Monopoly Socialism, A Surprisingly Nuanced Game of Wits

There is a lot of talk about the game Monopoly Socialism from Hasbro. Leftists are upset and folks like me are delighted that the game pokes fun at Socialism, but let’s forget that for a moment as a gamer and ask the basic questions one might ask about a game, namely.

  1. Is it playable?
  2. Is it challenging?
  3. Is it fun
  4. Weaknesses
  5.  Is it worth your time?

1.  As to the first question the game is very easy to play, the setup is not complicated because only the community fund gets any cash, the mechanics of the game are relatively easy and it tends to move quickly, sometimes VERY quickly.  The one real issue with the game is that you’re a monopoly player you have to make sure you don’t use a monopoly mindset because that’s an easy way to lose.  Which brings us to question 2

2.  Is it Challenging.  I was quite surprised that this game take a lot of thought.  you are playing both against your opponents and the game itself.  the nature of the game means that you have to take advantage of community handouts early to get power,

but to rely too much on it leads to everybody losing.  In addition while wealth can help make a difference in winning, it’s not really the determining factor, particularly when there are so many cards that can counter you.  Furthermore if you are too far in the lead it’s an incentive for the others to let the community fund run dry and everyone loses.  Like socialism you have to boil the frog so to speak to make sure that those who can bring you down don’t understand how you are manipulating the system.  Against strong players it takes an awful lot of skill to come out ahead…just like in socialism.

3.  Is it fun?   Well this depends.  if you are a person of the right you will likely find it fun and funny right from the start simply because of the cards and effects like this one:

The fact that the game is challenging and requires wits is a bonus extra.

Now if you are a person on the left who has made socialism and politics their religion then you are likely going to be so pissed off that no amount of challenge and nuance will compensate for the great insult to your religion, however if you are a person with an open mind who likes a skillful challenge then you might still enjoy this game as it takes quite a bit of wits to win.

4.  Weaknesses.  Three come to mind, firstly it’s actually fairly easy to rumble the game in one respect.   If the players right from the start decide not to take advantage of the system to get ahead in theory you can build up the community fund to a point where it might possible to advance on your own.  However that might take a half hour of not trying to win, so depending on who you are playing with that doesn’t work.

There are some ambiguities in the rules, ,for example, while it suggest that all should contribute to the general fund it’s not clear that people can do it voluntarily.  If you are a rich player it might be worth while to pay off the debts of the community to keep the game going and I think there should be a mechanism to do that.

We have also added a house rule that would be a good addition to the game in general.  There are cards that remove your chits from project due to offenses against socialism, however in real life what tends to happen in real life that such a person commuting such an offense can usually be shaken down to buy forgiveness, so we added a rule where a person can buy forgiveness from the community with a contribution to the community fund and a partial payment to the person playing the card.  Basically it’s the Al Sharpton rule and it adds another aspect to the game, both interesting and real.

Finally I’d like it if  you could play with six rather than just four, because my gut tells me a larger group would be more interesting but much harder to win.

5.  Finally is it worth your time.  I think so, it’s a challenging game that can be finished in under an hour, even quicker if people aren’t careful.  I don’t know if I’d pay the prices I’m seeing on Amazon right now but if you want a game that is fun to play, well designed, requires some wits and has just enough luck to not make it a forgone conclusion this game is it.

My congratulations to the design team, well done  4 1/2 out of five.

The Real Purpose of the 1619 Project (UPDATED)

Like always.

Title of the Project is wrong, not to mention the Premise 

by baldilocks

From Lyman Stone at the Federalist on New York Times 1619 Project.

1619 is commonly cited as the date slavery first arrived in “America.” No matter that historians mostly consider the 1619 date a red herring. Enslaved people were working in English Bermuda in 1616. Spanish colonies and forts in today’s Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina had enslaved Africans throughout the mid-to-late 1500s: in fact, a slave rebellion in 1526 helped end the Spanish attempt at settling South Carolina.

The presence of Spanish power continued to inhibit English settlement of the deep south basically until the Revolutionary War. In some sense, the 1526 San Miguel de Guadeloupe rebellion cleared the way for English settlement of South Carolina.

(…)

But before 1526, slavery was already ongoing in the eventual United States. The earliest slave society in our present country, and our most recent slavery society, was in Puerto Rico. The island’s Spanish overlords were enslaving the Taino natives by 1500. By 1513, the Taino population had shrunk dramatically due to brutal violence and disease. Thus, Spain brought the first African slaves to Puerto Rico.

Chattel slavery in Puerto Rico continued, despite many “Royal Graces” easing life for free blacks and sometimes promising eventual emancipation, until 1873. Even then, slaves had to buy their own liberty. It’s not clear when the last slave was free in Puerto Rico, but it would still have been a fresh memory in 1898 when the United States gained control from Spain.

Slavery in America did not begin in 1619. It began in 1513. Any argument for a 1619 date implicitly suggests that the American project is an inherently Anglo project: that other regions, like Texas, California, Louisiana, and Puerto Rico, have subordinate histories that aren’t really, truly, equal as American origin stories.

But even if the title were correct, what’s the true propose of this project? Stone gives the answer earlier in the piece.

It isn’t mostly about helping Americans understand the role played by plantation agriculture in American history. It’s mostly about convincing Americans that “America” and “slavery” are essentially synonyms.

Previously, I’ve discussed the Civil War and whether (or not) present-day black Americans should be grateful to our country and to those who fought on the Union side. A lot of people didn’t like my conclusion.

True freedom fighters have the clean conscious of God. May that be enough for them.

And at the same time, however, this country has no need to pay for its past sins. This very same Civil War was America’s trial by fire, its conviction, and its sentence — something that American leaders chose.

But, it seems as if all too many are intent on keeping everyone angry about hardships none of them had to bear. All the New York Times want to do is make itself the drum major of the anger and vengeance parade.

And what if America and slavery are synonymous? What then? Oh, yes, reparations.

Reparations, just like every other government program, will become just another cistern for politicians to wet their beaks. How do you think they all get rich?

Because that’s the true purpose of all this — to create another means for our money to become theirs.

By the way, what about those Spaniards?

UPDATE: For some strange reason, people seem to think I’m unaware of the world history of slavery. I am not.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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Update (DTG) Instalanche, thanks Glenn the move to the new host is progressing slowly thanks to database issues so we are posting both here at the backup site and at the current site. So keep and eye both here and at DaTechguyblog.com until the move is finished. Check out our video and written review of the new Monopoly Socialism game here. and if you want to help pay the writers like Juliette you can hit Datipjar

Norway: stuck in the middle

Norway is stuck in the middle. Russia has been pushing more aggressively past Norway. Recently Russia canceled a polar Norwegian Cruise Line entry into Russian waters, forcing the cruise company to reimburse passengers only two weeks before the cruise. Russia also surged naval forces off the Norwegian coast in its “Ocean Shield” exercise, causing a lot of consternation among the Norwegian populace.

But simply saddling up to the US isn’t in the cards, at least for some. Norwegian media is enthralled with President Trump, and not in a nice way. Norwegian media, namely Dagbladet and Klassekampen, regularly blast the US and President Trump in particular, and call for Norway to keep its distance from the US.

Norway is quickly entering into a forced choice. It’s military understands that NATO, and specifically the US, are critical to keeping it independent of Russia in any future conflict. The US is doubling down not just on NATO funding, but also on support for the Straits of Hormuz patrols. Iran’s foreign minister recently visited Norway, was met with significant protests, and told Norway to not support the patrols.

So now Norway, always content to play the middle, gets to choose between two forces. On one side, a resurging Russia and Iran, who are willing to use their muscle in critical maritime geography, and a US, which is using its forces to support the agreed-upon UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Choices have consequences, and the middle choice will likely become untenable before much longer.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

Trump Playing the Old Reagan Game with China

Back in the days when I was a Democrat I was suspicious of Ronald Reagan.  There were still anti-abortion Democrats pro-defense democrats who understood that Communism was as bad as Nazism or worse and that opposing it was a moral duty so I wasn’t quite alone but when the whole concept of Star Wars came all hell broke loose.

The entire media and a good chunk of the academic community went nuts.  The idea of a missile defense was crazy, lunacy and it would bankrupt up.  Almost nobody said it was impossible, America left hadn’t yet completely conquered academia so we weren’t at the point where we didn’t believe in ourselves yet but many claimed that such a system was not worth it because it couldn’t stop every missile.

I thought their arguments were weak, nobody said ships shouldn’t have AA guns because you couldn’t stop every attacking plane and I was in the computer field as a student and knew how good we were.  But more importantly Russia also knew how good we were and decided that they had to try to do what we were doing.

So in addition to financing the left and the protests against Star Wars (a tactic that our enemies still use with even greater effectiveness today) they tried to match us, but with no economy to speak up, and the need to prop up regimes in Cuba, South America and elsewhere it soon became apparently that to them (but not to the academic left) that they risked collapse, thus they started talking but when they were unwilling to make a fair deal Reagan to the astonishment of everyone walked way.

Five years later the Soviet Empire that guest speakers at my college and the smartest minds in media and government insisted was here to stay folded like a wet blanket.

Which brings us to Trump and China.

Like Russia China is in a spot, you have them trying to prop up our foes like the  Venezuelan tyranny and the North Koreans among others, they are short key natural resources and greasing others to keep them.

They are trying to build up their military and sinking a lot of money there as well.

They have their own Islamic issues with the Uyghurs and  despite their deal with Francis they are still having issues with the underground Catholic Church that is not as big of a sucker as he is, they still have Falun gong issues and now are dealing with revolt in Hong Kong.

Adding to that problem is a male heavy population that is unable to find a mate thanks to the effects of the now gone one child policy and a population that has now gotten used to better than the subsistence life that they once had to endure.

It’s a tough balancing act but as long as you have pliant companies willing to do your bidding and a weak United States it can be done.

But then comes Trump.

  • Suddenly he is reasserting US strength in the region at a time when neighboring countries are most afraid of your power.
  • Suddenly he is making moves on North Korea and when they launch missiles in to the sea isn’t willing to come hat in hand to China to beg them to stop.  He’s wiling to call the bluff.
  • Suddenly he is willing to put on tariffs to force fair deals and when you retaliate instead of folding he doubles down even in an election year.
  • Most importantly business’ seeing what’s going on decide that it’s a good idea to relocate to neighboring nations making both your economic and social problems worse.

Worst of all he does it knowing the same thing that Reagan did, that the powerful US economy fueled by dynamic citizens with the freedom to react and innovate, something that the Communist Chinese aren’t allowed,  can absorb the hit that tariff’s bring particularly since he’s made the country energy self sufficient.

China can not and every day this goes on China exacerbates their social problems and drains the funds needed to keep their balls in the air.

They could of course choose war,  but unfortunately for them their land forces can’t reach us and their naval and air forces are no match for ours.

And if you’re thinking nukes, well let’s say that a communist regime who loses it’s head wouldn’t last long, particularly with an unfriendly India and a ravenous Russia next door with a long memory and a score to settle.  Plus there is Tibet and the Uyghurs waiting for a chance to revolt for self determination.  Then consider what would happen if a Nuke hit DC and NYC and LA.  You would still have Democratic state governments able to function food production, energy production and more would go on unabated and despite the best efforts that our foes can buy in the green movement there are more than enough sufficient number of pipelines to keep things flowing and a giant strategic reserve in place.

And I haven’t even mentioned Taiwan.

China might hope for the defeat of Trump and they will likely put all their eggs in that basket but if that fails then their already weak bargaining position will be even worse, particularly since Trump has a “Trump” card concerning the debt of ours their currently hold.  as the old saying goes, if you own the bank $100 dollars it’s your problem, if you owe a million it’s theirs.  Multiply those numbers by a few million and you can see my point.

Furthermore there is the temperament of Trump, the longer this goes on the higher price he will demand because he understand that if this trade war goes on China as a nation will grow weaker, while we will still be in a position to at worst tread water, and at best still grow stronger, and as I said China has a bunch of enemies around them with scores to settle.

If China is smart they will make a deal now while their bargaining position is strongest and the damage done to this point is controllable.  If they are not they will put all their eggs in the NeverTrump basket where they will find plenty of Americans ready to play.

But the longer they wait the more industries will decide that it’s safer to move their manufacturing elsewhere and future manufactures will think twice before committing there.

So even if they manage to put a Democrat in office by then they will lose both in the short term and the long.

Trump and anyone who knows history understands this, which is why Democrat voters do not.

Update: I can’t believe that I forgot to mention the Chinese Pork crisis in this piece.