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Have You Played... Monopoly?

Art for art's sake

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Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

There are many versions of Monopoly, and as far as I’m aware they’re all awful. But what if I’m wrong?

Whether you’re building hotels in London, New York or a city you live in or visited on holiday, you roll dice, hope for the pips that’ll land you in just the right spot, and then either draw a card, do nothing at all, or pay money into the bank or to another player. As a commentary on the way random chance can send people tumbling through the cracks of capitalism, it’s not bad, an artgame perhaps, but as a competitive boardgame, it’s awful.

“Oh, but do you know the proper rules. Nobody plays by the proper rules?”

This is the cry of the people who know about the auctions. Rather than buying whatever property you land on, they’ll tell you, you open it up to an auction, meaning people who need that property to complete a set have a chance to pitch in and ty to snatch it away from you. Of course, if anyone else has more money they can outbid the person in need of the property, and if not, that person will win the auction. Money makes money and money comes to you mostly by chance.

It really is a very clever artgame that is very boring to play.

You might be moving around a board illustrated with locations from the Star Wars universe. It makes no difference. This is art and it will punish you.

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Adam Smith

former Deputy Editor

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