So this Twitter thread on the execrable Monopoly: Socialism has made me wonder what an actual, good-faith version of the game would look like. And by “good faith” I mean “relatively true to basic real-world socialist models, while still having the capacity to go horribly wrong for the players”.

  • Firstly, I think the most obvious mechanic would have to be three money stores: the “bank” (representing capital hoards), the community fund/”common wealth” (a money pool that can be shared among the players), and “individual wealth” (the money individual players have). This represents a kind of modern, social democratic/mixed-market approach, as opposed to a harder/more oldskool system that would replace individual wealth with a kind of non-circulating scrip system (also workable, but other mechanics below would need to change).
  • The main win condition for the game is to get all of the money from the bank into the commonwealth.
  • The main loose condition is for the commonwealth to be emptied, either primarily into the bank (monopoly) or player hands (oligopoly).
  • Taxes and the use of public utilities/services involve money from the players going back into the commonwealth.
  • The use of private utilities/services sends money from the players/commonwealth back into the bank.
  • Because Monopoly is technically about rentier capitalism and rentier capitalism is inherently anti-socialist, the actual basic mechanics (buying streets, building hotels, charging rents) would need to be re-abstracted in some way (natural resource extraction and manufacturing being the most obvious). There’d need to be some mechanic in here about players being able to either buy “streets” (or whatever) themselves, i.e. with their private wealth, or on behalf of the commonwealth.
  • Players can either use private wealth or money from the commonwealth to pay for utilities/services/chance cards/etc.
  • Leveraging the commonwealth will need to be mechanically decided by the players, e.g. by a vote. So if someone wants to buy a “street” for the commonwealth, or to use the commonwealth to pay for utilities/services, a majority of other players have to agree.
  • Chance cards are mostly structured to try and, a) get money into private hands, and b) drain the commonwealth.
  • The amount of money distributed from the commonwealth to the players upon passing GO is determined communally at the time of that player passing GO (i.e. so that some players will just be inherently luckier and more likely to pass GO at points where the commonwealth is more flush and can afford to pay out more).

The main “point” of the game is, obviously, to get players to cooperate to drain the bank and “nationalize” utilities and services. There’d need to be multiple systems to try and tempt players to co-opt the system for their own gain; possibly some resources that do operate better in individual player hands (representing things like non-essential consumer goods and small businesses), leading some players to assume all resources operate better that way. The randomness would possibly need to be structured such that it’s inevitable that one player experiences massive misfortune to the point it’s up to the other players whether the bail them out with the commonwealth or not, leading to arguments over whether or not they “deserve” it.

But otherwise… yeah. Thoughts?