I came to this moment of realization today....of fitting life in Germany for a non-German into a Monopoly-style game.
So, after a fair amount of pondering.....I came to these observations if I were to design it as a table game.
First, there'd have to be approximately 19,500 rules to the game. Some would be written down....some would be unwritten and simply explained at inappropriate times by a German himself. Some rules would date back to 238 AD and Roman times. Some would date back to 1619 and the Thirty Years War. Some would date back to the Nazi era. And some would date back to 1978 and some freaked out Bundestag bureaucratic era.
Second, there would be twelve different dice rolled, and each of the potential dice would have six different settings, tied to six different landscapes, tied to six different religious or cultural settings, tied to six different economic failures or successes, tied to six different tax interpretations, tied to six different perverse sexual settings, tied to six different degrees of German creativeness. The move after the twelve dice rolled and results displayed....would require nine minutes of thinking over the dozen dice rules and how you could screw up on just one single bad dice display.
Third, there'd be no winner or loser. You could play for fourteen hours straight, and eventually come to realize that the most you could get at the end is 750 Euro a month on a pension, and end up living in some old folks home run by Russian mobsters.
Fourth, the bonus card series during the game offers six potential bonus cards: (1) a five-star cheesecake with gourmet coffee, (2) six minutes of sitting in a train cabin with neo-Nazi skinhead, (3) an entry into a fest tent in Munich where an urgent visit to the bathroom reveals mostly throw-up and urine over the floor of the toilet, (4) a chance to sit for an hour with four intellectuals explaining why you are so stupid, (5) a chance to be the first person to fly out of BER (the Berlin airport that is forever under renovation and further work before allowing a flight to occur), or (6) a chance to sit for two hours in a traffic stau between Frankfurt and Koln in the midst of July's heat period.
Fifth, a potential punishment phase often arriving on the board with three key phases of German life often being the reward: (1) riding on a German modern train in the summer with a failing AC unit and sitting there in 99-F temperatures while you sweat in comfort, (2) listening to an hour of political chat on pension reform by nine different German political figures, and (3) paying a 17.50 Euro monthly fee for TV options via state-run TV which just make you laugh and cry at the same time.
Sixth, the symbology for the game pieces? All ultra-highend cars like BMW, Audi, Porsche or Mercedes. There's a diesel VW game piece, but whoever gets it....usually loses in the end, one way or another.
Seventh, about every eighth move, you'd land on some German cop or German tax-man position. It'll be a roadblock, a alcohol-stop, a customs audit of your car's contents, or a review of your speed. Ninety percent of the time.....you survive with no problem.
Eighth, while in the process of playing the game, you notice several non-Germans have entered the room and appear to be in some state of playing the game....when they slip in and out of the room, and seem to be in some stage of pretending to play the game. To be honest, they don't care for the 9,500 rules, the lack of substance for winning, or the continued necessity to always play the game (day in and day out).
Ninth, you notice after a while that environmentalists seem to write most of the rules.
Tenth, for some reason, you always play the game better when consuming German beer....in abundance.
Eleventh, you notice after a while.....it seems more fulfilling playing this game.....after eating a full and complete German dinner of schnitzel and pan-fried potatoes.
Twelfth, after you've played the game for a while, you learn never to utter Hitler or Nazis while with other game players.
Thirteenth, you learn after a while that while playing the game....it's best to always carry change with you because there are no such things as a free-toilet and Germans freak out if you urinate against a tree or the side of a building.
Fourteenth, Players of the game seem to be urged to freak out when the words "Trump", "capitalism", "EU", "free trade", "Islam", "nuclear power", "republic", "Greece" or "diesel" are uttered.
Fifteenth. after a couple of rounds of play....you eventually learn that it's best never to win any money because it'd just be taxed out of existence.
Sixteenth. Integration gets uttered often during the game....to the point that you start to notice that some emigrants seem to know more about German history and law, than native Germans themselves. You'd like to discuss this with a German but eventually learn that during this particular game....such discussions are frowned upon and discouraged.
Seventeenth. As part of the game strategy....you continually need to spend all the money in the big public pot of money....even if it's for one-star marginalized art, 300-million Euro renovation project worth 50 million in value, or a fine traffic circle that leads only back to the original road you started from. You ask about transparency rules or suggest audit threats to correct bad spending behavior in the game, but discover that the rule-makers really hate making those kind of rules.
The game is typically played by eighty-one million players, and some will admit after a while, it's very entertaining.....at least in their mind. A handful of folks will admit in public that they'd like to expand the 19,500 rules to 66,000 rules....smiling as they say that.