Recently, I invited my sister-in-law and her husband to a Monopoly tournament at our house. My ten-year-old son has been dying to play the game since we bought it at the beginning of summer, so we figured we’d do this team style. Jeremiah could play on Jeremy’s team, and our nephews could play on either of their parent’s teams. This way we would only have four teams which was perfect since everybody knows if you play Monopoly with more than four players, you could be there all year.
—Where ya going, Hank?
—A Monopoly tournament with eight players.
—See you after Christmas, man.
It’s not even the time frame though. Monopoly is a game that has you invested like no other. Emotionally invested, financially invested, mentally invested – trying so hard to make good decisions – and just all wrapped up in it. It’s a high stakes game. I had been trying to tell my son this for months. The game commands your attention and takes a long time to play. He didn’t understand, and after dinner, for a long time, Jeremiah would suggest we just try playing Monopoly “real quick.”
He had to learn the truth.
I decided it would be more fun for everyone if we made an afternoon of it, so one late Sunday afternoon we cleared the schedule, brought out the wine to create an atmosphere of merriment, invited people over, and prepared to go bankrupt one by one.
Here is how you throw a Monopoly Party:
- Invite people over.
- Set Monopoly out.
If you have drinks and snacks, even better.
The same exact thing happens every time Monopoly is played, so I’ll tell you in advance what to expect so you are not surprised. It will start out lighthearted and fun. You’ll quibble over tokens— but I’m ALWAYS the thimble! You’ll laugh and question all the rules again— Wait! Don’t I get $200 every time I pass GO? And how do I get out of jail again? And as you make your way around the board no one will buy Baltic Avenue. Everything is just lovely and roses and you’ll wonder why you don’t do this more often…until someone lands on Boardwalk or Park Place.
Then, stuff gets real.
All the other players try and tell each other it’s okay— there’s still the green and orange real estate and they can be powerhouses! Some will try to buy the railroads, but the railroads seldom pay off, so this is where we start to see the divide in strategy. All of a sudden someone will put a house on the board and people will start to sweat. Real estate rapidly gets gobbled up at this point. Baltic Avenue starts to look pretty damn fine after all, and besides, it’s the only thing you can afford. Slowly you give your money away. People start crying. Real fights break out; if not real then perceived. This happens because people start to get bossy, “You should buy that.” …Except if it turns out to be bad advice, you’ll get mad that you listened to them, and the anger starts to rise up in cutting comments and jabs.
You think I’m kidding? Watch.
In our game, Jeremiah went out first amid tears and real anguish since he tried to keep his game on the rails for so long, desperate for money, desperate that it would all pan out. I was next and felt utterly dejected. I thought I had a stronger game than that, but I didn’t. What else could I be wrong about in my life? Then Jeremy’s sister went bankrupt next, amid accusations that she was being called out for administering advise, but the very people calling her out were doing the same thing and even more so…hypocrites. At this point there were two players left. Jeremy and Andrew were neck and neck, and after a few more painful turns around the board where they each just about gave the other all of their money, the bitter end was nigh. Andrew, who had never even played Monopoly before, took the victory.
Here’s the thing about that. One person in attendance will be the favorite to win. Someone will boast about “all his Monopoly wins” and this will create competition right off the bat. In our house, my husband always wins. Jeremy doesn’t do the boasting though because he doesn’t have to. People do it for him. I’ve never played when Jeremy didn’t win. And apparently he always won when he and his sister played growing up. He has a way of buying up all the most valuable land and risking his whole wad. For a while you think he’ll for sure lose everything but then soon enough people start landing on his properties until inevitably he bankrupts every last dog, thimble and hat on the board. This is not fair because Jeremy has an unfair advantage—Jeremy basically plays Monopoly for a living. He hates when I say this, but his whole job is to buy land or real estate, then decide what project to build to generate income. It sounds a lot like Monopoly. And I am not lying when I tell you at this very minute, he is building us a home we will live in for the foreseeable future, on a street aptly named Park Place.
I got him a Christmas ornament last year of the Monopoly man which he lovingly rolled his eyes at.
So, when it was down to he and Andrew, I just assumed Jeremy would pull out the win. Somehow, someway.
But then Andrew slayed.
Andrew was the only one in attendance who at the end of the night, could hold their head high.
And that’s the tiny problem with Monopoly. It tears down all the players except the winner.
But that’s also the magic of Monopoly. Because as crushing as it is, after a few days you start thinking I kinda wanna do it again…
No matter what, it makes for a memorable party.