Make sure your friends never want to play Monopoly again
January 27, 2016 2:50 PM   Subscribe

 
It's better to go for the less expensive property groups, such as light blue, light purple, and orange, because they are easier to develop

The combinations of chance, jail and doubles makes these properties the best.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:01 PM on January 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


I find it interesting that with most games, there's this dividing line between people who are serious about winning and people who "just want to have fun," i.e. want to win sometimes without having to try very hard. In Monopoly it's creating a housing shortage, in Scrabble it's memorizing lists of words that they don't even know the definitions thereof, in chess it's memorizing openings ad nauseum, so on and so forth.

I find it even more interesting that online culture has made up a pejorative term for people who do this: "try-hard." I looked into it; in certain contexts it means someone who is putting way too much effort into seeming to be something they're not, like a wannabe punk rocker who spends hundreds of dollars buying clothes with just the right amount of artificial wear-and-tear. But in the gaming world, it just means what it sounds like, someone who plays as if they want to win.
posted by lore at 3:04 PM on January 27, 2016 [7 favorites]


Time to alienate friends and family.
posted by Splunge at 3:05 PM on January 27, 2016 [2 favorites]




But in the gaming world, it just means what it sounds like, someone who plays as if they want to win.

Does it? I'm not sure I've heard the term used that way. I've heard the opposite: people who aren't really into a game derided as "casuals".
posted by Sangermaine at 3:08 PM on January 27, 2016 [5 favorites]


For the record, there are a few quicker, easier, more fun ways to ensure nobody ever suggests playing Monopoly with you again. My personal favorite is playing the "embezzling Banker" variation but I've also had good luck with fomenting communist revolution partway through
posted by town of cats at 3:13 PM on January 27, 2016 [73 favorites]


town of cats: "For the record, there are a few quicker, easier, more fun ways to ensure nobody ever suggests playing Monopoly with you again. My personal favorite is playing the "embezzling Banker" variation but I've also had good luck with fomenting communist revolution partway through"

Ha! Anyone who has ever played Monopoly with me knows the cardinal rule. Splunge is NEVER the banker.
posted by Splunge at 3:17 PM on January 27, 2016 [5 favorites]


I played in a 'monopoly league' with a group of friends for a while. We'd get together every month or so and play two or three games. There were usually between 4 and 6 of us and all of us knew the rules and we followed them strictly. Let me tell you how the games play out.

All of the properties get snatched up quickly. Everyone spends as fast as they can. Natural monopolies were very rare; most commonly, the properties get scattered and a stalemate ensues. Generally, we circle the board until someone brokers a complicated 3 or 4 way deal that gives monopolies to each player involved. But everyone knows that the one who brokers the deal usually has to concede more in order to secure everyone's participation, so no-one is in a hurry.

It's always possible to make a big trade. But some people will recognize that the whole thing hinges on their co-operation and demand ridiculous concessions, like all 4 railways, or $1000 in cash. Or they might demand that their opponent who is going to be in a superior position give up their advantage. They will keep these demands up until their situation on the board deteriorates or an alternative trade is forming that is less to their advantage. But everyone's doing this at the same time. In this way a sort of market equilibrium forms, where everyone participating in the trade comes out in roughly the same position. This can yield sometimes bizarre trades where you give up one property and get five in return. But without that one property, the whole deal falls apart, so it's kind of appropriate. The property's value is what people are willing to pay, right?

Everyone knows the values of the properties. Oranges, violets, reds are coveted for the high return on investment. The greens are less valuable because people rarely have the cash to build them up. Railroads are a very good bet.

In some games one player will score a natural monopoly, and that spells the end of the game unless the other players make a trade to even things out. They will likely do so even if they come out relatively badly, because you can't stay in the game without a monopoly once there are houses on the board.

Following the blockbuster trade there is an immediate rush on houses until the supply is exhausted, at which point it remains heavily contested for the remainder of the game. Usually there will be excess demand which means houses have to be auctioned. People will pay hundreds for a house because there is an edge in preventing your opponents from getting it. As players move around the board and as circumstances allow, other players will adjust the distribution of their houses to land in the spots most likely to be hit. For example, right before their opponent comes out of jail, someone will load up the oranges.

After that it's attrition and luck.
posted by PercussivePaul at 3:21 PM on January 27, 2016 [26 favorites]


The only way to win is not to play.


Get Settlers or something else instead
posted by biffa at 3:24 PM on January 27, 2016 [20 favorites]


My personal favorite is playing the "embezzling Banker" variation but I've also had good luck with fomenting communist revolution partway through

Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your Monopoly-hacks newsletter.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 3:25 PM on January 27, 2016 [15 favorites]


Get Settlers or something else instead

Settlers may be the only game I can think of that's designed worse than Monopoly:

A. When competent players play each other it's basically solitaire
B. It's really easy for one or more players to be essentially knocked out early; stuck by circumstance or poor early choices with no real chance of winning and then forced to sit there and essentially watch other people play for an hour or two. That can be OK if you're the kind of person who likes playing kingmaker, but for us normal folks it's boring as hell. If a game is such that it's possible to fall in a hole you more or less can't recover from it should at least have the decency to be a short game (see: Coup).
posted by Itaxpica at 3:29 PM on January 27, 2016 [32 favorites]


Settlers is the Starbucks of board games. You aren't going to impress anyone who's really into that sort of thing, but it did a great job of informing the public that there was something at all out there beyond the not-very-good stuff America was used to for decades.

Also: I love the tryhard/casual distinction. Every level of dedication has a pejorative for every other level of dedication.
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:33 PM on January 27, 2016 [49 favorites]


(I also don't find myself able to enjoy Ticket to Ride very much, but that is pretty much a topic for another thread, another time)
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:37 PM on January 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


All of the properties get snatched up quickly. Everyone spends as fast as they can

In my experience you should buy everything and anything you land on.
posted by Hoopo at 3:41 PM on January 27, 2016


After that it's attrition and luck.


Christ, just reading that comment gave me hives. I really do not understand enjoying "competition." Also Monopoly is a childhood nightmare for me, as I assume it is for lots of Americans.
posted by uncleozzy at 3:42 PM on January 27, 2016 [3 favorites]


I heard a Monopoly phrase for the first time the other day. A "ragequit". Sums up my game endings through my entire childhood.

And perhaps some adulthood.
posted by taff at 3:45 PM on January 27, 2016 [4 favorites]


Also Monopoly is a childhood nightmare for me, as I assume it is for lots of Americans.

I think I read somewhere, someplace (perhaps many places) that Monopoly was intended to be a nightmare for Americans, or for anyone who plays, because it depicts exactly what rent-seeking does to anyone who doesn't get ahead in the game quickly, and thus illustrates one major flaw in the design of the modern economy.
posted by hippybear at 3:46 PM on January 27, 2016 [12 favorites]


Instead of ragequitting, I rage-refuse-to-start.

It saves a lot of time, and no matter how rude I am, it still results in less hurt feelings.
posted by aubilenon at 3:48 PM on January 27, 2016 [11 favorites]


I heard a Monopoly phrase for the first time the other day. A "ragequit". Sums up my game endings through my entire childhood.

That's a common video game term, though Monopoly has an advantage in that you can smash your roommate Rick over the head with the bank.
posted by rifflesby at 3:49 PM on January 27, 2016 [13 favorites]


We found that 2-player Ticket to Ride was also sort of a Solitaire if one person got all southern routes and the other northern. TTR: Nordic Countries helped that significantly.
posted by hwyengr at 3:51 PM on January 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


There's a mode of game-playing in which you gauge how much fun you're having by whether or not you're winning. I had trouble decoupling "winning" and "having fun" when I was a kid, and it made gaming stressful and more than a little hostile. Nowadays I still play games to win, but it's not the primary goal of playing a game. I feel like developing that divide is what permits people to play chess without feeling like they have to memorize openings, or to continue playing a losing game without ragequitting. It's definitely an emotional growth thing.

Also Monopoly has always sucked and will always suck forever.
posted by phooky at 3:52 PM on January 27, 2016 [10 favorites]


Eh, this is a viable strategy within the narrow conditions of just winning Monopoly, but I think in the end playing in an ultra-competitive way undermines the last suggestion of choosing another board game to play with your friends, because your friends will think you're just going to do the same thing in this new game as you did in Monopoly and they'll just choose to watch a movie or play a video game.

Another smaller criticism of the strategy is assuming that your friends are completely unaware of these strategies. Though I'm definitely not an expert on Monopoly, I could probably tell a Monopoly power gamer from what they're doing in the first few rounds. In those instances my objective would switch from winning the game, to just griefing the power gamer. And usually this means trying to prolong the game with Free Parking and doubling Go, stealing money, taking frequent breaks to raid the fridge, and then in the end just offering to sell all my property and cash to any non-powergamer player for $1 (and in exchange to land any of their properties for free). Yes, the power gamer will most likely win, but at least I'll have a good time drinking beer and pretending that I stomped on his houses with the boot.
posted by FJT at 3:52 PM on January 27, 2016 [7 favorites]


Also, if you want to see blood, watch some overly-serious adolescents play Diplomacy. It is flat out Battle Royale with Cheese.
posted by phooky at 3:53 PM on January 27, 2016 [30 favorites]


This was interesting. It's pretty much how I play but apparently I'm doing a few things very wrong. I actually enjoy Monopoly but I think a key to that is not playing often.

The Try-Hard vs. Have-Fun has an interesting twist when both sides know the best strategy. I grew up playing lots of board and card games and for us the point was to win. We didn't gloat or call each other names (much) but we knew the others were also there to win. At my in-laws' place we also play a lot of games but people get mad when I make a move that just makes sense if it gives me a big advantage. To the point where they'll make stupid moves because they're ahead. Playing 'DO' in Scrabble or not buying the property you can afford that completes a set or purposely losing a hand in cards because you're already ahead. I just can't get my head around it and they don't understand why I want to win.

It's like the Capulets and the Montagues got a Monopoly set.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 3:54 PM on January 27, 2016 [3 favorites]


Honestly, playing Monopoly without the auction rules, allowing more houses to exist than do exist in the actual game, with the free parking bonus rule (where penalty card payments are made to the center of the board and paid out to anyone who lands on free parking), mortgages are paid off without interest, and property trading is done at face value instead of property-for-entire-amount... can lead to fun games... but it also can extend the game to last for 5 or 6 hours instead of the intended 45-60 minutes.

It's like living in reality where the lotto is won by one of 6 players on a regular basis and nobody ever owes interest on anything.
posted by hippybear at 3:56 PM on January 27, 2016 [3 favorites]


People hate Monopoly because they (understandably) treat the rulebook as the specification for a game, where it's really more a template for a game. It's fun to the degree that your realization of the template allows, and I've never had any particular trouble enjoying it for that reason.
posted by invitapriore at 4:00 PM on January 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


And all this time I thought people hated Monopoly because gameplay results in the slow mortification and elimination of each other player as they are unable to pay their debts and are subjected to group humiliation as they turn over all their assets to another player and sent out of the game.
posted by hippybear at 4:05 PM on January 27, 2016 [3 favorites]


It's fun to the degree that your realization of the template allows...

whatever, Poindexter, so long as I have the racecar!
posted by lazycomputerkids at 4:06 PM on January 27, 2016 [5 favorites]


Honestly the only time Monopoly hasn't resulted in some level of Hate™ between those playing, in my experience, is when booze has been banned from those playing, so those who continue to survive on the game board have to watch while those who have been eliminated get to have some drinks and watch whatever they want on television while the players continue to have to duke it out for Supreme Controller Of Meaningless Properties.
posted by hippybear at 4:07 PM on January 27, 2016 [6 favorites]


And all this time I thought people hated Monopoly because gameplay results in the slow mortification and elimination of each other player as they are unable to pay their debts and are subjected to group humiliation as they turn over all their assets to another player and sent out of the game.

When you drop out you grab some beers and circle around the table ominously, heckling the remaining contestants Thunderdome-style. Seems win-win to me.
posted by invitapriore at 4:09 PM on January 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


My brother and my dad are super competitive and uber-capitalist; I'm...not. They get really into Monopoly. Whenever we play, I try to stay in the game as long as possible with taking only "irrational" actions (not buying a property when you land on it, buying one property but not others of the color, refusing to build houses/hotels, etc.). It drives them nuts. It's very entertaining for me.
posted by melissasaurus at 4:09 PM on January 27, 2016 [15 favorites]


I once played a game of Monopoly where one of the participants played as a socialist. She would give money to people, forgive rents, etc. It was amazing how annoyed some of the other players got. As I recall, the game didn't finish, it just devolved into an argument. So that's an even faster way to end the game and alienate your friends.
posted by zompist at 4:10 PM on January 27, 2016 [74 favorites]


SYNCHRONY
posted by invitapriore at 4:10 PM on January 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


I find it interesting that with most games, there's this dividing line between people who are serious about winning and people who "just want to have fun," i.e. want to win sometimes without having to try very hard. In Monopoly it's creating a housing shortage,

I like that in this instance, the author maintains that he's someone who would much prefer just having fun over winning, but because the group having fun is intrinsically incompatible with the group playing Monopoly, if people insist on playing Monopoly, then they must learn never to do that, such that next time (and forever after), Monopoly will not happen and fun shall be had instead. :)
posted by anonymisc at 4:10 PM on January 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think I read somewhere, someplace (perhaps many places) that Monopoly was intended to be a nightmare for Americans, or for anyone who plays, because it depicts exactly what rent-seeking does to anyone who doesn't get ahead in the game quickly, and thus illustrates one major flaw in the design of the modern economy.

Monopoly was based on The Landlord's Game, which was meant to show the consequences of economic rent.
posted by melissasaurus at 4:12 PM on January 27, 2016 [5 favorites]


I've also had good luck with fomenting communist revolution partway through

You need to make custom Chance cards that lead to the revolutionary overthrow of the state and the collectivization of all utilities
posted by poffin boffin at 4:13 PM on January 27, 2016 [12 favorites]


I once played a game of Monopoly where one of the participants played as a socialist. She would give money to people, forgive rents, etc. It was amazing how annoyed some of the other players got.

This is great. By her being nicer than the other players, the other ultra-competitive players are robbed of the ability to know they won "fair and square" unless either they risk their game by being similarly nice, or else they advocate that being an asshole doesn't matter next to winning.

Nice strategy! :)

The counter strategy might be to out-nice the socialist. Which quickly devolves into a race to the bottom top! :)
posted by anonymisc at 4:18 PM on January 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter: It is flat out Battle Royale with Cheese.
posted by Splunge at 4:25 PM on January 27, 2016 [3 favorites]


I don't understand why people would ever use the written rules instead of the far superior and more common house rules that make Monopoly into a beautiful hours long plinko game.
posted by mattamatic at 4:27 PM on January 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


If only it were a plinko game! Dropping that chip from the top of the board, watching as it careers down against all the pegs... the only thing that outdoes it for a thrill is Pachinko!
posted by hippybear at 4:29 PM on January 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


That was pretty interesting. It made me wonder what 4 monopoly bots scripted with this strategy would do, and what the game log would look like. It also made me wonder what a neural net trained towards Monopoly would end up with (if you want to create an antagonistic AI then force it to play Monopoly for eternity).

In the end, it's just a bad game. I think there are lots of bad things to it, but the main culprit is roll-to-move. In the 4 bot scenario, you reach a point where it's effectively a game determined by luck of the dice. The major strategic choices in the game are effectively locked behind dice luck, which means that among evenly matched players you get situations where frustratingly lucky or unlucky rolls are what determined victory. Ironically, despite its position as the canonical Euro and gateway game, vanilla Settlers suffers from the same thing.

Apparently Monopoly Deal is a reasonable update of the game that maintains the cutthroat economics while getting rid of a lot of the dinosaur design.

My own recommendation for the genre that is massively, massively better than Monopoly is The Castles of Mad King Ludwig. The core gameplay mechanics are similar: you're competing with your opponents to acquire scarce resources, spending money wisely, and building something from the ground up. Ludwig gets rid of dice entirely however. Instead, rooms (which you use to create your castle) come out of randomized stacks. Different rooms (e.g. food, sleep, activities) do different things when all of their exits are sealed, and score in different ways depending on their size. The King sets specific randomized goals for players at the start of the game, and each player has their own hidden goals. Players earn money through the shifting role of 'master builder', who acts as a temporary bank. Whenever you are master builder instead of players paying money to the bank they pay money to you. Master builder also gets to set the prices of randomized rooms for the round, meaning that you can aggressively price something that you know your opponent wants, or that you may want later. What this means in practice is that there's strategy in each action of the game, and successful play is all about watching your opponents, formulating strategies, and managing your resources. It's incredibly satisfying. Funny too. The ridiculous castles you create can lead to some humorous situations.
posted by codacorolla at 4:36 PM on January 27, 2016 [6 favorites]


A friend posted, after her children were playing Monopoly, one of them said about another, "[Son's name] was not emotionally ready for Monopoly." And that's basically the most perfect description of Monopoly I've ever read.

No one is emotionally ready for Monopoly, regardless of age.
posted by darksong at 4:41 PM on January 27, 2016 [10 favorites]


If you want a gruelingly long, viciously cutthroat economics game, but don't like dice, maybe try one the railroad/stock market games in the 18xx series, e.g., 1830.
posted by aubilenon at 4:45 PM on January 27, 2016


hippybear: "If only it were a plinko game! Dropping that chip from the top of the board, watching as it careers down against all the pegs... the only thing that outdoes it for a thrill is Pachinko!"

I have a pachinko machine in my garage. Make me an offer.
posted by Splunge at 4:50 PM on January 27, 2016


3 railroads and Marvin Gardens
posted by This is Why We Can't Have Nice Things at 4:52 PM on January 27, 2016 [14 favorites]


Splunge: You're diagonally across the country from me. If you were closer I'd bring a six-pack and some bowls (it's legal here) and we could have a great night of laughter trading off DJ duties and hanging out and marveling at the randomness of physics!

That's the best offer I have!
posted by hippybear at 4:52 PM on January 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


In college my roommates and I played monopoly while smoking cigars. My goal was always to try to get Baltic and Mediterranean. I liked being a slumlord.
posted by njohnson23 at 5:12 PM on January 27, 2016


The Monopoly Pub Crawl is more fun. And if you're playing the Free Parking non-rule, potentially takes less time.
posted by qntm at 5:14 PM on January 27, 2016


My parents took Monopoly on their short honeymoon (which was tucked in between semesters of graduate school). My father played to win and gloated, and the subsequent argument ended in blows.

My family has a tradition of not playing Monopoly. :)
posted by eacr at 5:26 PM on January 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


TIL there are people who have made it through a full game of monopoly
posted by threeants at 5:29 PM on January 27, 2016 [14 favorites]


Monopoly has fallen into the unfortunate position of being practically a children's toy game while ostensibly an adult's strategic game. With the common house rules, it's a snakes and ladders sort of random experience with fake money to play with and funny twists of fortune. Played seriously, it is notably broken.

I think the same distinction relates to videogame pejoratives like "try-hard". As I understand it, you're seen as "try-harding" if you play a game to win when the rest of the group is playing to have fun. "Cheap" tactics are technically legal within the system of the game, but offer an unfair advantage for their cost.

People bend the rules of games to fix poor design and to tailor handicaps to the group, so that the actual process of playing the game is as fun as possible. But unless you've all sat down and agreed on the exact terms, it ends up looking to people as if some of the other players are being mean and some of them are being irrationally inefficient.
posted by lucidium at 5:46 PM on January 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


If you have family who really, absolutely won't give up on Monopoly no matter how many times you try to get them to play Agricola, there's always Hotel Tycoon. It's basically all the bits of Monopoly that are fun and none of the bits that aren't, with really nice components and not very much strategy, and it plays to conclusion in 90 minutes or less.

And yet friends of ours still managed to break it with a house rule the first time they played.
posted by Hogshead at 5:53 PM on January 27, 2016 [4 favorites]


The first time my 6-year-old daughter and I played Monopoloy, she got Boardwalk and Park Place and soon bankrupted me, legit. Now all she wants to play is that damn game.

It's like the first time we played one of those idiotic claw-grab arcade games, we won something and now it's Daddy Daddy! every time.
posted by gottabefunky at 5:54 PM on January 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


The irony to "try-hard" is that it's only said by people who care about winning. It's the sour grapes of gaming. I've seen it used most often in competitive contexts like League of Legends ranked mode, or Magic: the Gathering sanctioned play. People seem to expect that people put exactly the amount of effort into the game that they do, but they still expect to win in the manner of their choosing.

Sirlin calls these players "scrubs."
posted by explosion at 5:56 PM on January 27, 2016 [5 favorites]


hippybear: "I think I read somewhere, someplace (perhaps many places) that Monopoly was intended to be a nightmare for Americans, or for anyone who plays, because it depicts exactly what rent-seeking does to anyone who doesn't get ahead in the game quickly, and thus illustrates one major flaw in the design of the modern economy."

Perhaps one of the places you read it was TFA?
Because of the way the game is designed, this inevitably results in one person acquiring a majority of the assets on the board, and beginning the slow, painful, friendship-destroying process of grinding the other players out of the game, turn by turn. This is why Monopoly starts as a fun exciting romp, only to turn into a bitter cesspool of despair.

This is intentional! Monopoly was, in fact, a rip-off of "The Landlord's Game", a game designed decades earlier by Elizabeth Magie, a proponent of Georgism (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgism). The game was designed to teach children about the inherent unfairness of the capitalist land-grabbing system, and demonstrate how it enriches landlords while impoverishing tenants.
-- Paragraphs 2-3 of TFA
posted by baf at 6:04 PM on January 27, 2016 [5 favorites]


People seem to expect that people put exactly the amount of effort into the game that they do

I think a certain amount of this is called "knowing how to read the room". When I'm at, say, a friendly morning of bowling with fellow furries, most of us just want to have an excuse to socialize and hang out and have bad bowling alley breakfast food with the actual bowling as "the excuse" to get together. But all it takes is ONE person to decide that They Have To Be The Absolute Best At Bowling to make that gathering entirely not fun for anyone else participating. They gloat, they snark, they overall ruin the entire "we're just here to have a good time" vibe with their competitiveness.

I don't know exactly how to screen for these sorts of individuals other than to never have any activity that might be construed as competitive, ever. But we've been bowling as a group here once a month for several years now, and any month one of those hyper-competitive people shows up, it makes the overall group much more miserable and attendance drops for 2-3 months. People would rather have fun at casual gatherings. Those who want to focus on winning should skip the casual games and go into actual competition.
posted by hippybear at 6:06 PM on January 27, 2016 [4 favorites]


baf: that part of TFA is a mere echo of much more lengthy and severe dissections of Monopoly I have encountered across the years. But yes, that is a nice summary of the full argument.
posted by hippybear at 6:07 PM on January 27, 2016


Beyond Boardwalk and Park Place is a nice set of alternate rules that I've found to make the game actually enjoyable. I still have my paperback copy.
posted by AbnerRavenwood at 6:25 PM on January 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


I can trace the end of a friendship to a Monopoly game, one in which we were playing with a house rule that allowed for "partnerships", i.e. combining properties to form monopolies and splitting development costs, rents, and the sale proceeds of houses and hotels if the partnership was liquidated. This guy wanted to form a partnership with me in just about the worst way, but I refused since I had a relatively stronger position. Out of spite, he sold all his properties to another player for a dollar. We'd been growing apart anyway (I went out of town for college, he didn't), but that was that.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:35 PM on January 27, 2016


I dunno about this tryhard analysis. You can play to win without gloating and snarking.

There's a group of coworkers I sometimes play Magic: The Gathering with after hours, including occasional drafts (which is, to simplify things, a form of play where each player builds a deck out of a common pool of cards). The amount of dedication to the game varies a lot. Some of them devote a lot of time and effort to researching strategies and tuning their decks, and, in the case of drafts, reading up on the card set beforehand so they know exactly what to pick. And they tend to win against the people like me who go into drafts with no preparation at all. (Although not always -- the luck of the draw is always a factor in Magic.) But every game, even when it's an utter rout where the prepared player solidly trounces the unprepared one, is polite. There's pretty much always a mutual "Good game!" at the end, unless one player was clearly just unlucky, in which case there's commiseration. People are trying to win, but no one is trying to have fun by making other players feel bad. If they did, they'd soon find themselves unwelcome in the group.

I guess part of it is that Magic is a game where even highly mismatched games can be interesting, due to the variability of the gameplay. Monopoly doesn't strike me as having the same kind of interest.
posted by baf at 6:37 PM on January 27, 2016 [3 favorites]


codacorolla, Monopoly Deal is indeed a good adaptation of the original game. It's great to bring the deck along to a pub and ride the line of pleasant inebriation vs competitive gameplay.
posted by a halcyon day at 6:40 PM on January 27, 2016


I guess part of it is that Magic is a game where even highly mismatched games can be interesting, due to the variability of the gameplay.

I haven't played M:TG much over the past 20 years, but I have a rainbow deck I designed many many years ago which, on the very rare occasion, would grant me the exact card combinations it was designed to give me, and the game would be thrilling for both me and my opponent and well as anyone watching.

I would lose probably 80% of the games I played with that deck because it was not well designed to win. But it was designed such that when it won, it would win with a style and flair that was worthy of fantasy novel plots.

We never played for ante unless it was a specific kind of tournament, so that deck remains intact across the decades.
posted by hippybear at 6:43 PM on January 27, 2016 [4 favorites]


This is how my dad played Monopoly throughout my childhood.

Against his four children.

He was also a master at playing us against each other.

Monopoly isn't a bad game, it's a therapy bill.
posted by duffell at 6:52 PM on January 27, 2016 [6 favorites]


This is a trick: no one who would suggest playing Monopoly has any friends.

Similarly, someone who suggests playing Diplomacy would like you to believe that they have friends, and that you are one of them.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 6:56 PM on January 27, 2016 [4 favorites]


We should be air-dropping copies of Diplomacy, translated into the local dialect, into ISIS camps.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 7:07 PM on January 27, 2016 [16 favorites]


In a recent game I learned an important lesson about privilege while playing Monopoly:

At the game's outset, I almost immediately went to jail. When I got out, I could only seem to land on "Free Parking" or Chance or Community Chest or Income Tax. Meanwhile, the the rest of my family was buying up the good properties left and right.

I quickly learned that I was in an impossible situation. I was likely never going to truly catch up with those who had a much better start than me. The lowest point was when my seven-year-old started offering me handouts from her earnings.
posted by 4ster at 7:21 PM on January 27, 2016 [9 favorites]


I like the little hat.
posted by Cookiebastard at 7:24 PM on January 27, 2016 [7 favorites]


Also, if you want to see blood, watch some overly-serious adolescents play Diplomacy. It is flat out Battle Royale with Cheese.

My seventh grade social studies teacher had us play Diplomacy as a class once. As the Slytherin/Ravenclaw kid that I was, I won through my ice cold enthusiasm for telling my friends sweet lies and then stabbing them in the back.

So yes, it was a learning experience mostly for all my friends. Still haven't quite learned my lesson that winning a game by showing your friends what a callous liar you can be probably isn't "winning." In retrospect, I'm pure Ravenclaw. A Slytherin would've purposefully lost.

On an unrelated note: anyone wanna play Secret Hitler with me?
posted by Solon and Thanks at 8:09 PM on January 27, 2016 [4 favorites]


The only sane way to play Monopoly is the house rule HARDLINE TIME LIMIT. Games last for 30 minutes or until every player has made 4 laps. Ya, it's got as much "skill" involved as chutes and ladders but the only people playing monopoly are people who are looking for that simplicity.
posted by Mitheral at 8:16 PM on January 27, 2016




hippybear: "I think I read somewhere, someplace (perhaps many places) that Monopoly was intended to be a nightmare for Americans, or for anyone who plays, because it depicts exactly what rent-seeking does to anyone who doesn't get ahead in the game quickly,"

Yeah, I think I read that somewhere, too. I can't remember where, though. It said something like "Monopoly was, in fact, a rip-off of "The Landlord's Game", a game designed decades earlier by Elizabeth Magie, a proponent of Georgism (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgism). The game was designed to teach children about the inherent unfairness of the capitalist land-grabbing system, and demonstrate how it enriches landlords while impoverishing tenants. Interestingly, it also included rules for a co-operative, anti-monopolist "Prosperity Game", in which victory was achieved when all players had at least double their original stake." Wish I could remember where I read that.
posted by Bugbread at 9:49 PM on January 27, 2016 [6 favorites]


Sirlin calls these players "scrubs."

Sirlin has a certain blind spot. He doesn't understand any game where the point is not to win. It's especially evident here.

6) The Terms of Service. The very idea of using the terms of service as the de facto way to enforce a certain player-behavior goes against everything I've learned. A game should be a system of rules that allow the player to explore. If the player finds loopholes, then the game developer should fix them. It's never, ever the player's fault: it's the game developer's fault. People who currently make deals with enemy faction (Horde or Alliance ) to trade wins in battleground games are not really at fault. They are playing in a system that forces anyone who wants to be rank 14 to do exactly that. A line in the Terms of Service saying that you shouldn't behave this way changes nothing, and teaches nothing.

There are certain rules....well less rules than social conventions. Fair play. The spirit of the law. These may not be set in stone. But it's the reason that Metafilter doesn't have rules, but guidelines, because people will pervert rules to their own ends.

Things like this break down when the rules are unchanging, like Monopoly's. Now, in some way, this is the point of the article. Monopoly is a boring game when played straight, and broken when played with an eye to win. But it eliminates the entire idea of a "friendly game".

On the Internet, this is fair. If you play League of Legends, you play to win, because you have little other social connection with the other people you are randomly grouped, with. But Sirlin would be the asshole who played Monopoly like this, not to dissuade people from playing, but to maximize his chances. He would net deck Magic the Gathering, even with casual friends who might not have the time and money to compete. We play games to commiserate. We play them to have something to do when we drink or talk. There are very few times when the point of a game, in a social situation is "play to win". Monopoly is a game played when almost all other forms of entertainment are exhausted, for no gain, monetary or otherwise. Why the hell would you optimize your strategy to win?
posted by zabuni at 10:08 PM on January 27, 2016 [3 favorites]


Try to play Arkham Horror with all the expansions, your gaming group will most likely go completely insane.
posted by Pendragon at 1:22 AM on January 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


Fortune Street, for the wii is a good translation of a ruthless japanese property game that is similar to monopoly. It is well balanced, and nuanced and will punish you I'd you mistake it for mario party.
posted by lkc at 2:11 AM on January 28, 2016


Try-Hard and Casual are two symptoms of the same problem, "Failure to Read the Room." A true Casual player doesn't care about the outcome of the game so much as the group experience. This frustrates the Try-Hard who is seeking mastery of the game. In a minority, each can ruin the game for the majority - the Casual doesn't take things seriously enough, doesn't pursue efficiency, and doesn't care to improve while the Try-Hard tries to force a mindset on the unwilling, doesn't care about mood, and only finds joy in mastery.

The guy who shows up to dominate a Monopoly game in order to ruin it for everyone else has missed the part of the equation where others want to, like, sit down and play a game together. The time for introducing new games has passed - the majority has decided that this is the game we'll play while we talk, this is the game that is common and inclusive enough that Grandma and Niece Jenny can all play together. Destroying that experience through ruthless mastery isn't the best choice and being able to read the room and see what experience is truly desired is key. Yes, there are better options than Monopoly, but outside of Uno I can't think of many that would be easily available and accessible to people with a Parker Brothers-level of game experience.

What other players can hear when someone stomps them at Monopoly and then suggests alternatives is "This is a baby game for babies and you are a baby for wanting to play it." This goes directly against the goals of the Casual game player, who wants to enjoy the experience of playing games with other people, by immediately souring the mood. While a Casual player might not care about doing things the "right way" they certainly don't want to be called "wrong."
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:49 AM on January 28, 2016 [8 favorites]


In my opinion a well designed game is fun without winning. A lot of games you find on the shelf in a big box store don't have fun mechanics (or only have fun mechanics if you're the leader). It's sort of silly to always play game #1 with kid gloves, because then you're not really showing the new player important parts of the strategy. Or you win anyway because they're figuring out the system, and they think that it looks like dumb luck was the thing that decided victory.

Part of good game design is to make each round of play have satisfying choices, and to never take players out of the game. Monopoly goes against BOTH of these with its roll to move luck-fest, and by having so many ways to land in jail.

If a player is having fun playing the game, and they get smoked in their first match-up, then their likely response will be "let's play again," because they've gotten a feel for what the game requires, and now they have ideas about how to improve.

That's why when I teach modern (good) board games I don't ever play with kid gloves. I also don't gloat or rub it in a player's face. Instead, I explain why I'm doing certain things, the basics of my strategy, and if another player is about to do something that they don't fully understand then I'll remind them of certain rules in the game.

I've taught games to all sorts of people, and by a wide margin they like the games I teach.

We're reaching a point where good games are becoming part of public consciousness, and hopefully reaching an attendant point where nobody ever has to play Monopoly again. Good fucking riddance.
posted by codacorolla at 6:07 AM on January 28, 2016 [6 favorites]


i'm still curious how monopoly legacy is going to turn out tho
posted by disso at 6:07 AM on January 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


i'm still curious how monopoly legacy is going to turn out tho

Ever seen Detroit?
posted by Etrigan at 6:12 AM on January 28, 2016 [10 favorites]


There are two problems I see with the way the guy plays --
  1. All this relies on the other players being willing to trade at all. Most of our games are so locked into the rolling-around-the-board mode that people don't trade naturally, and if you offer to trade it'll stand out to the degree that they'll be immediately suspicious.
  2. Natural monopolies, where someone gets all three properties in a color group without trading, mathematically happen more often than you'd think, especially if you're playing with just three players. All the following are for three-player games: For the six three-property groups the chance is one-in-nine each, a cumulative chance of slightly greater than 50%. For each of the two two-property groups the chance is one-in-three, and the chances of a single player getting a natural monopoly is over 55%! Taken together, the odds of at least one natural monopoly arising in a three-player game is 78%+.
Finally, the difficulties with Monopoly as a game still stand. Too few decisions, some of which you can be entirely locked out of, and way too long a period of testing the worth of those decisions, by rolling over and over again and seeing which rents are paid. The real danger with playing this way is that other players may get interested in playing try-hard Monopoly, and you might enamor them of the game, and then it has a danger of becoming a fixture of gaming night, and you might have to resort to taking a match to it to save your sanity and the souls of your friends.
posted by JHarris at 7:19 AM on January 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


Part of good game design is to make each round of play have satisfying choices, and to never take players out of the game. [...] We're reaching a point where good games are becoming part of public consciousness, and hopefully reaching an attendant point where nobody ever has to play Monopoly again. Good fucking riddance.

I like this comment a lot. Do you have any recommendations for places to learn more about game design?

I got interested in this when following the Kickstarter for the aforementioned Secret Hitler... if anyone doesn't know, it's based on Werewolf/Mafia, and the SH creators decided to keep in the element of player death (for the tension it causes) but design the game so that it'd only happen in the very last few rounds, so that no one had to spend too long sitting out... though they miss the benefit of death in Werewolf, which is that you immediately get to find out who the evil players were and watch the rest of that game with that knowledge. It was interesting to hear their rationale behind these choices. That's still a game that's very frustrating to lose, though, just 'cause it usually means you've been brutally outsmarted/manipulated.

I'd also played some other board games lately that were great but had some clear bulkiness that should have been designed out, somehow.

I'd never thought much about the decisions game designers make but I'd love to learn more.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 7:26 AM on January 28, 2016


Note, in a four-player game, the odds of one player completing a three-property group go way down, but the two-property groups still serve to raise the chances of at least one natural monopoly to nearly 62%. In a five-player game, the odds are slightly south of 50%. This indicates to me that 1. Monopoly becomes a better game the more players you have, and 2. The game could be improved by adding an extra property to the Dark Purple and Dark Blue groups, and finding some other way to differentiate them.
posted by JHarris at 7:26 AM on January 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


We found that 2-player Ticket to Ride was also sort of a Solitaire if one person got all southern routes and the other northern.

Ticket to Ride solitaire is my current jam. On my iPad, or iPhone, game after game after game after game after game. No setup, no mess, just rinse lather repeat. In a week or two I'll be burnt out on Ticket to Ride for life, just as I was after Risk solitaire on the iPad, or Mille Bornes.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:34 AM on January 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


Risk is also effective for destroying the bonds of friendship
posted by thelonius at 7:55 AM on January 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


But in the gaming world, it just means what it sounds like, someone who plays as if they want to win.

One thing to keep in mind is that most of the things that people say and especially the things they call other people are more about protecting their own ego than about how they actually feel about their fellow players.

They lost because their team is full of idiots or there was a lag spike, the other guys was cheating. And now, they are a "try-hard". It's weird to me that the people who use that term don't detect th irony. It's like we're both guitar players but they are somehow a better person because they only learned a dozen chords and some strumming patters while I learned that along with most of the other ways a person can play a guitar and practice a little bit every day.

I'm pretty good at most video games. I've been playing them for over 25 years so I've had a lot of practice. I've been getting called a "try-hard" a lot recently but I don't actually try all that hard. It's just that it's not all that hard to figure out most games and play them reasonably well with a bit of practice. I think of myself as being slightly better than average so it surprises me to get accused of cheating or called a "try-hard". I usually just respond with, "I try hard at ALL my hobbies. Don't you?"

But really, it's just a defense mechanism for when their power fantasy doesn't pan out the way they had hoped. Instead of proving that they're a better person by destroying and dominating the other player(s), they're better because they're not a "try-hard".
posted by VTX at 8:46 AM on January 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


I find it interesting that with most games, there's this dividing line between people who are serious about winning and people who "just want to have fun," i.e. want to win sometimes without having to try very hard

There's a difference between the rules of the game and the spirit of the game. Rules are very difficult to design so that they hew to the way the game was intended to be played. Because of this, a determined player can always find the most effective path to quick victory using the rules, particularly when playing against others who aren't using such a strategy.

People play Monopoly or any game because they enjoy the idea of the game. It frustrates them to play with such rules-gamers because they strip the game down to its bones and simply opt for the most effective way to dominate the most quickly, ignoring the overall gestalt of what the game is supposed to be "about" (eg, Scrabble is about vocabulary, chess is about warfare positioning, etc.).

I think part of the point is that Monopoly is so old of a game and its rules so poorly developed for a less sophisticated era of board game design that it is very easy to strip it down into a bare bones contest of dominance using a known template for victory. This just shows how you expose those weaknesses to assure that people want to play something else that's more complex.
posted by deanc at 8:56 AM on January 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


You want to piss off and alienate people while playing Monopoly? Announce that you want to be the dog, wearing the top hat, driving the race car. For some reason, this is rage-inducing, and if somehow you are allowed to do this it will last exactly one turn because as you fumble around, holding the dog in the car with one hand and the hat on the dog with the other as you try to move around the board, the other people will either take away your extra pieces or murder you. Seriously, just the mere suggestion makes people bonkers!
posted by Room 641-A at 8:57 AM on January 28, 2016 [7 favorites]


I usually just respond with, "I try hard at ALL my hobbies. Don't you?"

Actually, no. Some of my hobbies are really just idle distractions that I want to enjoy without having to think too hard about. I am decent at Starcraft 1v1 games, but I am not going to put a huge amount of energy into it for the 30 minutes a few times a week that I play.
posted by deanc at 9:02 AM on January 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


When I was a kid we solved that problem by using micro-machines as game pieces, that way, everyone gets to be the race car.
posted by VTX at 9:03 AM on January 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


Sirlin has a certain blind spot. He doesn't understand any game where the point is not to win. It's especially evident here.


The flip-side is "gamers gonna game." It's incumbent upon designers to patch their holes, and not to blame the players if a fault is found. If the rewards structure for a game is more attainable via gentleman's agreements to not play, don't punish the players, fix the structure.

Now, some games aren't going to be fixed. Monopoly's not gonna have updated rules, it's always gonna be a nightmare. But video games can be rebalanced. But also, most video games are more balanced than the players realize, they're just stuck in a mindset where they'd rather play around the wall than figure out how to smash the wall or climb over it.

And you're right that he's got a blind spot for games where the point isn't to win, but that's because he's specifically talking about competitive games. Getting competitive over a social game is silly, and deserves scorn. But a lot of the gamer rage I see is when people think they're good, get competitive, realize they're bad, and then suddenly walk back their competitiveness to protect their ego.
posted by explosion at 9:07 AM on January 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


I usually just respond with, "I try hard at ALL my hobbies. Don't you?"

Actually, no. Some of my hobbies are really just idle distractions that I want to enjoy without having to think too hard about.


Presumably, you're not going to be spitting "TRY-HARD!!!" at someone who outperforms you at them, though.
posted by Etrigan at 9:19 AM on January 28, 2016


Tryhard isn't about people playing DoTA or LoL or WoW better than my skill level. It's when they do, or attempt, that, but at the expense of a basic sporting, inclusive attitude toward everyone else on their team.
posted by polymodus at 9:29 AM on January 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


Monopoly is so old of a game and its rules so poorly developed for a less sophisticated era of board game design

This is true, but because Monopoly's rules are so old and decrepit there's a lot of things you can get away with that are not explicitly against rules. For example you can't give away properties, but there's nothing in the rules that say you can't sell something to another player for a $1. There's nothing in the rules that say I can't let someone "borrow" a property so they too can form a Monopoly and we structure some rent sharing agreement.

The thing with board games is they are replayable, so any of the tricks employed by the OP, the other players will know and be able to foresee in following games. Maybe they can never get as good as the player who employs the tricks, but through collusion and pooling of resources they could prolong the game and if not win themselves, at least make sure the player who employs the tricks again doesn't win either.

Of course, this sort of backroom dealing would probably lead to arguments and fights.
posted by FJT at 9:32 AM on January 28, 2016


Now, some games aren't going to be fixed. Monopoly's not gonna have updated rules, it's always gonna be a nightmare.

Well, actually.... (yes it's a cliche but how else do I introduce this?)

Hasbro has shown themselves to tweak game rules over time, and Monopoly sets now, for instance, include a "Speed Die," which is rolled with the others. Three faces say 1, 2 and 3, which add their numbers to the other dice; rolling a triple means moving to a space of your choice; two more sides are "Mr. Monopoly" sides and mean you advance to the nearest unowned property; and a bus symbol means the player may move, at his option, using either one or the sum of the remaining numbered dice.

I don't know if the rules make using the Speed Die mandatory, but according to Wikipedia it was used in last year's world championship.
posted by JHarris at 9:35 AM on January 28, 2016 [4 favorites]


For example you can't give away properties, but there's nothing in the rules that say you can't sell something to another player for a $1. There's nothing in the rules that say I can't let someone "borrow" a property so they too can form a Monopoly and we structure some rent sharing agreement.

In board games rules, it is not the case that everything is permitted unless specifically denied, or else rules would have to be filled with language to forbid special cases. You can sell property for a dollar, for the rules state properties can be exchanged for whatever values the players wish so long as something is exchanged, but you cannot lend property.

If players attempt to simulate lending by, say, repeated $1 trades, then it's a case where there is no rule requirement that the property ever be returned. Further, properties are much less useful if traded often, because the rules specifically state properties cannot change hands if there are houses on any other property in its color group unless they are all sold back to the bank. Such sales are at half the building's cost, while they must be bought back at full price. Further, if the game is in building shortage and others want to buy houses, they'll be auctioned off to players who wish to buy them, which can greatly increase their price and potentially mean not being able to rebuild at all.
posted by JHarris at 9:42 AM on January 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


codacorolla: "Part of good game design is to make each round of play have satisfying choices, and to never take players out of the game. "

My group is taking a break from 13th Age and playing an Imperial Assault campaign. IA allows for players to be knocked out (encourages really on some of the missions). We had this happen last week for one of our newer players and it really sucked.
posted by Mitheral at 9:54 AM on January 28, 2016


Hmm, I haven't played Monopoly in over a decade and that does make a difference. Back then the internet wasn't as ubiquitous so you couldn't look up rules and different cases instantly and thus it was easier to get away with a more loose interpretation of the rules. I realize now that part of the fun of Monopoly was persuading other people about certain things, which sometimes was extremely easy since everyone involved has a conflict of interest.
posted by FJT at 9:55 AM on January 28, 2016


I heard a Monopoly phrase for the first time the other day. A "ragequit". Sums up my game endings through my entire childhood.

I saw a comedian somewhere, years ago, who described Monopoly as, "It's 2AM, I just mortgaged my last property, fuck you Grandma! I'm going to bed" as he made a board flipping gesture. Summed it up for me perfectly.

I played it with my family over the holiday this year, and got the baby blue monopoly really quickly. I was also playing banker, so everyone accused me of cheating because I destroyed them in the fastest game I've ever played.

I dislike Monopoly only slightly less than I dislike Risk. I hate that f'ing game.
posted by Chuffy at 10:10 AM on January 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


Someone handed a monopoly junior set down to us, and my 5-year-old has wanted to play it every day since. There are no houses, we never make trades, and the game ends when the first player goes bankrupt. It takes about 10 minutes and is actually pretty enjoyable (as games targeted at 5-year-olds go). I'd still prefer his obsession with connect four lasted a bit longer.
posted by that's candlepin at 10:30 AM on January 28, 2016


I'd still prefer his obsession with connect four lasted a bit longer.

It'll come back in college. Drunken Connect Four is The Best.
posted by Capt. Renault at 10:47 AM on January 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


The end of January must be the time of year when thoughts to turn Monopoly, as all those branded Monopoly sets that distant relatives give for Christmas ("You like Adventure Time, right?") have been getting their one and only dust-off. I developed this theory when Drew Magary ranked Monopoly tokens and revealed his preference for Monopoly Junior the same day the Imgur post went up.
posted by palindromic at 11:22 AM on January 28, 2016


Best Monopoly Strategy (primarily for childhood games with families while on vacation): pick fights with siblings until you get into a knock down drag out fight that scatters all the pieces and money. Realise that a bloody nose is better than playing out a game of monopoly.
posted by Ferreous at 1:53 PM on January 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


Try-Hard and Casual are two symptoms of the same problem, "Failure to Read the Room."

Which in itself is frequently a mistake in game design or game selection. For example I'm a fairly calculating hardcore gamer when playing most Eurogames - but completely different when playing Munchkin or Cards Against Humanity. Because that is the behaviour and room that those games encourage.

And then you get the misaligned games like Robo-Rally. Robo-Rally played as a light drinking game is hilarious. Played competitively it's frustrating and badly designed (runaway leader problems). I'll play it lightly as long as everyone else does, but the second one other player starts playing to win I'll compete with them - and the game grinds hard. (I therefore won't play Roborally).

When I pick a game I'm both picking it for the room as I read it and to influence the room. Because it does both.

Accusations of try-hardism in tabletop games are in my experience only common in games where the game designers have presented a game as if it was competitive but done an awful job of balancing it (such as the flagship games designed by a certain company in Nottingham). Which means that the players need to become amateur game designers and create de facto house rules to make up for the failures of the professional game designers. A try-hard is a gamer who puts in a less encompassing set of (often unwritten) house rules leading to a slightly rougher game. And games where this crops up regularly are quite simply games where the designers have done a bad enough job that people need to fix the game through house rules.
posted by Francis at 2:29 PM on January 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


> detroit

wait, are they going ahead with the historical reenactment/alternate reality/live action role play angle after all?

monopoly: the hrarglarp
posted by disso at 2:35 PM on January 28, 2016


I think part of the problem here is that games can serve two distinct roles: social activity, or test of competitive skill. There's usually some overlap, but most people are more interested in one side or the other along a sliding scale. Dominion is not in the same category as Concept, f'rinstance. To pick another example, Mario Kart played by the former group tends toward chaotic multiplayer. Mario Kart played by the latter group tends toward time trial mode

Sirlin tends to show up as kind of a point of controversy in a lot of conversations along these lines due to his Kanye West Syndrome, where he doesn't mince words and is very outspoken about his own personal point of view, and though he generally has pretty good points to make (at least if you don't hold a fundamentally opposing perspective on basics, such as if you are 100% a Social Activity Gamer) people often find his delivery abrasive and focus more on that than the points being made.

the game ends when the first player goes bankrupt.
Oh my goodness, I love this more than you can imagine. Speaking of Sirlin, actually, his biggest contribution to more-than-two-player competitive game design is probably the structure where when one player is eliminated, the game ends, and whoever is farthest from elimination (measured through whatever in-game means) wins outright, though players can assist each other (in a limited fashion) to try to keep each other in if they aren't going to be the winner(s) if the game ends. This leads to shifting alliances and removes kingmakers and sounds like it absolutely could and should be applied to Monopoly to help fix that game.
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:21 PM on January 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


Carcassone, interestingly, can be categorized rule set by rule set as to which group it appeals to more. No-farmers beginner rules: fun social activity. Builders and commodities? Competitive folks. Dragon? Heavy luck elements (strategic placement of that fairy doesn't keep you safe unless you ignore the rule that says it's moved before the dragon) strongly suggest social activity. Etc. etc.

(On a separate note, it took me the longest time to determine why I enjoy Carcassonne but not Ticket to Ride, especially as regards endgame hype vs. lack thereof. My conclusion was that Carcassonne has a shared countdown timer of sorts that everyone can use to see how much game is left, while TTR just sort of suddenly stops when a given thing happens. I actually have the same qualms with Dominion, personally, but part of those qualms also include just having gradually developed an aversion to Victory Points as a thing almost separate from in-game mechanics. I still feel like I haven't fully thought through these opinions, so don't hesitate to poke holes in them. Ultimately, it just comes down to a game of Carcassonne ending in a way that is a little exciting to see how it shook out, whereas every game I've played of TTR has ended with the exact feeling of "okay, I have completed a task" but without the satisfaction of, say, actually now having a clean shower)
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:30 PM on January 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


Playing vanilla by-the-rules Carcassonne is something we almost never do anymore, because the difference between try-hards and casuals can be very high there, and we've found is very prone to making people upset because of it.

In an early game of Carcassonne against a friend, I decided to go all-out, which meant purposely tying up his meeple by making his claimed structures difficult to complete, and he got mad about it, so I stopped doing it. But he felt no qualms about taking a large structure I was trying to complete and stationing guys so he'd get the same number, or all, the points for it's completion, which struck my mind as a very similar kind of thing -- why is my kind of evil ploy not allowable but his is?

That went back and forth with different strategies and we found no good middle ground, and as a result we don't play Carcassonne anymore.
posted by JHarris at 6:07 PM on January 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


why is my kind of evil ploy not allowable but his is?

"Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you walk into an open sewer and die."
–Mel Brooks
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:44 PM on January 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


On an unrelated note: anyone wanna play Secret Hitler with me?

Depends on if you are the Hitler or not.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:43 PM on January 31, 2016


I played a bit of Monopoly with some young relatives at Christmas and saw, with fresh eyes, things that are fun about it when you're six. Kids have opportunities to make decisions (whether to buy property, whether to offer trades, whether to accept) but not so many that it's confusing! There's addition and multiplication that's juuuuust hard enough to be challenging! Now that I see this I can more easily agree to play Monopoly with children who want to play it.
posted by brainwane at 11:05 AM on February 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


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