Tag: Monopoly

Let’s all go to Munchkinland

Welcome to “I put this off until late and decided to scrounge something together based on semi-recent activities as a last ditch effort” blog post #1738.

Trademarked.

Last night I spent St. Patrick’s Day in Fullerton celebrating with my friend Mimi and a few of her people. Even dragged my friend Juan out there with me, which was somewhat bizarre, but I would argue successful.

Bizarre mostly in that we’ve never really travelled outside of Redondo as a duo, that is. You can judge his personal eccentricities for yourself.

Oh and before you ask, I did not drink at the party. No Irish coffee for me.

Had to drive, and as Sonic Sez:

It was a small party with maybe eight people, and one that took up my entire evening with board games and video games and corned beef — hence my lack of a post yesterday.

Theoretically I could have written something before the party… But I got caught up with work meetings and getting homework done.

So sue me.

I figured you all would not be interested in the exciting adventures of leaving the gym early to go check on Grandpa after he fell out of his wheelchair. Especially since he’ll fine and will tell you he’s “impervious.” I believe it.

Instead, I think it might be fun to focus on a little game we played at last night’s called Munchkin.

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I took no pictures, so you’ll have to deal with a few stock images.

For those of you who only know Munchkins as delicious donut holes from Dunkin’ Donuts (Not an ad? But could be an ad), I’ll lay down the groundwork.

Munchkins the board game was developed by Steve Jackson Games and is, for all intents and purposes, a parody of Dungeons and Dragons. Players travel through a dungeon, collect treasure and class/race/gender changes and advance (mostly) by killing monsters like Lawyers and [Inter]Net Trolls.

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An example of some of the equipment players can utilize.

It’s a game where players can ask one another for help or screw each other over, which becomes an ocean of mind games once one player is poised to win and the rest stack curses and debuffs during their combat.

It’s a game which apparently has been around since 2001? Which is kind of insane to me.

This stupid game is as old as my little sister.

And only about half as stupid as her, am I right? *Insert Rimshot here*

*Insert inevitable slap upside the head for that comment here*

Jokes aside, the more I look into this game the more I’m generally impressed by it. There are nearly 200 products, playmats like in Yu-Gi-Oh! and. So many icons.

 

 

The fact that I’ve never heard of this game until yesterday is kind of astounding.

Though, to be fair, my board gaming experience didn’t go much further than Monopoly and Cards Against Humanity until my Gaming in American Culture class started.

That all said, I suppose this post has kind of turned into a bit of an endorsement for the game? It’s not an ad, but it could be an ad. Because I would certainly recommend it for people looking to play something engaging with a bunch of friends.

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Counters from the game.

I’m not joking when I say things get intense by the end.

I absolutely would have won my game if Mimi didn’t sweep the victory one rotation before my turn. And I’m still mad about it.

Plus, the game fits well into my recent dives into D&D creatures for my novel. It’s just the kind of thing that’s up my alley.

So take my enthusiasm with a grain of salt. Or with a pile of soft, sugary donut holes.

Your choice.


Images courtesy of Bobbyfinger and Pegasus Spiele via Wikimedia Commons

I’m a Barbie girl.

I’m a Barbie girl.

For my Gaming in American Culture class today, we spent a good two hours or so playing board games.

As a means of practicing different ways of analyzing games. Not for fun.

Except… There was a lot of fun being had in my group.

Because we played The Barbie Game: Queen of the Prom.

In case you can’t read it through the box glare, the tag line for the game is “A fun game with real life appeal for all girls.”

Developed in the 1960s.

If that doesn’t tell you everything you need to know, I don’t know what will.

That being said, I’m still about to tell you everything you need to know because by God this game is phenomenal in how atrocious it is.

Yet, we need to talk about some decent aspects of the game first. Namely its aesthetic presentation.

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There’s some cacophony on first glance, but the board itself is quite well laid out and screams art deco.

The box itself also comes with this nifty stage for all of the different relevant cards and bank money:

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Don’t worry, I’ll get into what these mean soon enough.

Our version of the game, provided by the professor, also happened to include some extra charm in the way of additional player pieces:

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Naturally I was an origami swan.

So the game is pretty and well laid out.

Unfortunately, that does not save it from being a perfect window into the sexist ways of the 1960s.

So what is the “real life appeal for all girls” that this game boasts?

Well, obviously the ultimate goal is to become prom queen.

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You get there through a lovely crowd of all-white, male/female couples. Unless of course your dress hem is down.

In order to make the arduous journey to prom, there are three things that you (presumably as one of four different Barbie girls™) need to collect along the way.

  1. A prom dress — This one actually makes a decent amount of sense.
  2. A steady boyfriend — Not just a boyfriend. You can get a boyfriend, but he won’t be REAL until he asks you out at a football game and you go steady. Also these are your choices:

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    One of these things is not like the other, and his name is Poindexter.
  3. The presidency in a school club — Seriously, how do you expect to be prom queen if you aren’t even the president of the drama club? You plebe.

With all three, you can achieve true supremacy.

Oh, and that’s only half a joke. The game is designed to make it harder for players to catch up if one is ahead. For instance, most of the club spaces are specific, so players who land there after you cannot receive the same presidency.

Though they may not want to considering how inept the drama club is.

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Mattel is currently reporting a net income of $14.9 million a year.

On top of that, two players cannot share a single boyfriend, so it might be harder to find the stragglers.

That said, boyfriends can’t be THAT hard to come by. Especially if you’re the most popular girl in school.

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Just toss the losers.

Or you get set up on a double date.

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The blinder, the better!

Or you know that some loser is an exploitable secret admirer.

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Fun fact, Poindexter wrote my friend Mimi a poem and got it published in a newspaper. He gave her $5 of the $10 he made from selling the copy… But didn’t ask her out on a date.

Or even better, just pick one out of a hat!

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That’s him! He’s yours!

It’s amazing that I never scored a boyfriend during our playtime when there are so many of them getting thrown about.

… Though that said I might not have wanted one, when date time includes things like this:

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Too bad there’s not a ‘dump his ass’ option.

So finally, there’s the prom dress. I saved this one for last because it’s arguably the most interesting as a game mechanic.

There are four dresses. The cheapest is $30 and the most expensive is $65.

In 2019 that sounds dope as hell. However, this is also Inflation: the game.

You start with $25 and make (typically) $5 at most. One of the few exceptions to that rule is a perfect example of why players who aren’t quick enough to get the cheap dresses are basically screwed.

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Thanks for nothing, Daddy.

All things considered, these goals might not seem like that much compared to a game like Monopoly, where you need to own the entire planet, build out hotels and literally bankrupt all of your friends (as well as your friendships with them).

But what I haven’t told you is that The Barbie Game has one four-sided dice.

So you’re moving around the board at a snail’s pace. While there are a number of spaces and “surprise” cards that allow you to go to whatever part of the board you want — arguably the only semblance of strategy in the entire experience, there are an infinitum more ways to wind up getting sent back home.

We found that this in itself was an interesting commentary on the nature of a teenage girl in the 60s only being able to go out to do one thing at a time before forcibly getting dragged back home for any number of reasons.

But you know. 2019 foresight again.

To extend the game’s runtime even further, there are a few different spaces which do literally nothing.

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This one was the best.

There was some 2010s time traveler in the room when they made this game who threw in this sarcastic Internet-era joke, I swear.

We didn’t get to finish a full game, so unfortunately I can’t regale you with the triumphant story of some lucky prom queen. But I hope if nothing else, this gave you a very interesting look into the mindset of people more than 50 years ago.

Good thing we’ve moved past this kind of stuff.

Oh wait that’s right, this was a reprint of the game.

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Who decided it was a good idea to bring this back in the mid-2000s??

We haven’t learned shit.

Luckily my group played a much better game soon after to wipe away the tears.

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Music, Muppets and Menorahs

Music, Muppets and Menorahs

Today the Rochlin clan made its way up into the Santa Monica hills for a day trip to the Skirball Cultural Center.

For those of you who aren’t aware (as I wasn’t before our trip today), the Skirball is a Jewish institution opened in 1996 that, frankly, is quite beautiful. Right next to Mulholland Drive and… Well…

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Just look at this patio. There’s plenty of fancy little resting places like this all over the museum.

It’s also, to their credit, very handicap accessible. Which is quite important for us since my dad had foot surgery a while back.

But that’s another story, because I’m clearly not here to talk about my family medical history. I’m here to show off all the cool pictures I got walking around a bunch of different exhibits!

I’m splitting up my slideshows in order of the exhibits we looked at this time around, so that said I hope you enjoy this little look into a place you might not have heard about.


Leonard Bernstein at 100

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I’ll be blunt, I’m not great with names that aren’t in constant circulation through the circles I follow. So off-hand I couldn’t have told you who Leonard Bernstein was despite the apparent long legacy there.

Of course you bring up West Side Story and the New York Philharmonic and it all essentially slides into place. Especially since our family has apparently been on a WSS kick after that play we attended a while back.

Still, Aly would be most disappointed that I don’t know music people super well.

But that’s okay because she’s never beaten a single Pokémon game. #ShadeThrown

Again, besides the point. We’ve got pictures to look at.

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The Jim Henson Exhibition

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Or, as an alternative introductory picture:

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Alright here’s the part we were all here for. Mr. Bernstein was a nice appetizer, but if there was anything that was going to get me out of bed early this morning, it would be Jim Henson.

We all love Jim right? I mean how could we not.

The Muppet Show.

Sesame Street.

The Dark Crystal.

Labyrinth.

Need I say more?

Though it might be partially attributed to all the build-up that led into it, the Henson portion of our day at the museum was definitely the coolest. Not only were there actual puppets (Muppets? Though more than just them) all over the place, there were also behind-the-scenes paraphernalia like scripts and storyboards for different projects.

Those were particularly cool in my opinion.

But don’t just take my word for it, check some of it out for yourself:

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Visions and Values

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Now we move into the Judaism portion of our tour. Over on your left you’ll see a brief history of the experience of my ancestors from ancient times to their transition into America.

This area was the most fleshed out portion of the museum for… Well, obvious reasons.

As a Jewish Cultural Center, this exhibit was the one thing at the Skirball that’s always available to the public while the other pieces rotate out.

Anyone with an eye on history would enjoy walking through the different descriptors of timelines, holidays and culture. However, the thing that stood out most for me was all the artifacts.

I don’t think I’ve seen a larger collection of Torah, Menorah or other household antiquities together in one place. Everything was really pretty — unless it was more of an oddball. Like the Menorah shaped like a cactus.

Yeah that exists.

Check it out, along with other wicked things like an actual full-scale recreation of the Statue of Liberty’s torch arm, here:

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Noah’s Ark

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Now over on your right you’ll see the much less serious portion of our trip through the Hebrew arts.

The Noah’s Ark side of the museum was pretty heavily built-up as well considering it was the one portion that we needed to reserve a time to get into it in advance.

Unfortunately it wound up not actually being an informative, historical look at the story of the flood. No sort of deeper examination into whether actual evidence existed or any sort of intellectual approach of that caliber.

No, Noah’s Ark was a play place for young children.

While it wasn’t exactly a place meant for us to enjoy, there were some pretty cool things about it. All of the animals on the ark were interactive or made of some wacky material that all contributed to a very interesting style overall.

Seriously check out some of these animals. Lord knows a few of them may just be in your nightmares tonight.

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While I had a great time at the Skirball with my family, I’m a little exhausted after doing that museum visit alongside a trip down Mulholland, a stop at Mambos for a Cuban lunch and a half-a-dozen other different things this afternoon.

This would have been up way earlier if not for that… So I’m not going to waste too much time concluding things.

Mostly I wanted to take this last opportunity to point out a couple of funny things we found in the museum’s gift shop. Because yeah the super pretty collectible glass Menorah and Jim Henson puppets that were available all made for lovely gifts. But they’re also way less funny then some of the random novelty goods.

For example, this series of books.

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You know. For when you want to teach your kid how to be a Yiddish dork that throws random words out at their Catholic friends to confuse them.

Or hey if reading isn’t your thing, maybe you’re more into board games. Well in that case, this is the perfect gift for you:

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I love Monopoly, don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing really inherently funny about the game itself.

What I think is hilarious is the fact that if you’re playing a Jerusalem-themed Monopoly game, something like the Wailing Wall just HAS to be a location on the board, and I can’t get over the idea of building a hotel on the Wailing Wall and forcing your friends to pay $1,000 just to go pay their respects.

That’s just funny no matter who you are.

But anyway, that’s all I’ve got to say on the matter. Hopefully you enjoyed this little visual tour of the museum with my family.

If you’ve got any fond Jim Henson-based memories, let me know about them in the comments! That sounds just wholesome enough to be fun.

Even if I get that Kermit vine spammed at me. Which I probably deserve.