If you were to ask me, ‘Nicola, what’s your least favorite board game?’ I would say, without hesitation, Monopoly. Trouble (if it is, in fact, a board game) is right up there, but it has in its favor compactness of size and the possibility of ending before I turn 40.
Monopoly has neither of those.
First, a question-thought: Why is the Monopoly box so big? Bigger than any other game known to man (or at least of the games we have), and here’s my beef: it.does.not.fit.inside.a.moving.box.
Perhaps in one of those gynormous wardrobe boxes. But certainly not in one of the ordinary ones.
Maybe if you’re one of those ‘regular’ people who move once every fifteen years and only to a bigger house down the street, it’s really not a big deal. But if you’re something of a serial mover, the oversized Monopoly game is a problem. It doesn’t fit in a box, so it’s inevitably moved ‘as-is’ in the backseat of the car or what have you and then, amid the sea of brown boxes in your living room, there will be a Monopoly game box. And your children will, less than 24 hours after you’ve dumped said boxes on said floor, ask you to play…..the most tedious of tedious games.
And you will, because you feel enormously guilty about all the movies they watched in the course of a day while you schlepped boxes and cleaned. (In Percy’s case I should say ‘movie’. Because he literally watched Cars on continuous loop for the better part of two or three hours, until his little head drooped onto the table and he fell asleep.)
So the cherubs and I sat down yesterday and played Monopoly. The Hen – who is 4 – bought everything he could get his hands on. The Gort spent most of the game in jail – morosely throwing dice in the hopes of getting the coveted though elusive ‘doubles’ to free himself. And I, banker slash peacekeeper, sat on the floor with numb feet and knees; losing to a four year old.
Two hours later, with no end in sight, I begged for a reprieve: ‘we need to get dinner, how about we play again tomorrow….after school?’ So we set the in-progress game aside on the lone cleared surface. The professor surveyed the money/property card stacks, lingering on the stack that had a pile of money but no property cards. ‘Who’s the cheapskate?’ ‘Ah, the Gort spent most of the game in jail,’ I explained, ‘and the Hen bought everything.’
We continued our marathon this afternoon when the Gort got home from school. I, the Kofi Annan to the likes of Syria and Libya. A rather shouty Kofi, I should clarify, because – frankly – when you have an overzealous oldest brother and a fiercely independent ‘don’t do it for me’ younger brother, sparks fly. Continuously.
It was really rather ridiculous, playing with the Hen. I felt like jealous Jan Brady, silently chanting ‘Henners Henners Henners’ while he collected piles of rent money and picked up all the good Community Chest and Chance cards: collect $100, pass Go and collect $200….’I’m lucky!’ he crowed. ‘Yeah you are,’ I replied somewhat glumly.
Eventually, in the third or fourth hour of the marathon, the Gort was ousted from the game for unsportsmanlike conduct and the Hen and I put the in-progress game aside; to be continued after breakfast.
‘I’m leaving!’ the eight year old vowed-threatened. ‘I mean, I’ll be back for dinner and stuff, but I’m leaving.’
Fine. But take the game with you. Please.