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Board games are one of those things that always remind me of my childhood. Although I had games consoles from an early age, I remember always being excited to play board games with my family, which we did on a reasonably regular basis, if memory serves. I have fond memories of Cluedo and Frustration and Boggle, but have to say that Monopoly, one of the most famous board games of all time, has to be my favourite.
In essence, Monopoly is a property trading game. While this may not sound an area with great potential for family fun, Monopoly is a brilliant family game that is fun for practically all ages. Each player picks their playing piece out of a rather strange selection of items (why a dog, a hat and an iron would be trading properties with each other, I have no idea) and then travel around the forty squares of the board, buying and selling properties. Goes are determined by dice, with each player moving the number of spaces shown on the two dice after they’ve rolled them. When landing on a property, the player can decide whether to buy it for the price stated on the board or leave it. If you find yourself on a property that is already owned by another player, however, you must pay them rent. While rent amounts start off fairly low, once a player owns a whole ‘street’ or ‘area’, they can start building houses and hotels there, which can cause the rent prices to skyrocket. Players each have Monopoly money that they can pay with, but if they find themselves unable to afford rent, they can try to organise a trade with another player in order to raise sufficient funds.
Since Monopoly’s original UK version was released in the 1930s, there have bee a multitude of special editions and versions produced. While the original board featured streets in London, editions based on other cities in the UK have since been produced: you can now play a Monopoly based in Leeds, Edinburgh, Glasgow or Anglesey, if you so wish. There have also been several cartoon tie-in versions, such as Family Guy and The Simpsons, which probably appeal to a younger audience. Recent ‘Here and Now’ versions also feature electronic money and debit cards as opposed to the traditional, paper money. This review, however, is based solely on the original London based game that I and I’m sure many of you remember from our childhoods. Locations, which are colour coded by their value, include Liverpool Street, Pall Mall and The Strand, as well as King Cross Station. While I don’t know London very well at all (living in Newcastle and Edinburgh, it’s hardly nearby), the names of these streets became very familiar to me and I always smile if I am in London and see one of them.
*Interesting Monopoly Fact*
In the Second World War, the British Secret Service created a special edition for prisoners of war, which were distributed to them by fake charities. These editions contained things to help the prisoners to escape, such as real money, maps and compasses. Presumably these items were disguised well enough that guards wouldn’t notice these secret items. I love this story and find it so interesting that I had to include it.
What I Think of the Game
Monopoly is a game that I have loved since childhood and remember it often being my game of choice when I was younger. While a lot is left up to chance, with a roll of the dice usually deciding your fate, there is also an element of strategy involved, which makes the game more fun. Deciding on which properties to build your houses and hotels or which you want to trade with another laying can have a massive influence on the outcome of the game. That said, the element of strategy is simple and even children (from about aged six or seven, I imagine) would be able to get the hang of the game and make decisions in their favour. The good thing about this game is that it can go on for several hours, but if you have a time limit (such as children’s bed times), you could decide to declare the winner the one who has the most money or value of properties after a certain time. Games in my house usually ended when all but one player couldn’t afford to pay any rent or taxes and, true to the name of the game, one player had a monopoly over the board. This added to a lot of the fun of the game as occasionally one player would look to nearly be out of money and have sold most of their properties, but then manage to have lucky dice rolls and manage to start building their collection of properties up again.
In terms of design, the original Monopoly is simple and 1930s-esque but attractive and does the job. The Monopoly man with his hat is a very recognisable figure and makes a good icon for the game. The board I had as a child was also very durable and although it showed signs of wear after being played a lot, we never felt the need to replace it.
Monopoly is a classic board game and is one that many people have cherished for almost eighty years. While I can’t say that I play the proper board game often nowadays, I do sometimes play online versions and still find it a very enjoyable game to play. When I have children in the future I imagine that we will definitely own and play the original edition, although I wouldn’t be averse to trying the local version of the town we live in at the time. In short, highly recommended board game that can be enjoyed by adults and children alike.