The Lydster, Part 131: Connect Four and Monopoly

The Daughter just lacks the cutthroat instinct for Monopoly.

connect-fourAn MIT Student Creates a Robot That Plays Connect Four for a Course Final. And it wins fairly often. But it’s not playing The Daughter, who beats me a good 2/3s of the time. For those of you unfamiliar, the goal is to get four of your checkers in a row, in any direction. (In the example, black has a Connect Four diagonally.)


She was home from school recently for a teacher conference, and her friend came over as well so that her parents could go to work. The last time I suggested we play Monopoly, she tried it and quit after an hour. But she’d played at her friend’s house recently, and liked it.

She was winning, too, while her friend was losing. But instead of knocking her friend out of the game, The Daughter kept giving her money. Eventually, this caught up to The Daughter’s bottom line, when she landed on some of my hotels, and I ended up winning, though it took hours before I finally wiped her out. She didn’t want to be a quitter, but I wouldn’t have minded if she had relented an hour sooner. She said she wasn’t good at the game, but that’s not entirely true; she just lacks the cutthroat instinct.

30-Day Challenge: Day 18 – Favorite Board Game


I have always loved board games. I used to play them all the time. As a kid, my favorite game was SCRABBLE, which I used to play with my great aunt, and from time to time as an adult, usually with my in-laws.

With children, I love to play SORRY. As Jaquandor explained, this is a game that by the time a kid is 4 to 6, can play an adult straight up.

I found this out when I used to play with my late friend Nancy’s son Jeff when he was about 6 in 1978 or 1979; I would not give him an advantage and he’d beat me almost half the time. Likewise, my daughter is very good at it. In fact, we often play with her stuffed animals as surrogates as well, with each of us essentially playing two colors, and she’ll often come in first and second, or at least first and third.

I’m quite fond of Monopoly. I could tell you what the purchase price and basic rent for every property on the board; unfortunately, it’s a game that really requires multiple players, and that has not been the situation I’ve found myself in of late. For our wedding, we received an Albany-based Monopoly set that I’m pretty sure we’ve never used.

I went through a phase of playing a lot of Trivial Pursuit in the 1980s and 1990s, but some people didn’t like the fact that I won too often – it’s a curse – and I probably haven’t played this century.

The game I play most often at this point is backgammon. It’s a game I learned at a bar appropriately called Bacchus in my college town of New Paltz, NY from my friend Anne. Then I didn’t play for a long time. Now I play my friend Mary at work at least twice a month at lunchtime. It’s a fairly easy game to play, though it takes a little while to ascertain the best strategy. The board often shows up on the back of checkerboards, and the game is available online, so one can hone one’s skills.