As a child Monopoly is a scary, long game. There was no strategy. Just going round and round the board and hoping someone landed on Pall Mall. I don’t really remember anyone winning, possibly because I’d got so bored I’d left.
James asked about Monopoly a few years ago. He’d never really played it so I showed him how with a few games – just the two of us. No doubt I kept winning. So I explained the strategy. Collect the stations, trade for the cheapest propeties so you can build houses quicker. James won every game after that.
So Christmas 2011 rolled around. James wanted to try his newfound skills against a larger crowd. Luckily my brothers, Nick and Stuart, were always up for a game. I joined in and Nick’s girlfriend, Hollie, too. Nick and Stuart watched on as James and Hollie took over the board and mad eus bankrupt. Hollie upped her money with stations, James had collected cheap properties. (Something Nick and Stuart had also tried to achieve.) Ultimately James won. A new Monopoly era was born.
Between Christmas and New Year around 10 games were played. I had work but the boys invitied James over during the day to cram in more games. James won some and Stuart got a fair share, Nick was left trying to grasp one game. I even won in a game with James and Stuart. I was one up.
By January 3rd work was in full swing and the era of Monopoly had gone. But April brought Stuart’s birthday and suddenly an opporunity for the game arrived. The boys asked if I would invite James for a game (though at this point I had no invite myself…) and the game was booked for the evening of Stuart’s birthday. The game brought one new player in Stuart’s girlfriend Ellie. 6 players. We’d never done it before.
Of course the game was long. It didn’t help that everyone collected random properties and no full sets were on the table. Hollie took an early lead with her collection of three stations. Only James stood between her full set and he said he would never give it up. Stuart had some properties I needed, and so did Nick. It was stalemate. No one wanted to give up their properties as it meant someone else gaining a full set.
At this time I looked like a non player. Just the old boot going around the board.
Stuart made offers, this for that, but the situation confused me so much. I didn’t want to trade with him if it meant he had his full set. But I needed to trade so I could trade with Nick for a full set. The stalemate played out for many rounds before Stuart gave up and offered me everything I’d asked. He had one full set, but I had a large range of properties. Suddenly the game began. I got myself a couple sets with trades from Nick and James.
Quietly the money drew in. Houses were built. Stuart realised the error of his trade as he was soon made bankrupt by the empires rising by Nick, James and I. Stuart then gave his expertise to Ellie, and she unfortunatly lost out also.
Still, at this point, I didn’t think I had the properties to win. Hollie had a constant flow of money, made worse when James traded the last station for a property and station immunity. Shortly after Nick’s empire fell. Then Hollie’s money fell short as her £200 stations could not compete with the £600 – £800 – £1000 properties owned by James and I.
Then James made his error. Too many houses. He couldn’t afford the payment when landing on mine and his empire crumbled under the costs of selling the houses back cheaply. We didn’t let the game finish completely but it was clear I had pwned the lot.
So the lesson in Monopoly is be shrewd with your properties and only trade once your competitor is desperate. And don’t buy too many houses at once, be sure you can pay up for your stays. I won’t pretend to be the grandmaster – but being the winner of the biggest game we’ve played so far I am a competitor!