Welcome to the Game Night Blog Carnival, where RPG bloggers get together and blog about their favorite non-RPG games. If you’d like to join, you don’t need to blog a game every single month anymore! Check out the FAQ.
Back in August, The ID DM covered the quintisenntial boardgame classic, Monopoly. While I have a hate/hate relationship with that game, apparently because I’ve always played it wrong, I did find a version of Monopoly that I love. It’s not a board game though. It’s a card game.
Now before you dismiss this game because you can buy it at Wal Mart and not your FLGS, let me give you the rundown. (Yes, you. Stop being a game snob.)
Here’s the rundown. First, you win the game by being the first to collect three monopolies. The size of the monopoly doesn’t matter, and there are wild cards that help you collect a monopoly even when another player has a property you need. Every card has a monetary value on it, and that’s frequently how properties change hands – one player needs to pay another player for something, and only has properties on the table, so those get used as payment. As such, it’s good strategy to build up a bit of a bank as a “buffer” against actions that cost you money.
So, on your turn, you draw two cards, and play up to three. There are four types of cards in the game: the iconic Monopoly properties, rent, action cards, and money cards. The line between action cards and money cards is kind of fuzzy, as action cards can be played as money into your money pile instead of as actions. Same goes for rent cards. Action cards come in all types, from “steal a property from someone” to “draw two more cards” to “block what another player just did to you.” These action cards are really what drives the game.
Monopoly Deal is a lot of fun. It’s not only appropriate for gamer groups, but also as a family game. Younger kids will get it, and the familiarity with the Monopoly brand may prevent non-gaming family members from looking at it askance. It plays very quickly (less than 30 minutes) so if the group doesn’t like it, they can move on to something else, or if you didn’t win, you’ll get another shot shortly. I will say, there is a pretty big “randomness” factor involved, as with any card game, but there’s also a good bit of skill. When you only get to play three cards, but really want to play four, which three do you play? As soon as something is laid on the table, it’s fair game for other players to try and take. Will that mess up your combo? And should you hold onto those action cards for later, or put them in your bank as a buffer to protect your properties? That last one is a decision I’m always struggling with when I play the game – action cards let you do stuff, but there’s a strategic significance to having a good buffer in your bank as well. Is the monetary value on the action card worth giving up the potential game benefit for?
As an aside, I really like games whose goal is something other than “end with the most money.” When money becomes a tool in the game instead of the goal, I think the dynamic changes. Such is the case with this game; money cards are valuable, but not nearly as valuable as property cards. Money creates a buffer against others taking your properties, but it’s really just another strategic tool in the game.
I highly recommend Monopoly Deal, not only as a “gamer” game night game, but also as a “family” game night game – heck, we just played some with the family over Thanksgiving. Head over to your local Wal Mart and pick it up!
- Game: Monopoly Deal
- Players: 2-5
- Type: Strategic Card
- Time: 15-30 minutes
Hasbro has a Monopoly Deal demo on their site. If you’re interested in trying the game, you can do it here.
Wombat’s Gaming Den of Iniquity also reviewed Monopoly Deal for another game night. If you’re interested in learning more, check out his review as well.