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Subject: It's a Miracle - Monopoly is Fun Again rss

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Dice Hate Me
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Say the word “Monopoly” to most die-hard gamers and they are likely to run screaming from the room as if their face is engulfed in flames. To some gamers, that very flaming fate would be preferable to the tedious, near-death experience of another game of Monopoly. To those of you who cringe at the thought of Passing Go; to those who abhor little metal Scotties; to the dear few who pray you Go to Jail so you don’t have to sweat bullets trying to get past your cousin’s stupid Skid Row with hotels on them – I’m here to tell you that it’s safe to come out from behind your stack of Eurogames. I’m going to perform a miracle: I’m going to show you that Monopoly can be fun again.


When words aren't enough to convey Monopoly hate, I turn to charts.

In Monopoly Deal, the object is simple: Collect three complete sets of properties – you know, like Boardwalk & Park Place, the four Railroads, the usual suspects that absolutely everyone remembers. To achieve the objective, each player draws two cards at the beginning of their turn and can then perform up to three actions. The three actions are thus:

1) Place a property in front of you. You now own this property – but probably not for long. We’ll get to that.
2) Put money into your bank by placing a money card in front of you, into a stack that you form beside your expanding property empire. This money is used to pay other players when they play certain cards like a bunch of dirty money grubbers.
3) Play an Action card. This is as easy as placing the card into the center of the table and announcing, smugly, “You now have to give me lots of money/give me a property/give me a set of of your properties.” Action cards can also be placed into a player’s bank to be used as money, but once this is done the action card can never be used again, even if it goes into an opponent’s bank.


In this game, the Skid Row properties are just as dangerous for a win as Boardwalk & Park Place - at least until someone gets a face full of a dark blue Rent card.

Play continues in the customary clockwise fashion with each player drawing cards and placing cards until someone manages to complete or steal three full sets of properties by any means necessary. To aid each player in becoming a real estate magnate, there is a delightfully evil array of Action cards. The most basic of these cards are the Rent cards, which typically have a ring filled with two colors. If a player owns property of one of those two colors, they can play a Rent card on their turn and charge – usually – every player an amount of money indicated on the property card according to the number of cards in that set. Most times the amount is small because a player will only have one or two properties in the set, but occasionally some lucky jerk will own the dark blues and hit you for eight big ones. There are also a few Rent “wild” cards that will allow players to charge a single individual rent on property of any color that they own. This really comes in handy.
Rent can be modified by the addition of three other Action cards: Houses, Hotels and Double the Rent. Houses and Hotels work like in the boardgame, adding value to a property set. You can’t play a House until you get a complete set and you can’t play a Hotel until you own a House. Achieving this is akin to getting a royal flush in Poker. Double the Rent does exactly what it says – you play it in addition to a Rent card to double the amount owed by the table or individual player.

Whenever a player charges Rent, opponents must pay up to the value indicated by any means necessary. This can be from a player’s bank of money or from properties they own. Opponents are free to choose between the two, but typically you’ll want to pay from your bank. If you’re unlucky enough to have no money in your bank, you have no choice but to hand over properties. Any properties gained in this way immediately become the property of the receiving player. Yes, you can win this way. Yes, it’s dirty.

Rent is fun, but it can sometimes be unreliable; you have to own the right properties and then get the correct rent cards, so timing can be off. Luckily, there are plenty of other ways to screw over your opponents. The ever-popular It’s My Birthday! nets you 2 Mil from every player, and typically a lot of grumbles. Debt Collector lets you ask a single opponent for 5 Mil, and maybe a slug in the face. It’s a great back breaker against a player who has no money in the bank and lots of property you’ve been eyeballing for several turns.


Monopoly Deal's pedigree. And remember, it's a Venn diagram, people - this does not denote "awesomeness" or "this game is better than that game" so no hatemail.

Sometimes you don’t even want to hassle with Rent or collecting wads of cash from your opponents in order to get your hands on properties. That’s when it’s time to steal. Sly Deal lets you nab one property from an opponent as long as it’s not party of a set. Similary, Forced Deal allows you to swap one of your properties for one of theirs. The real napalm of Monopoly Deal, though, is the Deal Breaker. This card allows you to steal a complete set of properties from any opponent and may get your name crossed out of a will.

There are a few other various cards that help you along the way. Pass Go lets you immediately draw 2 extra cards from the draw deck. There are a lot of these, and they can help out in a jam. Just Say No allows you to cancel the effect of any Action card played against you – this can include Rent, any of the money grubbing cards, or the insidious stealers. You wanna hold onto this for when your opponent plays Deal Breaker so you can laugh in their face. There are also some “double” properties that have two colors on them which can be played as part of a set of either of those colors. In addition, there are two multi-color Property Wilds which can be used as part of any property set.

From my descriptions of the mechanics and types of cards, there may seem like a lot going on under the hood in this game. This is mostly true, but deceptive – since the Monopoly theme is so carefully woven into the mechanics and titles of the cards, the game seems immediately familiar to most players. Everyone instinctively knows that the Railroads and Utliities go together, that you can get a lot of money from Boardwalk and Park Place, and that Passing Go is almost always a good thing. This sort of ingrained gaming instinct frees up a lot of processing power to quickly learn the Rent mechanic, the importance of always keeping a healthy bank of money, and when to use those Action cards at just the right time. It is also this instinctive familiarity that makes most anyone you ask to play a game answer yes, even if they have never played before.


Overview of a game in progress.

The game is not without its flaws. The card balance is a bit off, especially when you have to wait for just the right property card to pop into your hand, or at least into someone else’s property pile on the table so that you can later steal it. The scope of the game can change in a single turn, and I mean this literally – someone can go from Trump Tower to Skid Row after four or five opponents bring the beatdown one after the other. And, of course, it has that punk factor – some sensitive players are not going to appreciate it when you steal Marvin Gardens just before they were going to complete that set, especially when you grin and say a sarcastic “good doing business with you.”

Overall, though, Monopoly Deal rises far and above its titular ancestor. Regardless of whether you ruled the real estate world or ended up eating beans out of a can in your cardboard box, you’ll fall in love with this little undiscovered gem – and you’ll never have to play as the thimble again.

Originally posted on my boardgame reviews, news, and spews blog www.dicehateme.com
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Ethan Van Vorst
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Spencer
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Excellent review! I too have a lasting hatred of the original Monopoly, so I was very apprehensive about this game, but it turned out to be a smash hit with my family. My wife, in particular, loves that it has the Monopoly flavor but with a far more cutthroat approach. Best of all it plays in less than 20 minutes! What a pleasant surprise this game turned out to be.
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tom moughan
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ahh....I love the smell of a stack of sketchily placed animals in the morning!
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Love the charts, buddy! Good review.

I actually needed to save some of them off to show my brother -- Its hard not to agree that Monopoly Deal does what Monopoly should have but: much more fun, accessible, and quick! Grew to hate monopoly but have stood on my soap box several times for this game! ; D
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Dice Hate Me
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lengthtoavoid wrote:
Love the charts, buddy! Good review.

I actually needed to save some of them off to show my brother -- Its hard not to agree that Monopoly Deal does what Monopoly should have but: much more fun, accessible, and quick! Grew to hate monopoly but have stood on my soap box several times for this game! ; D


Thanks! I got a bit inspired. whistle
 
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Dice Hate Me
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StealthDonut wrote:
Excellent review! I too have a lasting hatred of the original Monopoly, so I was very apprehensive about this game, but it turned out to be a smash hit with my family. My wife, in particular, loves that it has the Monopoly flavor but with a far more cutthroat approach. Best of all it plays in less than 20 minutes! What a pleasant surprise this game turned out to be.


Thanks! And thanks for the tip! You are both a scholar and a gentleman. thumbsup
 
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Philip Pack
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I do agree, Monopoly Deal is probably the most fun I had with Monopoly theme in a long time. I enjoyed Monopoly Express as a press your luck dice game... but Deal does have a bit more depth and competition with opponents, where Express Dice is multiplayer solitaire. But your Venn Diagram is correct... it is monopoly (theme), meets canasta (meld your cards and build groups of properties) and kick opponent in the groin (those deadly one swipe steals everything cards). Great review.
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Kevin Shillinglaw
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Great review! I, too, enjoy this game very much. I've found Monopoly Deal to be a good "gateway" game. That is, it's familiar (Monoploy) but different (cards). I've gotten quite a few people hooked.

Out of the other Hasboro card games, I've only played Sorry! Revenge, and it's pretty good too! In-laws picked up the Yahtzee version but I haven't had a chance to play it yet.
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Dice Hate Me
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Deathstroke wrote:
Great review! I, too, enjoy this game very much. I've found Monopoly Deal to be a good "gateway" game. That is, it's familiar (Monoploy) but different (cards). I've gotten quite a few people hooked.

Out of the other Hasboro card games, I've only played Sorry! Revenge, and it's pretty good too! In-laws picked up the Yahtzee version but I haven't had a chance to play it yet.


Thanks! The Pictionary card game is actually quite fun, as well. I didn't care for Scrabble Slam, though - not enough depth.
 
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tom moughan
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ahh....I love the smell of a stack of sketchily placed animals in the morning!
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ckirkman wrote:
Deathstroke wrote:
Great review! I, too, enjoy this game very much. I've found Monopoly Deal to be a good "gateway" game. That is, it's familiar (Monoploy) but different (cards). I've gotten quite a few people hooked.

Out of the other Hasboro card games, I've only played Sorry! Revenge, and it's pretty good too! In-laws picked up the Yahtzee version but I haven't had a chance to play it yet.


Thanks! The Pictionary card game is actually quite fun, as well. I didn't care for Scrabble Slam, though - not enough depth.


scrabble slam was horrid. agreed.
 
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kerli
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ckirkman wrote:
Any properties gained in this way immediately become the property of the receiving player. Yes, you can win this way. Yes, it’s dirty.


I wonder if you have a different set of rules, but ours definitely states, that if you have to pay with properties, they, too (as when you put action cards into your bank), become money and cannot be used as properties again.

The only way you can acquire others' property cards as property is stealing or swapping (there is an action card for that as well) them.

?

tuskel,
sincerely
 
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tuskel wrote:
ckirkman wrote:
Any properties gained in this way immediately become the property of the receiving player. Yes, you can win this way. Yes, it’s dirty.


I wonder if you have a different set of rules, but ours definitely states, that if you have to pay with properties, they, too (as when you put action cards into your bank), become money and cannot be used as properties again.

The only way you can acquire others' property cards as property is stealing or swapping (there is an action card for that as well) them.

?

tuskel,
sincerely


That's strange, my rules state that "If you pay with property cards, they must go into the other player's property collection."

I would think playing your way could make the game impossible to win after awhile.
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tom moughan
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ahh....I love the smell of a stack of sketchily placed animals in the morning!
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ckirkman wrote:
tuskel wrote:
ckirkman wrote:
Any properties gained in this way immediately become the property of the receiving player. Yes, you can win this way. Yes, it’s dirty.


I wonder if you have a different set of rules, but ours definitely states, that if you have to pay with properties, they, too (as when you put action cards into your bank), become money and cannot be used as properties again.

The only way you can acquire others' property cards as property is stealing or swapping (there is an action card for that as well) them.

?

tuskel,
sincerely


That's strange, my rules state that "If you pay with property cards, they must go into the other player's property collection."

I would think playing your way could make the game impossible to win after awhile.



you are correct....tuskel is not. Yes, that would make the game extremely hard to win..since properties change hands in this manner quite frequently if players are attempting to exhaust other player's funds to get at their properties, as they should be. : D
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Adam Rau
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Excellent review! The diagrams certainly gave me a good laugh. My other half saw me eyeballing this in Myer the other day, ripped it out of my hands and literally ran the counter to ensure I couldn't take it back and pay for it myself. Looking forward to giving it a run.
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