Board Game Review: Monopoly Deluxe Edition

Quick description from Board Game Geek:
Monopoly is the classic real estate game. Buy properties, build houses and hotels, collect rent from fellow players. Repeat as necessary until everyone else is bankrupt.

Players: 2-8 (ideal with 4) (3,4,5,6 is playable) (2,7,8 is not recommended
Play Time: 180-300 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Learning Curve: Easy
Price: $29.99 on Amazon, some version of Monopoly is available just about everywhere
Best Place to Learn: From any other human being in the world.

 

Review:
[I want to quickly mention that I’m using the Deluxe version of Monopoly for this review. This is the version I’ve done the vast majority of my play times with and the pieces are much cooler than your average game.]

This review is tough for me because Monopoly is a big reason I love board games. I played this game a TON when I was a kid. Much the same way that Carcassonne and Catan were a bridge to the designer board games I love today, Monopoly was a bridge from the children’s games of Chutes and Ladders to a game that wasn’t completely based on luck. I loved the thought of getting all the cards, the cool pieces, and the ability to bankrupt your friends after they land on Boardwalk with a hotel on it. If this was 10 year old Dave reviewing Monopoly it’d get a perfect score. Unfortunately for Monopoly, I’ve moved on to bigger and better things.

This is the version I own

My main issue with Monopoly is the amount of luck that is involved. In what at first glance appears to be a pretty deep and complicated game, after multiple playthroughs the strategy is quite simple. It is in your best interest to buy everything you land on, talk your way into trading for a decent Monopoly (anything besides the purples or light blues), build hotels immediately, and then get lucky with the dice. Every single game I’ve played with competent players is played in this fashion. The reason is simple, that’s the best way to win.

The other big issue with the game is how long it takes. I’ve played games of Monopoly that have lasted over six hours. Six hours! That is a ridiculous amount of time for anything let alone a game of Monopoly. The main reason for this is all the house rules that people implement to add more money into the game, thus prolonging the gameplay agony. A free $500 + utility payments to the player who lands on Free Parking, immunity for landing on a hotel in return for a deal in a trade, and allowing players to use more house/hotel markers than are available in the box. All of these are common house rules and each one can add HOURS to the experience. Monopoly is designed to be ruthless. You’re not suppose to have a bunch of money laying around and you’re suppose to drive players out of the game. Of course if you’re the first one out and have to watch your friends complete a two hour game without you it sucks. Thus the reasoning behind the excess rules.

Monopoly was great in its time, but that time has passed. There are simply much better games out there these days. The next time someone asks you to play a game of Monopoly, suggest instead that they try Catan or Carcassonne. You’ll have more fun and my guess is that they’ll thank you for it later!

Let me know in the comments what you think of Monopoly!

Monopoly Deluxe Edition
Components 4 I love the pieces in the Deluxe Version and the property cards and money are all very cool looking as well. If you have the cheap $10 version, subtract 3-4 points.
Skill
2 This game involves rolling dice, and rolling dice is the main strategy. There is little skill involved.
Replayability 8 I’ve played Monopoly my whole life and there’s a reason it is THE classic board game. Still, I’ve clearly outgrown it.
Complexity
3 I can’t be more clear. Buy everything, talk your way into a decent Monopoly, get lucky. That’s the game.
Fun 6 I’ve had a ton of fun over the years but it’s been awhile since I’ve enjoyed a game of Monopoly.
23 Mediocre is a great way to describe Monopoly.

 

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