We all played a lot of the same childhood board games, but my hunch is that each of us could tell a story about how we found a way to make each game our own.
Here are some of mine.
Okay, here's one you probably didn't play:
And here's the one we all played:
But in so many different ways.
In our neighborhood, you got $500 for landing on Free Parking. In a friend's family, you got all the proceeds from all the properties purchased thus far. I was shocked when, as an adult, I discovered that in some families all you got for landing on Free Parking was . . . free parking!
In our family, by common consent, we never paid luxury tax. I mean, who wants to pay luxury tax?
In our family, you couldn't buy a property unless you landed on it by luck of the dice. My now-grown son just told me that we were supposed to be holding an auction for each property when someone landed on it and declined to purchase. Who knew?
And of course, the same older sister who was so horrid about Pointexder was equally horrid here. Convinced that Monopoly victory went to the owner of Boardwalk, I would tell my sister that if she didn't allow me to own Boardwalk, she couldn't be my sister any more. We would still be sisters in name, sure, but the true sisterly bond would be gone. I never lost a single Monopoly game.
I've put Monopoly scenes in at least two of my books. The first line of The Totally Made-Up Civil War Diary of Amanda MacLeish is "Only in our house, though Amanda MacLeish, could a Friday night family Monopoly game turn into the Civil War."
So if you have a character playing a board game, pay attention to those family-specific details that in their own odd way give the scene its deepest universality. Did you make up a special taunt for players who had to go directly to jail without passing GO? Did you have a favorite property that you just had to buy each game, however poor the investment? Tell us! We really want to know.