This game is one of four Valentine-themed boardgame remixes, part of the Boardgame Remix Kit project, available now as an app, ebook, paper boook and set of cards.
Divorce! is a game for two grumpy players. Get through the three inevitable stages of a relationship – Wooing, Marriage and Divorce – and come out with more property than your ex. This is probably the heaviest-going of our Valentine remixes, so it’s best suited for more experienced boardgamers.
Requires: Monopoly board, pieces, cards, money
The aim of the game is to end up with the most property (and money, so that you can sue for your partner’s property). You get one point for each property you own at the end, or double points for properties in a full set (for example, if you own all the blues, or all the oranges). The value of the properties doesn’t matter – just how many you have.
It’s a bit complicated, so if this is the first time you’re playing, you might want to skip the wooing stage, and instead just:
- Go through setup (below)
- Have each player deal three cards to themselves secretly, and keep these secret throughout
- Choose one player randomly to receive the top hat – this is a bit of an advantage, so perhaps choose the player with less boardgame experience
- Then proceed directly to marriage!
Take the property cards. Remove the Waterworks and Electricity, and shuffle all remaining property cards together.
Hold the deck coloured side down. Each player deals themselves five cards, and keeps those cards hidden from their opponent. Now deal four cards in a pile, trying not to see what they are, and add the waterworks card to these four. Shuffle the pile (four cards plus waterworks), and put them on the top of the property deck (still coloured-side-down).
Now turn the property deck over and place it coloured side up on the board. The waterworks card should be somewhere in the bottom five cards, but you won’t be sure exacly where.
To woo your partner, you need to show that you’re worthy of them – that you’re not coming to the relationship empty-handed. You’ll need to let them see some of your property.
Take one, two or three of your property cards – it’s up to you – and conceal them in your hand. (The others are hidden away in your secret accounts, and nobody need ever know, at least until the divorce). On the count of three, you and your partner will both reveal the cards you’ve chosen – this is the property that you’re bringing into the marriage.
If you added the most cards to the marriage, you’re coming into it in a superior position – you’re going to get first pick of the properties come the divorce. Take the top hat and put it in front of you, to show that you brought more wealth to the union. (If you’ve both added the same number of cards, then add up their total purchase value; higher wins. If it’s still a tie, the player who added the single most expensive card wins. If it’s still a tie, roll a dice. )
Now take the cards you both added to the union, and lay them out to one side of the board. This is your joint property.
Now you’re married! Congratulations, we hope you’ll be very happy. It’s time to take part in the primary purpose of marriage: increasing your joint assets while secretly squirreling something away for yourself.
Put a pawn on GO for each player, and take it in turn to take an action (with the top-hat-holder going first). Each turn, your action can be either of:
- ROLL THE DICE and move around the board. Roll both dice – you can move in either direction, using the total of both dice, or of either single dice (so if you roll a 1 and a 4, you can move 1, 4 or 5 in either direction); or
- ADD A PROPERTY to the marriage – take the property that’s on top of the property deck, and lay it out with the rest of your joint property
If you choose to ROLL THE DICE and move, usually nothing happens, but:
- If you land on Chance or Community Chest, take £50 and add it to your property. Your money should remain visible to your partner at all times.
- If you land on a property that you and your partner own – if it’s laid out in your joint property – then while you’re there you can fiddle the paperwork to have it transferred to your name. Lay it out in front of you (make sure your partner can still see it – don’t hide it away with your secret property.)
- If you land on a tax square, you must pay the tax as demanded. If you don’t have enough money to pay it yourself, then pay as much as you can and pay the rest from your partner’s money – you’re married, after all, your debts belong to both of you now.
If you ever finish a turn and there are no jointly-owned properties laid out, add one automatically; it doesn’t take an action.
The Marriage round, and your marriage itself, ends immediately as soon as the WATERWORKS are revealed.
To start your Divorce, take it in turns to pick out properties from your jointly-owned assets. The player with the top hat in front of them chooses first, then you take it in turns until all properties are gone. Add the properties you’ve taken to the cards laid out in front of you.
Now take it in turns (again, starting with the holder of the top hat) to choose a property that the other player holds that you want to sue for. You can choose any of their visibly-held properties (not the secret ones tucked under the board – you still haven’t seen them). You each need to choose two properties to sue for. (Any uncontested properties remain yours.)
Lay out the contested properties on the board. Now, going through the properties (in the order they were chosen to be sued for), secretly decide how much you want to pay your lawyer to fight the contest. Put that much money in your hand (still secretly!), and then on the count of three, you and your opponent both reveal how much you’ve chosen to pay. You don’t get this money back – it’s gone for good.
Whoever paid their lawyer the most, gets to keep the property. If it’s a tie, the property gets caught up in the legal system and nobody gets it. Money serves no purpose other than paying lawyers, so you should intend to use yours all up during the divorce.
Reveal your secret properties and add them to the rest of your cards. Now count up your properties – you get one point for each property you own, or two points if they’re part of a complete set (all the properties of a colour, or all the railways). The player with the most points wins.