(via Dan Rutter)
[Monopoly] takes ages to play, suffering long action-free periods in which the players endlessly circle the board in search of the streets they need to complete a set, and lacks the interaction between players that we look for in a game. In short, it’s boring and lacks skill.
Except that it isn’t crap. Actually. You just have to play it the way it was designed to be played.
This is mostly about the property-auction rule, which I can confirm that nobody ever knows about. (They also never know about getting double rent for properties that are part of a monopoly but have no houses yet, even though it’s written on the property cards, but that’s minor.) To clarify some other often-misundestood points:
- Landing on Free Parking does nothing. Money from Chance and Community Chest cards goes to the bank.
- Landing on Go does not double your money.
- If you choose 10% on the “10% or $200” tax spot, it’s 10% of your total assets by retail price. Since all players start with $1500, after the first few trips around the board, 10% is almost always more than $200.
- You can do everything, except move, from Jail. It’s actually a pretty great place to waste time and collect rent later in the game when there are dangerous hotels everywhere. (As long as you own the oranges, which you really should make every effort to do. I’ve rarely seen a competent player own the orange monopoly and lose.)
Common house rules, like getting money for landing on Free Parking, make the game significantly worse. People have added them over time to make the game more “fun”, I guess, but almost all of them artificially inject more money into the game and therefore make it take much longer — and then the same people complain that it takes forever.
But the rules aren’t perfect. Most tournaments and serious players add two very important rules that make the game far less corruptible:
- All owed rent must be paid, even if the property owner doesn’t notice that you landed on it.
- Deals between players can only include property, cash, and Get Out Of Jail Free cards. So you can’t, for instance, agree not to charge rent to each other (see previous rule also).
And one of my house rules, if you’re so inclined:
- Round all prices to the nearest $5 increment so you never need to deal with $1 bills.
I may have just revealed how much of a Monopoly nerd I was as a teenager.