I was going to write a post defending Monopoly, but I can’t because it sucks

As I might have mentioned before, I was at Protolexithymic’s house and we played a couple games up Settlers of Catan.  And it worked out nicely because my son had been asking me to buy the game for months before that.  So I bought.  And we’re hooked.  Seriously, we play pretty much every day.

I was looking around for prices on the expansion set- so we can play with 5-6 people instead of 3-4 and I happened upon this post.  Which is a response to a previous article about Monopoly vs Settlers, how Settlers will never be as popular as Monopoly, from someone who agrees that Settlers is a much better game (?).  Wired responds with:

Settlers isn’t Monopoly. It won’t bore you to tears, taking hours to play out the conclusion you could see coming after the first few rounds.

And I was like, wait, I’ve played Monopoly lots of times and it’s not that bad.  And I spent the last couple days constructing a defense of Monopoly until I had to finally give in to the fact that yes, it is bad.  At best, it’s not that bad.  By that bad I mean- the game of LIFE.  A truly soul-sucking board game if ever there was one.

Anyway, there’s a lot wrong with Monopoly, but here are the big ones, in my opinion.  Maybe you have your own reasons.

It’s unrealistic

In what kind of a world would you announce to all your competitors that you’re trying to buy up all the land on a certain block so you can develop it?  That’s not bright.  You would hide behind a shell company.  I don’t how that would work in the game but someone should come up with something.  And while we’re on the subject, the real estate division of the bank that owns all this land is run by morons- Oh, you paid bought two parcels at asking price, and you really need the third one, we’ll sell it to you… at our asking rate!  WHY NOT?

And why can’t you develop land that’s mortgaged?  That makes no sense.  Developers must have really had a tough time back in the 20s or whenever this game was made because no one just goes around buying land and then putting up buildings with the money they already have.

Finally- why on earth are you staying at your competitor’s hotels in the first place?  No, I will not stay in your fleabag Baltic hotel, I own my own on Marvin Gardens, I’ll be staying there BECAUSE IT’S IN THE SAME DAMN TOWN.

People don’t know how to play it

I know it’s weird, but I actually read the rules a while back and I noticed that you can bid on properties that other people land on but decide not to buy.  Apparently Parker Bros or Hasbro or whoever owns the rights has been promoting this rule lately because it literally shaves hours off the game.  And it makes sense- if you own land, you don’t have to sell to the first person who rolls up in a top hat.  You can sell to that dude in the thimble too.  Get that money!

People buy up all the land and then sit on it.  Why?  The game will never end if everyone is collecting rents in $12 increments.  So the game creators had to come up with that $200 for passing go bullshit.  Where does that money come from?  Anyway, if you own land you can develop- mortgage everything else that you can’t.   Build that hotel, bankrupt your friends and end the game quicker!

Everything else about it

You already know pretty early who’s going to win, but you know what sucks more than that?  Being out of the game early.  Then you have to sit there and watch people play, which is a whole new level of torture.  And unrealistic.  Donald Trump doesn’t let squandering a massive inheritance and multiple bankruptcies stand in the way of him pretending to be a developer, you should be able to as well!


All that being said, I’ve played the game lots of times and probably will again.  Some of the articles I’ve read said it’s no fun crushing your friends and driving them into bankruptcy- oh really?  How do you explain the popularity of poker night?  I actually think the popularity of other games will force the makers of Monopoly to try to make the game more exciting.  There’s no reason why it shouldn’t be.  The game is about developing property, which, for better or worse is a high-stakes industry with lots of winners and losers.


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