Man vs Wife: The Game of Life

Man vs WifeThe Game of Life, or sometimes just called LIFE, was originally created in 1860 by Milton Bradley and it looked absolutely nothing like the game we know today. It was a modified checker board and included a six-sided teetotem instead of dice. You tried to land on “good” space and collect a total of 100 points, you could earn 50 by reaching the final “Happy Old Age” square. But in 1960, on the 100th anniversary of the game, it was redesigned and re-released in the form that we know it today. The teetotem was replaced with a spinner wheel for movement and a winding track that included three-dimensional elements: bridges, mountains and buildings. And the points system for scoring was replaced with money. Players are given start-up money, a car and a peg, representing them, to drive the car. And away they go.

The Game Of Life
Isn't it pretty?

There are many versions of The Game of Life available. For our game, we played the Target exclusive Vintage Game Classics edition. We bought it, and others in this series, because of the look of the box. It makes for a better display than a traditional cardboard board game box. Of course, the trade-off of the nifty and compact design is that it takes longer to set up. Other versions you just unfold the board and are done. This one you have to unfold the board (eight sections instead of two) and then put all the buildings, mountains and bridges on it, and the spinner. The design is nice, but it makes for a spinner that is less stable – it works, just don’t get crazy with it. Since it was the first time we’d opened this box, we also had to unwrap all the money and bank notes, as well as separate the little plastic people, which in the old days were just straight pegs but now have little arms down the side. My wife decided to be female and chose a pink peg. I decided to be male and chose a pink peg.

We read the rules. Neither of us had played the game in years and we felt certain that there had been some house rules in play, so we decided to stick to the printed rules for our game. I switched my pink peg for a blue one, because the rules state that males are blue and females are pink. It seems The Game of Life is pretty set into its gender roles, although it really doesn’t matter because they’re just pegs on a game board and not a judgement of the players. They could be green pegs and it wouldn’t make a lick of difference. But I digress…

So we spin the wheel and I get the lowest roll, I’m the banker. I control ALL THE MONEY! (Wife: Just like real life.) Hey, do you want to do the math? (Wife: Do you want me to do the math?) No. I set up the bank and give each of us $10,000 to start. We put our cars on the board and spin to see who goes first. (Wife: I win!)

I explain the rules of the board. Yellow squares you do only if you land on them, same as Gold squares. Red squares you have to do as you pass, no choice. And White squares you CAN do if you want as you pass.

Immediately I recall the house rules of youth as we take our early turns. She gets her career, a physician, and heads out. (Wife: I also caught an escaped lion!) I get my career, a journalist, and land on the tornado square that makes me go back to the start. In the old days we tried to hit this spot because we let that person get two jobs! But that’s actually against the rules.

We both bought auto insurance at the start, and we bought life insurance as we pass it. And they work in-game just like in real life, sort of. You buy them and then if nothing ever happens to you it seems like a waste of cash, but if you don’t have them and land on one of those squares it can be very expensive. Unlike real life though, you don’t have to keep paying for it. Oh, and I also captured an escaped lion. (Wife: I think they need to hire better zookeepers.)

You have to get married. You cannot play, nor win, at Life unless you get married. The game takes no position on gay marriage, however specifically states that if you get sent back past the marriage spot you cannot get married again. (Wife: No Big Love or Sister Wives.) No divorce either. The Game of Life is very optimistic in some respects.

(Wife: Lucky Day!) In one of the strange rules of the game, landing on a Lucky Day spot you get $20,000 from the bank, which you can keep or spend on two numbers and spin for a chance to win $300,000. (Wife: I bet the money every time.) And you lost every time. (Wife: I know.) Which is why I’m in charge of the money. (Wife: Shut up.)

We both buy stock. There are some rules about playing the market, she does it twice and I never do. (Wife: Playing the market sucks.) Just like real life! The only reason I bought stock is because of squares that state “If you own stock…” and then you collect a bunch of money. Completely not like real life.

At various places in the game you can get kids, either by having them or adopting them. At one point I have to choose between having a daughter or collecting $480,000. I choose the daughter. I am an idiot. Because I’m obsessed with science fiction, I keep track of my “other path” the rest of the game. Alternate Reality me is rich, handsome and a world traveler. I have 4 kids, took a vacation on a polluted lake and had a millionaire take revenge on me. (Wife: hehe!) A pox on the 1%! Occupy the Game of Life! (Wife: I have a gold mine!) Shut up. I discovered Atlantis! (Wife: I won the Nobel Peace Prize!) I went fishing. (Wife: I went to the Arctic!) We digress…

She crosses the bridge first, which means that when I eventually catch up I’ll have to pay the toll. She also lands of the Day of Reckoning first, obviously. (Wife: I win!) Not yet. She gets $96,000 for her 2 kids. She spins and crosses into Millionaire. (Wife: I win!) Nope. She spins one more time for her lucky number, which for the rest of the game I have to pay her if I spin it. (Wife: Why didn’t I win?) Because I’m not dead yet, and it’s the person with the most money when they die that wins. (Wife: Really?) No. But also, yes.

I finally drag myself across the finish line. I earn $192,000 for my 4 kids. We both get $120,000 for owning stock, $8,000 for having life insurance, and we count up the money. (Wife: I win!) She wins. (Wife: I win!) You said that already. (Wife: I know … I win!)

Final tally:
Me – $1,117,000
Her – $1,825,000

The primary problem with The Game of Life is that if the first person across the finish line doesn’t go for Millionaire Tycoon and win, then it just sort of drags out. Eventually everyone crosses the finish and we go into accounting, and only after the mathematics is done do we know who won. Kind of a wimpy end for the game.

The second problem with this game is that it is extremely linear with almost no choices for the player. There are only 3 places where you can choose between two paths, and the final Tycoon choice. The game has rules where you can spend money of wheel spins. It gives you the opportunity to lose lots of money, but playing straight through it’s pretty much just luck of the spin.

The game plays better with more players. Being linear and having a rule that two players can’t be on the same space matters more when the chance of it happening is higher. I’d recommend at least 4 players, and the game comes with 6 cars.


Man, 0. Wife, 1.

(Wife: I win!)

A Week of Tweets on 2011-06-19

  • Playing LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4. #
  • played LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4 (360) in the last 24 hours. #
  • A nice slow Monday morning… I hate surprises, Monday, so all day better be more of the same. #
  • Anyone on Fitocracy? just signed in today, might be the motivation I need… #
  • A blog a read has made 4 posts in the last year, 2 to announce a server move, and 2 to say the moves are complete. #
  • I have 15 invites to Fitocracy, the social game you play to improve your fitness. Snag one here! (via @fitocracy) #
  • played LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4 (360) in the last 24 hours. #
  • First, some fun. Then, some work. And hopefully later, more fun. #
  • I unlocked 2 Xbox achievements on LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4! #
  • County noise ordinance kicks in at midnight. The neighbors blast their music and shake my house until 11:59:59. #
  • played LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4 (360) in the last 24 hours. #
  • I unlocked 17 Xbox achievements on LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4! #
  • IHOP, the breakfast of non-champions. #

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A Week of Tweets on 2011-05-08

  • $12 and an hour of my time = toilet fixed. I love knowing how to do things. #
  • Hey Netflix, if you can't put a recent movie up as widescreen, don't bother streaming it. Who wants to watch stuff in 4:3? #
  • Writing code and listening to the Machinarium soundtrack. Yes, I am a geek. #
  • Anyone know a way to get Facebook to stop grouping feed items from the same source? #
  • We'll consider today a dry run for life with just one car. #deludingmyself #
  • @Longasc I think cloning is the only responsible solution. in reply to Longasc #
  • "I am fluent in six million forms of pants." #replaceawordinastarwarslinewithpants #
  • @etcet Not my hashtag. in reply to etcet #
  • Shut down all the pants smashers on the detention level! #replaceawordinastarwarslinewithpants #
  • "I used to bullseye womp rats in my pants back home." #replaceawordinastarwarslinewithpants #
  • @petterm I was in the beta for a while, and I hated having my social networks integrated in my browser where I couldn't close them. in reply to petterm #
  • Today, for my listening enjoyment, the soundtrack for the game Revenge of the Titans. #
  • 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. — If you just read that like this you rock. #
  • "How I Won the War" may be a decent film if I were British and it was 1967. It isn't, I'm not, so it wasn't. @Shakefire #
  • Did the Mexicans really defeat the French, or did the French all come down with Montezuma's Revenge? #cincodemayo #
  • Things are not "for sell" and I cannot "sale" something to you. #
  • About to see Something Borrowed… the things I do to be allowed to see movies like Thor. Totally worth it. #
  • @GameCouch It's pretty good. Not quite Iron Man level, but far better than Fantastic Four. in reply to GameCouch #
  • $25 computer – #
  • Just saw "Beginners", when it comes out in a month or so, go see it. Seriously solidly good film. #

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A Week of Tweets on 2011-04-24

  • Insanity, day 5: feeling the burn… #
  • What wicked week waits before us, stalking us through the tall grass, the pounce inevitable, so let us not turn our backs. #
  • Insanity, day 6: I only had to take twice as many breaks as the guys in the video. #
  • Snicker-snack! #
  • "That doesn't work on all browsers. It's Microsoft specific code." "Can't you make them all obey Microsoft?" #
  • Luke Perry's Goodnight for Justice is unsurprising yet pleasant. DVD reviewed for @Shakefire #
  • Insanity, day 8: I forgot day 7 because it was a rest day. Today was easier than day 1. #
  • If you run or work for a charity, send email whenever you can. Spending money to send mailers to ask me for money makes no sense. #
  • Oh boy! This looks nifty! #
  • Insanity, day 9: Pure Cardio makes my heart want to explode out of my chest. #
  • Yael Naim's She Was A Boy was a delight to listen to from the first track to the last. @Shakefire #
  • Insanity, day 10: Am I supposed to sweat this much? #
  • Insanity, day 11: Stretching it out… oh yeah… #
  • Anyone seen rising from the dead today should be considered a possible threat and not the foundation of a religion. #zombies #

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It’s 10:10:10 on 10/10/10.

… and it’s also my birthday.  I am a thirty-six year survivor.

I apologize.  I just can’t help myself.

Okay, I’m done now.

A New Project for Myself

Not so long ago I started up a project here where I would post doodles.  I did it for a few weeks and then stopped.  I’ve still been doodling, but work and other things have kept me from it more often than not and I’ve found if I don’t get right into doodling early on Saturday mornings, then I don’t produce anything worth posting.  If I start late, I end up just screwing around and trying to learn some of the functions of GIMP and not actually drawing anything.  I’ll still keep doing it when I can, but I’ve missed enough weeks to realize that I’m not going to be regular about it.

Plus, I still can’t draw for shit, so while I’m working at it, I don’t impress myself very often.  I’m more apt to delete an image than share it.  I’m working on not doing that.

Anyway, I decided that I also wanted to start something to work on writing.  So, today, in just a few minutes I’m going to post the first in what I hope to be a long series of posts.  This new project will involve me going to one of the many places on the Internet where you can find photos that people take and allow to be used by others (here is a list of places to look), and finding one that inspires something in me.  I’ll then write what I’m inspired to write and post it with the accompanying photo (and a link to where I got the photo so that credit is given along with whatever text they require for use).  I hope this works out well… if not… well, then I only hope I don’t get sued.


From 1998 to 2009, as of today, this blog officially goes to eleven.

I put up a pretty good summary post last year at ten, but the Spinal Tap fan in me just couldn’t let this year go by without a mention.  Now that that’s done, I’ll mosey along…

Dragon*Con 2008: Day One

One of the things I enjoy most about Con are the panels.  Yeah, the costumes and parties are cool and all that, but I also come for the panels.  In a good, well run panel, you can actually learn quite a bit, participate in discussions and meet people with similar interests.  In a poorly run panel, the only thing you learn is that there is a reason for having a moderator who actually cares about the subject at hand.

I’m not going to point any fingers and name names, but many of the panels I went to today were not well run at all.  People asking stupid questions, panelist meandering through unrelated subjects, entire topics being misunderstood and abandoned…  Not a good day at the con at all.

But then came the drinking and the people watching, which is always fun.

To cap off the night, the wife and I decided to duck into a concert.  99% of live performances by bands are not intended for people who like lyrics and don’t already know the songs by heart.  The music is cranked so loud that the only thing you know for sure about the words is that the song does have lyrics, and sometimes you can make out the tones, but actual phrases are lost beneath the thrumming beat and the wailing guitars.

Oh well… there’s always drinking and people watching…