Occupy the Banks, an Occupy Portland offshoot, played "Human Monopoly" this afternoon in Pioneer Courthouse Square.
The event was part of a series of "Bank Actions" that Occupy conducts every Friday, and the life-sized board game was meant to encourage people to move their money out of traditional big banks and into local credit unions.
The group chose Monopoly as their activity because, according to Occupier Ciara Doyle, "It's a game people can recognize and understand, and it's a pretty good way to show how banks can exploit people."
Co-organizer Tommy Murray called it "Monopoly with an anti-big bank twist."
The board bore little resemblance to the Parker Brothers original. It consisted of four players, 20 landing spots arranged in a square, and one massive die. Instead of using tiny metal figurines, players carried large signs depicting the traditional Scottie dog, racecar, shoe, etc.
Each player started with 5,000 (fake) dollars. The goal, as always, was to make it around the board without losing money. This was difficult, considering how many squares⎯including "Big Coal Railroad" and "Eviction Blvd."⎯ took money away from the players.
Only two squares—"Occupy Wall Street" and "Move Your Money"—benefited players, in keeping with the day's theme.
Perhaps the most innovative aspect of the game, however, was that players could, with luck, win quickly. One man even won within 20 minutes of first rolling the die, an unheard-of pace with normal Monopoly.
There was a little homework involved, too. With each landing, a player picked up a card containing a damning tidbit about JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo or Bank of America. Players shouted out the information on the card, and the small number of Occupiers in the area would shout it back, human-microphone style.