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Monopoly, a game for everyone

November 23, 1998

If you're looking for a Christmas gift for that hard-to-buy-for Washington County resident, let me suggest a game of Monopoly.

What's that? Your Washington County friend doesn't exactly have a head for figures? Never can keep up with the child support? Always gets the short end of the stick at yard sales? Wouldn't know Park Place from Burger Park?

No problem. Because the new line of Monopoly games which, purely by coincidence have been released just in time for Christmas, include a couple of attention grabbers sure to excite the folks on your list.

And here specifically I am referring to the special editions of Bass Fishing Monopoly, NASCAR Monopoly and Harley-Davidson Monopoly.

I only wish I were kidding.

There are some other, more suburban editions this year as well, including Alaska Iditarod Monopoly (Do not pass Yukon, do not collect 200 kopeks), U.S. Space Program Monopoly (doesn't it sort of devalue the cosmos to be able to trade the Big Dipper for Jupiter, the Waterworks and $300 cash?), U.S. Navy Monopoly (Chance card: You attend Tailhook conference - go directly to jail) and National Parks Monopoly (sounds like another back-door plan by Clinton and the Republicans to sell off more public timber land).

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In the NASCAR edition, you don't have an income tax, you have a stop and go penalty; you don't have to pay a luxury tax, you have to pay for a garage pass and you don't buy properties, you buy drivers - which is fitting, since I know so many women who would pay lots of money for Jeff Gordon and a hotel, and so many men who would like to put a house on Dale Earnhardt.

In the Harley-Davidson edition you don't have an income tax you have a street tax, which leads me to think the design boys over at Monopoly didn't put a lot of thought into the Harley-Davidson edition. Or, more likely, they didn't have a clue. I can see a bunch of game designers sitting on the 935th floor of some L.A. skyscraper when the marketing team comes in and says:

"Hey, we need some Hogs."

Design staff: "You take that back!"

There's further evidence in that the Harley edition still only has one Go To Jail space and, so far as I can tell, no Community Chest card that rewards the player for crushing a Japanese bike into a small cube with a set of oversized channel-locks.

Six new regional Monopoly boards are being introduced this fall, including my favorites, Utah and Florida. You can tell the Florida game because neither of the die have more than two spots. (I've just been informed that I need to explain that joke. It concerns the speed with which one would travel around the board, but that's the last hint you're going to get).

The Utah game is curious - I mean, who would ever have linked Latter-day Saints with monopolistic property deals? And some things you just can't do and I should think mortgaging the Mormon Tabernacle would be one of them.

The last edition new for this fall that I'm going to mention is the World Cup France '98. By linking soccer and the French, I assume the people at Hasbro are trying to package as many annoying things as they can into one box.

And how do you tell the winner, the person who ends up with one dollar to everyone else's none? Or maybe all the spaces are blank - the Monopoly game that guarantees there will be absolutely no action whatsoever.

Let's see, soccer moms, bass fishermen, yard sale fanatics, Mormons, NASCAR fans, the French, Harley riders, the elderly, hunters, Democrats, Republicans, naval officers, the toy industry and Eskimos - is there anyone I CAN'T expect a letter from?

No, I believe that should cover the whole waterworks.




Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist

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