As a professional cynic, I disagree with plenty of things that others find “fun.” Examples include: hip-hop music, fruit-at-the-bottom yogurt, guacamole, any sport with a ball and the works of Ray Bradbury. But there is one thing that, above all others, disgraces the very meaning of fun. It hides among us disguised as, of all things, a board game.
Playing Monopoly is the worst experience I’ve ever had in my life. The fact that people think of it as a fun time is an insult to its origins. Monopoly was never intended to be fun. According to The Guardian and Brittanica, for years it was thought to be created by Charles Darrow, who then sold it to the Parker Brothers game company in 1935. While this is partially true, the game had actually existed for about 30 years before that point; Darrow had learned the game from his friends. A woman named Elizabeth Magie created the original version of Monopoly in 1903, then known as The Landlord’s Game, as a way to spread her political beliefs. The game started as a scathing critique of the exploitation of tenants by greedy landlords, and homemade copies circulated around colleges and between left-wing activists. While Magie was able to patent her game, it was never bought by a large company—until Darrow sold his version of Monopoly to the Parker Brothers. When the game began to take off, the company bought the rights to similar games to ensure they would have a monopoly (does that sound familiar?) on the concept. This included the patent for The Landlord’s Game, for which Magie received a grand total of $500 and no royalties.
I need no other argument to prove Monopoly is no fun (stealing a woman’s intellectual property is one of the least fun things I can think of), but that doesn’t mean I don’t have others. Monopoly is apparently designed to take 60 to 90 minutes to play a full game which, as anyone could tell you, is a boldfaced lie—it takes three hours at the very least. I could roast a whole turkey in that amount of time. Even the most fun activities start dragging around hour two. I can’t even watch an entire movie without taking a snack break every half hour.
I took a survey in one of my classes, and received the following opinions:
‘You’re never ever going to finish playing.” -Cecilia Lomanno (‘26)
“It’s been a while since I’ve played it, but the reason I haven’t is because my parents refuse to.” -Avery Burnap (‘25)
“I played Monopoly once when I was 13 and never finished because I was playing with six other 13-year-olds.” -Ani Rosenthal (‘25)
“It ruins families. My brother used to pocket twenties when we weren’t looking.” -Andy Bentley (‘26)
“I find it a really depressing game to play.” -theater professor Rosemary McLaughlin
An anonymous student summed it up best, saying, “It’s tedious as f*ck.”
If I wanted to partake in capitalist society, I would just exist. Mortgages, property taxes and jail time are incredibly stressful, and roleplaying them with colorful money is only a reminder of the depressing life we go back to when the game is done. Instead of hopping around a board, always ending up right where I started, all I have to do is look at my student loan balance to feel an equal amount of hope for the future.
Monopoly is about as thrilling as watching a TV that isn’t on. If you want to enjoy glorified capitalism that’s fine by me, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. Monopoly players are celebrating the theft of intellectual property, and even worse, the unrelenting fog of boredom, and I can’t condone that kind of behavior.
Is something making you angry, but not enough to write about it? Send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll take care of it for you.
Ollie Arnold is a sophomore majoring in Mathematics and minoring in Computer Science.