Go Directly To Jail, Do Not Pass GO, Do Not Collect $200!
Jan 11, 2007
Pros: Wonderful classic board game, fun to play, great family/group game...
Cons: ...this is the game that never ends. Yes, it goes on and on my friends...
The Bottom Line: Set aside a few hours and play a game of Monopoly with your family and friends this weekend. You'll be sure to have a great time.
It all began in 1934 with a poor heating engineer's big dream. Today Monopoly is the best selling board game in the world, with hundreds of variations (Nintendo Monopoly, Family Guy Monopoly, In-N-Out Monopoly, Chicago Bears Monopoly and most recently a Pirates of the Caribbean Monopoly) and millions of fans. Monopoly was always one of my favorite board games when I was growing up, and it continues to be now.
The object of the game is to make more money than your competitors by buying, renting and trading property as you move around the board. While there are strategies, the game is mostly one of luck- depending on how you roll the dice, where you land, and which cards you draw, you can come out of the game as a winner, or have to bow out early because of bankruptcy.
Two to eight people can participate, and the game comes with a board, game pieces used for navigation, a pair of dice, a Title Deed for each of the properties on the board, paper money, plastic houses and hotels, and two decks of Chance and Community Chest cards.
The original Monopoly board (created by the aforementioned Charles Darrow) is based on Atlantic City, New Jersey. There are 40 colored squares on the board; 28 are buyable properties, 3 are Chance spaces and Community Chest spaces, as well as the Go, Jail, Go To Jail and Free Parking spaces.
The game begins with everyone choosing their game piece (the original game pieces are a wheelbarrow, battleship, horse and rider, car, thimble, shoe, Scottie dog, iron, and a top hot), and with the players designating a Banker who will be in charge of handing out money and property titles. The banker is then responsible for giving money to all the players to begin the game (Everyone starts off with 2 $500, $100, and $50 bills, 6 $20 bills, and 5 $10, $5, and $1 bills- when I was a child I'd always play banker and I had these numbers memorized.) Whoever rolls the highest number on the dice begins playing first.
Each player's turn consists of rolling the dice and moving the corresponding number of squares (in a clockwise motion) around the board. When a player lands on an un-owned property, they can purchase it for the price listed on the board, and they are given a Title Deed from the banker. Each of the properties have a corresponding color with them and there are two to three properties for each color (for example, Marvin Gardens, Atlantic Avenue, and Ventnor Avenue are all yellow). When other players land on that person's property, they are forced to play the rent amount listed on the Title Deed (rent prices are generally anywhere from $2 to $160). Once a player owns all three of one color, they have created a monopoly and can purchase hotels or houses to place on the property and increase the rent.
The game continues on in this fashion, with players moving across the board and trying to buy as many properties as they can without going bankrupt. If a player lands on a Chance space, they must pull a Chance card which can be a positive helper in the game ("Bank pays you a dividend of $50) or a hindrance ("Pay poor tax of $15"), and Community Chess spaces and cards work the same way (You might receive a bank error of $200 in your favor, or have to pay a hospital bill of $100). Every time a player passes the GO space on the board, they collect their salary of $200, but if they land on the Go To Jail space, they must go directly to jail and stay there until they roll doubles, pay $50, or their round is over (or by using a "Get out of jail free card" which can be found in the Chance pile).
Monopoly is such a fun game, because you honestly never know what the outcome will be. While first instinct may be to buy every property you land on, it's often wiser to use strategy and pass on certain properties in order to buy select ones and create a monopoly. Spaces like Park Place and Boardwalk are often sought after because of the high rent, while cheaper properties like Baltic Avenue and Mediterranean Avenue have the lowest rent, and are sometimes avoided. You can also bargain with other players by trading properties or offering to buy them (and even bribing, though that isn't mentioned in the "official game rules").
Towards the end of the game, the winners suddenly become quite apparent. If you're behind, it's easy to head towards bankruptcy, especially if richer players have created large monopolies of properties, house and hotels. I was playing a game of Monopoly the other night with a few friends (it was actually the new Here and Now version), and by the time I went around the board, I actually feared for my livelihood in the game- one entire side was filled with hotels and I owned none of them. Players can mortgage property in order to stay in the game, but once someone goes bankrupt they must leave the game.
Besides being fun, Monopoly can also be used as a learning tool. When I play with younger children, I often allow them to be banker (with supervision, of course. I remember always wanting to play banker as a child- partly because I was quite the embezzler; whenever I passed GO I received a "$200 banker bonus" that none of the other players were aware of). Letting children play as banker helps them learn how to count and gives them a feeling of importance- the banker is a substantial role in the game.
One of the drawbacks of the game, however, is that it seems to go on forever. I've played games of Monopoly that have actually lasted five hours (and the game I played a few nights ago ended at 1:30 in the morning- we quit after playing for three hours!). While the game starts off being competitive and fun, by the time it dwindles down, most of the other players have bowed out and it's usually down to two or three people battling for the rest of the money in the bank. The game doesn't end until there is one player left that has not bankrupted, which can generally take several hours. While the game comes with rules to a shorter option (handing out all the property prior to the start of the game), Monopoly games can still last up to two hours.
The board is sturdy and filled with vibrant colors. The tokens, houses and hotels can't be broken, however the pieces are small and can get lost easily. You can purchase replacement sets from game store outlets and even Amazon.com, but be sure not to lose the Chance, Community Chess or Title Deed cards, as all three are very important to game play.
All in all, Monopoly is a great board game. Working your way up to the richest player on the board is quite fun, and the game brings out a fun and competitive nature in all players. Though the game time can be quite long, Monopoly is still worth playing and is a classic for a reason.
In 1934, in the midst of the Great Depression, an unemployed heating engineer from Pennsylvania created the game of Monopoly. Realizing that his get-rich theme might appeal to other Americans, he had the game printed and distributed in a Philadelphia department store. When he couldn't keep up with the overwhelming requests for more sets, he arranged for Parker Brothers to take over the game. And the rest, as they say, is history. But Monopoly is far from a quaint historical relic. To this day, it remains a riveting game of luck, chance, and savvy wheeling and dealing--all of which can make some lucky dog rich, rich, rich! Based on the purchase of Atlantic City real estate (a city currently renowned for its get-rich gambling opportunities), Monopoly is now printed in 26 languages with more than 200 million sets sold worldwide. Players still scoot the same beloved board pieces: the old shoe, the terrier, and the hot rod. This set also includes rules for a shortened version of the game and a new token, winner of Monopoly's recent "design a token" contest. This is capitalism at its most fun and ruthless, a must-have edition in the family game closet.--Gail Hudson