I’m not a very a competitive person. I lose patience and interest with games that go on and on and on …  except for maybe Scrabble, but that’s not this story.

Late one night in the 1980s, a four-person game of Monopoly brought out Kym Dakin’s competitive instincts. txking/Shutterstock.com

This story is back in the ’80s in a cramped New York City apartment with three grumpy guys and me, who happened to be dating one of the grumpy guys.  All of us had spent the evening consuming beer, wine, pot …  whatever wasn’t nailed down. 

At around midnight, Jay – Big Competitive Game Guy – brought out his favorite game – Monopoly. 

Everyone groaned. We all knew that nobody could beat Jay at any game, particularly this one. But it was Jay’s apartment, his beer, and, unless we wanted to call it a night (there’s an idea!) it was Jay’s call. Monopoly it was.

Our game that evening progressed pretty predictably at first. We all bought a few properties. I got excited about scoring a railroad AND an electric company. Right away Jay bought big red hotels as always. We took turns landing in jail, but we all managed to accumulate at least a lower-class amount of cash. Jay, of course, had the Midas touch and began waving his pile of $500 bills in our faces.

Somewhere around 2 a.m. I realized I was going to lose. Again. But this time, I decided to go full on OCCUPY MONOPOLY.  I had bought up the cheap stuff – Mediterranean and Baltic avenues – and somehow (a “loan” from the Bank may have been involved), I acquired Boardwalk and Park Place! I then announced that this entire corner would be a nature preserve – tents only.  


Jay’s mouth fell open. The other two suddenly sat up straight.

“You can’t do that!” “That’s not how it’s played!” “What the (expletive)?!” 

This was getting fun now.  

Something about a nature preserve on a Monopoly board had simply outraged these dudes. Realizing this, I decided to do something unusual for me. I was going to play to WIN. 

There were no holds barred in this quest. Nothing was off the table. I channelled my inner Robin Hood.  A few more “loans” (or “community grants,” really) from the Bank when someone went to the kitchen for beer, a few hotels somehow just “slid” onto Marvin Gardens and wouldn’t you know, the Monopoly gods smiled on me!  I got a few lucky breaks from the Community Chest and I wasn’t landing in jail anymore. Though by now, the amount of my ill-gotten loans/grants were in the thousands of dollars. Jay, to his sullen frustration, landed behind bars more than a few times. 

I outlasted Tom, who tanked around 3 a.m., and my guy Jim crashed in the La-Z-Boy, snoring by 4. 


It was down to Jay and me. On and on and on we played. 

Finally, I watched his shoulders sag in defeat as dawn tickled the windowsill. 

I had won. And the Boardwalk-Park Place Nature Preserve was still standing.


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