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Monopoly is so old school: It’s now Mantecaopoly

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POSTED November 9, 2009 2:02 a.m.

It was the Great Depression that ironically gave rise to the popularity of Monopoly.

With that in mind, perhaps Hasbro could be inspired by the Great Recession to come up with a new game – Mantecaopoly.

The rules are a bit different.

Instead of icons representing basic things in life such as sewing thimbles, an old car, a top hat, and a ship the game markers are a Plasma TV, Hummer, $2,000 baseball camp designed by Paris Hilton, and a scaled down version of a 40-foot RV.

First, all players start with no money. When you land on a property and want to buy it you simply secure a zero down loan from the mortgage company. When you pass go you will still collect $200 but instead of paying down your mortgage you are expected to dine out more often, travel to Hawaii, and buy lots of high-priced toys.

The objective is to amass as much wealth as you can – much like Monopoly – but with the understanding the goal is not about becoming a real estate tycoon but living well above your means.

There is a new feature where the price of property changes periodically throughout the game to generate a real estate bubble or, as the rules of Mantecaopoly point out – unsustainable exuberance.

That is why only losers buy Baltic and Mediterranean unless, of course, the price goes up from $60 to $600,000.

Instead of landing on a spot that says “go directly to jail” you automatically are put back on the streets since Mantecaopoly is played by San Joaquin County rules as imposed by the California Supreme Court. That means when you land on chance those get out of jail cards are worthless which is why they are replaced with cards that read, “if you do the crime, don’t worry about doing the time.”

To make it more realistic, you must wait five turns – or the equivalent of five years – to get a building permit to build a home since Mantecaopoloy is played under rules laid down by the California Environmental Protection Act.

There are two types of houses you can put up – workforce housing and McMansions.

The objective is to have no workforce housing at all and to replace them with McMansions so everyone can look like they live on Boardwalk or Park Place.

To build homes on your property workforce housing costs $100,000 a piece and McMansions $200,000. That doesn’t include $30,000 in connection and growth-related fees plus the developer sewer agreement fee known as bonus bucks to make sure you can flush your toilet.

Rents for workforce housing are typically more than McMansions except when the housing bubble bursts and then you can rent a McMansion on Boardwalk for less than workforce housing on Baltic Avenue.

If you get into financial trouble, no problem. Just go to the bank and take a second third, fourth, and fifth out on your property. If you haven’t figured it out by now, the winner of Mantecaopoly is not suppose to bankrupt their opponent but the bank.

To make the game more realistic PG&E increases the rates every time you go around the board. The same holds true for the water company.

Instead of four railroads they have been consolidated down to two with a square for Amtrak added. When you land on Amtrak, the other players have to subsidy your stay by paying $25 each to the bank.

If you happen to go bankrupt and can’t pay your mortgage, no problem. Keep playing the game and stop paying the bank. Then – to encourage you to move out in a reasonable amount of time without trashing the property - the bank will pay you $2,000.

In Mantecaopoly you also have the ability to keep collecting rent money when the bank foreclosures on your property after you stopped paying the lender. That way you can literally once over both lender and renter while pocketing money with no consequences under Mantecaopoloy playing rules.

The community chest and chance cards are also different. Some of the new ones are:

  • Bank gives you a $200,000 line of credit on the house you paid $16,000 for. Go out and celebrate by buying his and her Suburbans, a pair of Jet Skis to go with a set of snow skis, and matching home theater systems.
  • Home value drops $100,000 below loan balance so feel free to walk away from your obligation even though you don’t kick more money to the bank when your home value increased $100,000 above what you agreed to pay for it and the time it closed escrow when you bought it four years earlier.

When all is said and done, the loser is whoever honored all of their obligations and paid all of their debts and lived within their means while the winner is whoever managed to play the system, shirk all responsibility and get government bailouts.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, e-mail


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