THE GAME of Monopoly can be brutal. A game could last a very long time, but the swiftness of its brutality cannot be questioned.
You may be riding the wave of success by owning Park Lane, Mayfair, and the other green coloured properties that reside on the same side of the board, but a bad run with the dice may put an end to your property development ambitions.
Yes, it may take a few laps of the board to realise that things are really going downhill, but the warning signs may have already been there: the other players having amazing luck with the dice and managing to avoid your properties again and again; constantly landing on properties that acquire more houses during every new lap of the game board; struggling to pay the measly £30 rental fee when landing on Old Kent Road with three houses; praying that you can dash past Go and collect £200, but also terrified that it will be swiped away before completing another lap.
When you’re down on luck, the saviour could be a Community Chest or Chance card – you may cash-in on winning a crossword competition… inheriting your mother’s youthful genes may help bag you a cash prize in a beauty contest… there may even be a bank error in your favour, but remember: this game is brutal.
Whilst Community Chest and Chance could throw you a lifeline when incoming cash gets as dry as cardboard… beware… they could also leave you penniless and send you into a sulk as you exit the game.
The perils of Chance: Go back three spaces… Pay school fees of £150… Speeding fine £15… Make general repairs on all of your houses. The most brutal of the Chance cards is Advance to Mayfair – it may be a huge relief if you own the title deed, but if not, and there’s a chunky red hotel sitting on it, the end of your game could well be in sight.
I view Community Chest as a bit less brutal than Chance: Pay your insurance premium £50…Doctor’s Fee £50… Go back to Old Kent Road. But, there is one Community Chest card, a sneaky one, where you have to make a choice, a choice which could lead to complete disaster: Pay a £10 fine or take a Chance! Do you hand the banker ten pounds, or risk taking a Chance knowing that the Advance to Mayfair has not yet been revealed? “Ha! Mayfair… that’s mine… let me see… three houses… £1400 cash please… and no IOUs!” – not what you want to hear whilst going through a sticky financial patch.
So, which is worse, Chance or Community Chest? It’s a hard one to call – for sheer likelihood of getting stung, I’d have to say Chance, but, when I think about the dilemma of a Pay a £10 fine or take a Chance, I’m not so sure…
Probably the best way to look at Chance and Community Chest is that they both contain good and evil. It’s best not the view them as two individual stacks of cards operating independently, they are secretly working together to add the extra pinch of brutality to the game.
Fun advice on how to win at Monopoly, and a factual rundown of the board game is the my nostalgic hardback book, Section N Underpass. Get your copy below: