When I first entered the hobby a few years ago, I remember being astonished at the sheer number of choices. It was insane. I had no idea what I really enjoyed or how to decide what was worthy of my hard earned dollar. I turned to the internet for help, specifically the various board game Facebook groups. Holy moly. The recommendations. They flew at me with every post at lightning speed. “Such and Such is the greatest game you can buy!” or “You need to own this one yesterday?”
I took to looking on Amazon. Searching and scouring for hours, trying to find a great game. I’d present my findings to the group like a cat bringing a dead bird to the front door. “How’s this one gang?” I’d ask. “Um…that one is okay…but this is better!” And they would rattle off dozens of games that instantly jumped onto my wish list.
Then something happened.
I asked about Munchkin. And the comments kinda went south. “Do you hate fun? Play Munchkin!” and “Worst game ever!” There weren’t recommendations for better games…there was a strange, palpable negativity about this topic.
So I didn’t buy it and I didn’t play it. Life moved on.
But one common message remained. “The only game worse than Munchkin is Monopoly”
Wait…what? My infantile gamer mind was confused. I loved monopoly. I grew up with it. My family played it throughout my entire youth and the memories we created with it were priceless. And people were saying that was bad? Again life moved on. And so did I.
Until recently when I picked up my first Munchkin.
And I loved it.
So what’s the point of all this? The moment I walked into the store, grabbed a copy of Marvel Munckin and tossed it on the table, I remembered that I get to control what I play, when I play and why I play tabletop games. And this all came to pass once again just a few days ago with the release of Monopoly Gamer. Remember, I actually do like Monopoly, but I hadn’t played it since I was a wee lad. I’d actually been looking to get a new copy of Monopoly to play with the family, when I saw Mario and Bowser and all the Nintendo gang staring at me on top of a Monopoly board.
I practically ran to Gamestop to get my copy.
So…now here we are. I’ve played this game nonstop the past few days. Is it good? Were those people right? Is it to be avoided at all costs? Is it for me?
It’s totally for me. Maybe it’s for you too. Let’s see.
Monopoly Gamer is a stripped down and leaner monopoly. It does away with most of the complaints people have about the game. “It’s too long.” “It has zero strategy.” “It’s boring.” Monopoly Gamer solves all these problems in a rather elegant way.
Meet the power up die.
This little guy is the single greatest addition to the game of Monopoly. As you roll your way around the board with the movement die, you are also rolling this little guy each turn. Its various sides are all filled with nasty “take that” in various forms directed at all the unsuspecting fools sitting around the table you call family and friends. Pop them in the head with a turtle shell or hit the POW block to make em all drop some precious coins. You even have some choice with a well aimed red shell which allows you to choose who you are sending the smack down to. But this super mean little die never really feels super mean. Similar to King of Tokyo, all the evil that you are bestowing upon your hapless victims always stays in the realm of “it’s all in good fun!” You don’t even have to feel that bad when you bankrupt your grandma with an inky, squid coin steal. It’s just what you rolled and it made the most sense. Fun!
The next brick in the pathway to elegance comes from the time slashing Boss deck.
As you make your way around the board you are collecting properties just like in normal monopoly, but in the back of your mind you are thinking about one thing. Getting to that boss battle! You start the game with a set number of boss cards (8 in a four player and 6 in a 3 or 2 player) and every time someone passes GO! an ultimate mega showdown ensues. One that we will surely see in the history books for generations to come. The battle involves payment to start the fight and rolling the die to hit a threshold. Hit the right number or higher and you reap the rewards, points and an effect that is sure to make your momma sigh, but if you fail then your opponents get a chance to jump in the fray and snatch those goodies from your grasp. Or everyone can chicken out and pass and the Boss runs away. There is no endless game here. Once the boss deck runs out, the game ends and you all stare at each other and say “Sooooo…who wants to play again? I’ve got plenty of time for another round!”
And the final feather in this “Fast-dealing property trading” hat is a doozie.
Variable player powers! IN MONOPOLY! ARE YOU KIDDING? Every single character in the game has unique powers. Two of them in fact. One is triggered by the Star spaces on the board. Land on them and you get to use your power. The second power is triggered by a specific face on the Power Up die. That’s right, folks. He’s back and meaner than ever! When rolled, each character has a specific side that they can “boost” in all sorts of crazy ways. It all leads to chaotic, replayability through the roof.
Is this game for you? That is a tough question.
I absolutely know that it is for me. And I’ll crow from every rooftop about its greatness because I’m thrilled with this release. But, I know that some people will hate a lot of what I love. Heavy take that layered on top of high luck. It’s still got a good dash of what makes monopoly tick and I know that no matter how much awesome they pile on top, there will still be people who this cannot and will not ever appeal to.
And that’s okay.
Does Monopoly Gamer get my recommendation? 100% yes. Excellent components, great price point, quick and simple, highly interactive game play. Go buy it if any of this sounds interesting at all. I’ve been really having a blast with it!