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Is Monopoly an evil?

And we are back with your favourite blog after a well-deserved Winter break! During this time, we had been working hard to get ready for the long-awaited Game fair in Nuremberg, when they cancelled the event due to the pandemic situation. It is a choice that we perfectly understand, considering how fast and uncontrollably the virus is spreading (we were affected too, but luckily with no consequences). Obviously, we are extremely sorry about it, we had prepared a fantastic stand that we were really proud of, and we were looking forward to meeting friends and other board games insiders.

Let’s cut to the chase. Today I’d like to give my opinion on a topic that, every once in a while, have a comeback on social media, with lively debates involving people who see Monopoly and Risk as the absolute evil (often the most dedicated gamers), and who defends them for their historical value (often the professional insiders).
I do not deny the definition of intelligent games, which is associated to our hobby: I believe that tabletop games are an intelligent way of spending time, and I do not see any problems in saying it. But if someone said that all the “old” games are stupid, then I would strongly disagree, and I am sure that some older publications can be appreciated and judged impartially. For example, I had the chance, a few times, of talking about Inkognito or Scotland Yard with game enthusiasts, and they all agreed saying that they are good publications that, despite showing a little the weight of the years, do not disfigure among the modern ones.

The fact is that there is a bunch of people who see Monopoly as the absolute evil, and pour scorn upon anybody who plays it, and this is not good. Snob players are no good to our movement. Being enthusiastic about our own passions is good, but if you meet a newbie who is willing to expand their views, diminishing their past experiences is not a good way of welcoming them. Placing yourself on a pedestal is presumptuous and it is likely to result in never seeing the newcomer again.
This does not necessarily mean that when someone arrives at the game club for the first time, we should always suggest a party game or a super easy game, with the risk that they get bored (and we know that it happens). We can just chat for a while with the person in front of you to decide what to suggest. If it is true that games such as Twilight Imperium or Through the ages are probably not the right choice for someone who has never played, this doesn’t mean that you should always put on the table Dixit or Dobble (or better, Brick Party, Fun Farm or Pazzaparola!) For example, I believe that Agricola, in the version without cards is an excellent entry level for a certain type of people, because the rules aren’t difficult to explain or to understand. In any case, I don’t mean to say that suggesting Dobble or Fun Farm is always bad: even if you don’t like the genre you can resist for 15 minutes to defeat the scepticism of people who come to the club for the first time.

To come back on topic, if you meet a person (live or online) who says that they have only played Monopoly, you can say “well, then we’ll introduce you to many games, all different and all super fun, in none of them you need to roll dice to move”, but it is absolutely uncalled for adding that you hate Monopoly, even though you think that (note: I do not like it, I played it recently, analysing it from the most objective point of view, and it didn’t pass the test, but this is not the point).

Most of all, if, despite all your suggestion their answer was “no thanks, I still prefer Monopoly, and I wanted to know if it was better to buy the Harry Potter or the Star Wars version” accept it without too many regrets and do not look at the interlocutor with disdain, and don’t think that they do not understand the real value of boardgames like you do. Not everybody likes the games that we like, but it is a positive thing that people play, regardless of what the game is. Maybe this person will never play anything but that roll-and-move game, but maybe another person will get into gaming while playing with them, and will then move on to more modern games.
Remember that every new player is a priceless achievement for all the games enthusiasts!

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