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Monopoly: Star Wars» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Not the Monopoly you're expecting, but still a fun family game! rss

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Dianne N.
United States
Seattle
Washington
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Some Background:

My husband got this game for his birthday and it’s a Dutch version (because he’s Dutch). We live in the US though, so we’ve only played with 2 and he helps translate when I can’t figure out what a card does.

I’m also reviewing this after one game play because I don’t think we’ll play this often. It’s not often we get the Monopoly itch, and it’s in Dutch so it’s not exactly something we can pull out when our friends with kids come to visit (and this game was definitely intended for kids). That being said, I could see myself playing this more (with kids) if we had it in English and I’m reviewing it with that in mind.


Gameplay:

This is a shortened (some might call it “dumbed down”) version of Monopoly, intended for very young children. I can see a child as young as 4 playing comfortably with some help. If you can read and count, even at a basic level, you can play this game. Since it pits the Rebels against the Empire, it’s a team game for 2 or 4 players, but not recommended for 3 (you’d have a team of 2 against a team of 1, which makes it very hard for the single player to win).

You roll the dice and move that many spaces (just like regular Monopoly), and when you land on a space with property you can purchase it (just like regular Monopoly), and the game still has Go, Free Parking, Go to Jail, and the Jail spaces (just like regular Monopoly), but that’s about all it has in common with its predecessor.

If you can’t afford the property you’ve landed on, it gets auctioned off to the other players so spaces get snapped up quickly. Once you buy the property, you put one of your bases (a plastic token) in the designated spot above the base to note it’s yours.

If someone lands on a property that’s owned, they owe the owner the amount of money shown next to the base. This isn’t much money compared to how much the base cost, and there’s no way to jack up the prices with houses or hotels – the only way to increase how much you get is to own all properties of a cluster and you can collect double the basic amount. Even with this increase, you’re not getting much money from the other players.

There’s no bankruptcy in this version of the game. If you owe the bank money and can’t afford it, you sacrifice a base to the bank (you remove a token from a property you own). If you owe another player money and can’t afford it, you sacrifice a base to the other player (they get to put their token on the property and you remove yours). Either way, you get to keep the money you have and collect more as you pass Go. You might lose a few properties along the way, but there’s no other consequence to not having enough money.

Chance and Community Chest are replaced with Imperial Star Destroyer and Millennium Falcon spaces. Landing on these will allow you to collect either a Rebel or Empire force card, each of which includes two options. If you’re a Rebel and land on the Star Destroyer, you read the box on the force card that tells you what that card does for the Rebels (usually a good thing), and if you’re an Empire player and land on the Star Destroyer you read the box on the card for the Empire (usually a bad thing), and vice versa for cards you get for landing on the Millennium Falcon. The cards will do things like let you go straight to the bounty hunter or hyperdrive spaces, steal bases from opponents or make opponents give up bases, or force you to give up bases, etc.

There are a couple of interesting spaces on the board, including hyperdrive and bounty hunter. If you land on hyperdrive you can go to the closest unowned property and purchase it. If you land on bounty hunter you can steal any property from another player for free.

The game ends immediately once all properties are owned. The winner(s) are the team (Rebel or Empire) that own the most properties.

Because of the streamlined play and ease of purchasing or obtaining properties, gameplay is under 30 minutes which is a welcome change from the original version of Monopoly. Turns are quick and you won’t get bored playing, but the ending is abrupt and somewhat unfulfilling (at least from an adult perspective).


Components and rules:

I’ll start with the rules. My husband read the rules and explained them to me, and all seemed pretty straightforward. The rulebook is well laid out and includes lots of pictures and explanations. The only thing we had to look up a couple of times was what the bounty hunter (primiejager) space did because it was the only space that wasn’t self-evident and it was a word I wasn’t familiar with, and I happened to keep landing on it or getting cards that allowed me to go straight there. Also, it was a word I really liked to say so I kept asking what it did (preemie-yaah-khur, but you say the g/kh like you’re gargling). If this was our only issue the rules as written were top notch in terms of explaining the game as intended (not that there are many of them, since this is a “hyperdrive” version of Monopoly).

Now on to the components…

The game board is incredibly thin, about half as thick as an average game board you’d expect. The back of the board looks like it’ll be a quality board, but when you flip it over the playing surface looks like a big sticker they stuck on top, but not a high quality, more like some paper with glue smeared on the back to hold it to the board. The printing isn’t great either, so everything looks muted and dull, like it was printed with a home printer. I thought the board was going to rip apart as we were unfolding it, but we did make it through our first setup, gameplay, and takedown without breaking it (it’s an inevitability though, because it’s a horrible, flimsy mess of a game board). The way the board folds, there’s also a huge crease that goes straight down the middle and leaves a divot in the playing surface, and because of this divot on the top/bump on the bottom the board doesn’t exactly lie flat. That being said, the board artwork itself looks great and it’s different from any other Monopoly game I’ve seen (we have the Dutch version of Star Wars themed Monopoly based on the regular game, and this round board is way different from a typical Monopoly board, even with a Star Wars theme slapped on it). It’s a fun board to play on and move around, and the game made us smile looking at it as we bought spaces and added our tokens.

The force cards are paper-thin and horrible. They’re not regular quality cards like you’d expect with protective wax or anything, it looks like they’re printed on two sides of some cheap cardstock. After one game they’ve already started to fray on the edges and have some scratches on the face/back. They don’t feel good in your hands either, they feel like you’re holding something you printed out at home, and they get greased up pretty quickly.

The money is typical Monopoly money, but with a Star Wars theme. No complaints there.

The figurines are about what I would expect for the price of the game. They’re plastic and the light sabers will bend when you try to get the figurines out of their (horrible) plastic holder, and if they were bent when you bought the game they won’t bend back (poor Darth Vader has a flaccid saber in our game). They’re kind of a gummy-type plastic, so it doesn’t feel like they’d break, just bend, which is good for a kid’s game. Taking them out of the holder will forever ruin the holders, and it’s a pain forcing them back in. On the up side, while they don’t have great details they are painted and the stand up straight on the board, and come on, it’s Star Wars so they’re fun to look at and play with.

The tokens you put on the board to designate the planets you own are actually good quality plastic pieces. They’ve got icons on each side (so you can play with 4 players and know which tokens belong to who), and the icons look cool. They’re thick and feel good in your hands, they’re fun to play with, and are hands down the best components of the game.

For the price of the game (~$22 at the time of this writing) the components are tolerable, but personally I’d rather pay twice as much for quality (and I really wish there was a better quality version of this game, because I really like the gameplay!). It’s cheap enough you could always get a new copy of the game if something breaks, but it doesn’t feel worth it because it’s not like your replacement parts would be any better. My suggestion is to wait for your local retail store to have a sale on board games and pick up a copy at 20-30% off.


Theme:

I like a lot of things they did with this game. The round board looks really cool and makes you think of space or the universe, and the artwork is nice to look at. It’s a fun board to play on, and you definitely feel Star Wars when you play. Adding bases is a cool new aspect to the game, and the hyperdrive and bounty hunter spaces tie in theme with some fun mechanics.

And yet, something feels off about the theme. For one, it still has Rebels vs the Empire, with Luke and Darth Vader, but then there’s Kylo Ren and Finn thrown in and it doesn’t make a lot of sense. If they were going for a game tied into the new movie I would have preferred to see more spaces and links to the new movies and no Darth Vader or Luke figurines, and if it was intended to be tied into the old movies I would have preferred to have Leia and Han Solo as characters instead of Finn and Kylo Ren. As is, it’s an awkward hybrid lacking direction.

Also, the game still has the Go, Go to Jail, Free Parking, and Jail spaces of the original Monopoly game which breaks the theme completely when playing. Why not make it Go to the Trash Compactor or something to tie it in better? The rules and gameplay are so different from the original Monopoly game that having these spaces comes across as odd and forced when playing the game. There are so many other fun things they did with the theme, and I’m sure there’s some legal reason these spaces stayed the same, but there could have been so much more done with them. As is, it makes the gameplay awkward.


The Verdict:

If you can put aside the fact that this is not the Monopoly you’re looking for (expecting), and play it for what it is, you might actually find yourself enjoying the game.

Aside from the components and awkwardness of some of the theme, I really like this version of Monopoly - better than the original, in fact! I like the streamlined play and fun use of the hyperdrive and bounty hunter spaces, and the perks/punishments on the force cards. Again, the game board artwork is cool and it’s fun to fill the board with your bases. The gameplay is fast paced, and I know some people don’t like a game with “take-that” properties, but that’s part of the reason I love this game. Getting to steal a base from your opponent is fun for me, and my heart drops when my bases get stolen! I can see this being a little harsh for young kids, but as an adult I quite like it. My one complaint would be that the game is a little simple for adults playing alone and could have used some sprucing up in strategy or actions, but for what it is (a game for small kids) it’s perfect.

Yes, I can see myself getting sick of the game if played too much, but this is a game I can tolerate playing more than once and it’s shorter than the original Monopoly so it’s not torture to finish the game. It’s great for kids, especially young kids, and I kind of want an English version for my friend’s kids when people come over.

I like this game, a lot actually, but I still can’t bring myself to rate it above 5 stars. While I enjoy the game, overall it’s just OK for all of the reasons mentioned above, especially the components and simplicity of play. It’s a solid game to add to your collection and it’ll get plenty of play time if you have small children, but it’s not going to be something that will stand the test of time.
 
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mar hawkman
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Sounds like a retheme of Monopoly Junior. Fun game actually. As you observed it's a lot shorter than classic Monopoly which often has a time limit rule imposed to artificially shorten the game... which can take DAYS to play. It does lack a lot of the nuance... but the nuance of classic Monopoly is what makes it take so long. The way the base rules are written for classic Monopoly the game could last indefinitely.

Apparently it also lacks a Rey token... :/
 
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Dianne N.
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Seattle
Washington
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I don't mind not having the Rey token. It's odd there's a Darth Vader token, and the theme isn't really for the new movie anyway. It's an odd mix of Star Wars due to when it was released in relation to the movie.

They are releasing a new version with a Rey token, so people who were upset by that can get the new one when it comes out.
 
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mar hawkman
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Or just add your own by finding a small fig? It's just weird having Finn and Kylo but not Rey. On second thought adding more players might make things interesting.
 
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