Recommend
6 
 Thumb up
 Hide
6 Posts

U-Build Monopoly» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Hasbro -- the Dollar-Store of Gaming Production Values... (pt. 3) rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
K. David Ladage
United States
Cedar Rapids
Iowa
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
U-Build Monopoly
By: Uncredited
Published: Hasbro (aka Wizards of the Coast)
Web:

===

A Brief History
This is the last of three articles in which I review games in the U-Build line from Hasbro. In each I will discuss why I believe that Hasbro is quickly cementing itself into the role of "low production value" gaming.

I have two little boys (ages 6 and 8). They love the game Monopoly Jr; the 8-year old likes regular Monopoly. They have both games. They love the customizable games that Lego has produced. They have Heroica, Pirate's Plank, Ramses' Pyramid, and so on. The idea of the U-Build line is a good one, and U-Build Monopoly seemed a good match for them.

Game Play
U-Build Monopoly is similar enough to Monopoly that explaining to the boys how the game worked at a high-level was easy enough. If you are nto familiar with Monopoly, I highly recommend that you go read a few reviews of that game first.

Still with me? Good.

Instead of a fixed board, U-Build Monopoly uses a modular, interlocking hex-spaces (each piece with two hex-shaped spaces on it) to make the board nearly anyway you would like. Instead of Houses and Hotels to improve spaces, you have two forms of "house" (one an industrial-like improvement, the other a residential-like improvement). A property can have as many as 10 of these improvements on them.

There is a Chance/Community Chect mechanic that uses the same space with a draw-bridge on it. If the bridge is up, use oen effect; down use the other. Toggle the bridge when you are done.

The game includes several ideas that are alien to Monopoly.

Players can, under some circumstances, place "green" improvements on the board (parks and the like). These are hex-spaces that players do not move onto, but instead provide benefits to the properties they are adjacent to.

Players can also, under similar circumstances, place "orange" improvements on the board (prisons and the like). These are hex spaces thaty players do not move onto, but instead provide penalties to the properties they are adjacent to. Under other conditions, a player can move a green or orange improvement to have those effects apply somewhere else.

Players can place sky-scrapers onto the board. These are placed similarly to the greed/orange improvements. But, they do not impact adjacent properties... they function for one player and a specific group of properties as a "hotel" like improvement.

At game end, the one with the most money wins.

What's Wrong With This Game?
Of the U-Build games, this is the best one... and it still sucks. The game is similar enough to Monopoly. But the production values are poor. The modular hex-spaces are bowed in our copy and will not link together very well -- we are constantly "repairing" the board. The green/orange improvements are also interlocking... and will ot link well (as well as placing them often times breaks the board). The skyscrapers are not something that works well to let anyone know who owns it, what group it is impacting, and so on.

As indicated above, there are two kinds of "houses" that can be placed on a property. Given the fact that these two types are impacted by different types of improvements, it is often trouble to calculate what the rent is. Granted, adults will have not too much difficulty, but the boys get frustrated trying to figure out how many of their "houses" count this time. And is the skyscrapper next to that one impacting it or something else?

But the biggest problem with this game is the money. Oh dear lord! The money is in multiple denominations -- thousands (marked with a K), millions (marked with an M). Rents and costs are listed in these denominations as well... so sometimes you will have a cost listed as "600 K" and the next one is listed as "1.4 M" meaning that explaining to an 8-year old who gets Monopoly and Monopoly Jr. that 1000K = 1M and expecting him to be able to figure out how to pay this stuff... well, it is a burden that frustrates him and makes the game far less than fun.

Conclusions
Unless you are a Monopoly die-hard, avoid this one. If we play it again, my wife and I plan to replace all of the property cards with custom made ones that will make the money much easier to deal with and do not use decimals that will confuse the kids. Or my wife. And often cause me to stop and make sure I am giving the right amount of money.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United States
New Jersey
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I read your reviews of all 3 of these and found it quite funny. I picked up the Monopoly and Sorry ones at 5 Below (basically, everything is $5 or less) and feel like they were well-worth it for those prices. Both games look like they need to be house-ruled into being fun, but the basis looks like it's there.

If you actually paid real money for these games.....I'm sorry.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
mar hawkman
msg tools
For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Yeah, the game has a low price, and it's worth it. It's not an awesomely great game. But it's not bad.

and really, it's not that hard to explain.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
K. David Ladage
United States
Cedar Rapids
Iowa
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Low price? No. It was more expensive that the Heroica sets I have for the boys and far less worth the pricetag in the end.

And yes, in my opinion, this is a bad game with a bad design, bad production values, bad playtesting, and no real thought or effort put into it.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Henry Bogart.
United States
Alabama
flag msg tools
mbmb
I got this as a gift... and I'm enjoying it
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
mar hawkman
msg tools
For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Yeah I had a lot of fun with it. So much that I bought a second copy to donate to a community center.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.