Monday, November 20, 2006

The Weenie Enema Guide to Monopoly.

This weekend, I had the honor of butting heads with the best Monopoly player in the world, or at least from Bensonhurst. For approximately 10 hours, "Tracy" (name redacted said I couldn't use her real name) and I matched (or in my case, attempted to match) wits over hotel construction on Pennsylvania Avenue, railroad domination, and what I deem to be an extremely unfair society within the parameters of the game, in which the very worst of the welfare state and the very worst of a capitalistic society duked it out, much to my disadvantage. Since no one else had the luxury of getting one-on-one tutorials with a Monopoly master, I have decided to create my own manual that will not only provide common sense strategies to help you befuddle mental inferiors, but will also clearly demonstrate that Monopoly is the love child of Ayn Rand and Karl Marx.

1. Never play with "Tracy."
It is completely impossible to win if you choose this path. Some people (people who don't get "it" and have never played with "Tracy") will tell you that the key to the game is actually luck. No matter how skilled a player is, they can't prevent you from rolling the dice and hitting Park Place or drawing a Chance Card that says "Take a walk on the Boardwalk." This is just not true. The luck involved in acquiring a monopoly on the Greens (Pacific, North Carolina and Pennsylvania) or the Blues (Park Place and Boardwalk) will allow you, not to win, but to at least remain competitive for a few hours while a superior opponent slowly but surely squeezes the life out of you, one mortgage at a time.

2. The theory that having a railroad monopoly over Boardwalk and Park Place is better is completely, completely wrong.
There are a lot of railroad supporters. We're not hating on the railroads. Everyone loves the railroads, unless they don't own them and have to fork over $200 four times before they reach the relative safety of passing Go and collecting a meager salary that's going to get eaten up as soon as you land on Reading. It absolutely doesn't hurt to have the railroads, but it's much more effective to have a monopoly on actual colors.

Example. Let's say you own all the railroads, and your opponent owns one of the mid-tier monopolies, like the Oranges (St. James, Tennessee and New York). You have a consistent revenue source, in that it's likely your opponent will land on your railroads every once in a while, automatically netting you $200. It's a good time. And they're dangerously sprinkled evenly across the board, so your opponent is never safe from the wrath of the B&O and its siblings. However, it's limited goodness. If your opponent has a monopoly on the Oranges and manages to build up an impressive trifecta of hotels before being financially crippled by your RR domination and whatever else you own, you could lose at least $975 every time you go by. It's not the consistent threat that the railroads present, but there aren't too many people who can afford to land on an Orange-level hotel multiple times without humbly turning over their property deeds and mortgaging for survival.

Does this mean that as long as you have some sort of color monopoly, you can beat the railroads? No. If you will refer to my first strategy, playing against a "Tracy" will make this theory moot no matter what you do. Also, having the Purples (Mediterranean and Baltic) is generally more annoying than decisive. If it's very early on in the game, more than likely, your opponent has over $1000 and can deal with landing on the $450 hotel on Baltic. Since you've spent $500 on Purple hotels, you're in a much more vulnerable position than your opponent, so winning with the Purples early on will only happen if the other player has NOTHING. And that almost never happens.

3. Realizing that you're about to lose can actually save you. If you're willing to go for it.

This is a true story that occurred last night. I decided to play Monopoly with Ingrid. Olivia was an active spectator for five minutes until she fell asleep on Big Bear and curled her body up tighter than a snare drum. After several romps around the board, it became abundantly clear that Ingrid was on her way to victory. She had already acquired the railroads, the Purples, and after buying Pennsylvania Avenue, it was not possible for me to organically create a monopoly on the board. So what did I do? I went for it.
I had two of the Oranges, and Ingrid had the other. We each had one Yellow, and Atlantic Avenue was the only property left unclaimed. I proposed a trade that could have meant my doom, but it definitely ensured me a final chance. In exchange for the Orange - giving me a monopoly - I would give her my Yellow. That way, if Ingrid landed on Atlantic, she had a Yellow monopoly and I was dead to rights. At this point, I had about 50% of my properties under mortgage and I was close to death.

But then it happened. I landed on Atlantic. The game began to slowly but surely go in my favor.
HOWEVER, this is where the real risk is. On paper, I have an automatic advantage - the Orange monopoly. BUT, I also have no money, while Ingrid has about $1000, the RR monopoly and the Purple monopoly. There is a very, very fine line during this period, when you have to decided when and how to build up your monopolies with about $200 to spare. If you build them too soon and you land on the Purple, boom, you're done. But if you manage to somehow juggle fiscal responsibility with hotel building and you get an unwilling victim to land on New York, you're home free. Rememeber that fine line. It will either bury you or propel you to victory.

4. It's okay to cheat and/or sacrifice yourself if you're playing with a Smitten Weenie Brian and Jocelyn.
It's kind of sad that I have so many Monopoly stories involving so many different people. We'll ignore that for the time being. In early 2005, Devra and I decided to have a re-match with Weenie and Jocelyn. (During the first game in mid-2004, Weenie and Jocelyn met and fell madly in love with one another over by the Red properties - Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois) The advantage was squarely on us, because all of our faculties were in working order and we were coldly rational, in stark opposition to the other participants. About midway through the game, with all of the properties acquired, Devra and I noticed that, although no one had a monopoly, Jocelyn and Weenie each had one of the coveted Blues. It was only a matter of time before they noticed it and forged a partnership, leaving us out to dry. So we did what was necessary - we used their smittenness against them.

For hardcore Emma loyalists out there, you may remember what was significant in our world back in early 2005. February 27, 2005 was the date of our Most Amazing Oscar Party ever, in which 80 people shuffled into our dorm to watch the last great movie, Million Dollar Baby, deliver the smackdown on another overrated Martin Scorcese shitfest. Since Blue Mego and I were essentially co-hosting the shindig - with an amazing support staff - Blue Mego was in charge of much of the decorating, including an intimidating Oscar nominee checklist that literally went from the ceiling to the floor. The idea was that guests would come in, write their name on the next available line and circle their choices, and the person with the most correct guesses got a free movie pass provided by our dorm. (Devra and this kid from my Rocket Science class won.) Even though the Oscars weren't for several weeks, we had hung up the giant mother checklist weeks in advance, partly out of pure giddiness, as this WAS the year Natalie should have won, and partly so that any of our chums could put their guesses in before the chaos of the party consumed the world. That basically meant that only Devra, Blue Mego and I had our selections up. Shrug.

What a badass piece of cinema goodness. SWANK DOG. <3.
Although that tale may seem irrelevent, it played a key role in Devra's victory. Without even conferring with each other (because we work like clockwork and whatnot), I frowned and said to Weenie and Jocelyn, "Did someone draw a penis on the Oscar checklist?" Both Weenie and Jocelyn swiveled around to look. I stole Jocelyn's Tennesse Avenue and gave it to Devra, who now had a Monopoly. Neither Weenie nor Jocelyn knew what had gone down, and my acting was top-notch. "I don't see it," said Weenie. "Where?" said Jocelyn. I frowned. " right under my name by the Best Director slot." "There's nothing there." (tittering by Devra, which was quickly suppressed) "Huh...maybe it was a bug shaped like a penis or something?" Jocelyn enjoyed that idea immensely. The penis-shaped bug was quickly forgotten, and we went back to the game. Devra coldly waited about 10 minutes before deciding to build up her Orange properties. Jocelyn looked rather contemplative. "When did you get a monopoly?" "Oh, I don't know, a while ago. I didn't want to make a big deal out of it." Jocelyn nodded. "Cool." Twenty minutes later, Devra won. Do not play this game if you are smitten and there is an Oscar nominee checklist behind you. You will lose.

5. Understand the limitations that the nanny state creates for you, and use the capitalistic aspect to your advantage.

I never complain about this when it happens to another player, but I seriously resent paying $15 poor taxes and giving $200 to hospitals. I don't recall there being free hospital insurance Community Chest cards. I get absolutely nothing for my donations to the public sector, unless I waive the rule about no one getting anything from Free Parking, which I usually do. This is one of the great intellectual riddles of Monopoly. On one hand, it encourages the liberal government overseeing that results in luxury taxes between Park Place and Boardwalk (as if we can afford them in that neighborhood anyway) and you being elected the Chairman of the Board and doling out money to the other players. Also, it's called Monopoly, which liberal government intervention tries to create on a regular basis. On the other hand, Monopoly, by virtue of the game's instructions, fosters competition, which is a tenet right out of Atlas Shrugged. If you can somehow compromise on these two extreme idealogies, you will end up with a ridiculous amount of fake money.

6. I promised my cousin that I would mention our amazing Monopoly game from 1998.
I have never in all my days enjoyed a better Monopoly game than the marathon that my cousin Michael and I played during the last golden years of our childhood. He stayed at my house for about a week, and that's about how long the game took. We played for about six to 10 hours a day, and my mom actually had to photocopy $100 bills at work because we both had so much money that the bank was bankrupt. Everything had a hotel, and it was split so evenly that we both had thousands and thousands of dollars. But finally, Michael landed on Virginia Avenue one too many times. I would have been just as happy losing that game of magnificance.

Tomorrow: a soliloquy about Teddy Ruxpin.


At 8:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

REMATCH tomorrow. I felt bad that you had no monopolies and I was too greedy :( . . . I should have never made the deal that decided the entire game. I heart Monopoly.


At 9:03 AM, Blogger Dawn Summers said...

you so need a Monopoly blog! Next post how do you feel about those specifically tailored monopoly boards like "newyorkopoly" or "rutgersopoly"

At 10:57 AM, Blogger e.e.grimshaw said...

dawn - it's VERY tempting. but to have a monopoly blog, i would have to, you know, FIND people to play with me on a pretty consistent basis. you seem to be able to find a posse for poker, but monopoly is a different story.
p.s. you can come play anytime you want.


Post a Comment

<< Home