Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Political Game Time!

I've been meaning to try a new version of Monopoly. Here are the rules changes I propose. The goal is to give Monopoly some new options for the little guy, and fit a little more with reality. Of course, my ultimate goal is to make it more fun than the real game.

1. Players start with $100 (with one exception; see rule X).

2. When landing on an unowned property, a player may Go To Work. The player earns 10% of the property's value per turn while at work, but forgoes his die roll. After 3 turns, the player must either purchase the property or move on.

3. Player's may invest their money in the bank. A player may set money aside in an investment. Each turn they earn 5% of the investment's value. The invested money is still subject to tax, and may only be removed after taxes are calculated for the "year".

4. Voting
 Pick an unused piece of your choice (like the iron). It takes a turn like any other player, but has no money or interaction with the other elements of the game. It can roll again after doubles. It cannot go to jail. The game starts with a flat tax. When the iron passes Go, players pay their income tax, and may then vote on income tax.

5. Player's may vote to institute one of 4 tax systems:
 a. No Tax
 b. $100 Tax (a flat bill of $100 per player)
 c. Flat Tax (10% per player)
 d. Progressive Tax (10*log(current wealth)% per player)

6. Welfare Check.
When taxes are paid, the money is counted and 50% of it is redistributed amongst the players evenly, rounding down.

6. If the bank runs out of money, the economy collapses. Each player pays the purchase price of all their property, houses and hotels to bail out the bank.

7. Players may use money to influence the game.
 a. $100 - Ad Campaign. Player may buy an extra temporary vote. This can be done any number of times.
 b. $500 - Smear Tactics. Put the brothel marker on target property. Houses and hotels cannot be built there, until the owner pays $600 to debunk the claim (or evict the prostitutes).
 c. $1000 - Eminent Domain. Player may force another player to sell a property to them at its face value.

8. At the end of the game, the winning player writes down his total liquid assets. He passes those on to the player of his choice (himself included) the next time the game is played.

9. At the beginning of the game, players may vote on the estate tax. This tax will be applied at the beginning of the next game to the winner's wealth. Players may vote for 1 of 4 estate tax plans. This vote may not be influenced by Ad Campaigns.
 a. No Tax
 b. $500 Tax (a flat bill of $500)
 c. Flat Tax (10%)
 d. Progressive Tax (10*log(current wealth)%)
50% of this taxed wealth is evenly redistributed amongst all players.

Immediately I can see some problems with these ideas. After the first game, the rich guy will have a consistent advantage. He will almost certainly be paying a Progressive Estate Tax of ~$4000, but will have in the neighborhood of $6-10k at the beginning of the game. With $5k invested, he will have an income of $250. He will be able to easily win elections by buying votes, setting the Income Tax to $100 (which hurts the other players a lot). He will be able to purchase every property he lands on, while the other players will need to make there way around to the high value red-blue properties and get to work. Depending on luck, they may make a few hundred, before they pass go, gaining another $200. They will then spend the next few turns purchasing crappy low-level properties. Any attempts to assemble a property group will be stymied by Eminent Domain. Once the rich guy has a property group, he will start picking off players (as in traditional Monopoly).

If the vote for Income Tax were immune to Ad Campaigns, we might have a better game. The rich guy would end up paying ~$4k per "year", and the other players would be getting a stipend of ~$500 per "year". This isn't enough to keep the game going forever, but it does give the other players some abilities to influence the game. Between all of them, they will be able to purchase enough properties to make it very difficult for the rich guy to eminent domain them all out of monopolies. He will either end up facing some enemies with property groups, or he will spend all his money on Eminent Domain.

I know this is a little off topic for this blog, but all this political research I've been doing lately has got me thinking of a lot of things from a progressive standpoint. Any thoughts? Suggestions?

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