Opinion: Nurburgring Monopoly is not a board game for car enthusiasts

Because nothing says “speed” like a game of Monopoly

Monopoly Board 1 Jpg

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.

Monopoly game board

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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