How Playing Monopoly Turns You Into A Ferengi

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There’s something about Monopoly that we all kinda hate. It’s never truly fun to play nor does winning actually feel satisfying. I’ve never thought about why that is, but an Imgur user,  Elpher, just posted a brilliant pictorial essay titled, “ How to Win At Monopoly and Lose All Your Friends” detailing exactly what we all hate about the game. After reading it, we’ve figured out that it’s mostly because the game turns human beings into Ferengi, and that’s generally a bad thing.

Here’s what we learned, and why this game isn’t fit for humans:

1. Monopoly is designed (and patented) to make people hate their friends and capitalism.

Where it fails in the latter, it more than makes up for with success in the former. Unless, of course, you’re learning your Rules of Acquisition.

The essay points out that, “[b]ecause of the way the game is designed, this inevitably results in one person acquiring a majority of the assets on the board, and beginning the slow, painful, friendship-destroying process of grinding the other players out of the game, turn by turn.”

The essay outlines the game’s history as a rip-off  of a non-patented game (how Ferengi of them). “The Landlord’s Game” was designed by a proponent of Georgism: a land-based communal-wealth sharing philosophy. “The game was designed to teach children about the inherent unfairness of the capitalist land-grabbing system, and demonstrate how it enriches landlords while impoverishing tenants.”

This seems like the sort of game that Ferengi would use to teach their children how to live a good and righteous life, by Ferengi measures.

2. You have to be willing to be a huge jerk to win. 

The path to success in Monopoly is ensuring everyone else has a terrible time playing the game.  “A little-known rule of Monopoly is that the game has exactly 32 houses and 12 hotels. Once you run out of houses, no more can be purchased until they re-enter the supply by being sold or upgraded to hotels.”

After following the path to success elpher describes, which includes manipulating your friends into making trades that benefit you and your strategy, “you will be asked repeatedly to build some friggin’ hotels already so that other people can build houses. Don’t.”

That advice sounds a lot like the 10th Rule of Acquisition: never allow doubt to tarnish your lust for latinum.

3. Winning at Monopoly the way the game intends for you to win grinds the souls of your opponents into talcum powder.
The name of the game is Monopoly, and getting land monopolies and monopolies on the improvements (houses) is how you win. It’s a boring way to win but as the article points out, it’s worse for those who aren’t winning. “A losing opponent essentially has no path to victory, even with lucky rolls. Your goal is to play conservatively, lock up more resources, and let the other players lose by attrition.”

Playing a low-risk, defensive strategy that rates negatively on the scale of fun is the surest way to victory.  After all, you can’t make a deal if you’re dead (Rule of Acquisition 125).

The moral of the story: there are so many better games out there. 

Being a good Ferengi means you’re a bad opponent, a bad friend, and a bad family member. G&S contributor Kendall describes her personal descent into Ferengi-ism thanks to Monopoly – the picture she paints isn’t pretty. Ultimately, you should play a game that makes you want to play it again with your friends and family, and there’s tons of games out there that do that. Monopoly just doesn’t seem to be one of them.

Check out the essay itself and after you do, let us know if you agree with us and with elpher in the comments below!

Featured Image Credits: CBS (Fair use), Mark Strozler (CC 2.0)
Image Credits: Cory Doctorow (CC 2.0), Andy Smith (CC 2.0)

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