Monopoly is an undeniable classic. Originating over a century ago in the U.S., in the era of Rockafellers and Carnegies, it was first known as “The Landlord’s Game”—a didactic tool protesting the power of, well, monopolies. Its current form of winner-takes-all buyouts has dominated since the 1930s, providing a place for family and friends the world over to fight tooth and nail for every last dollar and property on the board.
Monopoly’s structure is simple enough, and its sheer ubiquitousness places its ideas of property and ownership firmly within our globalized collective unconsciousness—that it is also almost entirely a game of chance is one significant vestige of its original anti-monopolist didacticism.
To architecture, Monopoly can be thought of as a frame of mind—a perspective through which to model the economic mechanisms (for good or evil) behind growth, and decline, of urban development, eventually leading to the infancy of a city. Games and simulations offer architects fertile grounds for speculation and modeling–of the systems involved, and the architects’ own strategic practice within them. That square board and tiny top hat contain multitudes, and while other games may allow players a far deeper look into the systems that create cities, Monopoly’s basic structure lends itself well to personal remixing.
This August, in a play on the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio, Archinect’s special editorial theme is “Games”—and they want to see your version of Monopoly. So the open call for submissions, effective immediately, focuses on two fundamental aspects of the Monopoly game: its board design, and its rules.
Archinect is accepting both Project and Editorial submissions for “Games”:
》PROJECT SUBMISSIONS: The Monopoly Game Board
Design a new Monopoly game board, with your own riffs on property, currency, chance, public vs. private, and tiny metal game pieces! You can use the rubric provided, or whip up one of your own (stick with the basic Monopoly board format though, please). Add custom-designed elements to the spaces and materials as you see fit—the entire game is up for redesign, or as little as just filling in the spaces in the blank rubric. The point isn’t to make a working game, just something evocative and critically interesting, clearly inspired by Monopoly.
Download Archinect’s template of the Monopoly game board here.
》EDITORIAL SUBMISSIONS: The Monopoly Game Rules
Rewrite your own rules for Monopoly, based on Hasbro’s official version, available here.
As with the project submissions, the objective isn’t to make a perfectly functioning game. It’s to imagine your own version of an architectural economy, super simplified. How might your rules impact concepts like affordable housing, gentrification, mass transit, ownership? How might they portray players, as different roles in the business of building cities? You don’t need to rewrite all the rules, just enough to get the gist for how your game would be unique.