People Who Get Really Angry Playing Monopoly Are ‘Control Freaks’ Says Expert


Monopoly, which turns 83 years old today, has a way of bringing out the worst in a lot of us, much like the capitalist model it represents.

Most of us manage to internalise the woes of class hierarchy playing out before our eyes, acting as our own Marxist safety valve, however some people can’t.

Suddenly you see the greedy rage in their eyes. It’s no longer a game. It’s more than that.

Now you probably avoid playing Monopoly with that person, or maybe you are that person. Either way, this behaviour is a worrying indicator that a person is a control freak.

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Steve McKeown, Psychoanalyst, founder of MindFixers and owner of The McKeown Clinic, told UNILAD:

According to the self determination theory, in any decent game, the creators have to instinctively find important principles of motivation and manage to find a way to apply them within the game.

These simple concepts derive from three areas of common psychological need; autonomy, the need to be in control of one’s own behaviour or choices; relatedness, the need to connect with others and identify with a group; and competence, the desire to control or influence the outcomes of the game.

You will find that those who get angry or frustrated during a game of monopoly or any board game ultimately have a need to be in control and seem to forget ‘relatedness’, connecting within the group.


For me, it was an old housemate we called Milky (a long story to do with milk and wee). We tried to remind him ‘it’s only a game’, but that only fanned the flames of his capitalist hunger to win.

The ‘control freak’ ruins enjoyment of the fun family game, no one wins and everyone goes back to their own rooms for a cooling off period.

A control freak is a person who feels an obsessive need to exercise control over themselves and others and to take command of any situation.

Taking a light-hearted game like Monopoly this seriously and feeling the need to; be the banker, hand out the property cards, count their own and your money, remind you when someone lands on your property, read out every Chance or Community Chest, and shouts ‘no you don’t get £200’ because of some specific rule they’ve pulled from the full rule book, is highly indicative of broader controlling issues.

Steve continued:

Their need to win is greater. When this basic need of control is compromised either by losing, rules not being fully complied with, or some other distraction, maybe another player isn’t taking the game seriously enough in which case this would infuriate them because of their overwhelming need to control or influence the outcome.

These people cannot differentiate between enjoying a game and winning it. It’s serious! It’s simply ‘outcome motivated’ when it comes to playing any game, and when they don’t get what they desire, they get very upset or angry.

They blame others, or chance, for their demise and loss of game, and cannot focus on the actual enjoyment of playing the game.

It’s all about the winning and motivated towards the outcome.

On the other hand there’s always that one player who cheats. Often the ‘control freak’ and the cheater come head to head and end up in some sort of physical fight.

Monopoly is so rife with cheaters a new version of the board game was designed specifically for these swindlers.

Jonathan Berkowitz, senior vice president of Hasbro, told INSIDER:

A recent study conducted by Hasbro revealed nearly half of game players attempt to cheat during Monopoly games, so in 2018, we decided it was time to give fans what they’ve been craving all along – a Monopoly game that actually encourages cheating.

So how do you play the cheaters’ version? Well, the object of the game is to still be the player with the most money at the end of the game.


In this edition, players get away with cheating as many times as they can during game play – sounds reasonable.

It means players can skip extra spaces after rolling the dice to avoid squares they don’t want to land on, they can actively try to avoid paying rent and slip a few extra bills from the bank when no one’s looking.

It’s great to see Hasbro with so much self-awareness that they’re playing cheaters at their own game.