Monopoly Memories – The Good, the Bad, and the Gaga?

Like it or loathe it, Monopoly is one of the most significant games in the tabletop hobby. Join us as our writers share their thoughts and memories of Monopoly.

Like it or loathe it, Monopoly is one of the most significant games in the tabletop hobby (unsure of this statement, check out our defence of Monopoly). Join us as our writers share their thoughts on Monopoly.

Marcus Cathey

How do you feel about Monopoly?

I loved Monopoly growing up and still have fond feelings. I’ve always been a gamer, of all types, and Monopoly and Stratego were the heroes of my board gamer psyche in the 80’s-90’s. Monopoly was easier to get to the table and saved my little brother and cousins from boredom during a few school summers. I would see the $400 Franklin Mint version adverts in the local newspaper and dream of saving up my money for it. I finally received (and still have) the 60th Anniversary Edition. This edition seemed so special with its alternate old-timey looking artwork and color scheme. Unfortunately, we left a potato chip crumb in the folded up board and it caused a very unseemly oil stain.

Could you share a lasting memory of Monopoly?

Those games with my cousins were very cutthroat, except we always cheated before the end of the game. Especially the banker. If you went for a snack or a bathroom break, the banker might slip some money to the other players as hush money. An extra bill might come out of the stack when collecting $200. Getting caught usually meant the end of the game.

Then I entered the annual New Years Eve Church Party Monopoly game. There was one player who had a reputation of being really good. I think he was doing pretty well, but I was the banker. The moment he left for a break after a few hours in, I slid everyone else some extra cash and told them to keep quiet. I don’t remember the details, either someone couldn’t keep it a secret any longer or the game had already ended, but I didn’t care; I was just really pleased that I had successfully cheated in a non-family game of Monopoly.

Fancy a game of Monopoly?

Yes, and I’ll be your banker. No money on free parking, auction system in place, and I hope you have a strong bladder.

Read more from Marcus Cathey.

Kathleen Hartin

How do you feel about Monopoly?

I don’t really like Monopoly. Maybe when I was a kid I didn’t mind it, but my true distaste for it happened a bit later. You see, my memories of playing Monopoly don’t just go back to childhood, so they aren’t clouted with nostalgia. My university roommate loved Monopoly, and while I was fine with a game here or there, she wanted to play it far more often than me. This led to the same negative association that hearing a song on repeat causes.

Could you share a lasting memory of Monopoly?

My roommate, another friend, and I were playing a game on her off-brand, city-themed, charity board when I found the perfect way to end my misery. I had the equivalent of Boardwalk and traded a donut to my friend for what would be Park Place. It was over quickly enough after that as I bled my friends dry. I was never asked to play Monopoly again.

Fancy a game of Monopoly?

If I were at a bar that had one of those small and uncurated game collections and my old roomie was there, maybe.

Read more from Kathleen Hartin.

Thomas Wells

How do you feel about Monopoly?

I have never been one for Monopoly. We played a lot of confrontational games growing up, but more of the “I’m going to put my pieces here to smash your pieces” variety. I think Monopoly does what it is trying to do, which is demonstrate the arbitrary and cutthroat nature of capitalism.

Could you share a lasting memory of Monopoly?

My most vivid memory of Monopoly is falling asleep on the carpet next to the table as my dad slowly ate up all of my sister’s properties.

Fancy a game of Monopoly?

Only if it comes with a free, unlimited supply of beer.

Read more from Thomas Wells.

Ashley Gariepy

How do you feel about Monopoly?

I really love Monopoly. Always have and always will. It’s just a lot of fun to add silly little house rules in hopes of making the game a little more juicy, lucky, and definitely unbalanced. My favourite house rule was a lottery that a friend and I added to all of our games. It was wild.

Could you share a lasting memory of Monopoly?

There was a time when I collected themed versions of Monopoly. It couldn’t just be any theme, it had to be something I found meaningful. One year, at the height of my collecting frenzy, all I wanted for Christmas was Lady Gaga Monopoly. Did such a version exist? It definitely did not, but that didn’t stop me from hoping and dreaming it could. A few months later a friend and I were exchanging Christmas gifts and I was shocked to open my very own version of Lady Gaga Monopoly which she had completely created and customized for me.

She not only added the Lady Gaga theme to the Monopoly game, but she also tailored it to me. The properties, for example, were named after Lady Gaga songs and they were priced along the board from my least to most favourite. There were also Chance and Community Chest cards that referenced me and my Lady Gaga-specific experiences. This was one of the most meaningful gifts I have ever received and the time I spent that holiday season playing through my Lady Gaga Monopoly trying to find all the little customized surprises is what makes it most memorable.

Fancy a game of Monopoly?

Heck yes. But first before we play, will the spent money go to the bank or the middle of the board? How much money will I receive when I land on Free Parking? Are there any other house rules we should discuss? No. Then let’s roll!

Read more from Ashley Gariepy.

Ashley Gariepy’s customized Lady Gaga Monopoly.

David McMillan

How do you feel about Monopoly?

If you’d asked me this question when I was 9 or 10, I would have told you that it’s the greatest game ever devised by man. But honestly, we all know better, don’t we? Measured against the games available to us today, Monopoly just doesn’t stand up any longer and it’s a mystery to me why it still continues to do so well. Brand recognition would be my guess.

Could you share a lasting memory of Monopoly?

Whenever my parents would get together with my aunt and my uncle, you could almost guarantee I’d be upstairs playing Monopoly with my cousin Mischelle. Our game never actually came to an end. Whenever it was time to go, we’d note where we were and what we had and then pick up from where we left off the next time we were together. We ran out of promissory notes at some point and began making our own. Hindsight says we were definitely not playing the game correctly, but it didn’t really matter. We were having fun. Fast forward to today – we’ve put Monopoly far behind us and she’s embraced modern board gaming as much as I have and we try our best to get in a game of some sort whenever we’re together. Some things never change.

Fancy a game of Monopoly?

Eh. I’ll pass. While I can appreciate what Monopoly did for the board gaming hobby, I have no desire to ever play it again. I mean, after all, I haven’t even finished my first game of it yet. Why would I start another?

Read more from David McMillan.

Logan Giannini

[Editor] Logan had such strong memories of Monopoly that we decided to publish his thoughts in a stand alone piece titled Monopoly and Me, in honor of his grandmother Freda Giannini.

Read more from Logan Giannini.

Andrew Holmes

How do you feel about Monopoly?

Monopoly taught me to enjoy board games, it’s one of the reasons I play board games now. Monopoly is a game that my brother still asks to play occasionally when we meet up and whilst I might prefer to play something else I’d rather play Monopoly with him than nothing at all. I don’t think Monopoly is a perfect game but that doesn’t matter – my childhood memories cover any blemishes.

Could you share a lasting memory of Monopoly?

Monopoly London Above and Below – one Christmas with the family we combined the UK edition of Monopoly (set in London) with the London Underground edition to make an angular figure of eight. It was pretty awesome, emphasising the most satisfying parts of Monopoly (the auctions, buying and trading to create a property empire) whilst a house rule time limit reduced the later game tendency to drag. Next time I’m going to work out the local geography so that at the start of their turn players can move between the street level and underground boards, providing a decision process during the roll and move parts but with a cost to get through the ticket barriers. This might make the game better or worse but I’m looking forward to finding out which.

Fancy a game of Monopoly?

Sure. I mean, there are other games we could play but if you’re set on Monopoly then I’m the boat. Or the dog. Or the car. You know what, you pick a piece and I’ll take whatever’s left.

Read more from Andrew Holmes.

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About the author

Andrew Holmes

Andrew Holmes is a husband, father, scientist, poet and, of course, gamer who lives in Wales, works in England and owns a Scottish rugby shirt. He has never passed up a challenge to play Carcassonne.

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