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Subject: In defense of Monopoly: analysis of the strategy rss

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Moshe Callen
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This review does not follow the usual review format because the audience addressed consists of those who are already quite familiar with the game Monopoly. My own taste in games tends to strategic games, the more strong the element of strategy in the game the better. Monopoly is NOT AT ALL what I think of as a strategy game nor would I hold it up as a game design others should emulate. Yet nonetheless, I must admit-- as I think the case with virtually everyone reading this thread if they are honest with themselves-- that once in a very great while I DO like to play Monopoly and that I thoroughly then enjoy the game. [The overwhelming popularity of the game worldwide also speaks volumes.] So the obvious question becomes: why? Of course I can speak only for myself on this matter, but I suspect most others will in fact agree if they are genuinely honest with themselves and think about it. This review therefore discusses the strategic element of Monopoly.

1. Buying property and trading

Monopoly can be played with anywhere from two to eight players, although I think four or five optimal personally. With three players, the odds become too high that one player will obtain a complete set of properties while the other players do not, and with two players interaction-- and therefore trading [see below]-- is eliminated. Yet, with more than five players the odds of anyone getting enough property to make trading worthwhile decreases.

In the initial phase when properties are readily available, one should of course buy anything and everything that one can. Thus, for example, one at this stage should pay if necessary to immediately get out of jail whereas later in the game being in jail can be beneficial.

The obvious objection, indeed one I have often expressed myself, is that the initial acquisition of property is entirely random. Yet the probability distribution describing the odds that any given player will land on a given property in the course of any given circle of the board is identical for each player. Usually, one will find that for the most part players will end up with approximately comparable numbers of properties each. Admittedly, some statistical variation is involved, but usually players will have at least roughly comparable numbers of properties.

This is where trading, an essential part of the game, comes in. The manufacturer recognizes this and hence the fact that my copy of the game is subtitled, "the real estate TRADING game" [emphasis mine]. Borrowing money from other players is explicitly forbidden in the rules but an entire section of the rules describes selling property and related restrictions. In other words, a player who wants to avoid mortgage but needs money he does not have MUST trade.

In my experience, if more than three players are in the game, cases in which a player obtains all of a given color set of properties solely by progressing about the board and landing on either both or all three spaces in the given set of properties [meaning the ones on which one can build houses and hotels] are relatively rare. This leads to an often overlooked aspect of the game: trading. Growing up, in my family the trading aspect of the game was largely confined to either ridiculously bad deals offered by one player to another whether in circumstances where the player offered the trade is desperate or simply gullible. Yet these kind of bad deals need not be the extent of trades.

For example, simply saying, "I'll give you Oriental if you give me Boardwalk and then we'll both have a set," is clearly a one-sided deal. Yet if the player with Oriental replies, "Those aren't comparable; what else can you give me?" then the player wanting Boardwalk might offer additional properties and/or immunities. "Immunities" are x-number of free stays on a given property or properties. One may also reply, "Boardwalk is not for sale but maybe..." The point is that wise trading is part of the game and indeed should be part of the game as early as possible. The object of the game is to bankrupt other players and having houses or better yet hotels on properties is really the only way to do it. In my own experience, I have won more than one game when no one was willing to trade but I happened to have hotels on Mediterranean and Baltic. The point is that one must trade but trade wisely to win; this is a thoroughly American game but it has that in common with many euro-games.

2. Resource management

Once the initial buying and trading phase is more or less over, resource management completely takes over the strategy of the game. Improving properties is an essential part of the game but this must be balanced with a need to maintain the necessary cash-flow to deal with not only the small expenses that occur on most turns but also with crises such as landing on an opponent's most expensive property. In other words, one must gauge how much to spend and on what in order to maximize income but balance this with the need to avoid being forced to sell one's houses or hotels and/or mortgage one's property.

I personally tend to be a "strict-rules" player and so do not usually play the house rule that $500+taxes, etc., are obtained by a player who lands on free parking. This tends in my view to undermine the property management element of the strategy of the game. Yet, conversely, this money is equally available to all players and does offer hope to players in an otherwise strong strategic position but experiencing a cash-flow problem.

3. The random element

Admittedly which given space one lands on is random, but no space is inherently more probable than any other. Initially, before a player has been eliminated, the odds of a given player landing on another player's property are comparable to those of any other player landing on his property. This is why making the best trades possible and making the most of what properties a player has are so important. By the same token, this is why owning two sets of property on the same side of the board is such a powerful strategic position; every player has to keep passing through and virtually MUST land on the properties involved on most passes round the board. No individual roll of the dice can be predicted but the pattern of successive rolls of the dice converges to a very predictable pattern.

My point is not to say that Monopoly is the first game I would hold up as a strategy game. Nevertheless, player interaction via trading does make the game much better. Indeed, I think everyone at some level appreciates that there is SOMETHING attractive about a Monopoly game once in a while. I suspect this is a case where there is more strategy in the game than many-- including myself-- normally give the game credit for. Monopoly may indeed be regarded as the American forebear of those euro-games dependent on trade for the game to become genuinely interesting.
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Mike Schmidt
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Another element of resource management is refusing to upgrade to hotels and instead hang on to the houses to prevent others from buying hotels. Because by the strict rules you must have 4 houses and then pay the required cash to upgrade to a hotel. So holding just enough houses so that another player will be 1 house short of building evenly to build a hotel can be a good strategy. You can halt development by hanging on to houses rather than moving to hotels.
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Careful, you'll get your Eurogamer credentials revoked.
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Moshe Callen
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mistermarino wrote:
Careful, you'll get your Eurogamer credentials revoked.


LOL. Of course, I'd not categorize myself as either a euro-gamer or a non-euro-gamer. I'll play any game if it's good-- European, american or otherwise.
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But still you only vote it a 5?
 
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Ben Foy
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Monopoly is a fine game with the right group. But it has to be played fast. The game should be finished in under an hour. The trading is the most interesting part of the game and it should take up most of the time.
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Yet if the player with Oriental replies, "Those aren't comparable; what else can you give me?" then the player wanting Boardwalk might offer additional properties and/or immunities. "Immunities" are x-number of free stays on a given property or properties.


This was always my tactic when trading in Monopoly. Getting 3 free passes on rent or even unlimited free passes on rent (if you are desperate) can be very compelling. And though unlimited free rent won't knock out the opponent who makes the trade, it can be devastating on the rest of the players.

I've always wondered if this is legal in the game though. I used to just spring it on people and no one ever questioned it. I do see it listed here:
http://www.playagaingames.com/games/monopoly_home_rules
as a variant.

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Dwayne Hendrickson
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SliverXII wrote:
Another element of resource management is refusing to upgrade to hotels and instead hang on to the houses to prevent others from buying hotels. Because by the strict rules you must have 4 houses and then pay the required cash to upgrade to a hotel. So holding just enough houses so that another player will be 1 house short of building evenly to build a hotel can be a good strategy. You can halt development by hanging on to houses rather than moving to hotels.


This doesn't always work. The rules state that a player can upgrade from 3 houses to a hotel by paying the value of the houses combined with the vallue of the hotel, thereby bypassing having to physically put the four houses on each property.

You can't halt production, merely delay it.
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okiedokie wrote:
This doesn't always work. The rules state that a player can upgrade from 3 houses to a hotel by paying the value of the houses combined with the vallue of the hotel, thereby bypassing having to physically put the four houses on each property.

You can't halt production, merely delay it.


Uh, it's been a while since I've read the Monopoly rules, but I'm pretty sure there is no such statement anywhere therein.
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HerrCannon wrote:
okiedokie wrote:
This doesn't always work. The rules state that a player can upgrade from 3 houses to a hotel by paying the value of the houses combined with the vallue of the hotel, thereby bypassing having to physically put the four houses on each property.

You can't halt production, merely delay it.


Uh, it's been a while since I've read the Monopoly rules, but I'm pretty sure there is no such statement anywhere therein.


Yeah..I'm not familiar with that rule either...

It's not on Page 4 - building shortages section.
http://www.hasbro.com/common/instruct/monins.pdf

Later on, It does say under "Rules for a short game" that you only need 3 houses to convert to a hotel, but all that is talking about is not requiring anyone to have a 4th house before converting..

Of related note, I've heard some say that it's 'house' (meaning homemade) and misunderstood rules that give monopoly some of it's hatred...

I'd rather play _any_ other game (including shocking roulette), rather than monopoly, but I guess I'd still play if options were limited/people were very stubborn as long as we play _strictly_ by the rules.
 
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Bill Gallagher
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okiedokie wrote:
This doesn't always work. The rules state that a player can upgrade from 3 houses to a hotel by paying the value of the houses combined with the vallue of the hotel, thereby bypassing having to physically put the four houses on each property.

You can't halt production, merely delay it.

I know that many people play just the way you've described.

However, I believe that the rules are very specific on this. I'll use Illinois Avenue as an example. It says on the deed that the cost for a Hotel is "$150 plus 4 houses". This does not mean $300 plus 3 houses! In order to place a hotel, you must have the 4 houses present on the property. In addition, the "build evenly" rule forbids you from upgrading to a hotel on Illinois Avenue until you also have four houses on Indiana Avenue and Kentucky Avenue. Being able to pay for them isn't enough; there must be four houses physically present on each of the three properties before any of them can be upgraded to Hotels.

I know that there's at least one BGG member who is a world-class Monopoly player, having participated in many tournaments. I hope that he'll read and confirm my interpretation.
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Moshe Callen
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Yuglooc wrote:
okiedokie wrote:
This doesn't always work. The rules state that a player can upgrade from 3 houses to a hotel by paying the value of the houses combined with the vallue of the hotel, thereby bypassing having to physically put the four houses on each property.

You can't halt production, merely delay it.

I know that many people play just the way you've described.

However, I believe that the rules are very specific on this. I'll use Illinois Avenue as an example. It says on the deed that the cost for a Hotel is "$150 plus 4 houses". This does not mean $300 plus 3 houses! In order to place a hotel, you must have the 4 houses present on the property. In addition, the "build evenly" rule forbids you from upgrading to a hotel on Illinois Avenue until you also have four houses on Indiana Avenue and Kentucky Avenue. Being able to pay for them isn't enough; there must be four houses physically present on each of the three properties before any of them can be upgraded to Hotels.

I know that there's at least one BGG member who is a world-class Monopoly player, having participated in many tournaments. I hope that he'll read and confirm my interpretation.


I'm not claiming to be an expert but I just reread the rules and your interpretation IS correct. The rules specifically state there are 32 houses [I think it is] and 12 hotels. It then explains a player MUST have the actual houses to upgrade to a hotel.
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James Thompson
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There are certain elements of Monopoly that are really good. Someon should make a new version; not just rules to shorten it and such, but an actuall, updated version with more strategy, and maybe quicker. It could potentially be a hit.
 
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TermiGator wrote:
But still you only vote it a 5?


As I said, I think it's probably better than I give it credit for. That's way I wrote this review; I started asking myself, "--but why then do I actually LIKE the game now and then?"
 
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bluesea wrote:
Quote:
Yet if the player with Oriental replies, "Those aren't comparable; what else can you give me?" then the player wanting Boardwalk might offer additional properties and/or immunities. "Immunities" are x-number of free stays on a given property or properties.


This was always my tactic when trading in Monopoly. Getting 3 free passes on rent or even unlimited free passes on rent (if you are desperate) can be very compelling. And though unlimited free rent won't knock out the opponent who makes the trade, it can be devastating on the rest of the players.

I've always wondered if this is legal in the game though. I used to just spring it on people and no one ever questioned it. I do see it listed here:
http://www.playagaingames.com/games/monopoly_home_rules
as a variant.



The rules state that a player who lands on your property only has to pay if you ask them to do so before the next player rolls. This tactic is just getting the person to agree not to ask a certain number of times [possibly infinite].
 
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whac3 wrote:
bluesea wrote:
Quote:
Yet if the player with Oriental replies, "Those aren't comparable; what else can you give me?" then the player wanting Boardwalk might offer additional properties and/or immunities. "Immunities" are x-number of free stays on a given property or properties.


This was always my tactic when trading in Monopoly. Getting 3 free passes on rent or even unlimited free passes on rent (if you are desperate) can be very compelling. And though unlimited free rent won't knock out the opponent who makes the trade, it can be devastating on the rest of the players.

I've always wondered if this is legal in the game though. I used to just spring it on people and no one ever questioned it. I do see it listed here:
http://www.playagaingames.com/games/monopoly_home_rules
as a variant.



The rules state that a player who lands on your property only has to pay if you ask them to do so before the next player rolls. This tactic is just getting the person to agree not to ask a certain number of times [possibly infinite].


Strategically, there's a major problem with giving a player immunity... You are not giving someone a "free pass", you are giving them money. Your money. And in a game where - if played as designed - money is in short supply.

Think about it - if you avoid the all-too-common "house rule" trap of putting $ on Free Parking, there's not a lot of money coming into the game system from the outside. Each player gets $200 per circuit of the board + whatever positve Chance/Community Chest cards they received, but those are balanced out by the negative cards & spaces (Income Tax, Luxury Tax). Money leaves the game at a fair clip as well: buying property, improving property & paying off mortgages all take money away from players and put it back into the bank.

Since very little money is coming into the system (it's not a zero-sum game, but it's in the neighborhood), you need to make sure that as much of that money is coming to you as is possible.

In game terms, "immunities" serve to make the game longer. Again, the game is designed to constrict - the amount of money available grows smaller & the winning player is the one who can pry his opponent's fingers off of what is left. By (essentially) giving players extra money (the actual consequence of immunities), you increase the time it takes to bankrupt someone.

Finally, the question of an official ruling on immunities. While there is nothing in the published rules about this, the rules used in tournament play forbid it. The following quote is from my own webpage on Monopoly at the Game Central Station site (http://theswitchingyard.com/monopoly.html) and quotes Phillip Orbanes' THE MONOPOLY COMPANION.

The Monopoly Companion wrote:
- You may only trade Title Deeds, cash, and GET OUT OF JAIL FREE cards. You can't trade *anything* else, [italics in original text] like "immunity" from paying rent if a traded property is landed on, or a promise not to build houses in the future. (Chp 2, The Rules Explained)

- All trades are based on assets owned at the time of the trade. No options or immunity from paying future rents may be granted, nor may partnerships be formed. (Chp 6, Tournament Monopoly & How You Can Play It)


We've chosen to play this way and it speeds up the game both for the reasons outlined above AND because it makes trading simpler - since you have to trade real property, everyone can make clear decisions and valuations about what & what not to trade.

Thanks for boldly going where far too many geeks fear to tread - this much-maligned game deserves a great deal more respect than it gets.
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gamemark wrote:
whac3 wrote:
bluesea wrote:
Quote:
Yet if the player with Oriental replies, "Those aren't comparable; what else can you give me?" then the player wanting Boardwalk might offer additional properties and/or immunities. "Immunities" are x-number of free stays on a given property or properties.


This was always my tactic when trading in Monopoly. Getting 3 free passes on rent or even unlimited free passes on rent (if you are desperate) can be very compelling. And though unlimited free rent won't knock out the opponent who makes the trade, it can be devastating on the rest of the players.

I've always wondered if this is legal in the game though. I used to just spring it on people and no one ever questioned it. I do see it listed here:
http://www.playagaingames.com/games/monopoly_home_rules
as a variant.



The rules state that a player who lands on your property only has to pay if you ask them to do so before the next player rolls. This tactic is just getting the person to agree not to ask a certain number of times [possibly infinite].


Strategically, there's a major problem with giving a player immunity... You are not giving someone a "free pass", you are giving them money. Your money. And in a game where - if played as designed - money is in short supply.

Think about it - if you avoid the all-too-common "house rule" trap of putting $ on Free Parking, there's not a lot of money coming into the game system from the outside. Each player gets $200 per circuit of the board + whatever positve Chance/Community Chest cards they received, but those are balanced out by the negative cards & spaces (Income Tax, Luxury Tax). Money leaves the game at a fair clip as well: buying property, improving property & paying off mortgages all take money away from players and put it back into the bank.

Since very little money is coming into the system (it's not a zero-sum game, but it's in the neighborhood), you need to make sure that as much of that money is coming to you as is possible.

In game terms, "immunities" serve to make the game longer. Again, the game is designed to constrict - the amount of money available grows smaller & the winning player is the one who can pry his opponent's fingers off of what is left. By (essentially) giving players extra money (the actual consequence of immunities), you increase the time it takes to bankrupt someone.

Finally, the question of an official ruling on immunities. While there is nothing in the published rules about this, the rules used in tournament play forbid it. The following quote is from my own webpage on Monopoly at the Game Central Station site (http://theswitchingyard.com/monopoly.html) and quotes Phillip Orbanes' THE MONOPOLY COMPANION.

The Monopoly Companion wrote:
- You may only trade Title Deeds, cash, and GET OUT OF JAIL FREE cards. You can't trade *anything* else, [italics in original text] like "immunity" from paying rent if a traded property is landed on, or a promise not to build houses in the future. (Chp 2, The Rules Explained)

- All trades are based on assets owned at the time of the trade. No options or immunity from paying future rents may be granted, nor may partnerships be formed. (Chp 6, Tournament Monopoly & How You Can Play It)


We've chosen to play this way and it speeds up the game both for the reasons outlined above AND because it makes trading simpler - since you have to trade real property, everyone can make clear decisions and valuations about what & what not to trade.

Thanks for boldly going where far too many geeks fear to tread - this much-maligned game deserves a great deal more respect than it gets.


Agreed. Immunities ARE effectively cash but cash that can be only spent in a specific place-- like a gift certificate. I personally think they're not the best thing to trade and for myself would ONLY give them a finite-- usually small- number of times like "one free stay on Boardwalk". Sometimes they're the only way to sweeten the deal for someone who otherwise would not trade. Do they lengthen the game? Yes and no. In a sense they certainly do but on the other hand a game without trades will be much longer and much duller.
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Mr Hen
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whac3 wrote:
The rules state that a player who lands on your property only has to pay if you ask them to do so before the next player rolls. This tactic is just getting the person to agree not to ask a certain number of times [possibly infinite].


Seriously? I always assumed this was a house rule. Whenever I get stuck playing this game I explicitly tell people that I do not play with this rule. The reason for this, however, is I generally push the game through as fast as possible because it can take so long. Depending on the crowd, an average turn lasts about 15 seconds unless they are trying to trade.
 
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MrHen wrote:
whac3 wrote:
The rules state that a player who lands on your property only has to pay if you ask them to do so before the next player rolls. This tactic is just getting the person to agree not to ask a certain number of times [possibly infinite].


Seriously? I always assumed this was a house rule. Whenever I get stuck playing this game I explicitly tell people that I do not play with this rule. The reason for this, however, is I generally push the game through as fast as possible because it can take so long. Depending on the crowd, an average turn lasts about 15 seconds unless they are trying to trade.


From the official rules:

The owner may not collect the rent if they fail to ask for it before the second player following throws the dice.

That said, we play "you land there, you pay" to avoid the inevitable tiffs over quick rolls & sneaking turns when a distraction occurs.
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Amsjay wrote:
There are certain elements of Monopoly that are really good. Someon should make a new version; not just rules to shorten it and such, but an actuall, updated version with more strategy, and maybe quicker. It could potentially be a hit.


Here is a new version that will save a publisher lots of printing costs:

PLAY ACCORDING TO THE RULES AS WRITTEN!

It is a novel concept, and one that makes the game actually play very well. Monopoly, probably more than any other game, has been perverted beyond Charles Darrow's original vision because of the proliferation of widely accepted "house" rules as though they are written in the original rulebook.

A few people have mentioned this. Take away the "Free Parking" income in the middle, and the cash flow consequences change dramatically. Take away the granting of "immunities", and the cash flow consequences change dramatically. Play the "euqal building" rule as written, and te cash flow conquences change dramatically. All of these things add to an original playing of the game that is actually not bad.

This game can be a very good, very SHORT game if played right, without any of the extra "house" rules that have done a fine job of making Monopoly the "neglected step-child" of the board-game world (BGG included).

Now, does this mean that I will still play the game, or crack it out on my next game night? Well, probably not. Which is why I give it a 3 rating - it just isn't my favorite game to play. However, it is much maligned on this website, and I think most of that is due to the basic understanding that EVERYONE plays with their own house rules - of which the Free Parking is the worst. If anything, BGG'ers should hate "HOUSE RULES", not "MONOPOLY".

Oh, and by the way, this is an excellent review of a game hated by many. It certainly sheds a new light on the game, and I may actually consider cracking it out and seeing if my 8 year old daughter may want to try it out.
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James Fung
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I've never thought Monopoly was lacking in strategy (except, as you mention, when having the wrong number of players makes the game a little too random); it's just the amount of strategy and non-trivial decision making are not worth the time you need to play the game.

Now as to why it's so popular, my theory is that people simply do not know what's out there. How does Hasbro make money by selling not terribly interesting games? Because that's what's on the shelves at Walmart. Because, to the non-gamer, that's all they were exposed to growing up and, if the non-gamer is only going to buy one game, they probably will pick up something they are familiar with rather than risk wasting their money. And probably because Monopoly is in the right rules complexity range for non-gamers.

Now assume you have people who play Monopoly as a trading game (I've met few people who know the full rules about trading and auctioning), and introduce them to Catan: shorter play time, not much more complex, more non-trivial decisions, similar make-good-trades-or-lose motivation. That's why I think Monopoly has a bad rep on BGG.
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whac3 wrote:
bluesea wrote:
Quote:
Yet if the player with Oriental replies, "Those aren't comparable; what else can you give me?" then the player wanting Boardwalk might offer additional properties and/or immunities. "Immunities" are x-number of free stays on a given property or properties.


This was always my tactic when trading in Monopoly. Getting 3 free passes on rent or even unlimited free passes on rent (if you are desperate) can be very compelling. And though unlimited free rent won't knock out the opponent who makes the trade, it can be devastating on the rest of the players.

I've always wondered if this is legal in the game though. I used to just spring it on people and no one ever questioned it. I do see it listed here:
http://www.playagaingames.com/games/monopoly_home_rules
as a variant.



The rules state that a player who lands on your property only has to pay if you ask them to do so before the next player rolls. This tactic is just getting the person to agree not to ask a certain number of times [possibly infinite].



Thanks for that and thanks for starting such an interesting thread on (ahem) Monopoly! And kudos for to all for the thoughtful contributions. This really could have gotten ugly!

It was mentioned that the game can be improved by just playing the house rules...but there are so many variants and house rules because there is something lacking with the core game that we (rightly or wrongly) are trying to correct. It would be an interesting exercise if we could come up with a BGG "approved" version of the game. Or a "Euro-ized" version at least.

I think it is interesting that the collective *we* have been trying to tinker with this game for so long. I like the fact that they were even trying to modify the game way back in 1936 (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/9466).

Who knows, one day: GEEKopoply.
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Jared
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whac3 wrote:
The obvious objection, indeed one I have often expressed myself, is that the initial acquisition of property is entirely random. Yet the probability distribution describing the odds that any given player will land on a given property in the course of any given circle of the board is identical for each player. Usually, one will find that for the most part players will end up with approximately comparable numbers of properties each.


Actually, the 1st player has a significant advantage here. Check out the BGG thread discussing the statistics of going 1st.

whac3 wrote:
I personally tend to be a "strict-rules" player and so do not usually play the house rule that $500+taxes, etc., are obtained by a player who lands on free parking. This tends in my view to undermine the property management element of the strategy of the game.


The biggest problem with this common house rule is that it introduces extra money into the game. This extra money really serves no purpose other than making the game last longer.

SliverXII wrote:
Another element of resource management is refusing to upgrade to hotels and instead hang on to the houses to prevent others from buying hotels. Because by the strict rules you must have 4 houses and then pay the required cash to upgrade to a hotel. So holding just enough houses so that another player will be 1 house short of building evenly to build a hotel can be a good strategy. You can halt development by hanging on to houses rather than moving to hotels.


This is a very important and often overlooked aspect to the game. You don't have a TON of room to play with, but it is at least another strategical aspect. Make sure to leave out the spare houses and hotels that come with the game so the shortage potential is reasonable.

TermiGator wrote:
But still you only vote it a 5?


I feel similarly and rate it similarly. I think the game is panned a lot more than it should be - it's not a bad game, it's just not a good game either. There are tons of better games I'd generally rather play than Monopoly, but I won't avoid it like the plague either.

CCarlton wrote:
I'd rather play _any_ other game (including shocking roulette), rather than monopoly, but I guess I'd still play if options were limited/people were very stubborn as long as we play _strictly_ by the rules.


Well, there are some very basic additional rules that sound like they make the game a lot better - auctioning ALL property landed on for example, instead of giving the first (very cheap) buy to the person who just happened to luck out and land on it. Next time I'm convinced to play, I think I'll insist on this rule.

gamemark wrote:
Strategically, there's a major problem with giving a player immunity... You are not giving someone a "free pass", you are giving them money. Your money. And in a game where - if played as designed - money is in short supply.

In game terms, "immunities" serve to make the game longer. Again, the game is designed to constrict - the amount of money available grows smaller & the winning player is the one who can pry his opponent's fingers off of what is left. By (essentially) giving players extra money (the actual consequence of immunities), you increase the time it takes to bankrupt someone.


True, trading out immunities is often a bad idea - they are worth a lot more than you might think. However, I personally like the ability to make all sorts of strange and unusual deals in any negotiation game, so I prefer they stay in myself, even if they're rarely used. I don't think they make the game last all too much longer (especially if you compare them to garbage like free parking money), though they surely do a bit.

chrisnd wrote:
This game can be a very good, very SHORT game if played right, without any of the extra "house" rules that have done a fine job of making Monopoly the "neglected step-child" of the board-game world (BGG included).


I still wouldn't say it's a short game -- it'll just last maybe 1.5-3 hours instead of 4+ hours =) (Depends on players, pace of play, etc.)
 
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Jon M
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Isn't the best set the oranges? Players are going to end up in jail therefore the Greens and Dark Blues will see fewer players pass by than the oranges, reds and yellows (since landing on the Go to jail space catapults you to jail thus passing them completely). Players get sent to Go as well so the browns and pale blues makes up for their lost passes from the jailbirds.

The oranges also have the best bang for their buck in terms of investment to return. £1000 is going to cripple anyone therefore hotel payouts in excess of this initially are not much use. After you have bankrupt someone you can then invest in the higher paying property.

The main problem with the game is that there is little insentive for players to trade someone a set and there are relatively few times where a direct swap can be made to make sets. Without anyone getting a set the game never ends.
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