John-Michael Gariepy

Archive for the category “Board Game Philosphy”

The Top 11 Classic Monopoly Player Tokens – Part Two

Previously, in The Top 11 Classic Monopoly Player Pieces – Part One, we discussed the fastest and easiest way to lose a game of Monopoly:  By choosing one of those six inferior pieces.  The good news is that you don’t have to choose any of those pieces.  There are eleven Monopoly pieces to choose from, and Monopoly is a game for 2-6 players.  As long as you choose one of these six pieces, you’ve practically won the game already against the ignorant riff-raff who chose to play The Ship.

Oh, hold it.  We appear to have a snag.  Monopoly boxes vacillate on how many people can play the game.  The original game says… well, it didn’t list the upper number of players… I guess that’s where the confusion stems from.  But most modern boxes say from 2-8 players.  That means that if you’re unlucky and are forced into last choice of token, you’ll need to use some fancy reverse psychology to keep your opponent’s greasy hands away from these bad boys…

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Number Six: Sack of Money

We’re at the halfway point, which means that The Sack of Money is as middle of the road as you can get.  Introduced in 1999, The Sack of Money was voted in by the players over a piggy bank and a biplane.  So I have the whole lot of you to thank that I can’t run around the board squealing like a pig, or run around my living room, biplane in hand, shooting down The Red Baron.  Thanks, internet community.

The Bag of Money, getting back on point, is an odd token.  It’s like I’ve already won.  I got this bag of money.  If I lose (and let’s face it, unless I’m a tactical genius, the odds are against me), I’ve still come out a winner, because I still got an overflowing sack of cash, and no one can take that away from me (except, maybe, the owner of the game).  It’s like playing ‘Deal or No Deal’, choosing the minimum amount of suitcases I need to open, and yelling ‘Deal!’ before the banker has a chance to give his offer.  I’m going to walk out a winner.

It’s nice to know that The Sack of Money isn’t going to screw anything up, but unless that fella puts everything on the line, he will never be a Rockefeller, just be a spoiled rich kid.  The sort of person who can buy subservience, but never loyalty.  Loyalty costs a lot of money.

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The Top 11 Classic Monopoly Player Tokens – Part One

Which player token should you use?  No choice in the game of Monopoly is more crucial than this one.  The pawn you represent yourself with tells other players who you are, and what kind of strategy you will employ to seek victory.  Choose poorly, and other players will greet your trades with skepticism and scorn.  Choose wisely, and your play group will seek to trade commodities with you for little more than a smile.  Choose The Thimble, and the other players will snarl, snatching the game pieces back, slamming the box lid shut and insisting that you leave.

This top list is for The Classic Monopoly game, only.  I refuse to list and examine every permutation of every Monopoly game and game variant’s token.  So that means we will pretend that Monopoly didn’t have three tokens pulled from the core game in 1950 (A Lantern, A Purse and A Rocking Horse).  We’re also unimpressed with the Koala that only appears in Australian versions, the Locamotive, which only appeared in the Deluxe Edition, or the token remakes for Monopoly: Here and Now.    We’re also not here to discuss which of the Ninja Turtles was the greatest (That would be Donatello), or who is the most awesome character hanging out at the G.I. Joe home base (That was a trick question.  The answer is: Zartan in disguise).  Back in my day, we used to have eleven player tokens, and they were not created equal.

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Number 11: The Thimble

The Thimble is the lowest of the low.  If someone you don’t like asks you to play a game of Monopoly, there’s no better way to insult them than to say, “Sure!  I’ll take ‘The Thimble!'”  You could grab the box out of their hands, rip it in half, toss both halves out the window, punch that jerk in the face, then storm out of his building.  But if you did that, the hated gamer might sit down, confused by your actions.  By claiming ‘The Thimble’, however, you’ve sent a clear message:  I don’t respect you as a human being.

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Double Monopoly

In my previous article Free Parking; Gazing Into the Abyss, I stressed the importance of never passing out money when a player lands on the Free Parking space in the game of Monopoly.  If you don’t understand why such a fun-loving guy as myself can be such a buzzkill on a house-rule/side-game in Monopoly, please, click on the link.  It’s my hope that page makes the world a nicer place to live in.  Just a little.

A friend of mine wasn’t happy with me when I first published that page.  I was taking something fun away from the game of Monopoly, but not giving anything back.  Fine.  Let’s give back to Monopoly.  Let’s give Monopoly a whole extra board.

Double Monopoly is a rules variant of Monopoly that uses two separate Monopoly boards.  One board is the ‘real world’ and one is an ‘alternate reality’.  I’m quite sure citizens of both worlds assume that they are the real world, but I can assure you that the alternate reality is the one where people have more facial hair.  If Rich Uncle Pennybags is sporting a goatee, you got it in one.

“But John-Michael,” you say “I thought the reason why you wrote an article about the evils of abusing the Free Parking space was to speed up the gameplay, and thus increase enjoyment of the game!  Also, I’ve been looking around the internet, and I found that other people have made rules about adding extra boards to Monopoly.  The one at NeedCoffee.com seems especially succinct.”

First of all, stop talking to your computer.  It’s not going to answer you, and the rest of the people in the library think you’re a goon.  Second, unlike a lot of rules variants for multiple Monopoly boards, which are built on the premise that more equals better, these rules assume that you still want to play a one hour game of Monopoly… just one that’s a bit crazier.  It’s my hope that, when you play with these rules, the game may end up faster than a normal game of Monopoly.  It may, however, not be as fast as a normal game of Monopoly that includes lottery money when  a person lands on Free Parking.  Those games normally end at the thirty minute mark with someone flipping the board over and threats of death, screaming for Mom and/or more beer.

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Free Parking: Gazing into the Abyss


Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

Friedrich Nietzsche

While few people on the internet appear to have played more than five different board games in their life times, they have very strong opinions of those games they played. Let’s look in on one blurg I stole from x-entertainment.com:

3) Free Parking Rules: Ugh. Free Parking was one of the most hideously misunderstood phenomenons of all time. I really can’t remember what the rules stated, but it didn’t really matter, since most groups made up their own rules. And since we played with so many people at once, the rules could never be agreed upon. I was always of the mind that you stuck a few hundred dollars in the pot initially, and added any income tax/fee money to it as you went along. Others felt that you should stick a thousand dollars in there to start, adding 500 each time all the players crossed the board.

There’s a reason why no one can remember what the Free Parking rule is, and that’s because there is none. Honestly. Peel open your copy of the rules for Monopoly and look for the ‘Free Parking’ rule. I’ll save you time; This is the entire entry for the ‘Free Parking’ space in the Official Monopoly Rules Page:

“A player landing on this place does not receive any money, property or reward of any kind. This is just a “free” resting-place.”

Weird, huh? But, whatever. Monopoly was made in 1934 and we’re closing in on a century worth of play. Most people put money in the center of the board when money would be given back to the bank, and when a player lands on Free Parking, that player takes all that money. It’s like a fun mini-game, and since everyone does it,

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