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Monopoly is definitely not the most intellectually challenging board game yet invented. In fact, the outcome is inevitably determined by luck.
Whoever had the benefit of landing on Eloff Street first, usually ended up having the property monopoly. It was, after all, the highest-valued property space on the board in the SA version.
Growing up, however, Monopoly did keep us entertained for hours as it took forever to finish a game. I suspect it was invented by someone with a string of children, desperate to keep them busy when the weather didn’t allow for outdoor activities.
Adding houses and hotels to one’s portfolio did teach us from a young age that the property market and property development is a good investment category.
Another lesson we were taught is that maintenance is crucial. The biggest threat to one’s empire was drawing the Community Chest card, forcing you to pay for street repairs or Chance, ordering general property repairs. I can’t recall the exact details, but I think it was R40 per house and R115 per hotel. To see your fortune disappear, sometimes led to tears or tantrums – or both.
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In my defence, I was only six years old when I kicked the board and vowed never to play again. It’s close on five decades since I last played but I have been experiencing a sense of déjà vu now that we have embarked on the biggest property repair mission since the days of playing Monopoly.
To replace the kitchen ceiling is not for the faint-hearted. Neither is sealing the roof, nor watching my dog walk over the newly painted patio floor.
The whole process seems to revolve around the noise of a drill, grinder, jackhammer, and every other power tool invented. And the dust! It’s only been 10 days, but the staff at the local shop where I purchase the building materials are already calling me by my first name. And every shopping excursion seems to become more expensive.
Next time anyone says house repairs, I’m moving directly to jail. Not passing go; not collecting my R200.