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DO NOT COLLECT 200 BOTTLECAPS
September 7, 2011 5:56 PM   Subscribe

There are few boardgames that the connoisseurs over at BoardGameGeek hate with as much passion as Monopoly. But many of them are drooling over a custom Monopoly set Elisabeth Redel made for her boyfriend. It's a gorgeous version themed to Bethesda's Fallout 3. Behold, Fallout Monopoly.
posted by Legomancer (130 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
No one hates Monopoly more than I do, but that was a bit of an artistic triumph even if it makes me feel like I just watched someone encrust diamonds onto a turd.

See also: Futurama version.
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:11 PM on September 7, 2011


The National Lampoon Monopoly Cheating Kit.
posted by Ardiril at 6:16 PM on September 7, 2011 [8 favorites]


It's easy to hate on Monopoly. It's harder to hate on Risk, especially when you just lost your last continent and won't have a set of cards completed for at least 5 turns.
posted by DU at 6:16 PM on September 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Is there some sort of rigorous first-principles Board Game Geek demooition of Monopoly out there? Like Christopher Hitchens vs Mother Teresa-style? Because that would make great reading.
posted by No-sword at 6:24 PM on September 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


What's wrong with Monopoly?
posted by cmoj at 6:24 PM on September 7, 2011 [7 favorites]


As far as I can tell, the only thing wrong with Monopoly is the wimps who bail halfway through a game, just as soon as someone lands on one of my hotels.
posted by jwhite1979 at 6:27 PM on September 7, 2011 [9 favorites]


The problem with Monopoly is that all of the strategy takes place in the first 15 minutes and the following hours offer few real choices.

Also, almost nobody plays with the rules that make the game more fun (auction properties if rolling player declines) or plays with house rules that make the game actually impossible to finish (lost money goes on free parking).
posted by Winnemac at 6:34 PM on September 7, 2011 [12 favorites]


Monopoly is one of the many tools the overclass use to train their lackeys. It is presented as a game, but it is in fact indoctrination. In short order a budding capitalist is born, despoiling the land to build single family homes and garish hotels for the bourgeoisie while happily bankrupting his fellow players. I prefer my own version of the game, where all property is shared and we sing songs of the glorious workers struggle.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:36 PM on September 7, 2011 [49 favorites]


What's wrong with Monopoly?

Too many chance elements; the winner being obvious about 2-10 minutes into a game that is probably going to take 10 times longer to wrap up; few effective strategies to change your chances to win making it feel more like a chore than a game. The brand-whored nature of the game meaning that someone is going to buy you a version of the game because they know you like to watch True Blood and so they got you the True Blood version of Monopoly, because it's funny. No, it's not funny, you could have bought a game that actually had designers and play testers who worked really hard on it instead of some piece of crap that is essentially the result of two business development VPs talking on the phone for 10 minutes to recycle a junky concept from 80 years ago that was never very fun compared to chess, bridge, go, or any number of other classic games. The fact that it feeds money into the crap factory that is Hasbro. I could go on all day, but thankfully it's been so long since I've been forced to play a bad board game that I've forgotten all the ways they make me miserable.
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:37 PM on September 7, 2011 [33 favorites]


Games are supposed to be escapist entertainment, not yet another taste of the lash.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:38 PM on September 7, 2011 [6 favorites]


What's with the Pip Boy avatars doing the showgirl high kick dance?
posted by P.o.B. at 6:40 PM on September 7, 2011


Okay, so what FIRE industry based boardgames do make the cut?
posted by wobh at 6:44 PM on September 7, 2011


See, the problem I have with this, is that she made it for her boyfriend, which suggests that she already has a boyfriend. :-/
posted by -harlequin- at 6:45 PM on September 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


When you ask "what's wrong with Monopoly?" really you're just asking "what's wrong with an impromptu fistfight between siblings, roommates, or drinking buddies?"

The answer is nothing. Nothing at all.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:49 PM on September 7, 2011 [20 favorites]


Any clues how she made the actual playing cards or the bottle caps? The printing and cuts look amazing.
posted by cyphill at 6:49 PM on September 7, 2011


Most of us don't hate Monopoly. Most haven't ever played without bogus house rules like Free Parking, which ruin the game. The "hipsters" on BGG, like to bash it, the rest of us don't give it a thought at all actually. But the Fallout one is pretty cool.
posted by Windopaene at 6:50 PM on September 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


What's wrong with Monopoly?

In addition to BrotherCaine's answer - stores sell the same game (Monopoly) with ten different brandings, and there is no shelf space to sell new (and better) games that could exceed the classic status of monopoly, but never will, because no-one ever knows about them, because all the shelf-space is dedicated to monopoly, which ensures that monopoly is the only game people eve see, know about, and buy, which ensures that lots of shelf space must be reserved for lots of different rebrandings of the game that is a known seller, which results in a sort of... monopoly?
posted by -harlequin- at 6:51 PM on September 7, 2011 [14 favorites]


It is true. Monopoly turns friends into lifelong enemies. I also never forgave my grandmother for that time she beat me so bad at Monopoly I cried. She thought mollycoddling boys made them weak.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:53 PM on September 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Who gives a shit if you hate Monopoly? This is awesome! Land on my Megaton hotel, bitches!
posted by Horselover Phattie at 6:53 PM on September 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


The problem with Monopoly is that the race car token has such an extreme advantage that the game is essentially broken as a result.
posted by sourwookie at 6:53 PM on September 7, 2011 [35 favorites]


Monopoly is barely more of a game than something like War (the card "game") which isn't a game at all.

The "hipsters" on BGG, like to bash it, the rest of us don't give it a thought at all actually.

Ah, yet another new definition for hipster: somebody who likes good games.
posted by kmz at 6:55 PM on September 7, 2011 [7 favorites]


The best use I ever found for my Monopoly Millenium edition was to use the money for Axis & Allies (whoever decided that in the new version of A&A the players had to keep track of their money on a notepad was an idiot).
posted by Deflagro at 6:55 PM on September 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Monopoly also has a king maker problem, because one player can just sell all his properties to another for a dollar if he feels like it.
posted by empath at 7:01 PM on September 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


No, it's not funny, you could have bought a game that actually had designers and play testers who worked really hard on it instead of some piece of crap that is essentially the result of two business development VPs talking on the phone for 10 minutes to recycle a junky concept from 80 years ago that was never very fun compared to chess, bridge, go, or any number of other classic games. The fact that it feeds money into the crap factory that is Hasbro. I could go on all day, but thankfully it's been so long since I've been forced to play a bad board game that I've forgotten all the ways they make me miserable.

BrotherCaine, are you somehow me?
posted by JHarris at 7:06 PM on September 7, 2011


the race car token has such an extreme advantage that the game is essentially broken as a result.


Pssh, Top Hat is Top Tier
posted by Winnemac at 7:06 PM on September 7, 2011 [6 favorites]


Top Hat is Top Tier

GAZE UPON MY SCOTTIE DOG AND WEEP
posted by scody at 7:18 PM on September 7, 2011 [24 favorites]


Monopoly is one of the many tools the overclass use to train their lackeys. It is presented as a game, but it is in fact indoctrination. In short order a budding capitalist is born, despoiling the land to build single family homes and garish hotels for the bourgeoisie while happily bankrupting his fellow players.

Kind of. Monopoly developed from the Landlord's Game, which was supposed to demonstrate the pernicious effects of the accumulation of land in the hands of rentiers. It was a propaganda piece invented by the followers of Henry George, who was a major influence on the 19th-century American Left; Lizzie Magie, a Georgist, made the original design, and it was used as a teaching tool by the left-wing economists Rexford Tugwell and Scott Nearing.
posted by wwwwwhatt at 7:21 PM on September 7, 2011 [22 favorites]


I remember the Monopoly games my sisters and I played when we first got to the U.S. None of us had beds, so we'd move our sleeping bags into one room and turn the fan on. Then we'd play games that would last 4-5 days, because the treasurer always gave loans.

We were bored out of our skulls, but I remember it fondly.
posted by reenum at 7:25 PM on September 7, 2011


Rexford Tugwell is a brilliant name.
posted by P.o.B. at 7:26 PM on September 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Monopoly turns friends into lifelong enemies.

I have sulked over Monopoly games but nothing will ever compare to the legit and crazed fisticuffs that have ensued from Scrabble.
posted by elizardbits at 7:27 PM on September 7, 2011


For all those with fond memories of Monopoly, please don't take the hate many of us have to personally. It's just that there are so many amazing games out there and it always seems like 99.9% of people don' know about them and it's sad.

It's also really frustrating when I'm in talking to someone and we get to the subject of things we do in our free time. I have mention I like to play board games and the response is ALWAYS "Oh ya? Like Monopoly/Risk/Scrabble", then it takes an awkward 10 minutes as I try to explain modern eurogames.

Sorry if it sounds 'hipsterish', but I love every heart pounding moment of farm building in Agricola and wish I had never wasted all those hours in my youth trying to finish just one game of Monopoly. I wish someone had explained to me back then what was really out there or at least what would be invented in the near future).
posted by Midnight Rambler at 7:28 PM on September 7, 2011 [9 favorites]


There's this socially-conscious '70s board game (a fascinating little sub-subgenre, there) called Anti-Monopoly, that's all about busting trusts and stuff.

To my mild surprise, it's a slightly worse game than regular Monopoly.
posted by box at 7:29 PM on September 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh gawd, I remember Anti-Monopoly. A housemate of mine tried to combine it with a regular game of Monopoly. It was a 4 person version, 2 being monopolists and 2 being trust-busters. Mostly it just involved drinking lots and calling each other 'fascist' and 'pinko'.
posted by Razzle Bathbone at 7:32 PM on September 7, 2011 [6 favorites]


What's wrong with Monopoly?

Well, the biggest thing wrong with it is that it isn't Settlers of Catan.
boardgamegeek.com
wikipedia
posted by sebastienbailard at 7:34 PM on September 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


I love Monopoly ever since I got myself a seven-year-old. Have you ever seen a seven-year-old paper money tycoon ruthlessly demand that you sell him your railroad since you can't pay your rent for his Boardwalk hotel? Warms the cockles of my heart, it does. All despite my liberal angst.

Of course, same seven-year-old once beat three college-educated adults at Dominion. While he was only six. And he's not terrible at Race for the Galaxy, either.

At least I can still best him at Scrabble.
posted by BlueJae at 7:38 PM on September 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm waiting for the old No Mutants Allowed crew to get angry that it's only based on Fallout 3 and New Vegas.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:38 PM on September 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


Monopoly is one of the many tools the overclass use to train their lackeys.

For instance it teaches the inevitable winners that you can raid the banks occasionally and hand out a few $500 bills, giving people just enough incentive to keep playing the game.
posted by jwhite1979 at 7:39 PM on September 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have sulked over Monopoly games but nothing will ever compare to the legit and crazed fisticuffs that have ensued from Scrabble.

You guys never want to play Diplomacy.
posted by empath at 7:40 PM on September 7, 2011 [18 favorites]


Landlord's Game. Ain't that some shit, make a joke on the Internet and it turns out to be almost true.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:48 PM on September 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


My "hipster" comment was directed at "new" Eurogamers, who seem to take a visceral thrill from putting down Monopoly, and over-exaggerating how terrible it is. Once you are comfortable with your boardgamegeekiness, the allure of Monopoly-bashing becomes less. Monopoly s irrelevant as far as gaming goes for me.

Now I admit, most of the games I play are pretty obscure, and yes, you probably haven't heard of them. But I try to keep that to myself.
posted by Windopaene at 7:49 PM on September 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Well, the biggest thing wrong with it is that it isn't Settlers of Catan.

I'm probably bringing a torch and pitchfork wielding mob down on me for saying this, but I just don't think Settlers is that fun. (It's possible I only feel that way because I always lose.)
posted by jcreigh at 7:56 PM on September 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


I just finished raiding the Nuka-Cola plant in my first run through of Fallout 3 about five minutes before I read this thread (I don't buy games until they're $10 on Steam) and want to say how amazingly awesome this is. She must have put weeks and weeks of work into that.
posted by octothorpe at 8:01 PM on September 7, 2011




My "hipster" comment was directed at "new" Eurogamers

Yeah, Power Grid is okay I guess. The original Funkenschlag was so much better though. Just the feeling of the crayons was so visceral.
posted by Winnemac at 8:07 PM on September 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


My biggest problems with Monopoly are:
  1. Lots of people grew up playing with different "house rules" and refuse to play by the house rules I like. Or even the official rules.
  2. Some people deliberately throw the game in order to aid other players (especially when they are losing).
  3. The game is too damn long and the endgame is boring. Even when you're playing the "short game."
I'm probably bringing a torch and pitchfork wielding mob down on me for saying this, but I just don't think Settlers is that fun.

I used to like Settlers until I was introduced to better examples of the genre like Agricola.
posted by grouse at 8:09 PM on September 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


wwwwwhatt: Kind of. Monopoly developed from the Landlord's Game, which was supposed to demonstrate the pernicious effects of the accumulation of land in the hands of rentiers. It was a propaganda piece invented by the followers of Henry George, who was a major influence on the 19th-century American Left; Lizzie Magie, a Georgist, made the original design, and it was used as a teaching tool by the left-wing economists Rexford Tugwell and Scott Nearing.

I think you're reading a little more into that Wikipedia article than is actually there. The history of the game was obscure for a long time, which fact was not helped by Parker Bros' outright propaganda concerning Charles Darrow.

Windopaene: My "hipster" comment was directed at "new" Eurogamers, who seem to take a visceral thrill from putting down Monopoly, and over-exaggerating how terrible it is. Once you are comfortable with your boardgamegeekiness, the allure of Monopoly-bashing becomes less. Monopoly s irrelevant as far as gaming goes for me.

Well I guess I am one of your "hipsters." Sheesh, what a stupid word, it's become like "elitist," a term to dismiss people who just might know a little more than the speaker. I, and I'd wager a fair proportion of those hipsters you decry, used to really like Monopoly, because we didn't know any better. It's not really a terrible game, it does have some interesting ideas, but it's far, far too long, among other faults others have explicated above. If we complain about it so loudly, it's only because Monopoly is still so damn popular, and every time we talk about loving board games we always have to explain, after the inevitable next question, that NO WE DON'T MEAN MONOPOLY OR RISK.

On the worth of Settlers of Catan:
It's pretty good, but kind of simplistic. It is an excellent introductory game that even experienced players can put up with from time to time. Most board gamers seem to outgrow it eventually, although I have to say that Catan: The Card Game is quite an awesome two-player game.
posted by JHarris at 8:15 PM on September 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


So what *is* Monopoly strategy?

I mean, I haven't played it since the Reagan era, but mostly I'm trying to figure out if my brothers always beat me because they were better at it, because being slightly older sometimes gave them those advantages, or if they were secretly cheating.
posted by endless_forms at 8:25 PM on September 7, 2011


Expectations: exceeded. Wow, that is gorgeous.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:26 PM on September 7, 2011


I just discovered a sweet board games podcast a couple of hours ago. I'll link it here, why not?
posted by painquale at 8:27 PM on September 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Monopoly strategy is first to own and build on the orange (New York etc.) Cheap to improve, high rents, and overwhelmingly favored to be landed upon due to jail-going and advance to n cards. Adjoining reds or purples offer reduced, but considerable, advantage for same reasons.
posted by MattD at 8:32 PM on September 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


but mostly I'm trying to figure out if my brothers always beat me because they were better at it, because being slightly older sometimes gave them those advantages, or if they were secretly cheating.

I'll take "games people cheat on" for $200, Alex.
posted by jeremias at 8:37 PM on September 7, 2011


You know what game causes true enemies? Not Monopoly. Monopoly is noob gaming. Risk causes bloodshed. And not in the, I killed your army way. In the, I punched you in the nose because you swore you'd back me up way. Risk, you pikers. Drunken Risk at 3 AM.

That's mayhem.
posted by Splunge at 8:37 PM on September 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


I am still trying to live down the fact that I refused to let my kids beat me at Candyland. You don't know hate until you stomp all three of your kids at Candyland. By the time we got to Monopoly, they were stomping me and making me go through the motions of mortgaging and liquidating even after I said I concede.

But my kids are winners today, damnit! Winners!!
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:41 PM on September 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Are there five comments in this whole thread that even acknowledge the subject of the post, let alone how gorgeous and amazing it is? It's gorgeous and amazing! How did she DO it? Will anybody ever love me enough to make anything like that for me? :(
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 8:46 PM on September 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Are there five comments in this whole thread that even acknowledge the subject of the post, let alone how gorgeous and amazing it is? It's gorgeous and amazing!

I don't think you're going to find a lot of disagreement on that here. It is certainly the best-looking and most interesting Monopoly set I've ever seen.
posted by grouse at 8:48 PM on September 7, 2011


Monopoly also has a king maker problem, because one player can just sell all his properties to another for a dollar if he feels like it."

That's a problem?! Sounds more like a solution to me...

"Well, yes, you *could* try to screw me over, Mr. marginally in 1st place, with all your hotels, because you got some lucky rolls early on... but hey, it'll cost ya."

(I've won various types of games like that before, actually.)
posted by markkraft at 8:53 PM on September 7, 2011


Monopoly also has a king maker problem

In all fairness, Monopoly is not alone here. When a player at my table has 9 points and the longest road the trading price for wood and brick to the player with the second longest road drops precipitously.
posted by Midnight Rambler at 9:05 PM on September 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


My family always played to the letter of the official rules. No free parking money, if it wasn't in the rules, which were kept always with the game, it wasn't done. My cousin Lisa, the readheaded bossy cousin slightly older (maybe 11) than we three siblings, on one visit insisted that if you landed on one property of a color you could immediately buy all of them. It was her rules, period, and she made them up as we went along and guess who was the banker. I refused to play with her ever again. She cheated at cards, too, and got the words to popular songs wrong and would not admit it. God I hated her.
posted by longsleeves at 9:06 PM on September 7, 2011 [7 favorites]


I like the thimble.
posted by wreckingball at 9:07 PM on September 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


scody: "Top Hat is Top Tier

GAZE UPON MY SCOTTIE DOG AND WEEP
"

Fuck you... It's Candlestick for LIFE! That's right, I murdered Mr. Money on Atlantic Ave. With the CANDLESTICK.
posted by symbioid at 9:09 PM on September 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


dude candlestick is soft-banned in Germany and most tourneys in the US have banned it outright, with the makers removing it after the outcry from the scene complaining about the candlescrubs
posted by DoctorFedora at 9:13 PM on September 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


If you guys think Monopoly makes enemies, you really should give Diplomacy a go.
posted by WalterMitty at 9:33 PM on September 7, 2011 [3 favorites]



Are there five comments in this whole thread that even acknowledge the subject of the post, let alone how gorgeous and amazing it is?


read the first sentence of the post - are you at all surprised by the direction this discussion has taken?
posted by mannequito at 9:56 PM on September 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


SO... can someone in the bay area create a meetup wherein you introduce me to all these awesome board games I've never heard of?
posted by danny the boy at 10:31 PM on September 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Monopoly strategy:

Mortgage property pretty much as soon as you buy it.

You essentially double your buying power in the early game and have less invested in property that is essentially dead weight for the entire game (e.g. the one property you own as a block to a monopoly).

The $5 you gain in rent off a single active property is less than you'll earn if you enter a beauty contest. That empty lot is just locking up funds and dragging the game out to a brutal pace.

Seriously. Grab your Monopoly board from the basement tonight and lure a couple people in for a game. Mortgage your purchases immediately. Watch how fast you win.

Once you get a group of people together that plays this way, Monopoly actually becomes fun. Games should last under an hour, if not 30 minutes.

Trades become more interesting. The gambits of house/hotel building carry far more risk/reward. And midgame money management separates the top hats from the old-fashioned irons.

For the first time in your life, Monopoly will be fun.
posted by pokermonk at 10:40 PM on September 7, 2011 [7 favorites]


(I started playing this way after reading John McPhee's In Search of Marvin Gardens, which will be the metaphorical passing of Go in your relationship to the game.)
posted by pokermonk at 10:43 PM on September 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'll take "games people cheat on" for $200, Alex.

So, long about the end of my 7th grade year, I had occasion to spend a couple of weeks in a mental health facility (one associated with a moderately famous institution in Omaha, NE). There was a surprising amount of game playing at said facility. Lots of cards. (I developed a really intense solitaire habit for a while.) Space Invaders on a couple of reallly ancient Apple machines. Board games.

No one cheats at Monopoly like 15-to-20-year-old girls in an institutionalized population of addicts, gang members, abused foster kids, and general-purpose juvenile delinquents can cheat at Monopoly. I swear it was like there was some kind of quantum haze of fake money being improperly shuffled through the air, every house rule you've ever heard of plus a number of them you could swear shouldn't actually relate meaningfully to the basic terms of the game itself in continuous rotation...
posted by brennen at 10:56 PM on September 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


i told you it was a dumb game (selflink)
posted by The Whelk at 11:16 PM on September 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Any self-respecting board game hipster knows that if you want to play as a ruthless capitalist, the game to play is Acquire.
posted by kmz at 11:39 PM on September 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


Mortgage property pretty much as soon as you buy it.

Why? You might end up with that color group and have to un-mortgage it. Better to keep everything unmortgaged, providing a revenue stream, until you need the money and then mortgage at that moment.

Monopoly strategy:

1 Play the rules. It's more fun. If you don't know the rules, particularly auctions, none of this will make sense.
2 Buy every property you land on. (That is, improvable color properties, not utilities/stations. You can buy these if you like but you don't HAVE to.)
3 As soon as you get a color group build hotels on it. Not enough money? Mortgage everything that isn't on that color group. Not enough money? Get every house you can.

So, then you've got no cash, so you might go bankrupt any time, but if someone lands on your property you will destroy them! Now it's exciting.

The fun is step 3, of course. How do you get that color group? Well, if you're lucky you can land on one, but that's unlikely, because any other rational player is following step 2 as well. So what'll happen is player A and player B between them end up with two color groups - two of one, one of another each. Or, even more fun, players A, B and C together make three. Or A and B can make one, but B reckons that with another property from A he can make two groups with C - you get the idea. Rational players will pretty much just swap properties, irrespective of the face values, or make up the cash difference.

And that's Monopoly! Watching the properties go until color groups can be made. Holding out, trading, wheedling, until you get a group. Spending every dollar to build. Hoping, hoping, hoping someone lands on your hotel. Triumph if they don't. Horror if you land on their hotel. Praying for Go To Jail. Very exciting, about an hour.

Sure, it's tedious if you don't get a color group at all, but in my experience that doesn't happen too often with a reasonable number of players and a bit of "damn the firstmost".

Finally, I don't think you can quite always "make someone else win" by spite. You land on HOTELIER, can't pay the rent, hate HOTELIER, so want to favor THIRDPERSON to win over HOTELIER. You can't give THIRDPERSON developed property - hotels and houses - where most of the value in a color group is located. You have to sell them back to the bank at half cost. Then you can sell the color group to THIRDPERSON for $1, sure, but they'll need to spend the $500-$3000 to get hotels back. Meanwhile HOTELIER did get all your cash in-hand and from selling back the hotels and houses you had. So it's not so bad a flaw.
posted by alasdair at 11:51 PM on September 7, 2011


I'm waiting for the old No Mutants Allowed crew to get angry that it's only based on Fallout 3 and New Vegas.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:38 PM on September 7 [3 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


Well at least it's turn-based, maybe this is the 'True' Fallout 3 they've been waiting for!!


scody: "Top Hat is Top Tier

GAZE UPON MY SCOTTIE DOG AND WEEP"

Fuck you... It's Candlestick for LIFE! That's right, I murdered Mr. Money on Atlantic Ave. With the CANDLESTICK.
posted by symbioid at 9:09 PM on September 7 [1 favorite +] [!]


Pfffffttttt, I will CRUSH you with my early 20th Century naval doctrine.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 12:01 AM on September 8, 2011


I was surprised that Tenpenny Tower wasn't one of the properties on the Fallout board.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:20 AM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


BrotherCaine, are you somehow me?

JHarris, a year older, more bitter about the Avalon Hill buyout, and I've actually played Temple of Apshai, but I'm also much less creative. So I'm more like a JHarris from a different quantum universe.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:24 AM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would rather play Monopoly every afternoon for a decade than play a single game of Fluxx.
posted by Sauce Trough at 1:29 AM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


In all fairness, Monopoly is not alone here. When a player at my table has 9 points and the longest road the trading price for wood and brick to the player with the second longest road drops precipitously.

This is a strength of Settlers of Catan, not a flaw. The fact that the players themselves can even the playfieldn through trading helps to lessen the influence of the randomness of the dice. When I teach the game, I make sure players realize, once a player reaches nine points, even (and when teaching the game this is usually true) if that player is myself, that they should not be trading with this person, as anything he'll be willing to trade for by that point will probably be handing him the win. Basic gaming strategy is, if you're in the lead, end the game now if possible; if you're not in the lead, prolong it until you are.

Another thing that improves Settlers of Catan with experienced players is when they realize, if one player is far behind, that you can afford to make less advantageous trades with him than the other players, since he has more distance to make up. This helps to keep all players interested in the game, speeds the game up a little, and even gives the underdog the win once in a while. Another thing that works in the culture of gamers I play with is, not to "turn up the hate" too early with the Robber. Settlers of Catan can be a game of grudges, and the player who has just stolen from you and blocked one of your hexes, while not necessarily bad to trade with in raw terms of odds of winning, it is still difficult to unbend enough to trade with that person in the near future. Thus, since trade is so important in Settlers, we typically try to target unoccupied or (under recent edition rules) the desert rather than another player in the early game, to keep trade avenues open.

Other people have already elaborated upon the best Monopoly strategy: target Orange and Red, mortgage the moment you need money to buy a new property. The problem is, Monopoly players soon learn that the moment one player completes a color group, that player is at a severe advantage. So, players tend to hold off on trading until it becomes impossible for them to acquire a group by chance, which is usually once everything it bought. Then, if the players aren't that experienced, the game becomes roll-dice-move-mice until everyone gets sick of it, or two players trade to give each other a group. That is the critical moment in the play; indeed, that one decision will mean the eventual win of one of those two players unless the other players trade for groups themselves, and the only purpose to be served in delaying this is to give the players with groups more and more money.

I rather think, after everyone has traded for properties at this point, the best thing to do is to add up the expected income per turn of all the players for all their groups (there are places on the internet that provide this information), find out what percentage of the total income per turn of all groups this is for each player, place those percentages on a chart from 1 to 100 and then roll d100 to decide the winner, after which the players can move on to Chutes and Ladders.

Risk does keep more players in the game longer, but this is actually more of a fault. With Monopoly, the hopelessness of the trailing players combined with the length of the game makes it more likely that those players will eventually concede rather than play the game out to its conclusion. Risk is even longer (in our groups it's generally acknowledge it needs at least a whole day to play), but is also competitive for longer, making concessions less likely. You have a greater chance of a come behind victory with those damn cards, so you play longer.

There are some interesting problems in advanced Risk however. This is IMO of course, but the way I see it, the game comes down to card management and optimal territory attack orders, that is, building a super-stack of units and taking over territories in a way that you can bulldoze through them without leaving straggler territories, which necessitate either leaving some armies behind to attack them (which means making a possibly-incorrect decision concurring how many armies to divert from the front line) or leaving those territories behind for the enemy to possibly counter-attack from on following turns. Armies have limited moves if they aren't actually attacking, so it's important to utilize that "momentum" as far as possible.

Also, depending on how you handle eliminated player cards, it can be extra important to wipe out players yourself when possible, since many rules then give you their cards, and even demand that you then cash in their bonus armies immediately, which can then be used to fuel a second blitzkrieg on a turn. That can give a player the game in some circumstances.

The real problem with Risk, I think, is mostly in its mechanics. When you might roll dice 20 or more times in a turn, an extra second on each die roll becomes a significant delay. I think it's actually better to play computer adaptations of the game, where the machine handles rolling and figuring out losses, than physical, if just because turns go by much faster.
posted by JHarris at 2:09 AM on September 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


BrotherCaine, I'm not sure about the creativity, and you certainly have excellent opinions. You're more upset about the Avalon Hill buyout? Wow. And I've been meaning to get into Temple of Apshai for a while.
posted by JHarris at 2:17 AM on September 8, 2011


Of course, same seven-year-old once beat three college-educated adults at Dominion.

Yeah, that was not my proudest moment.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 2:38 AM on September 8, 2011


Sauce Trough: "I would rather play Monopoly every afternoon for a decade than play a single game of Fluxx"

Hahahaha, I love Fluxx but I can completely understand that sentiment. Icehouse is a much more satisfying product of theirs anyway.
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:01 AM on September 8, 2011


I still think the best (piss)take on Monopoly is the MAD Magazine Game.
posted by namewithoutwords at 3:38 AM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


The things that BGG hates about Monopoly are, I'm afraid, the same things that make it popular. Most people don't want a compelling strategic experience from a game. They just want an excuse to argue.
posted by LogicalDash at 3:53 AM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would, at this point, prefer to play Monopoly than Settlers of Catan. The "what will you give me to not put my robber on this hex?" part of the game makes the game somehow even more irritating than usual.
posted by jeather at 4:54 AM on September 8, 2011


The things that BGG hates about Monopoly are, I'm afraid, the same things that make it popular. Most people don't want a compelling strategic experience from a game. They just want an excuse to argue.

Argue or shout or whatever to have a good time. This was once commented on by the designer of Dominion (itself a wildly successful game), noting that lots of people love a game for the social experience - arguing, rolling handfuls of dice, abrupt turns of luck - rather than the more grognardy, ludic qualities that hardcore gamers tend to favour. BGG has a hate for Monopoly disproportionate to its failings or the role it fulfills as a universal family game. And there is a slight hipster attitude to this hate - look for similar invective directed towards Settlers of Catan, Diplomacy and even Candyland. But it's a fan community, and so you have to expect these sort of things.

Having said that, in the seminal book New Rules for Classic Games, Schmittberger lists several of the ludic problems with Monopoly, down as far as something as basic as starting order, and notes that a lot of common house rules exacerbate these problems.
posted by outlier at 4:55 AM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you want Monopoly to be more fun, allow the banker to be the judge also, and add enforcable contracts and side-deals. You might be losing now, but you can option your properties to someone who can make monopolies and try for a hostile takeover later. Best played with lawyers and finance people.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 5:59 AM on September 8, 2011


So... Monopoly is Comic Sans?
posted by Vectorcon Systems at 6:03 AM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would, at this point, prefer to play Monopoly than Settlers of Catan. The "what will you give me to not put my robber on this hex?" part of the game makes the game somehow even more irritating than usual.

So don't do that! I've actually never heard a player try to do that, maybe we're not so schemey.

However all of my friends did hate me for a few minutes after I traded all of them wheat for whatever they would give me... about 7 of them or so... then played the monopoly (ha!) card on wheat. Dirty looks all around.
posted by utsutsu at 6:05 AM on September 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


So don't do that! I've actually never heard a player try to do that, maybe we're not so schemey

That one is probably my fault, as I did it maybe the second time I played and it took off. The truth is actually that I find Catan has a few things beyond robber threats that make it a not fun playing experience for me anymore (and I also very much overplayed it earlier), so I play other games. It is an excellent introductory game, I just do not want to play it. Ever again.
posted by jeather at 6:21 AM on September 8, 2011


A friend of mine had a great additional component to his monopoly game. It was a card that you pop on the top so it's the first thing you see when you open the box which says:

"You think you want to play this but remember what happened last time. It will not be fun, someone will end up hurt, put it back in the cupboard."

Improved the game no end.
posted by pmcp at 6:35 AM on September 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


That is amazing. My friends used to play Monopoly all the time until one game that got a little out of control and got to the point where everybody had to hold hands while walking to the bathroom so they wouldn't cheat. Luckily I was not there for that game.

Settlers is a fun game but once you realize that the the only possible way you can get one of the elements or whatever they are called is by trading your kinda screwed and its all up to luck. I much prefer Carcassonne to Settlers.
posted by lilkeith07 at 6:46 AM on September 8, 2011


Recently played Settlers again for the first time in about a year... While I would say I DO prefer it to Monopoly, I also realized while playing that the love affair we'd shared initially had long worn off... I had moved on to see and enjoy other games. (Incidentally, I suppose that my feelings in this particular case could also be because I was completely thwarted at nearly my every attempt at building settlements! I think my longest road strategy was far too obvious...)

BTW: Amazing work and one lucky boyfriend!! Making a custom board game for me would lead straight to my heart! <3
posted by vaevictus at 7:13 AM on September 8, 2011


"You see, in America everyone wants to be a monopolist! I swear they make their children play this boring game called monopoly which takes hours to play! The point of the game is to make the other players homeless! They even play against their friends and families. It is repulsive."

"Oh Habib, you lie again. Last week it was about the Jews drinking blood on passover."

"No, no. That was a lie, I read that in a Saudi paper I did not say it was true, but the monopoly game is true I tell you. When I was on my student visa I visited a professor's home and his children were playing it. I could not believe my eyes when one child scream with glee when he made another go bankrupt. They weren't even ten years old!"

"You saw this?"

"Yes. It was truly frightening. The game ends when one child drives the rest bankrupt. I even saw one child steal from the bank by short changing them."

"Now you are lying. Children short-changing children?"

"Yes! I saw it. He was very good at it. They made him in charge of the bank. A crook in charge of a bank! In America! I swear I thought I was in a nightmare. "

"Then one child gave out loans to the poorer children. The terms on the loan were frightening. Praise Allah no one was hurt!"

"This game? It is very popular?"

"It is the most popular game in America! I swear I do not lie"

"How do those Parker Brothers sleep at night?"

posted by straight at 7:29 AM on September 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm waiting for the old No Mutants Allowed crew to get angry that it's only based on Fallout 3 and New Vegas.

Mhm. But series that inspire such rabid loyalty stand a chance of being resurrected (Fallout, Deus Ex, Thief), whereas other great series have fallen by the wayside (Might & Magic, Wizardry).

Besides, a hotel at Necropolis is better than its Little Lamplight counterpart.
posted by ersatz at 7:30 AM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Monopoly is one of those board games I love to look at for the graphic design, but hate to actually play. As opposed to Sorry which is a nice variant on the race-game genre.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:33 AM on September 8, 2011


I think the problem with Monopoly is that it's a game with complex rules with a lot of special cases but a simple strategy. As opposed to chess, go, good race games, and card games where complex strategies emerge from simple rules.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:50 AM on September 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


Of course, same seven-year-old once beat three college-educated adults at Dominion.

Dominion is a game of epiphanies.
"I can buy a Copper for 0? Really? I can just use my excess buys on Copper? Why would I not do that like every tu-- OH."
"Chapel? What, just trash some of my cards with no compensation?! What the heck would I do that fo-- OH."
"Throne Room? Sure it's an interesting idea to play one of my cards twice, but is it that powerful? Say I wonder what would happen if I used it on anoth-- OH."

Settlers is a fun game but once you realize that the the only possible way you can get one of the elements or whatever they are called is by trading your kinda screwed and its all up to luck. I much prefer Carcassonne to Settlers.

Carcassonne has quite a bit of luck to it as well. With Settlers, I think what you're really getting at is how much of the game is decided in the initial setup. Players tend to go through stages: First, going after red numbers. Second, counting the dots (I usually advise this to players I'm teaching). Third, randomly selecting from: targeting harbors, going for a "spread" of numbers, or trying to ensure having an income in every resource. I think one good strategy is to try to have an income in the rarest resource on the board, so other players will be desperate to trade for it.

Settlers of Catan really is about trading, it's essential to the game. A player can only get by without it if he has an exceptional setup. Trading, however, is not necessarily a zero-sum game. Good Catan players will trade frequently, unlike Monopoly where there are only a handful of trade events in the game. A trade can give both players something they need, which is still an advantage over the third and fourth players. But this dynamic changes entirely if a game goes down to two players; then trading does become zero sum, and there always is a winner and loser in every trade. This is part of why so many Eurogames require three players at a minimum.

(Incidentally, I suppose that my feelings in this particular case could also be because I was completely thwarted at nearly my every attempt at building settlements! I think my longest road strategy was far too obvious...)

The way I think about it, in Settlers of Catan there are "empty points" and "building points." Building points make the game easier for you, because they increase resource income. Empty points, such as from development cards, Longest Road and Largest Army, are more useful to win the game at the end than to get them early on. Late in the game, it is possible for empty points to become a serious liability, since if you mostly have those as opposed to building points, you might be about to win on paper, but no one will dare trade anything with you and you aren't getting many resources through the dice. A game about always making the best decision for right now.

If you want Monopoly to be more fun, allow the banker to be the judge also, and add enforcable contracts and side-deals.

It is possible to make Monopoly a substantially worse game that way. In this I don't think it's necessarily good to make this game, which people sometimes take too personally, more like real life.

I would, at this point, prefer to play Monopoly than Settlers of Catan. The "what will you give me to not put my robber on this hex?" part of the game makes the game somehow even more irritating than usual.

This is not supported by the rules, which I believe clearly state that only resource cards can be traded. You aren't even allowed to trade one resource card for nothing, which would sometimes be useful in getting your hand to seven cards.

This was once commented on by the designer of Dominion (itself a wildly successful game), noting that lots of people love a game for the social experience - arguing, rolling handfuls of dice, abrupt turns of luck - rather than the more grognardy, ludic qualities that hardcore gamers tend to favour.

Ultimately however, those ludic qualities are essential and cannot be ignored. A game about those wild swings of fate or bizarre wins, if they're emphasized too far, turns into Munchkin, a game about saving hate to swing at whoever's at level 9.
posted by JHarris at 8:01 AM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Monopoly is one of those board games I love to look at for the graphic design, but hate to actually play. As opposed to Sorry which is a nice variant on the race-game genre.

Are you talking about Sorry? The game that's almost entirely like Parcheesi except you draw cards instead of roll dice? Not hold in your hand, just draw? I guess I don't see what you're getting at.
posted by JHarris at 8:05 AM on September 8, 2011


This is not supported by the rules, which I believe clearly state that only resource cards can be traded. You aren't even allowed to trade one resource card for nothing, which would sometimes be useful in getting your hand to seven cards.

The person with the robber is allowed to trade during their turn, and we only ever "trade" resource cards. It's not particularly hard to work it so that you're not trading 0 cards for 1 card.
posted by jeather at 8:19 AM on September 8, 2011


I will say that the iPad Monopoly app from EA is pretty darned slick. Though, it's pretty easy to beat the AI. The trick is to get all four railroads (trade for $300 if you have to) and then just ignore all their trade requests.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 8:25 AM on September 8, 2011


Are you talking about Sorry? The game that's almost entirely like Parcheesi except you draw cards instead of roll dice? Not hold in your hand, just draw? I guess I don't see what you're getting at.

Sorry has some nice innovations like slides, and the reverse, split, swap, and sorry cards which make for a faster game with a shorter endgame grind compared to other race games. I like Parcheesi also.

Monopoly, in my opinion has too many rules, it's difficult to actually have a game without at least one episode of rules lawyering, and early probabilistic advantages usually lead into a long and slow war of economic attrition. If I'm going to play a game of both skill and chance, I'd rather play multiple rounds of a short game with simple rules and sharp tactics. Even in, something like chess where engames are theoretically decisive it's often worth playing them out on the casual level because a tactical blunder can produce a stalemate.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:50 AM on September 8, 2011


Why? You might end up with that color group and have to un-mortgage it. Better to keep everything unmortgaged, providing a revenue stream, until you need the money and then mortgage at that moment.

Eh, we're advocating the same approach with a mostly irrelevant difference (maybe a hundred dollars by the end of the game?).

The $200 from passing Go eclipses the piddly redistribution of wealth in the first few circles of the board. And 10% interest on the mortgage to reactivate a property is chump change. If everyone is on board with quick mortgages, you waste much less time making small change for 10s (bleeeegggh) on $8 rents.

In the early game, having two monopolies in mortgage is better than having one active monopoly too. If you've been managing your cash well, passing Go should always leave you with enough money to pull anything out safely.

I mean, yes, it's the best practice to mortgage only as needed... There's a chance that even a few extra dollars prevents you from going bankrupt in the late game. And the less you need to rely on Go to get construction going on a monopoly, the better.

The core point is that half of what you pay for a property is still cash you can spend whenever you want — not just after your financial empire is plummeting into ruins.

If you're developing your feel for the strategy of the game, I think it's better (and more fun) to work with quickly mortgaged property than to sit on low-performing active properties. Cutting away massive chunks of your opponent's fortune in the endgame is the goal. Making a few extra bucks in the early game is nice, but too many people get caught up in the small bills and ineffectual gains and wonder why the game they're playing sucks.
posted by pokermonk at 8:56 AM on September 8, 2011


This is beautiful. Everything about it is just really nicely done.

And it fits perfectly with my belief that all board games, and most financial transactions involving property will eventually devolve into a shootout between my plasma rifle and and a couple of Super-Mutants.

We just all constantly pray that no deathclaws become involved, because that becomes an "everybody loses" kind of situation.
posted by quin at 8:57 AM on September 8, 2011


> We just all constantly pray that no deathclaws become involved, because that becomes an "everybody loses" kind of situation.

Dude, if you get the alien blaster pistol those deathclaws are easily dealt with.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 8:58 AM on September 8, 2011


Further down, she posted a "how-to". She did a wonderful job and it looks professionally done. Dude found a keeper.
posted by hankscorpio83 at 9:07 AM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ultimately however, those ludic qualities are essential and cannot be ignored. A game about those wild swings of fate or bizarre wins, if they're emphasized too far, turns into Munchkin, a game about saving hate to swing at whoever's at level 9.

And Munchkin is wildly popular and successful. It's what keeps Steve Jackson Games afloat. All those boardgames and GURPs supplements? Mere noise in the SJG ledgers.

Boardgamegeek can keep thumping its chest about game balance, luck and multiple paths to victory. For most of the population, these things are irrelevant.
posted by outlier at 9:38 AM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


The way I think about it, in Settlers of Catan there are "empty points" and "building points." Building points make the game easier for you, because they increase resource income. Empty points, such as from development cards, Longest Road and Largest Army, are more useful to win the game at the end than to get them early on. Late in the game, it is possible for empty points to become a serious liability, since if you mostly have those as opposed to building points, you might be about to win on paper, but no one will dare trade anything with you and you aren't getting many resources through the dice. A game about always making the best decision for right now.

I play Catan on the Xbox 360 in spare moments of boredom, and it's worth noting that the A.I. recognizes the distinction you make. Like human players, A.I.'s will oppose development of leading players, but if you have, say, 6 points owing only to settlements/cities, and one or two opponents with 7 or 8 points due to settlements/cities + largest army or longest road, A.I. opponents will continue to harass the player who is ahead in "building points". That being said, I'll often hang back on taking longest road (but keeping it within reach) because all other things being equal, a lead is a lead.

What I haven't seen referenced here in any kind of Catan (or GBG generally) vs. Monopoly discussion is the bedrock GBG principle of "multiple paths to victory". Prevented from expanding on the Catan board? Go for largest army. Opponent's army too big to overtake? Go for longest road. Not gonna get that either? Try to acquire victory point cards. Have no Monopoly against players who do? Move around the board a few more times hemorrhaging money before you finally croak. Risk is even worse for this, in that you can survive a losing position for a long, long time. GBG's are designed to keep you in the game, though like all principles of that school of design, some games do it better than others.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:52 AM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


And... there's a reference to multiple paths of victory right before my post. Oh well.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:52 AM on September 8, 2011


Nobody linked to The Wire version of Monopoly yet?
posted by alby at 9:58 AM on September 8, 2011


Here's a good PPT (i'm sorry) presentation on multiplayer games from several years ago.

It goes over a bunch of common problems in multiplayer games fairly systematically with solutions for them.
posted by empath at 10:03 AM on September 8, 2011


The main problem with multiplayer games is that poorly designed games (which are largely games with too much freedom to act) devolve into political games. Which is fine if the game is designed that way (like diplomacy), but if you don't want to play a game of trading favors, then you need to constrain the ability of players to interact with each other by formalizing the trading of resources and limiting the ability of players to affect the outcomes of actions of other players in which they don't have a direct stake in the outcome.

Monopoly doesn't do either of those things, and so the game often devolves into favor trading and metagame bullshit (ie, you bankrupted me last game, so i'm just going to sell all my shit to this gother guy for nothing just so you can't win).
posted by empath at 10:07 AM on September 8, 2011


Hacienda has held the top spot in "I dunno, what do you want to play?" voting at our house for some years now; even in the face of stiff competition from Catan, Puerto Rico, Princes of Florence, Agricola with all its sundry complexity variants and Caylus, which is my favorite by far.

Like the other games listed above, there are numerous paths to victory, and a well-played game will force you to change your strategy a number of times. It's also not uncommon for the player ahead in the first round of scoring to be edged out at the end of the game, and I rarely see a game end with a point spread of more than 20 or so between first and last place.

Oh, and to stay on topic, I don't hate Monopoly, but there are just so many other fun games out there, why bother? The mechanics are a century old and, in an evolutionary sense, the weaknesses of its design have been sublimated over numerous generations of increasingly well-designed games. Hmm, now I have to design Galapagos Monopoly...
posted by phong3d at 10:08 AM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


The person with the robber is allowed to trade during their turn, and we only ever "trade" resource cards. It's not particularly hard to work it so that you're not trading 0 cards for 1 card.

You aren't allowed to trade before moving the Robber. There is actually a precise order for your turns laid out in the rules: play preliminary development cards, then roll and resolve dice, then trade resources (and the current player must be a participant in any trades), then build. In practice the trading and building steps get mixed together because there's no good reason not to, but it is clear that rolling a 7 then moving the robber, together, is meant to be a single atomic act, so no trades between. Of course you can make verbal promises during the moving of the robber, but nothing in the rules holds you to those promises. It is possible for individual gaming circles to become toxic if bad practices and expectations begin to hold sway, such as with a player who throws games to his girlfriend or a player demands Free Parking jackpots, and if robber promises are bad with your group then you might want to bring it up with them (present this comment as evidence if you like) and say it's against the rules.

Sorry has some nice innovations like slides, and the reverse, split, swap, and sorry cards which make for a faster game with a shorter endgame grind compared to other race games. I like Parcheesi also.

I have only ever played Sorry! once, with my mother, well over twenty years ago, so my memory of the game may be faulty, but I don't remember those cards offering any meaningful choices to the play. It's still roll-yer-dice-move-yer-mice, just with cards instead of dice. And I am not a fan of Pure-cheesy.

And Munchkin is wildly popular and successful. It's what keeps Steve Jackson Games afloat. All those boardgames and GURPs supplements? Mere noise in the SJG ledgers.

If you're going to use pure revenue as your measure then go ahead, play Monopoly all the live-long, sing-song day, it makes ten times the money Munchkin could ever hope to make. I bet Michael Bay makes all your favorite movies. I also know for a fact that not all Munchkin supplements sell well -- there's certainly a reason some Munchkin sets get expansion after expansion while others peter out after one.

Anyway, Munchkin has its faults, but it is still rather fun to play, for a while at least, and I do not begrudge Steve Jackson Games its success. The fun comes from the act of playing however, not because it has a particularly great design. Stringing together ludicrous sets of modifiers on monsters (Tiny Incredibly Ancient Great Cowthulu And His Mate), continually beating down your friends, etc. But all our games of Munchkin are either over in fifteen minutes, because one player got great cards and managed to win before the other players could build up enough aerosol cans of whoopass to use against him, or three hours, because they did manage to save up enough cans. (Note: I am personally responsible for the construction of two mega-Munchkin sets. I went through a Munchkin phase at one point.)

There is room for games like that in the world. I think where we might differ is in thinking Monopoly deserves to be counted among them, as it's longer than Munchkin even at its worst.

On when to mortgage Monopoly properties:
Eh, we're advocating the same approach with a mostly irrelevant difference (maybe a hundred dollars by the end of the game?).

Yeah, but the point is there is no real reason not to hold off on mortgaging and increase your chances of winning by that .01%. It's a very minor difference, but once in a while the dice do roll that way, and having that extra $7 or so turns out to give you the game.

I will say that the iPad Monopoly app from EA is pretty darned slick.

I can't speak for that, but their Risk app has caused me to reevaluate that game. Playing a game of Risk that's over in 30 minutes instead of six hours makes for a profoundly difference experience. EA seems to put their apps on sale once in a while, so if you keep a lookout you can eventually get some of their games for $0.99.
posted by JHarris at 10:11 AM on September 8, 2011


Yeah, a lot of people who wouldn't touch Risk are happy to while away a bit of time on Dice Wars (granted, not exactly the same thing). I didn't really get into Carcasonne until I could have quick rounds on the Xbox (until my understanding of the strategy evolved to the point where, on Expert, I knew exactly what the A.I. would do, and I would attempt to do likewise... that, to me, is not great design).

It's funny playing Talisman now, because at the time it was such a breakthrough in gaming, but compared to modern offerings, it really is a bit of a slog.

I'd play this version of Monopoly if I weren't allowed to simply gaze longingly at the components, but I'd insist that when someone lands on Free Parking, they got to drop the dice and play Fallout 3 for a few hours.

Anybody else ever play this?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:42 AM on September 8, 2011


So what *is* Monopoly strategy?

I have just recently started playing 'Monopoly 'and 'Monopoly Here & Now: World Edition' on my iPad. Try playing either version solo against two AI competitors at difficulty level: 'hard.' You soon learn that this a'int your childhood match against family and friends. There's a lot of strategy involved.

A few resources I recommend:
How To Win at Monopoly.

How to Win at Monopoly – a Surefire Strategy.

Monopoly Revisited.

Probabilities in the Game of Monopoly.
posted by ericb at 10:56 AM on September 8, 2011


I have only ever played Sorry! once, with my mother, well over twenty years ago, so my memory of the game may be faulty, but I don't remember those cards offering any meaningful choices to the play. It's still roll-yer-dice-move-yer-mice, just with cards instead of dice. And I am not a fan of Pure-cheesy.

Tactics for race games depend on knowing probabilities and positioning your pieces to best take advantage of those probabilities for the given state of play. In backgammon, for example, a skilled player can routinely win %70-80 of games by minimizing high-risk blots and maximizing potential for development. (The same is true for trick-taking card games, which are won or lost by finessing your way into one or two extra tricks beyond what is obvious.)

In Sorry, the backwards move card makes keeping a piece near the start a viable option in certain situations, but not in others. It also makes piece capture a bit more risky. Taking the swap likewise depends on who you want to hurt, how much you would hurt them, and what you stand to gain from the swap. Should you prioritize advancement or keeping pieces in a good position for the swap?

Meanwhile, the use of a cards adds a key strategic advantage of cards over dice: card-counting. So if you're smart, you weight the odds on the cards played vs. cards remaining.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:15 AM on September 8, 2011


You aren't allowed to trade before moving the Robber. There is actually a precise order for your turns laid out in the rules: play preliminary development cards, then roll and resolve dice, then trade resources (and the current player must be a participant in any trades), then build. In practice the trading and building steps get mixed together because there's no good reason not to, but it is clear that rolling a 7 then moving the robber, together, is meant to be a single atomic act, so no trades between. Of course you can make verbal promises during the moving of the robber, but nothing in the rules holds you to those promises.

Yes, again, we do follow the actual rules as set out -- or did, as we haven't played in a while, but the rules do not really prevent those deals. Perhaps they should. People do not break robber promises in my group. As I said, there are other reasons I dislike Catan, mostly because I do not like the luck/strategy balance in the game. I don't mind near-pure-luck games (I have played many enjoyable rounds of Killer Bunnies) and I enjoy nearly-no-luck games, but Catan just hits the wrong balance for me. Yes, the robber trades are annoying (and take ages), but even without them I would not want to play Catan.

I used to really like Sorry! though.
posted by jeather at 11:22 AM on September 8, 2011


ericb, the problem with having a Monopoly "strategy" is that optimal play so often comes down to just buying everything you land on. The auction rule doesn't even come up all that often if that happens. The only really interesting strategy I saw in the pages you linked was the idea of loading up on houses on a cheap color group to delay other players from building, but even that is very unlikely to come up in your game.

KirkJobSluder, Backgammon is a race game that I am prepared to grant has a lot of skill, but there are a lot more choices in Backgammon than your typical Cross-and-Circle game. I remain unconvinced that card counting will provide much advantage in Sorry, it's the kind of thing where you don't have enough decisions to allow you to make good use of that information. Also, if you have a choice between making a substantive move towards winning the game, and holding back on that move because you *might* gain a tactical advantage, then that advantage had better be really great.

Yes, again, we do follow the actual rules as set out -- or did, as we haven't played in a while, but the rules do not really prevent those deals. Perhaps they should. People do not break robber promises in my group.

I'd say that is a toxic group situation then, a case where an idea has come up that is counter to the spirit of the game. It might help to right things if you mentioned to them, the next time a Catan game begins looking like it might be forming, that the rules make no provision for trading Robber protection, that they are trading entirely on the good will of their opponents.

It doesn't sound like it should be that big a deal though; there are Soldier/Knight cards for taking care of Robbers, so it can be prepared for by buying development cards, and you can even build towards Largest Army, and potentially pick up special cards or extra victory points, along the way. That is to say, it sounds like this is counterable through strategy.
posted by JHarris at 11:36 AM on September 8, 2011


JHarris, I am not sure how to make it any clearer that even without the robber situation, I would not want to play Settlers of Catan anymore. No one that I play with even semi-regularly does, either, as no one mentions it as an option when we are discussing what game to play (unless they are saying "Not Catan" -- and this includes people I have never played Catan with). I have other games to play I enjoy a lot, and I am happy with that selection.
posted by jeather at 11:43 AM on September 8, 2011


Monopoly doesn't do either of those things, and so the game often devolves into favor trading and metagame bullshit (ie, you bankrupted me last game, so i'm just going to sell all my shit to this gother guy for nothing just so you can't win).

I actually had a former friend sell all his properties to another player for a dollar, thus throwing the game to that guy, because I wouldn't enter into a partnership with him (we were playing a variation that allowed for partnerships in order to build houses and hotels on shared property sets). It was the beginning of the end of our friendship, not because I minded losing the game, but because I had to wonder if I could really trust someone who would do something like that out of sheer petulance.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:43 AM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


You've never seen fights until you see a drama club play charades.

Werewolf generally went okay, though.
posted by cereselle at 11:50 AM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you don't want to play Catan then don't play Catan. I'm not pushing you into it, just explaining. It's a bit simple, but I've used it to introduce several people to board gaming. All I am saying is, it's not a bad game, objectively. If it doesn't work for you then it doesn't work. In all cases, play what you like.
posted by JHarris at 12:06 PM on September 8, 2011


Monopoly is entirely justified by the cool metal player pieces.
posted by theora55 at 1:21 PM on September 8, 2011


The auction rule doesn't even come up all that often if that happens.

The auction rule, hoarding houses, frequent offers/trades, etc. come up frequently when playing against two, or three, AI partners on the iPad version of the game.
posted by ericb at 1:22 PM on September 8, 2011


> the iPad version of the game.

I've found that an almost surefire way (I've only played it maybe 5 times) to beat the AI on the iPad game on the most difficult setting is to just snap up all the railroads and not accept any of their trades. The former gives you a lot of cash and the latter prevents them from getting any monopolies. They'll sell you their railroad for $300, which will pay for itself in no time. Hotels on the pricey properties are kind of overkill. Also, once you've cornered several property groups you can do a targeted approach to houses based on where the other players are prior to their rolls.

These strategies probably would only work once against actual players, however.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 1:26 PM on September 8, 2011


Yeah -- I've found that owning all the railroads creates a cash cow. And, getting the entire orange and red color groups (with houses on them ... and sometimes also owning the light blue) AND holding off trading sole properties that would lead to an opponent being able to complete a color group leads to victory.
posted by ericb at 1:32 PM on September 8, 2011


The main problem with multiplayer games is that poorly designed games (which are largely games with too much freedom to act) devolve into political games. Which is fine if the game is designed that way (like diplomacy), but if you don't want to play a game of trading favors, then you need to constrain the ability of players to interact with each other by formalizing the trading of resources and limiting the ability of players to affect the outcomes of actions of other players in which they don't have a direct stake in the outcome.

Monopoly doesn't do either of those things, and so the game often devolves into favor trading and metagame bullshit (ie, you bankrupted me last game, so i'm just going to sell all my shit to this gother guy for nothing just so you can't win).


You're completely right about this and it's the reason why I think Monopoly is a bad game and it's also the reason why I love Monopoly. The game as laid out on paper is poorly designed and it offers a limited and pretty boring set of opportunities for strategic play, but when you play it with the right group of folks (who are familiar with games, understand what makes games bad, and who therefore tend to not engage in stupid behavior like giving all of their money to another player or etc.) the joy of Monopoly is in the social strategy. The people I play with know enough about economics and finance so as to be aware of the type of financial instruments that can be brought to bear in inter-player deals, so there a few levels to the strategic landscape in our games, where you have to be good at the sort of slick talking that encourages the other player to make a deal with you in the first place, and then you have to be good at being assertive and making the first pitch for a contract and ensuring that they'll accept the terms, and then you have to be good at designing a contract that looks good to them while secretly benefitting you. Needless to say, a pencil and a pad of paper are de facto game pieces in this type of play.

The fact that being such a deceptive asshole is so much fun regardless of how much money you're getting because of it really makes me fear for our ability to reign in the rapacious excesses of our various miscreant-behemoths in the financial sector these days, but I guess that's for another discussion.
posted by invitapriore at 1:38 PM on September 8, 2011


My family (whom I currently live halfway around the world from) tells me that their '80s-era Sorry! set includes "advanced rules for adults" or something along those lines that actually revolve around, yes, having a hand of cards.
posted by DoctorFedora at 2:51 PM on September 8, 2011


Anyway, Munchkin has its faults, but it is still rather fun to play, for a while at least, and I do not begrudge Steve Jackson Games its success. The fun comes from the act of playing however, not because it has a particularly great design.

In my experience, the fun comes from the players' rueful recollections of or vague understandings of teenaged D&D games. One of my regular boardgamer friend brought along his boyfriend to a game of Munchkin once; the regular had been a D&D-crazy teenager in the eighties and the boyfriend not (very much a jock). After a game, the boyfriend look around in disgust and asked, "Is that what the geeks were doing in high school while I was playing football and getting laid?"

As well, a drive-by player of my acquaintance (who travels a lot and turns up semi-annually for a game) was all thrilled to play Munchkin Cthulhu when it came out. He brought along his wife, who had never played an RPG in her life and had never heard of Lovecraft. I cannot imagine what she made of the game. She did not seem to be enjoying it much.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:23 PM on September 8, 2011


Well, yeah, but that's a given.
posted by JHarris at 4:32 PM on September 8, 2011


This is just beautiful, but I have to agree with Mr. T. Rex that The object of Monopoly is " to fully explore the sensations of boredom, sorrow, and rage."
posted by gamera at 6:36 PM on September 8, 2011 [2 favorites]



If you don't want to play Catan then don't play Catan. I'm not pushing you into it, just explaining. It's a bit simple, but I've used it to introduce several people to board gaming.


My roleplaying group did that too. It took about two nights to go from 'this is boring' to 'must play Catan. must play Catan'.

Munchkin and similar games are just pure dumb fun.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:56 PM on September 8, 2011


My family (whom I currently live halfway around the world from) tells me that their '80s-era Sorry! set includes "advanced rules for adults" or something along those lines that actually revolve around, yes, having a hand of cards.

Five card Sorry. It's the only way I remember playing it.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 8:49 PM on September 9, 2011


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