Tuesday Debate: Which Monopoly Piece is the Best?

By Jake and Ingrid

Out of all of the Parker Brothers' classic board games, not one even touches the controversial nature of Monopoly, the game of economic domination. One aspect of Monopoly is luck, which is exemplified by the roll of the dice and the draw of the cards. Another aspect is strategy, which comes into play from the very moment you begin by choosing the correct piece to travel the board. Does the car tend to win more than the thimble? Can the dog outshine the wheelbarrow? Is the top hat stronger than the battleship? Does the boot stand a chance against the cannon? Hopefully this debate can answer some of these questions.

Jake: While Monopoly tends to be one of the board games that I have the hardest time finishing, it does remain one of my favorite (if not my favorite) economy based strategic games. The longest part of the game, when I play, tends to be picking out the perfect piece. There are many ways to look at the different pieces and their ability to travel the board. The car, logically, could zip around the board like a real life car, but the turns are sharp and it could veer off the board and cause a fiery wreck. Then you'd be disqualified from game play. The boot, on the other hand, can lackadaisically stroll around the board without a care in the world, except for landing on a space with a hotel. There are few negatives about the boot, but it might be harder to roll a double six since you would get tired walking 12 spaces, let alone a second roll of the dice. The battleship doesn't work because there's no water in Monopoly. The dog might get confused because dogs don't know how to count. So between the thimble, wheelbarrow and top hat, the piece I always choose is the thimble. You can put the thimble on your thumb, which protects you from any stray needles which have landed on the board, and easily and safely push it around the board. If the debtors come calling, you need not worried because your thumb is encased in metal. If you need a drink of water, you can pour some water into it and take a drink. The thimble is clearly the best piece to choose in Monopoly.

Ingrid: What? The THIMBLE?! That really surprises me, Jake. I thought you were a man of taste. The thimble is undeniably the dumbest piece in Monopoly – or, indeed, in any game. When I was little, my sister and I were the only kids who hated summer vacation. We didn’t have television. We didn’t have air conditioning. We didn’t have deodorant with aluminum in it. The only toys we had were a stick from the yard and a tattered old version of Monopoly. When she wasn’t hitting me with the stick (one of the only games you can play with a stick), we were sprawled out on the living room floor, playing Monopoly. Like Jake, my sister and I took the choosing of Monopoly pieces very seriously. For many years, we fought over the car. The fights never ended in my favor, because she was bigger and meaner than me and usually had possession of the stick. Sometimes she would sit on my head and fart. Anyway, that is in the past, and I am no longer angry. To get to the point: I finally realized that the car wasn’t the best piece anyway. Who wants a car? They only pollute and make it easier to get from place to place. The best Monopoly piece, in my humble but always correct opinion, is the dog. Dogs are cute! Dogs are environmentally friendly (well, that's debatable)! When you are a dog, you can slip through the bars of jail and dart past GO, collecting the $200 in your cute little doggie mouth. Unlike thimbles, dogs have a brain and are man's best friend. Plus, the Monopoly thimble is just small enough that you can't even actually fit it on your thumb like a real thimble. You will get it stuck if you try, and then your mom will have to put soap on it and pull on it while your thumb turns purple and your sister hits you with a stick. In the eternal words of the cat from Milo and Otis: Dogs rule and thimbles drool!

Jake: All stick talk aside, the dog is obviously not the best piece. As I already stated, dogs can't even count. How are you supposed to travel around the board with a non-counting dog? Are you going to put a leash on it and pull it the correct number of spaces? How is the dog supposed to read if you land on a Community Chest or Chance space? How will the dog know if Uncle Moneybags is going to declare it the winner of a beauty contest (as if that's going to happen!)? It won't, and you will be out $150. The thimble is classically sleek. It moves easier and with more control than any of the other pieces, because, like you said, it is very small. A wheelbarrow tips over constantly, which is probably the second most controllable piece (perhaps the top hat, although it will blow away if a strong gust of wind hits it right). The dog? The dog will poop everywhere, leaving you to try and curb it while it haphazardly meanders around the board, disregarding the numbers on the dice. Dogs have brains, but what good is a brain if you can't read? It's not good at all. Illiterate people have garbage brains, and dogs are naturally illiterate. Ingrid, much like when she was younger, is letting sticks dictate her life. If a stick told her to jump off of a bridge, I would reckon that she would. I have never listened to a stick and I never will. If a stick told me to jump off a bridge I would break it in half. If Ingrid's sister farted on my head I would just vomit. Dog? Ha!

Ingrid: Sorry, Jake is right! He wins! Because what he seems to be basing his argument on here is the fact that dogs can't count, and I completely forgot that thimbles are avid counters! If we are going to pretend like these pieces are playing the games themselves, and ignore the fact that we are moving them and doing all the necessary counting with our own human brains, then the dog would still win. If you set a dog and a thimble at a starting line and told them to sprint towards the finish, who would be more likely to win? Sure, a dog might ramble and get distracted by food, passing cars, or pretty lady-dogs, but a thimble would just sit there dumbly, unto eternity. It would probably rust, too. The only chance that a thimble would have at winning is if a sudden gust of wind happened to materialize and roll the thimble on its side. Also, a thimble represents years of oppression. Do you think it's FUNNY that women over the years have been forced by society to sit by the drawing room window with their thumbs jammed into a little sweaty piece of metal, Jake? And all to make you men your Civil War-era britches?! You think that's funny? I certainly don't, so I'm going with the dog, who only symbolizes freedom and simple, unadulterated joy.

Jake: I am allergic to dogs. If you are trying to force your dog-loving ways onto me, then I think you are the real oppressor here. I wasn't alive during the Civil War, and to me a thimble symbolizes a thumb that is not bleeding profusely. Monopoly is not a race, it is a tactical game of choosing the right piece at the beginning of the game. The dog is not the worst piece to choose, but it most assuredly is not the best. If you are faulting me for using my imagination when choosing the perfect piece, then go ahead, fault away. Place me on a faultline, if you must. I could see your side if you were arguing for the boot, but the dog? I just can't see eye-to-eye with you on this. To me, a dog lacks the true qualities of an economical winner. A thimble is the symbol of intense hard work, which results in a blistering, puss spewing thumb if not used. A thimble represents labor, sewing and the resulting selling of items for monetary profit. A dog hasn't sold a thing in its life. Even Snoopy, of the Peanuts comic strip, never sold anything. Snoopy is the all-time smartest dog, and even he isn't smart enough to become and entreprenuer. The thimble is where it's at: end of story.

Ingrid: Snoopy might not be rich, but I'll tell you who is: Trouble, the richest dog in the world. Leona Helmley, real estate mogul, left Trouble 12 million dollars. Can you name the richest thimble in the world? When I Google searched "rich thimble" the only thing that came up was a man named Richard Thimble, who has a profile on LinkedIn. He is an IT manager at the dubiously titled Moldflow Corporation. He probably makes $30-40,000 a year, tops. But listen: this is not about materialism, or about how dogs are better with money than thimbles or Richard Thimble. What this debate has come down to is what dogs and thimbles symbolically mean to us as Americans. Yes, a thimble represents hard labor, but it represent the hard labor of the oppressed -- of those not protected by unions. It represents the sweatshop workers of the world. And while it may be true that a sweatshop worker with protected thumbs is better than a sweatshop worker with bloody thumbs, I maintain that the dog is the quintessential representation of all that is good about America. If Monopoly had an apple pie as a game piece, I would have a hard time choosing between the dog or the pie, because for some reason apple pie also symbolizes the American Dream. How sugary apples in syrup baked between layers of fattening dough came to represent the American Dream I do not know, but I do know that all you have to do is gaze into a dog's eyes and it is all there: peace, love, loyalty, equality, Martin Luther King, women's lib, the morning after pill, the cure for cancer. Anyone who argues against the dog is fundamentally arguing against these things. I rest my case.


  1. ummm, this is a joke, right? what kind of pussies are you? the best piece is CLEARLY the howitzer, or AT LEAST the battleship. they can really fuck shit up. or if you're playing the newer edition, the sack of money. because, although it's hard a choice, money > weapons.

    jk! i don't think you are "pussies!" nice deb8.

  2. This was a great debate. Truly I have been rendered obsolete, like so many Monopoly shoes.

  3. i would end a friendship with someone if they picked the shoe.

  4. although i emerged as the clear winner in this debate, i applaud you for trying, jake.

    this debate with jake has rendered you obsolete, glenn -- both as a debater and a bf. what is there left for you to do??

  5. My brother and I constantly fought over the battleship because it was the "manliest" piece.

    The guy on the horse was good as well. Why wasn't he mentioned in this debate? Considering the criteria set forth, the man on the horse is the clear choice. He can count AND go quickly around the board. Plus he could be conceived as either a bank robber or the Lone Ranger. Either way you're going to be filthy rich from robbing banks or collecting bounty money. Also, I would name the horse Mine That Bird. Debate over.

  6. We only discussed the classic Monopoly pieces and that one wasn't one, I guess. I did my research. There are a ton of new wave Monopoly games out there with various pieces. We could have debated whether Bart Simpson is better than an Atlanta Falcons helmet.

  7. It's the horse and rider statue. I thought everyone knew that. Honestly.