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RemembeRED: Cheating

May 24, 2011

It wasn’t cheating if you didn’t get caught.

That’s always how we played. Cheating was just another aspect of the game.

It included hiding money under the board (so your opponent wouldn’t realize that you were about to buy everything from Pacific to the Boardwalk.) Or stealing from the bank – that was cool, too, but required a diversion of some kind. One had to remain entirely above suspicion for that angle to work, or else the money would all be counted again upon returning to the board after answering the phone, or doorbell, or seeing what it was that just flew across the back deck.

Alliances were also fine, when it was more than one player at the table. Secret, or open, we would barter for allegiance against whoever built hotels first. Everyone knew, once those little red rectangles landed on Pennsylvania and North Carolina – it was all over. Ganging up on the current railroad baron, or slum lord – whether it was Mom or Dad or Grandpa – it was all part of the game. Nothing personal, of course.

I was a good cheater, too. At least I thought I was. Maybe my pre-pubescent poker face wasn’t quite as concrete as I imagined, but I won my fair share.

So many of these strategies I learned from suffering at the hands of my older brother. We would sit in the floor for hours. Sometimes days. He memorized the rule book early on, but he taught me only as it benefited his strategy to do so. I would learn after the fact that if you aren’t paying attention and another player lands on your property, once the dice are rolled, they are no longer obligated to pay your rent. This pained me greatly – I was easily distracted. Or rather, he easily distracted me, and often left my properties, developed or not, unscathed.

I lost thousands from such trickery.

The cheating stopped when G came along. Dudley Do-Right Gabe was an engineer; he saw the world in black and white. Cheating was not a nuance, or an aspect. It was cheating. It was dirty and wrong and I can’t believe you people play that way.

We almost broke up after that first game. He was horrified. My brother and I, only slightly abashed. I quickly realized – it was him, or the family Monopoly rules. I chose him.

But I miss the old ways.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. May 24, 2011 9:20 am

    awww, we used distractions to cheat too, lol. Playing games was a way of life at our house and you did whatever you could to win, lol.

    • May 24, 2011 9:32 am

      I keep telling my husband that I’m not some horrible deviant for playing that way! Glad to know I’m not alone!

  2. May 24, 2011 10:08 am

    This is my first time visiting!

    I love how you wrote about an aspect of several games, cheating, instead of just picking one game. I assume “Gabe” is your husband? I’m glad you picked him over cheating lol!

    Coming from a family of do-gooders, cheating was not tolerated. But alliances were common. As an adult, we love to play the game “Settlers of Catan”, and if you let on that you are close to winning, you might find the other players suddenly allied against you!

  3. Robert T Stone permalink
    May 24, 2011 10:45 am

    That did not come from my side of the family!!!!

  4. May 24, 2011 6:53 pm

    My husband is the cheater in our house. He is also responsible for ruining my love of Monopoly. He plays dirty and takes no prisoners. No fun!

  5. Tonya Power permalink
    May 25, 2011 9:17 am

    Thank you for this post. Somehow, your description helped me understand something that has puzzled me for years. I’m like Gabe in the way I see these things. It is just the way my brain works. I have always had trouble with “unspoken rules” that people operate with in life. To me, it was always bad behavior. But, to the people involved in it, it was part of “the game” for their situation. Now I find myself trying to teach my kids how to navigate a world where people operate playing these games in their lives, which I don’t understand any more than my kids do. I think you helped me get a glimpse of what is going on in these situations.

  6. Christy A. permalink
    May 25, 2011 11:52 pm

    Honey, we cab play Monopoly anytime! I do.r play that way irl, because I value my marriage, but I’m still in love with dirty pool with my sisters! Love ya!

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