D.C. Diary: GWopoly launch lands students on Boardwalk for a night

January 21, 2000
Marvin Center
10 p.m.

The Marvin Center underwent one of its grand transformations Friday night. Casino-style gaming tables were rolled in piece by piece, an inflatable twister board was installed, and GW students began wandering in – eyes wide – as if they had just stumbled through the looking glass and into Las Vegas for kids.

But like any GW event, all the fuss and fun was not without its cause. This particular affair marked the birth of GWopoly, having miraculously survived a nine-month gestation in the hands of both the Student Association and school-spirit splinter group, Students Helping Students.

The game itself is great. Twenty bucks (five of which go back to the SA presumably to fund student groups) buy a classy-looking board with the old mascot George prancing through the center.

(For the record, I’m nervous how friends at home will take to the enormously phallic monument George brandishes as a weapon, though sadly I’m getting used to looking at the ridiculous thing on every University poster.)

The classic boot and iron game pieces are replaced with a hatchet (the mini-axe, not the campus newspaper) and the Hippo among other things. The properties are mostly campus buildings and a few Washington landmarks, while the campus gates have found their most useful purpose yet, taking the place of the railroads. Game organizers said they were careful not to mention any student group by name – mostly there are just too many to be fair. In a rare nod to specific campus culture, the board does include local bar and hamburger joint Lindy’s Red Lion and Manouch’s psychedelic hot-dog stand. (Inexplicably, his name is spelled wrong on the board.)

Matt Kernkraut, who worked on GWopoly for the Student Activities Center, has big goals for the game, which was funded entirely by Student and Academic Support Services.

We hope it might rekindle the spirit of GW, he said mournfully, as if the flame of spirit were recently doused in a freak accident. Even if it doesn’t revive school enthusiasm, the game is still fun, especially when it pokes fun at GW. (One Colonial Card has the bookstore buying back all your textbooks for a whopping $20.)

But there are some lines it doesn’t cross.

Will there ever be a card that says, `You’ve been impeached as SA president? mused Neil Badlani, dressed as Mr. Monopoly. Maybe in the next edition.

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