I’m not exactly sure why my heart skipped a beat at the prospect of, *gasp*, an Exeter-themed Monopoly. This is, after all, the very same game that makes monsters of even the meekest grandmother that fired up a feud that nearly destroyed my newly-made Freshers’ friendships – even after three years, it’s still furtively known as “the incident” (resurrecting rent-related demons is to be avoided at all costs, trust me). Who was I to know that you must demand your rent in order to obtain it? It should be automatically handed over. And slyly stealing from the bank is not okay. Aaaaand breathe.
In any case, it’s always a little bit exciting when the global gets local, isn’t it? Like when a friend scores an ‘extra’ part in a TV show or Come Dine With Me comes to a kitchen near you. With the world’s most popular board game hitting Ye Olde Exe, it only seemed natural that I should come down with a bout of Monopoly mania.
Having fought off the competing classy – emphasis on ‘class’ – cities of Oxford, Cambridge and York more fiercely than a jailed player shaking for a double all the way back in March, this edition’s been a long time coming, and hasn’t been without hitch along the way. Indeed, in a twist of real-life satirical fate, truly cementing Exeter’s Waitrose demographic status, it became the first town deemed “too posh” to fill the board’s brown portions.
IN A TWIST OF REAL-LIFE SATIRICAL FATE, IT BECAME THE FIRST TOWN DEEMED “TOO POSH” TO FILL THE BOARD’S BROWN PORTIONS
Despite a collective student community chorus of “Sidwell Street, Sidwell Street!”, which sadly makes no appearance, the cheapest chunk usually occupied by Old Kent Road now houses Stepcote Hill – you know, that windy hill somewhere by the Quay? Nor did I.
Adding to the game’s “huh?” credentials are Exeter Racecourse, Red Coat Guided Tours and The Maynard School. That’s not to say they’re all obscure, however; the classics are all there: the Guildhall, Exeter Cathedral, the Quay, the Phoenix…and who could forget our influence on the city economy, drinking statistics and litter levels? The University takes pride of place with an appropriately (#bleed)green square.
But this is where the exhilaration ends, as the other squares hardly represent nightlife landmarks, and the player pieces are still the very same – not even a solitary slice of cheese is present to represent our favourite day of the week. Alas, the crux of the issue becomes clear, that same conundrum that keeps us out of the King Billy: students vs. locals, with locals having the monopoly over this edition’s squares. Rightly so, I suppose, when we barely make 20 per cent of Exeter’s population. Even still, no nod to Top Top or the Impy?
I give the creators too little credit, perhaps. I feel a little more grateful for the local sway upon reading: “You find an Exeter Library book that you haven’t renewed for over a month, pay a fine of $50”. “A bloody bargain,” I thought, “the Forum Library would have bankrupted me right from the get-go”.