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Subject: Monopoly: Why It's Broke and How You Can Fix It rss

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Greg Gresik
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Yes, the game we've all played since we were kids. The game many dread. This review is two fold. First, I will acknowledge and attempt to explain why most people falsely assume Monopoly stinks as a playable game. Second, I will offer some rules that will assist in making it one. Also, check the strategy section soon, as I will also post a strategy article as a follow-up to this review (and yes, Monopoly does involve strategy).

As a slight departure from typical reviews, I will not explain all of the game rules or components. This is for a few reasons. For one most people are all too familiar with them. Although some of the rules often discarded/forgotten about will be addressed. In terms of components, there are so many versions from the simple, (for $10 at Toys R Us) to the Franklin Mint $300 version with 24k gold plated hotels and a mahogany and felt playing board, along with theme-based coponents with special figures, "buildings", boards, etc. The interesting fact is that most variants only put a new 'skin' on the game (i.e. the cost of the square that is typically 'Boardwalk' is still 200 somethings and still costs 2000 somethings if you land on it fully improved upon.

Most people level complaints about Monopoly based on one (or both) of the following:
1) "It's too long"
2) "It's all roll and move - no strategy"

To address point #1: For the past two years, my wife, two children (currently 10 & 9) and I have probably played close to 50 games of Monopoly. None has taken longer than 2 hours and most wrap up in 1 to 1 1/2 hours. There are several reasons most peoples' experience of Monopoly is like a 3 hour root canal:

1) House rules that you learned/grew up with that break the game. ($500 on free parking!)

2) Not playing by the actual rules (usually regarding jail, the mortgaging of houses at 50% of their original cost, and the 10% fees associated with unmortgaging and taking over property). Omission of any of these rules greatly changes the game. The rules for Monopoly are not long nor complex so I would make one suggestion: read them - you may be surprised that you have been playing wrong (we were when first started playing with our kids - I always thought you couldn't do anything in jail!)

3) (MOST IMPORTANT!) Playing with a number of player that is less than 4 ](although 3 is passable). Simply put, there is much more trading, building, and strategy involved in a 4+ player game.

Why? There are several reasons. First off, 2 players is the worst, due to the zero sum total guideline most people employ - that is, what's good for my opponent is bad for me (it's much harder to make a trade with the only person you are playing against.) Also, with 4 players there is twice as much money in the game at the outset - allowing for property to be purchased, traded then built upon relatively quickly. With only 2 or 3 players, a situation can often form where players have property, but no money to improve or even lack the money to purchase that last property to complete a monopoly. As such, the game stalls while players simply move around the board to pass Go several times to replenish cash. Boring and long.

I also would recommend against playing with many more than 5 players as this creates the opposite problem - frustration. With 6+ players many people only manage to obtain 2 or 3 properties in a reasonable amount of time (indeed, there are only 28 properties, so in a 6 player game one could only hope to obtain 4-5 max). This hampers trading (it's difficult to trade when all you have to trade are a RR and Vermont).

4. (Also important): People don't play to win. I know this sounds like it should be obvious (if not bizarre) but for some reason people don't seem to understand that the point of Monopoly is to win. The point is not to make sure everyone has an equal number of properties, nor is it to make sure everyone has the same number of monopolies, and it is most assuredly not to make sure the game continues for players that should be out - the point is to win. Often, people will make trades to make things even - but not even trades. Just because I have Tennessee, St. James, St. Charles, and Virginia, does NOT mean I have to give you the two orange ones to get States. The person with 3 RR, does not have a God-given right to have the 4th as part of a trade. Finally, if landing on New York with 3 houses (why should generally not even waste building more than that will covered in the strategy article) will put player X out to me, then I should NOT (as many people do) let player X slide. The only way the game ends is when all players save one are out.
These types of in-game "not playing to win" maneuvers only lengthen the game, making it worse for everyone, not better. If the game is a 4 hour marathon, then being eliminated (and losing) is extremely unpleasant. If it is an hour and fifteen minutes and we can play again tomorrow, being eliminated is seen as part of the game.

So how is Monopoly a viable and fun game? First, as a 4 player game (or possibly 5 for reasons already discussed). Second follow the actual rules - most of the time. For those that simply must have house rules (i.e. "I won't play if I can't make $ by landing on Free Parking), here are the rules we play with and an explanation of why I believe they 'help':

1) $100 on Free Parking...always. It starts there at the beginning of the game and is replenished when someone lands and takes 'the pot'.

2) All fees from Chance and Community Chest go to the FREE PARKING pot EXCEPT the two building assessments (i.e. pay $X per house and $N per hotel) this exception is crucial, especially later in the game. Those two cards should be paid directly to the bank, otherwise, late in the game, too much money can change hands too quickly (i.e. drastically increasing the luck factor and making the game drag on).

3) Snake Eye lottery! ($100 if you roll "snake eyes") Simply some added fun. The point of 1,2 & 3 is that they keep money in the game, thus keeping things flowing. Not so much that it introduces too much luck at any one given point. Generally the combination of Free Parking and snake eye lottery tend to even out (and even if they don't an extra $100 here or there is not a significant enough amount to sway the game - just keep it moving)

4) No "until the end of the game" deals (i.e. you can have a free ride on Boardwalk and Park Place 1 time, but not forever, because if it comes down to just you and me, it will be that much longer)

5) Play to win. Make fair trades, but not "pity" trades. Only let people have a 'free ride' on your property if you get something in return, not because you feel sorry for them. Again, this only prolongs the game (and their agony - if they need a free ride from you, they're probably in trouble anyway). Make people mortgage houses/property to pay you - that's the point.

Point #2 (i.e. no strategy) will be addressed shortly in a strategy article I will submit. For purpouses of brevity (and the fact that this is a review, not a strategy article), suffice it to say that there are several areas of Monopoly that involve strategy: trading, negotiating (fees, rent, etc. - not just trades), what to build and when, how much to build, and even what to do while in jail.

In conclusion, we have found Monopoly to be a fun 1 to 1 1/2 hour game with a fair amount of strategy (the two adults win 70-80% of the time). The strategy piece will be covered separately, but please consider revisiting this classic. Go down to your basement, dust off the old box, READ THE RULES and get 3 others together for a game. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.


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Philip Thomas
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I don't doubt that there are strategies in Monopoly. The problem is that the number of meaningful decisions per unit time is low by comparison to most eurogames (or wargames for that matter). The other problem is that the game has player elimination, which sucks.

Your house rules are interesting, but I prefer the purity of the original, where extra money is being pumped in at £200 a player round the board, not more. The more money, the less people can go bankrupt. The faster people go bankrupt, the sooner the game ends, which unfortunately is the win-win scenario from my point of view.meeple

Still, a decent review and some interesting points.
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Patrick Hanley
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Good post, but your advice is contradictory.

You say to play with the rules as writen, then you go on to suggest a $100 bonus for rolling a 2, and putting $100 under free parking. This goes against the written rules, and has the effect of artificially prolonging the game by keeping week players in the game. $100 here and there has a greater effect than you think.


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Nick Case
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A brave entry into a gaming lions den. However I feel you are going to be a lone voice singing the praises of this dinosaur of a childrens game. I, and I expect most honest gamers on this site loved Monopoly as a child but exposure to games of true strategy and skill reveal this old favorite as a random dice-lead lottery.

You miss a number of crucial additional grounds why gamers loath this entry level game;

1/ Player elimination: The goal is to knock players out. Even if you do manage to achieve a miracle and end a game in 2 hours, at least one person will have sat out watching TV for one hour. As previously mentioned such a mechanic is largely considered bad ettiquette these days.
2/ I've never met anyone who believed the Free Parking gets the Community Chest and Chance fines rule was 'official'. The rules were introduced when players became disenchanted with the game and wanted to add something different. Its not even a good variant, its still utterly random.
3/ The more players the longer the game. More people to kick out, its stands to reason. I remember one Christmas a 4 person game lasted 5 1/2 hours as the last three players swapped money piles as they fell on each others hotels.
4/ Few games ran their course. Most ended because it was time for bed, or to go home, people just got sick of stalemate or the expelled players wanted to play something else etc. You just added up your assets and declared a winner.

Again as previusly mentioned there are games around now that are designed to be wrapped up in a couple of hours and ensure all players are in with a shout at the end.

Regardless of your negociation skills and fiscal acumen, if you roll a number that lands you on an opponants biggie with an hotel, you are going to have to pay biggie rent. There is no skill in that move, no option and no counter blocking strategy. Your fate is utterly tied to the dice, you roll bad, you do bad. This is a dice game, but unlike Backgammon you only have one piece to move and only one direction to move in.

This is not a liberal forum. Everyone here plays to have fun...but to win. Hence there are sections on strategies for each game. No one here except kindly parents helping their kids into gaming needs to be told to play to win.

Personally I don't think the optional variants do speed the game up, they just seem to pump in additional random cash and the game is random enough already.

I will resist your invite to play this game again, mainly because if gaming friends made the effort to visit and I got Monopoloy out, I would still be coughing up hotels a week later. With so many excellent games which have been produced in the last 10 years, life is too short to play Monopoly again.
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Sean Swart
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Thanks Greg for the fine article.

Nothing makes Monopoly a bore than the urban legend rule of putting money in free parking. I refuse to play this game if others want to do so, it just makes the game way too long.

While Monoploy is not my favorite, nor even liked by me, it is far from what others call broken, nor is it a terrible game. There are some Euro games out there that fit that description much better. The issue of elimination seems to be the factor that really hinders many from liking this game. Maybe a hidden mission, might help? Or Owning 2 areas of the board, such as utilities and all Red properties, or Purple and Blue or Railroads and Green. I think you see where I am going. It could end the game when one player achieves his goals.

Just a thought, and don't worry about the nay sayers, just have fun and keep the ideas coming.

Sean
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Greg Gresik
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I don't disagree that there are better options. The point of the review was really to suggest that Monopoly is better than it's 4.51 rating. It seems as though it's fashionable to pile on this particular game and recall the worst possible example imageanable. Indeed, I played 6 player Seafarer's of Catan that lasted 4 hours and had to be put out of it's misery after 3 were tied with only 8 victory points (12 needed to win) - but I'm not going to rail on it. (No, I'm not comparing the two!)

I realize that there are many other good games. I also realize that Monopoly does have it's weaknesses. However, I also think that Monopoly does have some value as a light game with non-gamers and a mixed aged audience - that it is not so devoid of strategy nor take so long that it is unbearable.

It's also a nice change of pace for people that don't have $100 a month to spend on games - most people already have a copy.

Is Monopoly going to compete with Catan or replace Ticket to Ride as a "gateway game"? - no. It certainly isn't a "gamers game", nor would it be at your weekly game night. But it plays better than many seem to think.




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Travis Hall
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I have played, with some of my friends, what we refer to as "Speed Monopoly". We use the standard Monopoly rules, plus one house rule. The house rule is, if you land on someone's property, you pay them, regardless of whether your opponent notices before somebody else rolls the dice.

(Sometimes we use a second house rule, that being that income tax is always $200, never 10% of your money and property values.)

Then, we play at high speed. While one person is moving his piece, the next is rolling the dice, and the player before may still be counting money for a rent payment of property purchase.

Playing this way, we have finished games of Monopoly in 20 minutes. I'd say we would usually finish in under 30 minutes. We would never, ever play for 90 minutes. We usually have a couple of pauses in the action for intense rounds of negotiation.

And while we all play to win, I've been known to offer some deals that are ridiculously good to a player who is short on cash. "You've landed on Mayfair and don't think you have a hope of paying? I'll give you $1000 for The Angel Islington. Don't worry, I don't get a set out of it." The player in dire straights survives, and I ensure that the light blues never get used as a set against me.

The luck factor of Monopoly is still high, of course, but when it is played in under half and hour, and only every now and then, it isn't so bad. Player elimination isn't a big problem either, when the eliminated player is only sitting out for ten minutes.
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Crazy Bob
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Right on. I got the family to try the game with no free parking lotto, and *everyone* liked it better. This is my only question... was it right of me to not make a trade that gives me a monopoly, but gives the other guy 2? (the most of anyone?) Was it right of him to not make any offer that didn't get him that second monopoly?
Oh, and I will play two player anyday, if you play where anything that is landed on (and available) is auctioned off.
 
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Les Lauber
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quardlepleen wrote:
Good post, but your advice is contradictory.
I disagree. Notice that what Greg actually writes is:
Nikoms wrote:
For those that simply must have house rules....
Greg isn't contradicting himself; he's offering several options to restore balance to this game. Ideas that, in his experience, do not break the game.

I'm something of an iconoclast among gamers. I enjoy a solidy designed wargame, or a strong euro-style game, or a bit of Americana that includes a factor of luck. I've even been known to enjoy a game or two of WAR. Sean hits the nail on the head when he offers:
Da Black Gobo wrote:
...it is far from what others call broken....
Philip, with his typical insightfulness, notes that
Philip Thomas wrote:
I don't doubt that there are strategies in Monopoly. The problem is that the number of meaningful decisions per unit time is low by comparison to most eurogames (or wargames for that matter). The other problem is that the game has player elimination, which sucks.
He has eloquently given name in those last two sentences to the sense of dissatisfaction that so many here have spent so many sentences trying to describe. The bottom line, I believe, is: if one dislikes player elimination, MONOPOLY is no better fit than is GO for one who dislikes extreme abstraction in a game. Similarly, if one dislikes the lower levels of decision allowed within MONOPOLY, in which the decisions are limited to whether to purchase or auction properties on which one lands or to improve properties if one owns a monopoly, one will not enjoy it. As gamers, though, we tend to react to games like this that do not reflect our personal preferences as "bad" or "broken." Wouldn't it be more fair to the game, and to other players, to say "I prefer fewer random elements" or "I prefer not to lose the socialization of friends by eliminating them from the game?"

Philip also writes
Philip Thomas wrote:
I don't doubt that there are strategies in Monopoly.
Again, he shows insight. More than a decade ago (please don't rely on my faulty memory) Games Magazine ran a marvelous article that pointed out the Returns On Investment (ROI's) on all properties are not equal. More importantly, the improvement of certain properties could shift the ROI on those properties, and the ROI on properties within a monopoly were not the same. (Boardwalk and Park Place are expensive enough to dilute their ROI, whereas the low-cost properties with improvements can command high ROI's). When I learned from this article that, in the late mid-game and end-game when little property remained to purchase it can be beneficial to be in jail (since one collects rent while not paying it out), I used that strategy and found it paid off handsomely. Also, an understanding of the standard rolls of two fair six-sided dice helps tremendously. The dice cannot truly be predicted on any roll; yet one can make some reasonable assumptions about how they will roll over the course of a game. One can make nearly perfect predictions about how they will roll over the course of several games.

In his excellent book New Rules for Classic Games, Wayne Schmittberger writes
R. Wayne Schmittberger wrote:
"If you're unlucky (and, when it comes to rolling dice, who isn't?), you never seem to have any kind of chance to survive later in the game. This is an especially big problem if you go last in a game with four or more players, since the properties you land on are likely to have been bought already."
He then recommends some alterations that equalize player opportunities without damaging the playability of the game. Suggestions he makes: Staggered starts, auctioning any property landed on with various levels of complexity, handicapping players' starting cash to equalize disparities between player levels, bidding for the right to be the first player, combining it with other dice-throwing boardgames such as parcheesi and backgammon, and eliminating the dice altogether (see page 224). He also explains with clarity why the "money-in-the-middle" option breaks the game--as each other poster on this review has noted.

I believe MONOPOLY is a fine game--for what it is. Players looking for more decisions should check out Schmittberger's variations. Players not wanting to play a race-and-chase game...should play something else. And those of us who enjoy a good game in the right company should do so. Oh, and Greg, that was an excellent post. 1GG to you for having the conviction to stand up and defend this game!
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skrebs
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In my opinion, the only palatable way to play this game is a) play by the rules - no house rules, b) end the game when the first player goes out, and c) use The Simpsons version that your brother-in-law got for you for Christmas since he knows you "like games."
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Michael Sosa
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I have recently played monopoly with my family twice, on the insistance of my kid brother. We played by the official rules, even though I had to browbeat some of the players to accept them. I agree with the reviewer that Monopoly is a better game if people play by the rules and play to win. In my particular example, someone was not trying to win and was helping someone else, making the game longer and less fun than it already is. I think Monopoly is flawed because the harsh player elimination system, in the family environment where it is typically played, encourages this type of cooperation between some players.

I am one of those players that rates Monopoly low, a 3, even though I admit I liked the game as a kid. What I have discovered now is that there are lots of better games out there for a family to enjoy. I can never recommend this game to anyone, even if playing with the official rules above. Even if I am trying to exercise the mind of youngsters, I could not recommend this game knowing that so many better options exist.
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Andrew H
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If you really want to play Monopoly the real rules are a must. Yes you said that and then you shot down your own argument. Worse still you miss mentioning the most critical rule omission that seems to ALWAYS happen. All properties are AUCTIONED if they are not purchased at face value by the person who lands on them. Unless everyone has $0 then the property will be bought for something. Plus it introduces a lot more strategy regarding when to auction and then buy for yourself for cheaper than face value, when to push another player up above face value, how high you can push them before they let you pay too much... auction games have a lot more tension and strategy and it is written in the official rules. My brother in law and his gaming group usually take 30 mins to an hour to play this. It is a good game for that length.
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Greg Gresik
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First, thank you to all for the feedback - both positive and negative. I really didn't think Monopoly would illicit such strong opinions.

For those that insist that I was contradictory in my review (with "play by the rules" and then a suggestion of some house rules that we use). My point about playing by the rules had more to do with the mortgaging penalties that I find few people use (for building and property). The house rules add a little extra money to the game - this does not make the game drag out longer, in fact it contributes to quick and decisive games.

An example: if, in the course of several turns, I had rolled "snake eye lottery" ($100) and collected an extra $200 from Free Parking then proceeded to spend the $300 on a 3rd house on St. James, Tennessee & New York, the resulting increase would be $350 more in payment. Instead of the game meandering around at the rent/1 house level, the added money jump starts the economy as it were. The faster people reach the 3 house threshold (generally, the highest ROI point), the quicker people start getting eliminated.

My point here is that small amounts of money don't break the game the way many 'big money' house rules do. In fact, they speed up the transition from opening game purchasing to mid-game building. In a true example of a capitalistic game, the rich continue to get get richer.

Two other final points:

As Critical Mass points out, I did not make specific mention of the auction rule. To be honest, in a game where most people understand the importance of property, and when playing with predominantly 4 players or more, this is rarely an occurence. Property is typically bought outright. Now, a variation (which, incidentally is not in the official rules) which had every property auctioned upon a player landing on it, would certainly change the game (and add some more strategy).

And secondly, to address the 'player elimination flaw'. First off, player elimination is not a flaw in and of itself. As LesLauber points out, if you don't like it as a mechanic, then simply don't play Monopoloy...or Werewolf, or Bang! or Texas Hold 'Em tournaments, or countless other games that use elimination as a way to determine a winner. Much the same way people with an aversion to dice shouldn't play Risk or people who don't like the horror genre shouldn't play Arkham or Mall of Horror. Another key point is that elimination can often be a springboard into the end-game.

An example: There are 3 players left (player D had terrible luck compounded by an ill-advised trade to Player 1 that involved cash-for-property allowing Player 1 to build on other property early and quickly knock player 4 out). Player A has 2 monopolies (light blue - built to hotels and BW/PP) along with 2 RR and some random property including Ventnor and Atlantic. Player B has 1 monopoly (orange) built to 3 houses on each, the 2 utilities and a smattering of random prop. (including States and Virginia) Player C, struggling desperately to avoid player D's fate has 2 RR, Baltic & Med (but had to mortgage the hotels to pay of player 3), St. Charles and Marvin Gardens.

This scenario makes it fairly obvious - whoever player C goes out to will likely win, as the cash and property will likely tip the scales. UNLESS - player C lands on Player A's light blues and has to cough up enough money to weaken him/her, but not enough to put him/her out to Player A. Because Player A had made a earlier trades to allow him to build on those light blues ( remember player D?) and thus obtain second monopoly, the in flow of cash from his light blue could bring about a few houses in the Boardwalk neighborhood - which would likely spell the beginning of the end for player B. Now there are countless variations you could throw into this equation to make it more interesting, (what if player B held the 2 RRs and seeing the writing on the wall, made C and offer he couldn't refuse? What if player A was low on cash and C landed on B first - then went out to Player A, giving him little cash, but a ton of 10% fees and mortgaged property?) however, the fact remains that player elimination not only works in this game, it's an integral part and produces yet another opportunity for trades and strategy, both before it happens and after.


As I said at the outset, my goal is not to get you to rank Monopoly just behind Catan, Puerto Rico or Carcassonne. It just semms to me that Monopoly gets a bad wrap - and many of the reasons have nothing to do with the game itself, but more often, a result of house rules or not playing by the published rules - especially in the areas I pointed out in my initial review. As Les also points out above, there are suggested variations and "fixes" (if you feel this game needs them) to make it even better.

I can't make people like a game, but I hope I can at least encourage people to look past the way they experienced a game at age 9 through the made-up rules of their 3rd cousin Zeke For me it will stay at a solid 6 of 10 "Ok game, some fun or challenge at least, will play sporadically if in the right mood" - maybe even a 6.5?
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Philip Thomas
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Actualy, so long as there are 3 or more players, you can avoid bankruptcy, with some diplomatic skills.
I have landed on a nice big Hotel. I can't possibly afford the rent. So I offer all my assets to the person who doesn't own the hotel, for £1 (strict reading of the rules prohibits gifts, but not sales). Now the owner of the Hotel needs to make a counter-offer. meeple
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Greg Gresik
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Philip Thomas wrote:
Actualy, so long as there are 3 or more players, you can avoid bankruptcy, with some diplomatic skills.
I have landed on a nice big Hotel. I can't possibly afford the rent. So I offer all my assets to the person who doesn't own the hotel, for £1 (strict reading of the rules prohibits gifts, but not sales). Now the owner of the Hotel needs to make a counter-offer. meeple


Very nice - I'll have to keep that in mind. But wouldn't that be called "King making" (at least if you followed through).

Actually, one could always suggest a 'house rule'wow whereby you could only make deals up to the point when a roll puts you out (i.e. as soon as you had rolled to put you on my hotel, you could only negotiate with me - thus preventing "king making") Just a thought.
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Nick Case
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Philip Thomas wrote:

I have landed on a nice big Hotel. I can't possibly afford the rent. So I offer all my assets to the person who doesn't own the hotel, for £1meeple


Certainly thinking out of the box but the fact remains that you got in that fixed because the dice put you there and after your asset negotiation you are left with either £1 or 50% of your clearly minimal property and funds. In other words out of the game. Why prolong the agony?
 
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Philip Thomas
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That house rule, like all the others, should be consigned to the dustbin. Often times Player C can save Player A by buying property from him, and this should be totally legitimate!

Here the case is that you will go bankrupt even if the deal works (the choice is therefore not between £1 and half your property, it is between bankruptcy and whatever deal player A can offer.). I don't see it as kingmaking but as the simple common sense maneuvre in all bankruptcy situations. You would have done exactly the same thing in reverse had you landed on a property owned by a different player.

Of course, it does prolong the agony. Still, it seems the list author likes Monopoly, so why not?

 
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Greg Gresik
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Philip Thomas wrote:
That house rule, like all the others, should be consigned to the dustbin. Often times Player C can save Player A by buying property from him, and this should be totally legitimate!

Here the case is that you will go bankrupt even if the deal works (the choice is therefore not between £1 and half your property, it is between bankruptcy and whatever deal player A can offer.). I don't see it as kingmaking but as the simple common sense maneuvre in all bankruptcy situations. You would have done exactly the same thing in reverse had you landed on a property owned by a different player.

Of course, it does prolong the agony. Still, it seems the list author likes Monopoly, so why not?



Ironically, I do agree with you on one aspect of this line of thinking - it is legitimate, if only from Player C's (the one who will receive your property for $1) standpoint - as he would be trying to win. The weakness is, as already stated in the review, that the player making such an offer is no longer playing to win (only to not lose right now).

Personally, this would be akin to a player in Settler's agreeing to trade all of his wheat and ore for 1 sheep late in the game just to allow the recipient to win. Or the Angel in Werewolf protecting themselves only - while it does prolong the game for the player in question, it does not change the final outcome for the player in question - only the others playing. By definition, that would be "king making" in my book. Indeed, there comes a point (typically right near the end) where the winner (or at least those in the running) have a fairly obvious and insurmountable lead. While it is important to try to stop them from winning, to make decisions that will simply allow a different player to clearly win is "A player, himself in a losing position, that has the power to decide who will win a given game." - i.e. the BGG's definition of king maker.

I do enjoy an occasional game of Monopoly - but only when everyone is playing to win, not drag the game out endlessly or needlessly.

Mr. Thomas - it is fairly unlikely that we will ever sit down at the same game table, as you are from England and I hail from the U.S. - but if we do, we will play...anything BUT Monopoly I happen to play Bridge and Chess as well (although you would likely school me in the latter). A funny story about Bridge - had a partner who didn't understand bidding very well - I opened 1NT, he figured he had opening points, so came back with 3NT (!!!) My first reaction was "Oh #$*@" I passed, played it and made it - and no thanks to his 12 point hand (which was only 11 if you -1 for no aces).
 
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Philip Thomas
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I agree not to play Monopoly in the event of our meetingmeeple

In order to win, you must survive. The player on the verge of bankruptcy is doing his utmost to survive. His win is unlikely, of course. In Settlers, you can't get eliminated, and in Werewolf the Archangel is playing subotimallly, unless you are using role combination and he is also the Hunter...

(There is a seperate point to be made about whether Player C should make a real intevention, if he can afford it- to prevent B's bankruptcy by buying one (or more) of his propertys for the cost of the bill: a lot obviously depends on how much property B has and whether he is likely to go bankrupt to C if he survives this bill...)
 
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Nikoms wrote:
Philip Thomas wrote:
Actualy, so long as there are 3 or more players, you can avoid bankruptcy, with some diplomatic skills.
I have landed on a nice big Hotel. I can't possibly afford the rent. So I offer all my assets to the person who doesn't own the hotel, for £1 (strict reading of the rules prohibits gifts, but not sales). Now the owner of the Hotel needs to make a counter-offer. meeple


Very nice - I'll have to keep that in mind. But wouldn't that be called "King making" (at least if you followed through).

The idea is that you shouldn't have to follow through. You threaten the player who would bankrupt you: "Waive the rent or I'll sell everything to your opponent for $1." If he waives the rent, you cannot be bankrupted. If he doesn't, he loses.

However, once you start doing that sort of thing, everyone should do it, which makes finishing the game impossible. Given that situation, and knowing the result, I'd probably hand all my property to that third player, saying, "I'll take that deal myself - $1 please, and you can collect the rent from kingmaker there."

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Actually, one could always suggest a 'house rule'wow whereby you could only make deals up to the point when a roll puts you out (i.e. as soon as you had rolled to put you on my hotel, you could only negotiate with me - thus preventing "king making") Just a thought.

I wouldn't do that. As has been pointed out, there are perfectly legitimate deals that can still be made in that sort of situation. I've made deals that seem extraordinarily bad for me, on face value, because they prevent property going to an opponent and completing more of his sets and instead allow me to lock-out yet another set permanently (or effectively so - I don't care what happens after I am eliminated).

The house rule my friends and I have used - one I had forgotten about - is that once you land on somebody's property, any deals you make with anyone other than the owner must ultimately result in you being able to pay the rent. You can't sell for $1, but you can sell for the amount that you need to make good on your debt.
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Philip Thomas
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Well, you don't have to say 'waive the rent'. You just ask him for a deal. In fact it is now a game of 'chicken'. You will go bankrupt if there is no deal, and he will lose if there is no deal, so both of you need to make a settlement, and can push the other...meeple

Note that the game does eventually end because people start losing property and this makes the kingmaker maneuvre less effective.

The kingmaking is just an incidental feature of your making the best move in the situation. If Player A decides to concede to player C at that point, you have at least ended the game


 
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Chris Shaffer
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I'm not going to defend Monopoly as I think it's a pretty bad game. As a pre-teen I was obsessed with it and learned a lot about the rules.

Quote:
Actualy, so long as there are 3 or more players, you can avoid bankruptcy, with some diplomatic skills.
I have landed on a nice big Hotel. I can't possibly afford the rent. So I offer all my assets to the person who doesn't own the hotel, for £1 (strict reading of the rules prohibits gifts, but not sales). Now the owner of the Hotel needs to make a counter-offer.


By tournament rules, you aren't allowed to do this. You can only make the trade if it will provide you with sufficient funds to pay the rent bill. Similarly, you aren't allowed to mortgage all of your properties when you go bankrupt, unless doing so will provide you with sufficient funds to pay the rent. I'm unlikely to play Monopoly ever again, but if I did, I would insist on this tournament rule.

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I have played, with some of my friends, what we refer to as "Speed Monopoly". We use the standard Monopoly rules, plus one house rule. The house rule is, if you land on someone's property, you pay them, regardless of whether your opponent notices before somebody else rolls the dice.


Note that, by the official rules, two players must roll the dice before you are prohibited from collecting rent. The rules state The owner may not collect the rent if he/she fails to ask for it before the second player following throws the dice.
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Philip Thomas wrote:
Well, you don't have to say 'waive the rent'. You just ask him for a deal.

Eventually you reach a situation in which no deal other than "waive the rent" will give the player losing money a chance of winning the game. At that point, either the player goes bankrupt or that threat comes out, with the corresponding effects as I described.

As has now been pointed out, though, my preferred rule is a standard tournament rule, and fixes the situation quite nicely. The diplomatic aspect is still there, too, prior to the point that "waive the rent or lose" comes out. I've been known to offer extremely good deals to somebody who owes me money, so as to prevent an important property being sold to another opponent. "You owe me $1000, but I'll take the Angel Islington instead if you like. I tell you what, I'll even let you mortgage it first, and you can keep the money. No, it doesn't give me a set, don't worry about that."
 
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TheCat wrote:
Note that, by the official rules, two players must roll the dice before you are prohibited from collecting rent. The rules state The owner may not collect the rent if he/she fails to ask for it before the second player following throws the dice.

Whatever. Either way, we drop that rule in favour of our "honesty rule", because even with that rule there would be times in our games when the dice had been rolled twice more before an owner had even had time to see where the rentor had landed.

Yes, we play very fast. Yes, the turns overlap. We pause only to count money and make deals.
 
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Les Lauber
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Wraith wrote:
Philip Thomas wrote:
Well, you don't have to say 'waive the rent'. You just ask him for a deal.

Eventually you reach a situation in which no deal other than "waive the rent" will give the player losing money a chance of winning the game. At that point, either the player goes bankrupt or that threat comes out, with the corresponding effects as I described.


And bankrupting other players is the whole point of MONOPOLY. Making any deal, including waiving rent, that strengthens a player who can be weakened is a bad move. As a player, I don't want the player losing money to have a chance of winning the game. That's why I developed the properties, right?
 
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