Saturday, January 27, 1996

Monopoly Game (1/27/1996)

Players: Joshua, Mike, Scott

Over Mike's protests that we should play either bolo or Speed Circuit, we played a "fast rules" game of Monopoly. Mike got the first monopoly on the board -- the utilities -- and made Scott pay for it with a near-maximum rent of $110. Scott got the purple monopoly early on and actually collected a few times on it (though early in the game it didn't threaten to bankrupt anyone). Joshua started collecting railroads and a stray property here and there but didn't truly get into monopoly mode until Mike traded him the last orange property for some railroads. That trade brought both players needed economic strength.

Scott happily collected his $250 and $450 for Club Med. and Baltic, respectively, and eventually traded the third green property to Mike for the last two purples. At the time, it seemed like only Mike had the cash to develop the greens and Scott could afford to develop only the purples, so the deal look good all around. However, Mike later confessed that the greens were too expensive and that the trade nearly cost him the game because Scott quickly put hotels up on all three purples.

Joshua's orange monopoly failed to pay off for him, and he eventually bankrupted to Mike. Scott suggested they quit and play bolo, but Mike insisted on going on. At the time, it appeared that Scott would win, but Mike then employed two desperate but effective strategies. He sold off houses on the green properties for houses on the newly- acquired oranges (mortgaging most everything in the process) and began rotating which railroad was active, depending on where Scott was on the board. It then came down to who would hit the opponent's properties most often, and it appeared that Scott had won when he landed in jail; however, Mike made it past Scott's properties and when Scott left jail, he immediately landed on New York Avenue. The game was over with Mike thanking Joshua for his advice and Scott reminding them both that he hadn't won a game of Monopoly since the 5th grade.

Many words from our winner, Mike

"Monopoly has a lot of luck, but you can change the odds significantly by making the right deals at the right time. I traded Joshua an orange monopoly when he was cash poor and, therefore, not a great threat to me. I gained all four railroads in return and an immediate source of income. Joshua's monopoly helped me persuade Scott to trade with me; he had the Baltic properties and now needed a better monopoly to counter Joshua, and the clock was running. Once again, I gave more (two, unmortgaged purples) than I got (one mortgaged green), but I thought I would be able to build them faster. Unfortunately, I underestimated my expenses in comparison with Scott's and this almost cost me the game when he put up hotels and Joshua and I hit them.

"If you can't develop all your properties at once, you can 'aim' them at other players. I started when three of my four railroads were mortgaged. By mortgaging the last one and using the money plus another $10 to unmortgage another, I was able to open the railroad that players were approaching; and it's a $200 payoff if it hits, so it's a pretty good deal. When I switched the green houses for orange ones, it was an act of sheer desperation. I lost $500 on the move, but it made Scott more likely to hit my property before I hit his. The game hung on this one move, and Scott was unlucky enough to hit (he is only in the game to pay me rent, after all). 'Game over, man.'"

Scott's words to live by:
- If vegetarians eat vegetables, what do humanitarians eat?
- Don't offer to input any "winner's tip" that's longer than the "game summary."

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