Monopoly gets more realistic (HLD 362)

20 March 2021

I read an article today about how the board game Monopoly is finally being modernised.

Community chest cards up until now have given you highly unrealistic bonuses, such as ‘Bank error in your favour’, and “You have won second prize in a beauty contest”. I think we can all agree that these are so unrealistic – since when have the banks ever admitted an error!

Let’s set aside the obviously only slightly more likely options of becoming a property mogul on an income of $200, even discounting the regular trips to jail. Unless you’ve managed to score a handy ‘get out of jail free’ card, that is.

The community chest cards are where all those handy little bonuses that help you build your property portfolio come from. Your life insurance could mature, netting you $100. You could collect $10 for having a birthday, and you could receive $25 for a consultancy fee. You might have a Xmas fund that matures and you gain $100! But it’s not all beauty contests and bank errors – those community chest cards can have hidden nasties, like $150 school fees or $50 doctors fees. The dreaded horror, of course, is when you get assessed for street repairs at $40 per house and $115 per hotel you own.

It’s good to know that the makers of the game have realised that these cards have little to do with our lives nowadays. New bonuses or fines will be gained for things such as shopping local, running a non-profit’s social media account, helping the elderly, or recycling rubbish.

And the old “go to jail, go directly to jail” has become a little more involved. You now have a crime to pay for – such as ‘blasting music late at night’. But you can get out of jail by rescuing a puppy.

This is all so much more realistic.

Before you know it improvements on our houses and hotels will be along the lines of solar panels and a faster internet.

Purists among us will also be a little edgy that the original player tokens – car, iron, lantern, thimble, shoe, top hat and rocking horse, will be replaced by far more modern options like mobile phones, jet ski’s, skateboards or electric cars.

And let’s face it – houses and hotels are going to become apartments and air BnB’s.

Although to be honest, I’ve never successfully become a property mogul playing this game anyway. I’m the sort of person who will land on the ‘go to jail’ spot each and every time I go around the board, and I am also highly likely to be the person who accidentally overturns the board, bringing the game to a premature end.

Maybe if I’d won first prize in the beauty contest, I’d own more hotels.

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