Look At It This Way - September 30, 2011

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Having picked up a bug last weekend I spent the first three days of this week indisposed, as they say. And, lo, on the third day, still bent double and now intimate with every bit of grouting which needs replacing from my Gaudi-esque attempt at tiling the bathroom back in 2001 (yes it has been that long) I went forth and laid out ... the Blackpool Monopoly.

With the right opposition, a board game is a perfect pick-me-up, a ritual familiar from childhood when personal favourite Coppit (which I was delighted to see on sale at Home Bargains the other week) was a favourite when ill.

Strategy isn’t a strong point in Coppit. The best approach is a fairly sneaky one, nab every safe zone within the vicinity of base camp and then leap out whenever some hapless player strays near and can’t find refuge.

I call it tactical playing. Others call it not playing the game.

But then I regularly win at chess too.

However, I am rubbish at Monopoly. Even when I cheat. And as Banker I think it’s pretty much a given in this day and age that the banker will cheat.

Don’t tell me the real thing has never double-wrapped a £100 when Passing Go – ending up with at least £300. Or hung onto a Get Out of Jail Free card? Not that the real thing ever goes to jail.

And don’t tell me you have never picked up the Lytham St Annes Expess Community Chest and totally fabricated “you have won a lot more than this card actually states you have won in a beauty contest” (yeah , right...) or a Chance card which entitles you to “develop whatever passes for Pontins today into airport land so that we can all actually fly somewhere we want to rather than have more housing.”

I’d be inclined to add a few other cards such as “an earth tremor has just been reported – cease fracking and pay environmental tax” or “a much-used tram crossing is closed by the council – the Ombudsman tells you to advance to Go immediately”. Or “metal thieves nick the Tower, game over.”

I was in on the launch of the board game, indeed the first to play the game at the Imperial Hotel which occupies the posh Park Lane spot. That was my undoing the other day.

A skilful strategician (my mother) had managed to bag four houses and an hotel on the Imperial site, which cleared me out.

But what most hurt was being fined each time I landed on The Gazette spot, even though the rent was relatively paltry. I saw red in much the same way Preston New Road locals didn’t like being plonked in the lowly Old Kent Road site.

The look of glee which came over my opponent’s face whenever I landed on The Gazette made me sick. So I was.

Well, it’s one way of ending a game. Play dirty.