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Monopoly Deal Card Game» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Fast paced and surprisingly fun card game rss

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Ethan Van Vorst
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Spencer
North Carolina
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There are three things in this world I detest above all other things, and friends, family, and coworkers of mine will easily verify this for you:

1. UNC Tarheel basketball fans
2. Mayonaisse
3. Monopoly

I do have a "Strong Dislike" list as well, but that's for another time and place. Monopoly has earned its place on my Hate List for many reasons, primarily that it's an overlong game about money and making shady deals (neither of which I've ever liked or were particularly good at in the game or in real life), and most annoying of all, seeing who gets to play with the racecar piece and who gets stuck with the iron. It is a long, boring, frustrating game which, while colorful and pretty to look at, tends to bore and aggravate me in equal parts. That, coupled with the fact that everyone seems to have numerous copies nestled away in their game closets or shelves in umpteen craptacular varieties, makes it even more distasteful to me. And most uninformed folks actually think it's fun. Personally I'd rather you were to hammer a railroad spike into my forehead while simultaneously pouring lemon juice and rubbing alcohol into my wide open eyes than force me to play this foul creation.

Monopoly does one thing really well, and that is that it can adapt itself to numerous types of "skin changes", so to speak. I have Air Force Monopoly, Star Wars Monopoly, and somewhere an old 50th Anniversary Edition Monopoly game as well. Of course the game has also branched itself into some other offshoot boardgames and this nifty little gimmick, Monopoly Deal.



I looked inside the USA Today insert one Sunday afternoon and discovered a buy one, get one free coupon for Hasbro/Parker Brothers new line of card games. I opted to get Scrabble Slam and this game, all for a grand total of $5.24 at the local Wal-Mart. Not a bad deal at all. cool

The Game

The contents of this game are pretty straightforward. You get what amounts to two decks of cards and an instruction sheet.


Image courtesy of Gordon Wong/BGG

The instructions are largely perfunctory and briefly gloss over the rules, the types of cards and what they do, and how to win. Towards the end it says something akin to, "Once you play the game it will clear itself up". Not something I like to see in any instructions, games or otherwise, but here it was true.

The Cards

Monopoly Deal has several types of cards, specifically Property Cards, Action Cards, and Money Cards. The Property Cards are the most recognizable element from the boardgame version you'll see and are slightly modified to fit the card game element rather than their boardgame origins. All the properties are there and have their appropriate colors, with the notable exception of Baltic Avenue and Mediterranean, which are oddly colored brown rather than purple. Utilities and Railroads are included as properties as well.


Image courtesy of Nicholas Roche/BGG.

There are also some Wild Cards, unique in that they can be used as wild cards for two different sets of properties apiece. There's also a sort of All Property Wild Card, which can be used to complete any set of properties regardless of color. If you manage to complete a set of Browns and want to use the Light Blue portion on the other end of the Wild Card, simply flip it over. No muss, no fuss. See below image.


Image courtesy of Nicholas Roche/BGG.

Next up are the Action Cards, and they make up the bulk of the deck. These are the cards with which the player uses to amplify the power of their sets, to set defenses against other players, or to totally hose over a neighbor who's just begging for it. If you have a complete set of properties you can plop a House or Hotel on it just like the boardgame, and thus increase the dollar value it generates when you charge other players rent. You can force other players to pay you money by charging them Rent or by using the "It's My Birthday" card. Or if need be you can force another player to swap a card more desirable to you with one you don't much have a need for, or flat out steal an entire set of theirs to add to your collection.


Image courtesy of Nicholas Roche/BGG

This leaves us with the Money Cards, which basically denote a monetary value between $1 and $10. These cards are used to pay other players Rent, among other things, but are more of an insurance policy against ne'er-do-wells rather than having the power they do in the boardgame. More on this in the gameplay section. You'll want to stock up on as many as you can lay your hands one because you will need the money as the game goes on.


Image courtesy of Nicholas Roche/BGG. I'm still a little baffled by what monetary unit the M with the two lines through it represents, not to mention whether these are meant to be single units or "millions" as marked by the small m after the number.

How It Plays

The goal of the game is to collect 3 separate sets of properties. Players are given a number of offensive (and a few defensive) cards to prevent others from doing this first, and to protect against a few swipes by your pesky opponents. Each player starts the game with 5 cards drawn directly from the deck. Each player may hold a maximum number of 7 cards in their hands, and if they run out they must draw 5 new cards from the deck. Three total actions can be taken during the course of the player's turn, an action being defined as either laying a property down on table, adding money to the player's money pile, or setting down an Action Card to fudge up your neighbor.

The Action Cards truly do make up most of the deck and they'll see extensive use throughout the game. Let's say I have 2 full sets of properties and am eyeballing an extra card my opponent owns to add to my third set. I can use the "Forced Deal" card to swap a property I have little use for in exchange for the target card from my opponent's play area. With the "Sly Deal" card I can outright steal that card from my opponent without having to exchange a card at all, and with the very powerful "Deal Breaker" card I can boldly steal one of my opponents' entire sets. Enter the "Just Say No" Action Card. These things are lifesavers and function not too disimilarly from the "Get Out of Jail Free" cards from the boardgame. If an opponent wishes to hose you over by trying to steal properties or inflicting some form of Rent on you, you can simply play this card and it will nullify their action. Like it never even happened. When you chance upon one of these beauties keep it in your deck until you really need it, and you will need it.

The Money Cards are used to pay Rent to other players, as well as to give blood money to them when they dump a Birthday Card or "Debt Collector" card (forces all players to give you $5 apiece) and function more along the lines of insurance rather than legal tender. You see, when you run out of money to give the bloodsuckers then you have to start paying them using properties, and it hurts in body and soul to have to go that route. If you find yourself running low on moola and have a ton of Action Cards that you have no use for, bear in mind that these can be used as money in a pinch provided you put them down in your Bank. Each Action Card has a monetary value assigned to it for just this reason and once added into the Bank can never be used as an actual Action Card again. Well, at least until the next game.

The Wild Cards fill out their role nicely, allowing the player to finish up a set without having to wait 2 years for Park Place to pop up on their next draw (there's 110 cards in the deck). They do create for their own unique issues, but overall they fit nicely into the game.

Summary

Monopoly Deal is surprisingly fun and even a little addictive once you learn the ropes, and after one or two play throughs you'll have it down pat. The game is extremely fast paced (15-20 mins for an average game), something its boardgame cousin doesn't have, and is incredibly cutthroat in nature, which both games share as an attribute. Games will often go down to the wire with Action Cards getting slammed down rapid fire to prevent another player from winning. I have not played with more than two players but have read that it ratchets up the tension exponentially when you do.

Pros

- The game is much quicker than the boardgame
- Very pretty production. High quality, sturdy cards with easy to understand explanations on each
- Fairly easy to learn
- Kind of addictive if you let it be
- Fits nicely into its own little box, making it ideal for trips
- A lot more fun than the boardgame, that's for sure

Cons

- Have you ever tried to shuffle 110 cards?
- It can become a little boggling to see someone complete a set of Railroads with 3 Wild Cards and only one bona fide Railroad property card.


Really, for the price the game is a heckuva deal and a lot of fun. It gets a solid score of 6 from me. Not the deepest game I've ever played but definitely enjoyable!





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StealthDonut wrote:


Really, for the price the game is a heckuva deal and a lot of fun. It gets a solid score of 6 from me. Not the deepest game I've ever played but definitely enjoyable!


Jupp,

I agree on that - Monopoly Deal is a quick and easy fun game. Always nice for a quick game during the lunch break meeple
 
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John H
United States
Metro Detroit Area
Michigan
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Great review of the game and a very high production value too.

It has been our 'go to game' for quick summer fun this year. We have taught the game to several people and given it away to many as well.
 
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Dave Gamer
United States
Columbus
Georgia
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Not for me. Played it a couple of times 2-player. Played it once with 6 players. 'Way too random. Whoever draws the right cards at the right time wins. Very little strategy.
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Stephen S
United States
California
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To clarify, the M with the 2 lines thru it is the Official way they symbolize the $$ (money / dollars symbol). They made their own version to represent "Monopoly Money", since they couldnt actually use the dollar symbol... and yes the M at the end means MILLIONS of dollars.

If you read in the rules or online you will see this made clear

Quote:

I'm still a little baffled by what monetary unit the M with the two lines through it represents, not to mention whether these are meant to be single units or "millions" as marked by the small m after the number.
 
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