Tag Archives: monopoly

How to Win at Monopoly

It appears that a couple of high-pro­file blogs linked to this a few years back, but it’s new to me: how to win at mono­poly.

Mono­poly is a game of luck, strategy, and people skills. No strategy will guar­an­tee you a win; that’s one of the reas­ons Mono­poly is so inter­est­ing. In any giv­en game, a new­comer can beat a life­time cham­pi­on. Still, there are a few stra­tegic tips that came out of the com­puter sim­u­la­tions that will help you best play the odds: you may not win any giv­en game, but in the long run, you’ll come out ahead. The “people skills” ele­ment isn’t cap­tured here. But as a gen­er­al rule, think about what your oppon­ents want and see if you can engin­eer a trade with them that’s a win/win for you both. That type of nego­ti­at­ing is as vital in Mono­poly as it is in real life.

Two Stories of Escaping WW2 POW Camps

The fas­cin­at­ing story of how Wad­ding­ton’s Mono­poly sets were used to help cap­tured Allied sol­diers escape from Nazi POW camps:

In 1941, the Brit­ish Secret Ser­vice approached Wad­ding­ton with its mas­ter plan, and before long, pro­duc­tion of a “spe­cial edi­tion” Mono­poly set was under­way. For the top-secret mis­sion, the fact­ory set aside a small, secure room—unknown to the rest of its employees—where skilled crafts­men sat and painstak­ingly carved small niches and open­ings into the games’ card­board boxes. Along with the stand­ard thimble, car, and Scotty dog, the POW ver­sion included addi­tion­al “play­ing” pieces, such as a met­al file, a mag­net­ic com­pass, and of course, a region­al silk escape map, com­plete with marked safe-houses along the way—all neatly con­cealed in the game’s box. Even bet­ter, some of the Mono­poly money was real. Actu­al Ger­man, Itali­an, and French cur­rency was placed under­neath the play money for escapees to use for bribes.

I have a cer­tain fond­ness for stor­ies such as these.

My late grand­fath­er was a WW2 POW in Cap­ua 66 on the plains below Mount Vesuvi­us, Italy. After escap­ing from the camp, he made made his way 750km north, past Rome, to Mil­an where he stayed in a safe-house­/res­taur­ant run by a Welsh woman (from Cardiff, now my home town). Once winter passed and the snows sub­sided, he then made his way anoth­er 250km north, over the Alps, into Switzer­land where he worked, hid­den, on a farm before even­tu­ally mak­ing his way back to Allied land.

That was just one of the stor­ies my grand­fath­er revealed to me in the months before his death a few weeks ago. Before then, few knew that he wit­nessed the first V‑2 rock­et attack on the UK (while on leave after arriv­ing back to the UK fol­low­ing his POW exper­i­ence), or that he had served in the same unit as Spike Mil­ligan and Harry Secombe’s broth­er, Fred, while in Tunisia (where he, and many oth­ers, were cap­tured and sent to the POW camp).

Stor­ies like this are so hum­bling.