Monopoly: You’re Doing It Wrong

Over the past few weeks my social feed has been full of people trashing my favorite board game, Monopoly.  Articles like this have misrepresented the findings of a poll from The articles focuses on Monopoly having a rating 4.5 in the boargamegeek rankings, but on boardgamegeek there are multiple editions of Monopoly ranked, some  with poll rankkings in the 5-7 range. This puts Monopoly solidly in the middle, and if you average all of the Monopoly rankings, you would have a solidly above average game.

A better choice of subject would be “never play CandyLand.”

Based on the comments associated with some of these posts, I feel that I must don the top hat and defend my beloved game. Most of the criticism leveled at Monopoly is based on people playing the game incorrectly.

Criticism 1: It takes too long

The average professional football game is over 3 hours long, but I don’t hear people complaining that is too long. The reason many Monopoly games take a long time to finish is due to one of the following reasons:

  • You have the wrong number of people. The right number is 4, maybe 3. If you have two people, it will take too long to buy up the property, there won’t be enough players with which to build trades, and the game will take forever. If you have 6 people, the property will get purchased quickly, but it will be spread too thin, making it harder to build deals, and the game will take forever. If you have four people, there will be a good chance that one person will get a natural monopoly (without trading), motivating the other players to make deals. with four players, the game typically is over in about 90 minutes.
  • You are adding stuff to the rules. Money on free parking, double payday on go, all of this stuff is not in the rules. People add this stuff to the game to make more “feel good,” but it has the effect of making the game longer by increasing the amount of money in the game.

Criticism 2: it is boring

See criticism 1. A fast paced, four person Monopoly game is infrequently boring. A two player game is always boring.

Criticism 3: My kids cry when they lose

What’s your point? My kids cry when they lose any game.  Maybe it is because you are a sore winner.

Criticism 4: It’s the worst game ever

Not hardly. You know what is the worst game ever? Clue.

At least with Monopoly, nobody gets murdered (maybe after the game, but not during). Clue is extremely boring, and since you drag the person you are accusing into the room you accused them of killing Mr. Body, it can take forever to get to the room that you want to accuse somebody of killing Mr. Body, because you keep getting dragged into rooms across the board, and the game takes forever.

But if you think that Monopoly is the worst game ever, you just aren’t using strategy. And there is a strategy. I recommend the long out of print 1974  book

The Monopoly Book: Strategy and Tactics of the World’s Most Popular Game by Maxine Brady. This classic guide will help you understand the real value of each property, probability of it being landed upon, and help you win more Monopoly games. The last game I played I won with the “Railroad Magnate” strategy, and I’ve heard of players winning with only the cheapest of monopolies.

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