In Pursuit of Trivia

In the early 80’s a game came out that changed our family get togethers forever.  That game, in case you hadn’t guessed, was Trivial Pursuit.  That famous trivia game, invented in Canada, set the stage for epic battles for years to come.  While this is true of my family, I am sure it is no different for many other families out there.  Who wouldn’t want to prove that they are smarter than their family members, friends, or anyone else hanging around.

I love the game, and have a decent enough memory to be mildly successful.  I am not great at all categories–geography (the blue wedge) often eludes me.  Of course, calling this category Geography vexes my sister to no end (when one’s major is geography, and nothing they studied ever appears on the cards, they have a credible point).  I guess we all have our favourite categories.  I prefer arts and lit. (the brown wedge)

There probably is an important strategy question.  Should one go after their easiest wedge first, or should you tackle your most difficult one?  I usually opt for my favourite first, hoping to get a lucky geography question.

My family has several (and by several I mean more than seven) versions of the game–and no, we do not have the Twilight Version–we do have the Friends version of SceneIt, but that’s another, often loud, story.  I am better at the Baby Boomer and 80’s versions of the game.  My father can’t stand either of them, so they don’t get played very often.  This is obvious when you need to pull out the dust rag every time you want to play them.

The game is about answering trivia questions, rolling the dice, moving between “roll again” spaces endlessly until you have to answer questions that really matter.  Of course the game is also filled with asides, inside jokes, family needling, and incredible digressions.  Basically, it is a lot of fun.


I was walking through the toy store today, absently scanning the board game aisle (before my most important walk through the Lego aisle) Although it is by no means new,  I took a few minutes to check out the electronic banking Monopoly. 

I get it.  We live in the modern world with internet banking and debit cards. and these trends should be carried over to our games.  We have had computer versions of Monopoly for so long that I don’t remember it not existing.  We have had millions of versions of Monopoly so what is one more.  If you don’t like electronic banking Monopoly, you can still buy the classic version (at a probably cheaper price)

I guess I just wonder if we have lost something,  I just wonder if the fundamental element of Monopoly has been undermined.

I always thought that Monopoly taught children about budgeting, and handling money.  I know this thought was reinforced in a now famous episode of the Cosby Show when Theo learns that he won’t have enough money to live if he doesn’t graduate high school and go to college.  It was further reinforced in a classic episode of Cheers where Woody is taught about business.  He lies, cheats, and steals–Frasier remarks that he has indeed learned all about business.

Electronic banking will teach kids about electronic banking, but it won’t teach them to add, or subtract.  Maybe those skills are overrated…..maybe.

Then there are the intangibles.  Holding a stack of Monopoly money while peering down at your opponent who has a meagre pile of mostly $10 and $5 bills is probably more gratifying than peering at the LCD screen to see their balance.  Handing over, or being handed over a pile of cash after someone lands on Pacific Ave (complete with a hotel) sure beats a simple electronic transfer.  Grudgingly paying your get out of jail fine because couldn’t (or couldn’t be bothered to) roll doubles certainly makes it clear–“don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.”

I guess this version will appeal to lots of people, but it just isn’t my Monopoly.