Game Night (Reprise)

 

I’ve discovered a dynamic tool that teaches kids adding, subtracting, counting money, saving money, and making change. They learn a range of new vocabulary, practice reading, work on fine motor skills, and pick up some wisdom about life. The kids can’t get enough of it. No, it’s not some fancy computer game. It’s not a LeapPad, and it’s not a stuffed animal that talks to them. It’s a $10 Monopoly game from Wal-Mart.

Now, my mom warned me back when I was talking about getting the game for them that it would go over their heads. They took to it right away, but Mom was right insofar as playing Monopoly with a five-year-old and a seven-year-old is not like playing with my friends back when I was a pre-teen and young teenager. No, playing with these small opponents is a great deal more taxing. When you play Monopoly with young children, don’t be surprised if the following occur:

1.) You ask another player, the more literate of the two, to set up the board. When you return several minutes later, she has put out the board and carefully laid out Community Chest and Chance. You look for signs that she has begun to count out the money, but instead find out that she has been deeply absorbed in laying out tiny communities with the hotels and houses.

 2.) Choosing your token is a big deal. Setting up the game is interrupted when the younger one arranges the tokens in a long line and asks you to select a token. Each of your opponents carefully picks out her favorite animal. Older one must continue to set up the game with dog token clutched in one hand, and thus cannot pass the money tray to you with a discussion about how she can’t do it one-handed.

 3.) You start the game during what is to you very early in the evening, but the other players tire by 6:45, before anyone has even passed “Go” for the first time. You make a mental note to start at 10:00 am next time.

 4.) The one who so eagerly volunteered to be the banker must be watched to make sure 1.) transactions don’t absent-mindedly end up in her own pot, and 2.) the money gets placed right-side up and in the right section.

 5.) Someone could get upset if she goes to jail. And another player might even get upset if you yourself land on the policeman and try to reassure you that it’s going to be okay. (See #3.)

 6.) You have to watch your opponents all the time to make sure they move their tokens the correct number of spaces. They have a tendency to start counting with the space they are already on.

 7.) There are lots of pauses in the game while your opponents add up the numbers on their die.

 8.) Your opponents might arbitrarily decide not to buy a piece of property they land on. Sometimes “it costs too much,” other times they’re just exercising the delicious power of choice the game gives them, and once in a while it’s simply, “I don’t want to use all my hundred dollar bills.”

 9.) You struggle to give the children objective advice when you so want to buy Park Place yourself. It would be so easy not to tell her that she’ll pick up another $200 right away when she passes “Go” on her next turn . . .

 10.) You find yourself explaining the obvious: “Two $500 bills are just like having ten $100 bills.” And you hear yourself saying this two, maybe three, times during the game.

11.) You praise your opponents every time they count out the correct amount of money.

 12.) One or both of your opponents look confused when you mention giving or taking change. So you talk it through every time you do it. And you’re the only one who can do it, even though you’re not the banker.

 13.) Eagle eyes for every turn, every transaction. You can never let down your guard.

 14.) (First refer to #3) One opponent can’t stop moving, rocking back and forth, and doing somersaults. This is bad for a Monopoly setup on the floor of a small room.

 15.) An opponent gloats over her property, counting it, laying it out, talking about it. When she lands on her own property, instead of proclaiming the turn boring, she says, “I’m camping on my own property tonight.”

 16.) When someone has to pay rent, you delight the other players if you describe the amenities that go with a rented property. Baltic Avenue, for example, offers only RV hookups and hot showers, while something like Kentucky Ave. will have a game room with billiards, miniature golf, and free Disney channel. The other players get into it: “and a library,” they add. In case you’re interested, Marvin Gardens is a resort hotel with free movies, a pool, and a view of Disney Land.

 17.) When you offer to move your opponents’ tokens because they’re at the opposite end of the board, they get a real bang out of it when you make neighing or barking sounds while you do so.

 18.) Your opponents have a hard time reaching their tokens when they’re at the opposite end of the board.

 19.) One of the other players might smuggle an extra token onto the board and either move it randomly around before it’s her turn or move it in tandem with her original token. You and the other player mostly ignore this.

20.) You cut the game short after about forty minutes, read your opponents a story, and send them to bed.

Now my mom warned me, didn’t she?

Published in Humor
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There are 22 comments.

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  1. Max Knots Member
    Max Knots
    @MaxKnots

    Sounds like the perfect evening!

    • #1
  2. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    So true. My old Monopoly games used to come with rules for different versions of “Short Monopoly”. One was to just set a time limit. Forty minutes sounds like a good choice. If you have a clock nearby, this could become a time-telling experience as well. Preferably use an analog clock with a “big” hand and a “little” hand. Kids today are notoriously poor at reading analog clocks.

    Also, I loved your descriptions of the amenities in each rent district and the animal sounds as you move the game pieces.

    • #2
  3. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Max Knots (View Comment):

    Sounds like the perfect evening!

    It does. Everything about it sounds charming.

    • #3
  4. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    As a 12 year-old I would play with my friends at sleepovers. We were older and we changed the rules to add $500 to the Community Chest every time it was won.

    Not unlike our own government printing money and inflating the currency as I look back on it. We played all night and the board became over-built with hotels (because of the infusion of cash). We were little Democrats, no doubt. Instead of making the game more interesting, we felt richer whilst playing.

    We started calling it Monotony. 

    Later in life I came to work in Atlantic City in it’s second heyday when casinos first arrived. 

    The street names were still there and the houses on Baltic and Mediterranean were exactly as expected, run-down dives. I stopped buying those properties as I recall. Worthless even with a hotel.

    I read somewhere recently that the key to winning Monopoly is getting the Yellow properties Marvin Gardens, Ventnor and the other one.

    Maybe when the kids get a bit older you can teach them all about how inflation works by using my rule-change of infusing cash into the economy.

    • #4
  5. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    sawatdeeka: Choosing your token is a big deal.

    No one wants to be a thimble.

    sawatdeeka: You cut the game short after about forty minutes, read your opponents a story, and send them to bed.

    It can take a really long time. Never been able to cut it short though, because it seems there is always one player (at least in my family) who won’t stop until they get to win.

    • #5
  6. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    Sometimes we play with Guerra House Rules. 

    1. All payments to the bank go into the Free Parking cache which starts with $1000 and two random cards
    2. A player with every property in the color group can build hotels for $1000 without bothering about houses
    3. You can negotiate payments, anything goes

    • #6
  7. Internet's Hank Contributor
    Internet's Hank
    @HankRhody

    sawatdeeka: You cut the game short after about forty minutes, read your opponents a story, and send them to bed.

    Good idea. While I’ve had some very fun times playing Monopoly it’s actually a pretty lousy game. Most of the fun happens in the first part of the game when you’re going around buying up properties, and building up houses. When everyone’s got hotels and is just waiting to see who rolls poorly next it becomes a miserable game.

    When the kids get a little older and are more interested in playing the game right and actually seeing who wins I’d suggest moving them on to a better game.

    • #7
  8. Internet's Hank Contributor
    Internet's Hank
    @HankRhody

    Franco (View Comment):

    I read somewhere recently that the key to winning Monopoly is getting the Yellow properties Marvin Gardens, Ventnor and the other one.

    It’s the orange ones. St. James and New York Avenue and… the other one. The reason is that a lot of the card movements put you in jail, and rolling a six or an eight on two dice is pretty likely. 

    • #8
  9. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

    What a great time you have with your kids and that old game.  Well done!

    I also taught my kids and their cub scout buddies to play 5-card draw poker.  It teaches so many analytic skills as well as reading people.

    • #9
  10. Linguaphile Member
    Linguaphile
    @Linguaphile

    I know those little players!💕

    • #10
  11. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    sawatdeeka: Choosing your token is a big deal.

    No one wants to be a thimble.

    My mom did. But she was always asleep five minutes in.

    • #11
  12. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    sawatdeeka: Choosing your token is a big deal.

    No one wants to be a thimble.

    My mom did. But she was always asleep five minutes in.

    By the way, don’t mean to be off-topic, but one of the few things I regret not getting when my mother died was her wooden darning egg.  Especially now that I have a whole drawer full of holey socks.  It was a work of art in form and function.

    Does anyone still use darning eggs?  Does anyone remember them?

    • #12
  13. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    sawatdeeka: Choosing your token is a big deal.

    No one wants to be a thimble.

    My mom did. But she was always asleep five minutes in.

    By the way, don’t mean to be off-topic, but one of the few things I regret not getting when my mother died was her wooden darning egg. Especially now that I have a whole drawer full of holey socks. It was a work of art in form and function.

    Does anyone still use darning eggs? Does anyone remember them?

    Mom has one.

    A baseball will do in a pinch.

    • #13
  14. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Percival (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    sawatdeeka: Choosing your token is a big deal.

    No one wants to be a thimble.

    My mom did. But she was always asleep five minutes in.

    By the way, don’t mean to be off-topic, but one of the few things I regret not getting when my mother died was her wooden darning egg. Especially now that I have a whole drawer full of holey socks. It was a work of art in form and function.

    Does anyone still use darning eggs? Does anyone remember them?

    Mom has one.

    A baseball will do in a pinch.

    I think I have a cue ball someplace.

    • #14
  15. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    Percival (View Comment):
    Does anyone still use darning eggs? Does anyone remember them?

    The only thing I know about darning eggs was that puppeteer Hank Stohl supposedly used one to make his character Knish. Hank  had a popular Pittsburgh kid’s TV show in the 1950’s. I can’t find an image that I can copy.

     

    • #15
  16. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    Yer post cracked Me up.

    Percival (View Comment):
    Everything about it sounds charming.

    Her posts usually are. 

    • #16
  17. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    Vance Richards (View Comment):
    No one wants to be a thimble.

    Do the Monopoly games even have them now? Mine had a battleship, a cannon, a thimble, a shoe, an antique race car, and a dog. 

    My mother had thimbles, but my wife is a seamstress and I can’t recall ever having seen her use one.

    • #17
  18. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    sawatdeeka: Choosing your token is a big deal.

    No one wants to be a thimble.

    My mom did. But she was always asleep five minutes in.

    By the way, don’t mean to be off-topic, but one of the few things I regret not getting when my mother died was her wooden darning egg. Especially now that I have a whole drawer full of holey socks. It was a work of art in form and function.

    Does anyone still use darning eggs? Does anyone remember them?

    Mom has one.

    A baseball will do in a pinch.

    I think I have a cue ball someplace.

    That’ll do fine.

    • #18
  19. aardo vozz Member
    aardo vozz
    @aardovozz

    Percival (View Comment):

    Max Knots (View Comment):

    Sounds like the perfect evening!

    It does. Everything about it sounds charming.

    Your 20 findings in the above post would( coincidentally?) also apply to monitoring Congressional activities.😎

    < sarcasm off >
    < cynicism always on >

    • #19
  20. davenr321 Coolidge
    davenr321
    @davenr321

    Here is how I turned my kids into dangerous Monopoly players at the age of ten:

    1. Play strictly by the rules; that means no money for Free Parking and auctioning property that’s not bought when first landed upon. The games shouldn’t last more than two hours and the only variable is the throw of the dice.

    2. You win by ruining your opponents. If you own Park Place or Boardwalk and have Baltic Avenue with a hotel you will frustrate and destroy your enemies!

    3. taxes matter – it’s in the Cards!

    We love this game!

    • #20
  21. OccupantCDN Coolidge
    OccupantCDN
    @OccupantCDN

    Any game night that ends without one player hitting another with the game is a success.

     

    • #21
  22. Jeff Petraska Member
    Jeff Petraska
    @JeffPetraska

    Games can be learning experiences for a lot of things, and not necessarily just for children.  Playing games with a stock market mechanic is what helped me grasp what stocks were, especially when stock owners received dividends and when company stockholders were allowed to decide what action the company should take.

    Dungeons & Dragons, a game to which I was introduced as a college freshman in 1977, was the first game that introduced me to the concept that intelligence and wisdom were not the same thing, and that order/chaos were not synonyms of good/evil.  

    There are so, soooo many good family games available now that there’s no need to deal with the shortcomings of Monopoly any more.  If anyone is interested, I’d recommend starting with games from Haba, Iello, or Blue Orange.  The first game I bought for my 3-year-old granddaughter was this one, and she loved it.  It’s simple, but we still break it out and play it occasionally.  Her younger brother got this one as he got a little older – it’s essentially the same game but with a less feminine theme.

     

     

    • #22
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