The Monopoly Variant

Dear Warren,

As you know I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to playing Monopoly.  No free parking, no free rides, include auction sales, nothing but official tournament rules.  Becky takes exception to this and bristles at my cut throat style of play.  My long-standing belief has been that if you’re playing Monopoly under my roof, then you will play it the proper way.

So a few weeks ago I was in the midst of pulling off a major swindle.  You see, the eldest boy still has an affinity for the choo-choos and cash on hand.  This is a losing strategy of course and I had no compunctions to giving the boy what he wanted.  However, Becky suddenly had enough of what she called “my antics”.  The game was unfair in her estimation; mostly based upon the luck of dice rolls.  I protested.  I pointed out my incredible winning percentage on family game nights.  But she claimed that it was because we play by my “stupid house rules”.

What!  “Stupid house rules”?  I play by “THE” rules!  How dare she?

As you could imagine, I was incensed and about to do something I would regret.  I’m ashamed to admit that it became one of those instances where my cursed temper came over me like a helmet of doom.  Suddenly, and without warning, a primal rage welled up inside of me.  For the next few seconds I would be a caveman.

I violently flipped the Monopoly board over, sending game pieces flying about the dining room.  “Fine!” I said.  “Play what ever bastardized version you want!”

I stormed from the room like a ten-year old but at the time had mistakenly felt my dignity remained intact.

I sat in darkness alone with my thoughts.  When my cursed caveman temper leaves me, he always takes a part of me with him.  His hunger is satisfied but I’m left feeling as if I were something just beneath a man.  This is stature lost that must be earned again.  The only way to do so is to gather what remains of your manhood and admit you are wrong.  I was going to make everything right.

Becky flung the door open, her dark silhouette stood before me with arms akimbo. “We need to talk,” she said dreadfully.

I fell on my sword and begged her to forgive my ghastly actions.  I promised that we would play a more fair brand of Monopoly that everyone enjoyed.  This ended the argument before it had begun so I went immediately to work on my rules variations.  I would call it “Fair Monopoly”.

First, I instituted a progressive tax on all income.  For instance, the first side of the board with Baltic and Vermont Avenues would not pay any taxes, the next side with properties such as St. Charles Place and New York Avenue had to pay a 10% tax on all rent collected, the next side of the board would pay 25% income.  On the last side, whoever owned the green properties like Pacific Avenue would pay a 50% tax, and then we would really soak whoever owned Boardwalk and Park Place by taxing them 65%.

Second, the whole “collecting $200 when you pass Go” had to be refined.  In Fair Monopoly if you are in last place when you pass Go you get $1000, if you are 2nd to last you get $500, 3rd to last gets $200.  Everyone else breaks even unless you are in first place.  In that case you would have to pay $1ooo.

Third, to account for the money it cost to house and feed inmates, the bank pays anyone in jail $200 a turn.

Finally, since utilities and transportation are very important aspects of society that facilitate commerce, we supplement their income with money collected through the aforementioned taxes.  For instance, if someone lands on a railroad not only do they pay the railroad owner, but the government kicks in an extra $1200.  Other tax collections go to cover shortfalls when a less fortunate player can not pay rent.  Also, if you fill out the right paperwork, you can receive a grant to build housing.

So here we are, 58 hours into our first game of Fair Monopoly.  Not straight through of course as we’ve been stopping for bathroom breaks, to sleep and to watch Dancing with the Stars.

I’m no economist so I’m not really sure how it worked out this way, but everyone has ended up with a ton of cash that doesn’t seem to be worth much and we all want to be in jail.  Around the 32nd hour of play we ran out of money in the bank.  Luckily, Mr. Lee from next door had a set so we borrowed some of his Monopoly money in order to remain solvent.  Hopefully Mr. Lee won’t need to play Monopoly any time soon.

Anyway, I thought you might be interested.



P.S. Has anyone ever told you that with a top hat and cane you would look like Rich Uncle Pennybags?

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