Thursday, June 18, 2009

Marcus wins three day struggle for control of Switzerland

Elf's brother Chonk and his family live in Switzerland. Some years ago they gave us a copy of Swiss Monopoly for Christmas. Its a bilingual edition in French and German.

It sat around in its box for a quite a while as our command of these languages is less than fluent. After a while I think the kids got it out. Marcus challenged me to a game and I realised that the only language problem would be deciphering the Chance and Community Chest cards.

We have played a few games now and I am starting to get the hang of it. I find the French more useful but sometimes if I am struggling there will be a German word that is just familiar enough to clarify matters. Marcus now glances at the card, then gives it to me and says "Get or give?" Our games have usually defied the Monopoly norm: someone gets an advantage early and bankrupts the other one within an hour or so. Compared to a full four hands of mah jongg its a snap.

On Sunday after we had arrived home from Lake Pedder, Marcus asked for a game. We went through until bedtime with a break for dinner. At bedtime the game was evenly poised - we would have to keep going tomorrow until someone had gone crazy or broke and the other was Master of Switzerland.

The next morning before school we continued. I had an early hold on the big ticket properties in Zurich Paradeplatz and Lausanne Place St-François, but I was struggling to afford the houses. Marcus had taken an opposite tack and gone low-rent. He had the cheapies like Neuenburg Place Pury and Aarau Rathausplatz, and was spraying them with green plastic houses and hitting me for cash every time I went through. Everything was mortgaged and I was selling houses back to the bank.

On Monday afternoon I got the upper hand. I had houses all the way from Start to the pointing policeman, and the money was flowing my way. We had both totally given up on acquiring new property, and were just trying to house-up what we had to the max. On average I was paying out Fr 15,000 every time I went around. I could only afford this because now and then Marcus had to pay me Fr 50,000. Again we broke for dinner. By bedtime Marcus was back in charge. I got the "Lasse alle deine hauser renovieren. Zahle an die bank" card twice - and we all know what that means. Ouch.

On Tuesday morning my luck deserted me. Time and again Marcus landed on the Impôt Supplementaire right between my juicy dark blue properties. Time and again I landed on his first hotel, then followed up with a 2 or a 3 and had to pay out all over again. By going-to-school time it was all over. My empire had turned to dust, and my son, a mere boy, was lord of a mountainous chocolate-producing republic.

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