Monopoly maniacs help Niles preschool raise field trip funds

Tribune Chronicle/Andy Gray Jade, left, and Kyle Pascarella of Girard were bankrupt by David Rogers of Niles in an early round of a Monopoly tournament Saturday at McMenamy's Banquet Center. The tournament was held to raise money for field trips for Niles City Schools' preschool program.

NILES — The parents of the Niles City Schools preschool program decided to take a Chance, hoping to tap into the Community Chest with a Monopoly tournament Saturday at McMenamy’s Banquet Center.

Amanda Rogers, one of the parent organizers, said proceeds from the event would be used to fund field trips for the 160 students in preschool.

“It’s the opinion of the parents that children learn better by doing,” Rogers said.

Players were few, but trash talk was plentiful late Saturday morning.

“I came out to support (the fundraiser) and kick these guys’ butts,” Carol Budanka of New Wilmington, Pa., said.

Kyle Pascarella of Girard said his favorite thing about playing Monopoly is “pretending to have money,” but Pascarella and his wife, Jade, essentially went bankrupt on back-to-back rolls. A $1,000 hotel toll on New York Avenue wiped out Jade, forcing her to mortgage the homes on her properties.

“We’re all in such a hurry to put the houses up, then they disappear,” she said.

Kyle landed on Tennessee Avenue with his next turn, and the $950 penalty left him with only a few dollars. A ride on the B&O Railroad ultimately bankrupted him.

David Rogers of Niles said the orange properties are considered the most lucrative on the board. Because of their location, a single dice roll after the jail and other factors, the probability of landing on those properties is greater.

At another board, Joe DeSantis of Warren was learning firsthand how often a player could end up in jail. His sports car game piece made three trips to jail during the hourlong game. Elizabeth Kasiewicz of Girard, the wife of one of the other players, asked DeSantis, “Are you sure that car isn’t stolen?”

DeSantis’ loss was Tom Kasiewicz’s gain. He landed on the Free Parking spot, collecting the pot of more than $700, at least $500 of which was put in by DeSantis. He went from being the poorest player to the richest player at the board on a single roll.

That unpredictability is one of the things Kasiewicz enjoys about Monopoly.

“You can play this game a thousand times, and it’s a different outcome every time,” he said.

The original plan was to play a timed game where the person with the most cash and property at the end of the hour wins. Timed games require a different strategy than the traditional rules, where plays lasts as long as it takes to bankrupt the other players.

“There’s a lot more trading,” DeSantis said. “It definitely makes it more fast-paced.”

“You try to buy everything as soon as you can,” Jade Pascarella said.

However, since the players were having such a good time, they decided to keep playing until at least one player at each board was bankrupt.

David Rogers was the last player standing — OK, sitting — at his board.

“I like feeling like I’m rich,” he said.