Sunday, April 5, 2009


This morning was my interview for Under the Boardwalk. The filmmaker, Kevin Tostado, was a really cool guy. I knew this from the start as he immediately began playing with JJ right after we introduced ourselves, and in my estimation, anyone who is cool with my cat is cool with me.

Anyway, the film sounds interesting, as he's taping Monopoly tournaments all over the world, and since it might have a minute or two of me in it, I'll keep everyone updated. And since I am in a Monopoly mood now (as if there's a point in the past month when I haven't been in one), I think it's time for the next token:

The Horse and Rider:

Usability: The Horse and Rider is a tall and thin token. It's easy to grab and move, and quick to find, as absolutely none of the other tokens resemble anything like it. Probably the easiest piece to use of all.

Personality: In a set of random tokens that seemingly have absolutely nothing to do with neither each other nor the game they are used in, the Horse and Rider stands out as being particularly alien, almost as if it's thrown in from some other game entirely. The Horse and Rider is the only piece to have a base; the rest stand on their own, and it is taller than the rest. It seems somehow fitting then that of all the tokens, the Horse and Rider is the one with the actual connection to Atlantic City. In Darrow's time, there was an act on the Steel Pier where a horse and rider would dive off of a 40 ft platform into a tub of water and then swim out. It was apparently quite the tourist attraction. Thus, the player who picks the Horse and Rider may seem a bit off in some way, but is not afraid to stand out and is comfortable and confident because he or she is in their element, right where they belong.

Humor: On the humor front, there aren't a plethora of options, but enough to keep this piece respectable. Should you land on an opponent's hotel, simply park the horse in front of it, face the edge of the board, and charge the owner a landscaping fee for improving the facade with your statue. If that fails, you can use the horse to push it over or beat on other tokens like an episode of When Animals Attack. Should you be struck with a creative mood, you can ad lib conversations between the horse and the rider, with bonus points if you can work in the line "Where have you taken us, Philippe?!"

Verdict: While a bit ostentatious, the Horse and Rider remains one of the better options available. Other than its high visibility, it has no major drawbacks.

Next: The Iron

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Pull It Together

The Thimble:

As I have never picked the thimble (not once!) when playing Monopoly, I know very little about it. In fact, the knowledge I have about thimbles wouldn't fill a thimble. As such, I have turned to an expert on thimblian affairs: Kelli. Kelli picks the thimble every time. After picking her brain, here's what I come up with.

Usability: An average piece. Doesn't stand out much on the board, not exceptionally easy nor difficult to pick up. Has a nice little textured surface though; that should count for something.

Personality: The thimble is the token of choice for contingency planners. No matter how broken things seem, the thimble feels they can fix them. Nothing is beyond repair. It also has the distinction in that it's the only piece that does not have a front or a back; even the Money Bag has dollar signs signifying front and back. Thimble players are balanced and well-rounded, if a bit whimsical and unpredictable. One never knows which way the thimble is going.

Humor: The thimble is one of a few pieces that a player can drink out of. This is useful during good times as a celebration drink, and also useful in bad times to drown your sorrows. The thimble can also be placed on the player's pinky, where it can be used to tap out a beat or to strike the other players in the temple to throw them off their game. Bold players can affix it to their tongue and make faces at the competition.

Verdict: A piece for unorthodox players. The unpredictable nature of the thimble, matched with their tendency toward back-up plans, points to a player who will make deals specifically to take out whoever is winning. If you are a playing a thimble and winning, take them out fast. If you are playing a thimble and a third person is winning, strike a deal quickly to even the playing field, and then take them out before they can turn a deal with someone else.

Next: The Horse and Rider