I don’t wish to alarm anyone, to cause mass panic or public hysteria… But after more than 80 years of peaceful, civilised, structured existence, the powers that be are CHANGING THE RULES OF MONOPOLY.
It’s okay. You can take a moment to digest the news. I know I needed to.
Hasbro, who bought the rights to publish the classic (originally American) board game in 1991, announced this week that they would officially be incorporating the most popular ‘house rules’ into the Official Rules of a special edition of the game.
Fans of the board game’s Facebook page (if you want to be involved go here) will be allowed to debate the relative benefits and shortcomings of the various house rules over the coming week. The People In Charge of Ruining Fun at Hasbro will then choose the top five non-rule-rules to form an official addendum to the actual rules.
What in the name of all that is sensible is this about?
Turning Monopoly into a democracy? Trying to make the unofficial rules official? This sort of madness will shake the very structural foundations of the board game playing world. Because I promise you, it is a slippery slope from allowing people to collect $400 when they land on GO instead of the usual $200, to the all-out mayhem of instituting anti-monopolistic practices like drawing more money on the back of playing cards.
Other rules being considered by the game-makers are the payment of all taxes and penalties to a central pot, which a player can gain by landing on Free Parking. Putting a stop to unsold properties going up for ‘auction’ when landed on by a player who doesn’t want to buy them. Stopping players from collecting an income while incarcerated. And waiving the ‘you snooze you lose’ rule about not getting to collect rent if you don’t notice a fellow player landed on your property.
Now. We don’t have any official position against or in favour of any of the house rules. (Actually that is a bald faced lie, everyone plays the Free Parking rule. Right? Right?) But making these unofficial rules official actually ruins the very reason Monopoly is so much fun to play.
Cheating is what makes Monopoly fun. Taking that sneaky $500 note from the bank when you’re in a touch of financial trouble and your sister is looking the other way. Accidentally bumping a house of a neighbour’s property when they’re distracted by the television. Getting into a full on physical brawl when two different households of cousins come together and there were no ‘house rules’ established prior to the game.
If Hasbro is allowed to get away with this sort of democratic Monopolistic reform, squabbling children stuck inside beach houses on rainy days everywhere will never be the same again. The important childhood lessons about only thieving when you’re sure you’ll get away with it, changing the rules to suit your position in the game and negotiating your way out of a hole – will all be lost.
And if we can’t believe in the perfect little cardboard world of Mayfair and Park Lane anymore, what can we believe in?
An earlier version of this post stated that the ‘auction’ rule was not a part of the official rules. Apparently it is. Shit eh?
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