Note: this is the first in a series of posts first written in my previous blog, now shut down.
(Original posting – 1/6/2003)
That word echoed through the acoustics of the room as the small grey soldier sailed over my head. I was playing Risk with my cousins, and my weak inferior 4 armies stationed in Western Canada managed to hold off the much larger assault force from Asia (I was rolling sixes like the Devil himself!). It wasn’t meant to injure of course, and together with the angry/laughing face my cousin made when throwing the fit, was enough to have me laughing (at him, not with). On a more serious note though , it’s true; board games bring out the worst in people. Check out the look of no surprise on your face!
Another one of the games which I feel give deeper insight into the people playing it is Monopoly. Having played it throughout my life, including a few months ago when I and everyone else at the table got completely pwned by a 7 year old, I see that it brings out many different sides of a person no matter how we act during our daily lives – So I compiled these categories, none of which are pretty! Oh, and no, I won’t be serious about this.
• The Stackers – the people who stack their money into one big pile, which they hold onto at all times. Pay attention to the colors of money rainbowed within the pile; when the stacker lands on your property and it’s a high price, you better believe it’s going to be a huge production as they sift through their bills. The stacker also stacks their property deeds, thereby insuring that every time someone lands on a property they even suspect think they have, you’ll hear ‘wait’ as they check to see if they have it, every single time.
• The Tucker – The Tucker wants to tuck all of their money under the game board, making the board tilt up slightly. The reason behind this, is that the money now looks as though it is in a cash register, fulfilling the player’s dreams of working the check out at A&P. Whenever the tucker gets 50’s again (after running out) they insist in lifting the board to put their money in, thereby making houses and pieces landslide to the middle of the board so that everyone else has to fix them, including…
• The Weirdo – The weirdo can also be called The Control/Neat Freak, as the odd characteristics they display may overlap and/or vary in intensity. First, they insist on being the car, just so they can make the ‘vroooom’ sound every roll, and park their car in front of whatever property they land on, making the game more ‘realistic’. After all who travels around in an iron? Free Parking also makes sense for them and their car, and them only, and so they will mock the logic of you even being there as though some rip will occur in the time/space continuum. They will ‘fix’ the houses every roll, because the dice hitting the board with each roll moves the perfect alignment of their houses one microbe. Though a close relative to the aforementioned Tucker in the sense of exactness, they are in fact sworn enemies, and not only is it guaranteed that they will both be playing, but that the neat freak’s houses will be on the tucker’s side and be knocked over every 2 seconds as the tucker realigns his money, thereby riling up the Neat Freak, who will complain endlessly. Their properties and utilities are arranged perfectly and the money you owe is memorized and announced to you within a nanosecond of landing on the property, which gets really fucking annoying quickly.
• The Pain in the Ass – Sure as night follows day (and vice versa), there will be one completely obnoxious pain in the ass playing the game. What is the pain in the ass (henceforth known as PITA)’s modus operandi for being such a jerk anyway? Easy. They want to psyche you out, so that you make mistakes, lose all hope of winning and end up a Drifter. As fate will have it, the PITA will always wind up with the Boardwalk, Park Place about half the time and land on them enough times to put up hotels. The PITA will also offer to sell you his get out of jail free card for $49, as though it’s a bargain. Every time the PITA rolls the dice they will snap their fingers and/or yell “YEAH baby!”, as though that was exactly the number they wanted, even if it lands them on your property. Whenever someone draws ‘comes in second in a beauty contest’ the PITA will yell “Everyone else came in first!”, or “You were the only contestant!” (I admit to doing this, it is pretty funny!). No matter how much or how little rent you have to pay, the PITA will always ask you for the money in a very matter-of-factly voice with a hand outstretched, “$8 please!” They will offer to move your pieces for you when they know you will land on their expensive property, announcing each number with a gradual emphasis in shouting, then finally slamming your piece onto the property (usually Boardwalk with a hotel), laughing hysterically and knocking every house on the board askew (which adds to neat freak’s complaints of “oh, come ON!” to the cacophony).
You might think the PITA is unbreakable, but that is a common misconception. There’s one weakness the PITA has, and it must be exploited. It is of course, repercussion. Ask them for money in that same voice, move their pieces even as they refuse, remind them constantly of any properties that they may have mortgaged or any huge payments they have had to make, in short, dish it back, believe me they CAN’T take it! It may not seem to work at first, but gradually they will glare back at you, tell you to “shut up!”, and as you continue, they will try to pester you further, but you have at least equaled them, if not won!
• The Slum Lord – The slum lord (AKA the fake millionaire) owns the properties on the first side of the board, including hotels on Mediterranean and Baltic Avenues. They will cash in whatever money they have for higher denomination bills, so that eventually they have nothing but $500 bills and maybe a couple of $5’s to their name. God help you when you land on a property and they need to make change because you ran out of ‘ones’, or when they hand you a $500 bill for $12 rent.
• The Loser – No matter how many people play the round, there will be a loser, jinxed from the first roll when they land on ‘income tax’. This person ends up with a total of 3 properties, which they never land on. They will of course land on others’ properties religiously every time they go across the board. They are frequently in jail, and most of their money winds up in free parking, and is elected chairman of the board and has to pay every player $150. The loser will eventually give up and become The Drifter, where they liquidate all of their possessions and just roam around the board until they run out of money. If you play your cards right, you might be able to buy out the loser and take his properties, but the loser might also use the opportunity to hold ‘an auction’ which if voted in by other players, will allow them to milk you for up to double the price if someone absolutely needs to own Marvin Gardens (and there is always someone who does).
• The Cheaters – If there is a way to sneak, connive or just plain cheat one’s way into winning, or better yet, making YOU lose, they will find it, or make new ways as opportunities arise. First off, they will insist on being banker, which arouses instant suspicion. Seeing as being banker is a bit of a pain, especially when there are a lot of players, they get their way. They’ll toss the die off the table and as you retrieve it, you’ll look up and suddenly your hotels are downgraded to 2 houses, and everyone will swear it was that way.
Well I won’t trash cheaters too much here– you see, they rip EVERYONE off, even each other, which means from time to time, YOU will reap some benefits, such as houses passed to you in a bag of chips, or a $500 bill slipped to you (where else, but under the table!) It’s bribery of course, but they keep everyone in ‘hush houses’ and the games run with the air of mistrust throughout the duration.
So – which one are you?
And which piece must you always have?