Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

A while back, Herschel and I played Top Trumps by shuffling about a dozen conflicting decks together.

We had everything from Star Wars to Buffy The Vampire Slayer in there, and it was tough working-out which field in one set directly challenged which field in others. Power ratings, and intelligence it seemed, were quite subjective. Ned Flanders could beat the Incredible Hulk on strength!

Where there was no common field between sets, we just had to go with how many lines from the top the declared field was. Eventually I won, but only because I cottoned-onto recognising the backs of different sets, and playing values that were years against those that were only on a scale of 1-10.

So – to tonight.

Herschel had been gunning to play Monopolyopoly with me for well over a year. Monopolyopoly, as I'm sure you know, is when you get more than one Monopoly set out and put the boards together to form a gigantic super-board.

Now, I know what you're thinking. Probably the same thing I was. Monopoly takes long enough to play as it is, without expanding the terrain further. I agree, but Herschel kept insisting that we did have enough time to play this tonight. When we started it was, after all, only 11pm.

Above is the board at the outset. As you can see, we had the sets for Reading, London, Singapore, New Zealand, Gotham City and the Star Wars galaxy arranged in that order. The order was my idea, because I reasoned that that's the order in which you would travel through all six of them. Well, perhaps in retrospect the Star Wars galaxy should have come first, since it only existed a long time ago. The force is weak in me.

The six boards wouldn't all fit on the table, so we laid them out on the floor. I nipped home to pick-up the long-handled-thing-grabber (also pictured above on the right) to make moving my token around the board easier on my back, while Herschel made use of a similar device with a disembodied dolphin head at the top, which he could likewise use to grab pieces by remotely opening and closing the mouth.

Herschel devised a route around the board that we both had to follow, which would take-in 228 squares once each time round, and 12 of them twice.

We also gave ourselves just the normal amount of money to start with, and trusted that this wouldn't see us both bankrupt by the end of the first circuit, assuming that we made it that far. I wanted us to roll all 12 dice each go, however Herschel was against this, so we used just the standard-issue two. (quitter!)

Herschel chose to play as the Singaporean rickshaw token, while I opted for R2-D2. Elmo, thank God, decided to sit this one out and just watch. I won the highest roll, so I started.

Today Reading, tomorrow - Tatooine!

Straight out of Go I rolled a Centre Field (9), landing on the Musuem of Reading, which I bought.

However Herschel, launched by a Post Holes (8), was just behind me buying London Road. Dang – I'll guess I'll have to pay him rent next time I visit my solicitor then.

Throwing another Post Holes, I turned the corner and landed on community chest. Picking up the card I realised I had to pay £50 insurance, however this early in the game that seemed like a good idea. Who knew how soon it might be before my Artoo unit needed repairing?

A Hard Ten got Herschel to Forbury Gardens, which he bought, followed by yet another 8, which quite reasonably took him across onto the LONDON board, where he pounced on Liverpool Street Station.

But then it all turned Star Wars Interactive Video Game-shaped, as I threw a Hard Four, also making it onto the LONDON board... and landing straight onto the Go To Jail square. This was not good. Suddenly I was across in the London jail, however as I'd thrown a double to get there, Herschel reckoned I should have my first attempt at getting-out straight away.

So I threw the dice again... and immediately rolled another double-2! As I bought Northumberland Avenue (at the end of the purple ones), I felt I now had an advantage.

You see, due to the circuitous route that Herschel had drawn-up for us to make our way around the multi-board by, I was now approaching three-quarters of the way around the whole table, while he was still relatively back near the start. On the one hand I could buy-up all these properties before he came along and landed on them. However on the other, it wouldn't be that long before I passed the first Go square again and began to potentially land on his properties.

However I was completely innocent of my much bigger problem. As we had arranged all the Go squares along the circumference of the multi-board, I was now only 14 squares into a huge 94-square stretch... with NO Go squares! For the next 80 squares – that's the equivalent of two full times around a normal board – I would have next to no income. Yes, I would be living on faith again.

Throwing the dice again (after my second double remember) I landed on Strand, took the initiative, and bought it anyway!

Herschel rolled a Yo-leven and entered the Republic Of Singapore, landing on City Hall monorail station, and it was at this point that Monopolopoly's major lesson was grimly learnt. Singapore has a weak exchange rate with London, New Zealand, the US and the Star Wars galaxy. As a result, all the figures in the Singapore set had been multiplied by ten. That's right – to just buy the monorail staion cost a whopping $2,000. Herschel, realising that his lifelong dream of owning a monorail station was beyond him, passed the dice back to me in glum silence. "Tough clowd..."

And I couldn't argue. Entering Singapore with another 11, I also declined to buy Arab Street at $2,200.

Herschel threw a third Yo and turned-down Orchard Road at the same price as the monorail.

Then I threw a Hard Six. Singapore Zoo, $2,600. Nup.

This game was no fun anymore, and we hadn't even been round the board once yet.

Then I threw again, scoring 8, and crossed-over onto... the STAR WARS board! Here X-Wing Fighters were going for a v-wing at just 200 credits. Well, I flew home a bargain, obviously.

Herschel too was crossing borders. An Ace-Deuce saw the NZIS granting him a Long-Term Business Visa onto the NEW ZEALAND board, snapping-up Dee Street for $300 NZ! Sweet.

Then I threw a Big Red, reached the far end of the multi-board, and made my first mistake. Turning the corner, I landed on the Endor Shield Generator. But as Herschel pointed-out between puffs on his chocolate-stick, I should actually have u-turned and started making my way back again on the BATMAN AND ROBIN board. (based on the 1997 film of the same name) I was in fact on Alfred's Pantry, which I immediately bought for $220.

The National Average saw Herschel snapping-up Lambton Quay.

Then I threw another 7 and invested in Gotham City's second utility.

And here we realised just how much playing Monopolyopoly showed-up the deficiencies in apathetically-designed movie spin-off variants of the game:

The 'utility' squares are supposed to feature public services that all citizens need. Hence, in classic versions of Monopoly those two squares are traditionally the Electric Company and the Water Works. But in the lazily put-together Batman And Robin version? It's the Ice Cream Factory. I ask you. No wonder everyone in Gotham is always so hyper.

And so it went on...

Seven rolls later, Herschel purchased Dr Woodrue's Lab, meaning that he had now purchased that same square on three different boards.

It wasn't long before he also had Taumaranui Station, which actually turned-out to be the first property that yielded an income.

With the game now well underway, Monopolyopoly turned-out to be a huge hit with both of us. At the outset, joining the six boards together had just been a bit of megalomaniacal fun, however the whole thing actually did develop into a distinctive game all of its very own.

So before I wrap-up, in an attempt to prepare you for your own Monopolyopoly event, I shall attempt to summarise the differences that we discovered between Monopolyopoly, and Monopoly:

1. The 94-square stretch with no Go square was humbling, more so because it also contained six Go To Jail squares. So we both became strategic, conserving our financial resources beforehand as though water for a trek through the desert. The fact that we both built hotels along there repeatedly resulted in a lot of mortgaging.

2. What is a "station"? The station cards quote different tarriffs depending upon the number of stations owned, but the Star Wars game had supplanted these with vehicles, the Reading one had rivers, and Singapore called its monorail stations "trains". And of course a train is a vehicle. In addition, some boards actually had stations as coloured properties on which you could build houses! I chose to be literal about this – when I owned four such properties, I often only charged as though I had three, because only three of them were actually stations.

Meanwhile, the X-Wing Fighter card that I had bought simply stated "If 2 are owned..." Two what? Two X-Wing Fighters? Two vehicles? Two elephants? Whaaat???

3. The size of the board was a challenge physically. Not only did we both utilise extended artificial claws to move pieces around (much like in a war room), but we had to civilly move each other's pieces depending upon their proximity to us, and be honest when telling each other where we had landed. At one point I thought Herschel had two houses on a property. However when I stood-up and walked-around for a closer "Google-Earth" view of it, I realised he actually had four.

4. The "Advance To ..." instructions could involve passing Go as many as eight times, yielding a potential $3,400. However not all cards said to actually advance...

There we go – "travel through hyperspace". I think that means travel the shortest possible distance across the middle of the board. My knowledge of physics is weak, but I didn't think that travelling through hyperspace would involve going the long way around the course.

5. With 240 squares to navigate, we never landed on the same square at the same time as each other.

6. With it costing $2,000 even to get out of jail in Singapore, it became smart to hang onto a Get Out Of Jail Free Card for use specifically on that board. (don't ask about the street repairs card)

And ultimately, once we had bought all the cheaper properties, several hours in, the game became all about starting to buy-up Singapore, and then sometimes quickly mortgaging it again. Herschel gave up at one point, conceding that he had lost, and we only kept on playing because I wanted the satisfaction of bankrupting him. But things turned, and it wasn't long before we were both mortgaging most of our cheaper properties to finance buying up the more lucrative Malaysian Island, each believing this to be the quickest route to ruining the other.

This was an interesting development to kick-in so late in the game, and who knows what other surprises Monopolyopoly might have had waiting for us, had we not eventually given-in and gone home?

Even Elmo was asleep
That's right, eventually we both just called it a draw. In one sense, we were both winners. In a more accurate sense, we were both losers. After seven hours, with no end in sight, we both wanted sleep. Badly.

We were bloated with Monopoly. The game itself had emerged the victor.

I guess the only real winners were Waddingtons.

Next week: Chess. With Mouse Trap pieces.

Labels: ,

0 comment(s):

Post a Comment

<< Back to Steve's home page

** Click here for preceding post(s) **

** Click here for following post(s) **