Marketing | Environment | Culture

Be a Winner at the Game of Life

One of the game our family plays at home is one you might remember: “Life.”

I played it as a kid and fondly recall this 80’s jingle, imploring you to “be a winner at the game of Life:”

Life has since been updated.  We’ve got a 2007 edition with updated scenarios (“Buy an SUV!  Pay $40,000” or “Win a TV Singing Contest!  Collect $100,000”), as well as more current jobs, costs, salaries, graphics, and more.  The awesome, spinning wheel in the center of the board and charming, plastic buildings and mountains remain.

The Game of Life

Our 6-year-old loves the game, serves as banker, and frequently wins.  The question: is he learning the right Life lessons!?

At the outset, you decide if you want to borrow $100,000 to attend college, increasing the likelihood you land a higher paying job, or if you want to head straight into the working world debt-free.  Marriage, homebuying, children, and grandchildren arrive in sequence.  Various opportunities and pitfalls await.  You earn valuable “Life” chips when you vote, learn sign language, visit a foreign country, or similar.

Basic takeaways: go to school, get a decent job, earn a respectable wage, expect some bumps along the road … basic, traditional, and straighforward.

Owen’s takeaway: Spin to Win!

Interestingly, in earlier editions of the game, this “Spin to Win” portion of the game was positioned as “playing the stock market.”  Now – it’s transparently a straight-up gamble – a 1 in 10 chance that pays back 10x over.  You’re in a much better position – 4 in 10 chance – if you’ve got a special card that allows you to place your bet on 4 numbers instead of just 1.

The Game of Life - Spin to Win

Example: someone lands on a Spin to Win space.  You opt to participate.  You put $100,000 on “2.”  The spin stops at “2” – you get $1,000,000.

Owen recently won a game with more than $9,000,000!  There isn’t enough cash in the bank to cover that, nor are there enough high-end properties (Mansion, Penthouse, Luxury Mountain Retreat) to hold that value.

A year ago, when we first started playing, a winning score was more like $1,725,000.  However, it has since become obvious to our child that putting it all out there at every opportunity is the recipe for success.

At this point, each of us has no chance of winning the game of “Life” without taking an aggressive approach to “Spin to Win.”  This new practice is dictated by the play of our child.

If you want to “be a winner at the game of Life,” you have to gamble big and gamble often.

Do you think that’s a good lesson?


  1. Megan Beute

    Love it, thanks for sharing!

  2. Seth Miller

    Techically, it takes money to get money. So really he is learning the correct way to “win” in the American culture.

    However, what he is missing in the actual game is something that I assume you and your wife do a good job of teaching, which is the teaching of love and respect for his fellow man and woman.

    So really, are there any good games out there that involve sunshine, rainbows, unicorns, and love? No.

    This game has been around since 1860 (yes, 1860, I was surprised too), so him learning how to win it probably isn’t going to screw him up. There are far worse things in this world that will screw him up as he passes through it. So hopefully he will have the common sense to know when to “Spin It To Win It,” or know when to “Fold ’em,” when danger is around.

    I’m tired and I’m babbling. Adios.

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