Buy ‘Monopoly’ and teach your children about the financial crisis.

Do you remember board games like Monopoly and Life?

I think back on getting ‘Life’ for Christmas one year.  I don’t remember all the spaces that you could land on, but I do remember one thing: the more kids you ended up with in your car, the more it cost.  Board games were about more than killing and accumulating charms back then.  This weekend my wife and I took a trip down memory lane.

My son received a Star Wars Clone Wars Monopoly set for his birthday on Saturday.  He asked me if I wanted to play, and my wife and I eventually got on the floor and tried to remember the rules.  Turns out we never really knew the rules and once we read them in all mades sense.

Because the game was set in a galaxy far far away, things were not quite the way they were in the original version.  The shoe and thimble game pieces were replaced with Lucasfilm characters like General Greivous and Obi Won Kenobi.  Instead of dollars, we were playing for Republic credits, and buying settlements and cities instead of motels and houses.  But after a couple of turns around the board we reverted back to a more earth friendly nomenclature.

Through this game of monopoly we were able to talk to our son about mortgages and rent.  He had to decide whether or not it was worth buying more property and spend his cash knowing that he could needed if he landed on a space owned by someone elses.  I myself was weiging whether the money spent on buying a city was better than having 4 settlements on that same property.

I know there are plenty of computer games that can do the same thing, and the thought of spending three or four hours with your kids isn’t appealing to everyone as it is for me.  But on this day, we were playing a game together and using our brains rather than another afternoon on the Wii.  And for at least one Sunday, the “do not disturb”sign reserved for my forehead during Cowboy games was put away.

Playing Monopoly you couldn’t help but be reminded of the economic meltdown were in the midst of as well as the mortgage mess.  Imagine if you were able to by motels and houses in Monopoly even when you have no money.  I mean, if the banker gives all of the money to the players even when they have nothing for collateral, what happens to the bank when the money’s all gone?  (Can you say WaMu)

I didn’t remember monopoly being so fun, but now that I better understand the real life consequences it plays a lot better.  I’d suggust families dust off their gameboards and set up their horses and cars for a couple of hours of family fun. I can say at least for this Sunday it help me stomach Tony Romo’s turnovers a lot better.

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