Saturday, December 24, 2011

No. 0062 - Recessionopoly

Editorial Note: So I've outsourced my blogging to an unpaid (but highly valued) employee, Sarah Chow aka my wife. Please note that the first-person mentioned has been tainted with the writer's perspective.

I am a big fan of Monopoly. I've already developed two Monopoly inventions on this blog: Invention No. 0043: Monopoly Extended Play and Invention No. 0019: "Communist: The Game. So my natural instinct when I woke up on my own at 5:30 a.m. Saturday morning was to play Monopoly on my iPod. And my wife's natural reaction when she woke up to me playing Monopoly at that hour was to tell me 1) go back to sleep and 2) that game doesn't make any sense in today's economy anyway.

Actually, Monopoly is a perfect game for today's economic climate, given that it was first invented in the Great Depression. But I have to agree that some of the details for how to get rich in the game aren't necessarily relevant to the Great Recession. Which is why I'm proposing a few modifications to update Monopoly for today.

Recession Monopoly starts with everyone having property, with each property square having 3 mortgaged houses on it. The goal of the game? Have no mortgages. The first person to either pay off or discard all their homes wins. When you land on someone's property, you have to take their mortgage. And if you land on your own property, you have to take out a second mortgage.

In Recession Monopoly, borrowing money is easy and spending it is encouraged. Things will be a little more interesting with the Chance and Community Chest cards, too. They'll include cards such as "CEO parachute: collect 50% of all other player's cash and spend half a turn in jail"; "Invent an Apple iProduct: collect $500 from other players"; "Discover your investments are in European bonds: pay $750 to the bank"; "Sue for miscellaneous damages: collect $500 from the bank"; etc. And in addition to losing to the ordinary tax cards (which already go straight to the bank and not into the schools and roads they claim to), you can cash in big with a government bailout card (applicable only to the player already in the lead).

Would a game this painful be successful? It shouldn't be, but do the right thing for the economy: increase your consumer spending and buy it.

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