Product Type: Hasbro board games
Newest Review: ... yellow, green and blue. These along with the four cars are made from plastic. Whenever I play this I always end up with a red or green car... more
All the fun of the monopoly fair
Member Name: MelissaRuth
Advantages: Quick to play. Fun. Well designed for children's attention span and developmental levels.
Rather than the typical London street set up of traditional Monopoly the children's version has been cleverly developed to take children to a destination that they will enjoy and be able to relate to, the funfair. We've had our game for 15 years and so the fairground attractions that appear on each square are quite traditional ones, such as Merry Go Round, Candy Floss and Haunted house - whether these have been update to include more theme park type rides in the newer version however, I'm not sure. The boxes still have the same picture on, children on a roller coaster, after all these years though so suspect not. My children always liked this theme and never really made the transition across to the adult game.
The board is smaller than that of the main game, being a rectangle that folds in half to fit in the square box. The board measures 20 x 10" and the box is 1.5 x 10.5 x 2" and has never been a problem to stack away in the toy cupboard. The layout is much the same as you will be used to, with the same pale green background. In the four corners are some familiar sites - the 'Go' square from where all players start the game and where £2 of pocket money will be collected each time a player passes. The cafe replaces the jail (no need to miss a turn though) and in the opposite corner you have to pay £3 to take the bus to the cafe. The fourth corner, opposite go is my favourite. It's called 'Uncle Pennybags Loose Change'. Money is paid into here at various points in the game, rather than into the bank, such as when taking the bus to the cafe, or when you have to pay to see the fireworks or watershow (utility squares on monopoly). If you land on it you win everything in there - always the high point of the game and the square that on every circuit you're really hoping that you can land on.
The railways are still there - red, green, yellow and blue lines and you get an extra turn if you land on these - I can't remember if it's the same in monopoly - it's so long since I played the real game. Chance cards crop up with great frequency: six times in all, but there is no community chest. Children get bored easily so the chance cards help to give variety and hold children's attention. They are also good because many of them entitle the player to a free ticket booth and help to speed the game along. The ticket booths take up all of the squares that streets would normally do and have the same colour coding, so the ultra expensive dark blue Mayfair and Park Lane, become Loop the Loop and Roller Coaster, which would also probably the most expensive rides. A further difference however is that where there would be three of some street colours there are just two of each colour coded ride and this helps to keep the board smaller and hence each circuit is faster and pocket money is earned much quicker. Again this is great for holding a child's attention.
Ultimately the objective is the same - to have the most amount of money when one player runs out of all of their cash. The game includes five different denominations of paper money, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 pounds and the box has segments where the banker can neatly store all of these. By making the bank notes small figures it is easier for a child to understand and manage the simple arithmetic involved in managing their pocket money and purchasing their ticket booths. It is also far more realistic to quantities of money that they would be used to dealing with, although obviously the use of coins would making it even more realistic, but it is a game and can't be totally educational. It always seems strange to me though that the players are buying the whole ticket booth to run and not just a ride on it with these small amounts of money.
Players travel around the board in chunky, durable plastic cars. When they land on a ticket booth and decide to buy it they pay the money shown on the board to the bank and then place a plastic ticket booth (just like houses) of their own colour onto it. There are no cards for each property and no further hotels and houses to place on the square. There is just a flat rate to pay, of the amount shown on the board or double if both the ticket booths of that colour are owned by the same player. This makes it far more straightforward and manageable for small children to play. As mentioned previously some of the chance cards entitle the player to a free ticket booth. If this has not already been brought, a player adds their colour plastic booth. If they are already brought by different players then it's fun as you can push the other player off and steal the square - fine as long as your children aren't prone to temper tantrums. If you have brought both however then they are safe and cannot be stolen, so it's always a good idea to buy both. Play continues as you'd expect with players working their way repeatedly around the board landing on each other's squares and paying money backwards and forwards until one unlucky person has spent all of their pocket money. The others then add up to find out who is the richest and the winner.
This game in now produced by Hasbro, but you may find older versions with Waddingtons as the manufacturer. Amazon are selling this for £20 which seems a very high price for a low tech game with no complex parts, especially when regular monopoly is only £12, which would seem a much more reasonable price to pay.
I would definitely recommend this as it has been very cleverly designed to closely resemble Monopoly and to enable children to feel that they are playing a game that they may have seen adults play. It manages to take all of the complex and long winded parts of Monopoly and simplify them. The board layout and the way that money changes hands more rapidly mean that a game can easily be over in half an hour to an hour which is definitely preferable to two or three hours that a normal game can sometimes drag on before we give up and set a time limit rather than waiting for someone to run out of money. My children are now teenagers and it is not a game that they would choose to play any more and my youngest did recently put it on the pile for selling on. I retrieved it because I think it will still have uses for us in the future and I'm sure they will be glad of it to play with their own children in years to come, rather than spending hours trekking through the long version. It is manageable for most five year olds and suitable until about ten, and then again for adults who prefer a shortened version. It can be played with just two players but will be much more fun with four which is the maximum as there are four cars and sets of houses.
This review also appears on Ciao under my same user name, MelissaRuth.
Summary: A clever introduction to Monopoly in a simplified form, where children buy ticket booths at a fair.