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Subject: How to respond to "So is it like Monopoly?" rss

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Greg Jones
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Sure, the truth is, it's nothing like Monopoly. Sure, it shows how clueless the asker is about games that they would even ask such a question. To keep the asker optimally informed, the best response would be, "No, it's nothing like Monopoly. Monopoly is a game with minimal strategy where the winner is decided by luck. It's not any fun, and even if it were any fun, it would be too long for how little fun it was. The games I play were designed by people who actually put some thought into them."

What effect is that likely to have on that person? They are going to consider you an elitist. Maybe they liked Monopoly, and they didn't know they shouldn't have. They're going to feel insulted that you mocked their limited knowledge of the wide world of board games. They're not likely to want to find out more about the hobby.

You should say, "Yes, it is like Monopoly, but better," or, "Yes, it is like Risk, but better," or, "Yes, it is like Dungeons and Dragons, but better." Connect the board games you play to their experience of board games. For example, "Yes, Settlers of Catan is like Monopoly, but you can pick the spots to build on that are most likely to be rolled on the dice. Also everybody gets to play until the end of the game, unlike in Monopoly where if you're unlucky you might get knocked out when there are still hours to go."

Most of us have the luxury of organized participation in the board gaming hobby. We don't need to bring in the uninitiated. We have BoardGameGeek and board game clubs where we know plenty of people with whom it goes without saying that Monopoly is a lousy game. But what if it wasn't so? You'd probably be a little more diplomatic when someone asks you, "Is it like Monopoly?"
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Phil
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morningstar wrote:
"Yes, Settlers of Catan is like Monopoly, but you can pick the spots to build on that are most likely to be rolled on the dice. Also everybody gets to play until the end of the game, unlike in Monopoly where if you're unlucky you might get knocked out when there are still hours to go."
"Nononono, if you lose you are not simply kicked out of the game so that you could do something else. If you are in a losing position you have to stay in the game without any chance of having any impact on the game anymore. Just so you can see how great I am! Isn't that innovative?!"
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Luke Morris
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I'd possibly say "Nah it's not really like Monopoly. Monopoly can be fun but it's a bit long sometimes. This game is shorter and, I think, more fun on a nice rainy day."
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"If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking."
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Quote:
We don't need to bring in the uninitiated.


We don't?

shake

Why not?

Does everybody have enough active Geeks in their area to play the games they want to play when they want to play them?

Do the game companies have enough customers?

Are there too many local game stores?

Is the board game convention schedule getting too crowded?

As a previous contributor mentioned, a little courteous education in response to a "silly" question might bring a new Geek into the hobby.

The person is probably already half way there, since they took the time to ask you a question.

Most important of all... try to remember when YOU were that curious, intelligent, and enthusiastic new person entering the hobby.
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Luke Morris
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Imagine if boardgames ever sold out and got big?! Ugh I know that I for one would leave boardgames immediately and move on to another underground hobby like leaf painting. Mmmm LeafPaintingGeek.com will soon get a new member.
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Geert VG
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People tend to forget they might have played and enjoyed Monopoly themselves... I'll probably never play it again (the market of available games is huge) since it's not my kind of game anymore but I'll never forget the fun I had with this game. Same goes for Risk...
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Scott Nicholson
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How would a wine fanatic respond if you saw a Rose for the first time and asked if it was like a White Zinfandel?


Don't answer it like they would.


I talk about the big flaws in Monopoly that I see - lack of player interaction, player elimination, and the role of chance in the game, and talk about elements in other games that deal with those issues in different ways. (Trading or negotiating on every turn, Victory point systems to determine the winner at a certain point in the game, and Settler's use of dice for probability rather than pure chance.)


Then I pull out a bait game and see if they bite!
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mike hibbert
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snicholson wrote:


I talk about the big flaws in Monopoly that I see - lack of player interaction


If you play it properly, from what I see, it's ALL about player interaction.
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Tony Chen
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Just say yes.
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J H
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My response to "So is it like Monopoly?":

No. Mainstream boardgames tend to be a bit cliche and boring. It's best if you try this other game out so that you've got a reference of cool games to compare other board games to.
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stephen
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I think the last time this came up I said something like "yes this game is like monopoly in the same way that your girlfriend is like her mother", seemed to get the message across.
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Phil
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emmersonpoole wrote:
I think the last time this came up I said something like "yes this game is like monopoly in the same way that your girlfriend is like her mother", seemed to get the message across.
He only did one and you did both?
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Bill Galloway
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Here's what I say: "It's a little like Monopoly, but I think it's better."

When non-gamers ask that question, they're trying to make sense of what you're saying and looking for something comparable in their experience. I think that's a promising question, and it shows that they are reaching out for a common understanding. They're really saying "How can I absorb this into my worldview?" You should try to agree, to keep the conversation flowing smoothly.

Whether what you say about the game is true or not may not matter - since humans are sensitive to emotional cues and often the pleasant tone and friendliness in your voice will mean* more to us than the words you're saying. Similarly, you should ignore the word Monopoly and interpret them thusly: "Is it a little bit like a game I already know? Can you make it easier for me to understand, based on games I have played?"

For some people, "being like Monopoly" could mean something very simple...

- it's a game.
- there's a board.
- you get to roll dice on your turn.
- there is fake paper money, or little playing pieces.
- there are auctions going on.
- it involves sitting down at a table and interacting with people.

So if your game had one of those things in common with Monopoly, then you can say "Yes! It is!" I think that a negative statement will put the discussion on a bad footing. So too would a segue into your personal feelings about the mechanics and victory conditions of a game that might only be a pleasant childhood memory for them.


*edited. I forgot a word here!
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I like board games more than most people.
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HamsterOfFury wrote:
Imagine if boardgames ever sold out and got big?! Ugh I know that I for one would leave boardgames immediately and move on to another underground hobby like leaf painting. Mmmm LeafPaintingGeek.com will soon get a new member.


Is leaf painting like Monopoly?
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I'm working on showing them, rather than telling them. Tsuro should arrive today; I plan to take that to work soon, as well as possibly "No Thanks!"
 
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Stig Morten
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I think the way to reply is by asking in a friendly tone:

"Do you like Monopoly?"

If "Yes" is the answer, continue: "Then you will love this game! It is not like Monopoly, but you will quickly understand the rules and like it more than Monopoly!"

If "No" is the answer, continue: "Then you will love this game! It is not like Monopoly, but you will quickly understand the rules and like it more than Monopoly!"


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Betty Egan
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Quote:
You should say, "Yes, it is like Monopoly, but better," or, "Yes, it is like Risk, but better," or, "Yes, it is like Dungeons and Dragons, but better." Connect the board games you play to their experience of board games.


I agree!!!!!
Don't scare off new players by taking away the familiar. If they had fun playing Monopoly (I think most of us did at one time) this one is even BETTER. If they didn't like Monopoly (or Risk, or whatever), that's OK, because this one is BETTER!

And really, most boardgames ARE like Monopoly: they have a board, small playing pieces, maybe even dice, you sit at the table and play it with friends in your leisure time....

So when someone asks "Is it like Monopoly?" maybe you should first ask them "Do you like to play Monopoly (or Risk, or whatever)? Whether yes or no, you can always respond "Well, this game is WAY more FUN, because...."
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Chris Geggus
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A punch in the mouth often works as well I find.

devil
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Bruce Murphy
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Another thread? Wasn't there one just over here a second ago?

I'm all for trying to be encouraging. If they're aware of monopoly, maybe they'd be interested in some of the much wider variety of games around today.

Here's a list with encouraging responses to these inevitable questionst and perhaps more importantly, here's Scott Nicholson's list of bait games to lure them in.

B>
 
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Ove Hillep
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Q: So is it like Monopoly?

A: Do I look like Bill Gates?
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Kevin C.
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Quote:
To keep the asker optimally informed, the best response would be, "No, it's nothing like Monopoly. Monopoly is a game with minimal strategy where the winner is decided by luck. It's not any fun, and even if it were any fun, it would be too long for how little fun it was. The games I play were designed by people who actually put some thought into them."


This answer is all about you and your subjective feelings about a particular game and the way games "should" be played. An easy retort would be, "Fine..go play the games you want to play. I'll try and find a game that was as fun and easy going as my memories of Monopoly dictate."

The listener would be correct to find this answer elitist. How is it not? If the person were to respond, "WOW..I had a great time playing Monopoly growing up and thought it quite fun," where would the conversation go? You've already basically called them dullards who don't think.

(Your comment that they "shouldn't have liked" Monopoly makes me think this is a bit of a troll post. Nobody could possibly make such a statement in earnest, unless one were to ignore the empirical reality of taste."Not knowing" one shouldn't like something is a bit of a silly notion. Taste isn't necessarily cognitive.)

With this attitude, you are better off sticking to the game clubs and specialty shops. You don't seem the type to really want to mix with the great unwashed who can still enjoy and play games like Monopoly. You seem to want converts to your view of games rather than someone to share a simple game with. I doubt you would enjoy the experience with a newbie who simply wanted the social experience. If it is all about the game, stick with the gamers.

I'm still astounded at the firestorm and controversy Monopoly can create. It is a boardgame designed to bring people together for some fun. I'd hate to run into some of you guys on a religion or political forum, where the discussions were about things that really mattered instead of killing some time talking about games.

Can you imagine any scernario in which a non-civil response to a question would be appropriate? Why would you think this would be so in the context of an inquiry about something as frivilous as a boardgame?

In other words, common decency should dictate the answer to this question, not some specialized game knowledge.

Kevin
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My co-worker asked about game night on Friday. I told her I learned two new games, one was Shadows Over Camelot, where you go on quests, and you're on a team against the game. She asked, "Is it like Dungeons and Dragons?"

I said, yes, you go on quests like in Dungeons and Dragons, but there's a board and cards. You draw cards, and a quest might be to play the cards 1-2-3-4-5, or two pairs. That seemed to make sense to her. I never expected the words "Dungeons and Dragons" to come out of her mouth!
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Joe
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Quote:
"It's like Monopoly, but better."


Everyone has their own opinion about what is better than something else, as the never-ending debates about ranking here on BGG obviously exemplify.

I think it's more important to mention that modern board games are different than games like Monopoly and Risk, and not necessarily insist that they are better. People can often feel as if you are talking down to them if you imply that the game they fondly remember playing with their family as a child is somehow inferior. Focus on mentioning the positive reasons why modern board games are different from the mentioned game (shorter playing time, more player interaction, less prone to luck, interesting theme, etc..), offer to show/teach/play a game with them (if appropriate), and let them decide for themselves which is better.
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Eric Carter
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I was encouraging my brother-in-law to try out Magic back in the late 90s. As I showed him the cards he asked if it was anything like Dungeons & Dragons. Thinking that I had a way to compare it to something he was familiar with I went with that, but was immediately slapped down with "I don't like Dungeons & Dragons." That's when I learned that my in-laws were not only religious, but stupidly religious.

So I agree with the poster who answered the question with the question "Do you like Monopoly?" In fact, asking what boardgames they've played sounds like the smart move... find out what they liked then compare and contrast the game in question to that.

"Are there any games you don't get to play anymore?" might be another question that would open up the possibilities of them joining in on something newer.

But keep in mind one thing - is this a person you really want to game with? If not, then a simple "No, Frak Off!" might be warranted.


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Magic Pink
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"So is it like Monopoly?"

"No, this is actually fun."
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