Intent on milking the cash cow still further, Hasbro have come up with innumerable pointless variations where only the property names and shapes of the dobbers changes. I was expecting to be made to play the Star Wars Episode One version - the worst Star Wars film* and the way-past-its-prime game... together at last! - that some cruel person got him for Christmas, but he turned up with this.
At least it had been bought in a charity shop rather than new, but it was missing the rules. Fortunately, they were easy enough to find online. Unfortunately, they're a series of mistaken design choices.
"Monopoly City is exactly like classic Monopoly in lay out, rules, and gameplay". Erm, no it's not.
Monopoly is a "property trading game" - you almost always need to trade to get sets of a colour - and there's almost no trading in this. You can.. but there's not much incentive to do so.
Instead, it's a building game: you can build on any property and the only limit is how many pieces the annoying 1-2-3-station device says. (Oh, and your cash supply, but you start with lots of cash.)
The annoying device also times auctions - they're eBay-style fixed time limit (50 seconds) ones with the highest bid winning when the annoying device beeps, so you just look at your watch or a clock or hum a song to yourself and shout over everyone else with a couple of seconds to go - but as you have lots of money and buying everything makes sense, auctions are rare to the point that they needed to put a square on the board to force one if there's any unsold property.
So you go around the board, buying anything you land on and building something on it / anywhere else. As an unnecessary layer of chrome, you have a choice about sticking residential buildings on it or industrial ones at twice the price to buy but generating the same rent. Hmm, which shall I pick...? There is supposed to be a twist that someone might build something Bad on your area, meaning residential buildings don't generate any rental, but as the same four squares you need to land on to do that also allow you to build a Good building that stops them, it doesn't happen often. Even if it did, there's a limited supply of buildings and if you have all the homes, the other people are going to have to build the more expensive stuff...
To drag out the agony, you can also build stations. These let you move round the board quicker (generating 2m a time in cash) or make sure you land on your properties more often and/or skip over dangerous areas. Oh, and the person who landed on Free Parking last can ignore one rent demand.
To make the end game more pointless, if you're not playing 'to the death' but to a time limit, the winner is determined by cash + rental values of everything. But industrial buildings - the only things left by now - cost much more than the extra rental income they bring in, so unless you think some other idiot is going to land on your property, it doesn't make sense to build in the last quarter of the game. Instead, you all progress round, hopefully via a series of jumps between stations on your stuff, until it's finally over.
As a one-off game to please a nephew, it was an OK experience, but I'm not about to play it again - the outcome of two hours of play was decided by a single roll of the dice that cost me 14.4 million, much more than the winning margin...
* Episode Two manages to be even worse as a film, of course, and Episode Three isn't much better, but because of the scale of the disappointment, Episode One remains the turd in the toilet.
I agree the came as it comes was not great, but we thought the pieces outstanding so we just ignored the rules (and the annoyance - we could spot how that would be right off) and made our own, lol. Turned out pretty good as I recall but it's just not one we come back to. With the components there, it can be a decent building/trading game.