Confusion reigned last Friday at DUMBO’s Rebar, where several Brooklyn Paper scribes gathered for a high-stakes game of “Brooklyn In-A-Box,” the borough-centric edition of Monopoly.
Although the game is familiar to anyone who has played the Parker Brother’s version, and is appropriate for ages 8 and up, it took considerable effort from all of us to decipher the instructions and get started. You could practically hear the slow clatter of hamster wheels turning in our heads.
Reporter Christie Rizk had the best grasp of the game. She moved her pewter egg cream game piece — others are a hot dog and a miniature Brooklyn Bridge rather than the traditional wheelbarrow, old shoe and thimble — and was instantly on a roll.
In Ratner-esque form, she gobbled up a vast swath of the board, from the Brooklyn Brewery to Prospect Park, before anyone else realized what had happened. Even the combined IQs of GO Brooklyn Associate Editor Adam Rathe and reporter Dana Rubinstein, who had teamed up together, were no match for Rizk.
Reporter Ariella Cohen experienced what is charitably called a “bad day.” After an ignominious start (she went to jail on her first roll), things quickly spiraled downward.
This reporter also fared poorly, particularly in my goal of acquiring all of the bridge and tunnel properties. While I tend to excel at manly feats of strength, board games show my slow and dull-witted side. My deficiencies were exposed early on by photographer Aaron Greenhood, who heartlessly snatched the Battery Tunnel from my clutches.
“Brooklyn In-A-Box” was released in 2003 by the Ohio-based Late for the Sky Company. Co-owner Mark Hunter said he traveled frequently to Brooklyn to conduct research.
“I went through all the neighborhoods, from Park Slope to Greenpoint to Red Hook, to places where people call you ‘papi,’” Hunter said. “It became clear that Brooklyn has a lot of fascinating, historic things going on.”
Although Hunter claims to have consulted Brooklyn natives in designing the game, his consultations occasionally seem to have been limited to Joey Tribbiani from the cast of “Friends.”
For instance, players are advised to “Trow dose dice” in order to advance to “How You Doin’?” and are repeatedly asked “You Wanna Piece A’ Me?” or “Whadduya Kiddin’?”
“I’m really glad there’s not a ‘Fuggedaboutit,’” said Rubinstein.
Another minor annoyance is the disparity in real estate prices. Atlantic Avenue costs a mere $90, while Borough Hall costs a staggering $310.
“Why make Borough Hall so expensive given that the occupant doesn’t do anything?” asked one player.
Despite Hunter’s best intentions, “Brooklyn In-A-Box,” unlike the borough itself, lacks for excitement. In the end, our would-be grudge match was a listless, uninspired affair. Even the avaricious Rizk admitted, “This is why I’ve never been a fan of Monopoly.” Echoing the collective sentiments of the group, Rubinstein added, “It was fun for like an hour.”
“Brooklyn In-A-Box,” manufactured by Late for the Sky, costs $24.95. For information, visit www.lateforthesky.com.