Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Epic Monopoly Night

Remember playing Monopoly as a kid? For me, it was always just about the fun of random chance -- if you landed on a property, and had enough money, you'd buy it. Boardwalk and Park Place were unmitigated goods, because you could get more rent from them. And once all the properties were bought up, the game quickly got boring, so we'd soon stop playing.

Apparently, for my husband and for others of our friends, Monopoly was a much bigger game than that.

Several weeks ago, we had a bunch of our board games out on a side table for some reason, and our friend Mike noticed that we had Monopoly. (I think we got this as a gift, several years ago?) Mike got all excited and said that he really wanted to have a Monopoly game night one of these days. That day turned out to be last Saturday -- we invited Mike and his wife Angela, and a few other friends, for pizza and games. Sounds like a night of innocent fun, right?

What I didn't realize in my Monopoly naivete was that played properly, Monopoly is a cutthroat game of negotiating, wheeling and dealing, and doing whatever it takes to build up your own monopolies. At one point, two of the guys were locked in a 10-minute long wrangling over a possible property trade, with one accusing the other of emotional manipulation, and the other adamantly arguing that the deal on the table simply wasn't a just transaction. Near the end, it came down to David and Mike, and the tension was so high that each would stand up during his turn, body humming with nervous energy, and try to calculate out all the potential risks involved with a given move...

It's a wonder we all made it out of the game alive, and still friends!

I had a brief moment of being really on top of my game, and getting a stellar trade out of Mike -- before I had a bad run with the dice and went spectacularly bankrupt. It totally reaffirmed my need to be risk-averse in real life... :)

In all seriousness, though, it ended up being a really fun night. We have so many good friends here in town -- it's really awesome being able to send out an impromptu email with several hours' notice and still round up a great group of people. And it's also good to know that our friendships are strong enough to withstand such competitiveness and intense gamesmanship with nary a scratch. :)

Nicole, Mike, David, me, Matt and Angela
(photo taken by Hilary before she had to leave)

My brief moment of glory -- that's my monopoly, with tons of houses,
and other people having to pay me rent!

David standing up during his turn

Mike, deep in concentration