Monopoly is probably the greatest board game of all time. It has a unique ability to cause chaos at every turn, with many arguments, fallouts and family feuds coming as a result of Monopoly.
Friendship is put aside in Monopoly, and even the most socialist-oriented member of the family will become a bloodthirsty capitalist whilst playing the game.
Anyone that has played Monopoly knows that even the slightest annoyance caused by a player is grounds for the board to be flipped, someone getting grabbed by the throat, and punches being thrown.
In celebration of the great game that is Monopoly, we take a look at the top 10 causes of Monopoly arguments. These range from annoying habits, to different perceptions of the rules, to other anarchy-causing shenanigans.
10Who Gets What Token?
Yes – an argument before the game has even begun. Monopoly is one of the few games that causes quarrels prior to even beginning. But it is an important issue.
While the lesser, more casual player might be perfectly happy playing as the thimble, most want one of the more attractive tokens – the ship, the cannon, the dog etc.
In any case, it doesn’t exactly bode well for the game when an argument has already been held. At least once this is decided, there is no need for further debate about tokens.
9Free Parking: What to Do?
The Free Parking square is surely the most widely-debated square on the Monopoly board. There are so many different variants to what the square means, which often causes arguments.
The lines between “House rules”, the official rules, and “today’s rules” can become blurred. In any case, the most common rule is that whenever anyone is fined e.g. through Chance or Community Chest cards, or the dreaded income/super tax, that the money goes in the middle.
Then, whoever lands on the free parking square will then receive whatever money has accrued in the middle of the board. This has obvious benefits of throwing more money into the game, but does run the risk of making luck an integral part of the game.
Yet, unbeknownst to many, the official rules state that the square is merely a free square, which becomes useful once the board becomes loaded with houses and hotels. The rules dictate that the bank keeps all income from taxes – which does at least resemble real life.
So while free parking isn’t likely to cause any furious arguments, it is still a contentious issue that is well deserving of a place on this list.
8Process of auctioning properties
So, someone lands on Old Kent Road and decided that in an age of rising living costs, that the £60 is too much for them to pay. Uncle Tom suggests the property must be auctioned off, but Grandpa Alfred says “back in his day” that the game would continue.
If the auction does go ahead, then expect bedlam, as each player bids on an item with the sound of their voice increasing with each bid. Players who don’t need the property begin bidding, and the person that truly needs the property can be held to ransom.
Either way, this process is likely to cause arguments, and many will end up with a property that they didn’t need nor want, but at least they won it…
7Who gets to be the banker
A crucial part of the game is the banker. The role of the banker in Monopoly is to know the game inside and out, be trustworthy, reliable, have strong mathematical skills and show strong diplomacy.
These however are all qualities that are left behind in a game of Monopoly. With everyone wanting to play rather than spectate, it results in one person being the banker and player, and as said banker tries to keep an eye on their properties, others shout at them for their £200 for passing Go.
It is a thankless task, and choosing who gets this difficult task can be difficult to decide. Expect arguments as the most shady member of the group opts to become banker.
6Taking too long on a turn
Everyone knows that a simple roll of the dice is conducive towards a well-paced game, before the dices are passed to the player clockwise from you. But sadly, this isn’t often the case.
Often someone will come up with a new throwing technique – typically when they are desperate for a number. This may include the well-known rolling of the dice through two cradled hands and blowing gently, before releasing.
While at first this is rather amusing, it eventually gets to the point where it is just plain annoying, and that they’re taking too long to take their turn. This can easily infuriate players, who urge the other person to “get on with it”.
Then we also have the old fashioned “whose turn is it” – which is enough to anger any serious board game player.
5Deliberately miscounting a turn
“No, I rolled nine – a five and a four”. “That’s not true, you rolled double four for eight.” The old deliberate miscount – typically a hail mary in an effort to avoid bankruptcy from the game.
It is difficult when one player is adamant that they rolled what they claim – which just so happens to involve missing the hotel on Mayfair or jail by a square. Others will argue that they are cheating – especially the player that is effectively owed money.
Sometimes there is no moving on from this until someone admits they were wrong. Either way, this ends badly – the person who deliberately miscounted will claim they were “robbed”, or if they get away with it, then the player who missed out on the money will be infuriated.
We are certainly hitting the “punches thrown” and “all-out fight” territory now.
4Stealing from the bank
Stealing from the bank can take many forms. The banker may “pay” themselves by collecting £300 per go, someone might grab a cheeky £50 note when no one sees, while others will take advantage of a refreshment break to reach into the bank and stuff their pockets with whatever they can get their grubby mitts on. Lest we forget those that decide to “exchange” money with the bank, and the apparent dodgy exchange rate involved.
Like the issue above, there is simply no way this ends well. Either someone has to admit they were stealing and risk being kicked out of the house, or the accusers back down due to lack of evidence. This typically ends with the mother stating that she’ll “keep an eye” on the accused.
It can get to the point where accusations are being thrown around regularly, and every note taken out of the bank scrutinised and watched closely. This is definitely a point when friendships are tested to the limit.
3Players Buying Properties They Don’t Need
In this day and age, everyone wants a property portfolio. And Monopoly reflects this, with players hoping to complete a colour group as quickly as possible, enabling them to place houses, and if they’re lucky, hotels on the property.
But it can be infuriating for a player that is seeking the final orange property to complete a set, and another player buys it just for the sake of it. Or the person that just approaches the game like a headless chicken – going round buying anything and everything they can get their hands on.
When someone is unable to complete their colour set, it can seriously hamper their chances of winning. It can lead to the player in need of property complaining about the buyer of property – typically the eldest brother of the family – who brushes off any criticism by saying “welcome to the real world”.
This means that if anyone is to secure the property group they desire, that they need to spend big money, and even then, there is no guarantee that the person will deal with them. If the buyer flat out refuses to deal, then things can really kick off.
2People being too cocky when winning
Monopoly does involve strategy, but there is also a fair amount of luck involved. And not everyone has the same luck, which can lead to frustrations boiling over. When the player who is on a lucky run goes around gloating and being cocky, it is enough to wind-up even the most reserved member of the family.
You know what we are talking about – the person who lands on any property they need, manages to avoid the hotels and houses, and dodge the fines from Chance and Community Chest cards. They do so with a big smile on their face.
The person may goad the others, which can lead to all hell breaking loose. Tempers can be tested to the limit by cockiness, and many a person will storm off in anger after spending all of their money on a Mayfair hotel, only for the fortunate player to avoid it time and time again, before reaping the benefits from your misfortune as you land on their property. Infuriating.
1People Making up the Rules as they go along
But of course, the number one cause of arguments is when people make up the rules as they go along. The rulebook that accompanied the game mysteriously goes missing, leading to each player having their own idea of the rules.
It is when these differing rules come into play which can lead to chaos. Rules over bankruptcy, mortgages, the aforementioned auctioning and free parking are all hotly-debated. Unfortunately, by the time these events are encountered, rules have not been set.
Perhaps the most frustrating element of this is when the player adjusts the rules to suit them, coming up with a supposed ancient rule passed down the family by a respected elder, who said something that incredibly allows the player to survive.
Again, it never ends well, as no player will ever go through the game in a way that involves thinking about others. It is every man for himself, and the very best players are those that don’t care about others.
Whenever this does happen, arguments will inevitably ensue, the board will likely be flipped, long-lost family feuds will reappear, dark secrets will be brought up, punches thrown, an all-out riot will happen, and typically ending with someone barricading themselves in a room, or potentially the Police being called.
Ah Monopoly – how we love it.