Given that landlords are basically the worst people on the entire planet, it’s kind of weird that one of the world’s most popular board games involves becoming one and doing your best to bankrupt your family. “Ha ha ha, you can’t pay the rent, Mum!” is completely acceptable to say when sat around a Monopoly board, and the absolute opposite in real life.
It’s an incredibly popular game - in fact, when it comes to the world of property-based boardgames, you could say it has something of an, ahem, stranglehold over them (this may or may not be quite a funny joke). And fair enough, it’s really good.
The rules are kind of hardwired into everyone’s brain - you just glance at the instructions at the beginning to refresh your memory about how much money you all start with, have a brief chat along the lines of: “Do you play it where you put taxes and stuff on Free Parking, i.e. are you a fucking idiot?” and get cracking.
And then you bollocks it up.
You might read that and twitch slightly, your jaw tightening, your neck twisting slightly to the left as you swallow in discomfort. No. No. That isn’t how Monopoly works at all, surely? If you land somewhere and can’t afford it, you just feel a bit sad and move on, right? WRONG. According to the official rules, anyway.
They state that if you land somewhere - let’s say The Angel, Islington (the only Wetherspoons on the board), and you can’t afford it or don’t want it, ANYONE gets to put a bid in. Like, including you. It’s weird.
So if you land on it and you don’t have the necessary £100, instead of just moving on, the bank steps in and whoever’s willing to cough up the most dosh gets it. If nobody else wants it, you can get it for a quid. If everyone wants it, a furious bidding war can ensue, just like in real, actual London, and it’ll end up selling for as much as anyone with lots of money and a refusal to give in will pay. Mayhem. It’s not even a real pub.
The most important rule of Monopoly that isn’t in the official instructions is, of course, finishing the game. Nobody has ever or will ever finish a game of Monopoly properly, because it doesn’t end. Instead, one player secretly nominates themselves to get in a massive huff and flip the board over, sending money everywhere, knocking a bowl of crisps to the floor and shouting the f-word at someone they really really love.
What a great game!