No I’m not talking about various monopolies that control our telecommunications infrastructure, I’m talking about the Parker Brothers (now Hasbro) board game called Monopoly.
Probabilities in the Game of Monopoly is a rather lengthy analysis about how often you might land on different squares and how much money you are expected to make for owning particular properties. There’s a lot of numbers here for statistics freaks. It’s a little boring to read, but it does echo some stuff I remember from reading Maxine Brady’s “The Monopoly Book” when I was a kid, namely that “Illinois Avenue” is the property landed on most often. The square you most frequently end up on? Jail, namely being In Jail.
The key point I picked up from this article is: the Orange and Red property groups are the best things to own. Makes sense because jail is the place people end up in most frequently.
Meanwhile, some additional googling turned up Anti-Monopoly, which I also remember playing as a kid. This led to some interesting history about where Monopoly really came from. It wasn’t Charles Darrow who came up with the game in the 1930s, as I remember being told by the game materials in Monopoly, but rather a Quaker woman named Lizzie J. Magie who came up with the basic game in 1904! (Original title: The Landlord’s Game). In fact, there were many “homemade” Monopoly-type games between 1904 and the 1930s.
I actually made my very own Monopoly game when I was about 10 or 11. I bought a board game at a flea market for cheap, drew up monopoly spaces on the backside, made property cards, money (or maybe I used money from a different game), Chance and Commuity Chest cards, used tokens from some old game, and I had my very own monopoly set. Quite impressive now I think about it. I wish I had kept it.
I can’t wait for my son to be old enough to actually play Monopoly. In a year or so, my son might be ready to try it for real–we’ve played a quasi-game a few times with an old set I have. It’ll be fun when both my kids are old enough to play, but that’s a ways out.