played Sesame Street Monopoly with you- all the way through to its bitter end! I'm also pretty sure I completed a game of Star Wars Monopoly with you. But I admit I'm usually a pain in the ass when it comes to board games. :)

  4. Thank you, Townhouselady.
    How about I trade you my Baltic for your Boardwalk? Somehow, I don't think you like Baltic enough to do THAT! ;)

  5. MoonDoggie, your clip from The Young Ones is pretty funny! I loved the card that said to stick it up the other guy's bottom (The card, that is!). And, YES, I do hear that same kind of pissing & moaning about how "Boring!" it is whenever I talk Tommy into playing. I should know better than to even ask...

    Glad to know that I'm not the ONLY one to be so anal about proper housing alignment! :)

  6. Tommy, I think you might be right, except I'm pretty sure that we were playing the 'Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer' edition. It WAS Christmas, y'know!

    Do they have a 'My Little Pony' edition? Or, better yet, a 'Donut' edition? I bet you'd play a lot less begrudgingly!

  7. One of the reasons I like this classic game is buying a property without signing hundreds of escrow papersssss... Confession: I'm really quite bad at this game ...errr 've never won!


  8. Actually, Lenore, this game is the ONLY way I've ever bought property! I'm 38, and still renting. However, not owning a home does have its advantages...

    Btw, I've never won either. It's kinda hard to win when no one I've ever played with had the patience to finish the game!

  9. O monopoli. i have forgotten that game! it is so fun and mature in fact

  10. Thanks for visiting the circus, lolly-jolly!
    Yeah, I guess you do need to be old enough to understand the basics of math, money and real estate. Must be why there's Junior Monopoly for the kiddies! :)

  11. Well, you know I'm one of the moaners....but I would TOTALLY play Sesame Street Monopoly with you! Didn't know there were so many versions of this game, sheesh. I just love the redesign by Andy Mangold, too.

    Since I never played the game much, I have no particular attachment to any one token, so you're safe there. But I am definitely a straight-liner as well! If I can't have order in my real life, I'm going to create it where I can.

    Actually, as a side note to any of you who have not had the privilege of meeting Anthony in person, if you were to play a game with him, and ever-so-carefully poke something out of alignment when he wasn't looking, it could be quite entertaining!

  12. Ha-ha, Tikimama!

    Are you trying to make me look like a totally anal (ahem) perfectionist freak? I'm not THAT bad... Am I?

    I just think that I try to do what you described doing, create order wherever I can. Certainly, if anyone walked into my home, they wouldn't get the impression that I was a perfectionist! They'd think I was a SLOB!

    Isn't it weird how inconsistant, even contradictory, our personality traits can be?


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