Recently, Ferny and I were walking through a store when we spotted an updated copy of The Game of Life alongside some other board games. I couldn’t remember having ever played it before, and we were going to be having friends Kai, DM, and JF over, so we picked it up. Now, I can’t say that I fully comprehend why Ferny likes this game so much, but I can say that I’ve learned some valuable life lessons from this experience. If you’re looking for a fun and easy way to educate your children on how the real world works, this is your game. For instance…

4. You Have to Pick a Gender

Even Though it Really Doesn’t MatterLife_2

In the beginning, everybody has to pick a car and a gender for their token. The token choices are, of course, blue for men and pink for women. There are no green tokens for the rest of us – you’re going to have to pick a side, because that’s what the rules say in this mixed-up mockery of a society. It’s also what the rules say in The Game of Life.

Choosing a gender, however, ultimately has no bearing whatsoever on the way the game progresses. Gee, it’s almost like it doesn’t matter at all. Still, you’d expect the pink players to make less money, if we’re being realistic here… But this is also a game in which nobody’s spouse has to take on their own job to support the couple, indicating that it was made back in a time when the American dream was still a thing, so I guess from that right from the start Life is full of startling inaccuracies.

3. You Don’t Need a Doctorate to be a Doctor

Night School is Just as Good


In the beginning of the game, the player can choose to go straight for a job and get on with the game, or to go through college first (an extra path), pay more money, and get a higher-paying job (jobs pay when someone spins the number on your card or when you land on a salary tile). While most of us chose college, JF chose the job route. When you get a job in Life, you draw two cards and pick the one you want. He picked firefighter.

Now, I’m not pointing any fingers, but I kind of think there was some dirty business going on at this fire department because we all kept rolling his number and he kept rolling in the dough. I’m just saying: somebody had to start all those fires. Eventually, though, JF came upon the chance, later in his life, to branch off from the main path and go through night school in order to take on a different profession. And that’s how a firefighter went to night school to become a doctor.

Look, I’m not insinuating that firefighters aren’t intelligent or hardworking enough to become doctors. I’m just thinking that I probably wouldn’t trust a doctor who went to night school. Be honest: would you? No, you wouldn’t. And if you did, you’d probably wake up with an extra liver in place of your left kidney. Close enough, right?

2. Babies Make You Rich

Also Gays Need Birth Control


There is another one of those branching paths on the game board that allows the player to try to have as many babies as possible, like some kind of horrible Duggar spawn. Okay, in actuality, the likelihood of having a ton of children is low due to the chance nature of the game, but JF had four kids. He had four kids.

Naturally, we all wondered what exactly the benefit to having children in this game would be, so Ferny looked it up. Apparently, if you end the game with a kid, you gain money. I… suppose that, since ending the game is equivalent to retiring, then the idea is that the children you have contribute their own funds to your well-being? Yeah, like all four of your kids are going to help out in equal measure. Not even two of them would probably do that. Maybe one would, and it would be the one who stuck your ass in a retirement home in the first place, and I doubt they did it out of care. As soon as they dropped you there, they knew it would be nothing but tears and enemas ’til the end. They did it out of laziness or apathy or greed.

But clearly, I am mistaken. The lesson to be learned here is that you should have as many babies as possible. Seriously, flush those pills, throw out those condoms, and start scoring now so you can score later (I am talking about sex and money, in case it wasn’t clear). Do this even if you cheated in the beginning and decided to be a gay couple. Yes, even if you choose not to go down the baby path, there are still a few chance tiles on the board’s pathway that will result in babies. I’m not sure how gay people can accidentally get pregnant, especially two dudes, but hey, what do I know about sex? Nothing, I’m an American.

1. Don’t Help Poor People

Or They Will Rise Up


DM also claimed to have never played The Game of Life before. She also sometimes has really, really bad luck in games that involve chance. Even Dungeons & Dragons.

First, DM accumulated a massive load of debt after completing college, which lasted throughout a good portion of the game. Then, she kept spinning everybody else’s job numbers, causing her to pay out what little money she accumulated. To top it all off, her spins were so poor that she fell far, far behind the rest of the players, eventually being about halfway through the course by the time everyone else had retired. I’m not sure how this happens so routinely, and I’m speaking as someone who seems cursed to roll poorly in D&D. Maybe she was a successful gambler in a past life, and this is karma’s way of balancing things out.

Being the kind souls we are, the rest of us took pity on poor DM, offering her more chances to make money whenever we had the opportunity. This is typically done through drawn Action Cards that force you to pick another player and spin against them to determine which of you gets paid. By the time everyone else had retired, she was apologizing for making us sit and wait as she crawled through the final half of the board. There was pretty much no way she was going to win.

Except then, uncontested, her bad luck somehow turned good as she steadily began accumulating Action Cards, which are worth cash at the end, and cash, which is also worth cash. When she reached the end, and after everything was doled out and counted up, she had beaten both JF and Kai (the first and second to retire, who had, by some unholy coincidence, ended up with the exact same amount as each other) and left Ferny and I in the dust. I almost think we did something wrong for that to happen.

I guess we did do something wrong: we took pity on a poor person. Kids, don’t give poor people money. They will rise to power and usurp you. Mark my words. Anyway, that’s what Hasbro® taught me.

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