Sunday, March 22, 2009

no monopoly on morality

A few years ago, I declared that I despised the game Monopoly and refused to play it ever again. I sited its obsessive capitalistic leanings as the reason, saying I didn't approve of the value (of fanatical financial acquisition) the game promoted. In reality, it's just a crappy game. Very little strategy is needed to win. In fact, you can play as perfect a game as your rolls allow, and still lose. Badly. As was the case the last time I played Monopoly and swore I would never play again. I hadn't fully realized that my hatred of this game stems from lack of interesting game-play (because the game really does promote a rampant, capitalistic behavior which I have long despised - though only recently has it become popular to despise) until I had to confront my own inconsistency when I was introduced to the game Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico is a brilliantly designed game, which holds your interest with a fantastic balance of strategy and chance and player interaction. It's a truly fabulous game, with only one catch: the little pieces you acquire who represent the people who come to Puerto Rico to work your plantations. The game calls them "settlers". In reality, they are slaves. And slavery is not a value of mine. But the game is really good. Or at least, the game play is superb.

So, what do I do? I must confess I did a decent amount of moralizing against Monopoly in the past few years (sorry Ree!). I think this will just be the case where I name things for what they are, including my own inconsistency. I will admit that Monopoly does promote a value-system that is not my own, but that the reason I dislike the game is because it's a poorly designed game. And I will say that Puerto Rico does not promote my values, but I will admit that the game is fun to play.

And I did have fun playing the game last night over at Sharon and Eric's house.

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