Monday, October 18, 2010
When we played the boardgame Monopoly, in which you pretend to be a tiny venture capitalist, there’s an extension of the rules called free parking that we never ceased to enforce. All of the fines paid in multicolored game money were placed in the center of the board, to be awarded to the lucky player whose tiny metal car, hat, or shoe lands on the “free parking” square.
The official rules of Monopoly never mention free parking being used in this way, and the game designers only intended that square to be a break, not a sudden windfall, going so far as to insist in interviews that to play this way, to structure the game to have such a big random award, is not to play Monopoly at all.
Everyone wants there to be a reward just for participating, something so good that can happen because you chose to grind away in the system.
The reward at free parking perpetuates the game endlessly, as no one will ever be bankrupted, so like a sitcom past its prime, the players have no risk and move around the board endlessly.
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