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Subject: Monopoly replacement for teaching rss

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Eldritch Condiment
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I’ve been looking for a replacement for monopoly for class use, but so far without success. I've been using it to teach conflict theory, especially the argument that social class plays a role in determining future prospects. To do so, I have students play the game as usual, but have each player start out with a different amount of wealth to roughly simulate real life conditions. This serves as fodder for later discussion and debate about the theory.

Monopoly is fine for this, but it would be nice to use something a little more exciting. Can anyone recommend games that do something similar? Here are the main characteristics I need a replacement to have:

1. Simple rules: Accessible to people not necessarily interested in games or motivated to learn extensive rules.

2. Income and wealth: Each player starts out with some funds and, as play progresses, each collects pay of some sort and uses it to make purchases.

3. Zero sum game: A finite amount of ‘something’ that players compete with each other to buy and there can only be one overall winner of the game. In monopoly, this is the case with the properties and houses/hotels.

4. Meaningful decisions: More than monopoly that is. Does not need to be excessive, but should give players a sense that they have some real decisions to make.

5. Relatively quick play time: I need them to be able to finish in an hour. This isn’t usually the case with monopoly, but giving them different levels of starting wealth leads to a fast playing game. I'm willing to modify rules!

6. Available: A game I can still purchase multiple copies of (bonus points for reasonably inexpensive).

Many thanks!
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Bruce Gazdecki
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Maybe Stockpile?
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James Clarke
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Medici
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Michael Debije
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Except for money aspect, Quo Vadis pretty decent.
 
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Andreas Pettersson
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Possibly too simple and quick, but For Sale with different amounts of starting money seem to meet most of you criteria.
 
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Juhan Voolaid
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Wasn't Monopoly designed to show the cruel side of capitalism? And you teach that in school

I think I would recommend 1984: Animal Farm.
"Remember, fellow revolutionaries: All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others!"
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Juhan Voolaid
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But if you want to show economy simulation in "unfair" conditions, just take any good economy game and have players playing it with different amount of starting money.

The simpler stock games should show that very well.
Acquire, Chicago Express, etc
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Al Walker
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Catan?
 
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Chris Lear
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This: https://www.economicsnetwork.ac.uk/showcase/sloman_game

My kids played it (or something very like it) at school in geography lessons. It sounded excellent.

Maybe also have a look at https://www.economicsnetwork.ac.uk/showcase/games
 
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It doesn’t have money as such but The Great Dalmuti is about different people having different social classes and thus some having an advantage.
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Kirk Roberts
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psson73 wrote:
Possibly too simple and quick, but For Sale with different amounts of starting money seem to meet most of you criteria.

It does seem that auction-style games might do well here.
A simple and cheap one is The Game of 49. I think it meets all of the criteria.

Edit: to elaborate, you start with money then bid on spaces on the board grid as they become available to try to get 3 or 4 of your tokens in a row. When special cards are revealed each token already placed on the board generates revenue for that player. There is definitely a rich-get-richer vibe.
 
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Bill Eldard
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Chinatown -- except that more cash is introduced to the game with the scoring of each of the six rounds. Other than that, this is the best trading game around, and much quicker than Monopoly.
 
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Peter Mogensen
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Interesting... Monopoly is (as many may know) derived from The Landlord's Game , which was an attempt at illustrating the economic teachings of Henry George. (The consequence of rent-seeking)
Monopoly somewhat fails to do that, but it may be good enough to illustrate the point you wished for, that initial capital matters.

The Landlord's Game's page lists a few "reimplemented by" games, ... I don't know them, but they might be worth checking out.


Other than that... Acquire might be able to do some of the same.
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Cassandra Thompson
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Love the idea, I used to use a lot of games in classrooms when I used to teach.

I think the range of games you could adapt would be huge... Especially if you did things like forcing some players to play an open hand, allowing allows to pick and choose from the draw pile (e.g. every round they can pick up the top three draw cards and choose the one that they like).

That stuff would certainly emphasise the ongoing benefits of social class.

E.g. Takenoko but the certain classes are allowed an extra move per turn, certain classes are restricted in movements (maybe they are never allowed to build a plot, or cannot built a plot until half way through the game). A middle class might get extra irrigation pipes, but never a plot choice. An upper class might get an extra turn and be allowed to look through the objective cards in order to choose the one that they like best. Actually money is not involved, but the abstract idea is still there.

What age group are you working with?
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Peter Mogensen
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kaibis wrote:
An upper class might get an extra turn and ...


Well ... In principle you would be able to tweak any boardgame to be unfair and unbalanced, by giving some players obvious advantages and call them "upper class". (Like move twice in chess).

That's probably great for a "handicap" system to let novice players play against better once (it's done in many chess clubs), but as a mean to illustrate some socioeconomic principle in teaching, it sounds rather constructed and more like indoctrination to me.

There's nothing wrong with illustrating actual economic principles. For instance, playing Archipelago or CO₂ to show the concept of "Tragedy-of-the-commons" is probably a good idea, since the actual real life principle is a part of the game mechanic. ... but just tweaking rules to be unfair and call the beneficiary "upper class" doesn't seem to have too much educational value to me.

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Kirk Roberts
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It occurs to me that for "people not necessarily interested in games or motivated to learn extensive rules" the game better be dead simple in order for the "lesson" to shine through over the having to learn the mechanics and strategies of whatever the game itself is. I've seen plenty of non-gamers overwhelmed — not in a good way — by many games that BGGers think of as "simple" and "easy to understand".

Based on the OP it seems good to start from "too light" and games that should take 30 or less minutes so they can actually wrap up in under an hour.
 
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B C Z
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I've been thinking about this, and the conversation I'd overhear at a dinner table.

Dad: "What did you do today?"

Son: "We played Monopoly."

Dad: "Oh... kay..."

Son: "Yeah, I lost because the teacher gave Donna more money than I got, and I only got $50 every time I passed "GO" instead of $200."

Dad: "Sounds like your teacher doesn't know the rules to the game."


- - - -

I think you'd be better served with a simulation of Economic Disparity that specifically isn't a familiar game. Make the 'rules' simple, and let the events play out in an emergent style.

I still recall one exercise in our school classroom which went something like this.

1/ Random assignment of 'role' when you entered the classroom. This was arbitrary and everyone knew it. 'Role' ended up being socio-economic status, and came with the following:
1a: Your job at the factory. (Owner (1 or 2), Foremen/Overseers (2 or 3), and Line Workers (everyone else).
1b: Amount of money in the bank.
1c: A mortgage
1d: A family size (self, married, married w/ 1-4 kids)

We were told our grade would depend on how much money we had in the bank and how our families were doing. (This was an outright lie, but it was a motivator in the beginning).

2/ Some Workers had special skills or hinderances that would affect factory output if put into the right (or wrong) position.

3/ Owners got 'orders' for items from the factory, passed down that days hiring requirements to the foremen who then hired the workforce. Owners wanted profit, Foreman wanted to keep the Owners Happy, and had instructions to staff only to make enough of the 'widget' as was ordered.

Workers stood in a line to 'get a job', and then those who got hired spent a minute or two over in 'the factory' area, while everyone who didn't get hired that day went to 'town'. Workers quickly learned to get into the queue early and to not annoy the Foremen who could arbitrarily choose to not hire you if they didn't need everyone.

Then the boom came. The factory couldn't keep up, and everyone was employed. Workers were told that overtime was possible. Some of those workers got sick from overwork and their expenses went up. When peple stopped volunteering, everyone was told their hours were going up (but not their pay!) to keep up with demand. Work 12 hours (and risk the fatigue you'd seen in your class mates) or don't work at all (and watch your family go hungry). Some choice.

Then the bust came and a fully staffed factory meant that a stockpile of widgets built up. First they cut hours back down, AND cut pay as well because "Workers were working less". Then one cycle the owners decided to completely close the factory because the stockpile of widgets was sufficient to meet the current orders. That only lasted one or two cycles. When they reopened, they only hired enough labor to just barely meet demand. Half the class was out of a job and had bills to pay to keep their house and feed their families and winter was coming.

One of the teachers then set up shop in the corner. "Join the Union!" said the poster on the wall behind them. A few walked over and inquired. You'd have to pay dues (another expense), but you were guaranteed a salary even if the factory wasn't hiring that day. Some joined, others didn't like the deal.

Then the Factory got a big order and needed all the labor in the town again -- but the Union guys would only come back if the Factory would honor their Union in the future, even in bust times. Things happened, Negotiations occurred. More people joined the Union. People Scabbed to make sure their kids could eat.

We lived history because we were making decisions based on information on an index card that was randomly handed to us at the beginning of the class.

Why bring this up?

I STILL REMEMBER IT after decades.

I doubt I would remember being shorted in a Monopoly game with the same vividness.
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Bill Eldard
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byronczimmer wrote:
. . . I STILL REMEMBER IT after decades.

I doubt I would remember being shorted in a Monopoly game with the same vividness.

Sounds like an interesting simulation and highlights the difference between a model and a game for teaching in the classroom.

A model need not define conditions for winning like a the game does, and can be tailored to impress the players with specific concepts and ideas. The simulation you described sounds pretty useful.
 
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Chad Noneo
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Bruiser419 wrote:
Maybe Stockpile?
I was thinking stockpile also when I read this, the only thing it does not tick is the cost point. I just picked up a used copy here on BGG for $33 shipped with the expansion but it seems the game is out of print.
 
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M Smith
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Our kids love playing Harbour instead of monopoly now.
To help with new or younger players and handicap the regulars I let them start with different resource levels.
You can tweak it again and give certain players one extra coin,anchor or warehouse before you start.These give ingame bonuses with the top hat aswell.
We play at the childcare setting with ages 8 to 16 getting involved.
There are some really good games already mentioned. This one plays quick and has a simple market fluctuation system.

EDIT Machi Koro: Bright Lights, Big City with some players dealt extra starting locations or coins?
 
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Eldritch Condiment
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Wow, there are a lot of great options here. Thanks, all, for the suggestions! Looks like I have some homework to do now.
 
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