Allow me to add my two bucks’ worth, in Monopoly money:
After all, nobody ever reads the rules anyway. We don’t need to. It’s like we come out of the womb knowing how to play Monopoly. We’re also born craving Oreos and singing “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” (E-I-E-I-O, or for those with an alphabetical bent, A-E-I-O-U).
There will be purists, I suppose, who disagree with Hasbro. These same purists are no fun to play with. I am thinking of a cousin of mine who flipped the board over when I landed on Free Parking and took all the money we had made him put in the center of the board when he had to pay the Luxury Tax (against his wishes, which made it all the better).
That’s one of the house rules added, by the way – putting all the taxes and fines in the center of the board, to be collected when someone lands on Free Parking. I’ll bet it’s the most common house rule. There are also a few I’ve never heard of, like Mom always gets out of jail free. My mother thinks that’s a great idea.
But here are the house rules being added to the rule book, as announced by Hasbro:
• You can’t collect rent money if you’re in jail.
• Landing on “Go” gets you $400.
• Rolling snake eyes (two ones) gets you $500.
• You have to make one full circuit around the board before you can buy properties.
Keep in mind that these house rules are optional. Purists can play the straight game, or you can pick the house rules that suit you and ignore the others. Oh, if only life were like that.
And also keep in mind that Hasbro has a new house rules edition of Monopoly going into production, just in time for next Christmas. However, only a cynic would suggest that this is all a big ploy to sell more games.
But I think they missed some opportunities. Based on the games of my kidhood, there are other house rules that should have been incorporated as well, such as:
• Your sister gets to use the Scottie dog token, no questions.
• You and your brother, meanwhile, have to take turns being the race car.
• Nobody has to be the iron no matter what your sister says, with the possible exception of your cousin with the bad temper.
• Everybody loves railroads, so you have to share. Mom said so.
• Games are automatically suspended if “Rocky and Bullwinkle” comes on TV.
• Orange Kool-Aid is the customary beverage for Monopoly games.
• If your brother buys Boardwalk, buy Park Place so he can whine about it.
• If your brother buys Boardwalk and Park Place, quit.
• If game becomes too heated and it looks like someone is going to get mad and flip the board, suggest a non-infuriating alternative game. Uncle Wiggly and Candy Land are good games for people who can’t control their tempers.
On that last one, I was going to suggest Chutes and Ladders, but then I remembered my cousin flipped the board on that one, too.
Redmond is an author, journalist, humorist and speaker. Write him at firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on speaking fees and availability, visit www.spotlightwww.com.