Monopolised by Monopoly

This is our floor.  I’m not sure what it is about Monopoly, but my 7 year old is obsessed with it.  He negotiates with his brother (who’s a ‘Game of Life’ man) to play it, morning, noon and night.  Watching him play it is like watching an audition for Shylock in A Merchant of Venice.

It was ironic to hear that it was initially created by an anti-monopolist (Lizzie Magie) as the “The Landlord’s Game” in 1903 to show how rent enriches landlords at the expense of their tenants. It was only in 1933 that a new variation named ‘Monopoly’ made the aim of the game to bankrupt rivals in order to become the monopolist.  But on the flip-side it’s also been credited with helping World War II prisoners escape (with an adapted version, distributed by the secret service which included real money and tools).  There’s now well over 1,000 versions and you can now even get custom-made ones on Etsy.

My eldest came into the kitchen about 9am on a Saturday and said “you know what I’m thinking…?” and I thought I did (‘snack’, ‘film’…).  However, as I’m a veteran at these mind-games, I kept my cards close to my chest.  That way I’d avoid accidentally offering up more suggestions that I’d inevitably have to dodge round later.  I responded with a general “Uh?”, but should have guessed his response: “Monopoly”.

Now, I’m usually up for a bit of family fun, but 9am? Monopoly? I’d have felt similarly if he’d suggested that I run a marathon.  For me Monopoly has the same rules as alcohol:  the later in the day the better.

After I failed to jump onto the Monopoly-bandwagon, my poor semi-literate 5 year old was then commandeered as a mere pawn in his older brother’s empire-building plans.  My little one didn’t have a  clue what was going on (and just liked to collect the hotels).  It’s probably therefore no surprise that it ended-up with a fall-out when he inevitably wandered off half-way through a game.  This left the would-be property magnate high and dry – it’s apparently no fun if you can’t play until the bitter end.

…Good luck to anyone if they can get a five year old to stay focused on a board game lasting hours, requiring them to mortgage houses and fathom-out ‘Community Chest’!

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