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Maybe not getting out of jail for free, but certainly a big help.
September 19, 2009 6:47 AM   Subscribe

The history of Monopoly has been a long one, but the game also helped change history through its participation in providing hidden maps and tools to help British POWs during WWII.
posted by NoraCharles (36 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's still a terrible game.
posted by sonic meat machine at 6:51 AM on September 19, 2009 [7 favorites]


If anyone wants to read any books about this: MI9: Escape or Evasion covers the British efforts and The Escape Factory details the American side of things.

They hid radios inside of baseball bats.
posted by marxchivist at 7:08 AM on September 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


The "Community Chest" cards also doubled as shuriken.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 7:15 AM on September 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Here I was hoping that it was as simple as a "Get out of prison camp free" card.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 7:15 AM on September 19, 2009 [4 favorites]


Also, inside every house and hotel was a tiny packet of Marmite, which could be used to boost morale among the POWs or to poison the prison camp guards.

I'm done now.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 7:21 AM on September 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


"Hey kid. You want a Hershey bar?"
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 8:02 AM on September 19, 2009


It's still a terrible game.

Clearly you've never finished it. If you finish a game of Monopoly, Rich Uncle Pennybags pops out of the board and takes you on a magical adventure through capitalism, and also Narnia.
Unfortunately, no one has ever actually completed a session of Monopoly, because it is a terrible game.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 8:07 AM on September 19, 2009 [6 favorites]


"Damnit grandpa, why did you have to ruin game night by putting hotels on all your properties."
"The kids gotta learn how hard life is someday. Life is just one hotel after another."

Ahh Monopoly. Destroyer of families, bringer of pain and sorrow. I love this game.
posted by msbutah at 8:18 AM on September 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Now see here, double-o seven....
posted by Avenger at 8:21 AM on September 19, 2009


Monopoly is a great game...for the family therapist industry.
posted by DU at 8:26 AM on September 19, 2009


Unfortunately, no one has ever actually completed a session of Monopoly, because it is a terrible game.

No one has ever completed a game because no one has ever actually played a game. "How to play monopoly," is one of those peculiar kid-culture things that kids pass on to each other, (like "Jingle Bells/ Batman smells/ Robin laid an egg.").

If as an adult you read the rules and play a game, you will discover that Monopoly takes about an hour to play. It's still not a great game, but it has a certain charm.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:26 AM on September 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Monopoly is a great game...
...for educating a new generation of anti-capitalist revolutionaries, as it confirms that such a system only leads to bitter conflicts and ends with an angry prole upending the board, pieces and all.
posted by Abiezer at 8:41 AM on September 19, 2009 [10 favorites]


If as an adult you read the rules and play a game, you will discover that Monopoly takes about an hour to play. It's still not a great game, but it has a certain charm.

Really? I've played it once with adults, and it was unterminable. We were six; is that too many players?
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 8:44 AM on September 19, 2009


How the heck am I supposed to dig this tunnel with a tiny thimble and a tiny, tiny wheelborrow?
posted by Skwirl at 8:47 AM on September 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


I've played it once with adults, and it was unterminable.

Do you mean 'interminable' there? Not to go all persnickety on you, it's just weird that a game all about self-interest would impair the use of "I" as a letter.
posted by el_lupino at 9:07 AM on September 19, 2009


Monopoly is a great game...
...for educating a new generation of anti-capitalist revolutionaries


No, that's this one.
posted by haltingproblemsolved at 9:09 AM on September 19, 2009


Do you mean 'interminable' there? Not to go all persnickety on you, it's just weird that a game all about self-interest would impair the use of "I" as a letter.
posted by el_lupino


A typo on the internet? That's unpossible.
posted by w0mbat at 9:14 AM on September 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


el_lupino: That was just me randomly swapping a "u" for an "i" (strictly talking about letters here). English is not my first language.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 9:14 AM on September 19, 2009


Maybe Ridley Scott can make use of this.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:20 AM on September 19, 2009


Monopoly is a great game...
...for educating a new generation of anti-capitalist revolutionaries


Or Class Struggle...
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:31 AM on September 19, 2009


Monopoly doesn't take that long to finish compared to Risk.
posted by SirOmega at 9:40 AM on September 19, 2009


How many of you hipsters hating on Monopoly for being slow played month-long episodes of Dungeons & Dragons when you were younger?

This is a really cool story; I can't believe none of the doctored Monopoly sets survive.
posted by TedW at 10:03 AM on September 19, 2009


Monopoly is a great game...
...for educating a new generation of anti-capitalist revolutionaries


I think that the Soviet variants of Monopoly, released in the late 1980-s, titled Menedzher (Manager) and NEP (New Economic Policy)*, probably helped educate a new generation of capitalists.

* Both links in Russian; both have nice pictures of the games, though.
posted by daniel_charms at 10:45 AM on September 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


The January 1964 issue of Popular Science magazine, page 69, has a fascinating article on the same theme.

**** Spoiler Alert ****

My favorite part of the article details how tiny compasses were hidden in the buttons of clothing. The compass was revealed by unscrewing the front face of the button. When the Germans caught onto this ruse, the British responded by reworking the buttons with left handed threads...
posted by Tube at 11:06 AM on September 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


How many of you hipsters hating on Monopoly for being slow played month-long episodes of Dungeons & Dragons when you were younger?

Not I. That was never my poison. That said, Monopoly is about 99% luck; at least D&D has decision making. That's what makes D&D so stereotypically slow, after all—people are sitting there arguing over the implications of possible decisions before they made one.

Monopoly's only decision-making comes into play with trade deals and property building, and those decisions are extremely simple. (Does it allow the other person to complete a superior monopoly? Then hold on to that property no matter what.) It's not that Monopoly is incredibly long in an absolute sense. I've certainly played games of Go that took just as long as most Monopoly games. It's just that it's incredibly long for what it is, which is an exercise in dice-rolling. Over and over again. In which one person can be knocked out of the game fifteen minutes into it and spend the next three hours with nothing to do.
posted by sonic meat machine at 11:37 AM on September 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Do you mean 'interminable' there? Not to go all persnickety on you, it's just weird that a game all about self-interest would impair the use of "I" as a letter.

el_lupino: That was just me randomly swapping a "u" for an "i" (strictly talking about letters here). English is not my first language.

And that was just me kidding around about the nature of the game. (Self-interest, "I" and so on.) No offense meant. If I had a quarter for every typo I've made on MeFi, well, that'd be a lot of quarters.
posted by el_lupino at 12:27 PM on September 19, 2009


How many of you hipsters hating on Monopoly for being slow played month-long episodes of Dungeons & Dragons when you were younger?

It's not that Monopoly is slow, it's that it's tedious. Quite early in the game, the winners/top-dogs are clear and yet everyone else just has to sit around and keep playing. At least in long games of Risk or whatever you can still derive some joy from (at the very least) screwing with the forerunners.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 12:42 PM on September 19, 2009


The key to finishing a monopoly game is to not play with house rules, particularly the 'free parking' variants. If you keep injecting money into the game, inflation out paces rents and it never ends.
posted by empath at 3:06 PM on September 19, 2009


My problem with both monopoly and risk is that there's essentially no disincentive for kingmaking behavior. If you're winning, all someone needs to do to wreck the game is sell all their properties to someone else for a dollar and quit. Same with risk. One suicide attack and the game is tossed out of balance.
posted by empath at 3:11 PM on September 19, 2009


Monopoly is a great game...
...for educating a new generation of anti-capitalist revolutionaries


Its roots are in Georgism. The point was that only landlords got rich.
posted by dhartung at 4:47 PM on September 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Almost no one realizes that Monopoly's official rules instruct auctioning of every property landed on if passed by the lander. That's what speeds up the real game. Based on the above typed rules, there originally were no prices for properties and no benefit to being the one landing on an unpurchased one, they were just all auctioned. I'm interested in trying that out now.
posted by davebug at 2:56 PM on September 20, 2009


Thank you, BrotherCaine - I was trying to remember what that game was called.
posted by paduasoy at 3:30 PM on September 20, 2009


Davebug, I don't follow.
posted by acoutu at 6:26 PM on September 20, 2009


I think davebug refers to the requirement that if the player who has landed on a property forgoes his opportunity to buy the property at face value, it must go for auction immediately. That was one of those things that I never did as a kid, along with "And when you kand on Free Parking, you get all this money in the middle! Oh yeah, that pile in the middle is where all the money you pay from Chance and Community Chest cards goes, and it starts with FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS!" This is why my games when I was ten lasted for nine hours.

It takes only about three seconds' thought to realize that the only way someone loses the game is by running out of money, and so the more money gets injected into the game, the longer it takes for the game to conclude. But three seconds is a long time, and thinking is hard.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:02 AM on September 22, 2009


Ahhh Monopoly. I finished plenty of games of that. When it stops being fun, you don't play!

Now this game was what turned me into a Potrzebie Capitaliista... Keep in mind I was eleven and it was hilarious. But I am still to this day a meshugganist.

(great article, too... thanks!)
posted by not_on_display at 10:25 PM on September 23, 2009


In a rare case of actual hard work, I drew a comic rather than making a comment.
posted by The Whelk at 12:56 PM on September 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


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