Thursday, July 3, 2014

Passing Go

I had the most curious conversation/revelation with my wife earlier today, and I'd like to share that with you.

It all started with me saying "Tonight. You and me. Board games."

The M-Word

The usual banter plays out, and everything's friendly and casual. Then it took a drastic turn.

Wife: "Do you want to play Monopoly?"

Me: *jokingly* "Do you want a divorce?"

Wife: *GASP!*

After all the games I've introduced to her, it's still appalling that she would still suggest playing that accursed game of "roll-and-move," of collecting properties and paper money, of setting up houses and hotels next to railroads. It made me think of all the reasons why she would still cling to this game. Then I thought of all the times she dismissed a game because there was too much math involved.

All anyone ever did in Monopoly were calculations! Counting the paper bills, collecting rent, buying properties...even calculating income tax! And this was considered FUN?? How was this more appealing than colonizing an alien planet, defending a tower from orcs, or betting on fantasy creatures that fight in an arena?

[Side note: I read that the 10% income tax option was dropped in later versions of the game.]

Despite my jest in marital termination, she truly still wants to play Monopoly, to which I simply asked, "why?" She enjoys moving a piece around the board after rolling, the simple actions of either buying, paying, or collecting on each turn. To her, this was all board gaming ever was, and I can't really fault her for thinking like that. Board gaming back then was just a fledgling, a market over-saturated with themes that gave little effort to lasting appeal. As long as there was some dice, pawns, and a playing board, it was a "board" game.

A More "Realistic" Experience

As the conversation continued, she went on, saying that she enjoyed the realism that Monopoly gave. While the reality we know now is not as simple, I can see how this could've been "real" to our youthful mind years ago. The grown-up feel of purchasing your own property, to build your own houses and hotels, and (most importantly), to be earning your own income! It was playing make-believe, with play money! It was one of the most sophisticated board games to come out during that time, among other games like Perfection, Sorry, and even Battleship.

Given how complicated "reality" can be in Monopoly, I found her statement to be quite ironic against the other heavy euros she could be possibly enjoying as well. But if we're talking about getting deeply rooted in "realism," I had one offering that she's willing to try: Ground Floor. I threw in buzz words like "start-ups," "employees," and "networking," and she still said yes!

Uncharted Territory

Now, it's not definite that she'll still play, but the point I'm making here is that there's always a chance out there to get non-boardgamers to play with you. It takes time, dedication, and a full understanding of what appeals to them to really find the common ground that will bring you eye-to-eye.

And who knows? I may play instead play Monopoly with her. It would be good to observe why she still pines for this game, and perhaps I can harness this to my advantage when suggesting other board games to her. I mean, she's forever my "player 2," after all.
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