The random witterings of Jonathan Morris, writer.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Money, Money, Money

Like snowflakes, no two people are ever exactly the same. We all have unique fingerprints, iris patterns and DNA. And, deep down, there’s a bigger, even more fundamental difference...

We all play Monopoly with slightly different rules.

It’s a strange fact, but whenever you play Monopoly with someone you've never played it with before, you always end up disagreeing over the rules. ‘Oh, the way we play it in our house, you can borrow money off the bank and pay back ten-percent each round’. ‘Oh, we’ve always had the rule that if you can’t afford a station you can swap it for a property card of equal value’. And so on.

The reason for this is simple. No-one, throughout the entire history of creation, has ever bothered to read the rules of Monopoly. Everyone has just sort of picked them up from playing the game with their parents. Which means that, as a perfect example of a Dawkinsian meme, the rules of the game have adapted and evolved through successive generations, until the end result is that you effectively have two divergent species of Monopoly – two unrelated Monopoly players who can not only not agree on any common rules, but who are now playing two entirely different games. It’s probably how the game of chess originated – by a family who had made up their own rules for draughts.

Let’s face it, no-one understands how the ‘auctions’ rule works. Half the people playing the game at the moment probably don’t even realise there is an ‘auctions’ rule. Everyone has their own unique system of playing the game. They could probably be identified by it, by a forensic scientist, though the mind boggles at what contingency might involve trying to identify someone via their own idiosyncratic Monopoly gameplay.

1 comment:

  1. My sister and I used to play "Reverse Monopoly" where the aim is to get rid of all your money as quickly as possible. Thus the Chance card where you win a beauty contest = bad, and Income Tax = good, and the first one to bankruptcy is the winner. Perhaps this might catch on during the economic downturn... perhaps not.