There are, at this point in time, probably hundreds of versions of Monopoly. There’s a new edition for every successful franchise almost, even some Universities have their own editions! So upon finding this 2017 love child between Nintendo and Hasbro in a shop last year, I was pretty intrigued with MONOPOLY GAMER from the get go, because, come on its Mario and there’s a second dice with graphics. Needless to say once I opened it I was both intrigued and confused.
Looking at the game at first glance, the board is already a bit different to your general monopoly. And honestly looking at the instructions was, well, a lot, so we decided we’d learn by doing.
Firstly, the game works on a coins and points system, as opposed to your usual monopoly money. You use the coins to buy properties and collect the coins by rolling the new dice, picking up coins the other players drop courtesy of each character’s unique abilities and some new board squares, and passing Go. However, passing Go also triggers the next new feature of this game, Boss battles.
The Boss battles come about when you pass Go, and you flip over one of the cards, revealing a boss – the first card I turned over was Bowser, go figure – then you make a choice whether to spend your coins on the battle or let it pass. Each boss has a ‘toll’ that you pay if you want to have a shot at beating the boss, which you do by rolling higher than the number on the card, and you get whatever coins have built up as well as whatever reward the card specifies, which is unique to each card. The game ends when the final boss card is turned over and defeated. The boss battles were a fun edition to the game, and each boss you defeated had a points value, like the properties, which you collected in order to win. Monopoly has steadily become such a home-ruled game that I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who has opened a rule-book for it, so having an ending besides just ‘everybody goes bankrupt’ was a good feeling, and the winning at the end felt earned.
That was a great part about this edition of monopoly, everything felt earned. It is, in essence, a game of chance, dependant on dice rolls, but every roll achieved something. Even if it was just making another player drop their coins, something was always happening – which is wonderful in a game where you’re usually just rolling a dice and walking around a board hoping you don’t land on an owned property. You still hope that, but now you have to be careful of other things on the board as well, such as the formerly mentioned, character abilities.
One friend that played with me thought these abilities were overpowered, but you each had one, so it kind of balanced out. If you landed on the star square, your character had a special ability that was activated. They all involved coins in one way or another, my friend played as Peach and her ability was that she collected rent from the bank on all her properties, she landed on that a few times. I only landed on the star once, toward the end of the game, and Yoshi’s ability was to collect any dropped coins on the board – arguably the best time to land on the star, as everyone had dropped coins. The abilities were fun, but it was a huge luck of the draw as to whether they ever even got used. It’s a dice game, so luck is always going to be a key feature, but it did just feel a bit jammed in alongside all of the other mechanics.
Overall, the game was enjoyable, and after a hazy start, easy to pick up. my friend had never played monopoly before so introducing her to the ordinary version after this will definitely be interesting. She picked this one up easily, and immediately got into the competitiveness of monopoly. The game constantly has things happening to keep the competition running, to keep that competitive spirit. The original monopoly games have a habit of, when you start to run out of money that’s the end of you, but this version keeps you in the game. The amount of coins that you have can fluctuate from round to round so there’s never a dull moment.
I would recommend picking this game up if you get chance, it’s a great twist on a classic game, that can be a little overwhelming at first glance but stick it out and it’s a lot of fun – we recommend playing Mario soundtracks in the background for maximum immersion. It kind of felt like a game of Mario kart but, you know, with capitalism and such. Also, I finished first and didn’t get a blue shell hitting me so, that’s a perk! Check this game out! It’s a few years old now but still stands up, and now Mario Kart Monopoly has hit stores as well… uh oh, maybe I’ll be getting hit with that blue shell after all…