I don’t mean to sug­gest that when you play Monop­oly that it is weird that you col­lect $200 every time you pass go. It’s just that it’s so much money at first, and then later on it’s so lit­tle. When I was a kid, “GO” was the holy spot. If you could just make it to GO every­thing would be OK. But then, even­tu­ally, it wouldn’t be enough. Why did “GO” get all the fun? And what if you were los­ing too quickly, ruin­ing the epic feel of the game? That’s when Free Park­ing became a kind of lot­tery, despite the protests of the rulebook.

We worked our way in a lit­tle at first, pay­ing our taxes to Free Park­ing rather than the bank so that the funds could be col­lected by the next player to land directly on the space. Then that wasn’t enough. What if your oppo­nent man­aged a hotel on a prop­erty you just landed on and you were just barely able to pay them off? How were you to avenge your­self with no hotels of your own?  Roll a lucky num­ber and land on Free Park­ing, win­ning you all col­lected taxes plus a $500 bonus!

The real unfor­tu­nate thing is that aliens would not know these rules and miss out on such a huge part of our real culture.