Game Night

The first quote was perfect. Like actually perfect, given the state of how my Camp vows turned, and how I’ll just barely scrape by the 20K word count I set myself instead of soaring up, up, and away. Okay, so maybe daily posting was ambitious for someone who knows they will struggle and give up completely on week three, but it was worth a try, and it gave me something else to feel totally guilty over.

Actually, I might have accomplished it if it wasn’t for the stupid Pokemon event. Yeah, I’ll just keep telling myself that.

But now the event is officially over, I’ve passed my 20K words, and I can write for fun again! (Okay, not write at all?) At least, until the end of October comes around and I start panicking.

[So this post was pretty hard and impressive to write, since I really wanted the board to be realistic plus it was hard for me to picture it. Thanks to my friends who play more Monopoly than I do (brave souls they are!) for helping me be accurate.]

  • “Oh that. How far behind am I?”
  • “You assume so much about me.”
  • “Why do some people have all the luck?”
  • “Is it my turn again already?”

It had been a week since John had asked Rianne use of her living room, and the ability to invite Jay, Vincent, and, of course, Rianne herself, over for a night of fun. At least, that what John had said when he proposed the idea. Rianne had been a little bit sceptical, to say the least, but was curious enough to not only accept but to reach out to Jay, who might not have taken up an invitation if it had been proposed to him solo.

To take any strain off of his cousin and as thanks for letting him use the house, John brought over enough Chinese food to probably feed everyone in the two families, and a long and thin cardboard box with the word “Monopoly” on it and some old man with a top hat. Rianne had taken a curious peek inside, but it was a folded up board with what looked like odd coloured paper money and three even stranger sets of cards.

The two of them arranged the plethora of food on the kitchen counter, with plates and cups placed next to it for a self-serve buffet style, then John disappeared to set up the game while Rianne stood over him, watching. Just as the orange cards were put in their home, the doorbell rang, and John left to answer the door. Vincent greeted him by holding up one of his two six packs of hard cider and walked right on in, leaving Jay on the doorstep.

“Truce for the evening,” John offered, grinning at his brother. “I don’t have to be a pain in the butt, and you can try to relax and pretend you’re a human.”

Jay gave a snort and entered Rianne’s house, greeting his other cousin with an accusatory glance. “I should have known you were up to no good.”

Rianne gave him a sheepish smile. “I was intrigued! John brought over this game and I assume he needed three willing and oblivious volunteers. Apparently, that means us.” She hugged him and directed him toward the kitchen. “Vincent’s already cracked open a cider for you, go eat and enjoy.”

Dinner went smoothly, Rianne and Jay striking up a conversation about work, and John explaining to Vincent about the newest gadget he was working on. Vincent, while interested in technology, was less keen about how they worked than them actually working, but quite enjoyed listening to John’s passion. As dinner came to a close, and and the washing and tidying up complete, John used them all into the living room, excitement dancing in his eyes. “So I was hanging out with the muggles, and someone pulled out this game. It’s great fun.” Jay found himself opposite of John, with Rianne on his right and Vincent on the left. All three of the boys were nursing their second cider; something Rianne had opted out in exchange for an after dinner tea instead.

John explained the rules and how to play and handed the rule book around so everyone could take a peek. “So you just go in circles that way, buying up property,” he held out the short title cards and pointing to their respective spaces on the board. “Buy all in that set and you can build houses on it and charge people more money per house. To win, you want to be rich and everyone else too poor to cough up to pay you, even after mortgaging… or everyone quitting,” he smirked. “But we’re all pretty stubborn individuals, so I imagine three of us going bankrupt and there will be one winner.”

“I can’t tell if this will be fun or painful or both,” Vincent noted, leaning forward. “But either way, I’m excited.”

John went first, rolling two threes, and showed them how to purchase a property, and how, if you got doubles on the dice, you get to go again. Vincent, eager and quick to pick it up, went next, then Jay, and finally, Rianne, who had studied up on the very short pamphlet as the others went, and felt confident in her knowledge, if not in her ability to throw decent dice. Turn by turn they went, and, while Jay had been sceptical at first, he found himself getting quite caught up in the act of buying imaginary things with paper money and hoarding property. Either that, or it was the last of the cider kicking in, he wasn’t sure.

Vincent was the luckiest person ever, or the dice really loved him. No one was sure, but he often got two doubles in a row and skipped out on going to jail by rolling two completely different numbers. Rianne, on the other hand, while she couldn’t roll a double to save her life, often rolled smaller numbers and ended up with the orange and red corner mostly to herself. All she was sort on were the two adjacent to Free Parking, and that was because she kept landing on that space itself and getting the money in the middle. Hardly something to complain about, but she had wanted to build houses, and that wasn’t an option until she got the other two.

John gleefully took the first row, bartering with Vincent in exchange for the utilities. It had seemed like a good deal at the time, but fairly quickly everyone went from trying hard not to land on Income Tax to everyone wanting it over the rent at Old Kent Road with four houses. Paying to the middle, which, for quite a few of the time, meant Rianne, was much better than forking over to John, who watched every roll near the end with gleeful eyes. They were even fine with the rail stations, as half were owned by Jay and the other half, Vincent himself.

“Why do some people have all the luck?” Rianne asked as Vincent threw yet another double. “Do you have magic dice? Magic fingers? Actually casting magic when we’re distracted?”

Vincent shrugged, a grin on his face. “I’m going to go with ‘I’m magic’ in general.” He counted out the spaces and managed to skip super tax, and the two most expensive property on the entire board, which happened to be owned by Jay, and land directly on Go.

She shook her head. “Magic. I’d believe it.” She got up, teacup in hand, and reached for the empty bottles. “I’ll get us refills.”

“I would say beginner’s luck, but that was Jay rolling the snake eyes and getting Mayfair and Park Lane in one go,” John noted as he handed out Vincent’s reward. “Thanks, Ri.”

“If only you would be grateful enough to land on it.”

“I have! Once.” It was quite unlike the five times Jay had to shell out for landing on one of John’s properties in the first row, but John wasn’t complaining one bit. The two houses Jay built were rather daunting, and he wasn’t exactly jumping to help make that three houses. He surveyed the board. He was currently very safe in jail, and had no interest in leaving, even though it wasn’t just a wall of houses right after.

It was Jay’s turn, and he rolled, ending up on Free Parking, and immediately turned around to put another house on his prize properties.

“Rianne!” John called, leaping up and heading toward the kitchen to fetch his cousin.

“Is it my turn already?” She had put the kettle on and was getting the last beer out of the fridge.

“If I were you, I’d try to trade with Vincent. The pink one you’ve got and whatever cash amount you want for his red, so you can join us in building houses!”

“Oh, that.” She popped open the tops of the bottles, and John took two of them so Rianne could finish making her tea. The kettle was starting to bubble, and it would only be a minute or two more. “How far behind am I?”

John shrugged. “This game can go back and forth quite a bit, but judging by your money pile alone, I’d say, not very much. Those Free Parkings are really saving your hide.”

“So really should try to trade so both Vincent and I get at least one to compete with you and Jay, huh?”

“You don’t have to. Just a suggestion.” He grinned, taking the third beer and heading out of the kitchen. “She’ll be back in a minute, the tea’s just coming to a boil.” The other two gave sounds of acknowledgement and thanks at the refill. Jay had picked up the rule book in John’s absence and was looking through it, while Vincent was looking at his property cards and frowning at the board itself.

“Pretty sure this is the first — and last — time I will say this, but if I could roll a ten and go to jail with John, that would be ideal.”

“I regret not having any sort of recording device going.” John laughed. “If you do that, you’ll miss out on the Go money. Might be worth it though.”

“Vincent and Rianne have pretty high odds of giving me rent. I’m not that worried,” his brother replied. “It’s either that, or give twice the amount of Go money to you. I’ll take jail instead.”

Rianne returned, sitting down with a very hot cup of tea, which she carefully placed far enough away to not get accidentally bumped into, then, dice in hand and following John’s advice, jumped into negotiations with Vincent. It ended up costing not only Whitehall, but also Coventry Street, but Rianne didn’t really care about Coventry as she had no other investments in the yellows. Vincent did, and she reckoned that he had an eye on the last one, Leicester Square, that was currently held by Jay. She exchanged a good chunk of her hard won Free Parking bills for three houses apiece, with plenty of bills left over. “Just in case you get eleven on this round, John.”

“I’m so glad I gave you the hint,” he grumbled playfully.

“That’s your mistake,” she gave him a large smile. “You assume so much about me.”

“I’m going to laugh if I manage to magically skip the reds every single time, or land perfectly on Chance.”

She rolled, and the six and two landed her directly on Liverpool Station. Vincent held out a hand, requesting his rent, and she obliged, as everyone had landed on enough stations to know exactly the amount owed. John did manage to get out of jail, much to his disappointment, but it was a six, so he forked over a measly amount compared to what he would have had to pay had he rolled higher.

“There’s always next time!”

“Remind me not to give you advice in the future.”

“I’m new to the game! I need all the help I can get!”

“She plays so innocent,” Vincent laughed. “I totally know better by now, and so should you.” Now that it was his turn, he also put up two houses on the two end fuschia ones, and the very last house on the market went on Pall Mall. “There! We now are super house’d up.” His eyes turned to the last yellow property, and up at Jay, who laughed.

“Oh, no you don’t. I refuse to give you another monopoly.” Jay shook his head. “We’ll have to see how this plays out.”

The game continued, and Jay, despite his singular monopoly, continued to draw in just enough that he clung on. John gave the biggest grin anytime any of his family members approached. Rianne was unfortunately hit with the card that gave a penalty on houses, and her nice wad of money decreased as she paid off her fines. In the end, Jay was the first to go, having already traded with Vincent and Rianne for their last yellow and orange properties in exchange for having to pay rent at some point, Mayfair and Park Lane just not quite enough to keep him afloat forever.

Despite Rianne owning the power corner, her luck did not hold out and she ended up landing on the plethora of houses spread around the board. Rianne gave a shrug as she ran out of cash and didn’t feel like mortgaging, and stood, giving the property cards back to John, the designated banker. She took Jay by the arm and they headed off toward the kitchen for one last cup of tea while John and Vincent worked to buy up the properties again and fight it to the end.

By the time they returned, John not only owned, but put hotels on everything from Go to Jail to Go itself, and four houses and two hotels on the properties leading up to Just Visiting, and Vincent had hotels on all the yellows, and the most expensive of the other two sets he owned, with the red properties being no man’s land as John owned two, and Vincent owned the last one.

“What happened in our absence?” They replaced the empty cider bottles with cups of tea, and Jay sat down to watch.

“We got greedy,” John explained, looking at the board. “Whatever, it’s HotelsRus at this point.”

“At this point, it’s “see who gets to sit in Jail the longest”,” Vincent added, pointing at himself in Jail, and John sitting prettily on Water Works.

Rianne shook her head. “Uh-huh. I’m going to bed. Let me know how it goes.”

He gave her an absentminded wave as she headed off, and the other two wished her a good evening. “Sure thing.” It was pretty safe until Vincent got out of Jail, and they each approached the other’s wall of death. Money exchanged back and forth, and Vincent started praying to either roll super big as he approached John’s half or super small the moment he passed it, and John lived to land on everything that wasn’t a Monopoly.

In the end, Vincent’s luck of doubles became a curse as he ended up on Park Lane and rolled two ones for Mayfair. “I’m calling it quits. My luck came back to bite me.” He started putting all of his money back into the bank.

“About time too!” John gathered Vincent’s cards and started organising them by their location on the board. “I was thinking we’d never end at this point.” He was quite pleased that he had won, but was starting to get a bit tired and bored by the end, with only pure stubbornness that kept him going. Still, the win was totally worth it, and he was keen on playing another game — as long as it wasn’t this week.

Jay agreed, standing up and stretching. “Sleep is definitely in order.”

Vincent held out a hand to John. “Congratulations.”

“Thanks! Apparently the first row, despite being baby, can be quite powerful.”

“And painful,” Jay added. He had landed many a time on John’s properties and was surprised by how effective it was. He had made quite a few notes during the game on what to do — or what not to do, which was to horde that one property, but those he got due to pure luck. Luck was less friendly to him elsewhere, for he only had bits and pieces of other monopolies, and hadn’t been able to successfully trade for at least one more stronghold on the board. At least he knew for next time, which was a bonus, although it didn’t balance out John’s mocking grin.

“How many times have you played this now?” Vincent asked, gathering the odds and ends that had migrated into his sister’s living room.

“Three. This is the first time I’ve won though, so I’m definitely excited.”

They packed up, made sure everything was tidy enough according to Rianne’s standards, and let themselves out of the house, Vincent locking the door behind them. After saying their farewells, they went their separate ways home and to bed.

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