There’s got to be a study somewhere comparing styles of playing Monopoly to political party affiliation. I can imagine a lot of grant proposals after this week’s announcement that Hasbro is polling players on which “house rule” to add to Monopoly instruction manuals.
The crowd-sourcing exercise will not affect the game’s official rules, which may come as a relief to conservative (authoritarian?) players. The Washington Post’s Caitlin Dewey notes that unofficial rules usually soften the “raw, ruthless capitalism” of the game—by giving nearly bankrupt players the chance to rebound by collecting cash for rolling doubles, or landing on Go or Free Parking spaces. Add enough of these rules, and you may have to print (or draw) more money for your game, to the chagrin of any inflation-weary
Federal Reserve chair Monopoly banker.
Philip Orbanes, author of The Monopoly Companion, objects to the modifications: “Many ‘house rules’ … stretch out the game, making it more of a social exercise than a clear, winner-takes-all competition.” (That wasn’t necessarily the case in my family when I was growing up. My brother and I added a house rule that when you sell a property to another player, you can demand free rent for, say, the next 10 times you land on that property. This has the effect of more quickly driving other players out of the game. My sister did not like this house rule at all.)
Time’s James Poniewozik has more on the politics behind the made-up rules:
There is something for economic liberals in the way people have modified Monopoly: left to their own devices, average Americans will inject massive amounts of fiscal stimulus into the economy and create a pool of tax-and-fee revenue for redistribution. And I suppose there’s something for conservatives here as well: all these feel-good palliative measures, money for nothing, and attempts to cushion the blow for losers in the end only prolong the suffering and the inevitable outcome, which is that one person must win and the others must be bankrupted.