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As some parents may have experienced, the original monopoly game can be quite hard going with little ones (or is it just us) so when I saw Monopoly Crazy Cash for Age 5+ I thought this might be an easier game for my then 7 and 6 year old. The game is more straight forward than original monopoly. The board is a little smaller. Although it does still have Advance to go, Jail, Go to Jail and Free Parking, the properties are less and are adorned with more childlike pictures such as rainbows, animals and childlike foods such as jelly and ice-cream. There are also squares that have roll again and of course use the cash machine!
Each player is given a small amount of cash whilst the remainder goes into the cash machine alongside the chance cards. There are no community chest cards in this game. If the cash machine delivers one or more chance cards you can choose which one you want to go with which is good as it gives the young ones a good chance of getting a reward rather than a forfeit as in go back a space or go to jail. All used chance cards then go into a discard pile. If you do end up in jail you have to pay a fine to get out on your next roll unless you have a get out of jail card free previously dispensed by the machine. There are no rolls to try to get a double.
The main attraction of this game for little ones is the fact that it includes an electronic cash machine that is powered by three AA batteries. There are two small bank cards that come with the game that you use just as you would a cash machine in real life but you don’t have to enter a pin and once inserted cash and/or chance cards spew forth (usually 4 at a time). This is the most enjoyable part for kids and I have to admit for adults alike!
We purchased this game from Toys R Us when we were buying presents for a friend’s children and we actually got this game for free as we had spent over a certain amount and could therefore pick another game – result! It comes in a fairly sturdy box and contains money valued at only 1, 2 and 5 pounds so this makes it much easier for little people to work out their sums! You also get your pieces to play with which are plastic and in colourful colours, red, blue, green and yellow and mimic some of the pieces in the original such as car, dog, boot and hat. Like the houses and hotels, these are much larger so much easier for little hands to manoeuvre.
The game can be played by up to four players and the difference here is that if you land on a property you have to buy it and get to put a house on it straight away. The properties only come in sets of two and you can charge double rent if you have two properties or two houses or two hotels on them. You cannot change your houses for hotels until you have been all the way around the board and the crux is that there are only eight hotels so you need to get round fast as on each turn once you have circled the board, you can exchange a house for a hotel at no extra cost. The houses and hotels come in different styles which is fun as the kids can chose the particular type they like if available.
The end of the game is reached by either someone going bankrupt and unable to buy a property or afford the rent due or if the cash machine runs out of chance cards and cash you then have to count your cash and then add to this total the amount your property would be worth had someone landed on it.
I think Hasbro is right on the money with this game. The easier rules, smaller denominations of money and the appeal of the cash machine certainly make this a hit with the 5-10 age groups. The rules are much easier to follow and the game can be played much more easily and quickly than the original game which can get complicated and frustrating for younger minds. I like the fact that the houses and hotels are different in appearance the board is so colourful and appealing to the eye. The movers are much larger and distinct.
The only downside I have found is that sometimes the cash machine will not work and the money and chance cards have to be taken out and then reinserted to get them spewing out again and sometimes only 2 amounts come out or three instead of what I believe is supposed to be four as this is the amount that is forthcoming 7 out of 10 times. Despite this, the fun of using the cash machine far outweighs the annoyance of it sometimes conking out! The other downside is, I guess, that you need batteries but it is well worth the delight your children get from using the machine. I would say make sure you keep a good eye on the cash cards themselves as they are tiny and could easily be lost and then the main fun of the game would be lost as I don’t know that you can readily get replacements for them. On the plus side there are two so my advice would be to put one aside as a spare just in case the initial one does get lost.
A brilliantly engineered game that will keep you children (and you entertained) and I can highly recommend this if your children do like to play board games.
I'd never heard of this before, but it does sound like a good twist on an old game. One question: do you think the machine sometimes only giving two or three cards is a malfunction or is it supposed to be like that? I don't see why it should always be four, since they are *chance* cards...