February 05, 2010


It's been years since I've played Monopoly.  I believe the last time was with Jan and Sean, when Sean was still in middle school.  I recall this because I told myself that it was the last time I would play with them because I was a victim of collusion.

Jan had run into a lucky streak with the dice and had amassed a sizeable amount of the right properties in the right combinations.  Sean and I had not been as lucky, but continued to hold our own, though tenuously.  It came that time in the game whether you all either circle the board endlessly, exchanging cash.  Or you start dealing and go for the kill.

Although Jan had promised to love, honor, and probably not obey me years earlier, her maternal instincts kicked in and she started making incredibly lame deals with Sean, in order to put him in a position of power.  My son, the little asshat he was at the time, proceeded to destroy me, while saving his sainted mother, who smiled sweetly during the whole proceedings.  I wanted to punch them both in the mouth.

When I was a boy, my friends and I would congregate around an old table in my parents air conditioned basement, and pass the afternoon hours during the dog days of a southern Missouri summer by trying to wipe each other out in Monopoly.  I'm convinced to this day, that you could spot the kid who was going to grow up to become a psychotic wife beater/serial killer by watching them play Monopoly.  They were the one's who became so frustrated with the prospect of losing that they threw the board in the air, effectively ending the game.

While in the basement the other day, I ran across our old Monopoly game, but I didn't bother to open it.  It's the sort of game that's meant to be played by more than two people, and only Jan and I remain in the house now.  Just for snicks, I looked up the Monopoly web site and was surprised that they had so many variations on the game now.  Card games, games with credit cards instead of cash, even "princess" Monopoly.  Don't ask me, somehow Hasbro struck a deal with the devil (Walt Disney Company) and there are all sorts of Disney-shit Monopoly games.

WTF Is This?

And that's right ... Hasbro owns Monopoly now, just like they own Risk and Clue.  Parker Brothers hasn't been in the picture for quite a while.  They were purchased by General Mills in the 1960's, then Tonka (the toy truck people) took over, however Tonka was purchased by Hasbro some years back.

Parker Brothers had an amazing streak of luck with the games they selected to publish.  They rejected Monopoly when it was first presented to them in 1933, but gave it another chance in 1934.  It's unprecedented success opened the doors for the P. Bros to introduce Scrabble, Clue, Sorry and Risk.

And it's a good thing that Monopoly was such a success, otherwise Parker Brothers might not have weathered the early part of the 20th century.  Until Monopoly, the company was struggling with such game titles as "Banking", "Klondike", "War In Cuba"; and of all things a card game named ... "The Game Of Ten Little Niggers".

Success ... and society move in mysterious ways ... sometimes for the better.


  1. "I wanted to punch them both in the mouth."

    That is fricking classic! Glad family game night is the same in your house as ours.

  2. Ah, Monopoly .... the never-ending game.