Interest in Real Estate Development is Alive and Well…in board games

Who would have thought that a brou-ha-ha would erupt over the game Monopoly? It happens to be my favorite board game for reasons I can totally not articulate. A wordie like me is better suited to like Scrabble or Perquacky or Balderdash, but no Monopoly it is.

My family has folklore around the game. Certain properties were coveted by certain members (personally, I always wanted the yellows). My brother Matt, if losing, was known to roll on the board mixing everyone’s money together and “bathing in it” while yelling “I’m rich! Filthy rich!” Which would effectively end the game once everyone’s cash got mixed together.

And like all good families, we all had our favorite tokens. I am ALWAYS the thimble. I don’t know why, but I took a liking to it young and never gave it up. I seem to remember some scuffles between my brothers about the dog and shoe specifically. And on occasion the hat too. But no one ever wanted to be the iron.

Which is why I am not surprised to find out that the iron is being replaced in the game by the cat. I’m not a cat fan, at all. Check out this post by the guys at Creative Minority Report which perfectly encapsulates why I am a dog person and NOT a cat person. And while there is no love lost between me and my iron or the act of ironing or even the iron token in this game, I cannot begin to fathom replacing the iron with a cat. I’m not surprised, yet I can’t fathom it.

Maybe it’s because I do not like cats in general (specific ones may occasionally pass muster) or maybe it’s the comfort of the iron token always being there, rejected as usual in the box, but I dislike this change. Nostalgia is a cover I find myself in quite a bit these days. I didn’t mind when new editions of the game came out because the “original” was always there. Which makes me even more upset with myself for not realizing that the Howitzer was retired in this century (and to be honest, I don’t know what we called it as kids but I know it wasn’t “Howitzer” because none of us knew that name til we were adults).

What is so interesting to me, though, is that I know people, grown adults,, who passionately defended their favorite (as I would have if I still facebooked) token and never realized that the point of Monopoly was winning a war of real estate development. Somehow they never made the connection. Like me, they grew up in the good ol days of yore with Ronald Reagan as president and being spoon fed trickle-down economics, but missed the point of the game entirely. Seriously.

I know I began playing the game when I was about seven-years-old. My parents did not pepper me with economics lessons or insights into the goal of owning investment property, but I figured it out early on. The goal was to own the most property, to develop that property with houses and condos (which you could only do with the entire property collection, all yellows, all blues etc) and to collect the most rent without mortgaging your investment. I was able to flesh it out more and more as I got older. And as I did, and to this day, I continue to be astonished by the wide audience this game commands. Which makes it even more interesting how many people are missing the point.

I have one friend in particular who abhors capitalism in particular with it’s relationship to real estate who LOVES this game. It begs the question, is real estate tycoonery (it’s a word, see I just used it) is some kind of innate yearning in all of us at some level or another. Either to really be one or pretend to be.

And for those claiming not to be materialistic in any way shape or form, this recent, which token will be lost and which will be added has kind of challenged some of those notions.

I will miss the iron and I will probably fall into the capitalist way of buying one of the forth-coming classic editions to make sure I have one with the iron as part of it.  And I will loathe the cat. And I will continue my love for a game that allows me to be a real estate magnate I could never be in real life.


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