Discover why men cheat... especially at Monopoly!


Friday 8th June 2012

Despite the best efforts of the weather to spoil it for us, I am glad to report that the family Collins spent a very relaxed and enjoyable Bank Holiday.

Seeing HM the Queen surrounded by her nearest and dearest set the scene for us at home too.

Mind you I don’t suppose the Royal household were engaged in mammoth games of Monopoly like we were though!

A rainy holiday weekend seems the ideal time to get the board out and crank up my trusty dice action.

Some things are set in stone in our house: Lara is always the banker so that I can’t cheat...and I always get to be the cannon.

The great challenge is deciding on a strategy for the game; for us lot there are three basic approaches:

1) ‘The buy what you land on’, especially if it upsets someone else’s chance of getting a set.

2) ‘The save up and only buy in the expensive street’ (greens & dark blues).

3) ‘The stations and utilities safe haven approach’ – this odd one is much favoured by the females in our family for some strange reason.

As the kids have got older we get the chance to play the game out to full conclusion i.e. when there is only one person with any money left.

This weekend the overall victor was my fifteen year old son, who is fast developing into a potential candidate for Lord Alan Sugar’s TV programme.

He sat with a smug grin on his face as he paid the mortgages on my property and cleaned me out after my final visit to his Park Lane HQ loaded with hotels...

...I’ve never been a good loser!

The competitive streak

If I can do anything to give me a slightly better than average chance, I’ll do it.

Well you have to don’t you?

Unfortunately, my ham fisted attempt to change a hundred pound note for two five hundred pound ones doesn’t get past the kids any more – that’s why Lara takes control of the bank.

Mind you it doesn’t stop me from trying to get away with a few little cheats as the game progresses, more for the joy in the howls of outrage they provoke rather than any benefit I get.

I was laughing about this with some of the Good Life folk when I called into the office this week.

Generally I was given a hard time for teasing the kids, but most agreed that they are also guilty of the same practice.

It really seems like a Dad thing!

The competition bug is a female thing... or is it?

Mums it would appear are much more serious about games and the need for rules.

Perhaps this is why there are more women playing competitions in the UK than there are men.

Just from a straw poll amongst Lara’s friend I discovered that they are really into their comping and that there is big money to be made in the national competitions out there each week.

It fascinates me that there are so many opportunities out there to win prizes really simply.

The problem seems to be to locate them.

They are hidden in newspapers, magazines, in store, on TV, on radio and of course online.

Keeping track of them is a daunting task for the serious ‘comper’, but there are ways to get a helping hand it seems.

My publishers have just opened a special service for those who like a competition, but for a limited time only – and this was causing a real buzz in the office.

The sign-ups were passing through very quickly, with about three women for every man surprise there then!

So, if you want to get your hands on the premium competition service lads and ladies you need to act quickly!

Do you want the chance to better your odds at winning some of the thirteen million pounds given away every year in the UK?

It’s not for everyone for sure, but in the spirit of passing on good news and a chance to increase the odds of winning I felt it appropriate to let you know.

Is competition a good or bad thing?

I actually think that the act of competing is a good thing.

It stimulates our bodies to produce endorphins which sharpen our senses and quicken our actions; it develops the power of our brains through a process called plasticity and it provides us with a sense of achievement.

None of these are bad things at any age, but they are really important as we get older.

Much has been written about the need to improve our cognitive function in order to avoid dementia and Alzheimers.

But on Radio Five Live on Wednesday morning I was intrigued to hear an interview with a woman called Barbara Arrowsmith-Young who was describing how she changed her brain through training.

As a child she developed what we now call ‘learning difficulties’ but no-one knew how to help her.

So, she set about making challenges for herself, forcing her mind to create new connections and re-route decision making.

Not only did this help her overcome her own troubles, but she now teaches others.

Simple competitions and tests form the basis of her approach of reprogramming the neural circuitry of the brain.

It is further evidence that our minds are capable of change, and that stimulation is needed to help prevent cognitive failure.

So, at the very least get the Monopoly board out and challenge the family.

Just remember to spice your game up with a cheat or two as well – it keeps everyone else on their toes too!

Yours, as always










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