Progressive Monopoly

Chapter 6.  Lessons learned


Mark showed us how efficient a vicious government can be. Every time Ann or I got a little ahead, he’d swoop down and relieve us of our accumulated assets. And we let him do that because, well, it was in the Rules and there was no way for an ordinary player to change the Rules. . . .

Ann showed us how insidious government generosity is. When she quickly ran out of money, she switched to creating and awarding government IOUs (the Rules said she could). By the end of that game, the Government was over a million dollars in debt. Just as you might predict, Mark and I were wealthy, but that made properties almost worthless since we had so much cash on hand. And rents? Big deal, because chump change would cover the rent for the most expensive hotel. . . .

I completely failed at demonstrating the “correct” way to govern (if there is one), although I tried mightily to do so. In talking with both kids separately, they described my governance as unpredictable. Sometimes I’d bail someone out, other times I’d appear to punish them for the very same transaction. . . .

When I asked if anyone wanted to use the Progressive rules for a fourth game, the vote was unanimously “No.” I decided there was value in recording our adventure, however, to stimulate others’ thinking and perhaps trying to modernize Monopoly in other ways. . . .

One lesson cannot be escaped: No matter how one ruled as the Government in our little experiment, the other players neither benefited from nor enjoyed having Government injected into their economic life. With seemingly unlimited power and no way for the players to redress issues or follow their otherwise sound plans, that outcome was almost assured.

The Rules are the problem – the player who has the role of Government simply puts their own personal spin on an inherently unproductive and unstable situation.

A board game isn’t real life, but perhaps Thomas Jefferson had it right: “That government is best which governs least.”



Progressive Monopoly Rules

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