Beads of sweat form on your brow. Your shoulders ache from hours spent hunched over in concentration. And even though your throat is dry and your belly empty, you refuse to take a break. For many Monopoly enthusiasts bent on creating an economic empire, the fun of this board game is serious business.
Since 1935, Monopoly has offered hours of entertainment to many players, but during World War II, this game went from being a fun (if highly competitive) way to pass the time to a real life-saver. British airmen held as prisoners of war by the German army received care packages through the International Red Cross that included innocuous-looking Monopoly games -- which actually contained escape maps, compasses, metal files and real money provided by the British Secret Service. Although there's no record of how many soldiers used the rigged games to escape, the people who were involved in the project believe several airmen were able to use the board game's secret tools for their own benefit [source: Mikkelson].
Although you probably haven't rolled the dice under such dire circumstances, we're betting you've bent a few Monopoly rules, too. Monopoly was originally designed to teach lessons about building -- and losing -- wealth, a process that seems to encourage improvisational tactics.
While there are some house rules that make game play more challenging or competitive, there can be downsides, too. Unless you're willing to embark on a marathon Monopoly game, or one that'll earn the winner bitter glares from family and friends for the next few days, there are some house rules you'll want to ditch.