Tim Keen


Motor (Australia) - - LONG TERMERS -

YOU MAY HAVE SEEN THE new Nur­bur­gring Monopoly board. Be­cause noth­ing says “speed” like a game of Monopoly.

I guess in some ways, play­ing Monopoly is like lap­ping the Green Hell: peo­ple say it can be done quickly, but when­ever I’ve tried it, it’s taken an em­bar­rass­ingly long time and ended in tears. Monopoly prob­a­bly suits a road­trip more than a race­track, some­thing like driv­ing from Dar­win to Ade­laide. Just like a game of Monopoly, the early stages are full of ex­cite­ment and prom­ise, but after about 400 hours, you’re just pray­ing it will be over soon, and with­out any­one flip­ping any­thing over.

Can a board game re­ally cap­ture the feel­ing of mo­tor­sport? I sup­pose you could make a fairly con­vinc­ing “De­mo­li­tion Derby” edi­tion of Hun­gry Hun­gry Hip­pos. You could cre­ate a NASCAR edi­tion of Snakes & Ladders, by tak­ing out all the snakes and mak­ing the dice all sixes: “Turn left! Go faster! Turn left! Go faster!”

I could see a Cluedo: For­mula One Spe­cial Edi­tion. “Who killed For­mula One? It was Jean Todt, in the board­room, with the rule book!” You ac­tu­ally could cre­ate a Monaco Grand Prix edi­tion of Monopoly: in­stead of “Do not pass Go, do not col­lect $200”, it would be all “Do not pass. Col­lect $200 mil­lion.”

WRC could be like Mouse­trap – you con­struct this elab­o­rate track only to end up with some­one fly­ing through the air and crash­ing into some­thing – ex­cept for the dusty old Group B edi­tion, which would be just pick­ing up an old chess board, then chop­ping some­one in the head with it ’til they’re dead.

The Isle of Man TT is less like a board game and more like putting on a blind­fold and sprint­ing through a pine for­est. And the Bathurst 1000 would be, I dunno, Triv­ial Pur­suit or some­thing – it doesn’t re­ally mat­ter be­cause all you’ll re­mem­ber is the first thirty min­utes, then a long VB-flavoured blur, then be­ing star­tled awake at the end and won­der­ing where your pants are.

I feel sorry for the mak­ers of board games: for sheer ex­cite­ment, try­ing to com­pete with Fort­nite or Gran Turismo 7 must be like Me­ta­mu­cil try­ing to com­pete with metham­phetamine. So they hope that if they make a new ver­sion with enough flash, you won’t no­tice that you’re sit­ting at home with Mum and Dad on a Satur­day night, killing time un­til a re-run of Friends comes on.

But the real ques­tion is, how des­per­ate are the own­ers of the Nur­bur­gring to agree to this? And who even owns it at the mo­ment? It’s not that long ago that the en­tire Nur­bur­gring com­plex was sold for a gazil­lion Eu­ros, with plans to build a schmicko ho­tel and turn the whole thing into some kind of Dis­ney­land for petrol­heads. Looks like the new own­ers pulled the “pay hospi­tal fees” card from Com­mu­nity Chest in­stead of the “sec­ond prize in a beauty con­test” they were hop­ing for.

If Monopoly re­ally wants to cre­ate a Spe­cial Edi­tion that makes sense, they should pivot from mo­tor­sport to the mo­tor­ing in­dus­try. Like the Monopoly: Volk­swa­gen Audi Group Spe­cial Edi­tion: “You fal­si­fied emis­sions tests: go to jail!” “You made a racist TV ad: go to jail!”

Or the Car­los Ghosn Spe­cial Edi­tion: “You un­der-re­ported your in­come: go to jail!” “You paid some­one to smug­gle you out of jail: now they go to jail!”

Or just wait 10 years ’til Tesla merges with Toy­ota and be­comes the only car man­u­fac­turer on the planet. That’ll be a real monopoly.

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