My first time…

Creativity and inventiveness are typical qualities of any kid. They create toys, pictures, games and even imaginary friends. Usually, when they grow, this spark tends to fade and kids become boring adults.

But this is not today’s topic!

Let’s get back to kids’ invenitiveness!

Boys and girls are used to create their own games; these games are more or less structured  and follow a series of rules, but they always tend to be short-lived. It depends on children’s very nature, which is fast, ever changing and warm-blooded. It is uncommon that kids realize something that may last a decent quantity of time. A reason for this might also be found in the structural deficiency of their creations, that are lacking rule here and a detail there.

It is possible that the following experience that I am going to describe you goes back on this promise, for the reason that it was developed on a tested and steady base. I am writing about my very first experience of game design: customization and improvement of world famous tabletop game Monopoly.

I was probably twelve. At the time I was a passionate Monopoly fan and used to play it quite often. Tired of it lacks, predictability and small board, I decided to modify it and make it bigger, better and with more opportunities. I thus created MonopolCity! Be aware that the quality of the materials of which the product was made were obviously poor: it was created by a teen with just some cartons, pens, paper and so on! Since I am Italian, I used as a base the Italian version of the game.

MonopolCity begins where the classic Monopoly arrives. First of all I widened the board, adding new squares and areas. The board became almost twice its original dimension. 

To fill the new squares, new contract and locations were needed, besides the original ones. 

Since it was necessary to maintain a balance, some “forced tax” squares were added, such as the church (where the player had to make an offer), the gas station (where refueling the car) and so on. The bigger add to the game rules were the bus stops and their interactivity.

Each long side of the board contained 2 bus lines, North and South, each featuring 2 bus stops. If a player managed to halt on the first bus stop of that side, he had the chance to take the bus and skip most of the squares of that end of the board (potentially saving himself from unwanted expenses). The player had to pay a fee in order to use the bus; the bank, or the player who held the bus stop contract, cashed in the money for ticket and the game kept on going on. Train Stations gained the same property: the players could take a train from a station to the next one, in order to save their butt! (By the way, do you never wondered what function had e train station without trains?).

These are the rules for a 2 player game.

I declare myself satisfied of this work! A first, unexpected, strike in the game design world! Perhaps the game could be customized further, for example giving to each marker a unique, minor ability/effect or something like that…

Ok, that should be all for now! See you soon!

P.S.: I think it is funny to mention that my original Monopoly game belonged to my father so, probably, came from the Fifties or, at the most, Sixties! 

No, pointless to ask, it did’t feature Ron Howard!


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