Monopoly: according to a recent newspaper article, there are official rules, and there are what are called “family rules.” Never really thought about it that way, but Hasbro entertained submissions of “family” rules for the game and had voting on Face Book to see which five favorites will be incorporated into a special game guide even though the original rules will still stand. Sorry, deadline is today. Meanwhile, in the local paper, there was an editorial that suggested it’s sacrilege if you don’t follow the original rules to the letter. You’re kidding me, right? Rules, what rules? This is a game; it’s supposed to be fun. And if you “break” a rule it’s not like it’s harmful or immoral.
In reading over the list of “family rules” as they are called, I truly thought some were part of the official rules. For example, there’s the one where you get double, or $400 if you land on “Go” instead of just passing it. That’s not an official rule? My grandchildren suggested they’d played elsewhere that fines and payments went into the middle of the board to be scooped up by a player landing on “Free Parking.” “Sure,” I said, liking a bit of chance for extra money . Here’s one family rule I never heard: Collect $500 for double ones. I’ll let someone else suggest that; seems excessive to me. Here’s one I like: Mom always gets out of jail free, no matter what. And there are others, but I’ll never suggest this “rule” for fear of mayhem: To begin the game, take half the money out of the bank, mix it up in the middle of the board, count to three, and every player grabs what they can.
Many readers know that my game of Monopoly is very precious to me since I inherited it in 1942 from cousins killed in the Cocoanut Grove Fire. Amazingly the board is still intact and the property deeds, the Chance and Community Chest cards are well-preserved despite all these years of play. The money, if a bit ragged, is still usable. The houses and hotels, made of wood, are in perfect condition as are the metal playing tokens, and I still have the original dice. Growing up, Monopoly was a game we played on Sunday afternoons in my house. My Uncle Sam was the banker, and if anyone read the rules – they say 70% never have- and enforced them, it would have been Sam. But I don’t remember there being a big deal about it. In fact, I didn’t think the original copy of rules had even survived, but I just checked, and there they are at the bottom of the box, (admittedly not the original box), tattered and torn and not referred to in years.
I’m all in favor of changes in rules as agreed upon by the players. So what if they’re gentler and kinder than the original rules which, according to legend, were for a game invented to “preach the glories of raw, ruthless capitalism.” Meanwhile, in my current family, each Christmas I buy a game new to the market to entertain three generations of us after we open gifts and eat way too much food. We have a joke that at first we try to follow the rules, but soon we say, “This isn’t working. Let’s adapt the game and play it the Judd way.” And we follow the new “rules” -sort of- until we agree on yet another adaptation. And it’s all successful if there’s lots of screaming, yelling, and laughing. To me, that’s a game!
© Dorothy C. Judd
Next post: Monday, April 7th