Progressive Monopoly

Chapter 2.  Our Progressive Monopoly Rules

The Progressive Monopoly Rules our family used are printed in full at the end of this book, but I’ll explain them a bit here.  They have three parts:
   1) Definitions and unchanging general aspects of the Government role (think of this as its Constitution),
   2) Standard Regulations (typical fees and taxes imposed and grants and credits awarded already "on the books" from which the Government can select), and
   3) Exigent Regulations (fees, taxes, grants, and credits that perhaps have never been used before, but are seen as necessary by the current Government).  Good form requires a reason to be stated for a new Regulation, but any old “emergency” will do when it comes right down to it.

There are some interesting subtleties in the role of Government, most notably the presumption that, since it is the Government chosen by agreement of the players, it has a mandate to do as it sees fit, during the term of the current game, without consultation, referenda, or review.  Also, the Government is required to have some financial impact each time the other players have a turn; a “do nothing” Government is impossible.  Going real governments one better, the Government under Progressive Monopoly Rules doesn’t even have to maintain a façade of equal treatment under the law.

My initial Regulations were based upon news events.  For instance, the Wealth Tax is a simplification of the current Alternate Minimum Tax computation.  Emergency Housing Assistance is provided under several federal programs (and landlords can be forced to participate under existing law), a group of independent railroads existed before becoming nationalized as Amtrak, taxes and fees have become a substantial part of our utility bills, . . . and when the Fed buys US bonds, it’s called Quantitative Easing.

The Exigent Regulations feature was added because a) I realized I couldn’t think of all the possibilities a Government might want to enact, and b) it would allow each Government to create its own unique set of priorities.

Once I was reasonably comfortable with what I’d wrought, I introduced the new rules at the end of a normal game.  “I’d like to try something different the next time we play.  You know how - in addition to being a player - one person has the role of the Bank?  Well my new rules also add the role of the Government.  I’d like to play at least three games with the new rules so each of us has the chance to take the Government role.  Sound like something we might enjoy?”

Not knowing what to expect, Mark and Ann agreed to try it.  I was excited by the prospects.