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Subject: A Review of Yet Another Reviled Game.... rss

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Kenneth Bailey
United States
Ypsilanti
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Monopoly is another game that people on this site like to hate. For most of their complaints, I agree with them except for when I play this on the computer.

The goal of the game is to bankrupt all of your opponents through buying of certain properties. When you get all the properties of a certain color, you are then able to build houses on them and really jack the prices up.

A turn consists of rolling the dice and moving the number of spaces to a space on the board. If the space is an unowned property, you may buy it. If you do not wish to buy it, it goes up for auction with the highest bidder winning the property. If the property is owned by another player, you pay the amount of rent shown for the property. If the space is one of the spaces for card drawing, you draw one of the cards and do what it says. If it is one of the other spaces, you follow the instructions. If you rolled doubles, you get to go again. If you roll three doubles in a row, you go to jail.

If you are in jail, you can pay $50 and roll the dice. Or you can try to roll the dice and if you roll doubles, you are released and get to move that number of spaces (per the computer rules, you don't get a second turn....?). If you do not either pay bail or roll doubles within three turns, you must pay the $50 and move the number of spaces on your roll.

If you need money, you can get some money by flipping your card over and getting half the amount you paid for it. If you are out of properties and money you are considered bankrupt. If you go bankrupt to another player, that player gets all of your mortgaged properties and must either immediately unmortgage them or pay 10% of their mortgage value to the bank. If you go bankrupt to the bank, the properties are then auctioned off. When you unmortgage a property, you must pay an additional 10%.

Money enters the game when people pass go and get $200.

Trading is legal.

Why I like this game:
-It can be a brutal cutthroat game. You are trying to drive your opponent into bankruptcy.
-You can trade for other properties, with good players this can be tricky. with not so good players, you can make some steals of trades.
-Owning the Hotel on Boardwalk. It rarely comes up, but when it does, chances are another player will be leaving the game.

Why I don't like this game:
-Your options are pretty limited. Property buying is mostly luck. If one person manages to get a monopoly before anyone else, the game is pretty much over at that point.
-For what it is, it takes too long.

Monopoly may have been a good game in its day but it seems to have been surpassed by other business type games. It still has a place on the gaming shelf, but it is crowded out by other games. Maybe if there were more things you could do on a turn, it would be better.
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Bill Gallagher
United States
Torrance
California
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mikoyan wrote:
If you are in jail, you can pay $50 and roll the dice. Or you can try to roll the dice and if you roll doubles, you are released and get to move that number of spaces (per the computer rules, you don't get a second turn....?).

That is correct. One does NOT get a bonus roll if they use doubles to get out of jail without paying. If they pay the $50, then roll doubles, they would get the bonus roll.
 
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Chris Farrell
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Cupertino
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I've always found the computer versions of this game a little unsatisfying, because what makes Monopoly is the deal-making game, which can actually be really interesting, and is obviously more fun with human players (rolling the dice and making buying decisions isn't that interesting under any conditions). While the current version on pogo.com tends to be an pretty decent deal-maker when making deals with the human player, AI-AI deals to me seem a lot more suspect, which ruins a bit of the fun.

If you're going to play Monopoly online, the Pogo implementation is pretty good. The user interaction design isn't great, and the Java client is slow on older machines, but they've got a good mix of game configurations from classic straight Monopoly to turn-limited versions and other decent variants.
 
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Branko K.
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It's trendy to "hate" Monopoly on the Geek, but the game actually isn't THAT bad (if played by the official rules of course without free parking nonsense and whatnot). If the only boardgame in the house was Monopoly I wouldn't mind breaking it out on a rainy day.

Monopoly tends to get on geek's nerves mostly because of its exposure, general recongizability and gazillions of re-themed versions that sell like candy while other, better boardgames are completely below the radar of an average Joe. Also, when you want to introduce someone to the hobby, you can inevitably expect a Monopoly comparison down the line which will make nearly every boardgame enthusiast grit his teeth.

But IMHO Monopoly doesn't deserve to be called "reviled". You could do a lot worse then waste some time playing this ancient property-acquiring game.
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Hank Meyer
United States
Greenbelt
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Building a hotel on Boardwalk is a strategical mistake...in fact, in a game where everyone has agreed to play by the rules, buying any hotel is a mistake! Why? Well, suppose there are 3 houses left in the Bank, and you, the proud owner of hotels on Boardwalk & Park Place, have the misfortune of landing on the Oranges, where there are 4 houses on each property. YOu will owe rent to the tune of around $800 or so, depending on which Orange property you landed on....and let's further suppose that you have a whopping $150 to your name in cash, because you have spent a pile developing Boardwalk & Park Place. If your opponent is smart, they will demand the cash...and your only source of funds (we'll assume) are the trade-in values of the hotels/houses on your dark blue properties....but you cannot merely sell one or two or three houses to raise cash....you'll end up mowing down those precious hotels and wind up with 3 lousy houses on Boardwalk & Park Place combined ...because you had no way to sell fewer once the hotel had to come down....but if you had had 4 houses on each property, you could have sold just enough houses from each to meet your due rent...you fell into the 'hotel trap' -- and there's no need. Just never build hotels and you'll never be forced to sell a hotel back when there are few houses in the bank and wind up (a) getting a pittance for the sold hotels and (b) having one house on a developed property (whose rent won't bankrupt anyone!.
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Dennison Milenkaya
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Branko, you make some very valid points and I'd never disagree with them, but I can tell you that, personally, I hate Monopoly on its own merits. If pressed, I can prove that it is nothing more than a very long, very boring coin toss. To call that a game is excruciating. It could be the only game in the house on a rainy day and I'd amuse myself better with a pencil and some paper.

HankM wrote:
Building a hotel on Boardwalk is a strategical mistake...in fact, in a game where everyone has agreed to play by the rules, buying any hotel is a mistake! ...
Oh my dog. Hank, this is the worst circular logic that I've ever read. Monopoly is so mind-numbingly simple and if your entire post isn't an elaborate joke, despite no indication that it is, you have quite possibly come across the absolute worst strategy for Monopoly. And up until now, I thought there was only one of those to begin with.

The situation you describe requires an unfathomably extreme situation to occur. You have to be down to your last few dollars, you cannot have any other property or houses to mortgage, you have to owe a lot of money, you have to have some hotels, and (the kicker) there has to be only a few houses remaining in the box. I submit to you that if you aren't buying hotels when possible, then you are more likely to run into the very situation of having litte cash and no other assests. I also imagine that everyone would have to have plenty of monopolies and not developed any of them into hotels for the houses to be this scarce. Honestly, I'd never worry about this extreme instance so much that I'd regard ever buying any hotels as a mistake.
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Chris Farrell
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Building a hotel on Boardwalk is usually a strategic mistake, although not for the reasons listed.

It's pretty simple. Three houses is the sweet spot, the best return on investment, so building out past that is to build past the point of diminishing returns typically. On Boardwalk, three houses is a crippling rent already, what do you need to spend the extra $600 to get a hotel for? On the cheaper properties where you need to get up to a hotel just to make the rent hurt, that's one thing, but Boardwalk? Anything after Yellow we're talking about getting up to three houses for the most part.

Also, Monopoly players tend to underestimate the value of liquidity; you need cash to pay rents, you don't want to overbuild past the point of diminishing returns until you have a cash cushion (a lot of the interesting bits of the game are managing that cash cushion and the risks vs. rewards of spending some of your last $500 vs. your last $200). Unless it's late in the game, building Boardwalk out to hotels is almost by definition over-extending.

And besides, Boardwalk is one of the more over-priced, and riskiest, properties in the game. If you're going to play, you want to play in the middle of the board, purples through yellows. If you're throwing huge amounts of money into developing the blues, it's a shot in the dark. It's like putting all your settlements on 10s in Settlers of Catan. If it hits, you do well, if not, you're screwed. Far more sensible to play for more reliable properties where you have more maneuvering room.

FlatOnHisFace wrote:
Branko, you make some very valid points and I'd never disagree with them, but I can tell you that, personally, I hate Monopoly on its own merits. If pressed, I can prove that it is nothing more than a very long, very boring coin toss. To call that a game is excruciating. It could be the only game in the house on a rainy day and I'd amuse myself better with a pencil and some paper.

HankM wrote:
Building a hotel on Boardwalk is a strategical mistake...in fact, in a game where everyone has agreed to play by the rules, buying any hotel is a mistake! ...
Oh my dog. Hank, this is the worst circular logic that I've ever read. Monopoly is so mind-numbingly simple and if your entire post isn't an elaborate joke, despite no indication that it is, you have quite possibly come across the absolute worst strategy for Monopoly. And up until now, I thought there was only one of those to begin with.

The situation you describe requires an unfathomably extreme situation to occur. You have to be down to your last few dollars, you cannot have any other property or houses to mortgage, you have to owe a lot of money, you have to have some hotels, and (the kicker) there has to be only a few houses remaining in the box. I submit to you that if you aren't buying hotels when possible, then you are more likely to run into the very situation of having litte cash and no other assests. I also imagine that everyone would have to have plenty of monopolies and not developed any of them into hotels for the houses to be this scarce. Honestly, I'd never worry about this extreme instance so much that I'd regard ever buying any hotels as a mistake.
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Richard Smith
Canada
Coquitlam
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The Hotel Trap - A real danger.
HankM wrote:
... Hank, this is the worst circular logic that I've ever read. Monopoly is so mind-numbingly simple and if your entire post isn't an elaborate joke, ...

The situation you describe requires an unfathomably extreme situation to occur. You have to be down to your last few dollars, you cannot have any other property or houses to mortgage, you have to owe a lot of money, you have to have some hotels, and (the kicker) there has to be only a few houses remaining in the box. I submit to you that if you aren't buying hotels when possible, then you are more likely to run into the very situation of having litte cash and no other assests. I also imagine that everyone would have to have plenty of monopolies and not developed any of them into hotels for the houses to be this scarce. Honestly, I'd never worry about this extreme instance so much that I'd regard ever buying any hotels as a mistake.


When we played monopoly there were ALWAYS housing shortages - they occur in, perhaps, 99% of the games we play. The whole point of the game is to get your properties to 3 and 4 houses so that the other players are stuck with 2 houses or less. Far from being an extreme and rare occurrence, it is the very situation that the savvy players intend to lure the suckers into.

I love to give people deals that are "too good to turn down", where they get an expensive monopoly and I get a couple small, cheap monopolies. Often I can get them to toss in a bit of cash to 'balance' the deal.


I build up to 3 and 4 houses, create a housing shortage and suddenly those Dark Green properties just don't have the bankrupting power that they should, for some reason.

I agree with Chris, that 3 properties are the sweet spot. But people build up to 4 houses all the time to suck up the last few houses and create a housing shortage. IMO, Monopoly with out housing shortages is pointless.

Warm regards, Rick.
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