Cheating at the Game of Life

The Game of Life–the board game, that is, is pretty stupid. But my daughter loved it as a child. I think she liked the tiny cars with pink sticks for mom and girls, blue for dad and boys. I grew up as the eldest of four. Our rule was–winner cleans up. That way a bad loser could trash the board and throw things with impunity. I had systems for everything. When playing Candyland with a younger sib–later my daughter–I’d cheat. I’d set up the cards so the younger player would eventually win. A friend of mine was stunned to hear this. But I didn’t want to spend all day playing Candyland.
Now–the site 538 claims: “Stop Playing Monopoly With Your Kids (And Play These Games Instead). Oliver Roeder writes: “Parents want the best for their kids. This, no doubt, extends to the board game closet. But Mom and Dad may not be aware of the drudgery and fickle chance to which they’re subjecting the family. In a recent piece, I found that some of the most beloved childhood games — think Candy Land, Snakes and Ladders, Monopoly — just aren’t very good. The data emphatically says so. But where there’s data, there’s also hope.”
Actually I disagree. I think Snakes and Ladders is good preparation for life (real thing, not board game.) It is an ancient east Indian game that is based totally on luck. It teaches karma, fortune, reversals, acceptance.
And what is the “best” for kids? Maybe a dose of fatalism has its place. Maybe it is ok to have your big sister cheat so you can win. Life may be more than pink and blue sticks in a car. Or not.



5 thoughts on “Cheating at the Game of Life

  1. Monopoly can be the reality your children need to prepare them for life. My sister who is 4 years older than me used to hide Monopoly money in the bathroom that she would draw from when her funds were low. That plus the blatant cheating right in front of me taught me lessons in questioning where I put my trust.

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