Vindicat members create custom Monopoly game
Failed to pay your house bar tab? Go straight to jail
‘Playing the game led to us brainstorming about a student edition, and we decided to really make a go of it’, says Quinten (22), who studies econometrics. ‘We first had the idea to make Student-opoly, which would involve all the Dutch universities’, adds mathematics and economics student Lara (24).
In the end, they settled on a version about student fraternities, inspired by their own Vindicat memberships. ‘We’re just more familiar with that’, explains Quinten. ‘Because it’s just a hobby project, we wanted to make it about what we know. An Ajax fan would make an Ajax version of Monopoy, not one about all the clubs in the league.’
Since Monopoly is copyrighted, they had to ask the owners for permission. The owners then pointed them in the direction of Dutch manufacturer Identity Games, who were ‘really enthusiastic and ready to go’, says Lara. Next, they approached eight student clubs: in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Leiden, Groningen, Wageningen, Delft, and Utrecht. The latter is represented by two student clubs in the game, since they’re still segregated by gender. ‘It all went very smoothly. They were all open to working with us.’
The next step was much more difficult: they had to design the actual game. As Lara explains, some aspects of the game cannot be changed. ‘Go, free parking, go to jail, and the jail square itself all have to stay the same. The Chance and Community Chest cards also can’t be changed. But we were allowed to put whatever we want on those cards.’
Go back to GO for your DUO money
They came up with such things as: ‘You didn’t pay your house bar tab. Go back to GO for your DUO money, or you’ll be expelled and have to go straight to jail’ and ‘By biking everywhere, you’ve lost five kilos of the weight you gained in your first year. You’re awarded a hundred euros as a bonus.’
‘It really gives players a feel for student life, teaching them how it works’, says Quinten.
The regular version of Monopoly has city streets, but the student edition has fraternities, club houses, and the frats’ dance halls. ‘The board looks like this: Vindicat – Mutua Fides – Van der Rijnst’, says Quinten. ‘It’ll teach the outside world about all the different names the clubs have for things.’
He says he’s not worried about any backlash. ‘It’s a game about fraternities; it’s playful and innocent. It’s just a bit of lightheartedness. It’s just to give people a chance to see behind the curtain.’
It gives people a chance to see behind the curtain
The board game will be published in November, and fraternity members can already sign up for their own copy. ‘They can request to have their debating society or year club’s logo printed in the middle of the board’, says Quinten.
But the game isn’t exclusively available to club members. ‘Everyone who’s interested in student life can buy the game through the Monopoly web shop and Bol.com.’
They hope to market the game on the student associations’ social media channels. ‘It’s the best way to reach students’, says Quinten. ‘And we’re talking to two famous Dutch people about promoting our game on their social media. Hopefully, that will help, too.’
Since students generally don’t have a lot of money and certainly not during this health crisis, the first edition of the game will be discounted. ‘We’re keeping it affordable and accessible. We’ll play to a bigger market later’, says Quinten. They are ambitious: ‘If this version is a success, we want to make one for all students. This is our pilot. Any future edition will cover more ground.’
The whole project has taught them a lot. ‘Entrepreneurship is so exciting. You have to take care of every little detail to minimise your chance of any losses’, says Lara. ‘It’s so different to what I do in the library’, adds Quinten. ‘That makes it even more fun. It’s a game we can always be proud of.