Even a seven-year-old can print money.
My seven-year-old daughter, Natalie, insisted on being the banker and it was astonishing to see how quickly she become wide-eyed when she realized that she had the ability to flood the game with money. She decided that $1,500 wasn't enough for each player to start the game with, so we doubled it to $3,000. I encouraged her lack of fiscal discipline by suggesting that we collect $300 rather $200 for passing "Go." A property buying and building boom ensued.
My five-year-old son, Ethan, displayed his penchant for wanton spending by bidding double the face value whenever a property came up for auction. Soon we were circling the board and just passing money back and forth as we took turns landing on each other's hotels.
Ten dollars quickly became our lowest unit of money as we couldn't be bothered with singles and fives; we just rounded up rents and penalty fees. I think that if my daughter was a little more advanced at math, she would have loved the notion of multiplying the values and having a $1 trillion bill just like Zimbabwe.
The money started to tilt towards her end by virtue of her owning higher-end properties like Park Place (or in our case, Burns Manor since we have The Simpsons version of the game) while I was the proprietor of decidedly more downscale joints like Moe's Tavern.
An interesting side note: I saw my daughter's infatuation -- and yes, greed -- in being able to command the super high rents, but she had absolutely no interest in the railroads even as I tried to explain how they were underrated and often the key winning the game over the long term. I practically had to force them on her in a sweetheart deal so she could own all four.
After a few more laps around the board, I pointed out that she had just collected twice the amount from the railroads from my son and me as we each landed on one at least once per lap (remember the railroads are evenly spaced around the board) than she did from the two properties sitting next to each other, which we frequently skipped over. Can anyone say dividends?
My daughter chuckled with glee every time I needed to sell off a house or mortgage property. But she showed her generous heart, and more to the point, the desire to keep the game going, by allowing me to refinance at full value rather than the 50% haircut dictated by the rules. Eventually there was no money left in the bank. The game ended. It was fun while it lasted.
I could have seen what would have happened if we introduced credit and borrowing, but my back was hurting from sitting on the floor so that's a lesson I will have to learn another day.
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