The newest real-life action board game idea

“Any car’s weakest part is the nut holding the steering wheel.”

– Unknown

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Board games are always high on my Christmas gift-giving list. In addition to the old favorites like Chance, Clue, and Sorry, every gift-giving season debuts new additions that stimulate thinking skills and require no batteries or computers.

For me, board games filled hours of afternoons with neighborhood friends growing up and even as an adult at holiday family gatherings playing with the kids. Those memories were perhaps the muse for my latest holiday gift idea.

Consider the favorite for generations and all ages: Monopoly. The wealth-building game enjoyed a revival with the craze that swept the game nation when cities, schools, and organizations of every kind cashed in on morphing themselves with Monopoly. I remember the first one in Nashville, Tennessee, when “Music City” introduced its version featuring a playing board depicting all the city’s well-known landmarks.

Soon, every burg and business had its own version. I still have a “Boerne-opoly” game sold in that Texas Hill Country city where I published the paper in the 1990s. It’s like wheeling and dealing in your hometown to be the next big play money winner.

So, if you’re reading this Milton Bradley, I have the following “opoly” winner board game for you. Unfortunately, it’s too late to make Santa’s sleigh run this season, but it can be ready by next year if we work on it. While it can be adapted to individual hometown traffic entanglements incurred by many small towns, I propose we call ours “Driving Downtown Center-opoly.”

I can see it now: a playing board depicting the newly renovated downtown Center square, which I think looks fabulous. The city’s new small-town charm will make a great-looking game board for those drivers and pedestrians who haven’t yet grasped the correct (legal and safe) methods to maneuver it.

To win the game, players would have to drive (advance their game piece) around the square by entering at one of its four corners. Then roll the dice, just was as real-life drivers do, to go all the way around and exit at the same comer. But the catch is doing it without breaking one single traffic law.

Each player would start with the same number of points and get docked by cutting in front of others, failing to heed every stop sign, turning without signals, making left turns from the right lane, improper turns from one lane to another, and failing to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalks. Coincidentally, all real-life illegal actions as seen on the square.

The object for pedestrian players would be walking the game board on foot around the square (by advancing their game piece), crossing at crosswalks only, and returning to exit the square where they started.

Points would be lost by illegally jaywalking between the plethora of crosswalks available, creating havoc for the aforementioned “driver” players. Remember … those who do not stop for people in the crosswalks, cut in front of others, fail to stop at the stop signs, don’t use turn signals, and turn out of and into the wrong lanes?

Hidden penalties would be assessed for players parking a game piece on Austin Street near its intersection with San Augustine Street where anything short of stopping in the middle of the street is mistaken for parking. “Driver” players would lose points for illegal parking practices, including but not limited to failing to parallel park where designated, and parking on the wrong side of the street going the wrong way. Again, amazingly like real life.

Bonus points should be awarded to the first player offering a solution for big-rig truck drivers who seemingly cannot read the many “no trucks allowed” signs they pass ultimately creating traffic confusion on the square.

The game would be a best seller. Where else could one find thrill, excitement, and danger all rolled up in blatant disregard for traffic laws accurately depicting every day, real-life driving experiences?

—Leon Aldridge

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Aldridge columns are published in these Texas newspapers: The Center Light and Champion, the Mount Pleasant Tribune,  the Rosenberg Fort Bend Herald, the Taylor Press, and the Alpine Avalanche.

© Leon Aldridge and A Story Worth Telling 2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Leon Aldridge and A Story Worth Telling with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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