Thursday, February 08, 2018

Monopoly, Cheater-pants edition

I guess it was just a matter of time, given the current tempora, mores, and occupants of high places.

Monopoly Cheater’s Edition will be released this fall with new rules and gameplay elements in which fans are encouraged to actively cheat as part of play, much to the delight of terrible people everywhereCheater Monopoly. This new special edition goes beyond simple themes like its Star Wars-branded sets to introduce an entire new style of play to one of the most popular board games of all time.

“As anyone who’s participated in game night knows, the friendly competition can often get heated,” Hasbro senior vice president Jonathan Berkowitz told Bloomberg. “This means players are looking to bend the rules in their pursuit of game-night glory.”

In addition to the usual Community Chest and Chance cards, 15 different “Cheat Cards” will ask players to surreptitiously carry out sabotage and subterfuge missions throughout the game. If crafty enough to pull them off, successful players will get an infusion of cash or free properties. If caught, players will be forced to fork over money or even end up handcuffed in jail—literally attached to the board by a plastic handcuff. (Source: Bloomberg)

How long do you think those plastic handcuffs are going to last?

But that is, I guess, beside the point. The point is to encourage cheating as a way to make the game more interesting.

Cheats on the “approved” list include stealing from the bank, skipping spaces, moving an opponent’s token, skimping on rent, adding a hotel you didn’t buy to your property, removing someone else’s hotel from their property, moving another player’s token when it’s your turn, and collecting rent from someone else’s property. Assuming none of that gives you an anxiety attack, this game is for you.

I played plenty of Monopoly growing up, and I will be the first to admit that there was occasional cheating going on. $100 palmed from the bank, maybe. Or, a more likely scenario, lending money to someone other than the person who was winning so that they might thwart the person who was winning, which worked out especially well if you were the designated banker.

But the laundry list above?

Rotten to the core.

And I don’t see how it can possibly work.

Unless there are adult beverages being served, how can someone possibly get away with adding a hotel they didn’t buy or, worse, taking a hotel off someone else’s property. And you’re not supposed to notice that someone else cadged the rent on Ventnor or moved your token from Indiana back to Baltic?

Hasbro has removed the requirement for a designated banker, which could make palming the odd $100 and getting away with it a bit more plausible. But the rest of it? No way.

I don’t think that any game of Monopoly Cheater Edition is going to end well.

Even back in the day, when cheating wasn’t encouraged, and relatively rare, more than one round of game play ended with the board being tossed over in a rage – mostly after the designated banker had made a nice little bailout loan to the competition of the person tossing the board over, enabling them to, say, pick up Reading Railroad so they had all four RR’s. Or helping them put up the hotel on Boardwalk or Park Place that they really couldn’t afford. 

Once the board was tossed over, someone – generally the designated banker, whose (let’s be honest here) wanton disregard for fair play precipitated the board overthrow – got stuck scrambling to gather up the cash, and pick up the top hat, the iron, the Scottie, green houses, and red hotels. You could really hurt yourself if you stepped on a Scottie or house in your bare piggy toes.

Not that I would know anything about this, as our play was always decorous, by the rules, above board, and calm.

But I’ve heard that there were games that thus ended, even back in the day, before cheaters felt empowered to cheat. Those players? Likely candidates for Monopoly Cheater Edition, I’d say.

Just what is the world coming to?????

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