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Archive for January, 2015

Boardwalk Empire: Lady Luck, Randomness, and Strategic Thinking in Monopoly and Marketing Your Law Firm

I recently played a marathon game of Monopoly (is there any other kind?) that brought back great memories. Monopoly was always my favorite game when I was a kid, and I truly loved the competitive, grind-it-out games that seemed to go on forever. Over the last couple decades, I haven’t had the chance to play the game very often (who has the time?), but long winter nights seem to be conducive to digging up the old Monopoly board.


Lady Luck: A Key Player in Monopoly


As a kid, I had always prided myself on my skill at Monopoly, meaning that I was apparently either dismissive or unaware of the critical role that luck (i.e., the roll of the dice) plays in how the game unfolds. As almost everyone knows, in the initial stage of each game, luck means landing on the preferred and still-unsold properties so you can buy them, and in the later phases, luck is being able to avoid the overly-developed properties of the other players that would bankrupt you if you landed on them.

In the course of this recent game, I found that my lack of good fortune had allowed me to acquire only one monopoly (or full set of properties) and very few other properties that could be traded. In this case, my monopoly was the “Reds,” comprising Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois Avenues. (You remember the Reds, of course; they’re the properties located between Free Parking and the “Yellows,” AKA Atlantic and Ventnor Avenues, as well as Marvin Gardens. The Reds could perhaps be described as mediocre-to-good properties; they’re a couple steps above Mediterranean and Baltic, but they’re definitely not Park Place and Boardwalk, either.)