Games I Own: Monopoly

Written by Joe Martin

April 14, 2010 | 14:43

Tags: #board-games #games-i-own #monopoly #settlers #story

When I was younger there were a lot of games I wasn’t allowed to play, like Street Fighter, for example. My parents took a dim view of that sort of thing and funnelled me towards adventure and puzzle games instead. I can look back happily now, glad that I ended up playing Monkey Island rather than Mortal Kombat, but I was actually quite annoyed about it at the time.

I swore, childishly, that when I got older I would play whatever games I damn well pleased, whenever I wanted – but things didn’t quite turn out that way. Well, OK, mostly they did, but let's not get distracted from this story...

The point is that, while I have a copy of Monopoly sat on a shelf in my wardrobe, I’ve learned that I’m better off sticking to different types of games. I’ve banned myself from playing it under any circumstances.
Games I Own: Monopoly

The problem is that I’m too competitive when it comes to some things. There are plenty of board games I can sit down and play perfectly peaceably, but Monopoly isn't one of them. It brings out the worst in me and I always end up immersing myself in my fictional finances with infinitely more attention than I monitor my real-world resources. I scheme. I plot. I take it very seriously, getting upset if I lose and even cheating in an effort to avoid that outcome.

It’s not something I’m particularly proud about, but it’s not unknown for me to resort to bullying tactics when playing Monopoly either. Now-distant evenings during family holidays would often be ruined by me behaving like some land-hungry railroad tycoon from a Wild West film, taking any available path to get hold of more income. I’d pick on my younger brother or skim notes off the top of my sisters' holdings when she wasn't looking. If it looked like I was on a really bad downward spiral then I'd quit early and claim the whole game was unfair.

I'm not normally like that, understand. I don't take most competition at all seriously and rarely do I find myself caring about winning or losing in a deathmatch. Only with Monopoly do I become such a...well, a bastard.

Games I Own: Monopoly
I don't see what the fuss is about, personally

It’s an ugly feeling to cheat in a board game – somehow far, far worse than enabling God mode in a computer game – but that never stopped me from doing it. I still would if it weren't for the fact that, after having so many fights over the matter, I've learned its far better to just steer clear of Monopoly altogether. If there were split lips and bruises when I was a kid then I shudder to think what the arguments would end up like now that I’m fully grown. I’d probably kill the other players outright – but only after making sure their wills left their property to me, naturally.

I’ve known other people to have similar problems with specific games too. At university I shared a block with a German exchange student who mostly had to walk away when me and friends started talking about computer games. I quickly learned that he had to actively distance himself from it because of an addiction to the Settlers games. It turned out he got so addicted to playing them that he almost flunked out of school and had to repeat a few exams to catch up. After that he decided he was best off just staying away from computer games altogether.

Are there any games you find you have to actually stop yourself from playing? Let me know in the comments.
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