Product Type: Hasbro board games
Newest Review: ... you have to have one. And don't get me started on the rip-offs that are Simpsons Monopoly, Manchester Monoploy, Australian Monopoly and... more
Playing The Long Game...
Member Name: cazkins
Date: 18/05/12, updated on 18/05/12 (56 review reads)
Advantages: Classic game, good quality, intelligent, original, involving, group game
Disadvantages: Can be very lengthy and a tad complicated
I remember getting a Monopoly board when I was around 12, getting confused right from the start but enjoying it none the less. It's not a quick, easy going game, but it's a classic that makes you think and compete with others, so it's one I'd recommend everyone should give a go at least once.
Monopoly dates back to the 1930s, produced by the huge toy brand Hasbro, and has grown since then to include various different takes on the traditional game. For instance, you can get electronic Monopoly, on your phone, the internet, board games with various film themes etc. I have the bog standard classic board at home, one that I know won't go out of 'fashion' any time soon.
The game is designed for people aged 8 and upwards, though I'd argue that those of a young age may struggle to fully grasp the rules and the workings of building up properties, mortgaging them etc. There's also a 'My First Monopoly' which is an alternative to consider to make it a little more child friendly. You can play with 2 to 6 players, so it's often a game that will, in our house at least, get brought out at Christmas when everyone's had a few drinks and suddenly thinks a challenging 4 hour game is a good idea! It's a game of thought and technique, but also of luck, because a lot will depend on chance.
In the box you get the board itself, a deck of Change and Community Chest Cards, 2 die, Monopoly money, various green and red houses and a choice of 12 metal tokens that each player uses as their board marker. The latter are like a trademark of monopoly, a few in particular like the Wheelbarrow and Top Hat. They include: Racecar, guy on a horse, sack of money (for 1999-2007 editions), thimble, battleship, top hat, wheelbarrow, scottie dog, cannon, thimble, boot... but they will vary depending on your version of the game.
So, you basically choose your counter, roll the dice and start moving around the board. One person from the players is usually nominated to be the banker, and they will allocate initial monies to everyone (detailed in the instructions) and then deal with payments for houses, fines, exchanges etc, everything that requires money being moved around from the bank. There are quite a few rules and such to keep in mind, but the basic premise is that you try to purchase properties on the board by using your money to buy a little house to put on that square. Properties and utilities are grouped together, so the strategy is to buy a little conglomorate of the same group of properties. This way, you have more investments and when someone lands on your square, they owe you money. The more little houses you have on the square, the more pennies you can rake in. When you've got all the houses for a property or utility, you can upgrade them to hotels, which will mean even more monies!
You get the idea; you want to be greedy but strategic, and eventually there will be someone that runs out of money and will be out of the game. Throughout playing other things can happen too, such as landing on a square that requires you to pick up a chance or community chest card. This could mean anything from being owed money (good times) to being fined or getting sent to jail (bad times). These little things help to keep the game interesting and not too strategy based; adding some chance in, along with the roles of the die, keeps things fun and unpredictable but still competitive at the same time.
I like the originality of this game and how it brings together various skills, strategies and bits of luck at the same time. Dealing with money, selling and buying properties, thinking about what the other person is doing, finding the best way to maximise your profits etc, makes the game quite intelligent and so it requires thought. The gamble and chance element keeps it from being too serious. It does depend on who you're playing with of course, because some people can be far more competitive than others!
The rules are relatively straightforward once you get used to them, but remembering exactly how to do things (such as mortgaging) can be tricky. Luckily, I find the instructions to be quite good so definitely try not to lose these, though they can be found online too. On more than one occasion have I been part of a scrabble when people are confused over rules and what's 'allowed' or not, which I find can often ruin the game. It's therefore best to be sure everyone understands what's what first and keep the instructions handy.
As for the game itself, Hasbro is a reputable brand and I've found the board and bits and pieces included to be of good quality. The box is designed so you can keep things together fairly well, though it's still quite easy to lose things if you're not careful. It all fits neatly in to a large-ish box, and I've had no problems with anything looking much worse for wear even after years of having owned the same game.
It's worth noting that gameplay can go on for quite a while, and on, and on...and on. Would I recommend it? If you've got the time, and the patience and mindpower for it, then yes. It's interesting and very much a group game; you can be competitive but still have fun, and because it requires some strategy it keeps you thinking and yet still unprepared for the turns of luck that happen throughout the game. I can't give it 5 stars because it's still quite difficult if not everyone understands or has the patience for it. It does take a long time and it's usually the case of someone going broke or everyone upping and leaving for a drink and eventually abandoning the game.
None the less, it's a classic that will retain its appeal for its cleverness and originality, so I'd definitely recommend at least giving it a go to say you've played.
Original version RRP £14.99, selling on Amazon for £11.14
Summary: A class that's worth trying but free up a few hours of your day first!