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T'was a rainy half-term day and as we sought something else in Argos, I spotted this game on offer for £14.99. I'd been dreaming of an afternoon playing board-games with the family and couldn't resist buying it. We already had a Monopoly set, but it's a second-hand set and missing some cards & the dog. Monopoly's not monopoly without the dog...
The children were really excited, so as soon as we got home, it was out of the packaging. There's an extensive instruction leaflet provided so we pored over this a while, before just deciding to go ahead and play, consulting it as necessary.
Monopoly is the "fast dealing property trading game" where players try to accumulate properties & wealth while bankrupting their opponents. The idea is to raise the value of your properties by building on them and when your unlucky rival lands on one of your squares, charge them enormous amounts of rent for the privilege. It's a game well-known for going on for hours and can get very competitive!
Monopoly City is a re-working of the traditional game, with modern buildings like skyscrapers and factories. It's for 2-6 players, for ages 8 and over. My son plays it with us very happily, although he's six. He couldn't play without some prompting and assistance with the strategy and money aspects, but playing this board-game is very much family time, so it's no problem.
*** What's in the box? ***
# 1 x Game board
# 1 x Trading unit
# 6 x Movers
# 22 x Title Deed Cards
# 25 x Chance Cards
# 6 Reminder Cards
# 1 Rent Dodge Card
# 80 Buildings
# 1 x Money pack
# 2 x Dice
*** What's different? ***
The board looks pretty much the same at first glance, but folds twice into a square instead of once into a half.
The Strand, Mayfair et al of the traditional UK version are replaced by less recognisable names. I'm not sure whether places such as 'Fortune Valley' and 'Harbour Heights' are US places or whether the makers have gone for a more universal approach since Riverside and The Wharf seem as though they could appear in any country.
The middle of the board which once was fairly blank with spaces for the 'Chance' and 'Community Chest' cards, is now used for building. Each property space has a number and a building zone with that number is located nearby in the middle of the board. This is where the skyscrapers and other buildings are placed as you develop your property empire.
'Go', 'Jail', 'Free Parking' and 'Go To Jail' are the same, but 'Community Chest' has gone and so have the train-stations and the Utilities. In their place are 'auction' squares, (where if you land on it you can pick an unowned property to put up for auction) and 'planning permission' squares, (where you can build something good for yourself, such as a park, or something bad for a rival, such as a rubbish dump).
'Chance' remains, but the cards have new instructions, where you might have to put up one of your properties for auction or build something, as well as 'advance to go' or 'get out of jail' cards.
The money has also been updated, with million notes and 100K notes more in line with current financial realities.
Another of the new things is the "electronic trading unit", (which looks a bit like a retractable tape-measure). It requires 2 AAA batteries. This is used in three ways:
~ 1. to remind you how long you've been playing, so you can play a timed game instead of playing to the bitter (or sweet triumphant) end,
~ 2. to time an auction of a property
~ 3. to decide how many blocks you can build on a turn.
The timed auctions of properties I'm not so keen on, possibly because I'm really bad at it! You press the middle button on the trading unit and it flashes for a random time while everyone shouts excited prices for the auctioned property, up until the lights go out and it tweets a final time. Last highest price gets the property. (Never mine, wah!)
Building in Monopoly City can be done almost straight-away. In traditional Monopoly, you had to acquire all the properties in a colour set before you could build, which could take a long time - several journeys around the board and often being thwarted by your competitors buying up land cards you wanted. Here, as soon as you own a property you can start building on the attached building zones. This is really good for the children, as they always wanted to get going with houses and hotels as soon as possible. The variety of new buildings is nice, with 1, 2 or 3 block versions. Your reward for acquiring all properties in a set is now the possibility of building a skyscraper or even the Monopoly tower.
To build, you press the 'build' side-button on the trading unit and it randomly selects how many blocks you can build. Then you choose whether to go for industrial, which is more expensive but can't be affected by someone building a hazard on your area, or residential. Sometimes instead of a number, it comes up with station, and you can place these anywhere around the board to flit between, hopefully avoiding dangerous areas or getting back to 'Go' quicker. This is really handy!
As with the old game, if you knock the board all the buildings go flying and it's frustrating to work out where they came from. It's worse with Monopoly City because of the building areas being slightly disconnected from the property squares and all close together. I do find the building zones a bit hard to keep track of because they're irregular shapes and not necessarily right by the property square they belong to. It really needs to be played on a good-sized table or on the floor to avoid this toppling problem, which for us either means the kitchen table or living room floor, both of which have their inconveniences for us. Not least the Godzilla-like attack of the 50ft cat.
*** How good is it? ***
I prefer Monopoly City to traditional Monopoly because it has these new twists and it's quicker to get into building. We like the way you can sabotage your opponents by building hazards on their zones or you can protect your residential zones by building parks, and we like the new 'Chance' and 'Rent Dodge' cards. It's a fun take on the traditional game that keeps to the basic principles while adding a bit of speed and excitement. I feel it takes all the best bits of Monopoly and freshens it up.
The 'Reminder' cards are just to remind you of everything you can do during a turn, which especially when you're starting out playing this version, is very useful indeed.
I do find that the game timer function of the trading unit is a bit tiresome as we are not players who want to play for a set length of time, but will play on until doomsday, possibly. It beeps every so often after an hour and so we reset it, and all too soon it starts being pesky again. I guess that's testament to how much we enjoy the game.
Although the game has 80 buildings, which sounds like quite a lot, these include the numerous parks/stations/hazards, so the amount of revenue-raising buildings doesn't seem enough for a very lengthy game. I've looked at the possibility of buying spare ones, but the Hasbro site only seems to sell replacement pieces in the US and Canada. They possibly would send over extras, but I haven't contacted them to find out yet.
I think it's a good game to play with children for helping develop concentration spans, strategic thinking and maths skills, as well as being a bit of fun.
You can buy the game online from Amazon for £20.99 at the moment, although it's always worth looking around for cheaper prices.
*** But what about that dog? ***
Yes, it's there! The terrier - but in a carrier. And all is right with the world.
I got this for Christmas for my 8 yr son in the hope I could get him away from computer games and thankfully it worked. Monopoly city has brought together a touch of electronics but with still the play of the original game, it has modernised the player icons and you can now buy skyscrapers, stadiums and you make millions not hundreds and you get an electronic centre piece which you press when you want to build, the game play is very similar, pass go collect 2m, go to jail etc but the game play is not as long winded, you can use the timer on the electronic piece to set a playing time, it beeps every 15 minutes to let you check on time play. You get chance cards but not community chest,the centre button decides how you play, you press it tells you if you can build 1,2 or 3 houses, buy a station or you can bid on a unowned piece of land, the bidding is my least favourite part of the game, you can also get extras like sewage works, prison and rubbish dump which you can place on a other players land, this takes value from their property but you can counteract this by placing nice things like a park, school to protect your income on your land.
The money is the same quality but the skyscrapers and waterworks are not as good as the old monopoly, very plastic and quite naff to be honest.
Still a fab family game and it has got my son into board games, just the quality that has let it down a bit
I used to love sitting down and playing the original Monopoly with friends or family years ago. It was and still remains probably one of my favourite board games of all time. I know alot of people that enjoyed it too and others that thought it was too long. But make no mistake, it was popular in it's day.
A year or so ago now someone bought me this version which is the City 3-D version. It is definately different from the original but rather than that being a bad thing I think it injects new life into the game. You can purchase for around £25 now if you want to own this version.
There are a few similarities though in regards to the board and the playing pieces that we all knew and loved like the car and hat and dog for example. There is still a Go square and Chance and Go to Jail squares and the customary money we associate with the game.
So in the original game of Monopoly players used to take it in turns to throw dice and move around the board with their character. You would hope to avoid jail and also buy as many properties as you could and build houses and hotels on there to earn money from others that land on your square. Each property was on a famous street in London from Old Kent Road up to Mayfair and they increased in value as you went round. The aim was to win by making everyone else bankrupt, effectively.
The idea of this new game is exactly the same in that you have to become the richest player to win. One of the differences with this version is that you replace the houses and hotels with different types of property and buildings such as skyscrapers, stations, stadiums etc. I think at least with the addition of new types of buildings this makes things more interesting and varied with more choices available to the player.
Instead of the streets in the original version, in this city one you have seven districts that are varying colours. Each district is assigned a number and value.
Instead of community chests this time there are six chance areas and four planning permission sites on which is shown which type of building can be built. There are also sewage works which if placed on a plot of land devalues it, and then water towers which protect the property from being devalued.
There are two auction sites where you can choose an un-owned district to be auctioned. Also, in addition there are Industrial sites where you have to pay millions if you own an industrial building.
I think all the changes that have been made have enhanced an already popular game and if you get a chance you should get this version.
What a game! Monopoly is the ultimate family board game and after recieving this I didn't think this would be as good as the original. However, my opinions soon changed as I didn't know it was electronic, whicih caught my eye as it is a big change from the traditional game.
I found it very interesting with all the parts it involves as their looked like there was too many. I found that through playing the buildings occasionally fell down so it makes it much more frustrating to play the game. The basic rules are very hard to grasp as you keep having to refer back to the rules a lot, but once you get the hang of it, it is very fun.
The downside is is that it seems to last for a long time and the auctioning is un-organised and this is not a game for the younger children as it is a bit too complicated.
In years gone by before the advent of PCs and electronic games; families often, after Christmas dinner, gathered around their sitting room tables to play cards or board games, Monopoly being one of the most popular.
This was certainly true of our family's festive routine - once the Queen's speech was over - of course.
According to the Guinness Book of Records, Monopoly is the most played game in the world, played by over 500 million people, so there cannot be many who are not familiar with this game.
Interestingly and according to Wikipedia, in 1903, Elizabeth J.MAGI phillips created the game which she called 'Landlord's Game,' to help people understand Henry George's Single Tax Theory.
He philosophised that 'Everybody owns what they create,' but all things of nature, including land, belonged to all humanity and a tax on land would be a fair revenue to be shared by the whole.
Monopoly passed through several evolutions before emerging in the early 1970s as the game we all know and love.
Until recently I did not think it possible to improve on the already popular game of the 70s, but could not have been more wrong.
There was quite a shake up in the naming of streets on the board, some while ago when there was a scramble by cities and towns to have their street names replace the London locations, like Mayfair and Bond Street, resulting in several new boards being produced alongside the original one.
Then last year the City 3-D version, which I am reviewing today, hit the shops. This is certainly different from the original game, although the perimeter of the board looks familiar, in that there are district names instead of street names; there's a GO, GO TO JAIL, and CHANCE sites; Chance cards, metal movers, the need of a banker and of course Monopoly money - often referred to as funny money. There, the similarities end. Even the money value has changed - inflation perhaps?
Just to recap; in the conventional 70s game, players took it in turns to throw dice and move around the board, hoping to avoid going to jail or landing on owned properties, the aim was to buy land and then, little green coloured houses or red hotels to place on their land; rent could be collected from anyone landing on their property, money was collected each time Go was passed. Each street had its unique value. The higher the value, the more rent could be collected from unfortunates landing there. The winner was the richest person at the end of the game.
Monopoly City, produced by Hasbro, is a board game of chance, and strategy, encouraging entrepreneurial tactics, for two to six players from the age of eight upwards. The aim of the game is exactly the same - the richest player wins.
Although the methods of accruing wealth are similar, in that a player buys and builds on land, collects rent and avoids as much as possible the usual Monopoly pitfalls, like jail or having to pay rent. However, replacing the traditional hotels and houses are a plethora of different classes of buildings. Residential, industrial, skyscrapers, stations, stadiums, hazard and bonus buildings and what can be built, where and how to devalue another player's properties with a hazard building are the additional rules that make the 3-D City version of Monopoly different, far more interesting and perhaps, for the duration of the game, may tamper with a player's normal, impeccably scrupulous morals. For who, in real life, would deliberately devalue another persons property?
~~~~THE BOARD LAYOUT~~~~
Each corner of the board is the same as the conventional board, with GO, GO TO JAIL, FREE PARKING and JUST VISITING JAIL. Apart from these and the CHANCE areas there are however, three additions to the City board which replace the Community Chest positions of the traditional game.
The seven districts are set out in groups of colour, as were the towns on the conventional board, using the colours, yellow, red, orange, purple, light blue, brown and dark blue. Each district is assigned a number and value; so for example for the three districts in the yellow group: Districts 1: New Town and 2: Silver Harbour are valued at 2.6M Monopoly pounds, yet 3: Central City will cost 2.8M
Above each district, towards the centre of the board, are printed plots of land labelled 1,2 and 3, bordered by the same colour as the district to which they belong and on which properties can be built. There is though, an 8-block building limit per district.
The three new additions replacing the community chest sites are:
Dotted between the districts are six chance areas and four Planning Permission sites on which are printed what sort of building MUST be built. If a player lands on one of these blocks, he has to place one of the two stated buildings on any one of the plots of land of his choosing, with the exception of those occupied and protected by schools, stadiums, wind farms, water towers or parks. These are called bonus buildings for example, one of the must-builds is a choice of either a sewage works or a water tower.
To place a sewage works on a plot of land devalues any property already on that land. To place a water tower on a plot, protects the property from being devalued.
There are two auction sites; if a player lands on either of these he can choose an un-owned district to be auctioned. More about auctioning later.
If a player owns an industrial building and lands on one of the two Industrial Tax sites, he has to pay the banker 2M Monopoly pounds.
All the buildings are plastic, 3 dimensional models, the tallest being 10cm high. The types of buildings are listed below:
These grey coloured buildings are in single blocks, double blocks or triple blocks; the three block building is more expensive to purchase than the single block and thereby accrues more rent when someone lands on it. Each district has a card detailing the cost of the buildings and rents to be charged depending on the number and types of buildings on the plots.
These buildings are coloured light blue and are also in single, double or triple blocks. The industrial units are more expensive to buy than the the residential buildings and taxable if the owner lands on the Tax site. The rent accrued though is greater.
Skyscrapers can only be bought by a player owning ALL the districts in one colour group and will double all the rents of properties already on the land. This building does not count towards the 8-block limit.
~~~The Monopoly Tower~~~
If a player owns all the districts in two colour groups he can the buy the one and only Monopoly Tower in the game; it costs 7M pounds and will double the rentable value of every district the player owns, not just of the one colour district. The Tower does not count towards the 8-block limit either.
There are only two stadiums in the game, each costing 2M, these can only be bought when a player owns two districts of the same colour. Owning a stadium allows the player to collect and extra 1M pounds each time he passes GO. It does not however, increase the rent values of his properties. Nor does it count towards the 8-block limit.
The red coloured bonus buildings are Schools, Water Towers, Wind Farms, and Parks; they cannot be bought, but can be used when a player lands on a Planning Permission site, with a bonus build option. Each Planning Permission site has a 'Hazard' or 'Bonus build' option to choose from.
These buildings are Power Stations, Sewage Works, Prisons and Rubbish dumps and are appropriately coloured black.
They come into play when a player lands on one of the Planning Permission sites and can be used sometimes to prevent another person building on a plot they own, or to reduce the value of any residential of industrial buildings in situ.
They cannot be placed where bonus buildings already occupy a district in a coloured group.
These are little red trains, they are not positioned on lands, but on the edge of the board. If a player lands on an area where a station is positioned, he can jump to any other position on the board that has a station, thus perhaps avoiding a few rents and zipping past GO to collect money.
~~~~HOW TO BUY PROPERTIES and BUILD~~~~
Unlike the conventional game, when a player lands on a property, he can either buy it at the price on the card, or auction it, there is an electronic device, resembling a builder's tape measure, with an auction button on the top and a building button on the side. When the banker presses the auction button, a red light flashes and any player wishing to buy the district has to bid. The auction ends when the light goes out. The highest bidder at that point wins the district and pays the banker the bid value.
Each auction lasts up to 50seconds, the times do vary, making the auctioning outcome less predictable than one where timings were exactly the same, although the device flashes faster and bleeps when there's 5 seconds of auction time left.
Once a player has bought a district and wishes to purchase buildings to place on the land, the banker presses the 'Building Button' and a light circulates round the auction button where there are three numbers and a station icon. The number of buildings that can be purchased at that point is indicated by the number at which the light stops (1,2 or 3) If it stops on the 'Train' icon, then the player can position a station wherever he chooses, but cannot buy a property that time round.
If someone places a 'Hazard building' on another player's land, it can be removed by paying the banker 2M pounds,
Deals between players are allowed, and mortgages can be arranged but if a player owes more money than can be raised from their assets, the player is declared bankrupt and their game is over.
Because of the additional rules, each player is provided with a 'Reminder Card,' which gives a brief outline of the rules of the game plus the page number of the instruction booklet for more detailed information.
At the start of the game the banker gives every player 37 million and 7 hundred thousand Monopoly pounds and each time a player passe GO he collect his wages of 2 million pounds.
The game comes in a colourful cardboard box, complete with a comprehensive booklet of instructions, buildings, two die, A wad of Monopoly money, Chance cards, District cards, six metal movers, a Rent Dodge card, six reminder cards and the Auction device, called a Trading Unit, which requires two AAA batteries (not supplied)
A very useful addition, positioned inside the box, is a thin moulded plastic tray, with various sections for the banker to separate and stand all the bank notes and district cards. The buildings are kept in a separate area as is the Trading Unit.
I must admit that at first it was a little surreal wheeling and dealing in properties valued at millions of pounds and to start with, I felt guilt ridden when placing Hazard buildings on a loved one's plot of land - Yep - It's only a game, I know.
The note denominations are 5M, 1M, 200k, 100k, 50k and 10k, so initially, I had to keep reminding myself that 1M is equal to 1000k, but after a while it became second nature to think in multiples of thousands.
It is mainly a game of chance, but does give an insight into the realities of property development and management, in as much as life is not all plain sailing and much depends on a combination of luck, skill and of being in the right place at the right time.
It didn't take long to pick up the new rules of the game and lose any feelings of guilt. The game had a greater competitive feel to it when more than two people played. Each game can last well over an hour, but can be limited to an hour or less if required. It is always the wealthiest at the end who wins.
The one and only negative aspect, albeit a minor one, is that the board is folded into four, having three creases and a split. I wonder how many times it can be folded before the board deteriorates along its three crease lines.
November 2011: Well, so far one year on, the board has remained as good as new.
Monopoly City is an immensely enjoyable game by all generations.
Unfortunately there do not seem to be any websites explaining the game in great detail, but there is a short resume` of it in Wikipedia.
The official website is: www.hasbro.com/monopoly/
The City game can be bought at ASDA, on Amazon, at Argos, some Boots stores, Hamleys, John Lewis, Tesco, Toys R Us and WH Smiths. The prices vary. Tesco were selling them last year at an introductory price of £18, but now they are selling for just under £30 in WH Smiths. The prices will start to drop, I think when a new version hits the shops. I still prefer the original version, no matter how many new ones hit the shops.