The ven­er­a­ble old board game is chock-a-block with rules and mes­sages which haven’t aged too grace­fully

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - OPINION - ANN WASON MOORE ann.wa­son­

WHEN it comes to good clean fun, you can’t get more fam­ily-friendly than a board game … right?

Wrong. In fact, if you an­swered in the af­fir­ma­tive, skip a turn and sell the bank your first­born child.

Set­tling in for a wild Satur­day night last week­end with the hus­band and kids, we de­cided to play the Game of Life – that board game clas­sic dat­ing back to 1860.

I col­lected all the pieces – the bot­tle of wine, the pizza … oh, and the game board – and we be­gan to learn a se­ri­ous life les­son in the pur­suit of fun.

It’s been yonks since I played and times have changed but the game hasn’t.

Ac­cord­ing to the ar­chaic rules it’s pretty sim­ple to win at Life. First, you can choose to go into mas­sive debt to fur­ther your ed­u­ca­tion (so far, so ac­cu­rate) so you can land the high­est pay­ing job.

All col­lege ca­reers pay well over $100k … ob­vi­ously these game pieces were not study­ing a bach­e­lor of arts.

How­ever, if you opt for a non-col­lege ca­reer you get way more en­joy­able jobs like an ac­tor or singer. So you can win at life with­out ac­tu­ally win­ning at Life.

It does feel strange, how­ever, to en­cour­age your child not to go for her dream vet job be­cause be­ing a lawyer pays way bet­ter. But that’s a Life les­son there – it doesn’t take long un­til your dreams are crushed.

A few more spins of the wheel of for­tune and it’s time to get mar­ried. There is no op­tion in this Life, mar­riage is com­pul­sory.

My daugh­ter, how­ever, did man­age to sub­vert the au­thor­ity of those Has­bro bosses by stick­ing a sec­ond pink peg into her game piece car to por­tray her part­ner. Clearly she’d be vot­ing “yes” if she was just 10 years older.

Now, Life doesn’t force you to have chil­dren, but the game does reward you with $50k per kid … so it’s in your in­ter­ests to load up that car with lit­tle ones. And that’s when I stopped tak­ing Life so se­ri­ously.

Hav­ing first be­come a real-life mother ex­actly 10 years ago, I was blessed with a healthy baby bonus that was alive and kick­ing.

It was lit­er­ally a case of ly­ing back and think­ing of the queen ... or the coin.

But $50k? I would hap­pily live up to my mul­ti­kid Catholic her­itage if there was any prom­ise of that sort of reward.

Un­for­tu­nately, that’s more like what each of them have cost me so far be­tween food, clothes, school and ther­apy. And then there’s the al­co­hol. Pretty sure I’ve qual­i­fied for the Dan Mur­phy’s schol­ar­ship for self-med­i­ca­tion.

Get­ting on the prop­erty lad­der is also a fact of Life.

A cruel irony given that in this life you could sell all of your dozen chil­dren for $50k each and still be rent­ing a bed­sit in Been­leigh.

Hu­mour does play a role in the game, how­ever. My favourite part be­ing when my son drew a card that said he would win $100k if he kept a straight face while we tried to make him laugh.

Pre­par­ing him­self for our hi­lar­i­ous on­slaught, I heard him ut­ter: “Turds are fat.” “What?” I said.

“It’s the fun­ni­est thing I can think of,” he ex­plained. “Now I’m ready just in case you say it.”

I paid him the money on the spot. I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard in years.

So … what is the point of Life? Es­sen­tially, to re­tire with the most money.

In­ter­est­ingly, while I fin­ished the game first and was re­warded with a $400k bonus, it was my hus­band who stayed in the work­force long­est who ac­tu­ally won – de­spite re­tir­ing with the small­est bonus.

And ain’t that the truth. You ei­ther get all the time with none of the money to en­joy it, or you chase the dol­lars and then you die.

I’m done with this game called Life.

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